Food & Design: How to do Malmö on a budget

 

Everyone says Sweden is expensive. I knew it was going to be expensive. In the back of my mind I brushed it off, “Yeah, yeah – I know, I know!” After all, I’d been there on holiday, I’d seen the prices in supermarkets, I knew what I was talking about. That is, until I actually moved here and began living with the reality of it being as expensive as it is. 30% tax on your wage plus nothing costs less than a pound in supermarkets. The bargains aren’t as tempting, the staples aren’t as cheap and you’re surprised on a daily basis by the things you’d assume would be a similar price are actually three times the price!

This was my reality for the first week of living here while my partner and I found our feet. Everything we did was tinged with a sense of “can we really afford to keep up our old eating habits long term?” So much so that the both of us started losing sleep over it. So far, our Swedish adventure wasn’t working out the way we expected it to. After a week or so we knew that things would have to change but we weren’t prepared to totally give up on quality. Having lived on a budget before I knew we had to be canny about what we bought, where we bought it and when we bought it to make our SEK stretch further.

Two months on and here we are, making it work in Malmö! I’ve gathered some of the best tips and hints for basic survival, but also ways of maintaining those treats that keep you sane. Living here can work long term if you’re on a budget and a bit sneaky!  Here are some of the solid gold tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the past few months:

 

Food and Drink

Checking your local ICA Nära from 7-8pm for cheap sourdough, fikabröd & rolls should become part of your weekly (if not nightly) routine. Conveniently, ours is just around the corner but chances are wherever you’re living in Malmö you’ll be close to one too. You can pick up sourdough for 12kr, big baguettes for 5kr & rolls & pastries for 3kr a piece if you catch them at the right time.

Livs (grocery) stores are the way to go in Malmö. Cheap, good quality produce, good variety & they reduce their prices in the evening around about the same time as ICA. I’ve often got big bags of passionfruit, apricots & strawberries for 10kr & big sacks of potatoes for 25kr. Picking up a “ten bag” of fruit and veg has become a staple of our evenings!

Möllan market is like the beating heart of the city when it comes to food. With so much competition in the area you can be sure that prices are always as low as they can be. If you catch them just before closing you may end up picking up some mega bargains, but be warned you’ll have to compete with other people to get the best stuff!

 

 

If you’re looking for snacks in Malmö then you’re also in luck. Cheap falafel can be found practically on every street corner, but the cheapest storfalafel I’ve found is for 25kr at Chaplin Grill on Bodekullsgatan and Värnhem. Babylon Grill near Folkets Park also offer a great range of Vegan alternatives. There’s a lot of competition here too so you won’t be out of pocket wherever you go.

If you know where to go you can always get a cheeky gratis coffee when you’re out and about in Malmö. How about some free organic coffee, tea & hot chocolate at the design shop Bolia, with a free chocolate accompaniment? So you can have a cappuccino whilst you ‘windowshop’ all of the lovely interior design pieces. Think of this as flicking through a real life catalogue over a nice cuppa!

IKEA Malmö (like other IKEAs) offer free coffee & tea on weekdays for IKEA FAMILY card owners. Even in the most unlikely places you can get a cheap coffee a free påtar (second cup), like at the Form Design Center in the middle of town. Enjoy the stunning examples of cutting edge or classic Scandinavian design (for free) AND not feel guilty about it!

 

 

Out and about.

The JOJO (pronounced yoyo) SOMMER KORT is the best way of getting out and about in the summer. It’s only 640kr (£62 ish) and is available from June 15th to August 15th. It will take you all over of Skåne, working on busses & trains, so you can visit the beautiful features & quaint little towns of the whole Skåne region. Public transport in general is very good and the prices can be flexible. You’re encouraged to use the regular Jojo Kort or your phone with 10% discounts and the ability to pick and choose where you go (why pay for all of the city when you only go to half of it?).

Malmö city is ideally designed for biking. Picking up a second hand bike on Blocket is pretty straightforward but biking is always available for the whole year for 250kr, around (£25!) with Malmö City Bike. You just have to sign up to the service. You get the bike for an hour before having to put it in one of the many docking stations dotted around the city at key locations, where you can simply pick up another if you need to. Nothing in Malmö is more than an hour’s cycle ride away. They even have a handy app to show you where your nearest docking station is in realtime, showing you how many stations are free and ready to use.

