48 Hours in Copenhagen

We don’t normally celebrate our wedding anniversary – it’s too close to both our birthdays and the start of the academic year, so no really effort is made and we’re both fine with that.

This year however, we thought we should do something special to mark the big 1-0. Our immediate thought – Copenhagen. Our favourite city to spend time in. The last time we visited was back in 2015 when we spent 5 days over Christmas just wandering around with big coats on. This time, we’d have just 48 hours to absorb as much Scandi culture as we could.

We stayed at the Bella Sky again, which was mostly fine. We’re used to the hotel being very quiet, but as we were still in tourist season, it was fit to burst with huge groups of tourists. I don’t know that I’d necessarily recommend this hotel, but it suited us for two days.

So what did we pack into those 48 hours? A lot of walking primarily, and visiting areas of the city that we haven’t visited before. Frederiksberg became our new favourite suburb, but we also had a wander around Amagerbro and the area around the DR studios (‘DR City’ as it’s known).

And we finally crossed the Inderhavnsbroen (Inner Harbour Bridge) from Nyhavn to Christianshavn after watching it being built over many years. We even got to stand on the bridge as it did the crazy opening thing (which surely cannot be safe???) – the middle of the bridge splits open to allow tall ships to sail through. Madness.

We didn’t eat loads of food, but enough to make a blog post about so that will follow, but definitely our favourite new stop for coffee with a view was the Original Coffee at the top of Illums. We went here several times – definitely a favourite new hang-out spot for us. And look at this view:

We of course explored both Illums and Magasin but we weren’t in the city to shop (which is just as well as the exchange rate was a disaster). Just across from Illums on Strøget is Hay House – an interior design wonderland. Two floors of beautiful Hay products, set out like a Danish apartment and almost like a museum. I was in heaven, but again that pesky exchange rate shattered my dreams buying it all. Instead, I just took a million photos so that when I win the lottery, I can re-create Hay House back in the UK.

I did manage to get a small memento however. Many years ago when Husband was on one of his many work trips to CPH, he stumbled across an independent jewellers called Ladyfingers – a shop featuring the work of female jewellery designers. I didn’t ever get a chance to visit on our previous trips, but I finally made it there this time and bought a beautiful necklace from Winberg Jewellery. The shop it situated on Jægersborggade which is an insanely trendy street and such a treat to visit. Wandering down here made for a pretty perfect Saturday afternoon.

In fact, everything we did made for a perfect trip. This was my 5th time in the city and Husband’s millionth, so we don’t feel the need to do all the touristy things. Just walking around, people-watching, and falling in love with the architecture (like the Mountain Dwellings building below) is satisfying enough for us.

August 2019 Things

I’ve seem to have had a summer break from blogging – completely unintentionally, but the month somehow got away from me. And now we’re in September, which is already shaping up to be incredibly manic (certainly from a work perspective).

Misshapes: The Making of Tatty Devine
At the beginning of the month (which feels like a lifetime ago), I dragged Tim to the Tatty Devine exhibition in the Lethaby Gallery, Kings Cross. It celebrates 20 years of the jewellery brand with exhibits showing off all of the beautiful things they’ve made over the years. It’s just started touring the UK and is well worth a visit for a Tatty fan.

Away Suitcase
I’m such a cliche. I became a little obsessed with Away suitcases after seeing them appear in various vlogs like Kara and Nate and when reading the rave reviews they received from other travel bloggers. So when I needed a new suitcase for a weekend away in Copenhagen, I decided to bite the bullet and buy one of their small carry-on bags in Coast. It was such a great decision – we managed to fit so much into it and it was so easy to manoeuvre around the cobbles in Copenhagen. Plus, the ejectable battery was a lifesaver when I realised I’d forgotten my plug adapter. Husband keeps mocking me for being so easily influenced, but I don’t care – I love it so much.

Copenhagen
Speaking of Copenhagen, we spent the last weekend of the month in my favourite place on earth. More on this later.

