A Year in Review: Happy Birthday to Me

It was my birthday this week. It was all a bit of a mixed bag as Chris was away and I had work so it was an early start for me at the boys (5.45 to get everyone to school or daycare then me to work for 7! My goodness!). It worked and it was fine. By bedtime, I was struggling a little hopefully the make up celebrations when Chris is home will balance that all out a bit. Happy Birthday to Me!

For now I thought I’d start with a sort of review of the year…

Looking back…

What are the highlights of the last year?

Getting to travel a bit more this last year. Copenhagen has such good links to Sweden and Norway that it was quite easy to get on a train or ferry and explore some more.

We had 3 or 4 trips back to the UK. Two were all of us trips and then 2 were just me heading back. Then there were the new places, most recently Rex and I took a train trip to Køge, we’d been through it on the way to other places but hadn’t actually stopped properly. It was a good trip but I probably needed to plan what to do a bit better.

All four of us took a train trip up to Helsingør which turned into an overnight trip to Helsingborg (Sweden). It was unexpected but such good fun! Another ferry trip was a “mini-cruise” from Copenhagen to Oslo. We could have done with longer there as there was just so much to see and do but we packed in what we could and we’ll definitely go back at some time I’m sure.

In the summer, last year we went to Vineyard Nordic Summer Camp which was at a Conference Centre place outside Jönköping. We didn’t get to see the actual town we were near but it was lovely to experience more of Sweden. While we were away, Rex went down with chicken pox – so I saw a lot of the inside of the caravan!

What goals did I achieve or what steps have I taken to get there?

Around this time last year, Rex had settled in at vuggestue and so I was looking for a job. I have loved running my own business (Daisy Media) and I still have a few people I’m working with but it wasn’t really working for me. I couldn’t really sit around all week just in case a client needed me. I started looking for a job and wrote to a lot of the yarn shops here in Copenhagen on the off chance they might have something going but at least so far I’ve had to luck. I got a part time job as a housekeeper for a company here who rent out shared apartments. It was an okay job but part of going out and getting a job was to be part of a team and speak to other people and that wasn’t happening. I’d work 12-20 hours a week and unless there were residents at home when I was cleaning then the only person I met during a shift was my 2-3 training shifts. Anyway, I left that mostly because of what it was doing to my mental health (I said that the loneliness I was feeling at work was the loneliness I felt at home sometimes just it had change postcode).

Earlier this year, I started a new job as an “All Rounder” at a local hostel/hotel. It’s been a crash course with lots of learning. It’s getting busier as we have school trips and other groups visiting the city. It can be hard going some days especially when I’m doing night shifts. I used to be very much a night owl but since the boys have to be so on it (Jaxon and Chris leave before 8 now!) I try to go to bed by 11 to make sure I’m actually asleep by midnight. This means that getting enough sleep in the day to be able to take on my night shift is hard (and getting harder as the days get warmer and sunnier). I think I’m going to have to invest in a eye mask to block out the light. I have been basically sleeping with one of Rex’s t-shirts over my eyes but it just makes me really warm lol.

Another goal of sorts was taking my health by the scruff of the neck and doing something about it. Around October, I went to see the GP about a couple of issues and we did have the “If you need surgery for this thing, you might need to lose weight before the surgeon will do anything” OUCH. At which point, she suggested I met with the Dietician – Okay…. well I knew mostly what was going to be said but maybe I needed someone who wasn’t me or Chris or my Mum to be kicking me in the butt and making sure I was doing the right thing. Well C the Dietician is the best – she’s so lovely and so helpful. There was a little hiccup and I haven’t seen C for a few weeks, so I need to get back in contact with her and get a new appointment booked.

Did I make any mistakes? What did I learn from them?

Oh definitely! Especially in the last week lol. I had an incident with the washing up trolley this week when I was at work.
Quitting my cleaning job at church for the new shiny job that didn’t last was definitely a mistake but I guess I needed to make the mistake by leaving to then make the choice and leave the new job for my own well being rather than sticking it out because I should or something like that (so not a mistake and a mistake all at the same time – that’s possible right?)

Looking Forward

What do I want to do for my next birthday? What plans do I need to make?

I don’t know… One of my goals now I have a job was to start saving towards taking my Mum to Rome as she’s always wanted to go. Well my Dad was on that one and they are doing that later in the year to celebrate their big wedding anniversary. So Mum and I need a new trip… I’m wondering about up to Scotland or maybe her coming here and then we’ll do the Oslo Cruise or something like that. I was trying to think of something that she’d love to do but wouldn’t normally be my Dad’s kind of thing.

What do I need more of in my life?

All sorts probably lol. My birthday present from Chris arrived today and I’m super excited about it. (It’s a gorgeous pale blue bike with flowers on it… It came in a big cardboard box and I had to assemble it. Once Chris gives it the once over and helps me with the bits I couldn’t do then I’ll be off for a bike ride even if it’s just around the block to make sure it’s all good.