 

 

Malmö is a hive of activity, especially in the summer when it seems there’s a festival or event every other week. Malmöfestivalen is a week long festival of culture, food, music and entertainment that sprawls across the city offering free performances from some big name Swedish acts.

In addition to that there are regularly free shows & events at Folkets Park where you can see a wide variety of things in a small area. The park draws together people of all ages as there isn’t a square inch of it not buzzing with something going on. There are plenty of free art exhibitions at Malmö Konsthall, Form Design Center & Moderna Museet Malmö. If art is your thing then you’ll find the quality and variety is high.

There’s also Malmö Gallerinatt & Malmö Art Walk, which happened on the eve of September 30th. They are events in which open spaces around Malmö from 6pm till 12am to showcase the city’s galleries and up-coming artists and designers. That night the city is overflowing with great exhibitions, talks and projects to become a part of; FOR FREE!

 

Shopping

Loppis hunting is a big thing and a great way to pick up some bargains. Literally translated as “flea”, loppis stores are the equivalent of second hand and charity shops. This being Sweden you can pick up some big design names like Höganäs, Iittala, Stelton and many more. Emmaus near Triangeln is like a second hand department store with a huge range of men’s, women’s and children’s wear, not to mention household items and books. You can also visit Humana second hand clothes shops. Loppis Lounge on Djaknegatan also offers free black coffee and biscuits for its customers. So while you’re on the hunt for bargains, perusing the shelves for some Scandinavian design gems, you can rest assured you’re not bleeding cash as you go.

 

 

Getting stuff done.

Need to do some DIY? Can’t afford to just drop 500SEK on a drill? Then ToolPool is the place for you. Situated in a handyman shop on Störa NyGatan, they offer a service where you sign up and are allowed to take any of their power tools/DIY equipment for 24hrs, free. It’s a great way of getting things done cheaply and is a perfectly Swedish solution to a potentially expensive problem.

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Malmö is a hotbed of startups and small companies eager to make money and get recognised. That means there’s plenty of talent and competition out there, but it’s great for getting the ball rolling with meeting people, creating new business or job searching, which can otherwise be a daunting prospect.

Sign up to Creative Mornings: Malmö, for free events. They are great places to network and offer free coffee. Minc Malmö StartupLabs offer the possibility of a free-of-charge workspace, with wifi & coffee included for up to 6 months. Even though the tickets for ‘The Conference’ business networking event are expensive, there are many side events, talks and workshops for free. Also, Boxspace Malmö, offer a quick and easy sign-up to their free day-pass; including wifi & coffee.

I hope my little guide has helped any budding travellers or people wanting to move to this great city!

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Food: Gulrødspølse

Inspired by my many trips to Denmark, and their national fast food the rødpølse, I’ve made my own vegan version, which is tasty AF and a lot cheaper than sourcing the Danish hotdogs! You’ll often see a pølsevogn (or hotdog cart) on most street corners in Copenhagen!

The ristet hotdog is a rødpølse with many toppings. They are quite an experience to eat, trying to not drop it all on the floor is like a national challenge. Good luck, but it’s worth the challenge!

The recipe is similar to my Currywurst one, so feel free to make double the amount for two different Northern European dirty favourites!

Once again, I highly recommend prepping the carrots in advance, they’re dead simple to prepare but it makes all the difference when they’ve had time to marinate.

You’ll need:

  • Two medium sized carrots (per person)
  • 1tbs Smoked paprika,
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard,
  • 1-2 drops of liquid smoke,
  • 1tbs of cider vinegar,
  • 1tbs of light soy sauce,
  • 1tsp Garlic infused oil
  • 10ml water

Remoulade:

  • 3tbs vegan mayo,
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder,
  • 1 small gherkin, chopped,
  • handful of parsley, chopped,
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard,
  • 1tsp sugar,
  • 1tbs finely chopped onion
  • 2 chopped capers

To serve:

  • Ketchup (the Danes have a special hotdog ketchup, which I got from Scandi Kitchen but regular ketchup will also work)
  • Mustard
  • Handful of crispy fried onions
  • 1 Sandwich gherkin or 3-4 gherkin slices
  • 1tbs of chopped onion

Begin by topping and tailing the carrots and “carving” to make rounded ends, a bit like a wurst or hotdog style sausage. Peel the carrots and simmer in salted water on a medium heat until soft. Don’t over boil because they’ll fall apart and be of no use to anyone! You want the knife to slide through but not disintegrate when you lift them. When they’re done leave them to dry out and cool.

