Tuesday, 25 February 2014

February 2014 Instagram-y Post Part 2

People tend to reach out to warmer climes during the British winter.
Not me - I went further north into a blizzard.

No filter!
The Thames may be full but
 Copenhagen's waters looked like a daiquiri cocktail.

I really enjoyed Denmark.
I don't know my Nordic architecture so don't know which period this home is from
but isn't it fairytale-esque?

But these first few pics were the most color 
I saw during the short time I was there.
Otherwise, due to the season and light 
the city was so white, grey, and black.


After three days, I went a bit stir crazy.
I couldn't imagine a full winter there.




So much so that when I landed back in Heathrow Airport, 
I felt like I had landed in Malaga, Spain.


The main objective of the trip was to dine at Noma.
They were very nice and gave us a special souvenir of ants to sprinkle on our food but we forgot to refrigerate it 
so the ants went off.

Next time I shall do a proper Scandinavian TV series tour.
But I think this building below was the City Mayor's office as shown in the Killing series.

The buildings below was the setting for the TV station 
that features in Borgen.

But my highlight was crossing the Oresund bridge -
 the very same that is featured in The Bridge!
It was so exciting as that very weekend was the season finale of the show on the BBC so I savored the 40 minute train ride to the Swedish city of Malmo.


I can't say much about Malmo as it was a Sunday winter's morning and most places were shut.
We spent an hour there and went straight back to Copenhagen.
But it was such an easy trip and only cost about £12 return so there was no undue pressure.

I have never seen a 13 min lunch guarantee even in Manhattan.

The Danish have their pastries 

but the Swedes also have great desserts.

Plus they had great looking open faced sandwiches one doesn't even seen here in the land of sandwiches.

Have you tried Swedish licorice?
It is salty and very much an acquired taste.
Sweden is so design conscious that I have never seen anywhere else in the world a greater selection of home decor magazines! 
Just look at it - all Swedish or Danish!!
No balloons on the train tracks.

Another highlight of the month was that 
I met someone through my blog in real life.
 It was very exciting to meet the Curator and 
joined her at Kew Gardens!

Orchids galore.


She is as intelligent and engaging as her online persona and there was never a dull moment or awkward silence ( for me anyway)...


She was an excellent guide and knew all the nooks of the grounds.
She even introduced me to the resident peacock.



We explored some of the greenhouses that are about 100 years old.

 

This is a venue for many a photo shoot for obvious reasons. 

She also led me to the summer retreat of Queen Caroline who 
I wrote about back in August.

This is the Japanese section of the garden.
( Please click on link to see better pictures!)



My favorite bit of the collections was the Marianne North Gallery.



The gift shop had been extended since I had last been a decade ago.








These plants don't need proper water and just hang so I might go back and get some for a "gardener" like me!

63 comments:

  1. LOVE the Scandanavian liquorice. Especially the salted stuff. A friend brought a bag for me when he was here late last year and i just adored it. I agree that it's not for everyone... even people who like liquorice.

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    1. Funny I like it now, I bought some gun and now wish I bought a few more to keep rather than give away as gifts!

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  2. Awwww, I wish I had been able to meet you both, how fab!

    So funny that coming back home was like landing in Malaga, I used to think our winters were horrendous till I met Dani & Wendy, I don't think I could survive theirs.
    Mum used to make open sarnies like that for us when I was growing up, we thought we were so cosmopolitan and fancy.

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    1. Yes she was so easy to talk to and I wasn't nervous at all ( except for buying mascara last minute bc I thought I should make an effort!) There is always next time and you must join us Tabs :)

      But what I miss most is those creme puffs - DIVINE.

      I didn't mind the snow but the light....I used to think they used a filter in the TV shows to make it look more gloomy but oh no - that is the real deal!!

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    2. Oh I get enough grey gloom up here, it makes me instantly depressed.

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    3. It was like London on a really really foggy wintery day but with a starker light if that is possible!

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    4. Tabs it would be such fun to have a chortle with you and Naomi.

      Naomi, wouldn't it be great to have a blogfest and meet up with lots of blog chums!

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    5. Curator - I think a blogfest would be a fab idea and just need to come up with a good way to corral all the bloggers from around the world somehow!

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  3. It looks a bit brisk. One loves the TV show Borgen.

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    1. Isn't Borgen soooo good?? Those three are my top three shows!

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  4. Meeting a fellow blogger is such an adventure!
    I would be opting for warmth over snow and ice but those scenes do look colourful despite the cold.
    Must say that I am not too excited about becoming an ant eater though...brave you!

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    1. I don't know why I wasn't nervous but in a weird way one already knows each other in a way...
      I would have like the beach but instead of the dreaded journey and mood one adjusts to in London - it was the other way - I was sooo happy to be back in green London :) PS Ants are 0 points in WW!

