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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  • 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

A festive bat

Meet my very festive bat. He flew in from Elphicks on Columbia Road. He decided mid-November to hang around this spot in my living room. I don't think he'll be leaving any time soon. IMG_1615

I took a break from blogging during the second half of 2012 to focus on other things. But I've really missed it. So here I am. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of snow to put your priorities in order.

I can't wait to see where 2013 takes me.


A birthday in Stockholm

We recently spent four nights in Stockholm to celebrate the Mr's birthday. He'd wanted to visit for ages, and I must admit, I'm a complete convert now. If it wasn't for the freezing cold dark winters*, I think I could live there.

We stayed in a studio apartment we hired from City Living Apt. It's full of stylish Stockholm accommodation available for short term rent.  We opted to stay in an apartment so we could eat at home (as Sweden is ridiculously expensive to eat and drink out). But more on that next time, as I have a million photos of our cute accommodation to share next time.

Despite sleet, torrential rain and very cold winds we wandered the streets (and bridges and islands) of Stockholm through the gloom with a long list of places to visit. If you're looking for a guide to Stockholm I recommend taking a look at these ones on Emmas DesignBlogg and Design *Sponge. With these guides printed, guidebooks at the ready and umbrellas up we spent several lovely days wandering around finding lots of cute and cosy spots.

So many of the buildings are painted a golden-yellow or terracotta. Warm and sunny colours to ward away the wintery gloom.

Taking a stroll around one of the islands.

Everything is so aesthetically pleasing. Even the Stockholm hire bikes beat the pants off Boris' blue numbers.

The sea.

The old town.

Some of my favourite spots:

Fotografiska - the photography museum (as shown in the gloom above) is housed in a listed Art Nouveau industrial building. We were literally soaked by the time we found it but leaving our brollys and coats drying in the coat area we explored the massive space, which has several exhibitions on at any one time. We were lucky enough to see the dream-like pics of Helena Blomqvist and behind the scenes Godfather photos by Steve Schapiro. Well worth the entry fee.

The super stylish Urban Deli was just a five-minute walk from where we stayed in Sofo. The only bar, seafood restaurant and grocery all in one that I've ever heard of. We found having a drink at the bar then buying some yummy fresh food to take back to the apartment made up for not going out for dinner. Oh and they have a juice bar too. (There's a completely vegetarian store just around the corner too).

Clothing and vintage furniture Grandpa is just around the corner from Deli and worth a look, although it's bit on the expensive side.

We had an amazing afternoon tea at design store Svenskt Tenn.  Amazing furniture, fabrics, wallpapers, and gifts all designed with bright colors and bold patterns. As this already photo heavy, I'll save more on this for next time.


*Swedish doctors have estimated almost 20 per cent of the population suffer from seasonal affective disorder.

Paris: première partie (part 1)

I've never really considered myself much of a francophile. I can't really speak any French beyond "Bonjour. Parlez vous anglais?" As lovely as it is, cheese makes me break out in a rash. I'd rather have a piece of cake than a macaroon (don't get me wrong I still delight in them and all their candy coloured goodness). And a classic striped breton top just doesn't look any good on my curves. But man o man, I love Paris. Every time I visit there, it reminds why it really does live up to all those clichés and romantic notions. I understand the urge that many have to just pack up their normal life and embrace the city of love and lights.

We spent a wonderful four days in Paris last weekend. We walked everywhere, photographed everything and ate more bread than you could shake a baguette at. We rented a small studio recommended by friends in the villagey area of Batignolles. And oh my goodness, what a lovely little area it is. It felt far from the swarms of tourists in nearby Montmartre, friendly enough to try to converse with the locals, and central enough to walk just about everywhere. There are not one, not two but three boulangerie on Rue des Batignolles where we stayed which made the Mr a very happy chap indeed. Gorgeous florists brimming with roses, wine bars and all the other things that the French do the best lined the little streets.

Le baguette. My waistline isn't thanking me.

 You know this one, right?

The overwhelming dome in Galleries Lafayette.

You can see some more from our trip pics here and here. I'll be posting more here later.

x Charlotte

Dreaming of Paris in the Springtime.

It's almost three years since I visited the city of love and lights. Oh sweet Paris, this time next month I'll be seeing you again.

My big sister and I spent a few glorious days, back in 2009, staying in a very cool apartment in Montmartre. It was my second time in Paris, and my sister's hundredth (slight exaggeration). This is me looking sulky and tired (suffering after getting up stupid o'clock early to catch the Eurostar).

I think I spent almost as much time gazing out those windows as we did beating the streets.

I can't wait to go back again. It's silly that I've only been twice, and yet it's so easy to get to with the Eurostar.

Mr and I are in desperate need of a holiday, having not left the UK since our epic trip last year. Our Eurostar tickets are paid for, an apartment is booked, and now I'm dreaming up new places in Paris to visit. So far on my list are:

  • the gardens at the Musee Rodin
  • Comptoir de l’Image, the bookshop as seen on The Satorialist
  • Catherine B’s vintage emporium, Les Trois Marches after reading about it on A Girl, A Style
  • Le Arts Decoratifs to see the Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs exhibition, which opens the weekend we are there.

And then there are oh-so-many places to revisit:

  • Musee de l'Orangerie
  • the markets
  • the streets of Monmarte
  • the cute little kitchen shops where I nearly bought an absinthe spoon, but didn't
  • the magnificant Musee d'Orsay
  • and the list goes on...

What are your favourite places to visit in Paris? Where are the best secret spots? I'd love to hear your suggestions.

Image 1. by me, 2. & 3. by Sarah.

p.s. You can see my Paris Pinterest board here.