Back to (Blog) Basics!

Dearest Readers

As you may (or may not) have noticed, I’ve been neglecting this blog recently and mostly writing posts from my other blog desk over at   I normally remember to post them here too but have got somewhat behind…  Apologies!  But, in true Flylady spirit, I’m jumping in where I am, and getting back to basics! πŸ™‚

So I’ve uploaded the backlog of Danish posts here and encourage y’all to go and take a look back as there are quite a few goodies in there – like my six-part-series on Danish Weddings! (Even if I do say so myself…)

And otherwise it will be back to blog business as usual here on because a) I have missed my daily ‘pen to paper’ time or should that be ‘out of head and on to paper’ time, b) I’m bursting with music/places/things that I love and want to share and, c) not posting a regular menu plan is slowly but surely smothering my sanity.  Yep – if I’m really, really, really honest with myself – the lack of menu planning has been the cause of the whole downhill spiral lately.  Imagine that!  And let that also be a warning to you.  The Flylady is always (always!) right!

Time to jump in, get back on the wagon and get back to (blog) basics!  Have a wonderful Wednesday!  [  Oh, yes, I’ve missed all the exclamation marks too!!!! πŸ˜‰  ]

Diane πŸ™‚

Ten today

DD turned 10 today.  And, yes, yes, the old ‘where does the time go?’ clichΓ© popped into my head.  But it also hit me that – jings crivens – her very early years are just a blur in my memory!  Wow, how on earth did that happen?  Everything seemed so chaotic back then.  Perhaps because, when she came along, we were also dealing with a 2 Β½ year old – her Big Brother? ;D

Her traditional Danish birthday cake

It really made me kind of sad.  But that’s when I remembered about our old photo albums.  So I spent a happy hour walking down ‘toddler’ memory lane…  Oh my word, there were so many moments I had completely forgotten!  So I decided there and then that I need to add an(other) Anti-Procrastination task to my list.  To go through all our digital photos (on CD-Roms and various computers) and put order into things.  You see, I love the digital technology (and zap about 200 photos a month on my smartphone) but haven’t actually put anything into an album (on-line or physical) for years.  Oops!

OK – we’re off to open the birthday presents, eat, drink and be merry.  (And take a few pics – ha!)

Have a terrific Tuesday! πŸ™‚

Gardy loo!

Okay, I have to share!  I discovered this photo when I was decluttering.  It’s me – early 80s – complete with a red walkman and dyed red hair to match…  Eek!  And where am I?

Teenage kicks…

I’m somewhere in the North Sea, climbing the ‘rigging’ of…a sludge boat.  A boat that takes unmentionable gunk out to sea.  And dumps it.  Believe it or not, this trip on the sludge boat was a perk of my student job.  For three summers I worked at Edinburgh council’s Department of Water and Drainage (which is the slightly more palatable way of saying ‘sewage’).

The vessel bore the fantastic name SS Gardyloo.  Have you heard that expression before?  People in Edinburgh used to shout “Gardy loo!” (from the French ‘garde Γ  l’eau’, ‘watch out for the water’) before throwing rubbish/slops/buckets of wee-wee out of their windows.  But that was, of course, hundreds of years ago πŸ˜‰

Lunch on the high seas was part of the package and, as it turned out, the Captain of the Good Ship Gardyloo was also the Cook.  And a pretty fair cook at that.  After the main course (chicken, methinks) we were invited to go out on deck, where he ceremoniously shouted “Gardy loo!” before releasing the sludge into the sea (while we held our noses).  When we came back in, dessert was all ready and waiting for us…  Yep – you guessed it – chocolate mousse!  Ha!

Hope you have a terrific Tuesday! πŸ™‚

Happiness is…more hot tea

I wrote a post called “Happiness is…” just over a month ago and posted this picture.  My friend and I had just had our daily skinny dip in the Danish sea.  And there we sat, in the warm September sunshine at 8.30 am, drinking a cup of tea – with bare arms and legs, toes still full of sand…

This morning I took another picture at the same spot.  Here we are again.  We’ve just had our daily skinny dip in the Danish sea (water temperature today was 12 degrees/53.6f).  The sun is just about to break through at 9am, and we’re having a cuppa and a piece of honningkage (honey cake).  But today we dried off and wrapped ourselves up in our winter coats, heavy scarves and gloves…  Aren’t we mad to still be bathing in the sea?  Yep!  But we love it!  And we come away from the beach every morning with a smile from ear to ear…

Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday.  Wherever you are.  Whatever the weather! πŸ™‚

Don’t quote me on that… (wellies)

“I’d never be seen dead walking around town in a pair of wellies.”

