A quick city guide to stylish Copenhagen

Copenhagen table Copenhagen. Sigh. City of bicycles, sourdough pizzas, ceramics and effortlessly stylish interiors - how much we love you. I spent so much of our trip, gushing on Instagram about how lovely it all was that I've pulled together a quick city guide of our favourite places. STAY We stayed in Vesterbro, the former working class area and notorious red-light district that's pretty much the hippest part of town these days. Now filled with cute cafes, cool bars and high-end design stores, it was the perfect spot for our stay. Only a 15-minute walk from the city's main central train station, it was dead easy to get to and from the airport. Our AirBNB apartment was gorgeous in the way that only the Scandinavians know how. Filled with a combination of chic ceramics, vintage pieces and easy minimalism, I wanted to pack the entire place up and bring it back to London with me. I pretty much want to get rid of everything I own now and start again now in our flat. (Another reason to stay in Vesterbro, is that it's where the Larsen family from The Killing season one lived. If you're as obsessed with the Nordic Noir TV shows as I am, you'll find that interesting. If not, ignore me and GO WATCH IT IMMEDIATELY).

EAT & DRINK: Living with a sourdough-mad boyfriend, it was only natural that on our first night we went straight to the highly recommended Mother in the Meat Packing District. Famed for its organic sourdough base pizzas, it did not disappoint. Even though it was a busy Friday night, we got there early enough that we only needed to wait 15 minutes for a table. The pizza? The best I've had in a long time. And if I can have an Aperol Spritz while I'm waiting, I'm always a happy girl. Next on my list was Groed, a tiny restaurant that only sells porridge, dhal and risotto. It was SO good that we visited both their tiny Nørrebro restaurant and their stand in the gourmet food market Torvehallerne. I can't really describe how good the dhal was except to say, it warmed my chilly bones and was probably the best dhal I've ever eaten. On our second visit the dhal had understandably sold out (NOOOOOOOOOO!) so we both went for a mushroom barley risotto (pictured) instead that makes me hungry just thinking about it. I probably should've tried one of the porridges that make up a large portion of the menu, considering porridge is one of my favourite breakfasts. Maybe I'll have to go back and try them out...

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I'm not massive beer drinker but the Mikkeller Craft Beer bars came highly recommended and as the boyfriend is a fan of fancy beers, we visited both the Nørrebro and Vesterbro location. Both had an equally relaxed vibe with friendly and helpful staff, and after a day spent trekking all around Copenhagen on foot, it was a delicious beer well-earned. Price wise, most places were about the same as London or ever so slightly more expensive. Not eye wateringly expensive however, like Sweden or Norway.

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SHOP: I found the Red Cross charity shop of my dreams in Copenhagen. Damn Easy Jet and their luggage restrictions. I ended up buying a 1960s set of ceramic cups that had to be packed carefully in my clothes to fit in my suitcase. We're still regretting not buying a 60s oil painting and all that other stuff. I would've bought a sofa, vintage kitchen canisters, glassware, pottery vases...and so on. Sigh. It was three stories of treasures. I didn't write down the exact location but I'm pretty certain it close to the vintage area around Ravnsborgadde. There are loads of vintage shops in Copenhagen and, sadly, we didn't get to any of the flea markets but that's probably a good thing. I imagine it might be difficult to negotiate, if you're not Danish (although everyone speaks perfect English so give it a go). Jægersborggade is a lovely street in Nørrebro, where Groed is located. Friends who'd visited Copenhagen said it was a must visit. We loved the Meyer's Bakery for yummy pastries and rye bread, Coffee Collective for a strong brew and Ladyfingers for delicate jewellery.  My favourite was Maia’s Blomsterhjem, a florist and gift shop where I picked up several lovely glass dishes to pop under houseplants. You can find a full list of the shops on Jægersborggade here.

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SEE & DO:

  • Visit the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. It's an easy 30 minute train ride from the Central Copenhagen train station and you can buy tickets that cover both entry and the train fare (you'll need to go to a counter though, the machines rejected our cards). Such a beautiful space and gorgeous location, it's well worth a visit and the best thing we did on our trip (other than eat that dhal). The Giacometti Gallery is an incredible light space overlooking a lake and actually took my breath away. We'd already seen the Richard Mosse exhibition that are on last year at London's Photographer's Gallery so we only quickly looked around that but the Sculpture Garden and views across the sea to Sweden are incredible.
  • Go out for dinner and drinks with your friend who lives a 10-minute walk away from you in London and by happy coincidence is on the same plane as you. You don't even realise this until you see each other's photos on Instagram and you haven't seen each other in yolks (true story).
  • Visit the Little Mermaid. Pretty underwhelming but has to be done really. The nearby park is interesting and worth a (brisk) stroll through. I imagine we would've lingered further if it hadn't been so chilly and raining.
  • The cemetery where Hans Christian Andersen is buried is pretty too, and interesting to walk through on your way to Jægersborggade.
  • Your research before you set off for the day and check what time shops close (early on the weekends). I loved looking around all the design stores but as we discovered many places close early on the weekend so we'd have to go back as they'd already shut for the day. I really liked
  • Walk or cycle everywhere. We could've hired bikes but it was February - cold, raining and sleeting. It was just easier (and drier) to stay under our umbrellas instead. It seemed like a safe place to ride around though as most the bike lanes are separated from the main traffic. Wander past all the wonderful old buildings and historic palaces. We didn't tour any inside because we wanted to do other things but they look pretty wonderful from the outside.
  • Go see the coloured building and boats at historic Nyhavn. Take photos, even if it's raining and you're so cold your fingers feel like they're going to drop off when you take your gloves off.
  • Eat all the rye bread! I've always loved a grainy dark rye topped with (preferably) avocado and tomato. Try Smørrebrød, which are Danish open sandwiches with a variety of delicious toppings. Yum.
  • Buy ceramics. From the gorgeous traditional blue and white Royal Copenhagen fine china to the 60s cups we picked up in the charity shop to amazing design-stores ceramic bowls. It's worth it, trust me.

