Browsed by
Tag: explore

Wild Garlic Chicken Pasta

Wild Garlic Chicken Pasta

Not so long ago a friend of mine took me to a secret woodland that lay hidden from the walkers of the nearby park. We followed an indiscriminate path that suddenly opened up in to a cathedral of trees and a carpet of bluebells and wild garlic. The scent was incredible (and my sense of smell is shocking) but it was the colours that moved me the most. It was as if the saturation was turned up wherever I looked as the sun streamed through the birch trees.

 

img_1877.jpg

 

We were there to forage for wild garlic before we reached the end of it’s peak season. I’d been wanting to start foraging for food for a while and wild garlic was a good place to start since it’s an easy substitute for other fresh herbs like basil. It’s also incredibly simple to find since you’ll find the stuff in abundance in pretty much every woodland. Luckily Rebecca (an extremely talented photographer/blogger who took all of these amazing woodland photos you see in this post) knew the perfect patch that was off the beaten path and on a slope which meant there was little human or animal footfall which makes it a little nicer to eat!

 

img_1876.jpg

 

img_1882.jpg

 

I was planning on using the leaves in my recipe but you can add the flowers to salads to save any waste. Young leaves are the tastiest so I picked leaves with flowers that were newly opened or hadn’t quite opened yet. There was so much to choose from that I came away with a basketful – plenty to use for my pasta recipe!

 

img_1881.jpg

 

img_1880.jpg

 

You can use the leaves in so many different ways; pesto, dip, soup, you name it. I chose to reinvent a favourite pasta dish that I cook by introducing a few cupful of leaves hoping that it might elevate it a little. It definitely did the trick! There was more of a kick of flavour (I used kale in previous recipes) and the smell when cooking was delicious. Cooking with ingredients that I hand-picked made it a little more special and I can’t wait to head out and collect more before the season finishes in a few weeks.

 

img_1875.jpg

 

img_1874.jpg

 

I would recommend this dish for one of those spring evenings that has a chill in the air. We know this kind of evening well in Ireland; after a full day of sun the temperature suddenly drops and we find ourselves reaching for the winter blankets again. It’s warm, filling and a little bit indulgent but using foraged ingredients makes it a little less shameful!

 

2de5ac67-bbde-43a8-80a0-e74d587922b8.jpg

 

Happy foraging!!


Wild Garlic Chicken Pasta 

Feeds 2 – 3 people – depending how hungry you are! 

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 x chicken breasts, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 cups penne pasta
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 cups of chopped wild garlic leaves
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Method:

  1. Heat olive oil in a pan over a medium heat
  2. Add onion and stir for about 3 minutes
  3. Add chicken and stir until cooked all over
  4. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute
  5. Add uncooked pasta, chicken stock, water, wild garlic and bring to boil
  6. Stir and bring to boil, then reduce to a lower heat, cover and leave to simmer for just over 20 minutes
  7. When all liquid has been absorbed, remove from heat and stir in cheese, double cream and lemon juice
  8. Serve with crusty bread

 

 

710a611e-8cd0-4cd9-8170-f6bfa728810b.jpg

A Guide to Lisbon

A Guide to Lisbon

The end of winter can be a hard time of year. The dark evenings feel ceaseless and even a crack of sunshine is enough to warrant a celebration. Which is why Andrew and I decided to break up the mundanity and book a last minute escape to Lisbon.

 

f5debbd5-8c1d-4a2a-ac4a-27646dae47e1.jpg

 

Lisbon is a place I’ve been wanting to see for a while now as it seemed a little less touristy than other European capitals but with just as many stories to offer. When we saw Ryanair were doing super cheap flights from Dublin it felt like too good an opportunity to miss!

 

23562088-fab4-4e60-ba64-eac3de245ba8.jpg

 

I’ll break our trip down to our favourite spots since we packed in fair bit in to the 4 days we spent there. My biggest piece of advice though is to drop the map/phone and get a little lost in the windy streets. The city is massive and there are plenty of chances to go a little overtrack and stumble upon some great little gems. Just bring comfy shoes because the city is built on seven hills which will test your thighs for sure!

