Mad about Copenhagen book – Kickstarter campaign

The food scene here can seem dominated by a handful of places but as Copenhagen really cements its position as a foodie paradise, then it is great to hear about the rest.So I was delighted to hear that Mad about Copenhagen are writing a book. It will tell the stories of 50 culinary characters of Copenhagen, the spaces they inhabit, and the food and drink they make. The list includes a delicious mix of cocktail bars, bakeries, high-end restaurants, greasy late night munchies, hole-in-the-wall kinda places, breweries, beekeepers, coffee connoisseurs, brunches, traditional Danish eateries, and more.

This is what Mad About Copenhagen write about. They do not leave out the top new nordic restaurants but do their best to uncover and expose the more underground delights of Copenhagen’s food scene.

Hazel told me that they want to capture the essence of Copenhagen’s dazzling food scene, circa 2018. The book will not remain up-to-date forever, but it will preserve the current era of foodie Copenhagen, and the stories, essays and recipes in the book will be relevant forever.

Sounds amazing, yes? But they need our help to make the book a reality. They  are publishing the book together with a small local publisher (Blændværk) and they aim  to
print the first edition in September/October 2018. For this they need to raise some money, and thought what better a way to make it happen than to give people a chance to
pre-order the book (with a discount) before it gets printed.

You can pre-order the book and other Mad goodies via their kickstarter campaign, until 12th April. One of the options includes having your name in the book as a supporter! (That’s the option I took, like to see my name in print!) You can see all the options on their Kickstarter page.

You can read a brilliant article about the campaign and book here

Should you walk and skate on frozen lakes?

I’m not one to be a killjoy but it is important to remember that just because other people are walking and skating on the frozen lakes in and around Copenhagen, it isn’t actually safe at the moment. We’ve had a cold spell but not enough for the ice to be safe. I am horrified to see people with children and prams on the ice only metres from the non frozen section of the water. And children being encouraged to jump up and down. I walked on the frozen lakes in Frederiksberg in 2010 and I agree it is an amazing experience but the weather had been subzero for several months and not weeks and I waited until it was safe.

This is a translation of the page on the Kommune’s website which also updates a list of lakes so you can see if it is safe. This is the link to check and it is updated daily.

Look for the link Sikker is? You need to see a Ja if it is safe.

Look for the blue sign “Færdsel på isen tilladt”.
You must ONLY go to the ice if the sign “Færdsel på isen tilladt” is there. The municipality continuously measures the ice thickness.

Even when it is allowed to go on the ice, be aware of the following:

Use your common sense. The weather can suddenly change and change the thickness of the ice
The ice must be 16-18 cm thick before the municipality can give permission to go on ice. But the thickness is only suitable for skating and walking. Dangerous situations can still occur if many people get together on the ice or if you dance or jump on the ice
On many lakes it is never allowed to go on ice. Experience shows that they can not be safe enough. The ice in the harbor and the coasts will never be safe ice.

 

ClubCrea kids crafting workshop in Tivoli

We had a lovely time at the ClubCrea pop up crafting workshop in Tivoli yesterday. The table is groaning with wonderful materials to make either a mask (inspired by Chinese New Year or another kind of animal mask) or a Valentine’s card and flower. Julie and Lone, the pair behind the event, are super friendly and helpful. The workshop is for children aged 4 – 8 (for younger children you may need to help out a bit more) and it is a great way to spend some creative, screen free time with your kids. 

The workshop costs 60dkk per child and one accompanying adult and it is running everyday from 11am to 5pm until the 25th February. You can find the workshop in the Orangeriet behind the larger of the two carousels in the park.

To find out more about ClubCrea and any forthcoming events you can follow them on Facebook here.

Guide to having a baby in Denmark

Having a baby is one of the most exciting and scary things we do in life and that is when we are in our own countries. Having a baby in a new country can be even more daunting as you are navigating a different languages, process and culture. This was one of the reasons I decided to write a ebook guide to having a baby in Denmark (and it covers the first year too).


