Sneak peek: Private wine tasting at Admiral Hotel

You know what I like? Wine! I really, really like a good glass of white, red, or rosé, and don’t get me started on sparkling wines - I love bubbles! I also often wish I knew more about wine. Especially how to pick a good one at a restaurant - that’s always the toughest part. By now, I’ve figured out a couple of grape-region combos that I know I’ll probably like, but that’s far from being a safe bet. The nice thing about learning about wine is that it is best done in practice - yes, some theory is nice, too, but nobody likes the pretentious smartass that gives speeches about how the 2006 vintage has more wooden notes than the 2007 one (I’m not even 100% sure this sentence makes sense). So I often turn to one of my very good friends, who holds a Master’s degree in Vine, Wine and Terroir - so she’s a full-on expert and by no means a pretentious smartass, since she actually knows what she’s talking about!

I’ve attended some of her wine tastings before (did I say some? … I guess “many” would be the more accurate term here!), and I always really enjoy them. One reason for that being that she’ll give you a generous amount of wine and actually lets you drink all of it - no spitting or discarding, which makes it so much more approachable. So needless to say, I was super thrilled when she invited me to a special event: a private wine tasting in a suite at the Admiral Hotel near Nyhavn, hosted by her company, Crus et Domaines de France, a wine producer and distributor specializing in Bordeaux wines. They supply retailers, restaurants and supermarkets in Denmark, too. There’s a post coming up with some recommendations for wines that you can buy locally here, so watch this space for more on that! For now, here are some impressions from the tasting, where we may or may not have sampled no less than 19 (!!!) different wines! Cheers!

When we entered the suite, we didn’t waste too much time admiring the gorgeous view over the rooftops of the Copenhagen’s inner city, with the marble church (“Marmorkirken”) on the right, but instead turned our undivided attention to the stars of the afternoon - the wines. We started out with the whites:

 

I mean, just take a look at all these bottles! We didn’t go through all of them, though!

 

Being the total pro that I am (not!), I even took notes during the tastings. They were all tidy and legible in the beginning, but towards the end, they just say things like “cognac barrels” and “meat!!!”

We sat facing this beautiful “honor guard” of red wine bottles, of which we also got to taste a couple.

 

An amazing afternoon, and I can’t wait to tell you a bit more about some of my favorites among the wines we tasted. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you can easily get your hands on them!

A colorful spring wishlist

The first half of today looked all promising, with the sun sneaking through the clouds and the temperatures feeling oddly mild. But, as I initially suspected, it must have been a glitch in the matrix, because the afternoon offers the familiar grey skies and slight rain again. Still, the few rays of sunshine have inspired me to dream about spring - I can’t wait for it to get here, finally! I’m sick of the grey and the darkness, and of the cold. So here’s my little wishlist, filled with bright colors, as I continue my daydreaming…

 

This elegant Ralph Lauren white lace dress would be perfect for a social affair:

via zalando.dk

This bright blue Ted Baker wool cape would definitely turn heads in the otherwise grey-and-black Copenhagen crowds!

via tedbaker.com

Even I wouldn’t mind working out in these awesome Nike tights!

via zalando.dk

I’d love to wear this DAY Birger & Mikkelsen blazer with snakeskin details on the collar to the office

via zalando.dk

And finally, Broste Copenhagen have just released this beautiful rosé gold cutlery set, and I’m completely in love with it!

via Broste Copenhagen Facebook page

 

 

What’s on your spring wishlist?

Personal: Je suis Copenhagen

This weekend’s horrible incidents have left many, myself included, in a state of shock. Merely weeks after the attacks in Paris, terror has finally and undeniably “hit home”. The three shootings on Saturday afternoon and night and in the wee hours of Sunday morning all happened just a couple of kilometres away from where I live. It would feel wrong to not write how I feel about it.

As much as we are all in shock here in Copenhagen, what is even more overwhelming to me is the immediate reaction of compassion and solidarity, not only across the city and Denmark, but also from countries all over the world, both public and in private. Whether it is the spontaneous gathering in front of the Danish embassy in Paris, people putting down flowers by the synagogue on Krystalgade, or my friends messaging me whether I’m okay.