Neom facial
I noticed a couple of weeks ago that the new Neom store in Guildford offered spa services, so when I had a couple of hours of TOIL to take, I popped into town on the way home from work to experience one of their facials. It was heavenly, and entirely silent for a town centre location. I’m going to have to remember to blog about it because I enjoyed it so much.

Brunch at the Cosy Club
Another trip into Guildford to spend a £50 voucher I received from a bad meal in Bristol last year. We invited my Mum as we didn’t think we could spend £50 between Husband and I, so we feasted on eggs, pancakes, and assorted bacon treats. It was delicious.

July 2019 Things

July was an incredibly emotional month, and I was only at work for half of it!

Farewells
I said goodbye to an awful lot of friends and co-workers at work due to various re-structures. It was tough. I’ve been to 6 leaving parties in the past two weeks, and invited to a bunch of others that I couldn’t attend. Morale is pretty low at the moment, but we don’t have time to wallow as we have a lot to be getting on with in August and September.

Bom Dia!
I had my long awaited holiday to Portugal at the beginning of the month. We did nothing all week, which was perfect.

Moon and the London Contemporary Orchestra
The last time we were at the Barbican for the AI exhibition, we saw a showing of the Duncan Jones film Moon on the calendar. 2019 is not only the 50th Anniversary of the moon landings but also the 10 year anniversary of the film’s release, so the Barbican were celebrating by screening the film with the score played live by the London Contemporary Orchestra. It was spectacular – the score by Clint Mansell is so atmospheric, and it was so phenomenal to see it performed live.

Netflix’s Dark
I’m cheating a little with this, because we watched this last month and I overlooked it in last month’s Things, but I have remained obsessed with the German language show, Dark on Netflix. Season 1 aired a while ago, so it took me a while to remember who everyone was but I soon picked it up. This show continues to blow my mind (no spoilers) and I can’t stop reading articles, listening to podcasts, and scrolling through Reddit theories. Can’t wait until season 3.

Spa afternoon with my Mum
For my Mum’s birthday (which was a couple of months ago, I bought her a trip to the spa. The first chance we both had to enjoy it was earlier this month, and we spend a blissful couple of hours at the Brooklands hotel spa. Expect a blog post soon!

Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort

If you don’t like photos of beaches and sunsets, this probably isn’t going to be the post for you.

Earlier in the year, I spent a good few weeks trawling through various websites to plan a perfect Portuguese trip. We wanted somewhere not too far from Lisbon, but very quiet with no distractions. I’d initially settled on Cascais or Sintra for a location, but few of the hotels met my criteria (and the ones that did were way out of our budget) plus it seems quite touristy, so I started looking further afield.

And that’s when I found the Marriott Praia D’el Rey. After making sure Husband really didn’t mind the hour drive from Lisbon airport, we booked ourselves into an oceanfront room. This was only a couple of weeks before the trip as we’d left it really late to book so many of the rooms were sold out, but we’d definitely choose oceanfront again.

We’d had a long morning before we checked into our hotel – picking up the car from the airport took two stressful hours which meant we arrived much later than we’d planned to.

But the second we walked into the airy lobby, we instantly relaxed. Paolo at the front desk was amazing, and continued to be amazing over the course of our week. I’ve stayed at a lot of hotels but no one has ever offered the level of service he consistently provided. After promising us one of the best rooms (it really was), he introduced us to his colleague Patricia who told us all about the features of the hotel, and introduced us to my new favourite treat – ginja de Óbidos, a sour cherry liquor served in a chocolate cup. Delicious.

The amazing welcome we received then continued with every member of staff who always greeted us with “Bom Dia” or “Olá”. We had turndown service every night from friendly staff who made sure we had everything we needed, wonderfully attentive service at breakfast – everyone was exceptional.

The main draw for us at Praia D’el Rey was the lack of distractions. We spent every day (bar one) just lying on a lounger on the beach. It was something both of us needed after a busy and stressful few months at work – the opportunity to do nothing but listen to podcasts, read, or just nap was too good to pass up. If you’re looking for an action packed vacation, this isn’t it. The Marriott is on a fairly big resort of houses and a big golf course which is the main reason why people visit, but there really is very little else. There’s one tiny shop about 2.5 miles away – you can get a shuttle, but we decided to walk and ended up not finding it. We instead chose to go the supermarket in Óbidos to stock up on water and snacks but that was a 20 minute drive away so having a car is a must.

