Tuesday 30 March 2010

One a Penny, Two a Penny.....

Hot Cross Buns... Ta dah....

My mother and grandmother will be very proud of me! They have always made their own hot cross buns, and I don't think I will ever beat their attempts, but we had fun making them even if they did take FOREVER to make. Good things come to those that wait however, and even if they were all strange and wonderful sizes (thanks to the modelling expertise of my two children), they went down a treat in this hot cross bun deprived house! I might also take my son's advice, if you haven't any daughters that might want hot cross buns, he suggests that you give them to yourself - sounds good to me! Next time, I might also use my mum's tip and put a marzipan cross on top as that would be easier than piping the cross, and it would be sweeter too. We still have some Cadbury's creme eggs left over from my trip to the UK, it feels like Easter in our house!

I had a really lovely dream last night! Years ago, I would dream about travelling through exotic countries and the like, my dream last night was about... Waitrose - how sad is that? In it, I was wandering up and down its huge, lovely, wide and empty (ok, it was a dream!) aisles, looking at the vast selection of produce, and all the things I miss, then I woke up with the horrible thought that I would have to attempt to do a big shop today before all the shops close tomorrow for Easter! It was as hideous as I expected, it was like the big Christmas food shop all over again! I really don't like the supermarkets here, don't get me wrong, I think the quality of the food here is mostly good, and it's really refreshing to get quite a bit of local produce and good fruit and veg available seasonally, but if they could just change the layout a bit, and put in some bigger aisles, so you don't have to wait for half an hour while someone picks out which rugbrød they are having? It would make the whole experience a lot more pleasant, honestly!

Dear me, is that really my first moan? Well my close friends and family will be surprised - it's only taken me six and a bit months!

Saturday 27 March 2010

Celeriac Bread and Less Savoury Items...

Well as predicted, it's been a weekend of not so cheerful weather! Saturday meant homemade soup for lunch with celeriac bread to use up the sorry looking vegetable in the darkest corner of the fridge. It's based on a Delia recipe, except I use a cheddar type cheese, and I would highly recommend it fresh from the oven, or toasted with butter...

175g celeriac, peeled
110g hard cheese such as cheddar
175g self raising flour
1 large egg
4 spring onions finely chopped
2 tablespoons of milk.
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of salt & pepper

Heat oven to 190. Sift the flour into a bowl, add the celeriac, cheese and spring onions together with the cayenne, salt and pepper. Beat the egg with the milk and add to the flour mixture, using your hands to combine. Place dough a bread tin and bake for 45-50 minutes. Incidentally for those of us that live in Denmark where self-raising flour is not widely available, you can buy it in the big Thai Supermarkets in Copenhagen for some reason, either that or make your own from one of the many "recipes" on the Internet.

Talking of central Copenhagen, we attempted to go to a Loppemarked (flea market) this morning and found one not far from Central Station. It wasn't a highly successful trip as we didn't research it properly, and it turned out to be mostly clothes. We didn't know beforehand that it was in a slightly "interesting" area, so I had to carry my little girl as there were a few syringes lying about. I did point them out to her however and hopefully she will now know not to ever pick one up should she or her brother come across one (hopefully not but you never know!)!! I don't know why I was a bit shocked really, I worked in an area of London that had a bad heroin problem for a couple of years, so was used to my daily precarious trip into work stepping over used needles, but here in Denmark, where everything seems so safe, it just didn't feel right! At least they had put the caps back on I noted, very considerate, shame they didn't dispose of them altogether though! This area is notorious for it apparently, we know that now! You do indeed live and learn!

Planning on making hot cross buns tomorrow, will let you know how we get on!

Friday 26 March 2010

Waking Up...

