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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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!

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  • 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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Cafe Kitsune Paris: A Love Affair Between Tokyo & Paris

cafe kitsune parisCafe Kitsune Paris | Coffee & Pastries | Metro: Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre | Map

What is one to do with a spare afternoon in Paris? Spend it like a true Parisian of course, and lounge around beautiful architecture and gorgeous people, all whilst sipping on a coffee. That’s exactly what VA (Chopstickpanorama) and I decided to do during our whirlwind visit to Paris recently, at Cafe Kitsune Paris.

Cafe Kitsune Paris

We found the cafe located along Galerie de Montpensier. An old arcade which still has it’s original, vintage shop fronts and fittings. Nestled inside an old fabric shop, Maison Kitsune has found the perfect setting for their oh so chic Paris cafe. We took a seat at their outside tables, as inside is pretty cramped and not really made for sitting in. Everything about Cafe Kitsune Paris has been thought out to the last little detail, from the tree lined park, to the signature tables. If you don’t feel like a true Parisian whilst you’re here, I’ll eat my hat!

カフェキツネ – パリ

The cafe boasts a wide selection of coffees and teas to order. I was so pleased to see London based Workshop Coffee Co being used at the cafe – it’s nice to discover a familiar name when travelling. VA and I ordered a flat white and an iced latte – both which made for a good cup of coffee. Cafe Kitsune Paris also offer the occasional pastry too. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to grab some cake, or one of their iconic fox biscuits, which mimics the brands logo (kitsune is Japanese for fox). Hurry up though, Maison Kitsune’s cafes are known for selling out of their food offerings quickly.

How does the Paris cafe compare to the Aoyama, Tokyo cafe?

I personally prefer it. The location and vibe is much more relaxed, and it fits in with the brands aesthetic perfectly. If you’re looking for somewhere with good coffee, delicious food, and a stylish setting, Cafe Kitsune Paris is it.

You can find Cafe Kistune Paris at Galerie de Montpensier, 75001 Paris, France
Unfortunately Filles du Calvaire cafe has now closed, so this is the only remaining Cafe Kitsune in Paris.

Check out more: Travel Diaries & Recommendations

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Atelier September: The Perfect Copenhagen Brunch?

copenhagen brunchThe Perfect Copenhagen Brunch?
Atelier September Cafe & Interiors Store | Website | Map

One of the first things I do when I spend a long weekend in a new city is find out where I can get brunch. As a fan of Scandinavian food, this task was made even more exciting when I travelled to Copenhagen last week. After consulting several books (500 Hidden Secrets of Copenhagen), my Cereal Guide and a few blogs, I had a decent list at hand. At the top of this list was a creative space with a difference – Atelier September.

Atelier September: The Perfect Copenhagen Brunch?

Atelier September is perfectly located a short walk from Copenhagen’s city centre, and just down the road from the popular area of Nyhavn. The cafe boasts bright, clean, spacious interiors at the front of the store, whilst hidden inside the back is a small interiors store/creative space – for all your Danish homeware needs.

The cafe opens at 9am on a Saturday, and since I’m an earlier riser when I’m travelling, I headed over for opening time. I always think the popularity of a place can be seen through the dedication of it’s customers. We arrived around 9:05am and there were only two tables left at this point.  Luckily we grabbed a window seat, so we could people watch…and you know, perfect lighting for blog photos.

The food

For breakfast, you’ll find eggs, rye bread, cheese, granola and fruit on the menu here. It’s simple, but perfect for starting your day on the right note. Lunch time sees a selection of cheeses, hams and breads. Not too different from breakfast, but a great selection none the less.
I went for rye bread and egg. The rye bread was fresh, and the best I’ve had to date. I really loved that the boiled egg was still runny inside, and it complimented the rye bread well. It might sound and look like a simple breakfast, but it was delicious. The perfect start to my Copenhagen travels.

The coffee

As for beverages, Atelier September really excels at bringing variety to the table. Options include fresh pressed juices, matcha, soda, green tea and coffee. I like to start my day with the hard stuff, so I went for a cappuccino (no flat whites here!). I have no complaints.

Does Atelier September offer up the perfect Copenhagen brunch?

Definitely, especially if you’re like me and you don’t always want to over-indulge. If you do, that’s fine too, I’d just suggest you order a couple of dishes. As for value for money, we paid around 140 Krone (£16) for two coffees, and two egg & rye bread breakfasts. That’s not bad when you break it down, and when you consider that you’re brunching in Copenhagen (it’s not a cheap city). The staff here are helpful, and offered us an English menu when I asked about an item on the menu (my Danish is limited to DuoLingo). Afterwards I chatted to the manager about how she wanted to visit London, and how she fell in love with Copenhagen and moved there. If a cafe has good staff, it will go far. And it’s definitely part of the success behind Atelier September. If you want a real Danish experience, head here. It’s a serious contender for the best Copenhagen brunch.

