How to Hygge: Slow Yourself Down | Lifestyle

how to hyggeHow to Hygge: Slow Yourself Down

Everywhere I look lately I see “hygge” plastered alongside articles and products that leave me imitating the thinking face emoji. I’m looking at you Deliveroo (yup, shots fired). No but seriously, this sudden trend must have a lot of Danes scratching their heads. Why has it taken us Brits so long to catch on to “hygge” and why now?

Well if I had to sum it up with an educated guess: I’d say it’s partly to do with our long relationship with our Scandinavian cousins, and a mix of people just generally needing some warmth and security in their lives right now. Thanks for that Brexit/Trump.

Take Some Down Time

I wasn’t sure where to start my How to Hygge series. I’ve known of the concept for a while, but only started really paying attention when I realised that I was actually already living a rather hyggely (apparently that’s grammatically correct) lifestyle. One aspect that has been pretty prominent for me lately is slowing myself down. A relaxed and comfortable lifestyle is key to hygge. So I figured where better a place to start, than with some self improvement?

How to Hygge: Slow Yourself Down

London life can be pretty hectic, especially when you’re running a full-time job, and a blog on the side. I’ve discovered this first hand. My week days are made up of a 9-5 job in marketing, and then cramming in as many press events as possible in the evening. Sometimes I’d even fit them in the middle of the day! How crazy is that?!

I soon realised that I was tiring myself out. Both mentally and physically. I needed to stop, slow down, and prioritise my health, as well as my family and friends. It’s so important that we are aware of our bodies and our minds, and what we’re doing to them. I like to think I’m pretty self aware, yet I found myself still saying yes to every opportunity (I’m terrible for this).

And now?

Something had to give! So I stopped. All those amazing press event invites? I pick out my favourites, and decide on 2-3 a week, rather than 5-7. After all, what’s the point in doing something if I only feel lukewarm about it? It’s not fair on myself, or others.

I no longer stay late at work, unless it’s absolutely necessary. This may not be overly popular with my colleagues, but if I’m not being efficient with my time, that’s even worse. And instead of being busy 6-7 days a week, I have most of my evenings back. I also make sure I have at least one day of the weekend where I’m doing absolutely nothing. I save these for time with my fiancé, friends and family.

Now I only do the things I really love and want to do, rather than stretching myself thin. Slowing myself down begins now.

Read more of my How to Hygge series.

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Danish Architecture: A Copenhagen Love Story

Danish ArchitectureDanish Architecture: A Copenhagen Love Story

If you hadn’t already picked up on it, I’m a bit of an architecture geek. Unfortunately not the kind that has any knowledge on how to build a structure etc. Rather the kind that stands outside pretty (art deco, brutalist etc) buildings with my mouth gaping open – and my camera shutter clicking. I love spending my travels walking down streets and alleys. No I’m not up to anything dodgy, I just want to check out the buildings! Promise.

Danish Architecture: Why?

One of the main draws of Copenhagen – for me – was the architecture. It’s not as if Danish architecture is anything new. From traditional red roofed town houses, to contemporary glass structures, Danish architects are world renowned. The Sydney Opera House? Danish architect. The best house in the world? Danish architect. You catch my drift.

However I was eager to discover some of Denmark’s best structures, at home in Copenhagen.

Danish Architecture: Love or Loathe?

The residential buildings in Copenhagen are charming. They reminded me of Japan a little bit. But instead of having to look up, you also have to look down. You’ll often find cafes, shops and studios located in the basement of a building, if not at ground level. There’s also lots of space. It seemed as though the buildings in Copenhagen were built with space in mind. Or maybe this is just some of Scandinavia’s well loved interior design at work.

As for more formal structures, I was interested to learn (from the help of the internet, and a tour guide) about the methods and meanings behind them. From “blue buildings” with windows that reflect the sea, to diamond structures that reflect the sunlight and glisten, well, bright like a diamond. It’s hard not to fall in love with a city this transfixing.

See more of my Copenhagen travel guides.

