53rd birthday – Part One!

🎂🖐🇩🇰 Today is my 53rd birthday, woo hoo! As is the Danish tradition, my family woke me up – singing the traditional birthday songs in English and Danish- and brought me my morning coffee… 🇩🇰🎉☕🎤🎶

🚲🏊‍♀️ Then I showered and dressed to shoes (aqua jumpsuit and gold sandals/jewelry) and headed out on my bike for a birthday breakfast swim with my Besties, Helene and Vibeke. We swim all year round (we are vinterbadere) and have been celebrating our birthdays with a breakfast swim for the past 8 years 🎂🎂🎂 Helene and Vibeke have their birthdays in February, so usually there’s snow or ice then and we eat the birthday breakfast in the changing room at the bathing club. But for mine, we can usually eat outside in the sunshine and today was no exception. The temperature today was scorching by Danish standards…sea 21c/69f and air 27c/80f. And the heat is still rising this afternoon! ☀️☀️☀️ In Denmark they say that the weather is dependent on your behaviour during the past year…so I have obviously been a very good girl indeed! LOL!

We always swim in our “birthday suits” (yes, we are vinterbadere) and today I wore the “Birthday Hat” (and only the birthday hat…) when swimming, as is our tradition 👒 Afterwards we feasted on fresh rolls (with butter, jam, honey and cheese), a wienerstang (long log of Danish pastry) and lots of tea. Cheers! Velbekomme!

Calm sea today

Cycled back home again to finish my Morning Routine (Flylady Routines keep me rolling along on the High days and holidays) and to open more gifts 🎁🎁🎁 Hubby bought me a beautiful bouquet of roses and knows me so well: I prefer pink roses to red 😊💝

And one of my gifts was a new tea cup! “Yarp”! Love it! Those of you who know my fascination with the movie Hot Fuzz will appreciate the immense pleasure I’m going to have all this year, if people ask my age, of being able to say, “I’m actually 53”! 😅

Time for a birthday nap! 😄💤 More of my birthday celebrations coming up in Part Two! 🖐🥂🎁🥳🎂☀️👒

LLAP! May the Danish birthday hygge be with you! Hugs! Diane

If you want to know more about celebrating birthdays in Denmark, here’s an old video of mine… 🎁🎂🇩🇰


VIDEO Let’s chat!

Lots of great questions from you this week on YouTube and Instagram. Are you living in survival mode – how do we change that? What time I wake/go to bed. Winterbathing with my family. How to use the Flylady system with your partner or kids. Plus the Christmas ornament mystery is solved! Grab a cup of coffee or water and let’s chat!

You can find more Question & Answer videos here… https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxIYCyTLBED9fh1uPZwhq68Lx3pEXuPRm





My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 24 December (The Big Day)

Welcome to the final instalment of My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!

24 DECEMBER

The Big Day is finally here! Let’s start with our lunch, which was fairly light – sild (marinated herring) and æggesalat (egg mayo)…

and varmt leverpostej med bacon og champignon (hot liver pâté with bacon and mushrooms).  Washed down with julebryg!

After lunch we went to church.  Or at least we tried to.  Because when we got there, about 15 minutes before the third service of the day was to start – you guessed it! – there was no room left at the inn! 😉  The church had brought in extra seats but, alas, by that time it was standing room only…  Which wasn’t really an option for my DSM79 (Dear Scottish Mum, aged 79).  Yep, that old chestnut about those crazy Danes never going to church except for the 24 December is truly alive and well! 🙂

So we came home and watched a church service on the telly.  And then, after changing into our gladrags, it was suddenly 6pm and time to start dinner – consisting of duck with prunes and apple, red cabbage, caramelised potatoes and boiled potatoes, gravy and hot salted crisps.

And who won this year’s mandelgave?

Ah, ’twas a ris à l’amandenovice!  Beginner’s luck?

After dinner we danced round the Christmas tree.  Very carefully.  Lots of pressies under there, you see!

And then the kids started picking out gifts for us to open, one by one…

It took us – with short breaks for drinks and konfekt (homemade sweets) – about 2 hours!  And then it was off to bed after a lovely long day…to wake up to a beautiful white blanket of snow on the morning of 25 December!

Terrific weather for vinterbadning (winterbathing/skinnydipping) in the Danish sea to celebrate…merry Christmas and God Jul!

Diane 🙂


My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 12 December (Handball and Winterbathing)

Welcome to my My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Once again, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes…  So sit back, relax and enjoy!