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  5. I used to have a Danish boyfriend who summed it up this way. In winter it is dark all the time so we drink. In summer it is light all the time so we drink. He WAS a bit of a lush so I dumped him. I might not drink that much if I lived there but I might have a bit of a pastry problem.... Lovely post!

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    1. Ha! Sounds a bit English as well! I did drink quite a bit there that i gained a few pounds that I am still carrying but I was most impressed with their pastries. PS lush here is something quite good - as in oh he is sooo lush or that cake was lush!

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  6. Doesn't ice and snow bring out just the most amazing qualities in a City, those houses are like ice cream colours in ...ice cream. (have you ever noticed how movies in snow and ice (The Ice Storm) are so spooky and memorable? ) I have eaten quite a few bugs before in the NZ bush. Like you though I could not do more than coupla days in those conditions...I love the twopical.

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    1. Cities become so much fun but on the split side like London - it doesn't know how to function even with a centimeter of snow! But honestly I left just at the right time otherwise I would have gone crazy and the English winter is a piece of cake I tell ya!

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  7. What a lovely trip. Looks like you had a bit of a pastry tour: divine!

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    1. Next time I will do a proper pastry tour - this was all very rushed in terms of pastry!

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  8. You moved quite nicely from the grey and sullen to the bright and soul saving. We so need Spring here in Canada.

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    1. Kew Gardens is known for its beautiful Victorian greenhouses and we saw signs of spring everywhere in fact - hope you get some respite from the snow soon!

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  9. Glad the ants went off. I have some crawling in my window if you still want some. I think it looks very Girl with the Dragon Tatoo-ish for my taste in this weather. I will save Denmark for July some year! I love your adventurous side!

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    1. The next morning there was a huge pong from the ants! I would love to see the wild flowers and the midnight sun myself Wendy!

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  10. sooo cool that you could nip over to Copenhagen for a weekend to eat at Noma. Carpe diem indeed. Insects are meant to be the next big thing, from a culinary and sustainability standpoint. I don't know if I would enjoy them....

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    1. Yes most insects arent going extinct plus farming is quite easy! what about fried grasshoppers with garlic salt?

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  11. I find Scandinavia in the winter totally disorienting. I don't know how they do it either.

    But in the summer, ah, another story!

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    1. I think I would prefer the disorienting effect of the midnight sun rather than the overcast gloom at midday...

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  12. Sweden is wonderful, but the extremes in daylight (none in the winter, round the clock in summer) would eventually do me in. The last time I visited, it was in July, and the sun never set!!! It got sort of dim at around 4 am but then it got light again (I know, because I was awake!). And for whatever reason, none of my husband's relatives have curtains in their homes!! I didn't get a wink of sleep the whole time we were there. Love the photo of the design magazines - my favourite, Skona Hem, is right in the centre of the pic. Also, how exciting that you got to meet Curator! Kew Gardens is wonderful - if I am lucky, perhaps one day I will be able to go back and visit. Thanks for all these photos, they brought back some great memories.

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    1. Seriously - what is it with the no curtains thing?? It was interesting that we could look in all the houses but they really didn't seem to mind at all! I could see what half the people were having for breakfast and I thought well maybe we were looking in bc it is so nove? I couldn't get over the mags at all and yes it was so fun to meet Curator and I hope one day to meet you if you visit London!

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  13. Your trip sounds fantastic, snow notwithstanding. I would love to get to Copenhagen. My Parents were there about 5 years ago and brought me home some Georg Jensen, mum commented on how into home they all were. She said the homewares stores were amazing - very high quality table linens, glasses etc... all very tasteful. Dad is quite fond of that weird liquorice they sell... xx

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    1. The snow was ok it was just the grey - I don't know why more buildings were painted color because it needs it. Yes the homewares are crazy! Plus I also went to the flagship stores of G Jensen and Royal Copenhagen and I wish I could have brought stuff back as there was a sale too! They just have design down pat. I think you would adore it! xx

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  14. oh that was a lovely trip indeed!

    we adore borgen and the bridge (although it's hard to say that one adores the latter when it's SO DARK but brilliant all the same)

    and how Exciting that who-you-are-in-RL met another who-they-are-in-RL and went to a Museum.

    glorious.

    it's all glorious.

    off to read your Paris Vogue piece now.

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    1. I have never done the tours of Hollywood etc but I became a bit like those Trekkies in Copenhagen remembering spots that were shot on the show etc! But the Danes think it is so weird that we love the shows so much bc when I mentioned the shows they looked at me like - oh another one of those people...And yes Curator can vouch I am not a robot ;)

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  15. Glad you are on holiday! Ants were bad rest very nice indeed albeit brisk

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    1. It was a nice break and the winter now seems so mild!