For many expat parents to be in Denmark this may be your first baby and you need a lot of help, advice and support in the journey through pregnancy and into that first year. Equally you may have other children but had them in your home country or somewhere else completely.

Almost nine years ago I had my son Frederiksberg Hospital. He was one of the last babies born there before they closed the maternity unit. As he was my first child I had no idea about anything really, not having been a particularly  maternal young woman and being one of the last of my friends to have a baby. I muddled through in some parts of my pregnancy and in others I was led by the medical team around me and the rest of advice from books, the internet and friends and family. I enjoyed my pregnancy and despite a difficult birth, my experience in the hospital here was also excellent. I found the first year a little tough but then who doesn’t?

Things have moved on a lot from those days all those years ago, both in the consumer landscape of Denmark to the services that are offered to pregnant women and young families. In some ways this makes things a lot easier but in others there is more information to find and to know where to look.

In preparation for this guide I thought about all the things I learned when I was pregnant and a new mum but I also had a great focus group of expat mums and mums to be who really helped me out, both endorsing the information I was including but also sharing with me the things they had found tough or information they had wished they’d had. So a big thank you to those women.

If you are expecting a child here in Denmark or have just had a baby then this guide will be an enormous help to you, I wish I’d had something similar myself all those years ago. If you would like to get hold of the guide you can visit my secure shop here.

 

Little glimpse of Christmas in Tivoli

We had our first visit to Tivoli for the Christmas season on Friday and it was amazing. Tivoli promised new things this season and it didn’t disappoint. The area around the Planen has been transformed into a Polar Express inspired winter wonderland, complete with a static steam train housing food places and shops. The steam engine even produces ‘steam’ every so often.

With the increasingly short days you can see all the sparkly lights from 3.30pm onwards. I can’t wait to go again this week!

Finally for more of a lowdown on Christmas in Denmark don’t forget to sign up for my guide and also get a holiday and celebrations printable for 2018 featuring illustrations by Charlotte Rule.

Interview with Charlotte Rule, talented local artist

Many of you may have already signed up for my Christmas guide and dates printable (if you haven’t, why not do it now 🙂 – here is the link) and you will have seen the lovely cute little illustrations on the dates printable. I was delighted to work with a talented local artist, Charlotte Rule, on this project and I thought today I would share a little interview with Charlotte. Charlotte and I met with the monthly crafting get together, Craftenhagen, which I host and I love her creativity. She has shared so much with us as a group and we have learnt a lot of new skills from her.Charlotte is originally from Stevenage but grew up in a small market town in Norfolk, England and has been living in Copenhagen for the last few years. She went to the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, where she studied for a BA HONS in Visual Communication, specialising in Illustraton. She is currently a part time freelance illustrator, working alongside that as a window dresser for a well known clothing brand.

So over to Charlotte…

Do you find inspiration in any favourite places in Copenhagen? Can you tell us about these places and how they inspire you.

CR: There are quite a few places in and around the city that I find inspirational. These ar places that, after I have visited them, I find I am suddenly in the mood to create something, as well as places that inspire my work in a more direct way.
I love to draw animals, so I have a year card to the zoo which is a great way to observe the animals and get ideas. As well as this I enjoy being in nature, so the botanical gardens and Dyrehaven out in Klampenborg are also great spots for me.
I also like to visit the Design Museum and SMK art museum for ideas on techniques.
 Where can people see more of your work?
CR: You can have a look at my work on my website, where I have a variety of finished projects I have worked on. I also have a Facebook and Instagram page which are a more informal way to see works in progress and doodles or ideas. I sell original pieces on my Etsy page, such as my Lino Prints and on my Society6 page you can find lots of my prints on different types of products, such as phone cases and cushion covers.
Christmas is just around the corner, what are your favourite things about Christmas in Denmark?
CR: I love the different traditions I get to experience, dancing around the Christmas tree and celebrating Christmas late into the evening of the 24th are some things that I really enjoy. I also like the preparation leading up to the big day, making konfekt and the buzzing atmosphere of the city.
You are originally from the UK, can you share a funny story about settling here in Copenhagen.