Yes, terror has arrived here, in small, peaceful Denmark, one of the most liberal, open, and free societies in the world. In Copenhagen, a city where people are not afraid to leave their doors unlocked, where young girls bike home alone after a night out, and where kids can take the bus to school on their own.

I am hopeful that Copenhageners will not allow these freedoms to be taken away from them.

I am hopeful that these attacks will be seen as what they really are: the actions of individuals, not an entire group or religion.

I am hopeful that we will be able to inspire a message of love and solidarity, instead of growing mistrust and hate towards those who we perceive to be different.

I am hopeful that we can resist the temptation of sensationalism and portraying the perpetrator(s) as some sort of anti-heroes or super-villains and instead show them as who they are: sick individuals, who resent our free and open society because they could not find a place for themselves in it.

I am hopeful that we can celebrate the lives and memories of the innocent victims – a documentary film-maker and a guard for the synagogue – who both contributed to the values we wish to hold up.

I am hopeful that we can celebrate and genuinely thank all the policemen and –women, especially those who were injured in the line of duty, protecting us, the citizens of this city we all call a home.

 

If you’re in Copenhagen and you want to commemorate the victims, there will be a memorial services at the culture café, Krudttønden, at 8pm tonight, and other gatherings all around Denmark.

Other thoughts on this weekend’s events here and here, and a perspective on sensationalism here.

The Copenhagen Tales has moved!

Exciting news! The Copenhagen Tales has moved and gotten a little bit of a face-lift in the process!

If you’re an email subscriber or you’re following the blog through WordPress.com - not to worry, I’ll be moving all my subscribers along. If you experience any issues, please contact me at [email protected] so we can get them fixed.

Note: If you followed via WordPress.com, you will see the latest posts in your reader. If you’d also like to receive email updates whenever a new post is published, please sign up in the sidebar on the left!

You can also follow me on Bloglovin’ - click here.

I’d love to hear your feedback on the new design, so let me know in the comments!

My goals for 2015

I’ve said before that I’m not a big fan of making resolutions because I tend to not keep them and then get sad. Also, why would I need another year of vowing to lose weight and go to the gym more often when all I really want to do is bake awesome cakes and then eat them?

So for 2015, I’ve decided to sit down and make a list of things I want to do in 2015. I will call them goals, because it sounds less puckered-brows-determined than the dreaded “resolutions” and I won’t have to hate myself if I don’t live up to one of them. Despite everything we learn about goals in business school (make them “SMART“), you’ll find that they are often not easily measurable. I’m focusing exclusively on things that I think will make me happy, because I think that’s what life is all about - making the most of everything and trying our very best to pursue happiness. So without further ado, here are my goals for 2015:

Finish paying off my student debt

The most boring goal first: I got my Master’s degree at a private business school, and I paid for it by taking out a student loan. I have a five-year horizon to pay it off, but I have a plan and I’m determined to make 2015 the last year in which I pay back my loan.

 

Travel

I used to work in consulting and had to travel a lot. Like, A LOT a lot. Every week. I grew tired of airports and hotel rooms. I have eaten enough room service Caesar’s Salads and Club Sandwiches for half a lifetime. But since I started my new job early in 2014, I’ve been able to enjoy travelling again (for leisure, not for business). We had some great weekend trips to Sorø, Helsinki, Oslo, and Snekkersten, and we spent some time in the summer house. In 2015, I hope we will finally be able to do our road trip through the historic Southern United States that we’ve been planning for ages!

 

Learn a new skill

I have always enjoyed learning, and I intend on keeping it up. I finished my Danish language education in November 2014 by passing Studieprøven, and now I have capacity for something new. I haven’t quite decided what it will be - maybe photography? Maybe another language (I could really brush up my beginner’s Spanish from a couple of years ago)? Maybe something completely different, like meditation or yoga?

 

Cook more

I love to cook, but in the recent months, I have been slacking a bit in that department. Our weeknight dinners too often became quick-and-easy solutions like pizza (at least homemade, though!) or some simple pasta dish. This year, I want to focus on trying new recipes, using new ingredients that I’m not familiar with, and cooking healthy, fresh, and delicious food. I also want to host more dinner parties or brunches for friends and family.

