Sunday, 29 May 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

A Request...

I am not very good at doing Meme's... I intend to do them obviously, but then I often forget, for which I apologise! Tagged by Hello Its Gemma and Mari's World, this was a Meme I couldn't just forget about however.

I was woken unfeasibly early by two small people this morning, and as I sat watching them play, I realise how lucky I am to have two healthy children, and how lucky they are to have been born into a part of the world where vaccinations are taken for granted. One in five children won't have any vaccinations at all, unless something is done about it. On June the 13th, David Cameron is hosting a Global Vaccination Summit in London, which will be attended by many World Leaders. As part of their No Child is Born to Die campaign, Save the Children want as many people as possible to sign a petition, to hopefully ensure that the funding shortfall for vaccinations (4.7 billion) is met by all the donor countries. 8 million chilren under the age of 5 die every year from preventable illnesses, what price a life?

Having been away, I have come incredibly late to this, and the last date to sign this petition is actually today, the 29th May. Therefore, I am not going to tag any further bloggers, but suffice to say there's still plenty of time to add signatures to the petition, and if you would like to join in with this then please do the following: -

1. Ask your child/children to draw a picture of themselves either now or in the future.

2. Blog about it and include details of the campaign and the petition, then visit Red Ted Art to link up and view other entries.

This is my son's self portrait. He is obviously the smaller one of the two figures. I give no prizes for guessing who the other figure is supposed to be!!!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Charlotte's Web & Other Insects of Denmark...

This is Charlotte. She has taken up temporary residence in one corner of our bedroom. As she's a prospective mother, I can't quite bring myself to hoover her up or chuck her out of the bedroom window, so there she sits, tending to her impending brood. She's got until I spot that at least two of her tiny babies have hatched out, and then they will all be relocated to the garage (by my able assistant!).

Although strangely compelled to leave this spider mama in peace (for the time being!), I could quite happily be mean to the silverfish that inhabit this country in abundance! I only ever saw them squashed in old books at home, but they are so prevalent here that if there were ever a National Insect award, these guys would surely win it for Denmark.

Thankfully they are not actually this big (but in my mind they are!).

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Botanical Gardens

Having previously been spoilt with Kew Gardens on our doorstep (and possibly having overdosed ever so slightly), I wasn't really in a hurry to visit The Botanical Gardens here. But I went recently, and although they are not that similar in terms of scale, they did remind me of Kew, and quite charming in their own right they are too (they also have a few unusual residents, thankfully I was on my own or there would have been a few "piggy back" questions about these two)!...

But the picture below was my favourite encounter of the day. He was far too busy fishing to take much notice of his papparazzi, which made it much easier to take his portrait!

I was only passing through this time, but next time I would try to make an afternoon of it, possibly take a picnic, and maybe pack in the museum too. See, I told you I felt a few more touristy-type posts coming on in the countdown to our departure...!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Italy For Amateurs...

Mari's invitation to write a guest post for her blog Mari's World (whilst she is off enjoying a well deserved holiday), prompted me to think about holiday's we have been on in the past, and those that have been the most memorable to us as a family. Given her Italian links, Mari might be pleased to hear that some of our best trips so far have been to beautiful Italy.

Our first visit was to Sansepolcro, on the very edge of Tuscany, where we stayed high up in the hilltops in a small stone cottage. We had nothing but the geraniums we had been asked to water, and the tiny scorpions that lived in the window frames(who were totally harmless!) to keep us company, and it was heaven! Our daughter was around 18 months old at the time, and I was around 5 months pregnant with our son, and still suffering from terrible morning sickness. We were there in September when it was cool and calm, but the weather was still good. During the day we would explore little towns, searching out great local restaurants for lunch, and scouring the markets for seasonal food to cook in the evenings. A few days in, and my morning sickness suddenly disappeared - it was such a relief, and as an added bonus I suddenly developed an urge to eat my own bodyweight in heavenly gelato.

One morning we awoke at the crack of dawn to a large group of traditionally dressed huntsmen gathering outside our cottage, we watched them trudge off, and then while we were having breakfast, they returned triumphantly carrying a huge boar. This rural idyll proved to be just the break we needed from hectic London, and our love affair with Italy began.

