Projects: Stormy Open Back Sweater

Four years ago, Handknits and Hygge put out a call for test knitters and I answered that call. The project in question was the Stormy Open Back Sweater. I’d been meaning to try and knit something for myself for a long time but I think it always got put to one side or pushed down as I said “When I’m skinnier, I’ll knit…. etc”. Well, having done most of my jumper it was the end of the test knit and I always intended to come back to it but other projects and things (and one then two tiny humans) got in the way.

Stormy Open Back Sweater

There’s been a lot of de-stashing/sorting/chucking away been going on in our house back in the UK and so during my trip in May, I needed to call in the “big guns” so to speak. Chris had done a great job of getting all my yarn into one place in the kitchen. I was reluctant to take it all to a charity shop as there were odd balls of like 20-30g that would probably binned rather than adopted. I invited ladies from two of my knitting groups to pop by when they had chance.

One of my knitting ladies, came to say hi and to raid the stash, then sat on the floor with the boxes around her and packed all the little odd balls into one bag so that I could make a scrap blanket rather than chuck them. On another visit, my friend J went through my WIPs pile/stash and told me off lol (especially for one cardigan that literally needs sewing together and then it’s finished). When I shared on social media, she said she wasn’t telling me off, she was being encouraging lol.

Having spent a little while this afternoon trying to figure out where I was upto. I decided it would be easier for me to frog the sleeve and start from where you join the working yarn to the held stitches from the body and go from there. It’s definitely going to be a kind of project that I work on while the boys are at school or out or something like that, as there will be counting going on.

Image from Handknitsandhygge

I guess the question is will my measurements from 4 years ago still fit now… (also I can’t remember if it was top down or bottom up so might need to get creative to add some inches to the body as it seems too short…).
I think when I was doing the sleeves before I had shorter needles that I had been using but currently I can’t find them. I remember seeing this video from Knitty Natty on YouTube. So after some creative shuffled with my stitches, I’m working with the lace pattern on one needle and then the rest of the sleeve on the other rather than half way being in the middle of the lace bit. Whether this works is another thing but we’ll see how it goes and if not I’ll be off to one of the knitting shops for different needles.

Exploring Copenhagen: Where to Find the Most Interesting Murals

Something great about Copenhagen is the street art. Some of it is graffiti and can look messy but other pieces are like these murals.

Back in October while I was still exploring I started collecting photos of the murals and sharing them on Instagram. For those first few weeks, it still felt a bit like an extended holiday and so there was time to explore in a way.

Now the list is getting longer I figured it was about time that I put them into a blog post and shared them here as well.

Mural 1: Thorvaldsensvej

This one looks a little faded but even then still looks so much nicer than maybe a plain brick all or a wall with graffiti tags on it (the kind like this…I think some graffiti can be really effective.)

Mural 2: Norrebrorouten

Next door to Ali’s Bageri at Nørrebrogade and Nørrebrorouten (across the road from Superkilen/Røde Plads). This was one of my first ones I saw when I moved to Copenhagen, from our first apartment we’d cycle along Nørrebrorouten to get to church. We worked out that actually it wasn’t the best route and then started taking a different route so I didn’t see it as much as before.

Mural 3: Nattergalevej

Between Nattergalevej and Rørsangervej there’s a playground that Jaxon has called the Treehouse Playground (I think I might have to check my source on that one when he gets home from school). On one of the buildings near the entrance, there is this mural – I think it’s really clever out the design comes around the corner of the building.

Mural 4: Lergravsvej

While following Walk 1 in The Copenhagen Companion, I found this mural on the end of one of the buildings. It was an unexpected find but definitely brought some colour to what was a grey day.

Lergravsvej (Go Hotel City building)

Murals 5 and upwards: Møntmestervej

This is a whole street of murals. There is a row of 7 or 8 apartment buildings (on each side of the road) and at the end of each building, there is a mural.

Colourful Murals in Copenhagen
The Corner of Møntmestervej and Smedetoften
Mesterstien (even)
Mesterstien (odd)
Svendelodden (even)
Svendelodden (odd side)
Rytterbakken (Even) – This made me think of Alice in Wonderland right?
Rytterbakken (odd)
The corner of Sokkelundvej and Møntmestervej

I will keep my eyes peeled and could be back with some more as I find them on my travels. Have you been to Copenhagen? Have you seen any murals like these? Are there murals like these where you live? (There’s one that’s popped up in Bedford – how cool is this Octopus on the Lurke Street Car Park)

Five Places to Visit in Germany
#AD

What has a suspension railway and a fairytale castle got in common? Well, they are both in Germany. That’s where my list of five places to visit in Germany started.