12 DECEMBER

Just when the Danes are in the middle of stuffing themselves with æbleskiver and quaffing great quanties of snaps, julebrygand gløggthey seem to stop for a moment mid-December and forget about Christmas for a few days (or at least a few evenings) and everyone is glued to the telly.  Why?  Um, because the European Women’s Handball Championship is taking place right now.  And the Danes are c.r.a.z.y. about handball.  Not really surprising as the modern rules were made up by a Dane (a teacher at our local school) way back in 1898, and the Danes just seem to be very good at it.  Yep, interest here in Women’s handball is only surpassed by their interest in men’s handball – when the nation will once again be glued to their tellys in January.

Me?  Not a handball fan.  I get my kicks (as regular readers will know) from vinterbadning.  Winterbathing, skinny dipping in the Danish sea all year round! 🙂  Here’s a photo from this morning, about 8.15am, just as it was beginning to get light.

winterbathing

And here we are, after our second swim…sorry about the quality, but as well as being very blustery it was also raining heavily! 😛

Here’s a better photo I took last week of the Christmas tree.  Just hope it doesn’t blow away in tonight’s storm “Alexander”!

winterbathing1

The water has been really quite ‘warm’ so far this year – no sign of any snow or ice yet.  But to give you an idea of how extreme it can get, here’s a picture from when we were out swimming last January.  Note the snow and icicles on the steps…  You don’t have to be mad to be a winterbather but it helps! 😉

Keep yourselves warm, batten down the hatches for tonight’s storm and don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)


So you're Scottish?

Unless you’ve been hiding underneath a(n exceedingly) large rock for the last week, you won’t have escaped the worldwide media coverage of the Scottish referendum on Independence.  And if you’re a regular reader, it won’t have escaped your notice that I’m from Scotland 🙂

“Oh, you’re Scottish?!”, exclaim the Danes.  Before launching into, “I studied there!/We’ve toured around the highlands!”  Or, “It looks so beautiful!/We would so love to go there!”  (On a sidenote: when I worked in Luxembourg in the 1990s, the first comment I always got from Frenchmen was, “Oh là là – the film – Braveheart!”)

Males Danes will then often make a joke about kilts.

Then straight after that comes the classic, “Well, hey, you must drink a lot of whisky!”  To be honest with you, I can’t stand the stuff…  Give me a g+t!

And then there’s the really weird stuff.  Like when people start serenading me with that “classic” (and I used that in the loosest sense of the word…) Shubidua song “McArine” about the mean canny Scots who brews his own whisky…  Cover your ears and run for the hills! 😛

But back to the referendum.  Scotland said No (or “Naw”) to Independence.  Why? Well, you know, some things are just better together.  Like skinny dipping (vinterbadning) in the Danish sea.  Here’s a selfie from this morning with my two bffs – my tartan scarf kept us nice and cosy!  (Sea temperature was actually quite warm today, 16c/60f.)

And what did we have along with our cuppa (in addition to the usual cheeky banter) after our skinny dip?  Scottie dog shortbread biscuits.  Yep, got to love Scotland.  Land o’ (yummy) Cakes!

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend.  Together!

Diane 🙂

 


Spring, sand, sea and sun!

What a difference a month makes… Spring officially started here in Denmark on Saturday (1 March) and, though we’ve still got the odd night of frost, the erantis (Week Seven. Sea or sun?) are out in full force and things are definitely beginning to look up!  To give you an example…  Here’s a photo I took of my sweetie-skinny-dipping-buddy V just four weeks ago (6 February).  Freezing fog and ice on the bathing steps.  Yep, you don’t have to be mad to be a winterbather, but we find that it helps… 😉

And here’s me this morning. The sun was out – hooray, hooray – and we had an air temp of 4c (39.2f).  Okay, okay, so the water is still a tad on the chilly side – about 3c (37.4f). But we’re not complaining.  In fact, the sea was so beautiful and clear this morning that we just had to swim twice!

And there’s more good news ‘cos apparently the Danish weather gods are going to give us a beautiful, Danish spring weekend with sun, sun, sun and temperatures up to 13c (55.4f).  Time to head for the beach!

Diane 🙂

 

 


Winter is (finally) here!

I don’t know what we’ve done to appease the Danish Weather Gods this year but – holy mackerel, Batman – we’ ve had the mildest winter since I arrived in Denmark 16 years ago! 