 

Keep exploring

This past year, I’ve been enjoying Copenhagen so much! I’ve shared my favorite places, restaurants, and things to do, and I feel like I’m just getting started. This amazing city has so much to offer, and I want to soak it all up and experience it! This also means making more time for cultural things, such as the theater (I got tickets for Christmas, yay!) or concerts. I’ve been wanting to go to see a classical ballet, so I’ll be on the lookout! Copenhagen also has tons of music, art, film, photography etc. festivals around the year, so there will be plenty of opportunity there!

What are your goals for 2015? Any tips for how to stick to them?

Celebrating The Copenhagen Tales’ first birthday with a Danish “julelagkage”

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud and humbled to announce that today is The Copenhagen Tales’ first birthday!

A year ago, I changed jobs and suddenly found myself with much more time on my hands and the need for a creative outlet, so I set up a free WordPress site and started rambling away. I’ve always been someone who likes to share - my thoughts, what I like, what I see, what I feel. And being an expat definitely gives me a lot of opportunity to discover new things to wonder about, enjoy, but also dislike. And I am glad I’ve found a way to share them - hopefully even to the benefit of others.

A year of The Copenhagen Tales - 136 posts, 33.000 visits to the site, over 600 followers, countless hours spent researching, writing, photographing, editing, and learning the technicalities of maintaining a site and the ropes of blogging. I attended a blogging conference, learned a lot and made new friends. And this is hardly the end - I have many visions that want to be matured into real plans, and I want to take The Copenhagen Tales to the next level. I’m not going anywhere, and I hope you aren’t, either! I’d like to say a heartfelt THANK YOU (or tak!) to each and everyone of you who comes to my blog, reads my articles, shares their thoughts in the comments, visits my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest pages, or pings me an email. I’m so honored that you want to come here and hear what I have to say, and I hope we can keep the discussion going!

Now, let’s crack open a bottle of champagne and clink our glasses to celebrate! Oh, and what would a birthday in Denmark be without a good old “lagkage” (plus flags, of course!). Seeing as we’re in full-on Christmas mode, I gave this one a festive twist!

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Julelagkage with cherries, orange, and cognac

3 “lagkagebunde” - (example recipes here and here, or you can get a store-bought one)

400ml heavy cream

200g mascarpone

1 glass of Danish cherry sauce (kirsebærsovs)

1 orange (organic)

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp cognac

cinnamon, to taste

Make sure the “lagkagebunde” are fully cooled off. Add the sugar to the cream and whip until stiff. Add the mascarpone, cinnamon, and some orange zest (about 1 tsp) and stir to combine. Add the cherry sauce and fold in. Squeeze the juice from the orange and mix with the cognac. Moisten the first lagkagebund with about a third of the juice-cognac mix, then spoon on about a third of the cherry cream and distribute evenly. Carefully put the next one on top and softly press down. Repeat the previous steps for the remaining lagkagebunde. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving, and don’t forget to decorate with little Danish flags!

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Personal: New portraits

I’d been admiring other bloggers’ beautiful and professional portraits for quite a while, and so I recently decided to get some nice pictures taken as well. I’d had enough of the occasional iPhone snapshot, and I remembered a post in one of the expat Facebook groups for Copenhagen about a photographer offering portraits. So I got in touch with her and we met in Nørrebro last week to take some pictures. We started out with some shots against a white wall in her apartment, before moving outside to Assistens Kirkegård to get some green in the background. She also showed me a lovely little store/ showroom called Karen-Copenhagen where one of her friends is selling vintage new and second hand clothes and accessories. If you’re looking to get some pictures taken, I can highly recommend Anna, she’s very sweet and nice to work with, and she really took her time to get good photos. I’m quite happy with the result, I feel that my personality comes across in them much better than in the studio photos most photographers like to take. Here are some of my favorites.

