How to Cure Winter Blues

Monday, November 29, 2010

This is my (slightly wobbly) advent wreath that I made last week! Since it was first advent yesterday, I figured I could finally post about Christmas decorations but I've actually been getting into the holiday spirit for a couple of weeks now. I know so many people are against it but putting up string lights, lighting some candles and listing to Christmas with the Rat Pack has really helped with the winter blues I was talking about so I've resolved to start celebrating earlier in November from now on. I'll probably do another post about Christmas here once I take some photos downtown (Danes LOVE Christmas!) so this is just a peek. Here is the rest of my list of ways to start loving winter:
  1. Turn on string lights and candles (also in the mornings)
  2. Make porridge for breakfast
  3. Give myself lots of time in the mornings
  4. Take vitamins (especially D and B12)
  5. Make the apartment cozy
  6. Go for afternoon walks to get some sun
  7. Buy a wake up light
  8. Start going to bed earlier
  9. Buy some essential oils and herbal tea
  10. Start celebrating Christmas early (music, movies, decorations, and baking)
  11. Knit something cozy (I’m still working on my cable knit scarf….)
  12. Make oven s'mores (I've been wanting to try making marshmallows!)
  13. Bake bread (Also still on my fall goals list!)

This weekend...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

...went so quickly! The week also flew by, I had decided to keep myself busy since Mark was away on his clinical stay but I ended up packing way too much in. I had dinner parties, a Christmas crafting day, yoga dates, volunteering at the cafe and an opening at the gallery to keep me busy. It snowed all week and all the decorations are up around town which makes everything feel all Christmas-y and cozy. We bundled up and took a walk in the snow yesterday and woke up to huge icicles on our windows this morning. Most of the snow melted today but I hope it snows more again this week. I spent the morning baking raisin scones and rosemary shortbread because we had Mark's family over for afternoon tea today. Besides the excuse to eat food that mainly consists of butter and cream, we asked everyone over because we had some news to share. We're engaged! Most people who know us know that it had been a long time coming but we're still pretty excited. Mark took this last photo the morning after we got engaged, while we were still drinking tea in our pyjamas.

Sorry if the formatting looks strange, Blogger is being silly...

This weekend...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

...we were out in the country. We went to visit Nanna's family and to check out her dad's estate sale/flea market to pick up some things for the new place. It took up two of these barns and was amazing! We got a ton of great stuff which I'll show you all later. It was a really relaxed weekend, which I really needed after last week. So far, this week seems much more promising! I'm starting to feel like winter is more cozy than depressing, especially after making some Christmas crafts this afternoon. And I feel better about our November snow after hearing that there is a blizzard at home, even when I just bragged to my classmates about how it never snows there. Hope you're staying warm and cozy!

Last of Fall

Friday, November 19, 2010

I have nothing new for you today, friends. These pictures were taken in our courtyard just a couple of weeks ago when all the leaves were still around. It's officially winter here now, this morning it was snowing! I'll miss all the pretty leaves but I'm trying to get into winter. I've been coming up with some ideas on how to make winter better (thanks for your tips from the last post!) and I think I've found some good ones. Expect a post on it soon! Hopefully next week will be better although Mark is away on a clinical stay so I'll be home alone. We did go out for a really yummy vegan dinner at Morgensted in Christiania last night because we were too tired to cook. Oh, and we signed up for a food co-op where we work a shift a month and get organic produce in return. Then I spent the evening in bed knitting and reading. Exciting times, exciting times.

New Nest

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mark and I found an apartment! We have this place on sublet until January so we've been busy trying to find something else for 2011. It's really hard to find something affordable in Copenhagen so we're really happy to have found this one. It's only about 5 minutes away from our current apartment so it's somewhat in the same neighbourhood, close to town, and allows cats (yay!). It's an attic apartment which is a bit funny since I lived in an attic apartment in Canada for four years. It's a bit small/cozy but at least it will be nice and bright with all the skylights. I'm already getting all excited about decorating! I love nesting. The best thing is this little window in the bedroom - perfect for Tiggy to birdwatch! Other than finding a place to live, this week has been a bit tough. Mark's been working long shifts at the hospital, we both have colds and I've been feeling a bit of winter blues starting. It's just so dark here! I'm thinking of getting one of these wake up lights. Anyone else have any suggestions for helping winter blues?

{Sorry about the quality of the photo, it's taken with Mark's phone}.

This weekend...

Monday, November 15, 2010

...we had our first visitor! It was so nice to do some of the touristy things I don't normally get to do. Ali was just here for the day so I tried to pack everything in, starting with Danish pastries in the morning, a walk around the harbour, lunch at The a la Menthe and a canal tour before she was off to further adventures in the north of Denmark. I hadn't seen Ali since high school so it was really great to catch up and I can't wait to visit her now that she's living in Budapest. It was a pretty mellow weekend besides that and I didn't take many pictures. Mark and I went to another amazing documentary film that was part of the CPH:DOX festival, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga. It made me want a husky pup so badly. Other than that, we drank lots of tea, ate pumpkin pie and truffle pizza and took naps. I kind of just want to hibernate now that winter is setting in.

