Learn a new skill this Spring – Brush Lettering for beginners

I had the ambitious idea of organising two brush lettering for beginners workshops on the 8th and 9th of April. This is the first weekend of the Easter holidays and the perfect opportunity for some adult time before the holiday begins.

Lucy Blair is an experienced calligrapher based in the UK and she will be coming over to teach two identical workshops over the weekend where participants will learn brush lettering for beginners. You can see her work on her instagram account @littleoldgoose

The class will cover the following: an introduction to brush lettering including beginner skills of up and down strokes. Participants will learn to create a words, layout, how to develop their own style and decorations and embellishments.
You will also receive a pack to take home including an instruction sheet, a small sketch pad and a Pentel Aquash brush pen.

The class will be taught over three hours and costs 640dkk. The cost covers teaching time, equipment you will use during the class and the take home pack, light refreshments and plenty of hygge!

This is a unique chance to learn this skill here in the city from an English speaking teacher. You will go away able to create beautiful brush calligraphy and have the skills to start to develop your own style.

The class will be taught in English, is open to adults and no experience is necessary. This is something I know a lot of people are interested in so take the chance now and book your tickets via the links below and I look forward to seeing you there!

Tickets for April 8th

Tickets for April 9th

Århus Housing Launch event

As some readers may know I offer a joint package with Copenhagen Housing and they are expanding their home search services to Århus this year. As part of that I will be offering the same package with them but for Århus. This is very exciting especially as Århus has been named as the European Capital of Culture this year.arhus

To launch the new Århus department of Copenhagen Housing, a very special event will be held at Highlanders Bar on 2nd March. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet follow expats, have fun and put yourself in with a chance of finding your new home in Århus, free of charge!

The program of the evening will consist of a reading by me from my book “My Guide to a Successful Relocation”, an opportunity to learn more about Aarhus Housing and how they can help you with your housing search, and ……… a fun quiz!

The lucky winner will get a free housing search in Århus worth 4500 kroner.

Refreshments will be provided.

Sign up for the event by mailing your details to charlotte@copenhagenhousing.dk, please write “Aarhushousing launch” as the subject.

I really hope to see some of you there.

Copenhagen Main Library

I was in the city centre and as I needed to find somewhere warm to wait for the Round Tower to open, I decided to have a little wander around the Main Library on Krystalgade. I used to spend a fair bit of time here when my son was a toddler and I thought it was great then. It is even better now. img_7600

In the main area on the ground floor, I was delighted to see some tables with handpicked books on them, just like a bookshop. The choice of books in both libraries and bookshops can sometime be overwhelming so these tables are perfect to guide you to a decent read.img_7601 As you come to expect in Denmark, the design of the library has been taken very much into consideration from the lounge chairs dotted around to the casual and cosy seating at the front of the library – this is really a place that makes you want to stay. There are also tons of study or work tables around the place too.img_7602

The English language section of books for children is also amazing with a number of early reader books available. Although you can order any book from the library’s vast catalogue, it is wonderful to be able to browse, especially with your children. I have many happy memories choosing library books with my mum and this can’t be replaced with a search bar.img_7603

The children’s section is different from when I spent time here five years ago but is still excellent with a wooden castle, toys and also a puppet theatre. I was sad to see that the filthy naked doll my son was obsessed all those years ago with has gone to the big doll’s house in the sky.img_7604 img_7605 img_7608

I wrote previously about libraries here in Copenhagen but I do feel this place deserves a post of its own.

Amazing design show at the Round Tower (but be quick)

There is an amazing exhibition on at the Round Tower until Saturday 11 February showing the final work of design students from Tekstilformidlere. Such beautiful and thought-provoking design. As its only on for the next few days you will need to be quick or simply enjoy the photos below.img_7654 img_7649 img_7650 img_7652 img_7646 img_7648 img_7640 img_7643 img_7644 img_7645 img_7639

Want to play rugby here in Copenhagen?

Gentofte Rugby Club was formed a year ago by some expat rugby enthusiasts who missed the chance to play their favourite game. It is gaining popularity but as Denmark isn’t really a rugby nation they are hoping to introduce the game to more players. screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-20-55-40

Gentofte Rugby Klub (GRK) was set up because they LOVE rugby. The Gentofte Kommune had no pre existing rugby club for children. With the support of the local kommune and the Danish Rugby Union (DRU) they founded the newest rugby club in Denmark.

