Sunshine in a glass……

Sunshine in a glass

This week it would seem that summer has come to a halt. There was some sunshine at the beginning of the week, accompanied with showers and gale winds….. Listen to me, I sound like the weather reporter on the news channel. Well, that’s what happens when you live in Northern Europe. You often talk about the weather, especially during summer when summer isn’t quite playing ball. So, this week we’ve been to the library to catch up on some reading and find new exciting stories. We’ve done a little crab fishing in Hornbæk harbour and in the process got soaked by a sudden downpour and ran for cover in an ice cream parlour. We visited our favourite bakery and today we’ve been to the movies, along with the rest of the Danish population who also decided it was a good way to pass the time on a wet and windy day. We tried to go to the Blue Planet but after half an hour of driving around trying to find parking this mamma decided that rainy days actually mean movie days. Enough said. Fortunately our tickets last a year and there are many summer days ahead, and besides, the Minions were somewhat amusing, well at least my boys thought so. And after all that’s what really matters.

So, if the sunshine ain’t coming to Denmark today best I post some on here. I don’t usually buy fizzy drinks, not unless we are expecting guests or occasionally in the summer when we are having Pimms. In which case we usually make the boys a non alcoholic Pimms, i.e. Lemonade with all the trimmings of Pimms, except for the actual Pimms. They love it and at least they’re eating strawberries and cucumber with their drink. Occasionally we’ll have the odd Coca-Cola. My youngest calls it Black Champagne. He somehow got a taste of it when mummy’s back must have been turned and Daddy gave in. On New Year’s eve we buy the boys children’s Champagne (some fizzy strawberry drink). In the youngest’s mind fizzy means Champagne, and this New Year’s gone by he said he prefers the Black Champagne. Wouldn’t Coca-Cola just love that? Black Champagne! Good thing New Year’s only comes around once a year.

Sunshine in a glass

So back to my sunshine in a glass. Long story short, I’m not really fond of my children drinking fizzy drinks with the exception of special occasions and perhaps a little during summer filled with ice. So as we had some Lemonade left in the fridge and the boys asked for some, I decided to make it just a tad healthier and this was the result. Sunshine in a glass…. okay I suppose it’s only orange juice and Lemonade. I had some organic Spanish oranges lying around, and I know they are not in season here at the moment, but I love oranges. Anyway my children loved it and mamma did too as they had half a glass of fresh organic orange juice added to their Lemonade. My beloved said it was nothing new, as he grew up on this. So perhaps it’s Retro. Good thing I love Retro! Important note though, my recipe contains freshly squeezed oranges. Not from concentrate.

So did you grow up with a similar drink, and if so what was it called? I would love to know.

Sunshine in a glass

Sunshine in a glass

You will need:

Ice cubes

Fresh oranges (preferably organic)

Fizzy Lemonade

Orange slices

Some mint (optional)

Squeeze the fresh oranges. Fill a glass with ice cubes, fill halfway with orange juice and top with fizzy Lemonade and a fresh slice of orange and some mint leaves. Enjoy! You can make a jug and follow the same ratio. Half orange juice to half Lemonade.

Styling and Photography: Rochelle Coote

© Danish Exchange 2015

Summer has arrived….and Copenhagen as a weekend destination….

Summer is finally here, and for someone who has been impatient about its arrival, I feel it’s now hit me by surprise. Only a couple of weeks ago I was still feeling rather unprepared, I mean it’s only been a month since packing away our winter clothes. The sun was shining last weekend so I decided to wear a long skirt to hide my very pale legs (somehow I’ve not got round to using my ‘tan from a bottle’ yet) and on my way out the door to an appointment I realised my toenails weren’t painted, oh horror! So, I had to do a rushed job on my toenails before bolting out the door with my sandals. Reminder for next year – plan early and get feet and legs ready at the beginning of May. Then again I have been here in Denmark still wearing my winter boots in May, and to be honest we’ve not had that many hot or even warm days so far, except for today, it was a record 25 degrees Celsius.  It was amazing to be building sandcastles with my boys and to feel hot for once. :)