Laura-3

Laura-13

Laura-16

Laura-27

De-cluttering and recycling in Copenhagen

It might be inspired by the beautiful, neat and clean Scandinavian interiors, but I’ve recently made the decision to start de-cluttering and getting rid of stuff. I feel there are so many things in the apartment and I just keep getting more and more, without actually letting anything else go in return. I’ve been reading up and found a couple of helpful resources, which have inspired me even more to finally get a grip on all the clutter.

  • This article on Scandinavia Standard is a great source of inspiration
  • I’ve read this book and found some good ideas in there (although I won’t go as far as the author in all instances)
  • These 10 tips from Becoming Minimalist are an easy way to get started

via nordicdays.nl

[Read more…]

Writers’ blog hop: My writing process

I was invited to participate in the “My Writing Process” Blog Tour by Rosemary. She is a British born author and an English teacher by profession. Since leaving university she has lived and worked in the United States, New Zealand, Australia and twice in Denmark. Her husband works in biodiversity informatics (cataloguing all living species on earth) and this has entailed many moves. They have five children so the moves have been extra challenging. Her real love has always been writing and she has written several novels, variously set in the countries in which she has lived. She also writes for children. All her novels are available on Amazon. Her recent novels, a set of four, all take the theme of British women who move, by choice or circumstance, to one of the four countries mentioned above. The Cinnamon Snail is set in Denmark, where Rosemary currently lives.

The writing tour is a great way to connect bloggers and writers. Each participant is asked to answer four questions and then pass the torch to a few more writers. I should mention that, unlike many other participants, I might not fully qualify as a writer in the sense that I am not a published author and haven’t written a novel, book or anything like that. But I’ve always been eager to express myself through writing, and this blog is an outlet of that. So here it goes!

[Read more…]

My Liebster Award nomination(s)

Happy Sunday everyone!

I’m very honored and excited that Stephanie from Coffee and Couture Blog has nominated me for a Liebster Award! Thank you again!

LiebsterAward

After doing some research, I found out that the Liebster Award is an award that’s given to blogs with less than 200 (or 2000) followers, such as me! It is essentially a way of saying to the creative minds behind other smaller blogs, “hey, I really like what you’re doing, keep up the good work!” and it’s also a great way of finding new blogs and getting to know the community (hence the subtitle “discover new blogs”).

The way it works is that when you get nominated, you have to answer the questions from the blogger who nominated you. In turn, you get to nominate up to 11 other great blogs and you get to ask your own questions. You can’t nominate the blogger who nominated you, and you have to let your nominees know that you’ve nominated them.

 

So here are my answers to Stephanie’s questions:

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your closet?

  • That would be my black skinny jeans, as they are the most versatile!

How long does it take you (on average) to get ready for date night?

  • Uuugh, I haven’t had a real date night in a while… I’d say between 30 and 45 minutes (assuming my hair is washed and dry already!)

If you could have one piece of clothing in the world, what would it be?

  • A classic Burberry trench is definitely very high up on the wishlist!

What is your favorite type of music to listen to in the summer?

  • That varies so much it isn’t even funny. I love deep house to relax to, but I also have a weird obsession with country music lately…

If you could only use one beauty/grooming product, what would it be?

  • Moroccan oil, my hair really needs all the help it can get to prevent it from exploding!

Traveling is amazing, so if you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?

  • That’s incredibly difficult… very high on my must-go-to-list is Venice, currently.

Whose celebrity style can you relate to?

  • I don’t really follow celebrity styles but Kate Middleton always looks nice…?

Have you ever been in love?

  • Yes, and I still am!

 

My questions for my nominees:

  • What do you love most about writing a blog?
  • If you could be anyone in the world, dead or alive, for one day, who would it be?
  • What is the most important quality in a friend?
  • What is your favorite place in the entire world?
  • Chocolate or vanilla?
  • Who inspires you most?
  • What is the best piece of advice you have ever gotten?
  • What is the best piece of advice you can give to someone maintaining a small blog?

 

And, finally, here are my nominees:

 

Looking forward to reading your answers!

