CopenYAYgen

I’m not the best traveler in the world. I get kind of angsty when I have to step outside my comfort zone, particularly when it comes to the practical aspects of the actual travel. But of course it’s always worth it and I love nothing more than mooching around a new city. My favourite ever thing to do is watch people going about their day while I sit and drink coffee.

I thought I’d share our trip to Copenhagen with you with that in mind. It was a really lovely time away with Tora and we did all the things we really love to do, namely eat, drink and wander about. Here are a few of the places we visited.

What We Ate (most importantly)

Wulff & Konstali Food Shop

We enjoyed a simple and delicious breakfast at W&K on our first morning and I think it might be one of the best meals we ate. Once you’ve grabbed yourself a seat, you go up to the counter and tick off the items you fancy on a card. For a set price you can get five or seven items (I opted for 7). The breakfast portions are small, like breakfast tapas.

The interior has a clean canteen feel to it but it’s cosy and bright inside while the service was fast and the food really was excellent – the price was reasonable too. Copenhagen is an expensive place but there are so many options you can opt for more thrifty choices if you want to.

We stayed in the lovely neighbourhood of Nørrebro and this was about a 10-15 minute walk from our apartment. I’m still thinking of the crispy bacon and the incredible sesame seed danish I had to start.

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Møller Kaffe & Køkken

This was also a dream. Breakfast is such a luxury when you’re away from home and it should be as fancy as possible. When we arrived (it was Saturday morning) the queue was pretty hefty with a wait for a table to match – which is how we knew it was going to be worth it.

Again it was a selection of small dishes including tiny beef sausages, waffles and chicken nuggets. I also enjoyed an exceptional hot chocolate which came with the cream on the side, to be plopped it in your own good time.

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War Pigs

This was a recommendation from a friend of Tora’s (who had visited but not been able to eat here because of vegan friends!).

We walked to the Meatpacking District to find War Pigs and it was a really interesting area but unfortunately it was also mostly closed. We found that on Friday a lot of places didn’t seem to have much action going on, in our neighbourhood especially. Things were much livelier at the weekend which is probably a good thing to know for future visits.

Anyway, the food here was outstanding and absolutely my kind of grub. I opted for spare ribs, potato salad and coleslaw, while Tora had pork shoulder, chicken wings and the mac ‘n cheese. Unfortunately I made a rookie error at the counter and accidentally ordered the super hot link sausages and couldn’t eat them. Would 100% eat the ribs again and again. Sorry vegans.

What We Saw

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The Little Mermaid Statue

I’m so glad I got to see this girl for myself but she is surprisingly tiny (perfectly formed though). I think she could be easy to miss if you don’t go out of your way to find her. Basically, you have to keep an eye out for the flock of tourists crowding her – and you’ll be fine.

The light wasn’t great for photos and I had to climb down on some slippery rocks to get her in shot but she’s so beautiful, it was totally worth it.

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Design Museum Denmark

It was raining on our first morning so after our lovely breakfast we made our way to the Design Museum which was really interesting. Danish design is very distinctive but it’s fascinating to see where it got a lot of its influence from.

I particularly enjoyed The Danish Chair An International Affair permanent exhibition which pays tribute to the diversity of… well, chairs.

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TorvehallerneKBH Food Market

I was actually too full to eat anything here but it is ace and a really nice space just to sit and watch the world go by. Offering you all manner of cuisine and goodies to try, there’s something here for every taste.

Where We Stayed

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A Home From Home

Our apartment was stunning and felt very traditional, with amazing lighting and clean space. We spent a good amount of time just doing our thing there, watched a bit of Netflix, eating sugar cookies and reading in the nook. Damn I miss that nook.

You can find similar deals on Airbnb here.

~ It was such a good trip and I really recommend Copenhagen.

My only small disappointment is that Tivoli Gardens was shut for Halloween decorating so I didn’t get the chance to visit. In some ways this might have been a blessing in disguise as our Airbnb host pointed out, it’s in an area that Danish people never visit because it’s so touristy – she wasn’t wrong.

Copenhagen, I miss you already. Thanks for the memories.

*Featured image not mine (via Unsplash)

Red or Dead

tumblr_nc72uaorcJ1rlvym3o1_500As with my enormous bottom, I always thought of my red hair as a hindrance.