Normally we have the first snowflakes in November.   Hats, coats, gloves and thermal undwear are de rigueur through December, January and February.  And, come March, we can be thoroughly sick of the white stuff, yearning for spring.  Because a) it’s constantly c-c-c-cold and b) getting from A to B is a constant chore.  Yep, even the short journey from home to school can involve hot chocolate and a sledge… 😉 

But this winter has been ridiculously mild.  Average daily temperatures of 6c (42f).  Lots of rain.  And long, dull, dark (and therefore pretty dreary) days.

But today the calendar says Monday 13 January.  The first day we’ve awoken to a real, old-fashioned, woah-it’s-ch-ch-ch-chilly-out-there morning and a very hard frost on the ground.

And this afternoon we had our first big, beautiful snowflakes!

But, if – like me – you’re a winterbather, here’s a little word of warning.  Watch your step!  Here’s a video I made last week (that’s me in the green bathrobe).  The noise you can hear?  No, it’s not bad audio.  It’s the howling wind 😛

Now, add to the above scene an air temperature of -4c (25f) with a windchill of -10c (14f) and – wow – this morning we had extreme winter bathing conditions.  We ran down to the water’s edge, bathrobes flapping.  Wearing gloves, hats and with extra towels around our necks – my sweetie friend H even had a fleece blanket wrapped around her waist!  There was ice on the steps of the bathing bridge and on the handrail.  Very slippery stuff!  And your bathrobe and shoes are in real danger of flying away in those high winds.  So make sure to take it in turns to swim/hold each other’s gear…

Here’a a photo I took of our bathing bridge in March last year.  There was so much ice on the bridge that we had to walk into the sea from the edge… Yep, you don’t have to be mad to be a winterbather, but it helps!

Have a marvelous wintry Monday and let’s keep warm out there!

Diane 🙂


You know you're in Denmark when… (No such thing as bad weather…)

 

You know you’re in Denmark when…

The Danes just love the saying, “Der findes intet der hedder dårligt vejr, kun dårligt påklædning!”  (“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing!” – Alfred Wainright)  And we have more than our fair share of the wet stuff around these parts…  So a couple of weeks back, at the sprightly age of 46, I found myself investing in my first ever set of adult waterproofs.  This morning the heavens opened (again, again, again) so I took them out for an intensive test drive!

Don't forget your waterproofs!

And where was I headed to in the pouring rain?  Why, the beach selvfølgelig!  To go skinny dipping in the cold Danish sea!  Though, truth be told, the sea water felt warmer than the rain this morning: water temp 11c/51f and air temp 12c/53f.  Now, you’ll remember from my Winterbathing Guidethat you also need to be suitably attired for skinny dipping.  Here’s my sweetie friend H with her three essential items: bathrobe, brolly and wellies.  Yep, there’s no such thing as bad weather…

Don't forget your wellies!

Have a marvelous Monday!  Whatever the weather!

Diane 🙂


You know you’re in Denmark when… (Cycle attire)

While not an avid follower of fashion, I do try and take pride in my appearance.  (For example, I would never dream of leaving the house without mascara and lipgloss.  Hey, I don’t even walk around my own house without mascara or lipgloss – don’t want to scare myself in the mirror!)

But these autumn mornings, when I’m biking down to the sea for my skinny dip (vinterbadning, as it’s called in Danish – read about my passion for that right here), I find myself in a quandary.  ‘Cos it’s chilly on my way down to the sea, but warming up on the way back.  A little too soon to be wearing gloves.  But – waaaaaaaaah – my wrists get dang cold.  Yes, yes, I may be a winterbather and swim in the sea when it’s frozen at the edges.  But at all other times I’m a frossen pind (“frozen stick”). 

Winterbathing – this is the life!

What to do?  I dug out a (very old) pair of woollen legwarmers.  And popped them on my wrists.  To wear as an extra layer under my woollen cardigan and coat.  Værsgo’!  Problem solved!

No more cold wrists!

Okay, so it’s not fashion, darling.  But it works.

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful – woolly – weekend!

Diane :)


Farewell summer…hello winterbathing!

Early Monday morning – like most weekday mornings – I was down at the beach having a swim in the sea with my (fellow-female-heading-towards-50-year-old) buddies.  All our kids are back at school/college/work after the Danish 6-week-long summer holiday and, alack alas, the summery weather is beginning to follow suit.  Yep, the afternoons can be positively tropical but there’s a definite chill in the air before sunrise and after sundown.  (Note to self: keep old towels in the garage, for wiping the dew off the bikes in the morning.)  The water temperature, which peaked at around 21c (70f) last month, is now cooling down, day by day.  So there we were, sitting on the shore, sipping tea from our thermos, nibbling figenstænger (fig bars) and mourning the passing of summer…

Winterbathing adventures ahead!