The great thing about being in mainland Europe now is that cities that normally feel *SO* far away when we lived in the UK are now reachable by train (or a short flight). When we visited Billund there were lots of posters in the train stations along the route about taking the train from Copenhagen to Hamburg in Germany for DKK500 (so £55ish!) return. (And it takes about 5 hours, so if we did make the trip it would definitely be an overnight trip, I’d be booking accommodation too)

So if I could get on the train and visit places in Germany. Where would I go? Well, the list has been growing for a while but here are my Top 5 Places to Visit in Germany. So far I’ve seen a section of the Autobahn as we drove to Strasbourg one holiday and a 2 hour stopover in Munich Airport! (Also, I get these aren’t really close to one another and so would probably be multiple trips or some long German Road Trip Adventure)

Miniatur Wunderland and the Historic Port of Hamburg

Well, the train runs straight from Copenhagen to Hamburg, so why not start there. Now model villages aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and maybe they wouldn’t be my first choice but this one has some impressive stats. This one boasts over 12 kilometres of track and nearly 900 trains as part of the network throughout the model village. And if we’ve made it that far – why not explore the historic port? A lot of ships would come along the Elbe River into Hamburg to deliver their cargo. When the Elbe River reaches Hamburg it splits into a number of smaller canals through the southern side of the city. (Maybe a boat tour would be needed too?)

Neuschwanstein Castle

As a kid, I loved Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (well at least until the Child Catcher arrived) so to find out that Baron Bomburst’s Castle was an actual real place excited me. But that’s a long way to go to see a castle, so I soon started to create a list of other places to visit. The castle is also the inspiration behind Disney’s Cinderella Castle.

When we were at Billund, we saw the Lego model of the Neuschwanstein Castle in Miniland. I got a bit excited about it and Chris laughed at me for being super nerdy!

Wuppertal Schwebebahn (Suspension Railway)

This was an accidental one in a way. Jaxon and I had been watching videos with my Dad about different railways around the world and one of the ones that came up was a video about the Wuppertal Schwebebahn railway.

The Brandenberg Gate, The Berlin Wall and the Surrounding Area

Having grown up on many different war films thanks to my Dad as well as then studying World War 1 and 2 in History at school, putting actual places to the history has always been something I’ve wanted to do. The Brandenberg Gate is modelled on the Acropolis in Athens. It stands at 28 meters tall and I’m sure if the stones could talk they’d definitely have some stories to tell. It stands a short distance away from the Reichstag, where the German Parliament sit and when the Berlin Wall was still standing, a section of the wall ran alongside the Brandenberg Gate.

When I told someone about wanting to go to the Berlin Wall, they pointed out that there are only tiny bits of it left. Well okay, but it was still significant in history, right? The bits of the Berlin Wall (Berliner Mauer) that remain are just concrete walls covered in graffiti and yet they still attract thousands of visitors each year.

Berchtesgaden

Another one of those “further afield” places. Berchtesgaden is a national park in the Bavarian Alps on the Austrian border (in fact it’s not that far away from Salzburg in Austria if you want a field trip to see things like Schloss Mirabell (Mirabell Palace) and many other filming locations from The Sound of Music).

Life Experiences and Expanding Your Comfort Zone
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AD As I count down to my birthday, there’s lots of other anniversaries that get ticket off and I guess in a way they were life experiences too. Going to university involved stepping that little bit out of my comfort zone and expanding it a bit more. There’s three family birthdays along with my parents wedding anniversary which are all still in my comfort zone. These are followed by things like handing in my dissertation early so that I could have the day off on my birthday (15 years ago on Monday!). There were quite a few other things as I handed in my dissertation, turned 21, finished my uni course and got married in the space of about two weeks. Crazy right and a whole mixed bag on those life experiences, am I right?

I think somewhere in there I also started or continued my temporary job in there too. While I was finishing up in Bedford, a friend of mine was finishing her year abroad. She was studying European Law and as part of her course, she got to study for a year in another country. She’d ended up attending Lund University in Sweden. Now at the time that would have been a big step out of the comfort zone for me but my friend was always very independently minded so I imagine that on the whole she took it in her stride and smashed it out the park. I think the furthest I went as part of my course was the local theatre or maybe London… Chris went to India as part of his youth work course! (He’s always been one to have a bigger comfort zone than me, his zone is definitely filled with a lot more life experiences already!)

I love to travel and really hope that I get to do it more. The transport links here in Denmark are considerably cheaper and more reliable than those in the UK, so the ability to explore a bit further even on a school/nursery day is exciting. I can make it to Roskilde and back in a day. (It’s about 32km/18miles one way and about an hour on the train). Helsingør is about the same time wise so maybe that’s another option one day. (I’m a Shakespeare nerd and supposedly Elsinore in Hamlet is based on Helsingør castle. If you watch Who Do You Think You Are and saw the Judi Dench episode there’s lots about it in that one). So far the furthest adventure with both in nursery/school has been about 5km away, but I think I might throw an adventure in this week coming if there’s the time to. I know not exactly ground breaking but last time I did it – even if it’s just local trips around the city or to other places in Denmark. Both Jaxon and Rex have travelled further afield in their short lives than I did in my first 16 years of life. There’s something about exploring the world that bit more than I’m so pleased we’re in the position to be able to give to the boys. We’ve just got back from Billund (and Legoland) and it was so easy to do on the train (more to follow about that soon). Prior to moving to Copenhagen, I’d never lived outside of about a 3-mile radius from the house I grew up in. (Both Rex and Jaxon have lived in 2 countries now, Jaxon has some extra stamps in his passport which are kind of exciting).