Today was so gorgeous, it really really felt like spring for the first time this year! It was so warm that we didn't even need jumpers outside, and much to my son's joy, the sandpit was given it's first airing of the year (we couldn't open the lid before with about a foot of snow on it!)! He spotted an early mumblebee(!) and quite a few butterflies who are beginning to wake up and make an appearance after the long winter. It's now quite hard to believe we endured so many weeks of snow! Note our dead looking grass on the pictures, luckily the whole lawn doesn't look like this and hopefully it won't take long for this to recover! The departed snow has also revealed all sorts of things we had forgotton about, hula hoops, balls and strangely lots of firework cases from New Years Eve, not ours though, that night was far too cold to be stood outside letting off fireworks, instead we enjoyed the lavish displays of our neighbours! It seems that the Danes believe that no-one is more important than anyone else, except when it comes to fireworks, then it's time to try and out-do each other! It made Divali and Guy Fawkes night displays in South London look quite tame!

On a separate note, I had a nice suprise waiting for me when I got in this afternoon, as my lovely Danish friend and neighbour had left me some tea from Perch's as a little gift, a Kenyan black tea and Pouchin tea, which I first had at her house. It's a really lovely perfumed tea the scent of which reminds me of my grandparents house for some reason. It was really kind of her, tea for an English girl - the perfect gift! I am planning on taking my Mother-in-law to Perch's when she visits later in the summer, a trip to La Glace will also be in order I think! In fact I might take every visitor we have there, then there may be a chance that I can try a slice of every single cake that they do before our time is up here!

It's the first day of the Easter holiday for my daughter tomorrow, two weeks of weather like today's would be incredible, but I am not holding my breath! Looking forward to two weeks of late starts though, no early morning panics to get out of the house on time and no lunchboxes to make...and relax... as much as you can with two small children!

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Tired but happy...

I arrived home late last night from my flying visit to London... my sister went into labour last Friday morning, just after I had dropped my daughter off at school.

She sounded quite quiet and nervous on the phone, and said that she thought things were beginning to happen. I told her I would call back once I had driven home and see if she was still having contractions. She was, but infrequently... the problem I had was that British Airways were going on strike the next day, so if I didn't go then, the chances of me getting a flight were incredibly slim.

 As she was overdue by a couple of days, I decided to take the risk and get on a flight that afternoon (thanks airmiles!). My husband was working from home luckily, so he was able to look after the children and pick my daughter up from school later that day. I meanwhile had about 30 minutes before I had to leave the house to pack a few things, and print off tickets etc. and find my passport! I hate flying at the best of times, but I was too busy worrying about whether my sister was OK, would she still be in labour, and whether or not she would have had the baby before I had to return to DK, or even whether she would have had the baby while I was in the air!

With all this going round in my head, I didn't take too much notice of the flight! My dad picked me up at Heathrow,it was lovely to see him, but it felt very strange to be back in the UK after a few months! It was lovely to be able to understand everyone around me, and the London accent was actually really nice to hear again after such a long time.

A slight wrong turn on the M25 had me panicking about whether I was really going to see this baby arrive, but we got back to find my sister still in the early stages with infrequent contractions but coping grandly!

Later on, after making a bowl of pasta for her, and forcing my brother in law to have fish and chips for tea - in order to satisfy my English food cravings, her contractions began to get stronger and more regular.  We called it a night at around midnight as we all wanted to try and get some rest before the big event!

The following morning at 5.00am Lucie woke me to tell me that she thought it was about time we went in to the hospital, as her contractions were now two minutes apart. The poor thing did so well, one major contraction in the carpark outside their flat had us laughing as we looked like two drunk people helping each other stagger home after a heavy night out! A swift drive a few minutes up the road and we were at the hospital. She was examined and we had another fairly quick (contractions allowing!) trip up the corridor to the natural birthing suite.... These are rarely available in our extremely over-stretched maternity units in the UK, but luck was on our side and the birthing pool was filled straight away.