When they’re dry put them in a freezer bag or container to marinate with the paprika, cider vinegar, oil,  liquid smoke, mustard and soy sauce. Leave them to soak up the flavours for 3-4 hours or best, overnight. They’ll keep for a few days in the fridge if you’re making them well in advance.

Remoulade to the Danes is what brown sauce is to Brits or fish sauce is to the Thai, to make this curry infused mayonnaise sauce is rather easy. Simply, add all the ingredients and mix into a creamy, piquant sauce. Once mixed, Set aside.

To cook the hotdogs, simply take them out of the marinade and brown them in a pan, remembering to turn them. Once brown on all sides, they’re ready to load up!

Home your dog in a hotdog bun and top it with all of the toppings. Start with the ketchup, mustard and remoulade. Then the gherkins and the onions.

Serve with some fries or dill potatoes. Traditionally the Danes pair it with chocolate milk (even grown ups!) or a cold bottle of Danish beer like Tuborg.

Velbekommen!

 

Also- If you are in Copenhagen, the D.Ø.P pølsevogn do a cracking vegan hotdog!

 

Design & Food: Nordic Berlin: The Nordic influence on the German Capital

Recently I went on a cultural exchange trip to Berlin with University, funded by DAAD. Whilst there I noticed the Nordic influence on the city. Whether it’s my Scandi-obsessed mind I don’t know, but I found many influences from the Northern lands on the German Capital.

Architecture

 

 

It is possible to see the Nordic influence within Berlin,with some of its architectural destinations.

 

The Hansaviertel complex, near the Tiergarten has some of the best examples of mid 20th century architecture in the country, Interbau, a competition devised in 1957, for the world’s best architects to come up with a building each, within the complex. Here, you’ll find buildings from the Scandinavian masters of functionalism; Alvar Aalto, Arne Jacobsen and Kay Fisker, along with other international tour-de-forces such as Oscar Niemeyer, Le Corbusier and the famous Bauhaus school founder, Walter Gropius. In recent years, they have uncovered- and restored, a mural on the pavilion of the Aalto building. This mural, is a wave of sinuous, organic lines, that references his famous piece of design, the Savoy vase- now produced by Iittala.

 

Built in 1999, the Nordic Embassies in Berlin house all the diplomatic buildings of the Nordic countries, shoulder to shoulder. Devised by architects Alfred Berger and Tina Parkkinen, the embassies,- all designed by teams of different architects have been arranged geographically, each one reflecting the qualities of each nation. For instance the use of Milk glass in the Norwegian Embassy, references the glaciers of the Norwegian landscape. The Swedish and Danish Embassies proudly display the materials of their homelands, with the Swedish Embassy using white Gotland limestone, and the Danish Embassy highlighting its use of warm wood, and contrasting cold steel- its trademark materials, made famous internationally. The Icelandic Embassy, features a floor, paved with large lava tiles, which are illuminated below with a red light- giving the impression of the stark, volcanic landscape of the country. The Finnish Embassy, even includes two saunas- a nod to the compulsory national past-time of Finnish life. At the heart of the building complex is the Felleshus, or the Pan Nordic Building- which combines a space for exhibition, conference rooms, canteen, auditoriums- for all of the Embassies- and the general public, too. Using a mixture of Nordic materials, this building, expresses the unity of the Nordic countries.

 

The Nordic influence on Berlin can even be seen in the most German of all buildings; The Reichstag Building, housing the Bundestag. Along with the amazing architecture of Norman Foster, the Danish architect Per Arnoldi designed the concept of all the doors and the protocol room.

 

 

 

Shopping

 

Being a capital, Berlin is a shopping haven. The Scandinavian influence shines no less here, with so many Nordic brands to choose from. If you’re looking for clothes shops, stores such as H&M, COS, ECCO, Monki and Marimekko are for you. Design lover? You’re spoilt for choice with stores such as Scandinavian Objects, Iittala, Bolia and Bo Concept. Not forgetting that the big department store,

KaDeWe, stocking the Scandi favourites such as Normann Copenhagen, HAY, Ferm Living, Design House Stockholm and Georg Jensen.

 

 

 

Food & Drink

If you’re fed up with currywurst and pommes and looking for something a bit more Northern in flavour, then the restaurant Munch’s Haus on Bülowstraße is worth a shout. Serving up Norwegian traditional fair, with a twist, I’d recommend a visit!