There were times I would curse my mystery benefactor, the one who bestowed the ginger gene upon me without permission and skipped maniacally into the sunset never to be seen again. His myth was replaced with the one about the milkman and I cursed him for decades.

Aunts and relations I had never seen before, nor since, would come out of the woodwork on special occasions to gush about it.

“Women pay thousands for hair the colour of yours” they would repeat, over and over; and I would stand there with my faux-family smile taped on until it was over.

Nothing if not polite.

I was not what you would consider a graceful young person and my teenage years were particularly horrific. I have hair that can be controlled by no man, woman or warrior and even my mother, in all her glory, couldn’t tame the beast.

While my cousin’s strawberry locks were wrestled into delightful french plaits and swinging ponies, with pretty accessories that made her look like baby Carmen Miranda, mine was as coarse as a horse’s. It wasn’t the kind of hair one simply twisted up and before long I ended up with a very unbecoming crop, courtesy of Mama.

Picture the scene. A toothy ginger girl with an orange short back and sides sent into the world to find her way. It was soul affirming (eventually) but then I felt ugly and unique in a freakish way; absorbed in my own adolescent self-pity.

As I grew up and the reins of control vis-a-vis my head follicles passed into my own hands, I took it through a series of experimental phases as all teenagers do. I regret not colouring it better and am highly jealous of all the pastels wafting around today, but I did visit every possible shade of red from pillar box to maroon. You could say, although I dyed it a lot, I never really veered off the crimson path.

Except for once with the blue-black. We don’t talk about the blue-black period…

My new crazy Brighton life saw it cut into the ‘Kelly Osbourne’ circa The Osbournes and that was lovely. I would slap on Directions hair dye like it was going out of style and our white bath took on a vaguely pink tint as the years passed.

As I travelled and settled then moved on again, as my life took many twists and turns, the one constant was my hair. I would always take the time to keep my colour fresh. When I started talking to my now husband whilst still in Canada, I was working Scarlet Power, a dark red that would glow like lava in the sunlight.

In the end I decided to try my natural shade back on for size. It was a decision fuelled by my age, if I’m honest. I didn’t want to be ‘brassy’ coming into my mid-thirties and I’m not one to go to a hairdresser to have it done responsibly. Plus, I have a perfectly okay colour so before it starts to turn grey, I might as well enjoy the window.

Now I get the same compliments I did as a kid but this time round I can appreciate them. My best friend said I looked like a mermaid the other day, and there’s no higher compliment than that, is there?

It’s taken me over thirty years to be okay with who I really am and I’m going to enjoy it now, dammit.

*swishes hair and flounces off into the sunset*

The Only (Riot) Grrrl In The World

robyn2Ever notice how the best songs are the heartbreak anthems? Sometimes not even anthems, some are weepy little poems that still have the power to cut you like a switch blade (hey there Joni).

Even though I hung up my angst a long time ago (does one ever?) and am not currently nursing a sore heart, I still love the fist pumping, imagine myself standing on tables, shouting at all the pigs that ever let me down psalms the best.

As I shuffle reluctantly to work every morning, my iPod bruising my ear canal ever so slightly, I always have to make the final push with a great song in my head, that extra protection against the day ahead.

Now I write all this with the best of intentions but my musical catalog contains an awful lot of Janet Jackson so it’s usually something like What Have You Done For Me Lately? off Control that gets me fighting.

JJ notwithstanding, it’s funny how some lyrics just jump out and elbow you in the ribs, isn’t it? They have the ability to drag you back through time to the exact moment you found yourself standing hesitantly outside a coffee shop after a blazing row with a boy you’d only been seeing for a few Summer months.

You remember your carefully chosen words, and how carelessly he batted them away like fruit flies. You remember how black his eyes became in rage, the chocolate-brown evaporating from them completely, making him look demonic. How you had known right there that this was it, that no matter how lovely his skin felt or how pumped you were that he chose to spent these hazy twilight hours walking around the city with you, it was done.

You recall the tears that you thought would never end, your best friend’s hand on your back and the thought, even in that moment, that you were crying not for this, but for everything bad that had ever happened to every person in the world.