The club offers rugby to all ages from 6 and is looking for more players and also coaches, particularly in the older kids sections and adults.

If you are looking to get back into rugby or wanted to get your kids involved, check out their website for more details.

Daily Bread

One thing that many expats get exasperated about is the lack of decent sliced pre packed bread here (and in France too where the option is very sweet American style bread). One of the reasons is that Danes enjoy fresh bread from the bakery, whether it is a loaf, rugbrød or rolls (rundstykke). You can get your rundstykke spread with butter there and then in the bakery.img_7457

When I was growing up we referred to bakery bread as ‘nice bread’ and as we didn’t have a village bakery and the few loaves delivered to the grocers soon went, it was something we had as a treat. I still do call it ‘nice bread’ and I noticed my friend did the same when I was visiting her a few weeks ago. Why is it we Brits are prepared to put up with the opposite of ‘nice bread’ (so nasty bread?) as our regular carb fix?

I love the European culture of local bakeries – independent and chains – that sell a selection of freshly baked goods everyday. The stereotype of a Frenchman walking with a baguette and nibbling the top isn’t there for nothing. These breads don’t last more than one day in terms of freshness but then again there isn’t normally a lot left.

Danes use sliced bread for toasted sandwiches and that is about it. We buy the best of the selection called Roast n’ Toast, but I have only seen it in a few Føtex supermarkets, but if you want to make a decent bacon sarnie this is the bread for you, especially if you can get hold of English style back bacon.

So where do I think you can get the best ‘nice bread’ in Copenhagen? I am a fan of Andersens (especially their Tiger rolls which I usually pick up for my lunch if I am at home) and also Lagkagehuset but any place you happen to walk past will certainly offer something better than the cardboard sliced bread in the supermarket.

NB for readers in the UK you can try the delicious breads and pastries from Lagkagehuset yourselves if you happen to be close to Piccadilly Circus in London as they have opened their first bakery outside Denmark there but branded as Ole & Steen. Check out their Facebook page

Light pollution in Copenhagen

Just before Christmas I was heading back into the city from Ørestad and I noticed just how dark it was over the city. Of course street lights were on but that orange glow you come to expect over cities wasn’t there. I also noticed that whilst my street was well lit enough for me to feel safe, it was not excessively lit.On an index I found online comparable light pollution in Copenhagen is half that of London.

If you have lived in the city for more than a couple of years you may have spotted that the council has been gradually replacing the old 1970s street lights with new modern LED lamps. It was something of an end of an era and the old lamps were snapped up at auction to retain the nostagia.img_1875

But now we are in a brave new world of street lighting. But what does this mean? Firstly the lack of light pollution means that our bodies can naturally keep to our physiological rhythms and helps us rest when we need to, which of course leads to less stress.

It also means we can see the stars and the sky better at night, indeed just the other morning my son and his friend were gazing up at the sky as dawn was coming, pointing out stars. This was outside their school in Sydhavn, not in a field in the middle of nowhere.

I am curious if readers from other major cities have noticed the difference here and what your thoughts are. Do you think the streets are too dimly lit?

If you are interested in the issue of light pollution, this is an Interesting article.

Black Friday

This Friday is traditionally known in the US as Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when all the shops have massive sales – and there are usually stories of at least one person being crushed in the mass shopping frenzy. In fact in 2008 when I was last in the US for Thanksgiving someone was crushed to death in the rush for bargains in a Walmart on Long Island.

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Last year was probably the first time we saw the concept of Black Friday creeping into Denmark. Like many US exported traditions it was looked at rather disparagingly by many Danes. However this year Black Friday has landed with a bang. You can’t travel around the city or pick up the free newspaper without being bombarded with adverts for Black Friday sales.

We all like to save some money and if your child’s wish list for Christmas includes something pricey then this Friday is the time to put on your Santa hat and get a bargain (unless its a Hatchimal as I understand they are now sold out). I don’t think I need to tell you where to go but unusually the malls at Fisketorvet and Fields will be open from 8am until midnight on Friday.