 

6241669840_img_0541.jpg

 

EAT

Of course the most important part of a break is the food because it’s the one time you can stop off on as many refreshment breaks as you please without the guilt. We had plenty of pretty great foodie experiences and more cake than I’ve ever eaten in my life which is the sign of a successful holiday right?

 

Taberna da Rua das Flores

Hands down the best restaurant I’ve eaten in in a long time. From the moment we entered the place it felt special and truly authentic – the wine served were all from Lisbon, the menu was on a blackboard written in Portuguese (kindly translated in perfect English) and the chandlier was a collection of wineglasses glittering in the candlelight.

The food was tapas-style so we got three dishes to share; pink marlin, sliced beef and pork deep-friend in prawn cracker mixture. We cleaned our plates and washed the deliciousness down with the tastiest wine I had the whole trip. I forgot to take a picture of the wine bottle label but I think sometimes the best wine is supposed to be remembered like that.

If you want to eat here make sure to go early or on a quiet weekday. We tried to get in on a Saturday but there was a queue of people outside who had been waiting over an hour. We went back on the Monday at 6.30pm and were served right away and I will be forever grateful.

 

img_9485.jpg

 

img_9490.jpg

 

Honoraro Burgers

For those wanting something hearty and quick then this place will do the job. We stopped off here for lunch after visiting the Belém Tower and wolved our burgers down in a matter of minutes! Cheap, cheerful and hard to beat.

 

Pasteis de Belém

After your burger make sure to save some room for the infamous pastries served next door. Pasteis de Belém are the bakers with the original Pasteis de Nata recipe which is why they have a constant queue outside their door. The pastries are little custard tarts that are so delicious you’ll want to grab a dozen when you’re there. We went to this place twice and my mouth still fills up with water when I remember them!

 

133620ec-c8b4-4b4a-8664-100b49b811b2.jpg

 

Palácio Chiado

This restaurant blew us away because we stumbled upon it when we were starving and desperate for a big feed. The ground floor is the eating area which has 4 different kitchens that you can choose your food from but upstairs is where we are jaws dropped to the ground. The building was once mansion and the original stained class windows and hand-painted ceilings are still intact. Their house cocktail is also the best one I’ve ever had!

 

814d13a6-6207-4867-806c-cab01df26cc5.jpg

 

Landeau

When you’re strolling around the LX Factory, ogling all the amazing Portuguese craft and design, you can seriously work up an appetite. Which was why I was so relieved to find this place to rest my bones and discover a chocolate cake so light I was practically floating afterward.

 

img_9766.jpg

 

DRINK

Bairro Alto is an area of Lisbon that is coming down with bars and clubs but there are still lots of choice no matter where you’re staying in the city. Since we’re oldies, we only managed the one big night out but we made a fair effort to sample as many Portuguese beverages as possible. The only thing I wouldn’t rate is the ginjinha – the local cherry gin. It’s basically Buckfast (a tonic wine favoured among some Irish folk) masquerading as an elegant liqueur!

 

Pensão Amor

This place was once a brothel located in the old red light district and it still has that dark and moody atmosphere that would have attracted those frisky sailors all those years ago. It’s a popular joint and was hiving when we were there on a Saturday. Brilliant fun and well worth a visit.

 

img_9261.jpg

 

Park Bar

This bar is a little of the beat and track because you have to get through a carpark to find it. It’s on the roof of the carpark which means the roof terrace has incredible views of the city. It’s the perfect place to watch the sun go down with a cocktail in hand.

 

6a8705d0-5165-47bd-812e-73cdbe17e8ba.jpg

 

Pivalhão Chinês

This weird and wonderful place is a great place to stop for one or two drinks. It’s crammed full of random paraphernalia from toy cars to war memorabilia and there’s some pool tables down the back that you can enjoy a few beers over.

 

img_9497.jpg

 

SEE

There is plenty to do and see in Lisbon as the city is so crammed with history that any street could lead you to a different story. We chose to do a free walking tour – a little touristy I know but a great way to learn some quick facts and get your bearings over the place. Some buildings were more incredible than others but I’m sure there’s plenty we didn’t get round to seeing!