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  16. It was a real treat to meet you Naomi! You are great company, and just as vibrant, witty and entertaining in real life as you are online. Heres to more exciting adventures accross The Old Smoke!

    Moma must have been one hell of an experience not for the faint of heart. I couldn't eat ants! Do they tickle on the way down?

    The peacock is called Andrew...Drew Peacock to his friends.

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    1. Too kind Curator!! And yes we must come up with another tourist in our own city adventure.

      No they don't tickle but there is one dish they eat in Korea which is live octopus and you have to fight with it in your mouth for it to go down and apparently they try and come back up - I have never tried this however but people who love it - cant get enough!

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    2. Oh my goodness! I'm freaking out just thinking about the octopus! It may give me nightmares for weeks! The ants sounded bad enough. Oz ants if crushed underfoot have a very peculiar (and not good) smell - can't imagine eating them. Though the Australian aborigines used them as some sort of medicine I think. Crushed, they created formic acid and mixed with something that was alkaline they neutralised each other and released whatever the chemical was that was needed as medicine. Koreans do eat some seriously weird stuff. I think kim chee involves rotting cabbage (burying it underground in pots?) with some believing the rottener the better.
      Your photos are fabulous Naomi! Love the moody Copenhagen ones with the red and yellow ochres looming sombrely in the icy grey atmospherics. Also the gorgeous Kew Gardens pics.

      Love GJ too. Couldn't resist when I was there years ago, bought bits of stainless steel cutlery, just small pieces, a few serving spoons and knives for jam, butter and pate etc. Also wonderful key rings. The first piece of jewellery I ever paid for myself was a GJ silver ring, very traditional style, a copy of the first ring GJ himself ever designed. Was a uni student at the time and spent a whole week's pay (working at DJs during hols) on it. My Mum was at first appalled and then admiring. Best wishes, Pammie xx PS Lovely to meet favourite bloggers!

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    3. Ha! It is like a sport and watching it is like watching a match between man and octupus. But Kim chi is a stronger smellier version of sauerkraut - like blue cheese but a vegetable! Have you ever heard of that rotting shark /fish dish from Iceland? Apparently it is supposed to be super duper healthy for you but stink to kingdom come. I might do it once just to tick it off the list.

      The ants are sour and lemon verbena tasting to be exact. But as they are "flesh" they next day the smell was rancid. I forgot to put in some shots of the porcelain at the flagship royal copenhagen store which I will try and fit in somehow soon but the GJ store there was just a treat. I didn't get anything because where do you start! I still remember my first piece I got as a present from the store in Collins Street - it was a plain silver ring with a twist - very avantgarde at the time! And yes it was so nice to meet someone through the blog - such a bonus I must say and it was so funny how we chatted away and then I realized it had been hours! xx

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    4. Naomi, I'm too old to do anything I don't really want to. There's no way I'd put rotting fish on a bucket list, though have to admit Iceland fascinates me. Once used to know from work (international conferences) a man who later became PM of Iceland. He was amazing, spoke about half a dozen languages fluently and had an incredible deadpan sense of humour. I used to crack up laughing when he addressed meetings (he was for a time chair of a group Oz belonged to in the conference) and then realise no-one else was laughing. Afterwards, the first time, before I got to know him properly, I apologised quietly to his chief of staff - who said he really was joking but because he was so deadpan most people didn't realise. Seemed I was one of the few who got him - and he liked it. But someone warned me never to get an Icelandic or a Scandi generally talking about hunting or fishing. They become dead boring immediately - can witness to the fact. Have you read "Independent People"? Brilliant! One of the best books I've ever read, by Iceland's only Nobel prize winner, Halldor Laxness. Definitely worth reading if you haven't, but very grim.
      Seem to remember, Royal Copenhagen may have been next door to GJ when I was there, in one of the walking streets? My memory has me walking straight from one to the other. Not sure if it's playing tricks on me. Some beautiful things. How funny you also have a GJ ring. GJ were just entering the Oz market at that time. In Brisbane they had a very grand exhibition on the top floor of DJs in Queen Street in the old days when it was very swish. Priceless pieces - so beautiful.
      So good you enjoyed your meeting with Curator. have a great weekend! Pammie xx

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    5. I hope he wasn't PM during the financial crisis but then again his deadpan expression might have come in useful...I haven't read the book but I will do if you say that. I have just ordered - the almost nearly perfect people. But then again the Scandis do grim so well - who knew grim was an art form? so much more nuanced than happiness. Yes Royal C was right next door still! Very convenient if I say so myself but I only did eyeshopping as I am stuffed to the gills with porcelain! But it was all so beautiful...Have a lovely weekend too xx

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  17. My you have been busy. My 2 year old seems to be into this ant thing! Too bad yours went off. Garden is divine. All that cold seems a world away from us. Still wearing singlets with air conditioning. x

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    1. You would love Kew Gardens as a trip with the boys - so much to do and so much variety. It truly is a treasure that a lot of people miss when they come to town. Single with air con? Sounds like Mars! xx

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  18. Naomi your photos are so beautiful. I love the third one - almost looks like a piece of art. Thanks for the lovely blog post. Maybe home decor becomes more important if one is inside a lot. Tonkath

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    1. Denmark was beautiful - familiar and new all at the same time. And yes - I think the more one is inside the more one is tuned to the surroundings and interestingly enough I don't think they are huge gardeners so you have a great point!