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I could write for days about things to do in Copenhagen, and I feel like we only just scratched the surface. What have a I missed that I can put on my list for next time? x

p.s. See Hannah's guides to Copenhagen for loads more ideas. We found them really useful! And here's a good guide to Vesterbro in the Guardian.

Going/Coming back home

Like many others who choose to move to London, I now have two homes. One here in the heart of housing price-boom Hackney. I love everything about it despite the annoyingly 'cool' factor it has. Strolling to the markets, the cheery chaps in Costcutter, the little new gourmet food store on my street (Pinch), the London Field's Lido, my neighbours and more. Well, everything apart from the rent, the too-cool-for-school kids who have overcrowded my local, and the lack of property-owning. Then there's home-home. More than 11,000 miles away from London, back in the sunshine with my friends and family, green and lush, where I grew up, more than 24 hours on a plane, listening to Bob Dylan in the kitchen, hello the-worst-kind-of-jetlag home. New Zealand. Home where the other half of my heart is. We went home home in February/March... Pine Ridge Sewing lessons Mirror mirror Family portrait Green lake Nz Road Trip Rangitoto Photos by Luke

The Welsh seaside - New Quay

New Quay boatLooking out my window at the grey sky it's hard to believe that until a couple of weeks ago we were basking in the midst of an elusive 'Great British Summer'. Since I first arrived here from sunny New Zealand, I thought a this thing was just a myth or a strap-line that some advertising clever clogs had made up in the 50s to lure tourists to the grey island called Britain. Now I get it, it's actually a thing! I wanted to share some photos of sunny New Quay in Wales from a trip back in the very beginning of summer, when everyone thought it was still going to rain for months. No, I'm not confused. This is New Quay in Wales, not Newquay in Cornwall. Different places. We even saw dolphins (dolphins! who knew!) playing in the sea.

New Quay - Wales

New Quay - Wales

The fishing town on Cardigan Bay, West Wales, is filled with picturesque cottages, many a fish'n'chip joints and ice-cream counters. The town is believed to be the 'cliff-perched town at the far end of Wales' as immortalised by Dylan Thomas in 'Under Milk Wood'.

Buckets, spades - Wales

New Quay WalesCome back summer. I'm not ready for endless grey days just yet. See that blue sky? NO FILTER!

St Benedict - A Victorian B&B

8561034845_0cf83aaf8c_b Without a doubt this is the most amazing home I've ever been lucky enough to stay in. It's probably the most amazing home I've ever set foot in to be honest. St Benedict Victorian B&B can be found in the sleepy East Sussex town of St-Leonard-on-Sea, neighbour to Hastings.  I'd been wanting to visit Hastings for ages after reading about it on both Sarah and Ellie's blogs and we decided a last-minute weekend away was just what we needed. After searching around online for somewhere to stay and giving up on any Air BnB options, I stumbled across this place and knew it was worth investigating.

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It's like stepping into a past era. I wasn't sure what to expect when we arrived but I knew it was going to be amazing. I never expected it to be this good. Any pictures I'd seen online could not have prepared me for the absolute gorgeousness of the place.

St Benedicts

Owners Paul and Steven have spent the last 18 years transforming the home, which was divided into flats, back into a full house. It's clearly been a lot of hard work and  a labour of love. But the result is completely breathtaking.

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We stayed in the old nursery room  on the top floor. The antique bed is probably the comfiest I've ever slept in, with its antique hand-embroidered sheets and cosy blankets. The room also has a spectacular view of the garden with its massive pond, own chapel and summer-house.

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St Benedict Victorian B&B view

St Benedict Victorian B&B

Breakfast was served on gorgeous china and silver serving ware, all sent to the dining room via the dumb-waiter from the kitchen below.

Breakfast at St Benedict

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St Bendicts BB sink

Each room also has its own bathroom with roll top bath and Victorian style loo with wooden seat.

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I honestly can't explain in enough detail how amazing this place is. A single blog post could never do it justice. It's not stuffy like a museum but very welcoming and comfortable (although it is more amazing than most of the National Trust places I've been)! Only 1 hour 40 min or so by train from London Bridge it's an easy weekend away. Just go. I know I will be visiting again.

x C

Sneak peek: An amazing Victorian B&B

If you're a minimalist and enjoy stark empty spaces, you may want to look away. If you love beautiful bits and pieces please read on. Here's a peek at the incredible Victorian B&B  at St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex that I had the pleasure of staying at recently. St Leonard's BB

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I really don't know where to start with the absoutle amazingness of it all...

x C

P.S. You can find me over on the very lovely This is Your Kingdom today, writing about Violet cakes.