Fast forward a couple of years and we returned, this time to Puglia in the middle of June. Our choice of accommodation was quite unusual in that we chose to stay in a Trullo. This was really interesting, if not a little basic, but nothing we couldn't cope with! The children bathed in washing up bowls, and the kitchen was a true test of our cooking skills, but it was fun! The metre thick walls also kept us cool during the day, and felt protective and cosy when thunderstorms approached! Once more we had the peace and tranquillity we craved for a couple of weeks, and again our mornings were spent exploring, and seeking out the shade in the afternoon.

We gorged ourselves on local produce, from beautifully fresh seafood and pasta to the most amazing tomatoes, and mounds and mounds of black cherries and strawberries. We devoured salads made from squat round cucumbers (an accidental purchase as I had mistaken them for melons!), I often crave these from time to time now, and I am kicking myself for not picking up any seeds from the markets! We made a great discovery one afternoon at a butcher's in town, where they would cook your purchase for you at your chosen time. It saved us attempting to cook it in our primitive kitchen and on washing up!

I will always remember enjoying one of the best coffees I have ever tasted at a lovely café one morning. On arrival, I took stock of the place, slightly worried about the fact that it looked like it was THE place to be seen, and the staff had possibly been selected on looks alone. I had taken my (then three year old) daughter straight to the toilet, and left my husband to order the coffee. Job done, we walked back through the packed café, and I began to feel quite self-conscious as all eyes were completely on me. I told myself that it was because they maybe didn't get many English tourists, and sat down to enjoy my coffee. Around ten minutes later, someone opened a fridge door, and as the door swung around, the reflection that greeted me was utterly mortifying. I looked like more of an idiot than usual, with my three year old daughter's sun-hat perched like a pea on a drum on top of my head (where I had placed it whilst trying to sort the three year old out in loo, and had then promptly forgotten about it!). An Italian sophisticate I was very obviously not. I can't quite believe that my family members hadn't actually thought to let me know, and had let me sit there for ages oblivious. However, they had to then endure me not being able to move for laughing for around half an hour. The beautiful staff, all stood around looking faintly bemused at this oddly dressed English girl, who now appeared to be having some kind of fit. Needless to say, I couldn't bear to go back there again, which was a shame as the coffee was outstanding!

Since our Scandinavian adventure began, we haven't had the chance to go back to Italy, and I feel like we have neglected one of our favourite countries. However, before we start our next adventure, I am determined to try and fit in a visit, even if it's just for a weekend - it's been far far too long!


Monday, 16 May 2011


Caught on film - S (who is usually excellent at not touching exhibits by the way), studying a lion at Frederiksborg Slot this morning (we are going through a castle phase, have you guessed?). Just as I went to take the picture, a small hand shot out and a finger was lodged up the lion's nose. He was obviously trying to add to his collection of failed escapology incidents in Denmark, as if getting your head stuck through the railings at the top of the Roundtower wasn't enough!! Luckily for both of us, he wasn't stuck for very long at all - this time, can you imagine?

Thankfully, there was no way on earth his head would have fitted through these railings!!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Rosenborg Slot

In the land of summer houses, I think Rosenborg Slot beats them all hands down. Built in 1606 by King Christian IV to his design, his summer abode is definitely worth a visit. I recently spent a happy morning shuffling around this fairytale castle (complete with miniature moat), exploring its tiny but intricate rooms that are stuffed to the rafters with royal nic-nacs.

Three lifesize beautiful silver lions flank the Queens throne and the Coronation Throne (complete with narwhal tusks!) in the impressive Knights Hall, and if you are a fan, you will spot plenty of elephant themed bits and bobs about the place, including this slightly bizarre suit of armour with ornate elephant arm protectors. I feel that the wearer had a bit of an unfair advantage here, it would have given them plenty of time to chop off the head of their opponent - while they were trying to work out what the hell he had on his arms...

Rosenborg is also home to Denmark's very sparkly Crown Jewels, with crowns and orbs galore (which should have any aspiring princess checking out the size of her head in the reflection of the glass cases the jewellery's displayed in).

The grounds of the castle (Kongens Have, or Kings Garden!) are manicured and beautiful, and worth a visit alone. They are popular with relaxing locals and picnicking tourists alike. There's also a great playground for children consisting of dragons and sandpits, and a decent cafe by the main gates. Visit on a warm day, and combine it with a trip to the Botanical Gardens over the road, you would then be hard-pressed to remember you were in a city at all!