Most of all you remember that it was over because you decided it was; that you weren’t going to take shit any more.

That’s what a heart-break tune will do and it doesn’t matter if you’ve moved on, if you’re happy now. It doesn’t matter if you rarely think of them; those fuckers built you up to be the fabulous person you are today and tribute must be paid, even if it’s angry.

Especially if it’s angry.

So what’s my go to angry anthem? You’ll not be surprised to learn there’s some utter toot in here: Since You’ve Been Gone, Blow Me (One Last Kiss), Dancing On My Own, Raspberry Swirl. Sinead O’Connor’s You Cause As Much Sorrow. Mr Brightside. Harpoon.

Army of Me.

All my loves.

Special mention to Joni’s Case of You which saw me through a wonderful break up (I loved it). Less punch facey sure but just as powerful. (I’m listened to Joni as I tie up the ribbon on this post with a flourish, because she’s the one).

It is true that every girl has a fighter inside, a riot grrrl or a punk, whoever she wants it to be. She may be a soft touch like me, most of the time, but given the right theme tune, that fighter will awaken to stomp the shit out of her memories, free to fight another day.

So what’s your angsty/angry/fighter theme?

Memoir Madness

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Prompt via Weekly Writing Challenges (4th August 2014)

In this week’s writing challenge, mine your memory and write a memoir.

It is some time in May, maybe later, maybe earlier. I never remember dates. I find myself barefoot in Paradise and, though the sun feels like kitten kisses on my lids, I would give anything to be elsewhere.

I shield my eyes from the scorching sun and wonder not for the first time, or the last if I need more sunblock. If I am honest with myself, which I am trying not to be, I’m an Autumn Girl and beaches aren’t my thing. In fact, sand gets everywhere and there’s not much to do. Drink, basically and play pool while Bob Marley serenades.

Again, if I allow myself to stop and think about it, all his songs about love are just cruel. It will never be me.

I’m here with someone. Someone who scares me for reasons I can’t explain. I would rather be anywhere else with anybody else but I am weary. What if he is right and nobody else will ever want me? Is that even a bad thing? Love is obviously not for me and I was a fool to wish for it.

Take me back to heartbreak and desperation. Take me back to my bedroom floor, the one on which I lay crumpled, crying until I hiccuped. Crying until I had surely used up my lifetime’s quota.

He’s somewhere around but on these heady hot days I try to be where there are people. In a group I can just about handle this. It’s when he tries to touch me that I feel my facade slip. I can’t deal with the truth though because the truth hurts people and demands answers. I don’t have answers and so I’m going to keep on swimming.

I’m at the shop and I see him again. The man from the hill. I see him sometimes and he’s got his dogs with him. They look at me with rheumy eyes while I look at him. He’s tall and thin and looks just like a man who lives on a hill. His name is Mr Ood and he’s legendary, so they say.

I buy my juice and some food for his dogs while I’m there, why not? He’s thankful, even though he doesn’t speak my language. Or maybe he speaks it perfectly.

We go our seperate ways. Later he sends a message down via a village boy. He says he will tattoo me for free because his dogs like me. He’s legendary because he is an artist and was famous once on the Khao San Road.

The man I am with tells me I am stupid to even consider the gift. It’s dangerous and foolish, he says. It might be, I think but then I think, to myself, FUCK YOU. That’s how I find myself on the winding path, walking towards the hill.

When I arrive, I see that the village boy has a giant Koi on his shoulder; beautiful and intricate, almost jumping off his golden skin. “I’ll have that” I tell Mr Ood and I swear he winks.

The pain and all the discomfort than follows is worth it. The big FUCK YOU is so worth it. I will always have this on my skin as a reminder that even when I am down, even when I have no idea what to do, you can’t stop me. You can’t tell me what to do.

Even though I am already tattooed in discreet places, this is the most impulsive thing I have ever done to my body and it feels like nothing I have ever felt before. I don’t know this now, at this time, but I will look back one day and realise, this is where I started to fight back.

Later on, my back to him in bed, as it always is, he says it’s like I am somebody else.

How I wish, I think, as I shut my eyes, happy to feel something for the first time in months. Even if it is only defiance.