Happy New Year!
So I am back after about a three week break. We enjoyed Christmas at home and then spent almost a week at a summer house at the top of Sjælland, like we usually do. We may break from tradition next year and head further north to see the Northern Lights.
Whilst we were away I saw a few posts on social media about bullet journals. At 1pm when I started Googling them I didn’t understand the point, by the time I went to bed I was fully converted to the idea. I had ordered a special dotted book to begin my bullet journal (It should arrive this week). I am aware that I need a regular creative, non screen based outlet, I like to be organised and I often think of things I need or want to do and they stay in a swirl in my mind. Apart from the diary and to-do aspect of a bullet journal, I am going to use it to encourage me to read more and to think of places we should visit (and plan to actually visit them, especially in Denmark. A few things have happened over the last few years that make me believe we should seize the day and not add things to a ‘one day’ list.
In other news I have my surgery on my stuck ulcer nerve scheduled for the end of the month and before that I will be launching the short series of interview podcasts I have already recorded. I am struggling a little with the iTunes element of it and it has been a bit of a show stopper (pun intended) so I shall release them via my website in the first instance, whilst I iron out the issues.
Also if you read my last post I am working on my new book – Moving to Denmark – all you need to know. I need a certain volume of pre-orders to be able to go ahead and publish it (even self publishing a Kindle book comes with costs) so please do pop over and order it if you think it may be of use to you and also share with others who may be interested. Click here!
I thought I’d share something a little more personal today.
This time last year I was in the middle of coming clean from using a vast amount of morphine to manage chronic pain. It was a tough and painful time, both for me and those close to me. Our christmas was not the usual affair. We were between homes and living in a lovely apartment in Østerbro for three months. It was a cosy place and we were grateful to have it but it wasn’t our place. My son was aware of my health situation not being normal and it had an impact on him.
This year Christmas is going to be different and better. I am still managing chronic pain but whilst it isn’t nice it is under control. We are living in our house and are settled. My son is getting on well at school and is looking forward to going on a Christmas steam train trip (which last year I spent shivering and sweating thanks to withdrawals), putting up our tree, getting up at the crack of dawn to see what Father Christmas has brought, heading to the forest for a few days after christmas. It is going to be a cosy time and hopefully stress (and sweat) free.
As some longer term readers will know in January 2015 I had a serious cycle accident. There was a long journey of recovery and whilst I have almost complete movement back in my arm I have been suffering from chronic nerve pain which I manage by taking medicinal cannabis (read more about that here). I had an ultra sound with a neurologist in Vejle back in September and the results were finally conclusive and I have surgery to release my ulner nerve planned for the end of January. Again there will be another tough road for recovery – acute pain for a few weeks whilst I heal, more physio but hopefully the end of chronic pain.I have plans for my business in the new year; podcast, new book and some special events but first I need to get my health sorted once and for all.
As usual I shall probably be taking a Christmas break from blogging here (I may pop in if I have something to share) but in the meantime I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2018. Thank you again for taking the time to read this blog, which I hope has been useful and entertaining, it means a lot to me to have you here (I say this every year but it is true every year!)
If you want the low down on New Year’s Eve you can get hold of my mini guide about how to celebrate Danish style here.
And if you are still wanting to read about Christmas this guide is still available.
Yesterday I was reminded why I wrote this piece in The Local in 2015 about private vs public healthcare in Copenhagen.
After a long wait whilst the doctors decided if I needed an MRI scan with the state of the art machine at Rigshospital, I was given an appointment for a scan a couple of weeks ago. I understand the decision process surrounding it. One scan in the machine is not cheap so there must be a medical need for it.
Last summer I had a MRI scan at a private clinic and although the appointment times were more convenient and radiographer was competent, the experience wasn’t as good as the one yesterday. At the private clinic I lay in the scanner and just listened to the loud noise until the scan was done. I had no idea when it would be over and at what points I could wriggle my fingers. The scan takes up to an hour and that is a long time to lay still. I can’t recall being given ear defenders either. The scan was inconclusive.
