Fishing in Denmark

Now I will start this by saying I am not an angler so the limit of my knowledge is shared below. My dad, however, is a keen fisherman who normally does lake fishing but this summer when he visited us he wanted to try his hand at sea fishing here. So as I did a fair bit of research for him, I thought I’d share it here. Fun fact – there are 2-300,000 pleasure anglers in Denmark!

First the law. You need to get an annual hobby fishing licence which costs 300dkk per year but if you are like my dad and over 70 years old you don’t need one. All the information about the licence including how to purchase one plus the rules about how, when and where you can fish can be found on the Landbrugsstyrelsen website. There is some information in English but as usual Google Chrome does a pretty good job of translating the Danish. There are also rules about how many of a certain fish you can land (which would be great for many hobby anglers to actually catch this many!) There is also a mobile app you can use to buy the fishing licence and also to check if the location you wish to fish in is outside a protection zone. The link to the app is here

Next where to fish. I asked for some advice on this and there were a few places that were recommended. The Sluse at Sluseholmen, Oceankaj (or Terminalen) at the very tip of Nordhavn (not sure how legal it is to fish here but there is a friendly vibe and plenty of mackerel and flatfish to be caught here. They have a private Facebook page you can join.) and along the coast south of Køge. It is possible to fish off Amager Strand between October and April, there are rules about the beach including this on boards all along the front there). This page on the By Og Havn’s website has a link to map which shows where it is permissible to fish in Copenhagen.

So where do you get your gear in Copenhagen? There are a few pretty good fishing tackle shops in the city and they are run by helpful and very knowledgeable people. I can recommend Jagt Fiskeri Magasinet close to Nørreport Station. Thor who works there took the time to write me a long email with tons of advice for my dad. It is a very well stocked shop. There is also Hunters House in Frederiksberg which gets good reviews, although we didn’t go to this place. Finally there is a tiny shop, Billigt Fiskegrej on Amagerbrogade, which also bizarrely sells X box games and Fidgetspinners, but my dad was very impressed with it and the prices were lower than he expected. The chap in here was also super friendly and helpful. There is also a reasonable selection of fishing basics in Bilka at Fields and on their website.

So happy fishing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why is there a squeegee in the shower? – Tackling hard water

When arriving in a new country you are often faced with puzzling things. One of the first for us was the very posh and neatly stored squeegee in the shower cubicle in our new apartment. Our landlords explained that after every shower we needed to squeegee down the tiles to prevent the build up of calcium (or kalk as it is in Danish). At first we thought this was just an example of being over house proud but we soon realised that the serious issues of calcium build up and also the effects of using such hard water. Copenhagen has the hardest water in the whole of Denmark so it is something you need to be aware of.

bathroom

I thought I would do a quick run down today of the products you can use to both prevent the build up of calcium and also the tackle it if it becomes a problem and then you too can have a beautiful bathroom (as above).

Prevention

Most cleaning products here will boast some element of calcium removal and you will spot ‘anti kalk‘ on a lot of standard bathroom and kitchen cleaning products and this is a good place to start in keeping places calcium free with your weekly clean. As is the aforementioned squeegeeing of the tiles and glass doors around your shower area. You can pick up cheap and functional shower squeegee in Ikea.

For washing machines and dishwashers there are tablets, such Calgon, you can buy to add to the wash to prevent the build up of calcium in the machines as this can lead to premature death of very expensive white goods.

Tackling the problem

Unless you are very fastidious or lucky there will be a time when you will need to de- calcium items in your home. You can either go the chemical route or the natural one.

First the chemical way. The supermarkets sell some fairly hefty chemical products, usually from a brand called Borup), in a separate section to the regular cleaning products. These are strong and non diluted chemicals that need to be stored very safely in your home. Generically you need to look for products under the banner of ‘rens og afkalker‘. Borup do a thick calcium remover for tiles called kalkfjerner (tyktflydende), which is a thick creamy and also one for taps and sinks/toilets called rust og kalkfjerner. They also have a special one for kettles and coffee machines ‘afkalker (lugtfri).

For washing machines there are a few rinses and capsules you can use to flush out the machine – Dr Beckmann’s vaskemaskinerens is a good one and also general afkalker tablets from various brands.

The natural way uses either vinegar or citric acid. You can blitz your house in one go with cleaning vinegar. Half vinegar and half water in your coffee machine or kettle will flush them out. Run/boil one to three times and then rinse away the calcium. Keep hold of the vinegar mixture and use it to soak shower heads or clean taps.