 

A place that is equally popular in Berlin, as they are in the Nordic countries, is the humble liquorice shop. Loved by Northern Euopeans alike, these small confectionary shops are where you go for your fix of the black gold, or rather salty, black gold- flavoured with Salmiak ( an ammonium salt). In Berlin, Kadó, is where you go. An institution for 18 years, they stock a variety of liquorice products, from subtle Italian stuff, to the punchy (and tongue numbing) Icelandic and Finnish liquorice.

 

Just fancy something light with a coffee? Then look no further than the Oslo Kaffe Bar, at the Nordic Embassies. Wether you’d like to have a ‘kaffee pause’,‘kaffe og kaker’,‘fika’ or ‘kaffee og kage’, the act of having something small, with a coffee (or tea) and an opportunity to catchup with friends is an institution all over Northern Europe. The Oslo Kaffe Bar is a great place to do it too! Sip a well made latte, and eat buttery, cinnamon filled pastries amongst great pieces of design, such as Jacobsen’s iconic Swan chairs. There’s nothing better, I dare you!
 

 

Miscellaneous

 

A few more Nordic influenced perusings on this trip:

 

When the group and I had an opportunity to bake for students at a school, I noticed their cupboards stocked with Rosti Mepal cookware. They seem to be very popular here. Once two brands, Danish Rosti and Dutch Mepal, the companies were combined in 1976. In 1950 the Swedish Sigvard Bernadotte and the Danish Acton Bjørn designed the Margrethe bowl. This stackable mixing bowl, named Margethe after the queen of Denmark, is now in many homes across Northern Europe and Berlin and is a Design classic.

At the U-bahn station in the Gesundbrunnen district, you’ll find a beguiling sight. Osloer Straße isn’t just named after the Norwegian capital, as architect Rainer G. Rümmler designed the station emblazoned with the Norwegian flag, since its conception in 1973.

 

 

Design & Food: Our trip to Copenhagen part III (ii)

Late afternoon-ish we went back out for the next part of the journey, we were getting the train to Malmö to meet Tom’s childhood friend and his wife.

Buying a ticket to Malmö is fuss free and costs around twenty quid return.  We got on the very clean train (cleaner than anything back in the UK) and sat opposite each other looking at the window. Both of us humming the tune of Hollow Talk by Choir of Young Believers, the theme of the Scandi noir drama The Bridge/Broen/Bron with a smirk on our faces. The train itself doesn’t take long to get to the other side. The scenery of the sound was great don’t get me wrong, but I assume you can appreciate the spectacle a bit more if you cross with a car.

In a blink and we were at Malmö Central Station. When we stepped off the train there was a bit of a police or polis presence and, being the nerds that we are, were half expecting Saga Norén to be around the corner! We walked through the city, passing the Elite Hotel Savoy Malmö, a grand and exquisite 19th century building, you could imagine being in a Wes Anderson film.

First on the list was to change some money into Swedish Krona, which was quite easy as there was a Bureau de Change  around the corner. Expecting to change some of the Danish currency, weirdly it was a better deal changing from our GBP, so we did just that. Now we were ready to explore this amazing city.

We continued to the main square onto the stylish Södergatan where the streets are lined with chic shops and cafés. Shopping in Malmö has some of the familiarities of nearby Copenhagen, like Tiger (although over here its named TGR) but Malmö has its own range of Swedish shops that are simple and stylish and filled with things (sadly for me 😉 ) that are appealing to bring back home. Bolia for instance, is full of affordable Scandinavian design. Just walking into my favourite shop Granit is like a monochrome explosion. Everything in glass, concrete and black & white. I just had to stock up on glass bottles, in medicine bottle brown – mimicking ridiculously pricey Aesop products. To the left of Granit is Lagerhaus, like Granit- only cheaper. YAY!

Unlike Copenhagen, Malmö also has a Marimekko store and a MUJI – one of my favourite stores back home – well, when I visit London. We strolled onto Skomakaregatan in the Old Town, filled with small boutiques, artisan bakers and yet more cafés. Intrigued by a quirky little music shop, Folk å Rock. We went inside and I just got lost in the mountains of vinyl they stocked. Whilst Tom found his happy place, sipping a hot latte in the coffeeshop, downstairs.