Danish Strawberries

Danish Strawberries at their best

So, Friday gone by the schools started their summer holidays, and during assembly the children enthusiastically sang the traditional ”Summer is here” or ”The Holidays are here” song. Needless to say I shared their enthusiasm but I wonder if you, like me, feel summer has arrived very suddenly too? Perhaps you have not yet planned a break or holiday? I’m the Summer holiday planner, but we usually try and save money for trips to our homeland South Africa at another time of year, bearing in mind that right now winter is in full swing down south. Fortunately I love being in Denmark and Europe for the summer. Danish summers are wonderful, the days are long, filled with strawberries, koldskål, danish beaches, ritual afternoon dips in the sea and dinner on the beach. To me going away is almost cheating. I have been waiting for warmer weather almost 9 months, surely I should be here to enjoy it. Plus Danish beaches are beautiful, perhaps the water isn’t that warm, but a 3km run before you jump in works wonders for bravery.

Sletten Havn

Sletten Havn, a wonderful Danish Beach

As we are staying in Denmark this summer I thought why not have a short break away, a long weekend. I think this will be our new goal to explore a new city or country in Europe for a long weekend every summer. Even better if you can drive there or catch the train. This summer we are off to Stockholm for 4 days in July, and to say that I am excited is an understatement.

Going away somewhere in Europe for a long weekend or a week is perfect, because it means you can still enjoy your long awaited summer at home….enjoy long days and warm balmy evenings with Pimms and cocktails, be it you wrap a blanket around you when sitting in the garden. I love how the sun sometimes only sets at 10 pm.

Nyhavn

Nyhavn

DSC_0175

Colour in Nyhavn

So if like me you left planning your summer a little late, why not try Copenhagen as a weekend break away. If you’ve not been, believe me this is the city to get lost in in the summer. It is quaint and has a village like feel about it and the locals are friendly, always ready to help tourists. Nyhavn is a great place to start, bask in the sun with a chilled beer in hand and enjoy the view of the pastel shaded homes or hop on one of the local tours along the canal. Seeing the city from the water is a great and relaxing way of doing the touristy thing. I wrote about my best tips from a Design point of view in the Heart Home Magazine Summer Issue 2013, you can read some more of my favourite tips there.

See Copenhagen by boat

Guided tours on water in Nyhavn

A couple of weeks ago I was so lucky to have my English bestie and her mum visit. Our first stop in Copenhagen was the Round Tower. It’s not only the spectacular views from the top that make this a worthwhile stop if your in the city. The walk up the cobbled stones and the magnificent shadows that evolve as you walk to the top is all part of the experience.

The Round Tower

The Round Tower

View from the Round Tower

Views from the top of The Round Tower

Views from The Round Tower

For lunch we stopped at one of my favourite cafe’s the Royal Smushi Cafe, next door to the Royal Copenhagen Flagship Store. I mentioned this one before and I never tire of coming here. The interior alone is enough to make this a must stop, but then the smushi sandwiches are equally delightful.

Royal Smushi Cafe

The Royal Smushi Café

Royal Smushi Cafe

Royal Smushi Cafe

And last but not least don’t forget to see the Little Mermaid. Believe me some find it hard to let her go!

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid

So on that note, I wish you all a wonderful summer wherever you may find yourself. Perhaps we’ll be bumping into you in Stockholm or perhaps you’ll be basking in the sun in the Med. Or maybe like us for the most part you’ll be enjoying summer in your hammock with a Pimms in hand.

Here’s to summer, koldskål, Pimms, strawberries, ice cream and most importantly sunshine! Happy Summer everyone!

Photography: Rochelle Coote

© Danish Exchange 2015

Romance is floating in the air…..

Dronningebusk

In my garden there is a tree

she bears beautiful delicate blossoms for me

Softly coloured in rose and pink

they gently whisper romance I think

Their petals fall gently to the ground

smiling and singing even though I hear not a sound

Dronningebusk

I see them in a dream floating….falling….

painted blue skies and clouds drifting along

Thank you magnificent tree

for bearing such marvellous blossoms for me…

Blossoms in a teacup

Styling and Photography: Rochelle Coote

© Danish Exchange 2015

 

You can have your cake….and eat it with flowers….

