Copenhagen: first impressions

“Don’t believe it. It’s not always like this!” said the natives of Copenhagen, their expressions lying somewhere between delight and suspicion. They were referring to the brilliant summery weather that welcomed me (and fellow bloggers at The Hive) to Copenhagen last weekend, a perfect invitation to walk around and explore the city.

One free afternoon wasn’t enough, but here are a few things I got to do and see in Copenhagen.

Nyhavn Copenhagen

Probably the most photographed spot in Copenhagen, the 17th-century harbor of Nyhavn is a picturesque heritage area lined with old wooden ships and colorful townhouses. It might be touristy, but it sure is pretty.

For genuinely good dining on the waterfront, the stylish restaurants and jazz bar of The Standard—housed in an Art Deco building of Danish design—are just around the corner from Nyhavn.

Copenhagen The Black Diamond Royal Danish Library

Being a total nerd, the first place I went to see was the Royal Library and its sleek modern extension, The Black Diamond. Covered in black granite from Zimbabwe, this library is a contender for the coolest public library in Europe—a serious challenger for even my beloved Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam.

I would have been all over this place had it not been closed for Great Prayer Day, an actual Danish public holiday. I had to content myself with sprawling out on the waterfront deck beside the Black Diamond and reading a book in the sun. Oh, it’s a tough life.

Copenhagen Holmens Kanal

Perhaps Copenhagen and Amsterdam could be siblings: Copenhagen the prim, buttoned-up, neat freak older brother, and Amsterdam the shaggy-haired, relaxed, slightly wacky younger one. Like Amsterdam, Copenhagen is a waterfront city criss-crossed by canals, although the buildings are older and wonkier here.

Copenhagen bicycle

And like Amsterdam, Copenhagen is crazy about cycling. In fact, Denmark has the second largest number of bicycles per capita, ranking just below the Netherlands.

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Notes from The Hive 2014

I just love punchy quotes, don’t you? Today I’m sharing some of the words of wisdom that made an impact on me last weekend at The Hive 2014 in Copenhagen. With so many creative and accomplished speakers (not to mention much more polished presentations than I’ve seen in past iterations of The Hive!), it was hard to choose just a few favorites.

Fortunately or unfortunately for me, I lost my notebook with all the notes I’d taken on the first day. Boo! So this post was pieced together from the odd bits and pieces I scrawled on receipts, handouts, even my boarding pass. Thank goodness for the #hive14 hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, which helped refresh my memory.

I also took this as an opportunity to play around with the hues from my blog’s new and zingy color palette, which I’m completely in love with.

The Hive 2014 Brene Brown via CoaDG

The Hive 2014 Annes Kitchen2

The Hive 2014 April and May

The Hive 2014 Annes Kitchen

The Hive 2014 Betty Soldi

The Hive 2014 Design Geek2

Fellow #hive14 attendees, am I missing any of your favorites? Leave them in the comments below.

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Betty Soldi calligraphy workshop at The Hive

Never underestimate the power of a creative getaway! I’m back from The Hive blog conference in Copenhagen, and I love how my weekend went. Not only did I get to do what I was looking forward to—meet friends, take it slow, wander and discover—but I’m buzzing from a boost of creative energy.

One of the most inspiring parts of my weekend was the calligraphy workshop by Betty Soldi. I try not to abuse the word inspiration, but in this case it’s perfectly justified.

Betty Soldi The Hive 2014

Betty Soldi is a calligrapher and graphic designer who has worked with luxury and retail brands such as Hermes, Fortnum & Mason and Waitrose. After living in London for 35 years, she returned to her roots in Florence and opened &Company, her shop and creative studio where Florentine artistry meets refined British style.

As it turned out, Betty’s personality is as delightful as her creations. What a pleasure it is when someone so ridiculously successful and talented also turns out to be warm, funny and friendly. And what a delight it was to enter the workshop and find ourselves in Betty’s whimsical world.

A piece of Tuscany in Copenhagen: the scent of lavender; pops of bright, fresh green; butterflies and doves cut out from old maps and books…

Betty Soldi calligraphy workshop at The Hive 2014 Betty Soldi paper butterflies at The Hive 2014 Betty Soldi calligraphy workshop decor at The Hive 2014

plus some of Betty’s own creations from her shop in Florence. How’s that for getting in the mood to create something beautiful?

Betty Soldi calligraphy workshop paper cut butterflies Betty Soldi calligraphy ceramics at The Hive 2014

“You won’t be writing like me after just one hour, I can tell you that,” Betty promised. “But you will learn to love it.” Here are a few things I picked up from the wonderful Betty Soldi.

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To Copenhagen & The Hive!

Passport problems kept me from it last year, and I didn’t know if I could still afford it after all the travel we’ve done this year. But after some eleventh-hour maneuvering, I’m happy to be able to say: I’m going to The Hive!

This year’s conference for European bloggers will be held in Copenhagen. It’ll be my first time in this Nordic design capital and I’m really excited! I finally get to tick another Scandinavian country off my list since our family holiday in Oslo three years ago.

Kopenhagen Nyhavn

Kopenhagen Nyhavn, via Judith74 on Flickr

More than anything, I’m grateful for the chance to take some time off. Marlon has been wonderful in offering me another baby-free break so soon after Blago, I think mostly because he knows how difficult the last two weeks have been.

Since this is still part of my rest and recovery program, I plan to take it slow and soak up Copenhagen at a relaxed pace. I’m looking forward to meeting inspiring and creative bloggers; catching up with good friends; wandering and discovering; and (nerd alert!) seeing what must be one of the coolest libraries in Europe, the Black Diamond. Anything more than that will be a bonus.

Any travel tips for Copenhagen? Oh, and do drop me a comment if I’ll be seeing you at The Hive!

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Things to do in New York: The High Line

How was your weekend? I’m feeling so rested and refreshed from my Mother’s Day treat! Marlon made banana chocolate chip pancakes with bacon for a delicious brunch at home, just the two of us, while Tala took her morning nap.

Then he sent me off to the spa at The Conservatorium Hotel for a pedicure and massage. I lingered for a short snooze, some time in the steam room and hammam, and bit of reading by the pool. It was exactly what I needed! I’m feeling a lot better and ready to take on another busy week.

Let me start this new week with some pictures from our trip to the High Line Park in New York. I can’t believe this was more than a month ago!

The High Line park New York

March was probably not the best time for a stroll on The High Line. It was chilly and wintery, with only an occasional glimpse of blue skies. But even without the sunny weather and fresh blooms of spring, I still wouldn’t have missed a walk on the High Line.

The High Line New York Chelsea park

I loved seeing all the different styles of architecture, a mix of classic red brick apartment buildings to shiny new condos in glass and steel.

The High Line New York train tracks to warehouses

Built in Manhattan’s busiest industrial district in the 1930s, the High Line was a railway built 30 feet above ground to transport goods directly to warehouses at third floor level. The railway fell into disuse piece by piece over the years, with the last trains coming to a halt in the 1980s. Two decades after falling into disrepair, it was transformed into the popular public park we see today.

The High Line New York Tala and me

It rained most of the time we were there. Tala got antsy in her stroller, so as soon as the rain stopped, we brought her out and took lots of family photos—some of my favorites from this entire trip.

The High Line New York Tala and Daddy

She was clearly happy to be out and about!

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