 

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As I spent the rest of the afternoon shopping until the sun went down I sadly didn’t get to see one of Malmö’s most famous sights (and as an architecture fan, I’m kicking myself!). Over on Lilla Varvsgatan is the Turning Torso by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. It is the tallest building of the Nordic countries at 190m. The building (as I briefly saw when I got off the train, and since on Google)  literally twists, its sleek silhouette looking majestic in the sky. Thankfully, I will be able to actually see the building when we return (in February).

It was at this point when Tom’s school friend, Gareth came to meet us. He is one half, along with his wife, of the Swedish/Welsh design duo EmeryBloom. After checking a few more vintage records we all went out to the now chilly, dark streets. After introductions we popped in an out of the design stores in The Old Town we met up with Gareth’s wife, the beautiful and talented photographer Mysan Hedblom. Deciding where to escape from the night chill, we initially thought of a new Mexican restaurant. When we found out they were full, it was off back to theirs, with a stop on the way to a pizza joint, of course 😉

Well, myself and Tom weren’t. Pizza in this place was 200 SEK- £20 :/ So on Gareth’s recommendation we went to the Falafel house round the corner. For a tenner each we picked up a huge Lebanese falafel wrap filled with salad, hummus and pickles, a drink and some baklava. With the smell wafting up from the falafel, I just couldn’t wait to eat it.

We stepped into the lobby of an unassuming 60s office block, complete with marble effect floors and stained wooden panel. From the lift we emerged on the roof –  Yes, their house was on the bloody roof. Along with its neighbours it was an amazing glass box, with sharp angles looking out onto a communal garden space. Basically the stuff I read about in Deezeen. Inside, the walls were filled with their own pieces of art. Great photography by Mysan with graphic design by Gareth. This was the Scandinavian interior I’m trying to recreate back home in a Swansea semi-detached. We got the candles on and wine out and tucked in. The falafel was so good, with the sharp bite coming from the pickles. We finished the evening with the baklava, some tea from Well Tea co and a heap of Ylvis videos on Youtube.

Soon, it was time to get the train back to Denmark. I’m glad that the Mexican restaurant was full, as we had a better evening over theirs.

Tack så mycket both!

Food: Canna Deli

After a late breakfast at Brød in Pontcanna, Cardiff (which I’ve wrote about before, you can read here) with my friend Nia. We strolled around the corner on to Kings Road and next to a Co-Op was an open gate. Intrigued by its modern signage, myself and Nia went to investigate and found there to be a strip of local businesses, one of them being the Canna Deli.

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A reclaimed wooden bench sat outside the double fronted entrance, with its big windows and dark green metal frame providing a perfect industrial image for this eatery. Inside, the warm parquet flooring mixes with white tiles and pendant lights from IKEA’s SINNERLIG collection (designed by Ilse Crawford) with more reclaimed wood panelling. A pipe shelf display is lined with Welsh artisanal products for sale, such as Halen Môn salt, Welsh ciders and beers, Falcon enamel cookware and slate serving ware. What dominates the space is the deli counter filled with their award winning cheeses (made in Anglesey), pastries and cakes. Looking for something small to eat we sat down, and were greeted warmly in Welsh – Great!/Grêt! I hadn’t used my Welsh in a while, so this was a prime opportunity to practice.

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When you walk in you’re greeted by Elin and/or one of her super friendly team (yn Gymraeg, no less). Their menu, albeit a bit on the pricey side, is filled with a great selection of lunch options with great quality ingredients such as salmon from the Old Billyo Smokehouse. Looking at the specials  board our eyes were grabbed by the brie, cranberry and rocket sandwich. We ordered one to share and drinks – a tea for Nia and a cloudy lemonade for me. They do outstanding coffee I’ve heard but I was craving something cold and sweet as we’d just had two coffees in Brød!  As I went to order, I couldn’t stop looking at the cakes at the top of the counter and after asking their flavours I simply couldn’t resist getting lemon tart (topped with red currants and a pink macaron)!

It wasn’t long before they were both brought to our table, the sandwich in what looked like half a boule, all crispy and melty from the cheese and the lemon tart on a slate platter with their awesome logo carved into it. Needless to say the cloudy lemonade really went with the sharp, sweet flavours of the tart. It was simply delicious. This place is a proper hidden treasure. Gwych!

