Monday, 21 November 2011

A New Chapter...

A (very originally named!) New Blog from our new location!  Feel free to pop by, I would love it if you did!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Goodbye Denmark...

So, the day has come when it's time to say goodbye Denmark!  Thank you so much for the past two years!   You have at times been challenging, infuriating and blinking cold.  But you have also been interesting, educational, and beautiful.  We have learned so much as a family during our time here, learning to cope in a foreign land and all the experiences that go with that.  It's certainly put a different perspective on many things for me on life generally.  We will also take away many many fond memories, and so many great friendships too.  So for that at least, tusen tak! 

To my faithful readers, thank you for reading my drivel, the comments and support, and for following us on our journey.   You will be pleased to hear (or perhaps not!), that I will be back online shortly with a brand new blog in which to record our new adventures in our brand new country!  I hope you will follow me there (details to follow shortly)! In the meantime, I expect to be offline for a couple of weeks while we take a break between countries!

Thanks again, and watch this space!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Adieu Sylvia

Pretty soon I have to say a fond farewell and a big thank you to Sylvia.  Sylvia is our trusty car, thus named by the two small people because she is Silver (most imaginative I know!)!  I have formed quite an attachment to Sylvia, which thanks to my hatred of driving and cars in the past, my friends and family have found highly amusing. 

My relationship with driving has always been slightly sporadic to say the least.  I actually learned to drive at the age of 17, but despised it so much that when we first moved to London I was more than happy, as there was no real need for me to drive with the (mostly) excellent transport links on our doorstep.

Fast forward a good few years and we were faced with the possibility of moving abroad.  With that possibility came the harsh realisation that I could no longer put off doing a driving test, so I duly searched through the various adverts, and destiny put me in touch with my driving instructor "Cliff".    "Cliff" is obviously not his real name, but it's what I christened him because of his resemblance to the "King of Pop" Cliff Richards, so when he pulled up outside the house on my first lesson, I was naturally fooled into thinking he would be harmless.  Let's just say that "Cliff" was shortly thereafter re-christened "Evil Cliff", after the hours I spent being very told off each time I messed up a turn in the road (I can hear him now "IT'S A THREE POINT TURN; NOT A TURN IN THE ROAD!"), parallel parking, and any other (what I considered to be) minor mistake.   I came to dread these twice weekly, two-hour driving lessons, feeling sick at least three hours before the metallic mini from hell turned up.  My friend directly opposite used to take great delight in standing in her window and waving me off whilst laughing hysterically as I drove off up the road.  To also add to the pain was the fact that I was also paying a small fortune for the (dis)-pleasure London rates of around £26 an hour.  But, as I have said before, stubborn is my middle name, and I was determined to get this stupid test done and dusted once and for all.

Fortunately, having previous driving experience, it wasn't long before I had a test date in my hands.  Which I then failed for stopping around 2 metres from a set of traffic lights on red.  Really.    I hadn't really expected to pass first time, very few people do, but I was petrifed as to what "Cliff" was going to say when I got back to the car, as I knew he was well and truly going to kill me...    But au contraire, "Evil Cliff" had been replaced by "Lovely Cliff", who told me not to worry, it wasn't my driving at all, and he would drive back as he could see I was a bit stressed.   I couldn't believe it.  Where had "Lovely Cliff" been throughout my torturous lessons?

Soon enough my second test date came around and I passed (even though I made more mistakes than first time round!)...   In some ways it might be said that I have a lot to thank "Cliff" for.  His overly strict teaching methods certainly worked for me, and it did make me pay more attention to what I was doing, and ultimately gave me the confidence to drive when we arrived here.   I was however disappointed that he didn't sing Congratulations when I did eventually pass!

Anyway, I digress... Sylvia was therefore my first "real" car, she belonged to me.  I could play whatever I liked music wise, and nobody was going to shout at me for anything.   More than any other aspect of moving to a foreign land though, the prospect of having to drive in one terrified me more than anything!  So it gives me great pleasure to say that the only damage I inflicted on Sylvia during our time together, was a smashed off wing mirror in a (very badly designed!) multi-storey car park.  Thankfully, she didn't hold it against me, and went on to look after us through thick and thin, and in all weathers.  We have been on many an adventure together (including getting stuck against another car in a snow drift but that's another story).  So yes, I know it's odd to get so attached to an inanimate object, but I will shed a couple of tears when I have to bid her adieu.  I do wish she could come with us, I need her to look after us on the Autobahns!!