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Unintended Countries and Fabulous Hens...

For months I have joked about my appalling directional skills, and how I have almost ended up in Sweden on numerous occasions. Well last night it finally happened! I had been in London for the weekend (on a secret mission - more on that in a moment), and was feeling ever so slighly smug at being one of the first off the plane and having only hand luggage! In my haste to get home to see my babies, I jumped on a waiting train, congratulating myself on this great run of good luck I was having! It was probably when we started to cross a big bridge across the sea that I realised I was Sweden bound, but luckily the very helpful ticket inspector felt gave me instructions on which train to catch back to Denmark at the next station. The ticket inspector on the next train however, was not quite so jovial. I had to tell a terrible lie about how it was my first trip to Copenhagen, and my friend had actually posted me the clip card ticket thing, and had given me confusing directions. After a very stern talking to about tickets from other countries not being valid in other countries, and how I should have asked someone before I got on the train, I was finally let off without having to buy a further ticket, as long as I promised to look at the "beautiful bridge" as we went back over it (honestly!). It only added an extra hour or so to my journey in the end, but I do believe it was karma for my earlier smugness!

So now I can explain what I was doing back home. With her wedding being less than 3 weeks away, my sister of course needed a decent hen do to bid farewell to "single" life. As she will only have one hen do after all (hopefully!) I decided to return as a surprise (having carefully explained to her that as we had been back at Easter, I couldn't really spare the time!)... The look on her face when she opened the hotel door was fantastic! She looked quite stunned, which may or may not be because she was hoping for a stripogram instead of her big sister...! We had a fabulous afternoon, which involved us enjoying lots of cakes, champagne and fiddly little sandwiches followed by more champagne... I love the photograph of her looking really "thrilled" about one of the few pieces of hen-do tat that her friends managed to bestow upon her (she got away far too lightly in my opinion!) Then it was on to our next secret destination, a private karaoke room in a Soho restaurant. The copious amounts of Champagne we had earlier enjoyed helped transform us all into the most amazing singers, so I expect that anyone having the good fortune of listening in must have thought we were all professional(!!)

Anyway, time to finish getting unpacked and sorted, and possibly spend some time studying the public transport maps of Denmark...

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Wanted: Fortune Teller

Recent events have meant that we are not sure how much longer we will be here. It may be weeks, it's more likely to be months, but it definitely won't be years. I thought I would be more anxious to be honest, but strangely it feels like things are naturally coming to a close here, and the big wide world awaits! I am quite happy at the prospect of change (even if it may currently be quite stressful trying to decide which path we should take), but we are lucky to have options, which is more than a lot of people currently in the same boat as us have!

So whilst we try to work out which option is best for us, I am asking that my "Danish" readers bear with me, whilst for purely selfish reasons I try to cover as many of the things we haven't yet visited here in the coming weeks. Some of it may well be predictable tourist stuff, but I will be trying to cram a lot in just in case our time here runs out sooner than anticipated...

In the meantime, if anyone happens to know Mystic Meg's whereabouts, can you tell her I would appreciate it if she could have a look into that big ball of hers and advise us what to do...Thank you!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Kuru Kuru Sushi....

Food is, and always has been a big part of our lives. Restaurants were also quite a big part of our lives once upon a time, but having children soon put an end to that (well, we don't get to go quite so frequently now anyway!)! We have always tried to include the kids in our love of food by letting them help cook, and by eating out as much as we can with them. It's important to us that they learn to appreciate food, to eat healthily, and also how to behave in restaurants, but more importantly all of this should be fun! This restaurant ticks all the boxes as it keeps everyone happy! Be warned however, for a relaxing meal it does not make! The conveyor-belt passes quickly, and as both children fling open the doors and grab the brightly coloured dishes they fancy as they pass by, the table is covered before you know it! There are rules though... if you pick it, you eat it, or at very least you have to try it, which amazingly often works! We also get to eat whatever doesn't pass their taste test, which isn't usually much of a problem, as it tends to be good sushi! If you are looking for a restaurant suitable for children in the Greater Copenhagen area, then I would recommend it as a fun place to take them, but with good quality food.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Archers (Part II of our Trip Home)...

I have come to the conclusion that Ambridge actually exists, The Archers isn't just a radio play that some of us grew up listening to at breakfast on a Sunday morning. It's quite obviously based on the village where my mum lives, and where we spent the second half of our trip home.

