These are a few of my favourite things (Scarves)

Missus Smarty Pants, the style sister of the Flylady family, often mentions accessories when putting together an outfit. I’ve never been a shoe fetichist (though I have been known to buy the same shoe in two colours when I do find some that I love…like my sweetie sandals from Ecco).

But if you’ve ever been in the Missus Smarty Pants chat on BlogTalkRadio, you’ll know that I love, love, love jewellry and scarves.

I’ve been hoarding collecting them since I was a child. My Granny loved (bright) jewellry and scarves, my Mum not so much, so I think the gene skipped a generation and reappeared in me 🙂 I got lots of stuff from Granny when I was a child and, when I started Secondary School (age 11), I started buying them myself from charity/thrift shops. And, joy of joys, when I started earning my own money working as a secretary (age 19), I was able to buy them from the department store!

I have (literally) two boxes full and the ones I’m currently wearing are in a drawer. Or three. There are lots of days when I wear two scarves – one as an accessory for my outfit, another for warmth if I’m going outside and wearing a coat. I never throw a scarf away these days. Unless, of course, the colours just don’t suit me…Missus Smarty Pants has taught me well! 😉

You can almost tell the decade I wore them by their shape and material: small, cotton, squares (late 80s, worn in a jaunty French style) large, square silky Hermès type ones (90s, used them tucked inside or outside the dark business suits I wore at the EC Court of Justice), long thin knitted ones (early 00s, in bright colours worn over jumpers and coats).

These days I’m back to the large, square scarves – but wearing them this way, see photo above. The current Danish trend is to have an exaggerated v-shape at the front. This is the outfit I’ve got on today. I bought the jumper yesterday for a pittance from Mango (they have great colours and their prices are similar to H&M). Came home from town and discovered an old scarf in the very same colour, pale rose pink.

And this is my current ‘I’m-in-love-with-this’ scarf. From one of my favourite scarf producers, the Danish company Erfurt. Paisley pattern, also very ‘on-trend’ here in Denmark right now. The base colour (green) is not one I wear very often these days, but the colours in the scarf suit me and it goes with everything else in my wardrobe. And it’s got bells on…or at least green, white and pink pompoms! 😉

Wishing you all a stylish Friday 🙂


Menu planning Thursday – 29 October 2009

It’ll be another few weeks before the new kitchen is in place and connected. So I’m still trying to use us stuff from the old freezer and keep the menu fairly simple. I am beginning to hate washing up without a sink! LOL

Thursday

  • Crispy chicken with lots of veggies (courgette, carrot and baby potatoes).

Friday

  • Kids have a babysitter tonight and are allowed to order their own pizza… Weekly ration of sweets – Danish tradition – so no dessert. DH and I are – stone the crows – out to a posh dinner and I am going to enjoy every dang minute of it 🙂

Saturday

  • Happy Halloween! It’s been been a loooong week, so we’ll want to hibernate… Going to make one of DH’s favourite dishes – grilled lamb steaks – with couscous and tomato/parsley salad. DS9 is out to a Halloween party with the boys from his class and we’ll take DD7 out guising before we eat dinner. It’ll be too dark and cold after 7pm.

Sunday

Monday

  • Haven’t done crispy pork chops for a while (chops dipped in egg, then seasoned crumbs, fried in the pan and finished off in the oven). And they always go down well – sometimes I don’t even get leftovers for my lunch – hrrrmph! 🙂 Will no doubt serve with the usual combo of gratin dauphinois and baby peas or sugarnaps.

Tuesday

  • This is Scout night (for both kids, at different times…), so need something easy as I am driving forwards and backwards. I’ve got some ready-made chicken parcels (chicken wrapped in bacon and puff pastry) in the freezer, so might use them along with spelt done in my rice cooker. I usually do half spelt and half basmatic rice, and the kids eat it up without blinking! 😉

Wednesday

  • DD7 is going to a schoolmates house (Dinner Club), so she won’t be eating with us. DH may be working late tonight, so we there could be an opportunity for… SUSHI …for DS9 and me! 🙂

Bon appétit! 🙂


Reading Week at school

My DKs (dear kids) go to a local Danish school. All communication is done via the school’s intranet – which has put an end to the ‘paper-lost-at-bottom-of-schoolbag’ syndrome! 😉

The After School Club posts a Weekly Plan, with a run down of the planned activities. Everything from painting Warhammer figures to running in the local woods, making jewellry, band practice, photo workshop and face painting. The kids can also just draw or dance, play tag with their friends, or take the gokarts and rollerskates (helmets and kneepads) from the shed in the playground. The After School Club also sends out the ‘menu’ for the afternoon snack…for example, fresh fruit salad or homemade pizza or pasta salad. Today (Wednesday) they can sit outside and do woodcarving at the school’s covered bonfire area or do indoor crafts. And there will be hot soup at 3pm, made over the campfire! 🙂

The teachers also send out a Weekly Lesson Plan so we know what they will be working on, what the homework is, if they need outdoors or indoors gymclothes, etc. This week is a bit special because it’s Reading Week for the whole school.