I also use boxes of citric acid (citronsyre) to flush out my washing and dishwashing machines. This can be found either with the chemicals or the general cleaning products and you need to use on for cleaning and not cooking. This is multipurpose from tackling your dishwasher, coffee machine and you can use this to soak shower heads as well.

Hair and skin

You will notice that moving to a hard water area will play havoc on your hair, skin and nails at the start. Invest in some decent conditioner, hand cream and face cream to help prevent drying out too much.

Six ways I have become more Danish…and one I can’t embrace

When we first moved here back in 2008 there were a number of things that were considered very normal here in Copenhagen that we thought were pretty weird…fast forward eight years and we do or use all of these things….DSCN2913Number one – mugs for hot drinks without handles.
I couldn’t understand the point of these; won’t my hands get burnt and aren’t they just like a beaker? We now own and use for hot drinks a wide selection of these from a variety of places from Bodum to Royal Copenhagen plus we still enjoy freaking out English guests by offering them their cups of tea in a fancy ‘beaker’.

Number Two – two single duvets on a double bed and airing duvets out the window
When we viewed our first apartment I was struck by the fact the couple living there used two single duvets and as time went on I realised this was very normal for Denmark (and also Germany). I thought it was strange but after using two singles in a hotel I realised that I liked not having to fight for the duvet all night and also it meant that we could have the weight duvets we prefer rather than one person shivering or sweating whilst the other was sleeping soundly in their preferred temperature.

I am ashamed to say we never once aired our duvet in the UK, we now regularly (weather permitting) hang our duvets out the window on a Sunday morning.

Number Three – sleeping babies outside in the cold in their pram
This was horrifying to me when we first moved here. People were leaving their babies outside cafes whilst their mums enjoyed a coffee (still in view) or in yards behind their apartment buildings when there was snow on the ground. I heard the argument that babies sleep better outside and I thought ‘ what is this – the 1950s?’ Then when I had a winter baby I found he slept so much better for his naps outside so I joined the army of women walking their babies around in prams getting them off to sleep and then I would sit whilst he sleep soundly and warmly in the minus temperature. I have never, however, been able to leave him out of sight or in the yard alone.
Interesting article on the BBC website on this very subject

Number Four – Suppositories for babies’ pain relief and nasal sprays for colds
First suppositories for babies. I think the UK is one of the only countries in Europe where parents are appalled by this – I can still see my best friend’s face when her baby had his temperature taken in his bum in a German hospital and her staunch refusal of suppository pain killers. It was a reaction I probably would have shared if I had never left the UK but for the first two years of my son’s life that was how he had pain relief.

Second, nasal sprays. They are a miracle for a bunged up nose and we resisted them for a long time, now they are the go-to cure.

Number Five- all white furniture
I now feel affronted by the amount of colour I see in British interior magazines and have totally embraced the white furniture cult of Denmark. Yes, the odd bit of colour is great but we now stick to sofas, rugs, ornaments, cushions etc for that. The white walls are very logical in the dark winters as they reflect the small amount of sunlight there is and stop you feeling like you are living in a cave for seven months of the year.

Number Six – Communal clothes washing facilities and drying rooms
Danish people are pretty private but are very happy to wash their smalls in a shared washing machine and then hang them in a communal drying room for all to see. I do recall blushing a little at seeing some of my neighbours’ little lacy under things. This aside I was a little disappointed to find that the drying space in our apartment building is in the attic and therefore a bit of a fitness challenge for me to use.

Number Six – Scarves in summer (spring, autumn and winter…)
First time I saw Danish women wearing pretty scarves with t shirts or vest tops in the summer I was baffled. Scarves to me were for keeping warm but actually they look really stylish all year round. I am still not sure I can carry it off in quite the same way a Danish woman can but I give it a go. They do say that Danes wear scarves to keep their heads on!

Finally still a bridge too far…

But one I still can’t embrace is communal swimming changing rooms awash with nakedness – I often feel more Danish than British but the inner prude in me can’t do this so it’s eyes down for me when visiting the swimming pool!

Greenify your home

Whilst I was at the Finderskeepers Apartment Store I got chatting with one of the women, Michala, working there. After explaining about the Apartment Store concept she also told me about her own business called Greenify, which was also featured in the pop up shop.