But today I was forced to eat my words (whilst drying my shoes, which got soaked on the schoolrun this morning…the ‘turn-them-upside-down-and-water-runs-out’ kind of soaked) and cave in to Danish peer pressure and buy a pair of ‘high top’ wellington boots.

You see, wellingtons are High Fashion in Copenhagen. Not for working in your garden.  Or down on the farm.  But for parading around StrΓΈget (the pedestrian ‘High Street’).  Indeed, no self-respecting pram-pushing 30-something mother would wear anything else.  Even on those rare days when it isn’t raining. 

Oh well.  At least I managed to avoid the ‘Hunter’ brand (which 8 out of 10 girls in my daughter’s class prefer…) and found a name which is more ‘pseudo-me’… ;D

And rest assured, dear readers, I won’t be wearing them like the girl I saw not 10 minutes ago. She was wearing them as the current Danish ‘trend’ dictates (and I use that word in the loosest possible sense) – with bare legs, long socks and…shorts! πŸ˜›


Apologies for the grainy photo, but I didn’t want to get

too hot on her (wellie) heels – boom boom!

ο»Ώ Hope you have a marvelous Monday! And hooray for dry tootsies! πŸ™‚

Not farewell…au revoir!

The kids had their last day of school today and that means one thing – the summer holidays are finally here! Thanks to Flylady routines, this year I made it through to the end unscathed…  And without leaving a trail of destruction (and dirty washing) behind me!  ;D

It also means that, along with my 44th birthday tomorrow (I love this age, life has never been better!), I’m celebrating my second full year here on the blog…  Where does the time go?   Seriously?

Look what I got as a birthday present this morning from my dear friends:

a world-premiere…a Magtens Korridorer key chain! πŸ˜€

Anyway, it’s time to shut up shop.  Time to tidy my blog desk.  Time to sleep longer in the mornings.   Time for trips down to the local beach.  Time to read our books in the garden after dinner (swaddled in blankets).  Time to pack our suitcases for our trip to Spain and France.  Time for the kids to make me pancakes for breakfast.  Time to sleep in the tent in the back garden.  And, of course, lots and lots of skinny dipping!


Don’t worry about your hairy (freckled) knees…take the plunge! πŸ˜€

Here’s wishing you a long and wonderful summer.  See you at the end of August! πŸ˜€




Taking the plunge!

I love being 40 plus.  With age comes maturity.  And self-acceptance.  And it also gives you the chance to get away with doing things which – in your teens, twenties or thirties – would be considered weird, ill-advised or just downright embarassing!

Would you like an example?  On Wednesday my sweetie Danish friend V and I were down at the beach for an outdoor exercise class.  (We run three times a week come hail, sleet, snow or ice – but mainly we meet for the chat!)  It was a gorgeous Danish summer day.  By 9am the beach was full of mothers and toddlers, a kayak team, dog walkers, holiday makers, joggers.  Basically the World and His Danish Wife…

V and I spied a few people out in the water who were ‘winter bathing’ or vinterbadning as the Danes call it.  Bathing.  In the (still very cold) sea.  Stark naked.  V said to me, “Well, that’s certainly something I could never do!”

And guess what happened, one hour later, when we were hot and sticky after our intensive workout?  You guessed it.  We stripped off.  Right down to our birthday suits.  Together with 5 or 6 other lovely ladies of all nationalities, shapes, sizes and ages – though all of us were definitely well (well) past the 30s stage…  In full view of the whole beach.  And enjoyed a very refreshing dip!  [15c or 59f for those who are interested in the water temp].

And do you know what?  We survived.  We couldn’t stop smiling afterwards.  “Intoxicated” sums it up pretty well.  So we did it again this morning! ;D

In fact, we’re going to do it the whole summer and – who knows – perhaps even well into the winter?  Today we bought summer passes for the loal bathing huts.  Where we can strip off to our heart’s content and bathe – without fear of offending those pour souls who aren’t yet fortunate enough to have joined the 40s club yet… ;D

View from the ladies section of the bathing huts,

looking east towards Sweden –

fantastic, non?

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend! πŸ™‚

Happy Campers!

One of the great things about being an adult is getting to decide things. Like buying a tent.  Not because you’re actually planning to go camping.  [Perish the thought – said the Champagne Socialist who just loves a swanky hotel.]  But because you remember the joys of sleeping in your backgarden as a kid.  And now – thirty years or so later – you can do the same thing.  Without having to ask Mum and Dad for permission! ;D

Here’s our new tent, which arrived half an hour ago… We’ve upgraded from the 2-man (‘bit of a squash for me and the two bairns’) Outwell Jersey S tent (that’s the orange tent which you can just spy in the background) to the 3-man (‘room to swing a small cat’) Outwell Fusion 300.