Shhhhh…….vi læser! Shhhhh…….we’re reading!

No schoolbooks or gymclothes required this week. The only things they have to take are:

  • pencil case (and their scissors and glue stick)
  • a book of their choice
  • a pillow or rug (so they can get all snuggly)
  • a soft toy or doll (that they can read to…)

There are lots of different reading and writing workshops, fiction and non-fiction. And lots of time, of course, to just chill and read. There’s a ‘reading barometer’ when you come into the school, and a red string is working it’s way around the corridors – like something from a fairy story – 1 metre of string for every 1,000 pages read. By Monday afternoon the kids (from 0. to 9. grade) had read 18,455 pages, so I hope they’ve got lots of red string.

And great thing about this week? No homework… 😉 Happy reading!


Crafty Tuesday – Shaky Cards

Here’s another 15 minute craft using the sewing machine – Shaky Cards! 🙂

You’ll need:

  • old plastic folders
  • old greeting cards or paper/card or photos
  • sequins/glitter/beads/cotton wool or ..?
  • felt pen
  • scissors
  • thread

We’re going to make ‘shaky’ greeting cards using old plastic folders. The kids and I used old Christmas cards for the background (we throw our old birthday, Easter, Xmas cards into a big box and the kids use them for projects) but you could draw a picture or use a photo. Use your imagination! 😉

Take your card or picture and place it on the plastic folder. Draw around it with a felt pen, leaving a margin all the way round for the stitching. Cut through both layers of plastic, so you have two pieces. If you’re going to write a message on your card, do it now, then sandwich the card between the two pieces of plastic. And then let your imagination run riot. Add some glitter, sequins, stickers, tiny beads or cotton wool. In the Xmas tree card (below) we used a handful of those tiny circles of paper that come out of the punch machine for ‘snow’.

Set your sewing machine to a zigzag stitch – put in a contrasting thread if you like – and zigzag your way all around the card.

Voilà – a greeting card that’s a bit ‘different’, recycles old materials and costs nothing to boot! 🙂


Copenhagen Kitchen – week 8

And now, the end is near, and so I face…the final weeks of the kitchen remodel! 😉 Yes, Poggenpohl came this morning at 8am and started putting together the new kitchen. We had a very quick meeting with the builders to discuss water and electricity connections, paint repair jobs etc and the story is that we’ll probably be “finished finished” in about 2 weeks. Fingers crossed! 😉

Here are some photos to keep you (and me) all going. Looking good so far. The kitchen units and worktops should be completed by next Monday.

This is going to be our built-in bench.

And this is where the oven/hob is going to be.

And this is the long, long worktop where the sink and dishwasher will be.

And now I must go, because I have guests coming for dinner within the next hour. And what’s for dinner, I hear you ask? Beef stroganoff from the crockpot, rice from the rice cooker, green beans with sugar and bacon. And the pièce de résistance? Boca Negra cake. A flourless chocolate cake, which I’ve never made before. Thank you to the lovely Candace (whom I can always trust on these things…she teaches children for a living, for goodness sake) for pointing me in the direction of the recipe. The original called for rum – I used Malibu 🙂

Happy Monday!


Christmas Planning – 25 October 2009

The Flylady is now sending out ‘Cruising for the Holiday’ missions and Danish shops are beginning to decorate – so it’s officially acceptable to start preparing for Christmas! We also put the clocks back last night – so it’s pitch black at 5.30pm now, which means it really feels like Christmas is just around the corner…8 weeks and counting! 🙂

What have I done so far?

  • updated my Holiday Control Journal from previous years
  • baked my Christmas cake, will ice it the week before Christmas
  • bought all of DD7´s advent presents and wrapped them 😉
  • bought a few other presents and wrapped them
  • worked out what we are eating the 10 days my family are here
  • started buying extra groceries/drinks/toiletries
  • booked my appointment at the hairdressers for a cut & colour at the beginning of December
  • organised my Christmas lunch with girlfriends
  • got a couple of new dresses/tops for the party season 😉

So I’m off to a good start. How are you doing? Need some help or inspiration? Try the Flylady, Candace, Krista and Pippa.