The hotel has a few different pools, a gym, a spa, and the beautiful beach. I treated myself to a trip to the spa for an incredibly enjoyable Elemis facial, and they also have the full range of treatments available. I was keen to get back to the beach afterwards but it would have been lovely to spend more time up at the spa.

Within the hotel, there are a few different options for food – we ate at the more formal Emprata restaurant on our last night, and it was incredible. Paolo had requested the best table for us, and we watched the sunset over a beautiful three course meal. My favourite course – my dessert which was inspired by ginja de obidos.

They have a couple of more casual dining options, and of course room service which we had twice because we couldn’t drag ourselves away from our view. We did end up eating at the Contato lobby bar most evenings because we got quite addicted to their tempura vegetables and also just because it was a lovely place to hang out.

The rooms have recently been renovated and have a beautiful beachy feel about them. We had a huge comfy kingsize bed, big fluffy pillows (my favourite), and places to enjoy our room service inside and out. I really couldn’t have asked for anything more. On the Sunday evening, we watched a beautiful Gujarati wedding in the courtyard in front of our room – what an amazing venue to have for your wedding!

When we checked out, Paolo and Patricia came over to say goodbye and to check that we’d had a good trip. They gave us some hints on the best time to visit next time – we could tell it was getting busier as the week went by, and I’m sure it’s even busier now the schools have broken up but apparently October is a great time to visit. It’s so great to know that the Praia D’el Rey is just a short flight away for the next time that we need to get away from our day-to-day lives.

We can’t wait to return. Mostly to eat more Ginja.

June 2019 Things

So so late with this blog post as I’ve been on holiday for the past week, but before I write about that – a recap of my June.

The end of semester
Guys, we’ve made it. We’ve managed to get all the way through the academic year in one piece. Goodness knows how. Whilst we don’t have the summer off (as most people expect from university staff), I do get rewarded with a fairly quiet campus for the next three months. It’s bliss.

Late Night
If I could have booked my ticket for Late Night when Mindy Kaling announced it, I would have – I love everything she writes, and this film has the added bonus of Emma Thomson who is always brilliant. I dragged my BFF to the Picturehouse Central to giggle along to Emma’s acerbic put downs, and incredibly chic footwear. I can’t wait to see it again.

Six The Musical
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Six – a musical where the six wives of Henry the 8th are competing to be the lead in a girl band. It had the potential to be really cheesy, but it’s genuinely brilliant – I downloaded the soundtrack as soon as I left the theatre and have listened to it on repeat since then.

The Park Spa at Warbrook House
I feel like my search for the perfect local spa will continue for a while, but the Park Spa at Warbrook House very nearly ticks all the boxes. It has a wonderfully rural location, which means it has the number one item on my list – tranquility. The staff were really lovely, and the facial I had was incredibly relaxing. The only thing missing is the product – I’m not a fan of Espa products, but as everything else was overwhelmingly positive, I’m sure I’ll be back.

Sol de Janeiro – Sol Stick
I can never tell if I like the smell of the Sol De Janerio range, but I definitely love the smell of the Sol Stick – it’s like vanilla and biscuits, and I just want to eat it. It’s SPF 50, so perfect for my ghostly white skin, and doesn’t feel like it’s blocking my pores when I slather it on my face. As it’s solid, I can throw it in my handbag for when I’m taken unawares by the weather. I’m already addicted to using it.

Mr Jones Watches – Robotto Shi

Over the past couple of weeks, Mr Jones Watches have been treating their Instagram followers with a couple of mini sample sales. Very helpfully, they post a countdown on their stories (which gives me enough time to clear my calendar) but you still have to be quick because there’s only a few available.

The first drop was Robotti Shi and there were four or five different versions of this fun watch. Designed by Onorio D’Epiro, Robotto Shi was originally a limited edition before a re-designed version joined the permanent range. The silver robot on the original design is very adorable – stomping his way around Tokyo – but honestly, my robot is so much cuter!