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Naples to Sorrento | Italy Travel Diary

naples to sorrentoNaples to Sorrento | Italy Travel Diary

Travelling with a friend for the first time is always a bit daunting. The most difficult task being, where do you go? You may have conflicting views as to what makes the perfect Summer holiday. One of you may be a city type, the other a beach type etc. etc. You both want to make the other person happy, but ultimately come to a compromise.

So when Eva and I decided to take a short break together recently, we spent a lot of time deciding on the perfect location. Oddly enough, it wasn’t because we couldn’t agree, but because we had too many places we wanted to visit together! Finally though, we decided to pay a visit to ancient Napoli, and the gorgeous Sorrento.

Naples to Sorrento… Why?

One of the things that cements mine and Eva’s friendship is our love of culture. I knew this wasn’t going to be a sit down and chill by the pool holiday. Oh no. This was a get up and go, and travel across Italy kinda holiday. The kind where you pop in and out of museums, art galleries, bars and restaurants all day. But that’s fine, because I’m all about cramming in as much as possible. Naples itself has a lot of history, and I was eager to explore it.

Naples to Sorrento… How?

The trip from Naples to Sorrento is relatively easy, and incredibly inexpensive. It costs around €4 for single ticket from Naples main station (Napoli Centrale). Sorrento was the last stop, so we were able to sit back and enjoy the ride, albeit it a very hot one. The journey is beautiful, passing Pompeii (Mount Vesuvius) and the coast. I’d happily do it again just for the scenery.

Would I go back?

The streets in Naples are lively, and filled with stories. However my favourite places were the old town – stunning. And Piazza Vincenzo Bellini – amazing nightlife. Not to mention, the food is great. Fresh seafood, pasta and pizza (try a ‘deep fried pizza’) is easy to find. Whilst the prosecco and bellinis were the best I’ve ever had. I’d go back just for them!

Sorrento on the other hand is a little too touristy for me. If you don’t mind putting up with overcrowded streets full of tourists, then go for it. Because Sorrento is genuinely beautiful. In all fairness, we did go during peak season. I’d love to go back at a quieter time of year, to experience it a little differently.

Read more travel posts here.

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What is Hygge, And How Do I Get It? | Lifestyle

What is HyggeWhat is Hygge, And How Do I Get It?

I have an odd fascination with words that don’t translate. It all started years ago,with 気持ちいい (kimochi/ii); a Japanese word that relates to a particular feeling of enjoyment. So when I heard someone talking about the Danish word hygge, I knew I had to investigate further.

Luckily enough my investigation coincided with a rather interesting email. An email asking if I would like to attend a talk with Not on The High Street and Signe Johansen – author of How to Hygge. The panellists included Skandium’s found Magnus Englund, and Not on The High Street’s director Sally Bendelow. I was eager to hear more, so I jumped at the chance. Little did I know it would lead me down a very interesting, familiar rabbit hole. One that would leave me asking ‘what is hygge?’

What is Hygge?

Hygge is not about buying a new throw for your sofa (although Wool Couture‘s is tempting). Nor is it about lighting a bunch of candles. Although both these things can contribute to a sense of hygge. Confusing, right? Well that’s because hygge is more of a concept, than an entity. It isn’t about material objects, it’s the sense of comfort you get from them. Well, amongst other things.

It’s about creating a comforting atmosphere. A place where you feel at home.

what is hygge

How Do I Get It?

For those that fancy a little Danish in their lives (no I’m not talking about pastries or Mads Mikkelsen), hygge is relatively easy to achieve. It’s about taking a step back from our hectic lives, and taking the time to appreciate the little things. Simple things such as spending time with our families/friends, or trying out that recipe for cinnamon rolls that you always wanted to bake. During the colder, darker months, a lot of Danes spend more time at home. They invite friends and family over, enjoy some good food and drink, and relax. And yes, there may be a candle or two involved.

Can We Really Get Hygge?

Hygge is not a new term, however it is having it’s moment in British culture right now. Autumn and Winter in the UK are characteristically dark, cold, and damp. Something our Danish cousins know about all too well. It’s at this time of year that people like to cosy up at home with their loved ones, pop on Netflix, and snuggle into the sofa with some comfort food. Not much different to what I was talking about before, right?