Shortcut Shortbread

My twisters (Twitter sisters) have been talking shortbread. Here’s my contribution. As usual with my favourite recipes, it’s fast and furious. A few ingredients from the larder, child friendly, freezer friendly, smells heavenly and tastes divine…what more do you want? 😉

SHORTCUT SHORTBREAD

You’ll need:

  • 325g plain flour
  • vanilla of some kind (vanilla powder is common in Denmark)
  • 200g butter (don’t even try using margarine)
  • 125g sugar
  • 2 egg yolks

Put the flour, vanilla and butter (cut into chunks) into your food processor. Switch on the motor. When it starts to look like breadcrumbs, add the sugar and egg yolks. Process again. When it starts coming together, and going round and round the blade like the motorcycle of death, stop.

Put the dough into a large plastic (freezer) bag. Roll it into a long sausage shape and either chill for about 1 hour or freeze.

When you’re ready to wow guests or family with warm shortbread biscuits, preheat your oven on to 350f/175c. Remove from the plastic bag and slice finely with a sharp knife. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. They don’t spread too much, so you can put them fairly close to each other. They’re ready when they’re just baked around the edges. Leave to cool. For a ‘Last Christmas’sy-feel, sieve some icing sugar over the top.

You can eat them as they are – and they are exceedingly good – or you can stack them up for a show-off dessert. We’ve served ours with coffee and chocolates (at the end of dinner) and as dessert, sandwiched with fresh strawbs and whipped cream 🙂

Bon appétit!

I’ve suddenly remembered that I’ve a similar recipe for savoury cheese biscuits… Will go hunt down that recipe and post soon! 🙂


These are a few of my favourite things (food talk)

Nikki Starr from the Flylady family is thinking of doing a food show on BlogTalkRadio. Ooooo, I love food talk! And I love food…here’s a rundown, in no particular order:

  • chocolate (Ritter Sport with Marcipan or Chocolate Mousse) I’m not a ‘high percentage’ chocolate snob – I’d rather have a huge, cheap Easter egg that you can break into hundreds of pieces and nibble all day long…
  • cherry-filled chocolates
  • salt n’ vinegar crisps
  • fresh raspberries (especially with a light sprinkling of sugar and some single cream poured over)
  • maki sushi
  • a runny boiled egg with buttered, toast soldiers
  • foie gras or warm, fried lobe of foie gras
  • champagne – any time of the day 😉
  • gin & tonic
  • crisp white wine in a bedazzlingly clean glass on a stiff white tablecloth
  • a good bloody steak with béarnaise sauce
  • chips/fries with mayonnaise or Scottish ‘chippy’ sauce
  • huge platter of fresh veggies with Goma dressing for dipping
  • Ben & Jerry’s Phishfood icecream
  • bacon (it makes anything taste good)
  • maraschino cherries
  • prawns/gambas
  • lemon meringue pie
  • a Danish meatball sandwich (with roasted onions, red cabbage, pickled cucumber and remoulade) from Benny’s Pølsevogn (Benny’s Hotdog Stand)

Looking over the list, quite a few of these items will be appearing on our table this weekend…who’d have thunk?! Bon appétit and bon weekend! 🙂


Menu planning Thursday – 22 October 2009 and recipe for Fish Fingers

So – what’s cooking in my little ‘camp’ kitchen this week?

Thursday

  • Didn’t make the Spaghetti Bolognese (pasta with meat sauce) yesterday as planned, so going to use the mince/ground beef today to make Cannelloni (pasta tubes). Last time I made Cannelloni was over 10 years ago, before the DKs were born, so it’s definitely time to give it a whirl 🙂

Friday

  • Event at school with DS9’s class. One parent + child to be at the school late afternoon (in the home economics classroom) to make the meal and set the tables. Later the rest of the family are invited for dinner. Should be interesting! 😉 It won’t be a late night because the final of “Denmark’s Got Talent” is on the telly…

Saturday

  • Have promised the DKs to make homemade Pepperoni Pizza (which we didn’t have last Sunday, because the little table-top oven was full of Christmas cake). We’re trying something new…Stuffed Pizza Bites. [Postscript: these were fantastic – make sure to make double quantities!] And what goes well with Pizza and Salad? Why Ben + Jerry’s Phishfood, of course! 🙂

Sunday

  • I have some fresh cod from the fishmonger and am making homemade Fish Fingers. Mix half a cup of milk with a couple of spoonfuls of flour. Dip strips of fish in this batter, then dip again in seasoned breadcrumbs (add some grated parmesan, chili flakes, dried herbs, whatever your family likes). Put on a baking try (baking paper for easy clean-up) pour over a little melted butter or a bit of olive oil and bake in the oven at about 200c/400f for about 15 mins. We’ll serve with garlic pan-fried courgette/zucchini and rice or bulgur done in my ricecooker. My DKs love this dish.

