I was delighted to have been featured of the Expat Focus podcast talking about life in Denmark.
I was delighted to have been featured of the Expat Focus podcast talking about life in Denmark.
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.
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.
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!
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: 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 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
We had a quick visit into Tivoli on Friday on its first official day of its Halloween opening. As usual the park looked fabulous and we’ll be back for more later in the week. Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite.
There are few things happening in the park which you might be interested in. There is a children’s craft workshop, which costs 95kr, aimed at kids up to the age of 8 accompanied by an adult. It looks great fun and lasts about 45 minutes. This is the link to the event
There will also be a trick or treat event on October the 30th and you can find more information here
Following a number of attacks by terrorists using vehicles as a weapon, more and more cities are placing solid concrete blocks in popular city centre areas to prevent further attacks of these kinds. After the attack on a Christmas market in Berlin last year, the authorities in Copenhagen were rightly quick to place protective blocks in the city in places which may be considered targets. Whilst these blocks serve as very practical purpose, the look of them is not very pleasing and can create a feeling of fear. Cities still need to be functional and useful for everyone especially those people on foot or using bikes.
TagTomat, an organisation behind a number of urban gardening projects which has been in operation since 2011, has worked with Sharing Copenhagen to develop a prototype concept to make the barriers more attractive and useful in everyday life. The idea is to take a wooden framework which is placed over the functional concrete blocks. The framework can then have benches, bike racks and planters added to it. The idea also offers value for money as the barriers then become multi use and it makes spaces greener and more friendly but also safe.
TagTomat has chosen a variety of robust plants with long flowering times. The project was covered by DR’s P4 programme and the presenter, Kamilla Mærsk, summed the barriers up perfectly:
“If I just walked past them I would not think of terrorism immediately but rather a new initiative from the City of Copenhagen to make the city a little nicer.”
There are two locations currently in the city where the prototypes can be seen: the Rådhuspladsen and Nyhavn.
You can read more (in Danish) about the project and watch some videos here
Photo credit: Tag Tomat
I have written before about my amazing hairdresser, Sharon Hatting. Not only is Sharon a great hairdresser but she is also something of an inspiration to me.
Sharon is now renting a chair in a salon called Hair by Dunja at Enghavevej 70 in Vesterbro. It is a great location and easy to get to. In September she is offer 10% off a cut as an introduction offer to her new location. You can book an appointment via their website here.
I also interviewed Sharon for a My Danish Career piece in The Local Denmark and it is getting a cracking response. You can read it here and find out more about Sharon’s business journey.