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I have written before about how hard it is to have even a small garden space here in Copenhagen and to find the right things to grow. Greenify is a genius concept to make this  much easier. You visit their website and select either a balcony box or a smaller tub and then drag and drop the herbs or edible plants such as tomatoes or peppers or flowers into your virtual planter. The smaller balcony box (although both boxes are pretty substantial in size) takes three plants and the larger one takes four. You can move them around into your desired arrangement. Greenify then plant it and deliver it to your door. The short video on their website gives you a great idea of the concept from the farm to your home.

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All the plants are organic and grown at Greenify’s farm close to Holbaek Fjord by an expert gardener, Niels. They are subject to the Danish climate so strawberry plants in May may be a little petite but ready for later in the summer. Greenify believe that fresh herbs and plants bring both taste, beauty, life and energy to our homes and who can disagree with that?DSC00933

Greenify’s website.

NB this is not a sponsored post.

10 tips to help settle into life in Copenhagen

This is an older post I wrote a while back but I have updated it as I think it still has value to newer expats. So here are my ten tips to enjoy life in Copenhagen when you are new to living in the city.lakes

1 Adjust your expectations

Denmark is a small country and much less consumer driven than the UK. There are some larger shopping malls including Fields, Fisketorvet and now Frederiksberg. They are no Bluewater but combined with the shopping opportunities in the city centre offer a wider choice and variety than at first appears. Visitors from the UK often observe how many individual shops there are here and how refreshing it is. There are limited internet supermarket shopping opportunities but there are many supermarkets so shopping shouldn’t be a problem.

2 Invest in a good daylight lamp

Yes, the winters are grim! The run up to Christmas is bearable with the widespread sparkle of Christmas lights everywhere but January and February are tough. The best thing I did was invest in a daylight lamp which can be set to wake you up with a ‘natural’ sunrise and give you bursts of sunlight through the day. Or make like a Dane and light some candles!

 3 Don’t compare prices

It is very easy to get caught up in the comparison of prices of things with your home country and finding that Denmark falls short by seeming very expensive. Budgeting is important but so is realism. This is what stuff costs here so unless you can find an alternative source through friends and family or the internet, you need to decide if you want something or not and pay the price. You can shop around, especially for groceries with Aldi, Lidl, Netto and Kiwi as good budget supermarkets. If you are desperate for food from home (if home is the UK, or the States) this is a good website or you can visit Superbest.

 4 Embrace the adventure

I moved here with a positive attitude and treated every day as a new adventure. We chose to move here and I understand that many expats are not so fortunate but it is exciting to experience a new country and culture so my advice is get a city map, transport pass or bike and get exploring. Copenhagen is an eclectic mix of the surreal and the mundane and well worth the time and legwork.

 5 Junk mail is your friend

Each week you find your post box full of a pile of aviser or promotional pamphlets from local stores. Don’t dismiss this as annoying junk mail. The supermarket brochures will tell you where the bargains are and also give you a good snapshot into the food and consumer culture of Denmark. You can also see which are your local supermarkets and which are in line with your budget. If you get sick of these though you can opt out or chose which ones you want via the post office. 

 6 Learn some Danish

Yes I know most Danes put us to shame with their English but although many people say Danish is hard to learn it is worth giving it a go even for a few basic modules of study. Both Frederiksberg and København Kommunes offer free Danish classes to holders of CPR cards at a number of adult education schools offering both morning, afternoon and evening classes. By speaking some Danish many expats feel less isolated here.

 7 Get on your bike

Thousands of people everyday use a bike in Copenhagen as their main mode of transport. Cars have limited value in a flat city with dedicated cycle lanes and regular and safe public transport. Biking here is a mode of transport not a means of exercise and often the fastest and easiest way to get around.

 8 Be friendly to your neighbours

The easiest way to get to know some Danes is to be friendly to your neighbours. I don’t mean knocking on their door every day as most people I have met here don’t seem to like that but make sure you chat and smile when you do see them. A bit of Danish goes a long way to get them to warm to you so a smile and a God Morgen starts the ball rolling. We invited our neighbours in for traditional English christmas fare of homemade mince pies and mulled wine a few days after Christmas the second Christmas we were here and they loved it and knew when to go home!

 9 Celebrations and holidays

Danes, like a lot of Europeans, celebrate most big festivals the night before so Christmas is celebrated in Christmas Eve. It is important to remember this holiday in particular as the shops all shut early on that day so there is no chance of Christmas Eve last minute panic buying. A number of public holidays fall on Thursdays and Easter is a day longer here. Here is a list of this year’s public holidays so you don’t get caught out.