Monday

  • The new kitchen is being fitted and we are going to see Muse (the Gods of Rock) in concert, so will probably be a busy day for me. Going to do a ‘Goulash’ type of stew (beef, paprika, tinned toms, red pepper) in the crockpot and will serve with mashed potatoes and spinach salad.

Tuesday

  • Scout night for the kids, so we are coming and going at different times. Spaghetti Bolognese/pasta with meatsauce.

Wednesday

  • Roast Chicken with various root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, beetroot) – time to embrace autumn…

Bon appétit! 🙂


Wednesday in Wonderful Copenhagen

Oprah Winfrey was in Denmark recently, promoting Chicago for the Olympic Games (which ultimately went to Rio). While here, she made a programme about Denmark. The show will be shown in the US on Friday and the title is (I kid you not) “Oprah on Location: The Happiest People on Earth”! 🙂

I lived in Scotland for the first 20 years of my life, then spent another 10 working in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg – that tiny country of 300,000 inhabitants, tucked inbetween Belgium, France and Germany. It was in Luxembourg that I met DH, and we got married and moved to Copenhagen 10 years ago. So I’m not Danish myself but have two Danish-Scottish kids, so that’s pretty close 😉

Yes, the circa 5 million Danes are generally a pretty happy bunch. What makes us happy? The definite change in seasons? The long, long, long summer evenings? Danish traditional food – different types of pickled herring, roast pork is all shapes and forms, a staple diet of ryebread? Beer and snaps? That Denmark is made up of over 400 islands – you’re never far from the sea? Affordable daycare for kids? Breastfeeding in public is the norm? That education in schools and universities is free? Equality for the sexes? A talent for, and emphasis on, good design? 2 million cars in Denmark and over 5 million bikes (and miles and miles of cyclepaths)? Libraries which are not only overflowing with books, multimedia, magazines (in several languages) but also organise free craft workshops and concerts? A love of football and a team that just qualified for the World Cup in South Africa next year? National pride from this tiny nation when a sportsman wins a gold, silver or bronze medal? The desire to be eco-friendly? A healthcare system which works pretty well and takes care of you from cradle to grave? A love of satire and a very, very dry sense of humour..?

Of course, not everything is rosy in the state of Denmark. At the moment there is a street war going on in the usually quiet streets of Copenhagen between Danish Hells Angels, called ‘Rockers‘ – or can’t we just call a spade a spade and say ‘Big, Ugly-All-Day Bullies’? 😉 – and a rival gang. On Monday night there was a drive-by shooting at a nearby resto where DS9 and I go when we need a sushi fix. It’s in a so-called ‘posh’ area of town. There were several families having dinner in the restaurant at the time. Luckily only a gang member was hit.

No sooner than the story made the news, came an outcry from the Danish public who are worried that next time an innocent bystander will be killed. This morning I heard on the radio that restaurants and fitness centres are beginning to turn gang members away. Now see, there’s something about the Danes that made me happy! Have a wonderful Wednesday, wherever you are… 🙂


Crafty Tuesday – Halloween 4

Here we are again…another Halloween craft that shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to complete. Unless, of course, your kids want to sit at the table for longer than that! 😉 We used stuff that we’ve got lying around or can be bought at the supermarket.

We’re still on our ghost theme because that’s what my two have decided they want to dress up as for guising this year. Need to go and check and see if I have any old white sheets that are ready for decluttering…

FLYING GHOSTS

You’ll need:

  • plastic or paper cups
  • sticky tape
  • kitchenroll/white cloth or white paper
  • string/thread or ribbon
  • pen or paint
  • plasticine (to help when making holes)

Take your paper cup and make a small hole in the bottom. The safest way is to take a lump of plasticine, put your cup on top and push through using a pair of scissors or screwdriver (or chopstick, if it’s a papercup).

Turn the cup upside down. Cut a long piece of string. Take one or two sheets of kitchen roll and place those on top of the cup. If you’re using two sheets, make sure the corners don’t match for the best effect. Push the string through the kitchen roll and through the hole in the cup. Fix inside with a piece of sticky tape.

Draw on a couple of eyes and your ghost is ready for takeoff 😉

DS9 also wanted to share his very own Halloween idea with you…a 3-D picture. Cut out spooky shapes and colour them in. Fold small pieces of paper like a concertina/fan and use these to stick your shapes on to your background paper.

Happy Halloween!