The first midwife went off duty only to be replaced by a midwife from Yorkshire, who coincidentally had worked for many years at the same hospital where my youngest sister was born! Another accent that was to prove comforting in less than 24 hours! I am sure that having this familiar accent (half of my family are from Yorkshire) gave me some strength and certainly helped my sister through it. It was a very strange and emotional time helping my little sister prepare to give birth and trying to be strong and supportive, whilst knowing exactly how excruitiating it is. It was an amazing experience though, and a real real priviledge to be there with them at such a special time!

Freddie arrived at 9.45 am, a beautiful healthy baby boy weighing in at a very respectable 9lb 4.oz! After taking lots of photos of the star attraction, I left the three of them in peace to get to know each other, whilst I hopped on a (double-decker!)bus and shot back to meet my dad and show him the photos of his new grandson, then on to meet my mum and youngest sister (parents are divorced) for a very quick lunch. This all before my important trip to the hairdressers! I had kind of expected to be at the hospital all day, so when the baby arrived quite early in the morning I thought I would try and make the most of it and managed to get a cancellation! It saved me a few bob compared to what it would have cost me in Denmark, I have to say though that I could have come out with the most ridiculous style and I wouldn't have noticed, I was exhausted at that point!

That evening I took my mum out for dinner with my youngest sister and then went back to my sister's flat and collapsed into bed. I managed to do some shopping the next day and stocked up on marmite and hot cross buns to take back, then went to welcome the new Mummy, Daddy and Baby back home after their overnight stay in hospital.

Monday morning I managed to see a couple of local friends for a very brief coffee, before it was time to get packed up and get to Gatwick. It was sad that I couldn't stay for longer, but I missed my children and my husband of course, and he had various important meetings that meant he needed to be at work. Thanks to BA, all other flights were crazily full, but I managed to get on a Cimber flight leaving that evening. Gatwick had just been evacuated due to a fire alarm on my arrival, which meant that the queue for security was unbelievable, so the time I got through, it meant I had to go straight to the gate. This was probably quite good, as it meant less time for me to stress about getting on a plane....

So here we are, I am tired, but incredibly happy, I can't believe how lucky I was to get there, and the timing of everything was just perfect. I wouldn't have missed it for the world... Big hugs to my baby sister, I am so incredibly proud of you, you were amazing - I knew you would be - as the midwife confirmed, hypochondriac's always are! Big hugs to my Brother in Law, you were so cool, calm and collected throughout, and you were a huge support to Luce. You are already great parents, and Freddie is a lucky boy.

Last but not least, a huge big cuddle to baby, you are beautiful, and your cousins and Uncle can't wait to meet you in a few weeks time! xxxx

Thursday 18 March 2010

Happy Birthday Sweetheart....

So many birthdays recently - my husband is 40 today, happy birthday darling... here's to the next 40! Don't worry, you don't look it and you certainly don't act it (ha ha)!! It's a beautiful spring day for it too, the snowdrops are out and crocuses are starting to make an appearance ...that snowsuit and our winter coats will definitely be going away soon, and the snow has finally almost gone - yippee!...

Last night I spent the entire evening making a huge tray of millionaire's shortbread for my husband to take into work, it will make a change from Danish pastries anyway! Turned out very well (thanks Nigella, your microwave version is fabulous)even though I made a mistake with the shortbread, let's just say they nearly were "all-butter" shortbread!! I have never been any good at doubling and tripling recipes!!!

Didn't book a restaurant incase I have to make an emergency exit back to London, so I am cooking. I managed to find some turbot (his favourite) in the fishmongers as a special treat, wouldn't buy fish at those prices normally, but it looks really fresh and the other half is now in the freezer! Will do it with fennel and lemongrass a la Gordon Ramsay. Fingers crossed I don't overcook it! Just finished the birthday cake too, will be sick of the kitchen after today and yesterday!