A smiley rose gold robot with a pink background – it’s like it’s made for me! The back of the watch has no engraving which is unusual and quirky (I do like a quirky MJW) and it’s my first watch with a black metal strap which I really like.

They’ve already had their second mini-sample sale which featured variations of The 100th, and I did entirely miss that one which was a both a blessing and a curse. I’m keeping my eyes open to see what they dig out next – it could be an expensive summer.

AI: More Than Human at the Barbican

A couple of weeks ago, we took a quick trip to the Barbican to see the AI: More Than Human exhibition which promised an exploration of developments in AI. Husband was very intrigued, I was just happy for a wander around the Barbican, and a special cocktail.

The tickets had mostly sold out when we went to book online, so we only had 11am as an option. We got there about 20 minutes before this to pick up the tickets and have a quick wander in the shop (mentally bookmarking things for later…) and were let into the main display space.

I immediately hated everything about this exhibition space – they had either sold way too many tickets or had underestimated how long it would take people to get through as it was rammed full of people. I nudged my way through the crowd, taking in bits of information – there was a lot of golems, stuff about robot vacuum cleaners, Bletchley Park, random computer hardware. I couldn’t really see the link between all this and AI, but it’s not an area I know that much about so I shrugged and carried on.

I left Husband looking at the various things he was interested in, and he caught up with me talking to an online chatbot further in the exhibition – he’s far more of an expert on this stuff and told me he didn’t get it either. They had seemingly grouped together random things and there was no coherence, nothing interesting or exciting. I think this article sums it up – it was banal. I just wanted to get through to the end for my treat – a cocktail made by a robot.

I was kind of let down by having to speak to a person as I wanted an entirely robot experience, but it was a lovely cocktail. Husband had a Negroni and I had a mocktail called a Roy Rogers which was really tasty. The Makr Shakr robots are actually very cool, and definitely make for an interesting bar experience.

The exhibition is on until the 26th August 2019 – skip it, enjoy a robot cocktail, and just wander around the Barbican instead. Much more fulfilling.

May 2019 Things

Two bank holidays – always a pleasure. May was actually quite busy after a couple of quiet(er) months. I just need to get around updating this blog!

Celtic Manor – again!
Bank Holiday one was spent at the Celtic Manor yet again, with afternoon tea and a couple of spa treatments. We did consider booking the same for Bank Holiday two, but it was more expensive and we were feeling lazier!

Mermaid Hair
Over the past few months, I’ve been steadily getting rid of the orangey undertones in my hair. We finally managed to crack it, so the wonderful Jo at Gilded Hair gave me mermaid hair. Everyone at work was incredibly shocked, I can assure you of that.

Tatty Devine Sample Sale
This was my second sample sale experience, and I spent a silly amount of money. Hurray!

Comedians Giving Lectures
A couple of weeks ago, Sara Pascoe tweeted that there was tickets available for the taping of her new show, Comedians Giving Lectures. It combined two of my favourite things – funny, funny people, and Powerpoint presentations – and I managed to get tickets for the penultimate episode featuring Tom Allen (who I ADORE), Nish Kumar, and Natasia Demetriou. All three comedians were as brilliant as expected, and it was fun to see the taping, particularly after seeing how the Americans do it on a couple of occasions. Hopefully I won’t see myself in the audience when it airs in a couple of months.

Robot Cocktails
More on this in a future posts, but we visited the Barbican for an exhibition on AI, and decided to partake in some robot-made cocktails. It was very unnecessary, but super fun.

Tatty Devine Sample Sale 2019

Tatty Devine Sample Sale

There are three types of people who go to the annual Tatty Devine sample sale in East London:

  • The early-starters – the ones who get there at goodness knows what time in the morning (or even the night before) and seemingly never leave the hall…
  • The late-morning queuers – the ones who get there just before the doors open and lose all feeling in their legs as the morning goes on
  • The afternoon browsers – the (sane) ones who don’t want to spend the whole morning in a queue so get there in the afternoon when everyone else has collapsed, and somehow manage to pick up dream pieces regardless

If you’re in the top two groups of people, you need to show serious commitment. This not for the faint-hearted – there’s rain, sun, and everything in between. If you want the good stuff, you need to get there early and be prepared to queue.