floral wedding cake

The saying goes “you can’t have your cake and eat it”.  I am not so sure anymore as it feels to me that recently I’ve had my cake and eaten it too. ;)  If you are a regular reader here, you’ll know that flowers are one of my passions. You probably also know that baking is another and then of course not least photography and photographic styling.

floral wedding cake

floral wedding cake

Recently a special friend asked me to make a wedding cake for her children’s blessing here in Denmark.  To say that I was nervous is actually a bit of an understatement [as I have never made a wedding cake before] and if you follow me on Pinterest you were probably wondering if I was planning on getting married again with all the wedding cakes I pinned.  Not one to give up on a challenge, especially not one involving flowers and baking, I dived in… and this was the result.  Very likely the most beautiful cake I think I have ever made.  I really wanted to use fresh flowers, and was so pleased with the result. The couple are Chinese and Peonies seemed obvious, perfect even.  Beautiful, romantic, edible and just so happen to be China’s national flower.

Floral wedding cake

So as said, I got to have my cake and eat it too, and it was delicious, even if I say so myself.  Best part, I get to remember I made this even after every morsel was eaten, thanks to photography.  I decorated it just before the ceremony as I didn’t want the flowers to wilt, so the images were taken at the reception.  I somehow never got a shot of it after it was cut, pity as you would have seen the layers inside, but then again perhaps we can’t have it all.

Peonies and cake

Styling and Photography: Rochelle Coote

© Danish Exchange

Danish days…..

yachts and pancakes

I think I’ve had the busiest April and May in years. In between taking lots of photographs for beloved friends and traveling to Prague without my clan, life has been pretty hectic. This is not to say I have not enjoyed the ride…. My 4 year old turned 5 and I’ve also celebrated being married to my best friend for 16 years. It meant so much to me that he took the day off so we could go for a run together in nature and enjoy lunch at a special little place named Skipperhuset. Sometimes we have to do these things when our boys are in school and kindergarten. That’s the way life is when you live on the other side of the world from your family network.

village home

Hornbæk Harbour

I am aware that when I write in this little space of mine I only note the beautiful and wonderful things about Denmark through my lens and pen. What you do not see or read about are a mum being impatient with her boys at times, washed piles of clothes that need folding and packing away, flowerbeds that need weeding and windows in need of a clean…. you get the idea. So just for the record, believe me they are all a reality in our household. The not so beautiful side of our life. This week with my beloved away, traveling with work, I have won the medal for ”grumpiest mum in the world”, my boys will attest to that, and believe me I am not proud of it.

Hornbæk Harbour

Boats and ice cream

My best friend once said, ” I want my house to look like it is in a photo-shoot all the time”. Don’t we all? And that’s why I post photos of beautiful things and corners, to remind me of all the beautiful things that surround me, and in here, despite the unwashed floors and piles of washing that need folding and packing away.

Feeding the Ducks

Family walks in the forest

So, I hope you (and me) enjoy some of the photos from the past couple of months here in Denmark, some of which you might have seen on Instagram. Photos of my Danish Days, feeding the ducks with my boys, eating ice cream at our favourite ice cream stop, going for walks with my family and discovering huge snails on our walks. Sailboats and boats, flowers and more flowers, I never tire of them.

flowers and snails

Rooibos tea and spring blooms

Reminders that life is pretty good, despite the not so pretty, that we are blessed and that I am grateful for new mercies everyday. Have a great weekend folks!

Photography: Rochelle Coote

© Danish Exchange 2015

Tinsoldiers and Anemones…..

915 Boathouse

Today Denmark celebrates their Queen, Dronning Margrethe II. She is all of 75 years old. I wish I was in Copenhagen so I could’ve waved to her majesty, but as I couldn’t be there today I decided that the changing of the guards at her summer palace would be the next best thing. So instead of my morning or midday run, I hung my camera bag on my shoulder and took a stroll up to Fredensborg Palace. Along the lake I noticed the flags flying high with pride to celebrate the occasion. Schools, Kindergartens and many homes have raised their flags today. The whole of Fredensborg has been covered in flags all week and it has made me smile when driving through.