Sunday 14 March 2010

6 Months

Today, we have been here exactly 6 months. I can't quite believe it to be honest. In some ways it feels like we have been here much longer than that, but in others it only feels like we have been here a couple of months. I believe that we have settled in well, after the initial hell of my daughter hating school, she looks forward to it now (wonder how long that will last, if she's anything like me, not much beyond the age of ten I expect!). My husband is enjoying work, he's really busy and enjoying the challenge of working in a foreign environment. He has a natural talent for languages and can speak quite a lot of Danish already which is great and very helpful!! I have made new friends and pushed myself to do things out of my comfort zone, such as the driving etc. My three year old is still waiting for a nursery place, so for the time being we are enjoying each other's company with frequent trips to places like the Squarium Tarium and the library to keep us occupied! He has to accompany me to various school meetings and the like from time to time but I can usually blackmail him with a cup of milk and a croissant or a danish pastry! I can usually be blackmailed with a Danish Pastry come to think of it!

After an incredibly long winter (it snowed again briefly on Tuesday!), the promise of spring is definitely in the air, which is so nice! Where the snow is beginning to ebb away on the lawn, small yellow anemone type flowers are beginning to appear and I spotted catkins today too! The red squirrels are back too, they are a real novelty for us, we only have mangy old grey ones in London... Speaking of London, I do miss it, I really do, I miss having that familiarity and the ease of knowing a place inside out. We are getting there though with Copenhagen, and by the time we leave, I am sure we will know it really well, it's not that big after all! Of course, I also really miss my family, especially as my sister is about to have a baby any day now. I am going to attempt to do a mad-dash back to be with her, flights depending of course, I really hope this will be possible, with BA about to go on strike it might not be as easy as I had originally hoped. We will see what this week brings. Let's also see what the next six months bring! x

Tuesday 9 March 2010

Birthday Boy...

My Gorgeous boy was 3 today. My baby is no longer a baby. He has also, with a lot of encouragement from us, decided that he is a big boy who no-longer needs his night time dummy, and today gave up this life-long comfort without so much as a whimper - much to my surprise! After a breakfast of birthday cake (his request!), he chose to go to his most favourite place on earth for his birthday treat - the Squarium Tarium, a.k.a The Experimentarium. This huge museum on the site of an old brewery building is a must if you are visiting Copenhagen with children. I have also taken various adult visitors there, who loved it as much as the children! It's filled with so many hands-on experiments and has very child-friendly, enthusiastic staff. The only disappointment of the day was that my Son's favourite exhibit was currently off limits, as they are constructing something new in that area, so he was unable to play with "the bodies" as he calls them. These life size plastic bodies are a kind of a jigsaw that he loves to try and put back together, even if they end up with a liver on the head, or a lung in the intestinal area!! Maybe we have a future surgeon (hopefully much improved!) on our hands... After picking up his sister from school he chose to go to Jensen's Bofhus for his birthday tea. Not a restaurant we would choose to frequent on a regular basis, it reminds me of a Harvester Restaurant, a naff UK restaurant chain - but not quite as bad. The kids loved it though, especially for it's ice-cream buffet, a self-styled creation of Mr Whippy ice cream decorated haphazardly with various sweets and sauces. A birthday boy's dream!

Wednesday 3 March 2010


My five year old and I have a small daily disagreement about her having to wear a snowsuit to school. Wearing a snowsuit is obviously quite a strange concept for an English child used to milder weather, (although if the winters in the UK carry on being like the one they have just had, you might want to get some snowsuits in if you own a clothes shop, you will make a lot of money next Winter!!). Her dislike for this particularly lovely, very stylish (in that Scandinavian kids wear kind of way), navy blue (so her brother can wear it when she grows out of it) number stems from the fact that it is a) not pink, and b) that it's not a dress. If anyone can point me in the direction of a pink dress-shaped snowsuit - that would be fantastic! However, I do think that she may just be in luck and that perhaps the "beloved" snowsuit may be packed away soon enough, as today is just stunning. Our house is almost all window on one side and the sunlight is streaming through, which is lovely, even if I do feel like I am in a sauna! Maybe Spring is finally on it's way. Maybe Denmark is green after all, not white, and maybe we can get out and do a lot more exploring in a kinder climate! Who knows...
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