Like our previous Jersey tent, the Fusion is one of those ‘pop up’ models which meant that DS11 and DD8 had it out of the cardboard box, out of its carrybag…

…and erected, tent pegs secured, within? Two teeny minutes!

All we need now are our sleeping bags and mats. And we’re ready for a night (kind of) underneath the stars πŸ™‚

OurFlylady stainless steel water bottles are already in there –

good work DD9!

Have a fabulous Friday and wonderful weekend! πŸ™‚ 

Just the two of us

DH is out tonight and DD9 is at a sleepover.  Which means that DS11 and I have the house to ourselves.  And what does that mean?  Sushi for dinner! (We’re the only two in the family that like it, so it’s a very rare treat.)

I’d planned to post a photo of our delicious takeaway but – alas – got so carried away that we polished off the whole lot before I realised…oops!  (And very yummy it was too.  Burp.)

Time to light some candles, get the fire going on this damp and dreary Copenhagen summer night and pop a DVD in the player.  Hot Fuzz, Dr Who and several Harry Potters…  Hmm, what shall we start with?  Decisions, decisions! πŸ™‚

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend! πŸ™‚

I’m all grown up

Occasionally I get an a-ha moment and realise that I’m all grown up.  Like when the doorbell rings (for the second time this month) and one of DS11’s schoolmates or a friend’s daughter is standing there, asking to borrow baking powder.  And I have it.  In fact, I have three pots of it!  (Hoarder, much?)  Or arriving at a party on time – nails painted, gift wrapped and card ready.  Gone are the days of writing the card – in that tell-tale squiggly writing – in the car on the way.  Or when I look around the garden and think, ‘This is all mine!’ (Though, on the other hand, the responsibility of looking after it is all mine too – see yesterday’s post on the subject of never-ending garden upkeep).

Last night I had another ‘grown up’ moment. When I was standing slicing carrots and red cabbage to be eaten raw in a salad.  (Strangely enough, also for the second time this month.)  Me!  The girl who never ate her vegetables as a child.  (Go ahead, ask Mum).  Who never cooked red cabbage til she moved to Denmark in 1998.  And who certainly never used it raw – in a salad – to be eaten by the family on a bog standard Monday night – until May 2011.  And here’s the rub…it was blinking lovely!

…Whatever next?!

Have a terrific Tuesday! πŸ™‚

Postscript: by complete co-incidence, I just found another post I wrote about me feeling like a grown up Just an old fashioned girl from May 2010.  Perhaps May is the month of contemplation?!

Pass the burnt toast!

A long, long time ago on the Fly Show (The Flylady‘s weekly internet radio show), there was a story about ‘a Mum who ate burnt toast’. I was puzzled at first. But it was basically another example of why Mums should remember to look after themselves. When you have kids, you always put the kids first. Their needs are Priority Number One. They get the best of everything. They’re first in the queue at feeding time – and that often means that Mum gets left with the burnt piece of toast! ;D

Well, that story has stuck in my mind ever since. Food for thought, you might say… Boom, boom!

We often go to Experimentarium (a fantastic hands on/all singing/all dancing/science playground in Copenhagen) and, more often than not, we have a treat in the cafΓ©. Now, to be perfectly honest, I’m not an icecream freak (unless it’s high summer and the living is easy) so I usually opt for coffee and (carrot) cake (mmm). But Mr Ben + Mr Jerry have come up with something I can’t resist: peanut butter, vanilla icecream, cookie dough, lots n’ lots of lovely, thick dark chocolate and crumbled cookies. Wowza! πŸ˜€

Unbeknown to the rest of the family, I added one – just one – of these wondrous icecream bars to my weekly online grocery order and hid it deep in the depths of the freezer… Then one night between Christmas and New Year, I ran a huge bubble bath, got out my pamper basket, played an old episode of the Fly show, and relaxed in the bath…

Did I mention I remembered to lock the bathroom door? ;D

It. Was. Heavenly. And – honestly – I was such a sweet Mum afterwards… From now on, I shall definitely ‘pass’ on the burnt toast! πŸ™‚

Have a marvellous Monday!

Fill ‘er up!

Do you turn on the oven without thinking? I mean, would you heat up your oven to cook a single dish? I admit that I do sometimes. Eek! Let’s not dwell too much on the energy we’re wasting and, more importantly, what it’s costing… ;D

One of the best memories from my childhood was baking with my Mum on Sunday afternoons πŸ™‚

Mum would get out the Be-Ro book (one you got free with coupons from bags of flour) and we’d find a recipe that ‘matched’ the oven temerature of whatever roast she already had in there. Back then, there was no way she’d turn on the oven without planning what was going in and making sure both shelves were filled πŸ™‚

I try and keep this in mind when menuplanning. Tonight DD8 prepared chicken…

Brussels sprouts. Which, incidentally, she thought were so much fun to prepare? Just wait til she eats them! ;D

And crashed hot potatoes

No room to spare… Yay!