Back in 2018, I took this picture (above) of a bike in Go Outdoors, I had wanted to get riding again but actually saving the money to buy a bike was going to be a little challenging but I loved the look of it. Well imagine it’s pale blue and you have the bike that Chris got for me.

Then I’m going to work on some adventures. If I drop Rex off in the morning once Jaxon leaves for school then I can get a train with my bike and go explore. I figure if I take the train somewhere, get on my bike and then head for home. If I vaguely follow the train route then if I need to, I just head to the closest stop and take the train the rest of the way home again or something like that. It was a very vague idea as I was getting cross at the nuts and bolts I couldn’t undo lol.

What goals do I have for the next year?

Well to begin with, the 40 Before 40 list actually needs to be finished and not just a “one day I’ll get on with that” kind of list.

Clear my TBR list a bit, I asked in a reading group on FB for suggestions of reading books to try and get out of the “chick lit” rut I’d found myself in. That was great but the list is now like 350 books long… which is crazy! So I guess maybe narrow that down based on what I’d actually like to read and get started. I’m trying to use both the physical library and the eBooks that come with my library card here a bit more so I’m hoping I can request a lot of the books that way but it could take me some time. I think I need to break it down into batches and then work like that some how. I need to think about that one some more I’m sure!

Next up, get posting here more. I set out with the best intentions then don’t always get there but there’s things to write about like the Oslo trip and how we ended up in Helsingborg for the night. That will take a few posts I’m sure!

So Happy Birthday to me.

Recently Off The Knitting Needles: Farm Beanie by Sparrow Play
Made in 2023: Project 4

Over the Easter Weekend, I started and finished the Farm Beanie by Sparrow Play. It’s a really easy beanie to get knitting while we worked our way through different TV shows. Mum had been watching Den Som Dræber (Lost: Those Who Kill) on BBC Four and had recognised Copenhill, so then I started Episode 1 and realised who bits of it is filmed around Nordvest! But as a family we watched Troldehjertets Hemmelighed (The Troll Heart’s Secret), it was a spin off from the Julekalender that aired back in December.

Anyway back to the yarn, a friend of ours volunteers with a scout group and they were clearing out their storage room. He rescued me some yarn so I set about making him a beanie hat that he could take with him on scout trips (or keep in his laptop bag when he goes to work because even the sunniest of days can sometimes need a woolie hat to keep the chill off here in Copenhagen lol).

Recently Off The Needles

Farm Beanie

Pattern: Farm Beanie by Sparrow Play (Ravelry Pattern)
Needles: 4mm
Yarn: Mystery grey DK yarn from stash, and the mystery rescued orange yarn (I think there were labels so I’ll check on the other balls)
2023g Challenge: 43g/2023g

This was a really easy hat to get on and off the needles again. The biggest challenge I had was getting the cast on right. I started with my usual Long Tail Cast on but it doesn’t always have as much stretch in it so I started over again with a German Twisted Cast On (I followed the Very Pink Knits video on YouTube when I learnt it).

When I switched from the grey to the orange, it was a a little challenging to see the change in the pattern but then once I’d got a few rows into it, it became clear.

It definitely didn’t work for me to try on with a messy bun on top of my head as it pulled it funny. Even with a pony tail instead it still looked a little funny but it still worked well and was cozy! Also it’s on the thinner side so I imagine would work well under a cycle helmet (Although the weather is gradually getting warmer so we could be heading for no woollies needed lol).

2023 Gram Challenge Totals: 43g/2023g.

You can read all my posts about the 2023g Challenge here. I share most of my updates over on Instagram first – you can follow me here.

Exploring Denmark: Copenhagen Christmas Displays
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I love Christmas. I love the Christmas markets and watching the Christmas adverts but I also love looking at the Christmas decorations, either in the streets or in the shop windows. In the UK, I’d go to Oxford/Regent Street to see the decorations if I had opportunity to. Now I explore Copenhagen and see what’s about. Back in December, I was walking back to the bus stop after my Danish class and took the wrong route, but in turn stumbled upon these decorations. All the shops were getting ready with their Christmas displays and the Christmas Market at Højbro Plads was in full swing. (They already have their dates up for Christmas this year…. that’s organised!).

So why am I sharing these now? Well because I keep exploring and not writing up my adventures – what a bad blogger I am! I thought about it after walking past a hairdressers (Frisør) near where we live. Their Easter (påske) display consists of a variety of Easter themed candles including some little chickens.

Bering House of Flowers is an amazing florist based near my language school. They have these 3 big windows (actually there’s 5 but I missed the two around the corner!) that face onto the road and I stopped to take it all in. There was so much to see – I’m sure if I’d been back another time I’d have spotted something else.

We actually walked past this same shop around Valentines and the windows were all decorated with roses and other red things. I meant to walk past after my Danish class last week but I completely forgot until I was on the bus home! I’m sure a business like this, it’s a team effort to get the windows dressed for the season or celebration but I’m sure in some cases people use a retail design agency to get the help they need. When Rogan’s Books was still open in Bedford, Rachel and I had a whole chat about how we could make a fireplace to go with Christmas books or something along those lines. I loved being able to help with things like that even if they were just random suggestions.