Monday, 10 October 2011

There is a Season...


The huge forest and lake not far from our house, is undoubtedly the place where we spent the most time out and about over the two years we have spent here .  When we first arrived we were told there was a lake nearby, but we didn't appreciate quite how big it was, and how diverse the changing scenery would be surrounding it throughout the year.

We skated on the lake when it froze in Winter, and sledged amongst the trees in the forest.  In the spring when the buds began to unravel on the trees, we relaxed in the knowledge that warmer weather was on its way...   We watched people swimming in the lake in the summer (and tried to ignore the clouds of mosquitoes on each walk we went on), and rushed out on many occasions to catch the amazing sunsets late in the evening.  In the autumn, we spent a lot of time here, taking in the kaleidoscope of colours on display, and keeping a beady eye out for blackberries and chanterelles along the way.    We appreciated the beauty here whatever the season, and really loved having this place on our doorstep.  I know that this is the place that we will all probably remember the most when we think about our time in Denmark....

Hoping to have time for one last pilgrimage on Thursday morning before the removal men arrive!...

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Saturday, 8 October 2011


Star Flyer

And so the goodbyes begin. It's quite a strange feeling really, and as well as saying goodbye to people, we are also saying goodbye to places as well. Tivoli was first on the list as it closed for the season recently... 

The Little Pilot

As the first place we visited together as a family, (almost as soon as our feet touched Danish soil), I will always have a soft spot for Tivoli. We have plenty of happy memories from the many (many) times we visited. For those people that are about to move to Copenhagen, this will be one of the places that you visit the most, believe me (make sure you buy a season ticket, it will pay for itself in a few trips!)!  We took so many guests here, that at times I will admit to being thoroughly sick of the place, but it was really nice to visit it one last time to bid it a fond farewell.

The Galley Ships

 We had to make sure that we went on almost every single ride for old times sake, bidding farewell to our favourites, Den Flyvende Kuffart (The Flying Trunk), a trip through the tales of Hans Christian Andersen, (which it is worth alone for a listen to the English narration -. when you get to the Little Match Girl listen out for the part about the "gooooze"), The Mine (a leisurely journey through a "diamond mine", complete with giant sneezing pink dragon), The Galley Ships with its manicly spinning viking ships, and a couple of turns on the traditional and very beautiful carousel.  The first time Small Boy ever went on this he started off astride a small rhinocerous.  The ride turned once, and the rhinocerous reappeared without him.  Panic gripped, until I saw him high upon the giraffe's back, he had obviously had a change of heart!

We saved the best, the glorious Rutschebane  for last (and went on it 4 times in a row)...    This elderly wooden roller coaster (one of the oldest in the world) comes with a brake person for each train, employed soley to deploy the brakes before and after each big dip (can you imagine that job?)! This is a ride we all love, and you can't help but laugh most of the way round (I do shut my eyes at the top, where it looks like you could go careering off the edge though)... I remember my Dad convincing my Step-Mother that this ride was really tame, but all you could hear was her screaming "Oh my Gaaawd" all the way around! It's fantastic in a chuck you out of your seat, leave your stomach behind kind of way, and my strange children both adore it (sit at the very back for maximum effect!)... 

Tivoli will reopen in a few days for Halloween, when it's covered with thousands of pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, and then of course in December with it's Christmas Market, and its myriad of potent Gløgg and æbleskiver stalls... Sights all worth seeing, but to me, Tivoli will always be best late on a summer's evening, when it's quiet, and when you will see people that have been going their whole lives, relaxing and enjoying themselves...

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Postmand Per

Or Postman Pat as he is better known in the UK would LOVE the Post & Tele Museum in Copenhagen.  As one of the last few remaining child-friendly museum's we had on our list to visit before we depart, we popped over to check it out.

The Sorting Office (with one post-person on strike!...)
There's the most fabulous children's section spread out over the third floor, with a couple of rooms based on Danish stamp illustrations, complete with big slides and trees to climb (!), and another with lots of post to deliver! My miniature post people spent a good hour sorting the mail, stamping it, and then delivering it to an assortment of  lilliputian houses...very cute, especially with their long flailing uniform jacket arms, and oversized postman hats.

We had a quick refill in the beautiful restaurant/cafe overlooking the roof-tops of the city. It also overlooks the Roundtower, so we had a laugh at Small Boy's expense as we reminisced over the fateful afternoon we spent there!