Bon appΓ©tit, fill up those ovens and have a fabulous Friday! πŸ™‚

Don’t call a spade a spade!

Do you know the expression, “Call a spade a spade”? Tell it like it is. Don’t beat around the bush. Don’t dress things up.

Well, I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and have come to the conclusion that I never call a spade a spade. When I meet my buddies three times a week for a morning run, we call it a meeting of the Running Chicks. If I decide to take a whole two extra minutes in the shower and afterwards slather on some Origins body lotion (it’s actually called ‘Ginger SoufflΓ©, whipped body cream’!) that I was given as a birthday present, it’s suddenly become a Sunday Morning Pamper Session. I’ve dubbed our house “AllΓ©ens Perle” (‘the Gem of the Avenue’). If I make a snack for DD8 and her friend – and get out some old, cheap china I bought over 20 years ago – we pretend that they’re having Afternoon Tea in a posh hotel.

And so the list goes on. Why do I do it? Escapism? Maybe it’s my imagination working overtime. Yes, yes, I do like to exaggerate. Or it could be because I’m the eternal optimist. And a firm believer in mind over matter. (If I took part in a medical test, I’d definitely be in that group feeling the placebo effect.)

But who cares? Does it even matter? Because it works for me, keeps me bobbing along.

Perhaps I should let the Flylady have the final word on the matter. “Make the job fun and it’ll get done.” ;D

Have a terrific Tuesday! πŸ™‚

Don't quote me on that!

It’s Monday night and I’m lying in my wonderful new bath – here’s the view

and I’m thinking about the (numerous) times I’ve said those immortal words, “I’ll never do (dot, dot, dot)”.

I’m the world’s worst at admitting I’m wrong – just ask my two former bosses or DH, tee hee! But apparently the Flylady has succeeded in brainwashing me. Indeed several times recently I’ve caught myself apologising(!) to my children for having shouted at them without a very good reason…

So I’ve decided to fess up publicly as a form of therapy.

Here’s a chesnut from a year ago… “I’d never turn up at the schoolgates wearing running gear. I mean, really, who in their right minds would be seen in public in their running tights?”

And with that, folks, I must rise from my bath and look out my bright pink running togs for tomorrow’s early-morning-just-after-the-schoolrun-run-with-the-girls.

Did I mention I don’t care for horses either? πŸ˜›

Hope you have a marvelous Monday! πŸ™‚

What’s up (with me), Doc?

Dear Readers

I can see that I seriously need to pull my blogsocks up…

I could blame it on our (10 weeks so far, will it never end?!) bathroom remodel. A remodel that spilled over and involved completely redecorating our master bedroom. Or our upcoming Copper Wedding extravaganza (involving the coordination of swanky, hep cat nightclub, catered food with a retro Danish theme, an appearance by Denmark’s finest rockband, a DJ who will play exactly what we want and invitations going out to circa 150 friends and family around the globe). And school events/after school club activities that make my head spin – even when they are written down in the diary. But that would just be making excuses!

Truth to tell, I woke up Monday morning and wanted to cry. Felt completely out of sorts. (Yes, I may have a cynical sense of humour, but I am usually the eternal optimist…) My running friends had to cancel on me and I was => _ <= this close to jacking it in. Then my own good advice came back to haunt me…yes, I’m great at dishing out good advice – just not so good at following it myself! How many times have I told my friends this chesnut?

The days you want to drop exercise are the very days you need it.

Ha! So on the spur of the moment I ran out the door, determined to run longer than I ever have before. The sun shone, waves crashed on the sea, I smiled at the old ladies who were winterbathing, the wind threatened to blow me and the dogwalkers away, I ran past the morning queues of cars, past the sultry bakers shops, past the strange old houses (stopped to take a photo of one with hieroglyphs on the side), shouted ‘God morgen!’ to the road workers. And turned my iPod up to eleven… πŸ™‚

Yes – cue the clichΓ© – I came home a different person. (I ran over 7k…go moi!) The water gods smiled down on me and my 140 kg (22 st) bath arrived and was lifted up to the first floor by two Danish removal men who deserve a place in the Guiness Book of Records. And I decided that I really, really need to go back to writing blogposts every day (or at least every other day). For my own good. It’s therapeutic. Brings out the best in me.

Anyway, that’s all for today. I’m sitting with the laptop at the local library while DS8 and her friend are at the Kids Cinema Club next door and now the battery’s running out… Time for me to grab a coffee!

Have a wonderful Wednesday! πŸ™‚