Denmark is well known as being the happiest country in the world. So it makes sense that us Brits would want in on it too. What with current political and economical events, we’ve all been left looking elsewhere for comfort. And I think hygge may just be it.

I’ll be writing a more in-depth guide on How to Get Hygge soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

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Thoughts on Living Danishly | Copenhagen Travel Diary

living danishlyThoughts on Living Danishly

I’ve been staring at my screen for a while now, wondering how exactly I’d write this post. It’s pretty personal, and a tad emotional. I don’t really do that much on here, but every now and again I do indulge myself…

I kind of always knew I’d like Copenhagen. Admittedly I’m a Skandiphile. I love Scandinavia, right from the food, down to the design. But I’d never been before. My trip to Copenhagen last month was either going to make or break my love for our Northern European cousins.

Thoughts on Living Danishly

Ever since I came back from Denmark, I’ve had a bit of an ache in my chest. Falling in love with a country/city is one thing. But to fall for the culture, way of life, and people is another. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to up sticks and leave London. But Copenhagen certainly has left room for thought.

I remember a very specific moment from my trip to CPH. We were cycling back from Superkilen, and on this particular day the main road had been closed. Families had come out into the street with their children, and there were thousands of people. We had to get off our bikes at one point because there were so many people. Families, friends, all were socialising together. Children and adults alike were drawing on the street in chalk. There were drawings of Copenhagen’s skyline, pokemon, loved ones, you name it. It was so wonderful to walk through all those people, and feel the sense of community.

Personal Reflection

With everything that’s been going on lately in my life, I’ve done a lot of personal reflection. What I want in the next few years. Where I want to be.

I’ve been reading ‘The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country’ by Helen Russell. After seeing tons of people reading it in Copenhagen, I decided to give it a go myself. I was curious to learn more about Denmark, Danish people, and their way of life. Was it really as wonderful as it seemed? Well I won’t ruin the book for you, but it’s certainly opened my eyes to a new way of living.

Life can be pretty hectic in London, and whereas I love it, sometimes it can be tiring. It’s also become a little old as of late. Part of me yearns for new discoveries. New life lessons. Somewhere less hectic, and a bit happier.

Maybe living Danishly for a while wouldn’t be such a bad thing? Who’s to know. I guess for now, I’ll watch this space.

 

Read more lifestyle posts here.

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Is Dominique Ansel London Worth The Hype?

dominique ansel londonDominique Ansel London | Bakery & Cafe | Nearest Tube: Victoria | Map

I headed over to Dominique Ansel London this weekend, much like the rest of London. Well, at least that’s how it felt when we saw the queue and the distinct lack of table space. Still, we waited it out, like the good little foodies that we are. But was it worth it?

Dominique Ansel London: Is It Worth The Hype?

  • Perfect Little Egg Sandwich – £5
    Looking more like a Filet O’ Fish when it arrived, I was skeptical. However this light sandwich was actually pretty delicious (no shade FOF). The flavours pack quite a punch, and are kinda quizzical at the best of times. But I liked it. I think…
  • Croque Monsieur – £10.50
    £10.50 (not incl VAT)! For a croque monsieur! I’m sorry but this is ridiculous, especially when you find out that it tastes no different to those you’ve had at half the price. Coming from a French chef/brand, this is a big let down.
  • Liquid Caramel Peanut Butter Mousse Cake – £5.90
    Not only is it beautifully presented, but it’s heaven for a peanut butter lover. The base fell a little flat (soft and wet), but I half wonder if it’s because we didn’t eat it until the evening. That said, I’d expect a freshly made £6 cake to last a couple of hours.
  • Lime Me Up Tart – £6.20
    This was recommended to us, and I can see why. The sharp flavours contrast perfectly against the myriad of textures. This is a fun one. You need to pour the mixture of sea salt, juniper and brown sugar into the groove and squeeze fresh lime over to make an instant caramel. Silly, unique, genius.

Final thoughts? 

The store is beautiful, the staff knowledgeable, and the menu enticing. However I can’t say I was majorly won over by Dominique Ansel London. I still really enjoy his fun and contemporary outlook on the art of patisserie. And it’s safe to say that you’ll definitely find something different on your visit. Your pockets will be a lot lighter mind you. The prices on the menu don’t include VAT! So if you want to sit in – if you can find a seat – it’s gonna cost you a bit more.