 

Find them at:

200, Kings Road, Cardiff,

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Food: Coffee Punks, Swansea

Opening just 5 weeks ago, I’ve passed this little treasure on the bus into town many a time. On Saturday finally myself and Tom went in. The brainchild of Glen Adams, this new coffeehouse might be a David compared to the likes of the Goliath big name high street chains, but its coffee certainly packs a punch.

With an interior of mismatched chairs, reclaimed wood panelling and Edison filament light bulbs galore, the whole place has a stripped back, industrial feel without removing the warmth. Think Shoreditch mixed with a warm jumper knitted by your gran.

As you walk in the place, you’re invited by the welcoming scent of coffee and the sight of the yellow custom Kees van der Westen Arte coffee machine pumping the air with coffee scented steam. The counter, made from reclaimed wood, is pitted and weathered with age,  imbuing the place with a sense of real history (albeit only having been open 5 weeks!) and adds to the warm edge of the place. But the real star of the show is the coffee and Adams is a real expert of his craft.

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Myself & Tom sat down and ordered two latte’s and a parsnip, lemon and ginger cake, supplied by local Swansea baker, Naturally Kind Food (maker of all things sweet, vegan and awesome). The warm spice of the ginger really complimented the smooth warm tones of the coffee. At under £3 for a great coffee in a great space, it beats getting ripped off in a conglomerate coffee shop, feeling like you’re just a number. Plus their food is supplied by Spanish/Welsh Power house Ultracomida, whose spots in Narbeth and Aberystwyth have given the towns a Mediterranean glow with their great food and wine.

The coffee was brought out by one of Tom’s old friends, Izzy – who was warm, friendly and great to chat to – to the sound of the Beatles playing in the background (great soundtrack guys btw!). We enjoyed the experience so much we even bought some of these funky mugs. And they even match and compliment the colours of our kitchen!!

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Visiting Coffee Punks is a no-brainer. Don’t just keep on passing by, walk in, support a local business and they’ll reward you with some of the best coffee (and cakes) in Swansea.

 

Find them at:

32, The Kingsway, Swansea

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DESIGN & FOOD: OUR TRIP TO COPENHAGEN PART II (II)

Continuing from my previous post on Louisiana, the Entry fee was surprisingly cheap at only 115 DKK (£11.50) for Adults and 100 DKK (£10) for me, a student. It lets you into any of the exhibitions and the numerous permanent collections. One thing I am unsure of is whether you can see the permanent pieces for free – but to see Kusama, it’s well worth it.

I’ve known about Kusama’s work for ages, but it wasn’t until a documentary last year on BBC4 about her & the Pop art scene had I really started to tune in with her and her work. The documentary was both brilliant and harrowing. I hadn’t realised that her life is governed by these polkadots, a symptom of her depersonalization syndrome, which made seeing it in real life all the more poignant and thought provoking.

The exhibition follows Kusama’s life work and the development of her life from her beginnings in a conservative, restrictive Japan, to her revolutionary body of work and performances in New York, to the work she has created from the hospital that she resides in in Tokyo.

 

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One of the installations in the exhibition is a red room lined with mirrors, with big statues of red spheres all festooned with Kusama’s dots. It truly is a sight to see and experience. The exhibition is on until the 24th of January, so if you’re in the area I’d urge you to see it!

At the time there was also an exhibition looking at Lucien Freud’s sketches. Accustomed to his vast paintings, this exhibition gave an insight on the artist, his process and made me appreciate him more than I already did (which is hard).

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Louisiana itself has amazing pieces of its own right from famed Danish artists like Asger Jorn, Karl Isakson and Richard Mortensen to International artists like Giaccometti, Klein, Warhol, Oldenburg to name a few. The place is chock full of great pieces such as their sculpture Garden, which features works by  Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Alexander Calder & Max Ernst.

 

 

 

I was in art heaven! I hadn’t been this close to a piece of Giaccometti’s work before. After studying his use of forms in my life drawing classes, I could see every contour in the sculpture. It was great! It had made my day, and it was only the early afternoon! It was also great to see a school, out on a trip sketching and studying the sculptures.

Before we set off again (with some new art books in tow) we just marvelled at the view from the building. It was a glorious day and I swear you could see Skåne/ or a part of Sweden across the crystal blue water.

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We made our way back on the train southward. It was past 2pm by this point and the breakfast had long vanished. I was ravenous. When we got back into the bustling capital, leaving the quiet suburbs behind, I had to grab something to eat. That was where the famous and trusty Danish hotdog stand or Pølsevogn came in handy.