Perhaps it is a reflection of the world economy at the moment that the desire for bargains is greater than usual. I do hope that this Friday sees Danes behaving in their usual moderate way and there are no scenes similar to those in the US and the UK of rabid consumerism and people think before they buy something simply for the sake of it.

What do you think about Black Friday here in Denmark?

Materials for making a Danish advent display

Around this time of year a number of things start appearing in supermarkets than can raise a question mark if it is your first Christmas here. First up are bags of damp looking forest moss (skovmos) and small tubs of similar. Then there is oasis or floral foam (something that can be useful all year round but not usually very available so stock up now if it is something you like to use) and dekorations ler, which is essentially a thick heavy clay like substance.img_6740img_6685 These are all things you need to create your advent kranse (see below), a display with either a single candle counting down from 1 to 24 from the first of December or an arrangement of four candles, one lit each Sunday of advent until all four are lit. DSC01441The idea is generally to bring the outside in with the forest moss. The oasis obviously keeps it moist and you can also add bits of Christmas tree branches (which can also be bought in bundles) to your display. The ler or clay can be pushed into the base of your display to give a steady base for the candles and other things you don’t want to topple over.  All of these things are pretty cheap especially by Danish standards and mean that you can have a lovely original display to count down the time to Christmas day. (more on Christmas traditions here)DSC01450

When you have more than you need, build a longer table not a higher fence

Last week and the result of the US election affected me a lot more than you might imagine. I watched both Trump and Clinton’s speeches after the election and one sounded like a president and one did not- I’ll leave you to decide where I stand on this. I don’t intend this blog post to be political but the aftermath of the election made me take a stance on many things.img_6687I read on Saturday that Lego had pulled its advertising budget from The Daily Mail and this coincided with me deleting the Daily Mail app from my phone and their feeds from my Twitter account. I used to hate read this newspaper but now I have decided that there is no place in my world for their brand of bigotry, lies and negative editorial policy. I know I am one person but I hope I’m not alone and if Lego are making this stand hopefully others will follow.

With all this talk of walls, and whilst Trump won’t (hopefully) build a physical one, he has built and legitimised the building of many metaphorical walls between people. In his world one side of the wall are winners and the other side losers and I don’t want to live in a world where there are these divides. So for me it is looking at my actions and the actions of others.

This weekend a furore erupted on an expat Facebook group as the moderator said that posts offering illegal services would be removed and the poster reported. It was a move to protect vulnerable people from being scammed. Result he was send messages threatening him and his family. An instagrammer and former blogger I follow posted a picture of herself at an anti Trump rally and she got a lot of support but also a lot of negative and threatening responses.

There are forums that exist online simply to rip people down, there are people who cruise the internet to find people to attack and then move onto the next person with no regard for feelings.

What can we do in this world of negativity to help the majority of positive thoughts and people be heard?

First  we can take on the internet. If you read something you agree with on Twitter, Facebook or some other social media platform, don’t just read it and move on. Say something supportive, like it, share it and pass it forward. Post positive things of your own (I have been posting a photo a day on Instagram that shows something that made me happy that day and sharing three things I was happy or grateful for, maybe you’d like to join me?). Flood social media with positivity even in response to negativity.img_6665In real life, take a moment to say or do something kind or helpful to someone. Give up your seat on the bus, say a kind word to someone you don’t know, take your empty coffee cup back to the counter in a coffee shop as you leave, compliment someone, find a few coins to give to a homeless person, stop and help someone who needs it, share a tip of something you know to someone to make their life easier, thank someone for something they have done, give the parent struggling with a toddler and shopping a hand. Donate your time to help a charity, turn up to event that support a small business. Just take one action a day that makes someone else’s day a little better, the list is endless.

This Christmas head to one of the many creative markets in the city and support makers and creatives by buying something unique as a gift. Or handmake something for your loved ones yourselves, you don’t have to be massively creative to do this (tons of ideas here). I recently sent a close friend a gift I had handmade. She didn’t realise initially that I had made it and when she did said she loved it even more. I know there is the argument that Christmas cards are bad for the environment but in the wider scheme of our carbon footprint they are tiny and the joy that a genuine handwritten message gives to someone cannot be replaced by an e-card. Kids get some much at Christmas so this year I am picking one of my favourite books from my childhood to send to my friend’s children.

It may all sound like tiny things but they add up. Come on, together we can make a difference to our world, I promise.