Back inside we learned about braille and how to punch out our names using the Braille alphabet. Both children were fascinated with this and learned alot about how visually impaired people use computers and telephones etc.

Then it was onto the main floor of the museum, which is full of really interesting stuff (although I will admit to being dubious about this before we went inside!). There are lots of machines to fiddle about with, some of which neither Small Boy or his Big Sister had ever seen before, including this beautiful Telegram Machine. Unfortunately Bulgus insisted on making a guest appearance in this photograph, please ignore him. I try to.

The most fun was had on a beautiful old wooden operating switchboard with all the wires and buttons etc. still intact. Small boy was the designated "operator" and was put in charge of putting calls through to his sister who was "on hold" on a telephone quite far across the other side of the room. All was going swimmingly, until she started asking him to put her through to double-digit numbers such as 25 and 37, which at the age of 4 he is still just getting the hang of!  After much dawdling and hesistation on behalf of "the operator", the rather irate "caller" lost her temper and shouted across the room "Could you please just put me through to someone who knows what they are doing??"... Which is still making me laugh at least 24 hours after the event.

 A great museum, with good exhibitions and great facilities, and best of all - it's free!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Frederiksberg Have

After the close inspection of the Dummy Tree on Sunday, we spent a further couple of hours admiring Frederiksberg Have's other slightly less embellished trees.  They are currently putting on a spectacular autumnal display, which felt ever so slightly surreal given the unseasonally warm weather.  It's a stunning park, that is loved by the inhabitants of Copenhagen (if you can call it a park, it's the grounds of a rather beautiful palace...), and huge groups of friends and family gather to celebrate various occasions (no more dummy parties perhaps?) and enjoy each other's company.  If you are lucky (or not, depending on how you feel about Zoos of course!) you might spot an animal or two next door as well!

What with all that tree-appreciation, conker-collecting, leaf-kicking, scooting and hill-rolling, we had worked up quite an appetite, so we paid a visit to The BBQ Shack nearby.  This is somewhere we have been meaning to try for a while, as we had heard very good things about it.  Let's just say it's pretty lucky that a) we don't live around the corner , and b) we are leaving the country, this place is too good.  The buffalo wings are incredible and pack a good spicy punch! The ribs are mighty fine too, as are the Mac & Cheese, the coleslaw, the bbq beans, the blue-cheese dressing, the baked potatoes, you get the picture...   Anyway, it's authentic US cuisine, with authentic US super friendly service too, and I highly recommend it for a very decent takeaway!


Sunday, 2 October 2011

Suttetræ/Dummy Tree

Pictures of The Suttetræ (Dummy Tree) in Frederiksberg Have, something we had heard about, but not come across before today.  Apparently, once a child is too big for it's dummy here, it's tradition to go to a Suttetræ, so the child can give up their prized plugs in exchange for a present or some other form of blackmail!  I kind of felt sorry for the tree a little, covered with bags of plastic dummies hanging like brightly coloured grapes, it looked like some kind of giant fairground goldfish stall....

But it was interesting to see (traditions from other countries always fascinate me!), and very touching to witness a couple of tiny children bidding a brave farewell to their little plastic friends!  There are plenty of Suttræs to be found throughout Copenhagen apparently should you need one.  (By the way Emil, if mummy is reading this, then we saw your note!  The tree is looking after your old dummies very well!)

It got me thinking about how we managed to rid of them once and for all in our house.  I think the "Easter Bunny" took R's in exchange for a little brother, which I think was a great deal (not really, she got a scooter), and S very graciously wanted to post his to his then newborn Baby Cousin (I found them at the top of the kitchen cupboard the other day during a clear out!), and then instantly regretted his decision, and kept asking for them to be posted back.  He even interrogated Baby Cousin on his last visit as to whether he still had them or not.  Good job for me that at that point Baby Cousin couldn't actually talk or I would have had some explaining to do!

Silent Sunday

Thursday, 29 September 2011


Pictures from Hay, one of my favourite shops in Copenhagen.  I like to go here to daydream about what I would put in the enormous designer house in my head. The entire children's department has a designated space in that house, including all of the elephants below.

There's great people watching to be had here too.  On my last visit, I observed two small boys being "parked" on giant beanbags, and having iPads thrust into their hands to keep them busy.  Meanwhile their parents deliberated and swooned over beautiful and extortionate Scandinavian designer chairs!

There's just one thing that my imaginary Scandinavian designer house is really going to need to have though, a very loud burglar alarm.  Just recently, having certain lamps and chairs seem to make you a real target in our area.   We have so far been lucky, but that could be because I don't think there's a black market for IKEA lamps and furniture at the moment... 