If you love the idea of travelling to Copenhagen for the Christmas Markets, I suggest coming closer to the end of November as it will be fractionally less busy (I think!). I’d also suggest staying somewhere a bit further out of the city like Nørrebro or Bispebjerg as it will be fractionally cheaper than staying right in the centre. You will also find that there are a lot of good transport links either by Bus, S-Tog or Metro from those areas. (Google Maps is really handy or try the DOT app too)

Five Ways to Promote Your Blog
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As a blogger it’s easy to get caught up with creating new content but not always promoting it the way you should. Sometimes you need to take it back to basics and walk through the ABCs so to speak to make sure you’re promoting your blog in the best way.

1) Share your Blog Post on Social Media

I know for most bloggers it’s the first thing you do after your schedule your post. You head over to your social media platforms or dashboard, and get your post scheduled. But maybe take it back to basics once in a while, think about things like:

  • Where are you sharing your posts?
  • How are you sharing your posts? If it’s a recipe, are you sharing to Pinterest? If it’s photos, are you sharing to Instagram? Consider making the into a reel maybe?
  • When are you sharing your posts? Both the time of the day but also things like the time of the year – some posts might work in different seasons, whereas others might only work in the lead up to something specific like Christmas.

You might want to consider creating a social media content calendar so that you’re not posting lots in one week and then nothing in the next week. It also gives you an idea of what’s coming up and what you need to get done before the weekend or the end of the month. If you do this, consider including posts that drive traffic and promote your blog through those older posts.

2) Make Graphics To Accompany your Post

Another one o those slightly obvious ones but think about it – when you interact with social media posts – are you more likely to read just a text post or look at a pretty colourful picture or video?

I personally love to use Canva for creating my graphics, with their Pro Subscription Plan you can easily resize your graphics to fit the ideal dimensions of different platforms – which makes it easier to create one graphic and just adapt it rather than starting over each time. (If you want to give it a go, you can use my Canva Affiliates link here to get a 30 day free trial of the Pro Subscription).

3) Re-Purpose your Content

This could have two angles. First, if you have content that relates to a specific season or event, consider rewriting it or adapting it for the following year – maybe something didn’t work last year and in your own plans your changing it this year.

Maybe you can turn your blog post in something else – like an infographic, video or something else. If you’re talking about something like your cleaning routine, maybe a printable checklist might be handy for instance.

4) SEO!

Work your way back through your old content – make sure your SEO is doing the best for your content. As you create new content make sure you’re doing it as you go. I love using Yoast or All-in-SEO plugins on WordPress to get my blog posts to work the best for me. Sometimes they need tweaking to get those good marks out of 100 but it’s definitely worth it for sure!

If you have time, read up about good/bad practices too to make sure you’re doing the right thing for your website.

5) Build Links to Your Website

Not just linking to external websites but make sure you’re linking to related posts on your own blog. Maybe you have a whole series about Easter or Christmas, well reduce those steps for your reader and include a link! (I use Link Whisper to help with this – sometimes it’s doesn’t work but sometimes it has great suggested that I’d forgotten were even there)

And then, maybe you want to get your own theme or need some guidance about where to go next. You could think about working with a web design agency to get you to that next step.

Recently Off The Knitting Needles: Rainbow Baby Blanket
Made in 2023: Project 4

Project 4 is finished! Again it’s knitting. It’s a rainbow blanket for a friend of mine who is expecting her first baby. We’ve only been friends a few weeks and because of where I met her and the changes that are happening in the next fortnight ish, I might not see her again. But who knows – we might still be friends. We’ll see. Anyway, when she told me her news, I had to make something for her. I had lots of Stylecraft Special in Aran in my stash and it’s not usually something I use (I’d bought it for when I made the Rainbow Blanket from The Pigeon’s Nest)

Recently Off The Needles

Rainbow Baby Blanket

Pattern: Rainbow Baby Blanket (My Own Pattern – notes can be found below)
Needles: 6mm
Yarn: Stylecraft Special Aran in Matador, Spice, Saffron, Sage, Cornish Blue, Lavender, Purple, Fondant and Silver
2023g Challenge: 353g/2023g

When friends expect babies, I love to gift them a baby blanket or something else knitted. The probably started a while back maybe with this Baby Blanket. I love spotting them out in the wild or when the mummies share pictures with me of the blankets in use. It makes me so happy.

I started by casting on 150 stitches (I used the Long Tail Cast on but in theory any cast on would work).

At the start and the end, there are 6 rows of grey. Between each colour there is 4 rows of grey.

Each colour then slightly reduces each time. The red and orange sections are 40 rows, yellow and green are 30 rows, blue and lilac are 20 rows and purple and pink are 10 rows. I made sure to keep the colour change on the back so that it was a “crisp” line along the front.

2023 Gram Challenge Totals: 713g/2023g (35.24%).

You can read all my posts about the 2023g Challenge here. I share most of my updates over on Instagram first – you can follow me here.