Thankfully, second-home ownership hasn't eaten away at village life here. The community spirit is alive and kicking, and everyone gets involved in everything (and everyone knows everyone else, which can of course be both a blessing and a curse!) When we arrived, preparations were in place for Easter, and a hardcore crew of flower arrangers spent hours expertly decorating the church for Easter Sunday. Within a few hours, it rivalled Westminster Abbey for the big wedding (minus the indoor trees, but then it does have that pretty special one just outside which wins hands down in my opinion!). That evening we were just sitting down to eat when a frantic phonecall came through to say that one of the displays had toppled over! You would have thought that the actual church spire had toppled off such was the tone of urgency! The designers of said arrangement duly set off to rectify the situation. Upon their return, a new message was waiting for them. This time a long and lengthy request for a dozen eggs, to be left on the caller's doorstep on their return from holiday (on which they are not going for another three weeks)! Honestly, the drama of it all (in a rural parallel universe kind of way)was quite exhausting!

Add to this vision of rural life Small Boy's egg cartel, a little egg stall where he spent a very happy morning channelling his inner barrow-boy, yelling "sweet eggs for sale" to passing villagers! He sold the lot at lightening speed which was either because he was doing a supremely good job as vendor, or the neighbours just wanted to shut him up! The chickens then had to suffer an afternoon of mild disturbance as both S and his big sister checked them constantly to see if there were any even fresher eggs to sell!

A couple of days later as we left the village, our rental car radio was tuned to Radio 4, and I swear as we drove out of the village and headed back towards London, the first words we heard were "and it's goodbye to Ambridge" (although I am not sure they were talking about the Archers)! Yes perhaps, but just for now...!

(checking for another type of egg on Easter Sunday)...

Sunday, 1 May 2011


After all the furore of the Royal Wedding on Friday (which we watched on BBC World News - loved the dress Kate!), a visit to something calming and restorative was in order, so we ventured out to Louisiana, this time to take Granny who is visiting for a few days and hasn't been here before...

There is currently a huge Picasso Exhibition here that stretches over 3 floors, with hundreds of his paintings, but my favourite piece was his little Ceramic Owl (or Ugle in Danish!), and I think he would look perfect on our fireplace! David Hockney also currently has an exhibition here called "Me Draw On Ipad", which I really wanted to hate, as I am not much of an Apple Fan (to put it mildly), but some of the artwork (shown on ipads displayed around a darkened room) was surprisingly beautiful, and I have to admit it's an interesting medium even if you are not going to get the same results if you print the pictures off...

The children's favourite piece of the day was a light installation by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama called Gleaming Light of the Souls, involving a small room with hundreds of constantly changing coloured lights, water and mirrors. Once I had managed to get S to to sit down on the floor and watch the changing colours, and not fall in the water, I loved it too, it is both beautiful and mesmerising.
Too much artwork viewing for small people must be rewarded with time at the Children's Wing of course, (which is the most incredible place for kids as I have said before), and this time they were encouraged to make their own Ugle's from giant mounds of clay, and have a go at drawing Picasso inspired still life with pastel crayons... Help and encouragement is always on hand here from the enthusiastic studio staff (although it looks like the biggest room on the ground floor will be shut for a while due to a flood)...

All the sculpting proved to be thirsty work, so it was time for tea outside in the sun where we watched a couple of hardy swimmers braving the sea below, whilst stuffing our faces with sinful Kartoffelkage (choux pastry filled with cream, a marzipan layer on top covered in cocoa powder, and called this because of the shape, not because they contain potatoes! The lovely Kitty at These Sublime Days actually made these recently if you feel brave enough to give them a go!) and chocolate Sandra Bernhardt cakes (a squat chocolate cone with chocolate mousse innards, a macaroon base, and an almond on top - thus called after the French actress, not Madonna's friend Sandra Bernhard by the way...).

Afterwards we decided to walk around the beautiful grounds and ventured around the back of the museum, where earlier Granny had spotted a huge slide(!). R&S spent what seemed like a good hour enjoying it all to themselves as I am not sure many people know it's here!...

Fish and chips on the way home at Rungsted, Friday night English supper style, and a spot of crab fishing afterwards (they didn't appear to like bacon or pasta this time either), for a perfect start to the weekend makes!...

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