At Rigshospital I was called in well before my appointment time as I arrived early. I was asked to change and leave my stuff in a locked changing room. The staff were polite and efficient. I was given ear defenders and they gave me an emergency buzzer to hold in my hand. Before each cycle of scans, I was told though my headset how long the section of scanning would take (anything from 1 minute to five minutes) and when I could stretch and move. Anyone who has had an MRI scan know it isn’t the most comfortable experience especially if you feel a little claustrophobic.
I was given an injection of contrast half way through and I was warned it could make me feel a little nauseous later on. Once the scan was over and the pleasantries dispensed with, I headed back to the changing room. I was a bit slow in there as I felt a little sleepy and was checking my messages when there was a knock on the door and the radiologist wanted to check I was OK.
Add to that how clean the hospital is, how helpful the staff are (not just this time but other times too), the general positive environment around you from hearing the orderlies chatting to patients to the public art installations. I still believe you can’t match this experience in the private sector.
I now have to wait and find out if this king of MRI machines has seen anything significant but overall the experience was much better than the private one.
We are still in the throes of moving house and finally getting to live in our new place on Amager. There will be more about the practicalities of buying a place and the changes of moving from an apartment to a house and of course life on Amager to come in the next few weeks.However today I thought I’d share something I am involved in in May. The Hive Gathering is a conference for digital storytellers, tastemakers and bloggers which has been going since 2012. I have attended every conference and loved each one. When I was starting out in blogging it was amazing to connect with other bloggers and to take inspiration from others. I am still in contact and, in many cases, friends with women I have met at The Hive.
The speaker line up at these conferences has always been outstanding and this year’s Hive in Berlin is shaping up to be just as great. Sara Tasker, an Instagram guru and podcaster I personally admire will be one of the speakers this year. There are a number of other exciting speakers this year. I have a role as a chair or moderator (never sure of the actual title) of a panel discussion about what it means to be an online influencer. How are we influenced? What are brands looking for? Are you an influencer if you won’t or just can’t engage with your followers? And how can influence be used productively and not just to sell things? It should be a lively and interesting discussion, I’m sure.
If you are a blogger, instagramer, vlogger or involved in an online space for your business or personal brand, then this is the conference for you. The location in the centre of Berlin is an even draw as you will get a chance to explore this exciting city when not in the conference. Every time I leave the Hive I am buzzing (did you see what I did there?!) with new ideas and you can be too!
Check out the website for more information about speakers, program and much more. If you are planning on coming along do drop me a message and we can connect in person there.
In November I was interviewed for BBC Scotland’s Personal Best about life in Copenhagen. This is the programme if you fancy a listen.
I’ve had few pieces published on the internet this last week or so, so in case you don’t follow Dejlige Days on Facebook (and why not? Click here if you want to, I am posting up lots of interesting events I spot around town there now so its pretty useful) here is a quick summary here.
Here is my piece in the Huffington Post – 10 funny things that can happen when you move to a new country.
And another one – How to nail Scandi style this winter
And over on The Local.dk – My Danish Career with Alison O’Keeffe and New Copenhagen project will ‘try to change the world’
If you enjoy any of these articles please take a moment to share them on Facebook or Twitter.
I have been trying to get all my ducks in a row before the school holidays start but there will be some new posts next week, in the meantime I have been around and about on the internet this last week or so.
Want to play hipster bingo? over on the Huffington Post.
Five reasons why living in Denmark gave me the chance to become a successful entrepreneur – in the Huffington Post
Six steps to finding your new Copenhagen home – on The Local DK
My Expat Life: Melanie Haynes on Motherland
Interview on We the EU
Phew, all these were written or interviewed over the last month or so but all came out in the space of a week.
I am putting the finishing touches to my book about how to have a successful relocation at the moment and if you would like to have three chapters for free and also be the first to hear about the publication of the book, which will now be a physical book as well as an ebook, you can sign up here.