Fall Goal #2 - Learn Danish

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Crossing this goal of the list is also cheating a bit. I definitely haven't mastered the Danish language but I am learning! My lessons are going great so far, I really like my teachers and my classmates. I had almost forgotten that learning another language is actually fun. And I love going to "school", having homework and some structure in my life. I feel a bit like a little kid with my backpack full of illustrated textbooks and my lunchpack. Since it's an intensive course, I can tell that my Danish is improving already though which is really great as it's nice to speak the language of the country you are living in. Or at least get by.

Applesauce Spice Cake

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I made this cake for Halloween this year but it has a longer history than that. This recipe is a slightly adapted combination of one of Amber's family recipes and this Gourmet one. Amber's mom would make this cake for my birthday and I would usually hoard it away so I could eat it all myself. That sounds horrible but it was just because it's really tasty! It has the perfect blend of spices and makes your whole home smell all cozy and delicious. I know I've said this before but I can't believe the difference grinding whole spices makes to baking/cooking and I'd really recommend it with this recipe. I might make this again today as it's starting to feel wintery already here, all dark and cold. Apparently it's even supposed to snow this week! EDIT: After making this a second time around, I should say that Anne still makes it best.

Applesauce Spice Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon bark
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground dried ginger
1/2 tsp ground whole cardamom
1/4 tsp ground sea salt
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
1/2 cup muscovado or brown sugar
1/2 cup organic unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 organic/free range egg
1 cup unsweetened organic applesauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter pan (you can use pretty much any kind).
2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, spices and salt in a bowl.
3. Beat together sugars, butter, egg and vanilla until fluffy.
4. Add dry ingredients until combined then add applesauce.
5. Spread batter evenly in pan and bake for 30 - 35 mins.
6. Share with your family and friends (or eat it all by yourself).

This weekend...

Monday, November 8, 2010

...Mark and I went winter bathing! It was part of CPH:DOX (the documentary film festival here) where a film about Finnish sauna culture was shown at the Winter Bathing Society and then everyone had a chance to jump in the ocean and then go in a sauna. I didn't think I was going to be able to do it but I did and am so proud of myself! Even though it was really cold it wasn't actually that bad in the end. Afterwards we went to this new burger place, Cock's & Cows, and I ate my face off because I felt like I deserved it. On Sunday we went to Mark's mom's place for an insanely yummy brunch (savoury French toast, blackberry pancakes with apple butter, goat cheese and caramelized onion pastry and homemade muffins and buns) and then went for a long walk with the fam out in the forest near where we went to high school. The late autumn light was so pretty and made everything look all golden-y.

Fall Goal #17 - Read the Russian classics

Saturday, November 6, 2010

This week has just flown by, it's been so busy. So this post seems quite productive but it's not actually. This is the second year I've tried to start reading the Russian classics. I started with Anna Karenina last fall and got about 100 pages in before giving up. This year I began reading The Brothers Karamazov in September and am only at about 200 pages now. I've also flipped through Crime and Punishment and tried to read bits and pieces. But here's the thing - I don't think I like them. I keep trying, hoping that I'll start to get into them because I've heard SO much praise about them. It's not because I don't like older books, I've read plenty of classics and enjoyed them. So I've decided to accept that I likely won't read all of them this fall and leave it at that. Maybe I'll read them one day. I've got a stack of other books waiting to be read so I'm not all that upset about it.

Around Our Neighbourhood

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Just wanted to say a quick hello and share this (rather old) picture of the European Environmental Agency here in Copenhagen. They've created a living map of Europe to "provide an example of the ways in which cities can be redesigned to enhance green spaces and biodiversity". I think it looks pretty. Things have been going really well so far with my Danish lessons and working at the gallery and cafe but it's a bit of a change getting used to being so busy (and getting up early!). But it's a good change. Today Mark and I both had the day off so we are getting the place all clean and shiny and then I am off to a meditation workshop tonight with my yoga buddy. There's more on the wall here if you're interested.

Also, a lot of interesting political stuff going on today! Like this and this.

This weekend...

Monday, November 1, 2010

...was Hallowe'en! It was such a good weekend, I'm pretty sure Halloween is my favourite. Friday we prepared for the party at Natalie and Juliet's by carving pumpkins by lantern with hot apple cider and spending the night cutting out bats, draping spider webs all over the house and watching Hitchcock films. It was a great party, complete with a creepy basement where we served creepy drinks and lots of Danes showed up in costume which doesn't always happen. Mark and I were Dia de los Muertos skeletons which seemed like a super popular costume at home {I had no idea!} but no one knew what we were supposed to be here. Oh well, we still looked kind of scary anyway? And since today is actually Hallowe'en, I had to celebrate by baking an apple spice cake and watching more Hitchcock. This week I start my Danish lessons and I also am starting at IMO Projects, as a volunteer intern. I'm really excited and a tad nervous. I'll let you all know how things go. Hope everyone had a good Hallowe'en!

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