 10 Opening hours and holiday time

Leisure time is quite rightly important to the Danes so many shops shut around 2pm or 3pm on Saturdays, and a lot of small shops and restaurants will shut for the whole of July when most Danes are on holiday or at their summerhouses. At first this can seem restrictive when you are used to 24 hour supermarkets but it doesn’t take long to appreciate the use of free time for things other than spending money.

Some other useful English language resources

The Murmur

The Post

The Local

Expat forums on Facebook for example this one.

Why I love Danish apartments

I have written before about how the things I thought were strange when we first moved here have become part and parcel of my life. One thing in particular I love is the way Danish apartments are furnished and decorated and I really notice the difference when I am back in the UK but generally I don’t really notice how different things are, until we started to look at apartments to buy here.

There are few things that have really struck me about how Copenhageners live as I look at apartments on the estate agent websites.

danish homesSources – kitchen, dining room, bedroom, living room

  1. White is really the only colour to paint your walls. When I look at a Danish apartment that isn’t painted white, I speculate that the owners can’t be Danish and I am probably right.
  2. There is probably about 50% less furniture in a Danish apartment than in a similar British home. In the UK if we have a wall we put furniture against it, plus things like coffee tables between.
  3. Hand in hand with the above is there is so much less stuff in a Danish apartment. Minimal clutter, clever storage and simply less. Possibly because buying stuff here is expensive but it seems people are just happy with fewer but better designed objects around them.
  4. I can’t recall ever seeing net curtains and rarely proper curtains in a modern Danish home. It is blinds (in white of course) all the way and sometimes nothing at the windows so you can catch glimpses of the hyggeligt interior.
  5. Carpets are another no-no. Beautiful wooden floors, whether painted or treated, are the norm with strategically placed and carefully chosen rugs.
  6. Tiny bathrooms. Many apartments buildings built in the late 18th Century and early 19th Century in the city would not have had a bathroom inside but outside privies. As demand for a bathroom in the apartment grew, space had to be found for it but with already compact floor space, this room would be functional and small so as not to steal too much important living space. There are bathrooms here that a literally a wet room with a toilet and sink in it with space for only one average size person at a time. And that’s OK.

I really love the Scandi aesthetic and can’t wait to get our own place here. I am busy pinning ideas so if you want to see more beautiful Scandinavian inspired rooms visit my Pinterest boards – living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and kitchens

My dream wardrobe

I have been thinking about what I wear recently and after reading Madame Chic I took a big axe to my wardrobe and got rid of anything old, stained, faded, out of date or anything that didn’t make me feel good when wearing it.

My styles I love pinterest board has started to show an emerging style which fits in with my lifestyle. It makes shopping a little easier as I have a mental list of things to look for and I don’t end up coming home with things I have bought on a whim and need to return.

This my main list for a capsule wardrobe of items that should in theory work together over most seasons…

Here is what I have so far

smart jeans…white shirt..stripy tops..blazer..colourful pumps…maxi dresses and skirts…soft cardigans..simple vests..subtle patterned t shirts…colourful trench coat..soft leather jacket

On my shopping list…

wide leg trousers…chambray shirt..silky blouses..tulle skirt..brown leather belt..colourful jumpers.

Any suggestions of good places to get these last bits?

Interview with Mariam Mistry, owner of Serenity Cupcakes

Following my interview with Trine Hahneman, I was delighted to interview Mariam Mistry, owner of the delectable Serenity Cupcakes in Grønnegade, close to Kongens Nytorv. Mariam’s cupcake shop is one of our favourite places in the city to sit and relax with a lovely cup of Perch’s tea and, of course, one of her beautiful cupcakes. I recently attended one of her cupcake classes and I can really recommend it.
So over to Mariam….


Dejlige Days: You had a career working in advertising, what made you give up a safe job to run your own business?

Mariam: I really enjoyed working in the advertising industry. However, I always had the dream of opening my own cupcake shop. The time came when I needed a change and cupcakes was the obvious answer. It was a difficult choice but i finally came to the decision to leave my job at the advertising firm and pursue my ultimate dream.

DD: What has been your biggest challenge since starting your own business?

MM: My biggest challenge when I opened Serenity has been advertising for the shop. There hasn’t been any formal campaigns or advertising strategies in order to spread the word. Most people become aware of my shop through word of mouth or Facebook. Another difficulty I’ve had is the many lifestyle changes I’ve had to make since the shop has opened. Opening your own shop can be very difficult and I’ve had to sacrifice time with my friends and family. Nonetheless, its been an amazing experience.

DD: What inspired the interior design of your beautiful shop?