 

Alfama

Be sure to get lost in the streets of Alfama if you can because it’ll feel like taking a trip back in time. This is the oldest part of the city, the only part to have survived the big earthquake of 1755 and so the buildings here are dripping with history. We stayed in an Airbnb apartment in Alfama and took a different street to the city centre every day. I woke up the sound of bells ringing and all the oldies chattering to each other from balconies (not so great if you’re a fan of sleep ins!).

 

c591da73-0943-4ea0-8295-06bd838e1eb2-1.jpg

 

 

76020196-204c-40e0-8500-f69b62d3fb08.jpg

 

Belém

Not only does this area of Lisbon have their infamous pastries to offer but it also rich in history. The Belém Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage site found on a sandy beach by the Tagus River. Just a short walk away is the Jerónimos Monastery, another 15th century building to drool over and stand in awe of. Make sure to get some pastries after!

 

682f6bad-7a3f-4694-aacd-b770a663bcdb.jpg

 

img_9404.jpg

 

792c31ba-855e-48a8-b0e9-4e709ec7c332.jpg

 

Trams/Funiculars

Being a city of hills meant that the Lisbon folk had to be find ways to rest their wearisome legs. The trams themselves would be a relic in other cities (some date back to the 1930’s) but here the locals use it as a commute to get around the city. Tram 28 is the most popular for tourists but unfortunately it’s pretty hot for pickpockets as well so keep your wits about you. Tram 11 is quieter but just as lovely and can take you to Belém for the afternoon.

 

bfbd5aff-fc7b-4392-8b82-da82c53725eb.jpg

 

Squares Galore

Every corner you turn in this city feels like the gateway to another square. They’re all beautiful and the perfect place to people watch with a drink in hand. My favourite was Praça do Comércio which overlooks the river and on to the 25 Abril bridge (which is basically a knock off of the Golden Gate bridge). Another great place for a sunset and to spy the school kids in their Harry Potteresque capes (the school is incredibly old and had capes as a uniform as a way to encourage equality amongst the children regardless of their background).

 

86c425f7-11b7-4f7f-b807-c7ce009392e8.jpg

 

img_9461.jpg

 

Sintra

This village is only 30 minutes on the train and well worth a visit if you’re a history geek like me. This was where the Royals would spend their summer and the main palace, which looks like something from a Disney film, has been wonderfully preserved.

 

img_9704.jpg

 

72346311-d177-4b49-8fe3-bb2e1bc226f6.jpg

 

SHOP

There is no shortage of places to drain your budget in this city and I had to restrain myself a number of times – good thing I only had carry-on luggage! From markets to vintage shops, there is

 

Markets

We are staying just around the famous Feira da Ladra or “thieves market” in Alfama which is on every Saturday and Tuesday. Everything under the sun seems to be sold here and there is definitely some diamonds to be found among the rough. Another trendier market is the Mercado da Ribeira which has been curated by Time Out. This is a great place to stroll around and grab a bite to eat while having a nosy at all the stalls.

 

e33c0ef5-e77e-4f23-bb2c-cbad66421dd9.jpg

 

LX Factory

The LX Factory is a creative island that is found in a once abandoned industrial area of Lisbon. Now the hub is jammed full of galleries, design shops and restaurants that can keep you occupied for a whole afternoon. My sole reason for going was to visit a bookshop I had been lusting over since seeing it on Instagram. Ler Devagar doesn’t have a lot of English books but the wall to wall shelves covered in books will make your booklover heart swoon. One tip for the factory: don’t go on a Monday since this is the quietest day and a few places may be closed.

 

0516ad29-9699-421d-93a2-2e3aac34b005.jpg

 

img_9417.jpg

 

img_9422.jpg

 

Vintage

If you’re a hoarder of vintage clothes then a visit to A Outra Face da Lua is an essential pitstop. The shop has an amazing collection and the design alone will have you coming back again. There is also a wee café inside that serves some tasty snacks including chocolate cake with flakes of salt on top (I may have eaten chocolate cake every day in Lisbon – no lie). My favourite shop had to be A Vida Portuguesa – a shop that filled me with so much joy I wanted to cry a little bit. The walls are crammed with products of Portuguese design and showcases the most beautiful handcrafted goods. Perfect place for some souvenir shopping!