DSC_0998 flags

Did you know that she has actually done some illustrations for Lord of the Rings? Not to mention the fact that she has designed costumes for the Royal Danish Ballet’s production of ‘A Folk Tale’ and for the 2009 Peter Flinth film, ”De vilde svaner”, ‘The Wild Swans’. It is no wonder I think her to be extremely cool, I mean she is a creative after all and not afraid to get stuck in, I really admire that. And if that wasn’t enough, her nickname is Daisy. She really is one of my favourite Royals.

 anemones

anemones

On route to the palace I noticed all the anemones. You know how much I love them, and I couldn’t resist. I simply had to capture them. I also noticed someone decided to engrave one of the trees with their undying love for another.

love tree

On arrival I realised watching the changing of the guard up close was just not going to be an option. The police were everywhere, guarding the gate and only allowing television crews and the like in. There were tents and lots of hustle and bustle, all very exciting. The Queen is throwing a big bash at Fredensborg Palace tonight. Needless to say, it didn’t stop me from asking the kind police officer if I could go in and take a closer look, to which he politely responded ‘nej’. Not completely unexpected.

fredensborg palace

tinsoldiers

So along with others I could only capture the soldiers from behind the gates. As I was watching them strut their stuff in their very fetching and rather lovely blue, red, black and white attire, strumming a cheerful tune, I was reminded of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale ‘The Steadfast Tin soldier’. Don’t they look just like tin soldiers?

 tinsoldiers

Anyway as they would say in Bligthy, ”God save the Queen”. Happy Birthday Queen Margarethe or in Danish ”Tillykke med fødselsdagen Dronning Margrethe”.

tillykke

 tinsoldiers

I made a little film below so you could hear the lovely tune. I apologise for the unsteady hand, I was freezing, but it was worth it.

© Danish Exchange 2015

Agape Love…..

Daffodils

Daffodils in teacups

secret names

easter eggs

fun and games

Daffodils and tea

May you be blessed

in your thoughts

and in your deeds

Daffodils

may you truly know

what He has done

for you and I

gækkebrev

impossible to understand

for our minds so feeble

too small to grasp

the magnitude

daffodils and tea...

of His sacrifice

that gifts us eternity……

Agape love

Daffodils

© Danish Exchange 2015

Styling and Photography: Rochelle Coote

The 3 C’s of Copenhagen…..[a home-interview]

Who lives here?  Rajiv, Sarita and their daughter Dhvani.

Type of Home?   Apartment of 94 sqm.

Occupation?         Sarita:  Freelance writer and blogger  

                               Rajiv: Communication Partner at Carlsberg Group               

Destination?        Østerbro, Copenhagen

Sarita home

I am so happy to be sharing the home of Sarita, from The Orange Gift Bag, with you today. A few weeks ago I was so fortunate to visit with her and, other than tucking into the delicious coconut chicken curry she made for lunch, was able to take a few snaps to share with you.

sarita home 8

Sarita and I met at The Hive Blog Conference last year, even though we had been reading each other’s blogs for a while. It was lovely to meet her in person at the conference and see the face behind the blog. Other than being the author behind ”The Orange Gift Bag” a very useful blog if you ever needed a tip or two on buying gifts, she is also a columnist at the Copenhagen Post and has had several articles published on travel and life in Denmark .

Sarita home 2

In 2012 they moved to Copenhagen as her husband, Rajiv, worked for Mærsk Line and was offered a job here at their Copenhagen Headquarters. On arrival they first lived in Amager but were delighted by their recent move to this period apartment in Østerbro 20 months ago. They rent the apartment furnished and in Sartia’s own words ”It is very white, all the colour you see was added by me”. Even though they are renting the apartment furnished it is easy to see that it is Sarita’s touch in colour, artwork and quirky items that make it home.

sarita home

The high ceilings let in a lot of light which, along with the period features, made Sarita choose it in the first place. According to her, there was a list of people waiting to view it, and she had to make a quick decision even without her husband having seen it. The rooms are spacious, with prominent high ceilings and with all the local amenities just around the corner, a train station only 500m away and boasting a communal garden and play area for children it is clear to see she made the right decision.

sarita home 7

sarita home

Østerbro is known as the posh or upper class district of Copenhagen and it is said that it is nicknamed the ”Latte District” being occupied in large by well paid academics.

sartia home 5

sarita home 10

Sartia home 3

sarita home

I simply adore her little studio area, an ingenious use of the large windowsill in her bedroom. It is here where she writes about  life in Denmark and dreams up new gifts to give.