Sometimes for journal prompts you get a question like

“If you could tell your teenage self one piece of advice, what would that be?”

I usually find that my answers are pretty boring but I do think that as a 30-something now, it’s to get out of your comfort zone and take those adventures. You don’t have to be quite as crazy as the Yes Theory lads but try and expand your horizons a bit. Also to take the extra hours at your part-time job so you have the funds to be able to explore a bit more. It’s really not that scary once you get on with it! (I quite like Nate’s explanation on his channel (Kara and Nate).

Blue circle on a square image to show the comfort zone around a person.As the person adds life experiences, so the comfort zone grows into a bigger circle.

A sort of summary is that your comfort zone is made up of the life experiences that you’ve had so far. Sometimes are miles out of your comfort zone (like climbing Everest for instance!) but other things are a little bit out of your comfort zone and so are easier to experience (for instance taking an international flight home by myself or taking the train to Billund with the boys – it was outside my comfort zone but now it’s inside it and feels really easy to do again). So as you add those life experiences, your comfort zone gets bigger and you can deal with the Everests that come along in your path.

So now I’m in my 30s and have the experiences now, I look back and think that past Hannah was a bit wimpy and maybe she should have got some more experiences under her belt. But at the same time I guess my comfort zone was smaller and I needed some other experiences in there before I got to my current big one “move from Bedford to anywhere else in the world”.

So what if you could add some life experiences to your comfort zone? Maybe it’s exploring where you live, or maybe it’s doing something a bit bigger and crazier. Maybe it’s taking an opportunity to experience something different like a journalism internship in London for instance if that’s your thing or maybe it’s figuring out how to “car camp” for the summer and exploring the Scottish Highlands.

So are there little experiences or maybe bigger experiences you would like to add to extend your comfort zone?

Where to See The Cherry Blossoms in Copenhagen

I don’t know about you but I seem to add things to my bucket list and then never cross things off. One of the things on my bucket list is to go to Japan to see the cherry blossoms (Sakura). Little did I know just how popular the cherry blossoms in Copenhagen are! In the park just outside our apartment here in Copenhagen, each tree has a plaque with information about its danish name, its Latin name and some information about the specific variety of tree. From our window, I can see two cherry trees. At first I wasn’t sure that’s what they were but then when we were passing a few days ago I checked the plaques and was very excited to find that they are Yoshino Sakura. So they are proper Japanese Cherry Blossoms.

The cherry blossom (or sakura) is the national flower of Japan. In Japanese culture they symbolise clouds. The blossoms are beautiful but flower for such a short season, it’s definitely a reason to fit in going to see them as soon as you can.

It’s such a thing in Japan that the Japanese Meterological Agency actually has a Blossom Forecast (Sakura Zensen) where they give out information about when is the best day to go and view the blossoms. The Japanese have a concept called ‘Hanami’ which translates as ‘flower viewing’ and the idea is to take a picnic and go with friends or family and have a picnic under the blossoms and enjoy them while you can.

Chris had told me about the blossoms and that I really should go and see them while I had the chance. He’d seen how excited I’d got over the blossoms outside our window, of course I was going to see others if I had the chance.

The two main places to view them in Copenhagen is Bispebjerg Kirkegaard and Langelinie Park. They are both free to enter.

Bispebjerg Kirkegård

The avenue of trees here is very popular so you want to try and get there earlier in the day. I visited around 8:30/9 am after dropping Rex off at nursery and it was quite quiet – still quite a few people but not heaving as I’ve seen in some Instagram Posts.

You can enter the Kirkegård at the main entrance and take a wander through the grounds and find the avenue of trees. The other option is to do the leg work outside of the Kirkegård and then enter by one of the smaller gates. I was on my bike and so it was easier to enter by the closest gate. If you head along Støvmæs Allé from Skoleholdervej there is a gate on your right which will take you right into the avenue of trees. (Google seems to have mixed results on where to find this but the pin says “Kirsebærtræer Bispebjerg” and it currently labelled as a hospital).

The rows of cherry blossoms in Bispebjerg Kirkegård (cemetery).

Bispebjerg Kirkegård, Frederiksborgvej 125, 2400 København NV (See pin on Google Maps)

Langelinie Park

I’ve been up to Langelinie to see Den Lille Havfrue (The Little Mermaid) but haven’t actually explored the park any more than that. This is where a few other blog posts and Instagram come in handy. Near the Maritime Memorial and Den Lille Havfrue statue, there is a whole cluster of cherry trees with lots of blossoms.

This coming weekend the park host the Copenhagen Sakura Festival (Website). There are lots of interesting things, the Mochi serving on Sunday certainly caught my eye but there are so many things on across the weekend.

Langlinie Park, Langeliniekaj 2, 2100 København Ø

These aren’t the only locations across the city. There are a number of locations with odd tress rather than a whole avenue like Bispebjerg. These include:

  • Islands Brygge,
  • Halmtorvet,
  • Vesterbro
  • Nordvestparken
  • Amaliehave
  • Botanical Gardens