Christmas in Copenhagen – Juleaften

KastelletToday was the day we were most worried about in terms of finding things to do as the Danes have Christmas Eve (juleaften) as their main event.  We decided to let it go and do nothing.  Just have a wander about.

We headed up to Kongens Nynorv again, and walked down to the Kastellet fortress.  Not before coming across a group of (presumably) American expats singing the American national anthem at the top of the Metro steps.  It was one of the many surreal things we witnessed on this trip.

At the Kastellet, there were so many people out walking and running – it was busier than I’d ever seen it!  Random wandering then took us past Amalienborg Palace just as the Changing of the Guard was happening – very touristy of us, but we stopped to watch as we hadn’t seen it before.  There wasn’t any fancy music, so I think we saw the Palævagt or Palace Guard.

Palævagt

We very pleased to find our Baresso was actually open for a couple of hours, so we stopped by Kongens Nytorv after watching the soldiers for another jul latte.   Oddly, everyone sat around us was British  – I guess us brits need our coffee.

We then took our time and walked back to the hotel, over to Islands Brygge and through Amager Fælled.  We were very excited to stumble across the Cirkelbroen which is a beautiful new bridge, and even saw people taking a dip in the harbour’s dipping pools (before they rushed back to the sauna carts).  It was quite cold at this point, so those people were incredibly brave!!

Cirkelbroen

Cirkelbroen

The walk took us through the residential areas along the harbour and I wouldn’t normally recommend that for tourists to do, but the apartments were so stunningly Scandinavian and I loved it.  There was a monstrous circular block called the Gemini Residence which was so intimidating and gorgeous.  It’s made from two converted seed silos, and still has a very brutalist concrete cylinders at the base.  I want to live there.  I wanted to live in most places we walked passed.

In marked contrast, Amager Fælled was stripped back and stark.  I’ve walked through this park when it was snowy and I’m sure it’s beautiful in summer as well, but I love it in winter.  Plus, you can see our hotel from the middle!

Amager FælledWe’d walked quite a bit by the time we got back to the hotel, so I had a lovely nap and Husband played a game on his phone that he became obsessed with.

Dinner was just in the hotel as we knew nothing would be open, and was surprisingly lovely with free prosecco to start, and a free little bag of treats to finish.  We then decided to try out the Sky Bar on the top floor where we got yet another glass of free prosecco (YES!) and had a couple of cocktails.  We stayed up there until closing time and then stumbled one floor down.  I mean, I’d had four alcoholic drinks by this point – this is the most I have had in one night for a very long time.

Christmas in Copenhagen – Lillejuleaften

Kongens Nytorv at ChristmasChristmas used to be my favourite time of the year but I’ve felt my feelings on it change over the last couple of years as I’ve got older.  I try not to be a miserable grinch, but from the minute the shops start playing Christmas songs after Halloween, I start grumbling.

So Husband and I made a decision this time last year – we’d treat ourselves and go away on holiday for Christmas 2015.  My initial clicking around online led us to Florida as it would be lovely and warm, then Vegas popped up for a bit to tempt me, then we scaled it back to Malta before the flights all sold out, so almost in desperation we resorted back to our old favourite – Copenhagen.

We knew the metro was 24 hours, we knew there would be some restaurants open, and we knew the city, so Copenhagen turned out to be the perfect choice.  We arrived on the 23rd December and the sun was setting as we checked into our hotel – the AC Hotel Bella Sky.  It’s a few miles out of the city centre, but I have been desperate to stay there since I first saw it years ago.  It’s a beautiful hotel.

AC Hotel Bella SkyWe had a room on the 22nd floor right at the end at the front of the righthand tower.  I was very excited by our floor to ceiling windows.  Husband, with his fear of heights, was less excited.  We didn’t have the “city view” but we didn’t mind – we could see the Øresund Sound which was good enough for us.  We even got free breakfast which was a complete surprise.  Yay for daily eggs!

We went straight into Kongens Nytorv (which I have finally learnt how to pronounce) and into Baresso for a Jul Latte and a couple of Kanelroses.  This is our favourite coffee shop for people watching which always has seats available, and we reminisced over when I used to meet Husband here after work.  We then wandered around Strøget for a while, popping into shops and peering at window displays.

Strøget at ChristmasIt was lovely to be there with all the Christmas lights, but a tiny bit disappointing that there wasn’t any snow.  They are experiencing crazy mild temperatures for December as well – it was only a couple of degrees colder than the UK.   No matter.  We also missed out on the Christmas markets – they were literally taking them down as we walked through the Kings Square.  Hence the rather sad looking Father Christmas in the top photo.

Nyhavn looked beautiful as always though.

Nyhavn at Christmas

We rounded the night off at Tight which always has good food and lovely staff.  Except when Husband forced me to eat liqorice crème brûlée – what is it with the Danish and their liqorice obsession?