I’m firmly in the second group. Whilst I admire those who get there before the sun rises, I could never spend hours camped out on the floor outside St Hilda’s East Community Centre – I love Tatty Devine, but just not enough for sleeping bags and camping chairs.

Tatty Devine Sample Sale

I got to St Hilda’s East at about 9.15am and there was already a healthy number of people in the queue. I put my headphones in (Editors – The Blanck Mass Sessions) and prepared myself for a long wait. Over the course of the three hour queue (yes, three hours), we shuffled and shivered along slowly. I survived the freezing cold wait by thinking about the Dum Dum doughnuts I’d reward myself with when I was done, and also by wondering if my knees would ever allow me to sit down again.

At 12.30, I was inside the hall and greeted with half a dozen tables stacked full of acrylic jewellery goodness. We’d heard that there had been bags for sale as well, but they had long gone. I then don’t know what happened to me – I think I must have fallen into some kind of fugue state as I didn’t emerge from the hall until 2pm.

Tatty Devine Sample Sale

I do remember saying to myself on a number of occasions that I had finished my selections, only to go around the room for one last lap and find more stuff. Both a curse and a blessing – there are frequent drops of new stuff from staff and customers who are putting back unwanted items. At one stage, I was literally in the queue to pay when I saw someone put a pink lobster down, so I went around the room again to see what else had been given up. You can understand why people don’t want to leave – there is a huge element of fomo and thinking that your dream piece might be just about to arrive in the room.

But when I did eventually leave/escape/come to my senses, I was very happy with my purchases – I spent way more than I had planned to, but I really couldn’t bring myself to put anything back. Really looking forward to my June payslip though.

Tatty Devine Sample Sale

April 2019 Things

April 2016 Things_2

London Marathon 2019
I am phenomenally proud of my little brother – he ran the freaking London Marathon! We made our way up to London a couple of Sundays ago to see if we could see him – I’d read a lot about the best places to spectate so we weighed up all the options and decided on the halfway point in Wapping just by Shadwell DLR station. It was very busy as soon as we got off the train, but we walked a little further up The Highway and managed to get a good spot on the barrier. And then we saw my brother! He looked fairly cheery, although I think he was in significant pain at that point but we sent him on his way again.

We had planned to get down to Canary Wharf to see him again, but we couldn’t get back on the DLR as it was rammed full of people, so instead we took my Mum for some coffee to warm her up, and then put her on the tube to see him at the end of the race.

I’m not a bit fan of crowds so I was a little nervous about going up there, but I highly recommend it. The atmosphere is great which the runners really appreciate, and there are plenty of places to get to the barrier if you pick the right area. We even got to see some celebrities.

Easter Vacation
For some inexplicable reason, my University closes for a week over Easter. I took the opportunity to do very little – brunch with Mum, a bit of shopping, a few beauty treatments, and discount Easter eggs. It was definitely needed.

April 2016 Things_3

Shopping at Gunwharf Quays
I have been on the search for a new bag, and had heard that a new Kate Spade outlet had opened at Gunwharf Quays so took myself down to Portsmouth to check it out. I was sadly disappointed – there were a lot of great bags in the store, but not what I was looking for. I tried the Lulu Guinness outlet as well but left empty handed. It was a remarkably quick visit

Fleabag
I didn’t really get into Fleabag season 1 – I’m pretty sure I watched it all, but it didn’t draw me in. However, season 2 grabbed me and we watched it all in one night. Such incredibly unbelievable writing and it left me heartbroken!

New Phone
Husband has been driven mad by the appalling performance of my 2 year old Nexus 5X (which is actually my third one – they keep breaking and Google keeps sending me a new one). The battery was awful, apps kept crashing, everything took 30 seconds to load, but I stayed with it because the alternatives were stupidly expensive. And then, out of nowhere, John Lewis dropped the price of the Pixel 3 and I snapped it up. The difference has been incredible, and I can’t wait to play with the camera properly.