My first blogging conference - The Hive 2014

Last weekend, I attended my very first blogging conference - The Hive 2014, at Scandic Hotel Sydhavnen here in Copenhagen. I had read about the conference back in January, when I had quite literally just started blogging, and I thought it might be slightly intimidating as a newbie, but all the more I can learn! And since it was right in my back yard, it would’ve been a waste not to go! So I registered, and as more and more speakers were announced and I saw their amazing blogs, my heart began to sink… But at the same time, I got really excited to get the chance to hear them share their stories and knowledge!

It was great to meet some of the bloggers whose blogs I regularly read and admire in person - turns out, they’re all just people, too (even though I got a bit starstruck once or twice!). Very sweet, creative and fabulous people, that is, and really inspiring as well.

The program consisted of keynote speeches and workshops, as well as a “brand hour” where bloggers and brands like Pinterest, MailChimp, bugaboo and nutella (how awesome is that as a sponsor?!) could talk one-on-one about cooperations, sponsoring etc. I won’t bore you with a keynote-by-keynote recap, but I would like to share my favorite moments and what I took away from the conference.

Keynotes

The topics of the keynotes were, in my opinion, nicely balanced between very hands-on advice, e.g. by Lora Jakobsen from miniCPH about ways to earn money from your blog and the girls from Scandinavia Standard about business plans, and more inspirational and aspirational topics, such as authenticity (brilliant speech by Katie from Confessions of a Design Geek), personal branding, and my favorite of the entire weekend, Jocelyn from The Inner Interior on mindfulness. Her speech really resonated with me and I was very inspired by her philosophy of always looking for a way to turn your thoughts into something positive that can move you forward.

Keynote inspiration

Keynote inspiration

Workshops

I attended two photography-related workshops, because I know that I have a lot to learn in that area. The first one was called “iPhoneography” and immediately captured my attention because a) I always have my phone on me and love to snap pictures (if you like, follow me on Instagram!) and b) I don’t have a great camera (yet?), so I gotta work with what I have! In the workshop, we were taught which apps to use, how to edit photos in them and also learned a bit about how to look for nice photo opportunities. Our instructors were great, and they really know how to take a good picture, so check them out on Instagram here and here!

My second workshop was “Food Photography”. As you will know, I do like to post the occasional recipe, and I wanted to know more about how to make food look pretty in a picture. Turns out, the workshop I was looking for would’ve been something along the lines of “Food Styling”, but Karoline from award-winning Swedish food blog Det Gröna Skafferiet (the green pantry) gave a great introduction and then had us trying out on our own with the cake and snacks provided. She also gave us her hot-off-the-press book, which is sooooo amazingly beautiful! Even if you don’t speak Swedish, I highly encourage you to visit her blog, the pictures are gorgeous! Mine, on the other hand, were a bit… awkward and clumsy, but I’ll keep trying!

 

What I am taking with me

  • We all start somewhere. I felt a bit insecure at first, because some of the blogs in attendance have 500k followers, and I … don’t. But we all start small, with zero followers at one point. Not all of us make it to 500k - and that’s totally okay. Blogs are like people, every single one is unique and individual.
  • Planning is important. Even if you (like me) write a personal blog with no immediate plans to make money from it, it pays off to brainstorm a bit about why you are writing this blog, who you want to reach, and what you want your blog to be like. These questions will help you find your own voice and niche, and stay true to yourself and your readers.
  • Find your own brand. This goes with the above: readers appreciate authenticity, and you owe it to yourself not to try to be someone or something else. We’re all awesome just as we are. It is so important (not only for blogging) to know who that is, and to try and be your best possible self. Jantine from aprilandmay suggests to constantly ask yourself the following questions: “Who am I? Is this me? What do I want?” and let the answers guide you.
  • Be mindful and positive. Negativity never helped anyone, did it? I will from now on try my best to focus on things that bring me forward, and that make me happy. As Jocelyn put it, “All is well, no matter what our minds tell us.”
  • Business cards! I have a feeling I was the only one without a business card for my blog! Slightly embarassing… but next year, I’ll come prepared!

All in all, I had a great time, and I learned a lot. I’m already looking forward to next year’s edition, in Berlin!

What about you? Have you attended the Hive or another blogging conference? I’m excited to hear what you thought and took away from it!