You may have noticed that things are looking little different around here. I decided to bring all my ‘brands’ together and have one image for both the blog and Dejlige Days Welcome. I have been working with a great designer on new logos and also Rochelle Coote Photography on some new pictures of me. I am actually super happy about how it all looks. I would love to hear your feedback!
Also it coincides with me (as Dejlige Days Welcome) working together with Charlotte Larsen at Copenhagen Housing to offer a joint package. Together we can help you in your move to Copenhagen with me offering a pre relocation consultation and then handing over to Copenhagen Housing to find newcomers somewhere to live (and all that entails in the tough rental market) and then back to me for a comprehensive personal local guide (recent ones ran to almost 20 pages of in-depth and insider information) to help you settle in. To find out more about this do pop over to my website here.
Last week, when I wasn’t checking out Danish men, we were checking out potential new houses. After eight years living in apartments we decided it was time to look at having a little more space and privacy but at the same time still living in the city. The dream of a villa (as detached houses are called here) in Frederiksberg remains a dream unless we win the lottery so we took the practical approach and found an area that ticked the boxes for us all.Quiet streets with reasonably priced but good size villas. Close enough to my son’s school to mean that we may get an extra half hour in bed. Close to green open spaces and beaches but still with easy access to the kind of city amenities we have become used to. And finally fast transport links into the city.
Sundby on Amager ticked all these boxes for us and the search is on. Interestingly I am being my own client for this. I know a little of what is available on Amager but as it is an area that is pretty much new to me, I need to find out what is there that I and my family will enjoy. So I am working on a local guide and map for myself and I am finding I am a tough customer! Tomorrow I am going to head out and walk the streets, just as I do for my clients needing a local guide written for them. I love this process of discovering hidden gems and it is even more fun doing it for myself.
We spent yesterday going to open houses at the places we have identified online (a tip if you are house hunting is to use Boliga as it brings all the places from different estate agents all together in one place) and all but one were not right for us and the one that was – really was. I know you are not supposed to fall in love with a house as it leads to disappointment in many cases but it is hard when you are choosing your home. The place we loved had an amazing history, perfectly laid out for us and totally modernised. However someone has already offered on it and as we haven’t sold our apartment yet we are in a very weak position. But as they say nothing ventured, nothing gained!
The process of both buying and selling a house at the same time is new to us and we are still learning how everything works here. I hope to share a lot more of the journey and the practical process as we go along here.
I have been pretty busy with Dejlige Days Welcome over the last few months as it seems that the Spring is a time when people think about moving here. When I launched the service I had an idea of what kind of packages most of my potential clients would be interested in but the last few months have shown that many people are looking for some pre-relocation help so today in the shape of another shameless plug I thought I would talk a little bit more about how this part of Dejlige Days Welcome works.
Most people who take this service have an idea that they want to live in Copenhagen but need the information and advice to help them make this decision. Sometimes the questions are around childcare, helping children get settled, how to register if you are self employed, good places to live, how to beat the rental system but more often than not they are very specific and personal to that person or family’s needs. Having a face to face chat (via Skype or FaceTime) really helps people get their thoughts in order. I don’t just wing it on the day but they filled out a questionnaire for me and tell me their key questions, I then spend time researching this and prepare a short report prior to the call which I then flesh out with more from the discussion and perhaps some extra information – the process is very organic and personal.
I think that almost all of my clients who have started with this service have decided to move here and have been looking for more support after that – which delights me. Although this is a business, the reason behind setting it up was the help people have the best relocation experience they can, to reduce their stress and ease them into life here. I’m not brilliant at blowing my own trumpet but here is a recent review of my services from a happy client on LinkedIn.
If you are thinking of moving here and need some support pop over to my website to read more about how we can work together. If you are already moving here I can help too with a personal local area guide.
Let me help you find your feet in Copenhagen!