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  19. Hey, I wanna meet the resident peacock too!! Ok, meeting a blogger friend is pretty exciting as well, but you have to admit that the peacock encounter was cool.:) But what do you mean the ants went off?? They just walked away??:D They ran to safety I guess...

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    1. You would take such good pics at Kew - it is a very very popular photo shoot place. Yes it was so cool to meet someone through the blog - I just never thought about the good side effects of blogging. yes the ants needed to be refridgerated! It smelt soooo sour!!

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  20. Copenhagen's waters looked like a daiquiri cocktail :))))) just you could have wrote this !
    ...3 years in London and never been to Kew Gardens !! shame on me...lovely pics as usual ! xxx

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    1. Can't believe you haven't been! ( But then again I haven't been to the Tower of London...)

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  21. Wow, this is so interesting and I know what you mean about going a bit stir crazy after a few days. Although beautiful, it looks freezing. How funny about the ant toppings, I would have chickened out. I hope one day I go here, but I think I'll wait til summer. :)

    xoDale
    www.savvyspice.com

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    1. The ant toppings looked like fresh cracked pepper so if I didn't tell you then you would not have known!!

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  22. The place is pretty cute and the food looks GOOOD but wait what happened with the antz I didn't really get it ?
    http://www.melolimparfaite.com

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    1. When I went to Noma - they served ants with my onions and then they gave us some prepared ants as a gift but we didn't refridgerate it so they went off - who knew?

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  23. I just finished folding and putting away my beautiful peony tea towel from the Kew Gardens gift shop and then I came here and found your wonderful photos of the very same gardens. What a treat. I haven't been there but I use their web site a lot and a friend who lives in London sent me the tea towel.

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    1. Kew has changed in some way from ten years ago since I was last there - I can't believe I don't go there more often though as the gardens are so varied and they also have such great art collections. If you need a replacement tea towel - let me know!

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  24. Years ago, I spent a winter in Helsinki, three winters in Moscow and Leningrad, and several winter weeks in Copenhagen and in Stockholm. At the end of each of those sojourns, I stopped for a few days in London and/or Paris on the way home to the U.S. It always surprised me that London and Paris felt colder than the northern cities (and bleaker than all of them except Moscow). I assumed that was because the London and Paris cold was a wet cold, while the cold in the northern cities was drier. And I found the bright snow in the north so much lighter, and more beautiful and energizing, than the cloudy rainy days in London and Paris. Did you have good clothing and gear for the cold and snow?...that makes all the difference! We coped with the short northern days by spending the long evenings at the theatre...and then in front of a cozy fireplace. Of course, summertime in Scandinavia and Finland is glorious too. You are so fortunate to live relatively close to those places! Thanks for the lovely photographs.

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    1. This time London definitely had better weather all around! Paris actually does get worse weather and more rain than London! But yes fireplaces can save many a weather calamity. But snow does oddly energize you in a way that rain doesn't unless you are in California!

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  25. Naomi, Lovely photos of Denmark. Wow, it really is quite cold like Norway and Sweden. It was pretty with all the snow. I was also impressed with the amount of home magazines when I was in Holland this summer! They really are into their homes.
    I have always wanted to get to Kew, but every trip to London, we run out of time. It looks gorgeous! Will check out the Curator's blog!
    Happy weekend. x Kim

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    1. You need to go to Kew - it is much more interesting in terms of botany than any of the other London parks for sure! Yes Curator had a blog but she is a great pinner in the meanwhile and i hope she gets back to blogging! xx

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  26. Great trip and post! Do you by chance know the name of the purple air plants in the last photo? Many thanks!

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    1. Thank you! The plants are all orchids! They grow them in Kew and they are low maintenance plants - they absorb moisture from the air! isn't it cool?

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    2. Thank you! They are beautiful and very cool!

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  27. I would love to visit Copenhagen in Winter. I have been there twice, once in summer and once in Autumn, but never in Winter. We have visited the main Danish islands, but we did not escape from there to go to Sweden. Still I have great memories of this trip and yes, their pastries are very good! Kew gardens look a really great place. It is on my "to-visit" list.

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Thank you for dropping by!