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Final Countdown...

Picture courtesy of   
If after that title you are now singing a song by a big-haired Swedish rock band, I do apologise!

A swift update as I shouldn't really be on here, we have pages of German contracts to study this evening...  Yes, with just over two weeks to go until we bid Denmark adieu, we have official confirmation that the house* in Munich is ours to move into!  Hallelujah!   Nothing like leaving things to the last minute, especially when the removal company is desperate for an address to eventually deliver your belongings to!  

(*NB.  This is obviously not the actual house.... It is though, I think you will agree, a very pretty Bavarian house, and considering that I didn't take any pictures of the real house the other day, it gives you an idea of the local style at least!)...

Fifteen days to go and counting!  We have a family wedding overseas inbetween, so our new adventure commences at the beginning of November.   I am hastily touching wood whilst I type this, but I think that things are slowly, slowly beginning to fall into place!...

Monday, 26 September 2011

Afternoon Tea...

Every so often the English part of me has a craving for a big pot of really nice tea, and the greedy part of me has a craving for lots of nice things to eat to go with that tea, so I am happy to report that there are a few places to get a good afternoon tea in Copenhagen.  Arguably the best is at Hotel Angleterre, but that's out of the picture at the moment as it's currently being renovated.  It reopens in Spring 2012, and when it does and  that craving for tea and sinful cakes gets to you, then make this your first port of call! 

In the meantime, Perch's comes a close second, and for around 200dk you get a couple of pots of beautiful hand blended tea, served in almost translucent bone china (what else?), a cheeky glass of prosecco, plus a plate of sandwiches, tiny cakes, and two (yes two) giant scones served with lemon curd, jam and clotted cream (trust me, you will be asking for more of this, more generous servings please!!).

The scones in Denmark aren't really the same as the cloudy light affairs we (usually) get at home, they are much heavier and taste like they each contain a whole pack of butter, not that I am complaining because they are good, but they are not scones as we know them...!  

Perch's is quite popular, so make sure you book in advance, and you have plenty of time to spare - the service can be rather "relaxed", and afternoon tea should never be rushed...(plus you will need to allow extra time to waddle to the Metro afterwards)!

A nice (rare) treat to remind you of home!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Friday, 23 September 2011

Road World Cycling Championships

 A couple of pictures taken this morning at the World Road Cycling Championships currently taking place in Copenhagen.  I wouldn't normally be that interested, but seeing as a lot of it is based where we live, and they have closed down a lot of the main roads in and out of the city for the entire week, I thought I had better go and have a look at what all the fuss is/was about!  The finish line is very close to our house, and I timed it right as Lucy Garner peddled her way to Gold for Great Britain just as I turned up!    I am sure having this giant mascot from home spurred her on! 

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Ever late to the party, we visited Torvehallerne, Copenhagen's brand new food market for the first time only recently.  It has been open for a few weeks now, but it did mean that by the time we got around to visiting  the initial hoards had died down, so it was quiet enough to explore properly.   It's split into two halls that sit side by side, one with more fresh produce than the other, but both equally interesting.


English expats take note, Fiskerikajen from Rungsted have an excellent fish stall here, and they also serve their amazing fish and chips!!  Perhaps someone could convince them that they would be even more amazing (and authentic) if they served them with malt vinegar and a side of mushy peas (oh and perhaps a slice of heavily buttered white bread on the side for that obligatory chip butty!)...

I had to take this picture of the shark for the four year old.  He was distinctly unimpressed that it had an orange in it's mouth, sharks do not eat fruit after all as he quite correctly pointed out.   We didn't buy the shark, but we did buy a few krebs to cook in beer like we did last year... Delicious! 

As we discovered, Torvehallerne has a few really excellent stalls selling fresh (and often local produce) like this gorgeous coloured chard from Bornholm, or the succulent figs and artichokes above.  There are stalls selling produce from further afield too, including the French stall piled high with jars of confit and mustard, and even Poulet de Bresse.  There's a wonderful spice stall, and a stall selling Asian goods with row upon row of my favourite Sriracha sauce (which I didn't know came in so many varieties)!   There's also a Sushi bar, and a Spanish bar selling pinchos and plates of freshly carved ham to go with glasses of ice cold beer, plus the usual myriad of coffee bars and cup cake stalls to investigate!