CR: When I moved to Denmark it was mid March and the daffodils were just beginning to bloom. I came with one suitcase and was ready to start the Spring! Unfortunately the Danish weather did not agree with me and my first day at work greeted me with the type of snow that would make everything stop in the UK. I think it was very obvious that I was new in the country by the clothes that I had to wear! Since then I have definitely learned to prepare for the unexpected…

 
So what does 2018 hold for you?
CR: I am looking towards bringing to life a new brand idea that I have been thinking about over the last year, and I hope to continue developing my artwork and enjoying life here in Copenhagen.
So, don’t forget to check out Charlotte’s work elsewhere on the internet for some unique Christmas gifts and cards…

“Gentrification” of Valby

So back in 2016 I wrote this blog post about Valby as an alternative to central city living. In it I said (which was true at the time) “Valby is not the place for hipsters or trendsetters” and “It is not a slick and trendy part of town”.


A few weeks ago I had to meet with some parents from my son’s school at a cafe on the main street in Valby. I’d not been down to this part of Valby for some months and the change was significant and noticeable. There were a number of older businesses which had closed down and there was activity inside the shops indicating a new business would be opening soon. But mainly I was surprised to see a Wokshop, Lagkagehuset and also a Riccos coffee shop within stone’s throws of each other. All are places I like but their new presence in a previously pretty old school Danish area is a definite indicator as to the changes afoot there.


I’m not sure that the term gentrification can be applied to what is happening in central Valby but it certainly looks like gentrification-lite. These businesses start popping up where there is a demand or potential demand for them. Valby is certainly an area where more affluent people are starting to live due to the housing situation in nearby Vesterbro and Frederiksberg but it is often a chicken and egg situation. In the UK it is referred to as the *Waitrose effect’ (here is a recent article about this), whereby if a branch of this expensive supermarket opened up in your neighbourhood you knew that house prices would be on the rise and the face of the neighbourhood would begin to change. But also in seeing places like Waitrose or in the case of Valby, Wokshop, opening up prospective residents will see it as more of an exciting area than if there is a Netto, an old style bakery, pizza shop and a clothing shop for big men.

And what does this mean for rents and house prices? Undoubtedly rents will rise as will demand from people to live here, pushing current residents and businesses out of the area in time. Of course this is capitalism but it doesn’t make it any more palatable. Over the last few decades areas such as Vesterbro and some parts of Nørrebro have gone through a painful change and as long term residents found themselves priced out of living in Vesterbro, they moved out to Valby and Sydhavn and now these two areas are beginning to gentrify, where will these people end up? The issue of displacement is one which should not be ignored. The cycle keeps going until all the city areas are the same, with the same types of coffee shops, bakeries and restaurants, same types of people with the same affluence and  the city is only for well off people.

Copenhagen is a long way off becoming as homogenised as some towns and cities in the UK but the writing is on the wall. I’ve said it before but every Krone you spend is a vote for the kind of city you want to live in. Support for individual and local businesses helps them survive and also ultimately keeps a city alive and unique. When I read about businesses in Amager for example which have been there for three or four generations, I wonder how many of the current businesses du jour, such as Gorms, Cocks and Cow, Wokshop, Jagger to name a few will still be in business in ten or even five years time? With the fast Twitter generation cycle of life where things are soon discarded for something newer and shinier makes me think none of the above.

I’m not against change but when change benefits the few and not the many, I wonder how positive it is.

Although not about European cities this podcast about the gentrification of parts of Los Angeles and also Brooklyn, New York make for fascinating if not disturbing listening. The issues they explore are not unique to the US. Also this piece in the recent issue of The Murmur about Copenhagen is an interesting read