Say hej to the famous Rødpolse. A hotdog sausage by nature, this foodstuff is something that Danes hold close to their hearts, and I would too. You can have it on its own, in a bun or ‘french style’, which is in a baguette style bun with a hole cut in the middle. Then come the toppings. The Danes love their toppings! You can have crispy onions, raw onions, mustard, ketchup (although different from Heinz), a Danish condiment called remoulade (is something else close to the Danish hearts) which tastes creamy with mayo and tart with a pickly bite. Or do as the Danes do and have them all or ‘alle’. It costs under 50 DKK, which makes it the cheapest form of fast food (considering the likes of McDonalds and Burger King are far more expensive than here in the UK) you can see how its a revered symbol of Denmark in the same way that wurst is a symbol of Germany.

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With the motor up and running again, we dropped back our stuff at our host’s apartment then it was back out again. Since Copenhagen is the city of bikes – seriously like everyone cycles – it’s weird seeing hundreds of bikes outside office buildings, essentially the equivalent of a car park. We just had to give it a go. We had a plan of moseying on down to the Normann Copenhagen store on Østerbrogade, and whilst we were at it we’d soak in some of the scenery. Now bear in mind, other than exercise bikes, my feet hadn’t touched bike pedals since I was 14. We rented out some of the city bikes which weren’t too bad a price 25 DKK per hour, but I definitely know it is cheaper (and probably better) to rent a bike from a bike shop, as they were damn heavy. Heavy and cumbersome to move, they definitely weren’t getting stolen any time soon xD As I mentioned, being inexperienced I was a bit wobbly at first but I soon found a steady rhythm (my hands hardly moving  away from the brakes and always behind Tom.) It really is a nice city to ride in, very scenic as you pass the lakes. Before long we had arrived at our destination.

 

The flagship Normann was huge and beautiful. Situated in a building that used to be an old theatre and water distillery, it is 1700 m2 of pure Scandi, stripped back design. I was loving it! All of my favourite Normann Copenhagen products were set in amazing geometric displays. They even had the beautifully designed (but hard to find in the UK) Normann Tea range. What I loved the most were the little Form Chair  miniatures peppered throughout the space, it gave it a sense of fun and whimsy. Like finding a hiding Little My from the Moomins. With some chai tea, in a beautiful citrine tin and a Skandinavisk KOTO candle (co designed by my favourite little Irishman Mr Walnut Grey, as part of the Design Bloggers United) . Now, somehow we had to get it all back and it was rush hour. Err, we hadn’t really thought this through. Tom being the hero that he is managed to carry the bag on his arm and cycle. This is nothing compared to the Danes though, being so used to cycling you see people having a morning chat, carrying a baby, carrying groceries all whilst cycling. From having little/ no confidence at the beginning, I was starting to become a bit cocky. I wanted to chat side by side with Tom, but in practice it was a distaster. Forgetting that they also use the lane to overtake and in rush hour, here was me going a nice steady pace chatting away with my partner before being sworn off the road by an angry Dane. The Danish are a lovely people but don’t be stupid and mess around with their cycling IN RUSH HOUR!

Finally getting back to the apartment, we chilled for a few hours before heading off for my birthday feast with my childhood friend, Rhianwen (IG @adashofplants) and her partner, Trine  (IG @milkingalmonds) who runs the amazing vegan food hub that is Milking almonds. I couldn’t wait! Reading their blogs had got me into food blogging myself plus I hadn’t seen Rhianwen in years, I just knew it was going to be amazing.

We started off with a simple dressed bean & chilli squash salad with raw onion to give it some bite. That made way for the main event… Pulled jackfruit tacos with more chilli spiced squash, a piquant creamy sauce, vanilla infused pickled onions and plenty of fresh coriander. All washed down with a number of Cuba libres and bottles of Corona. It was off the scale tasty and jackfruit is such a convincing meat alternative, that an omnivore (albeit I like to embrace many plant based recipes in my diet)  I could not tell the difference. Either that or it’s the cooking 😉

We finished the night off with some cinnamony sweet churros with a deep, dark and really spicy chocolate dipping sauce. It was the best birthday present ever, thanks/tak/diolch!!

Full and slightly tipsy from the rum, it was time to say goodbye and head home back to the apartment.

 

 

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