The whole thing just feels a bit anti-climactic. You could blame the cronut (which still sell out quickly here). Dominique’s sudden catapult to fame has left everyone wanting more, more more. And unfortunately I don’t think he can catch up. Still, I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and try again. Maybe.

Check out more: Where to Eat in London

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24 Hours In Copenhagen | A Copenhagen Travel Guide

copenhagen travelOne of my favourite travel adventures this year has been my trip to Copenhagen. My first foray into Scandinavia. Well, unless you count watching Scandi-dramas, reading endless design books, and a perpetual desire for Danish pastries. Yes, I was over the moon to finally be here – I’m totally a Scandiphile – and trust me, I had an awesome time. So without further ado, here’s my Copenhagen travel guide to help you through your 24 hours in the City of Cool!

copenhagen travel

24 Hours in Copenhagen: A Copenhagen Travel Guide

  • Stay at: an Air Bnb in ‘Indre By’
    • Hotels can be crazy expensive in Copenhagen, but have no fear, Air Bnb is here! Prices are more than affordable, and you get to stay with some of the locals – it’s win, win.
    • Otherwise known as the Downtown Copenhagen or simply K, Indre By is as central as it gets. Park yourself here and you’ll be right in the middle of it all. We stayed in Strøget – an area with plenty of shops, restaurants and things to do. I’d also recommend areas such as Frederiksberg & Vesterbro.
  • Have a Danish for breakfast 
    • Come on, you can’t come all this way without trying one of the countries most famous foods. Trust me, these are nothing like the ones you’ve had at home. They’re found in most cafes, and pair perfectly with a coffee.
    • Tip: try the Kanelsnegl from Vores Broed.
  • Grab a bike! 
    • Copenhagen is very cycle friendly. Every road has a designated lane for cyclists, with some areas only accessible by bike. It’s safe and easy to navigate, as well as being a fast way to get around the city. I’d recommend Donkey Republic – bikes that you can lock/unlock with your phone, for only £6 a day!

copenhagen travel

  • Go up the Rundertaarn (Round Tower)
    • This beautiful 17th century tower is only £3 to enter, and features a round “staircase” and a lovely view from the top. The inside is so Instagram-able though, you may not want to leave.
  • Pop into Trinitatis Church
    • Next door to the Rundertaarn is a beautiful example of Danish architecture – Trinitatis Church. It’s free to enter, and open to all.
  • Have lunch at: Torvehallerne
    • This street food market offers up some of the best food in CPH. If you want something entirely Danish, try Hallernes Smørrebrød. These open sandwiches are packed full of ingredients, and flavour. Tip: grab a few and share.
    • Stop by The Coffee Collective after for an espresso. You know, to keep you going.
  • Check out the view from Christiansborg Palace
    • The former palace, now parliament, allows you to go up the viewing tower for free. The view is breathtaking, and on a good day you can see Sweden (including The Bridge). The restaurant below offers up delicious food, presented beautifully. Again, with a view.

copenhagen travel

  • Take a Boat Tour from Nyhavn
    • Nyhavn is probably the most photographed of all Copenhagen. Boat tours run on a regular basis here, but I’d suggest Nettobådene (the small white kiosk opposite Charlottenborg Fonden). They run every hour, and cost only £4.80. Tip: these are half the price of others, but they do the exact same tour.
  • Shop til you drop in Strøget
    • Or at least until you have to catch your flight. Strøget features a variety of shops, all in central CPH, and only 15mins from the airport. You’ll find Danish brands and stores such as Mads Nørgaard, Naked, and Illums (the best department store in the world tbh). The Hay House is also in Strøget, and is definitely worth wasting your time in.
  • Try the Flæskesteg at Københavner-caféen
    • Københavner-caféen serves up traditional Danish dishes, in a relaxed environment. You must must must try the Flæskesteg (roast pork) – it’s super Danish, and incredibly tasty.

Feel free to leave your own Copenhagen travel recommendations in the comments.
And don’t forget to check out my other travel posts – More Copenhagen posts coming soon!

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