You can find Atelier September at Gothersgade 30 1123 Copenhagen
Check out more: Where to Eat

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24 Hours in Paris | A Paris Travel Guide

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It’s been a while since I last mentioned anything Parisian on the blog. After living there for 4 months I think I needed a bit of a break. Well it’s been several years since my last visit, but last week I found myself in Paris again. The problem? I only had 24 hours! You know me, whenever I visit somewhere I like to do as much as possible. That’s a given. I also like to share my adventures with everyone on my blog…

So here’s my Paris travel guide to help you through your 24 hours in the City of Love!

paris travel

24 Hours in Paris: A Paris Travel Guide

  1. Stay at: The Pullman Hotel, Eiffel Tower
    • Not only is the location amazing – it’s right next door to the Eiffel Tower! I dare you to find a better view from a hotel window.
  2. Have breakfast at: Cafe Kitsune, Palais Royale
    • If you’re anything like me, then you need a coffee to get you going in the morning. What better way to do this then in the gorgeous surroundings of Palais Royale. You’ll find Cafe Kitsune hidden in the 17th century arcade, with seating in the gardens.
  3. Take a photo at Les Deux Plateaux (Colonnes de Buren)
    • This controversial art piece is only a minute walk from Cafe Kitsune – I do like to make it easy for you, don’t I. Whether you’re a fan or not, this candy cane-esque installation leaves an impression. It’s pretty popular with locals and tourists alike, thanks to being so damn Instagrammable.
  4. Have lunch at: Aki Boulanger, Rue Saint Anne
    • This Japanese-French bakery-cum-cafe boasts some delicious treats, and is only a 10 minute walk from Opera metro station. You’ll find plenty of savoury and sweet food, all with nods towards the French location, and Japanese heritage. Think matcha mille-feuilles.
  5. Walk around Avenue de l’Opéra
    • It’s a beautiful part of Paris, which features some amazing architecture, and plenty of cafes and stores. Galeries Lafayette and Sephora are also nearby, and are a must-visit for any beauty or fashion fans.
  6. Have dinner at the local brasserie
    • You don’t get much more French than a brasserie, and luckily they’re an affordable way to try some decent, traditional French food. You’ll find them dotted around most streets. Chose the one with the bevy of Parisians sat outside, take a seat, and people watch.
  7. Stay up and watch the light show
    • After dark, the Eiffel Tower lights up every hour, on the hour. It’s a spectacular sight, and well worth waiting up for.

Feel free to leave your own Paris recommendations in the comments.
And don’t forget to check out my other travel posts.
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Paris TravelParis Travel

 

Tokyo Coffee: Where to Go | Japan Travel Guide

tokyo coffeeTokyo Coffee: Where to Go | Japan Travel Guide

One thing I love to do when I’m abroad is discover new cafes and coffee shops. It’s one of my favourite little luxuries at home, so to do it whilst travelling is a welcomed pleasure. So when I headed back to Tokyo this year I knew I had to find the best places in town. Luckily for me, my good friend Alanna and her husband are coffee fans too. Being the wonderful people they are, they curated us our own Tokyo coffee tour.

Below you’ll find my suggestions from the coffee tour we did together, and a couple I’ve thrown in myself.

Tokyo Coffee Tour: Where to go

  • Onibus Coffee, Nakameguro
    • Visit here if… you like your coffee with minimal fuss, and a chilled vibe.
    • With 4 locations in Tokyo, Onibus is no new name to the Japanese coffee scene. In fact they’re doing so well that they’re making waves in Europe too; they just got back from Berlin, and a collaboration with Bonanza Coffee.
  • Toranomon Koffee, Toranomon
    • Visit here if… you love chemistry, and minimalist surroundings.
    • Toranomon coffee is all about the chemistry behind coffee. They love experimenting (the lab coats are worn for a reason) and are well known for it. You can find them across Japan, and even in Hong Kong.
  • Coffee Valley, Ikebukuro
    • Visit here if… if you care about fresh, simple ingredients.
    • Coffee Valley isn’t that well known, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t popular. The cafe boasts queues for it’s fresh coffee, and delicious food. Don’t worry though, it’s worth the wait!
  • BiRd & rUbY, Sendagaya
    • Visit here if… you want to hang out somewhere unique and cool.
    • Bird & Ruby is tightly nestled in the middle of Sendagaya, on a cross walk, opposite a traditional shrine. Yep you couldn’t get much more Tokyo than that (the perfect mix of old and new). Offering up coffee and paninis, you’ll look effortlessly cool as you sip on your espresso, and flick through the latest issue of Popeye.
  • Sarutahiko, Shibuya
    • Visit here if… you’re out shopping and need a coffee fix.
    • Sarutahiko has a few locations in Tokyo, but the Shibuya branch is a great location if you just want to get away from the hustle and bustle. They have a great selection of coffee, and are super enthusiastic.

Feel free to share your favourite cafes in Tokyo in the comments!

Check out the rest of my Japan Travel Diaries (including Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo) here.

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