Sartia home 1

According to Sarita they would like to live in Copenhagen for the foreseeable future and upon asking why they love living in Copenhagen, ”We enjoy living in Copenhagen. It’s got what I call the 3Cs – it’s charming, compact and child friendly. There’s always something fun going for adults and kids. You can get to just about anywhere in the city in half an hour and the fact that you can bike everywhere is a bonus.” it’s not hard to see why.

DSC_0019

What do you love most about the area you live in?
I love the cosmopolitan and elegant vibe of Østerbro; it has a good mix of locals and expats. And the street that we live has the most interesting one-of-a-kind little boutiques and cafes.

What do you love most about the apartment you live in?
I love that we have a direct access from our kitchen into the common garden courtyard and we make the most of it in summer! I also love the high ceilings, quite unusual in most Copenhagen apartments.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

Rajiv – ‘The People’s Brewer’ by Anna-Lise Bjerager

Sarita – ‘The Storytelling Animal’ by Jonathan Gottschall

Dhvani – ‘Room on the Broom’ by Julia Donaldson and ‘But excuse me that is my book’ by Lauren Child.

What is always in your food cupboards and refrigerator?
Milk, eggs and fruits in the refrigerator. Eggs are so versatile; they are my go to ingredient when I’m indecisive of what to cook. When in doubt, cook an egg curry! Tastes good with both rice and Indian flatbreads. Indian spices in the food shelves – can’t do without them as we cook Indian food every other day.

What is your first memory of giving someone a gift? Has it always been a passion of yours?
Gifting has always meant a lot to me. As far as I can remember I’ve always put in a lot of thought and effort into creating or sourcing a gift for the special people in my life. I think it’s my ‘language of love’. My first memory of giving a gift is of the birthday cards I would make for my family and friends. I would spend hours drawing and painting them. And later in my teens, scrimping and saving up to buy the best gift I possibly could for my best friend.

Best advice you could give someone looking to buy a gift for a friend?

Always, always find out about your friend’s interests and hobbies. That will give you enough ideas for a good gift. Sometimes, the stage of life they are in can also be a good indicator of what they would cherish most. Have they become parents, moved to a new home or are starting afresh after a difficult, challenging period in their life?

Sarita polaroid

Thank you so much Sarita for sharing with us a view into your home and life in Copenhagen.

© Danish Exchange

Photography: Rochelle Coote

Flashback 10 years today…..

Birthday Styling...

Ten years ago on the coldest day of the year
Snow was falling outside and all was still
Squirrels were scuffling
and a little baby boy was born

so precious and small
so perfect in every way
he didn’t even cry
all he did was stare me in the eye

I still remember how my heart felt
how overwhelmed I was with love
it was so much it hurt
he was a very special gift from above

that little baby boy was you….
Today my heart still overflows with love
and with each and every year I see you grow
all the seeds that daddy and I have sown

into this beautiful young man
so kind and loving
so fun and creative
someone who loves his Creator

Oh how I thank God for you every day
I feel so privileged to share this part of your life with you
and view things through your eyes
with the splendor of your imagination

I learn so much each and every day
and I make mistakes along the way
but am grateful for your forgiveness
your loving kindness

We simply cannot imagine a life without you….
and if we could
we would catch the moon
and let it sing a song of love for you…

Happy 10th Birthday our precious young man.

Fear not…..

snowdrops and ivy

I read the headlines, I hear the news, I know of cancer and tumors
and sometimes it is hard not to live my life driven by fear….
I look around me…trying to make sense of it all
trying to find some solace
and what I see….

From above snowdrops and ivy

His creation staring at me….

Beauty beyond words that only His hand can create
I see snowdrops and ivy
I see perfection, the work of an artist
carved out and painted by His hand
I see love in each and every stroke and curve

snowdrops and ivy

and somehow I hear a still small voice….
telling me not to be afraid…
not to fear….
for perfect love drives out fear
Instead I should have faith, hope and love….
and the greatest of these is love……

snowdrops and ivy

Styling and Photography: Rochelle Coote

© Danish Exchange