MM: I drew inspiration from my travels to New york, Paris, and London. While traveling I’ve had the chance to visit some beautiful cafes and shops. I’ve always enjoyed how warm and comfortable they made me feel. Coming home, I had the same goal for Serenity. I wanted to create a very cozy and inviting atmosphere by using pastel colors and soft lighting.

DD: And the cupcakes! My favourite is Chocolate O’Dream. How do you come up with the flavours and do you have a tasting team?

MM: Unfortunately, I don’t have a tasting team. I have ideas for different flavours I think would mix well and I try to bake them together. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Flavours are created through trial and error.

DD: You were part of the Danish promotional event at the Olympic Games in 2012, that must have been a great honour. What did it involve and what was your best memory from it?

MM: We had a cupcake stand at Saint Katherine Docks. The goal for the event was to gain awareness for Serenity cupcakes and broaden the market. My best memory was being on the royal Danish yacht and meeting the royal family.

DD: You run a number of baking classes for adults and children. Can you tell us a bit more about these classes?

MM: The students have the opportunity to have hands on experience baking in the kitchen with me. I give them the inside scoop on how to bake and frost the perfect cupcakes. They also get the chance to be creative and decorate their own cakes and take some home.

DD: What advice would you give someone starting their own business?

MM: Behind every successful business is a firm business plan. A business plan offers structure and provides a new business with direction. Another thing a person must realize before starting your business is how difficult it can be. Starting your own business is no walk in the park. You must be willing to dedicate all of your efforts and time into it.

Finally..

MM: Pursuing my dream and opening Serenity has been the biggest challenge of my life and the most rewarding. Its been an incredible rollercoaster to get where I am today but I couldn’t be more proud. I’ve grown so much as a person and I enjoy every minute of it.

Flea Markets

Here in Copenhagen the flea market season will soon be upon us and I am very excited! There are a number of flea markets around the city every Saturday but my favourite is the one behind the Rådhus in Frederiksberg. Before I had a baby I found flea markets rather daunting and found that I couldn’t really focus on what was there and inevitably ending up only seeing the junk.

Once I had a child I was on the look out for clothes and toys and that meant that I was incredibly focussed and I found some great gems at fantastic prices. Wooden toys are one of the best things here to look out for babies and young children. They are durable so are still in great condition and the prices at the fleamarkets are a lot less than in the shops. Also Lego and Duplo but it goes quickly, so you need to get there early if this is on your list. I remember coming home with a wooden car run for my son when he was about 18 months old and he found it so exciting that he didn’t want his nap or lunch!  One of my other best purchases was a Normann dog for 100kr.

One of the downsides for me (or upsides depending in the gender of your child) of looking for baby and toddler clothes is there is usually more available for little girls than little boys.

Now my son is a bit older and I have thinking more about adding special touches to our home ( I have become very influenced by Danish interior style) my flea market list has expanded a bit more. I have my eye out for two or three particular items for our home and I am, of course, still on the look out for great toys for my son.

The Frederiksberg one starts at the beginning of April and is held every Saturday morning during the summer.

I recently read this great advice about flea markets from the team at A Beautiful Mess and I thought it was spot on.  The best advice is to have a list of what you are after or at least an idea of a type of thing you are looking to collect – my mum visits her local Brocantes (flea markets) in France to find copper kitchen items, this means she only comes home with things she truly wants plus she has a good idea about what is a good price for what she is looking for. This has been a mistake for me in the past as I have seen things but had no idea if they were a good price and passed them up only to regret it later. Another mistake I have made is not having enough cash on me which is easy to do in Denmark where we use our Dankorts for everything.

So I am hoping for some great bargains and lots of fun (and maybe sunny) mornings poking around the stalls.

Gift wrapping the Danish way

One of the first things you will notice shopping in Copenhagen in many places from Magasin to small shops is the question ‘ Er det til gave?’ (Is a gift?). It’s not quite on the scale of the Rowan Atkinson scene in Love Actually but you will see something special. Subtle but tasteful paper will be produced to wrap the gift after the price has been discreetly covered with a gift code. There will then be the addition of a ribbon and probably a small sticker with the shop’s name. I love it!

Some shops also provide public wrapping areas if you want to do it yourself.

I thought I was used to this special treatment but I can still be surprised. I bought a lovely Rie Elise Larsen tea towel for 65kr from the Vesterbro based Artium’s on line store. I opened my letterbox to find a brown paper wrapped parcel with ribbon, inside a gift wrapped parcel. It was a beautiful experience akin to having been given special gift – and made my day!