 

77cb6377-24b2-4484-821b-60c4d9515b59.jpg

 

8990bfb1-9301-40d5-af0b-cd9b24cf515a.jpg

 

img_9819.jpg

 

I could ramble on forever about everything wonderful Lisbon has to offer but the best advice I can give is to get there to see for yourself. I can imagine it’s wonderful in every season but it was the perfect place to escape to for a little winter sun and some much-needed wandering.

 

af289a4f-d1d1-44f0-9b44-04e8e9fcb99b.jpg

 

If you have any questions about Lisbon, please feel free to comment and I would be happy to answer any wee queries you might have!

 

xx

20 Ways To Be Creative

20 Ways To Be Creative

I have never thought of myself as a creative person because I have always associated creative people with having masses of talent, high above the consistently mediocre folk like myself. Growing up I was average at most things but never outstanding and felt inferior when it came to any occasion where real talent was required. I can’t sing (although give me a few glasses of wine and I’ll crow my heart out), play an instrument, speak a second language (I can ask to go to the bathroom in Gaelic and little more) and I am definitely not an athlete by any means. What I have realised as I have gotten older though is that most people who can do all these things have had to hone this talent over years and practice over and over again. No one is born with these skills and so why should I rule myself out from learning them?

 

Over the last few years I have slowly allowed myself to unleash whatever creativity I have within me and appreciate that some things take longer to learn than others. While I find making my own products very easy, knitting on the other hand I have found a little trickier. The beauty about being creative is that you can take as much time as you need with it because it’s the enjoyment that you’re doing it for. Those quiet moments that we so rarely get to ourselves are some of the most important of the day and by flexing our creative muscles we are making that crucial time a priority.

 

Everyone can be creative – you don’t have to Van Gogh or Laura Marling to make or create things of your own. All it takes is a little time and patience, to live in the moment and enjoy every second of doing something just for you. Here are a few ideas to inspire you…

 

1 Try a New Recipe

I know I rotate a lot of the same meals now and then which can zap me of all inspiration but I get the most enjoyment out of cooking when I’m trying something new. How about dusting off those cookbooks that sit unused on your shelf and challenging yourself one evening in the week? Make sure you have all the ingredients you need and enjoy making a mess for once!

 

Soup 2.

 

2 Make a Playlist

When you have a little time one evening how about making a playlist of all the songs you used to listen to as a teenager? I recently did this for a friend’s hen party and laughed so much as I kept finding more and more terrible/amazing songs from my younger years. This is the perfect playlist for a day when you feel a little low and need some cheering up – if R. Kelly’s ‘Ignition’ doesn’t have you beaming from ear to ear then there is something truly wrong.

 

3 Learn to knit

Or sew! I bought a knitting kit last week and have been trying my hand to make some booties. Turns out my Granny made it look easy and I have the coordination of a T. Rex. I’m trying not to rush it though and enjoy the process even though I have images of jamming the needles in my eyes. Those moments pass though and I’m sure I’ll make a lovely pair of booties in the next few years.

 

img_8596.jpg

 

4 Write a Letter

Receiving mail other than bills has to be one of the nicest surprises. I wrote a post about how we should all write more and to be honest I need to start taking my own advice. Taking the time to sit down and write down words you know might make someone smile is such a rewarding thing and so much better than sending a meme.

 

IMG_4614

 

5 Start a Garden

It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular but even growing a few pots of herbs on the windowsill can plant a seed (GET IT?!) of creativity. Start with something non-threatening like basil or rosemary and go from there.

 

6 Take a Class

This takes a little more effort but the impact could be even greater. There must be something that you have been hoping to learn more about but never have had the courage to just get up and do it so you know what – do that shit. There’s no time like the present so start that pottery/acting/clown class, leave all your insecurities at the door and expose yourself to not just a new skill but some new friends too.

 

54ba61d3-3745-44de-ac46-a4c914b9ac3b.jpg

 

7 Move 

You might not think of yoga or exercise as creative but you can inject a little creativity in to your normal routine. Take your yoga mat somewhere different or plan a new route to jog. Make it your own and fun.