This morning there had been a (sea)change.  Yes, okay, the water was colder than it has been the last couple of weeks.  The first couple of strokes actually took my breath away.  (Note to self: remember to put my asthma inhaler back in my swimming bag.)  But when we came out of the water, we weren’t sad about the passing of summer.   We were excited about autumn and winter and all the bathing adventures that lie ahead!  Hooray, no pesky stinging summer jellyfish to worry about!   Bathing in huge waves.  Bathing in the fog.  Bathing in the pouring rain.  Bathing at sundown.  Bathing when it’s so windy that we have to tie our dressing gowns to the bridge so they don’t fly away.  Skating across the ice on the bathing bridge, dressed only in dressing gowns and bathing shoes.  Bathing on the First of December dressed in – and only in – a Santa Hat.  Jumping over the ice on the sand in order to get into the sea.  Bathing in slush ice.

Yep.  Been there.  Done all of that.  And are excited and ready to do it all again! Vinterbadning?  Det er livet!  Winterbathing?  This is the life!

Fancy having a go yourself?  NOW is the time to start.  Take the plunge while the water is still relatively warm and then keep going, taking one day at a time.  Go read my Winterbathing for Dummies (Part One – Be Prepared!)(Part Two – Taking the Plunge!)and (Part Three – The Aftermath) for my tips and tricks.

Come on in, the water’s lovely!

So, see you in the sea?

Diane :)


Danish Heatwave is coming!

“Wow, have you seen the weather forecast? We’re in for a heatwave come
Thursday!” That was the conversation I had with my vinterbadning (winterbathing) buddies this morning
as, tugging our bathrobes tightly around us, we attempted to remove the last of
the snow from the bathing bridge steps… [If you want to see what our bridge
looked like a few weeks ago go read Winter bathing – who wants a slushice?]

And how high will the temperatures get? A whole six degrees (43f) – woop,
woop! ;)
We’ve got off fairly lightly this winter – only a very few occasions when snow
has stopped the traffic. Only a fortnight when the sea froze over and we
weren’t able to get into the water for our daily skinny dip. But,
unfortunately, it’s been a very long grey and dull winter – and we’ve had below
zero temperatures for months…boo!

But spring is definitely on its way. I know this because the first Danish
heralds of forår are the tiny yellow erantis. And they’re popping up
all over my garden…

Heralds of spring...erantis!

Heralds of spring…erantis!

You’ll see them everywhere. Often beside vintergækker (snowdrops).
Which, incidentally, you’re soon going to need if you’re going to follow the
singularly strange but sweet Danish tradition of sending a Gækkebrev or Secret Snowdrop Letter!

Vintergækker (snowdrops) and erantis

Vintergækker (snowdrops) and erantis

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Diane :)


Winter bathing – who wants a slushice?

If you’ve a regular reader, you already know that I’m a h.u.g.e fan of vinterbadning. Winter bathing. Skinny dipping in the Danish
sea. What ever you want to call it. Though I guess most people would probably
just call it plain madness… ;)
I’m just back from this morning’s dip and can report that the sea is slowly but
surely turning into slush ice. We have, of course, had sub zero temperatures
for the past couple of weeks. Which has meant that we aren’t able to use the
bathing bridge, as it’s very slippery and icy. Here’s a photo of the bathing
bridge steps this morning…impassable!

I love winter bathing!

The bathing bridge steps today – January 2013

And here’s me on the same steps, a couple of summers ago…

I love winter bathing!

The bathing bridge steps – September 2011

So for the past week, we’ve waded in to the sea from the side. Today it was
a new experience for us because there was some slush ice! Yay! What did it
feel like? Hmm, like putting your hands into a bucket of gravel!

Winter bathing in Denmark

My sweetie friend V on the bathing bridge

Now, to be honest, we don’t really have extreme weather to speak of here in
Denmark. But there is something fascinating about watching the waves coming in,
slowing up and finally turning into slush ice on the shore. Here’s some video I
took this morning. Won’t be long now before the sea freezes over completely –
probably three or four days…

So, will you be joining us down at the beach? Don’t forget your bathrobe and
a pickaxe!

Diane :)

PS: Today’s stats: air temp -5c/23f, windchill -11c/12f, water temperature
-0.5c/31f. Yup, pretty chilly!