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!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Naughty Netto

An advert I passed yesterday for an expanding supermarket...  I had to do a double take as at  first I wasn't sure I had seen it correctly.  It  basically reads  "New bigger Netto on the way!  Open 16 November etc.  We are working on it"!   I am not sure they would have got away with this in the UK, but it did make me laugh...  If only we were here in November.  I would be so tempted to go and stick few a few cut out puppies over the new sign!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


A week of getting organised for the move.  A week of sorting, shifting, donating, co-ordinating,  and punishing the inner hoarder in me (I have told her she's not allowed to come to Munich with us, I hope she listens!).  I have found myself daydreaming about a recent trip to Granola on many occasions, surely all this industrious activity deserves an afternoon treat?

Denmark loves icecream, and churns out some some pretty decent stuff with fairly unusual flavours. I have yet to try liquorice, but believe me it won't be a problem! I can however confirm that marzipan is good, as is Ferrero Rocher, and you can't beat elderflower, grapefruit or lime on a (rare) scorcher! They also excel at bizarre ice cream toppings here, with all sorts of powders and sprinkles and garnishes, but my favourite has to be of course Guf... Not only does the name bring back memories (I remember getting into trouble with my best friend for laughing about "how someone had done a "guf"" in class in my younger school years - I am sure I don't need to spell out what we Brits (of a certain age)  once used the term for!), but this teeth-achingly sweet concoction works surprisingly well (I hope my dentist isn't reading this)!

Granola's salted caramel icecream was suitably delicious, and I love its retro surroundings!  Even my other half said my iced latte was good (and coming from a hardened tea drinker that's a big compliment)...! If you are a "local" you should pay a visit to Værnedamsvej (where you will find Granola)  as it has a really nice atmosphere, plus it's a foodie heaven with plenty of decent shops, a good butcher, an excellent wine shop and a couple of good-looking restaurants to explore...

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The Viking Warrior

I haven't had a chance to write about the Viking Centre we visited when we were in Ribe recently, but as it was probably one of the most entertaining days out we have had in the past couple of months, I couldn't miss it out, so here you go - sorry it's a bit late!  I have to confess this place was much more my cup of tea over nearby Legoland (who wouldn't prefer a place swarming with pretend Vikings being all tough and warrior like over a bunch of plastic bricks?)...

As is typical of these kinds of places in Denmark, it is very very hands on, so the kids had a whale of a time! They loved the playground (in the middle of a pond), and being able to have a go at traditional Viking crafts such as wood carving (with real knives and planes!!), archery, and cooking bread  (on long handled pans over an open fire!!)... All these normally off limit activities make it a dream place for kids, and Small boy especially was in heaven!

The Vikings here are a very friendly bunch, most of them come from Germany and are here on a working holiday for the summer to live the Viking dream, which they take very very seriously! They not only tend to the traditionally grown crops, and look after the old breeds of livestock, they also cook and eat here and sleep here, which gives it all the more of an authentic feel.

The highlight of our visit was when the Warrior training took place.  All boys (edited to add and girls who weren't interested in taking part!), were called upon to prove their strength and learn how to combat ferocious Viking opponents.    Small boy desperate not to be left out (and by far the smallest Viking of the lot by a number of years) gave as good as he got with a wooden sword against his (rather dashing) Viking opponent.  I love this last photograph, it makes me laugh so much each time I look at it - my very own tiny Viking warrior!

Definitely worth a visit should you happen to be in the area...

Silent Sunday!

Friday, 2 September 2011

All Change Please

So... confirming that nothing in life ever runs according to plan (which is usually the norm for us believe me!), the sunny shores of California are going to have to wait a little while longer, as at the relative last minute, we are no longer off to San Jose! Instead, the dark forests (and the Bier Kellers!!) of Bavaria await us, and will be our home for the next couple of years! At least it is closer to home and I don't have to get rid of any snow gear I suppose! Having never been to Munich, if anyone has any pointers (other than instructing me to learn yet another interesting language), I would be truly grateful!

I look forward to mostly eating these on an everyday basis: -

Photograph courtesy of Write Click Cook Listen - this really original blog features some pretty good recipes, and is definitely worth a look, peanut butter stuffed chocolate coated chilli peppers anyone? 

PS.   If you are moving to San Jose, (or know someone that is) and are looking for a fantastic relocation expert who really knows her stuff, (and is one of those people you feel like you have known forever when you speak to them), I can really recommend Jo Robertson.  She is really lovely and knowledgeable, and I am just so sorry we won't get to meet her this time around. 
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