 

8 Start a Blog!

Hey, if I can do it anyone can. If you feel you have stories or ideas that you’d like to share, then bite the bullet and create your own space to do this. The hardest thing is to share the first post for fear of what people might think but people can actually be lovely and it could be one of the greatest things you do.

 

9 Make Your Own Products

This is such a simple way to not only save money but also educate yourself on what’s good for your skin. I have been trying to introduce essential oils and natural ingredients in to my skincare routine for a while and the easiest way to do this is to make my own products. If you need inspiration, you can check some of my previous posts here and here.

 

f1c4ebff-dac0-497c-9eed-1a31dfffe1b3.jpg

 

10 DIY

When Andrew and I first moved in together, I had such a ball restoring and painting our Gumtree furniture. We didn’t have a lot of money to spend on new things so we had to make pre-loved pieces our own. I borrowed a sander, took the tables and chairs out in the back garden and spent the best March weekend being a wee DIY-er. Your first project should be something easily achieved in a day so you’re not tempted to stop half-way. How about some new shelves or a spice rack? You’ll be a regular handy-andy in no time.

11 Paint

This is a tough one if art isn’t your thing but there are plenty of Youtube classes where you can learn the basics of watercolour. The kids can even get involved in this one in case you want to make it a family activity with the best pieces getting framed on the wall. Just don’t get angry if your child is more skillful with the paintbrush than you are.

12 Arrange Flowers

Seeing flowers throughout my house can bring my spirits up on the rainiest of days. I like to get a bunch on the weekend and then distribute them in different jars and vases. You can be even more creative by getting lots of individual stems from your local florist and designing your own bouquet as a gift – or for yourself obviously.

 

cropped-IMG_4177.jpg

 

13 Colouring In

I got an adult colouring book and I am not ashamed to say that it’s the best thing for winding down after a crappy day at work. It’s the one thing that really switches my brain off yet I’m able to use colour and imagination while doing it. Don’t bag it out as a trend but give it a go and let your inner child chill the feck out.

 

img_9002.jpg

 

14 Scrapbooking

I have started scrapbooking all the photos I have taken throughout the year as a way to archive all the memories that can get trapped on social media. It’s a great way to look back on all the happy times and serves as a reminder that things are pretty damn good. When you’re gluing in all your photos, try and write little stories to along with them and any tickets or receipts that you might have kept. It will be a much better way to hang on to the memories.

 

IMG_3877

 

15 Photography

With everyone having iPhones now there’s no excuse to not take advantage of having a decent camera in your pocket. For those who know me, I am always expected to take a photo at every possible opportunity which I can sometimes be a little conscious of. Having a love of photography means that you are constantly looking for the beautiful things in life, the small things that many take for granted. What I recommend doing is taking a long walk on your own, snapping anything that inspires you and then keeping them for your next scrapbook. Allowing yourself to be inspired is one of the best luxuries.

 

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

16 Bake

Baking is a little different to cooking because your creativity is a little more controlled. There’s less opportunity to ‘wing it’ but when it comes to decoration, you can go wild. Next time there’s a birthday or special occasion coming up, how about offering to bake the cake? Spend an afternoon covered in flour and finish it off with a bit of bowl licking. Sure that’s why we bake anyway.

 

IMG_3958

 

17 Learn an Instrument

Could be something a little tricky like the guitar or go back to your primary school roots and pick up the recorder again. Making music doesn’t have to be intimidating but instead can be the chance to encourage a little confidence. Just don’t play ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ on repeat or your neighbour/housemate/partner may murder you.

18 Start a Journal

Starting a journal can be difficult because it’s hard to know where to start. There’s no point putting a lot of pressure on it but what you can do is carry a notebook in your bag and jot down any thoughts that come in to your head that day. Maybe start with a few lines in the morning describing how you’re feeling, some lyrics you heard on the radio or an idea you had in work. Journals don’t have to be that teenager epic with every emotion painfully analysed but can just be a log of all your wee musings of the day.