It is so typical that having struggled to find ingredients on so many occasions here,  they decide to open something like this just a  few weeks before we go - I am taking this personally Copenhagen!

Torvehallerne may be small in comparison to food markets in other cities, but it's a great addition to Copenhagen and is something that it really really lacked before

 Sriracha, how I love you...
You can read other articles on Torvehallerne from fabulous fellow Copenhagen bloggers below:

Copenhagen Kitchen
These Sublime Days
Lost in Scandinavia

Saturday, 17 September 2011

First Impressions...

I forgot to take my camera to Munich.  In my haste to get the train to the airport, it was left on the side in the kitchen which was hugely annoying.  It would have been really nice to have taken some pictures to show the children where we are going to be living, but as it turned out, I didn't get much time to take pictures anyway.

The moment I stepped off the plane, the house-hunting began.   It's funny how you forget the  horrors of searching for a new home in a new country, and how bizarre an experience it can be.  I think I saw the whole spectrum too, from monsterous houses that were far too big, to houses so small they were perhaps only suitable for the The Borrowers.  Houses with resident crazy cat ladies, and show-houses with over-precious owners (and my particular favourite -  houses with blocks of flats in the back garden that weren't actually there when the photographs on the adverts were taken!!)...  Houses with small gardens, houses with no gardens, and houses with ginormous potentially child-swallowing ponds in their gardens.  From houses with traditional Bavarian Decor, to a couple of houses with hideous eighties decor (what was it with stripes in the eighties anyway?).  Then just when I was beginning to lose all hope and had visions of us living in a yurt, I saw "The One".   The place that I know could feel like home.   My lovely relocation agent didn't take long to work out that if my answer to "do you have any questions?" was "No", it meant I wasn't interested.  So when I asked at least 100 questions about this particular house, it was quite clear that I was smitten by it, and so the formalities began....  I am not counting any eggs before they hatch though, and wont refer to it as our "new house" until everything has been signed off as we have been there before too!

After my first day of house hunting I arrived back at the hotel exhausted and hungry.  I was determined to see some of the city while I had time, so I walked to Marienplatz where (after recovering from an initial banking error where temporarily forgetting that I was in another country, I withdrew 400 Kroner (around £50) which of course turned out to be 400€ (around £400!!)) my reward for a day of trawling and sifting through countless properties was a beautiful crisp beer and a bratwurst... As Oktoberfest begins today, it was perhaps busier than it would be normally, but it had a really great atmosphere..

Overall, my first impressions of Munich were really good.  It's huge, and it felt quite cosmpolitan.  Given its location it's perhaps not suprising that Munich reminded me of Italy in a lot of ways, the rural areas surrounding the city especially with beautiful rolling hills, and produce stalls at the side of the road.  I think we are going to really enjoy it there, but it's going to take me a very very long time to get used to being called Frau!!....

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Sampling Smørrebrød...

I had a lunch date yesterday with my Significant Other at Restaurant Schønnemann, which specialises in traditional Danish Smørrebrød.  This was something we had wanted to experience in a "proper" restaurant before we left, and my personal Copenhagen Restaurant guide (my friend Laura) had recommended this place as the one to go to over other perhaps slightly more famous smørrebrød restaurants in town.  I am so glad she did, this place is great and both the atmosphere and the food are really good.  It opened in 1887 and you kind of feel that some of the original customers are still visiting, with big groups of old friends meeting to discuss politics over a plate of stjerneskud and a huge øl, all washed down with aquavit of course!   Some looked quite amused at me taking pictures,  but I pretended to be a "new to Denmark" tourist which usually works.

Trying to decide from such an extensive smørrebrød menu was slightly difficult, but we started with herring as it's the done thing apparently.  Our curried herrings were served with capers and half a boiled egg.  This came with gorgeous bread with the traditional spread of pork fat mixed with rosemary and salt to accompany it (which is actually quite good in this particular restaurant, even if it sounds revolting.  Eat too much of it and your arterys might not thank you though!)...


Next up I opted for "Simon's Favourite", which consisted of bread fried in butter (which might have swung it for me), topped with smoked salmon and creamed spinach and with a poached egg balanced on top.  It was amazing...  I am not sure who Simon is/was, but he has/had excellent taste.   My other half had "Thomas's Spare Rib" (poor Thomas) which was roasted pork spare rib served with beetroot and mustard, and more of that lovely bread...

I will be happy now if I don't visit another Smorrebrød restaurant in our time left here, I am not sure it would be as good as this place!

Skål indeed!
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