Copenhagen kitchen – week 7

Well, well, well. We’re now well over halfway through the kitchen remodel and I can’t get my head round the fact that I’ll actually be using my new kitchen in just a couple of weeks – eek!

We decided in January that this would be the year we would go ahead and do it. My dear architect friend A-M (who teaches at the architect school here in Copenhagen) offered to help. She loves the style of our 3-storey 1930s house and knows our taste. Our house is built in ‘Bauhaus’ or ‘International’ style (made famous by the architect Le Corbusier in the 1920s) which basically means that our house looks like a big shoebox with straight, clean lines and has very functional rooms.

We bought our house when DS9 was a baby and love it and the plan is to live here for the rest of our lives… 😉 The only ‘problem’ with the house is that there’s no place to eat in the kitchen. Our dining room is too big when it’s just the four of us, so we eat in our garden room which has been a good solution until now, but involves carrying things to and fro through the main hall.

So A-M put her architect thinking cap on and came up with a portfolio of ideas which she narrowed down to three – all of which were brilliant and nothing we could have dreamt up ourselves! We then spent another month looking at our old kitchen with new eyes, adjusted the new plans accordingly and spent a couple of weekends finding the right model. We looked at around 8 kitchen shops but there was no competition – Poggenpohl, the old, established, Germany kitchen company was ‘just right’.

We’re using our usual local builders on the remodel side of things – we use them loads of times in the past. Because they take pride in their work, are reasonably priced and are just very, very nice! 😉 We’re on first name terms with them all – electricians, brickies, plasterers, joiners, painters, plumbers, etc. Which is a definite advantage when you have your house full of people from 7am til 4pm for almost 2 months.

So what has happened since last week? The painter has been here and done his job – looking good! Photo junkies can get their fix over at Picasa.

The two new windows and door (out to the deck/garden) arrived by lorry about an hour ago and the joiner is fitting them as I write. Then the plasterers can finish the floor and then…the new kitchen is being delivered on Monday – yippee! So don’t forget to check back here Monday. It’ll be interesting, promise!


Christmas Planning – 18 October 2009 – Family Advent Calendar

Hooray! Just read an e-mail from the Flylady and her “Cruising for the Holidays” (planning for Christmas) starts tomorrow, Monday 19 October…

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that today I’m baking my Xmas cake! See my earlier post 🙂

Today I’m also wrapping the presents I’ve bought so far and working on an ‘Advent Calendar’ of things for our family to do in December. So that we can build up to Christmas in style and enjoy doing all the things that make it Christmas for us. Some of them are school events, some are crafts, some are simple pleasures. If you want more inspiration, Krista has a really nice ’25 Days of Christmas’ on her blog.

Here are the ideas I’ve come up with so far. The kids are giving me their own

ideas too.

  • make bird feeders
  • breakfast/make Xmas decorations at DKs school
  • evening Christmas party at Scouts
  • make decorations from pinecones, chesnuts etc
  • decorate outside Xmas tree with our ‘natural’ decorations and tiny apples
  • hang Xmas lights in garden
  • eat ‘risengrød’ for dinner (Danish rice pudding)
  • post Christmas cards
  • bake ‘æbleskiver’ (traditional Danish Xmas donuts)
  • drink hot chocolate with lots of cream, marshmallows and cinammon
  • go and see Santa in one of the shops in town
  • make table decorations with greenery from the garden/clay/candles
  • take a drive to see the houses in Amager, decorated with tons of lights
  • watch a Christmas film and make popcorn garlands
  • read Christmas stories
  • visit Tivoli Gardens
  • make sausage rolls, eat with ketchup and sing Christmas carols

If you’ve got some other great ideas, just holler! 🙂

And for more Christmas capers, go have a look at what Candace, Krista and Pippa are doing…


Crockpot Applesauce

The Flylady‘s culinary sidekick Leanne Ely from http://www.savingdinner.com/ sent out a recipe for crockpot applesauce last week. I’ve been thinking of doing this for a while – because I have a glut of apples from the garden, and at the moment I’m buying applesauce in a jar from the supermarket to make my Porridge Pancakes. So it would, of course, make sense for this canny Scot to make it herself! 😉

So in the interests of science and my blogfollowers, I’m going to try it out for you…

I chopped up about 20 cooking apples (only removed the cores and any obvious bad bits). Threw it all into my biggest crockpot (6 litres, I think), and it came almost up to the top. Sprinkled on some cinnamon and pushed in a couple of vanilla pods. No water. No sugar. Put on the lid. Switched on low. And off we go. Looks like this so far:

Will update the post with progress reports – see youse soon! 🙂