19 Bring Nature In

On your next adventure in to the wild/local park how about taking a few things home with you? You could collect some holly to decorate your fireplace, some shells from the beach or some berries for your dining table. Bringing nature inside allows us to appreciate the beauty of each season and all the colours that come with it. I even made myself an autumn wreath which I was really chuffed with which you can see here.

 

Processed with VSCO with f3 preset

 

 20 Try a New Hairstyle/Make-Up Routine

We can all get a little repetitive with our hair and make-up but how about spicing it up with something other than a messy bun? I’ve been wanting to learn how to do a proper crown braid for ages so I plan on sitting myself down in front of the mirror and taking the time to finally do it. Surprise your work mates with something new or at least get a laugh out of trying!

 

I hope these tips can encourage your inner creative to come out a little and that there a million ways to do it. Take the time to learn something new and above else, have fun doing it 🙂

 

A Guide to Copenhagen in Winter

A Guide to Copenhagen in Winter

Winter is the season to live slowly and with the movement of slow living grasping Instagram and beyond, the Danish word ‘hygge’ has become the fashionable word to use. There is no English definition of this word but generally it can be translated as a feeling that comes from taking pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special. This ideology is right up my street and I just knew Copenhagen was the perfect choice for a last getaway before my Aussie visitor ended her European travels. A bonus was that my baby sister Shannon was persuaded to tag along with us – a first trip away as adults!

We found a great deal on flights (£40!!!) with Ryanair from Dublin and booked ourselves an apartment on Airbnb. I know most people know all about Airbnb but if you haven’t, make sure to look the website up next time you’re booking a break. Andrew and I use it everywhere we go and it’s a great way to get a sneak peek in to local life. We were staying in an apartment in Vesterbro which is a little west of the city centre but super handy as we were right on the main street that took us directly in to town. The apartment was small but had everything we needed including a wee balcony to enjoy in the mornings – if you fancy having a nosy you can check it out here. The owner Janice was lovely and allowed us to check out at 5pm because our flight home wasn’t until 8pm – fab host!

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

We had three wonderful days in Copenhagen so I’ll fill you in on what we did each day…

Saturday

We landed at around 7pm which was a perfect time to get to the apartment and start a quest to find somewhere to eat. The airport was only 20-25 mins away and I couldn’t get over the lack of traffic! We were at our new home in no time to meet our host Janice who gave us a quick tour of the apartment. With that over we headed out immediately in search of food and stumbled upon Restaurant Ngoc Linh, a Vietnamese that did the tastiest shredded pork! Unfortunately Belfast doesn’t have a Vietnamese restaurant (at least I’m almost certain it hasn’t although if I’m wrong please tell me!) so I was overjoyed to taste some authentic South East Asian food.

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

After we were fed we of course had to be watered so I did what any good tourist does and searched for the best bars on Tripadvisor. I had read that the Meat Packing District was a new up and coming place however we found ourselves on what seemed to be called ‘Thai Corner’ amongst a street of strip clubs – not exactly what we had in mind! We found a few places but they were all ‘bodegas’ – bars that allow smoking inside – not a good idea for Shannon and I! Embarrassingly we ended up in Kennedy’s, an Irish Bar! We were just so happy to find a warm pub that we stayed here until 1am and to my amazement I was able to keep up with the young things and we carried on after to the clubs of Verstergrade until 4am!

Sunday

I was relieved to wake up feeling only semi-horrendous on Sunday morning but after a Berocca and a litre of water I was grand and ready for some brekkie. We headed out in the hope of getting breakfast at Granola, a popular place in the area, but to our disappointment it was jammed and so we headed off for an alternative. We found Café Phenix not too far away which served an amazing buffet breakfast and made our hungover hearts sing. Well mine and Shannon’s anyway – Holly was feeling so under the weather she had to go back to the apartment to rest!

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

After a dose of pancakes, bacon, eggs, muesli and weirdly salmon, Shannon and I trotted down the main street to the Tivoli Gardens. I was incredibly happy walking along the street, peering in to all the wonderful shop fronts of so many wonderful small businesses. All the shops had their windows and doors adorned with fir and lights and candles were to be found flickering on steps to give customers a feeling of welcome.