Bring me an alien this year

Christmas has become a little different since the arrival of my two nieces.  They’re not quite old enough to understand what’s happening, but there is definitely a higher proportion of plastic flying around!  We had Christmas lunch at my in-laws, but as always, we spent a couple of hours at my parents in the morning opening presents.  Everything was nicely timed so we effectively opened presents over the course of the whole day.

I lucked out this year for several reasons.  Reason number one:

J4Husband upgraded my Nikon J1 to a Nikon J4.  My J1 is getting a little tired and I’ve spent the last year or so debating what Compact System Camera to get as I knew I wanted another mirrorless one.  I eventually settled for the newest Nikon – I knew my lenses would fit and I’m familiar with the settings.  So far, I love it – much smaller and lighter than my J1.  The above is the last photo I took with my J1 😦

Christmas 2014Reason number two that I lucked out was that my wonderful mother-in-law had just got back from New York where she heroically braved Sephora and Co Bigelow for me.  She bought me the Glitz and Glam Party Essentials which has so much great stuff inside, a set with 10 Sephora eye pencils, a Deborah Lippmann varnish in Let’s Go Crazy, and some of my favourite Lavender and Peppermint conditioner from Co Bigelow.  I have been in heaven playing with all my new make up over the past couple of days.

Husband also bought me an arctic fox necklace from Tatty Devine and Science For Her by Megan Amram which is hilarious.  My brother-in-law and his wife got me Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes which I can’t wait to dig in to, and a sleep set from This Works.

Now I just need somewhere to squirrel this stuff away.

It’s just nice to meet another human that shares my affinity for elf culture

Boxing Day

Our Boxing Day walk

I unashamedly love Christmas.  I love getting gifts, I love giving gifts, I love the food, and I love being around my family.  And I’ve been lucky enough to have some pretty great Christmases.  This year was no different.

We stayed at my in-laws Christmas Eve and opened our first gifts there when we woke up on Christmas morning.  And the gifts didn’t stop when we got to my parents for dinner (which was YUMMY.  Well done my Mum).  My parents tend to get Husband and I joint gifts and then other individual gifts.  We got a fancy knife set for our new kitchen which is much needed as we’re pretty much using one knife for everything at the moment.  Husband got lots of things for his travels and I got many many Ollie and Nic items.  WOO!  Plus very cute slippers, a woodland animal scarf and a fluffy snuggly top thing.

I got to open two presents from Husband at this point – a solid state hard drive (yay?  In all fairness, my Macbook does need a new one) and a beautiful drusy ring by Rachel Pfeffer.  I’d mentioned drusy jewellery years ago, and he’d obviously noted it down.  It’s so pretty and sparkly!!  And also impossible to photograph with the lenses I have.

Druzy ring2

With flash

Druzy ring1

Without flash

I need to stop looking at Rachel’s site now because I want everything.

We spent the afternoon watching Alpha Papa which I had bought my Dad for part of his present, and when my Mum started to get bored of watching the Blu Ray extras, we went back to the in-laws for MORE presents.

Husband and I finished swapping presents, and he surprised me again with a Tatty Devine lobster.

Tatty Devine Lobster

RED GLITTERY LOBSTER!

I love it. It’s flipping glittery!  He saw it online and thought it would be such a great present, especially seeing as we spent a few days in Maine a couple of months ago.  Can’t wait to wear it.

He also got me a hard case for my Parrot Zik headphones and hardback copies of the Hunger Games.

Books

My in-laws bought me Be Awesome by Hadley Freeman and Shady Characters by Keith Houston.  They also got me some Lush and Beauticology gift sets so I have some amazing baths to look forward to, a Ciate velvet manicure set, some pretty tights, and other assorted goodies.

Another favourite gift came from my Brother-in-law and his wife – a gorgeous set of lights from Brighton based Cable and Cotton.  They’re stunning.

Cable and Cotton

Off…

Cable and Cotton on

On!

I’ve wanted these for so long, now I just need to figure out where they’ll look best.  These are the Rainbow Drops set, but all of their sets are gorgeous and I would quite happily have them all around my house.

Sales shopping has been a bit hit and miss, and I’ve had more luck online than the high street.  I managed to get myself some more Snow Fairy (the only exception to my Lush ban, and only when it’s half price), some more beauty gift sets from Beauticology and Cowshed, and I am super excited to have bought an advent calendar.  Yes, an advent calendar, which is filled with a nail polish behind every door.  I was tempted by the Ciate Mini Mani Month when it was full price, but it’s even more of a bargain now it’s half price.  I was considering opening one every two weeks for the next year, but I’m not sure if I will manage to last out that long.

Minimanimonth

I still have another week off work, and at the end of the week we’re off to Brighton again for another visit to the Coalshed and another stay at the Old Ship Hotel.  It’s going to be bloody windy, but not even the weather can spoil Brighton.