Processed with VSCO with f3 preset

If the sheer abundance of candles didn’t give us a sense of magic then the Tivoli Gardens were sure to deliver and that it did – and more! From the moment I spied the gates of the second oldest theme park in the world, I knew I was about to step in to a truly special place. Christmas music was drifting intertwined with the smell of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts… I could barely contain myself.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset


The sheer scale of the park was what shocked me the most. Everytime I thought we were coming to the edge of the park we would turn a corner and find new stalls, rides and games to discover. We ended up spending the day here because there was so much to see and for an entrance fee of only £13 I thought it was a bargain. Shannon and I stopped for a stein of beer in a few of the many bars and restaurants to warm up from the bitter cold outside and Holly joined us later when she felt a little more human. As she she arrived the lights came on around the park and the trees lit up the walkways and lakes surrounding us – it was like a Disney winter wonderland!

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

We had dinner in Mazzoli’s, a rustic Italian joint that served authentic Italian food with incredible flavours. It was so welcoming and we stayed there for quite a well as we knew the temperature outside was dropping quickly. We finished off the dinner with some great hot chocolate and made plans to head back the apartment to have an early night and get cosy.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Monday

We woke up fresher on Monday morning and full of plans to make the most of our last full day in the city. We headed out for breakfast at Café Obelisk and had the Danish version of a full fry (a slice of brie with breakfast? Yes please!) before a walk through the streets of the city centre. I spent most of the walk gazing upwards at the stunning Scandinavian architecture which proved slightly dangerous but the Danish are so polite they just got right out of my way. Speaking of the Danes though, they have it all figured out! Everyone cycles everywhere which explains the lack of traffic and they are super friendly that I felt so welcome despite my terrible and non-existent Danish!

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

As we passed the City Hall and walked down the shopping streets with blinders on we headed towards Nyhavn. Before we flew to Copenhagen I had seen pictures of the canal of Nyhavn with the most colourful buildings dotted along it with the boats in the foreground but I had no idea just how beautiful it would be in real life. It was breathtaking because as we got there the sun began to go down and the sky started turning a cerise pink which only allowed the colours to become more saturated. Needless to say I took a million photos although none of them to do the scene justice.

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

After a mega-large stein of beer to fuel us, we then walked across the bridge towards Freetown Christiana where the sunset had taken on a new level of amazingness. Freetown is an area that was once used as an army barracks but when the army moved out in the 1970’s, squatters began to move in and it has since been declared as autonomous from Denmark. It’s a pretty special place that embraced the hippie movement and was such a stark contrast to the military history of the land so of course we had to go there.

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

We strolled through the streets as it started to get dark and because there are no street lights or cars in Freetown, there was an almost eerie feeling as the sun disappeared. We never felt in danger and despite getting lost amongst the wooden framed houses, a friendly local was happy to point us in the direction of a bar. Another thing about Freetown is that cannabis is smoked openly and so as we entered the bar we were greeted with a cloud of smoke and quite a few glazed eyes staring back at us. Luckily there was another bar that Shannon and I could breathe easily in so we headed there for another wee beer.

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

As we began our trek back to the apartment we were overcome with starvation and needed respite from the icy cold winds. Luckily we spotted an Irish Bar called The Dubliner (how predictable I know and I can feel the head shakes as I type) but I had the best belly-warming beef and guinness pie so there were no regrets! We were back home at a reasonable hour to warm ourselves up and rest our tired hooves from a big day of walking.

Tuesday

This was our last day in Copenhagen and because Holly was flying to London at 3pm and we were flying a few hours after, we decided not to stray too far from the apartment. We managed to go as far as Kaffestuen for some lunch and a dander and enjoy our final hours in our Danish apartment.

I said my goodbye to Holly which was quite tough but I felt so lucky to have her for a whole month. This is the danger with having friends across the world – you feel like you’re constantly saying goodbye. Shannon and I were left on our own to pack our things before heading to the airport.

I didn’t feel quite ready to leave Copenhagen because I felt so at home there but I know I will be back again to explore even more. I couldn’t recommend it enough and if you’re ever in need of a winter escape, make sure to consider this city because it’s the perfect place to have a slow, relaxing time in a place that it is really brimming with magic.