Copenhagen Weekender

Three months ago, I posted about Sweden and promised to come back with a recap of my time in Denmark. Then life got in the way, big time.

So, this is my Copenhagen post. Finally.

Our requirements for this trip were chiefly cost and time constraints. I couldn’t take a full day off work and we wanted it to be inexpensive for obvious reasons. The Edinburgh-Copenhagen flight worked out perfectly and the times of the flights meant we only needed two nights in a hotel but got a full 2 1/2 days. The cherry on top? Our random pick meant we got to see the famous Little Mermaid statue, one of my childhood dreams. We had no other plans for the trip so spent Sunday on a day long shopping trip/walking tour/search for the statue.

The crazy busy bike park at the Central Station.

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Nyhavn

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The statue!

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Amalienborg, or the winter home of the Danish royal family.

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There was also a lot of shopping involved on this day. I ended up buying nail polish, surprise, surprise.

We ended our day at Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement park in the world and inspiration for Walt Disney when he was dreaming up Disneyland. Such a cute little place!

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And no photos, but we had dinner at a Chinese restaurant on the way to the airport. The best Chinese I’ve had in Europe. British-Chinese doesn’t even compare. All the food we had in Copenhagen was good actually. There was a street around the corner from our hotel that had a line of restaurants and we picked a different one each night.

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It was the height of summer so everyone was out, enjoying the weekend and the weather. It wasn’t scorching, but if anyone got too cold, the restaurants had blankets to wrap around your legs.

Like Sweden, I would love to go back to Denmark for a longer trip. Our visit was perfect but so short.

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Hayley’s Comet (on my nails)

I love having extra time to cook a full dinner. Tonight’s menu included these Thai turkey burgers and sweet potato fries. The slaw was the best part, especially because I used all purple cabbage and it looked prettier! Last night was a Goan fish curry from a recipe torn out of Fabulous magazine. That was also a hit. Food period is a hit in this house, but I have to agree that the curry was pretty good.

My goal this year is to read 50 books. I only made this goal a few weeks ago but I am well on my way. I have to read 2 more books before the end of March to stay on track and I should probably try for 3 so I have some leeway when I get busier. Currently, I’m reading The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and I have the first two Hunger Games books waiting for me at the library.

It’s still been absolutely freezing here in Glasgow so instead of turning up the heat I just retreat to the bedroom with Fernando to read. Honestly, I think he’s just as cold so it works well for the both of us. He always cries to get into the bathroom so he can sleep on the mat in front of the heater.

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The highlight of my week was my new nail polish purchase. I know, I know, but I really like nail polish! I finally got with the program and bought the Seche Vite topcoat. Amazing. I usually have to sit waiting for my nails to dry for at least two hours but this seemed pretty good after about 30 minutes. I went in for the topcoat and a ridge filling base coat and since makeup was 3 for 2 in Boots I also got a fun colour. I had been eyeing the Beetlejuice range from Models Own since it came out and decided on the Hayley’s Comet colour.

It’s gorgeous on – sort of a shimmery pink champagne with an iridescent green sheen.

So excited for Nashville tonight. Never though I’d be a once a week series devotee but I have not missed an episode and I’m totally engrossed in the story line and characters.

Prabal Gurung For Target

I mis-planned our California trip a bit. Sure, we were there for Danny’s birthday and the great weather but we missed the launch of Prabal Gurung for Target! One of my favorite designers. One of my favorite stores. And we missed it by a week!

My mom picked me up some Missoni for Target items in 2011 and I was able to pick them up on my next trip. I loved what I got but was a bit disappointed at how fast everything flew out the stores. I had no idea the line would be so popular and that things would go so quickly due to Ebay sellers. This time I was ready. I stalked the Lookbook and on February 10 woke up early to place my order. Prabal Gurung’s floral prints are among my favorite and his Target line has some great ones – ‘Floral Crush’ and ‘First Date’ in particular. I had my eye on the sweatshirt in ‘First Date” print and a dress or top in ‘Floral Crush’.

I think I scored. My top two picks are now sold out.

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I had trouble deciding between the ‘Floral Crush’ dress and the top, but ultimately went with the top as I already have a bright floral fit and flare dress and I’ve been wanting a peplum top in my wardrobe for awhile now. It’s quite a busy top – bright florals, white background, black trim, peplum – but I think it’ll go great with dark skinny jeans and the heels I bought.

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Going to try and keep the flats ‘good’. Glasgow’s rain and grit absolutely tear up all my flats. I now have everyday, walk-to-work flats and dress up flats. I also have heels that have been walked to death on the cobblestones (mostly all of them) and one pair of pristine peach suede platforms that have barely seen the light of day. I never knew how well my shoes had it when I was in California!

And finally, one of my favorite dress shapes, one of the best colours. I have a dress like this in navy blue and wear it ALL THE TIME.

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Don’t think this will turn into a fashion blog but Danny didn’t really want to hear my musings on Target fashion and I know my mom will appreciate!

My grown-up skin care routine

I’ll hop the pond for American deodorant or shampoo but some of my other favorite products are from UK drugstores. I think the UK does skin care better. The quality of the products that I can find in Boots or Superdrug far surpasses what I can find in CVS.

Two weekends ago during a whirlwind 24 hour San Francisco trip, I woke up after a night of partying and looked old. I hadn’t taken off my makeup, my skin was red and blotchy from the alcohol and I finally realized that at 26 years old I needed to start taking better care of my skin. I drink a lot water and have been wearing a daily moisturizer with SPF since junior high but I commit the cardinal skin of sleeping with my makeup on. I didn’t find any good products at CVS and wasn’t ready to spend $100 at Sephora, so I waited until I got back to the UK.

This morning I went into town and after wandering around Boots I settled on the below.

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Super Facialist by Una Brennan – Rose Hydrate Radiance Day Cream SPF15
Botanics – Cleansing Foam Wash All Bright
Botanics – Hydrating Night Cream All Bright

I’m starting simple. The foam wash and night cream were both on sale and under £5 each. I made a deal with myself – if I wash my face and take off my makeup every night until the duo runs out, I can upgrade with pricier products. I’m basically bribing myself into being a grown-up!

The day cream has the mandatory SPF and a lovely rose smell. I looked up Una Brennan’s skin care line and might try the accompanying two-step oil and cleanser if I can stick with this nightly facial routine. If things go really well, I might venture into the world of serums and eye creams. I’m pretty sure the wrinkles show up soon after the first time you wake up looking old from too much partying. Late twenties, I’m almost there.

Two more days to go

Ventured into town as soon as the shops opened yesterday. Danny’s work schedule allowed him to drop me off at Sauchiehall Street and I spent the next four hours wandering around Glasgow, shopping and running errands. Running errands is such an American thing to say, btw. The Glasgow/west of Scotland term would be ‘get the messages’. Although I think that relates more to food shopping not general running around town trying to get a bunch of random stuff done.

And I did get a bunch of stuff done along with today’s trip into town. I bought US dollars, Mexican pesos, dropped my jeans off at the tailors and bought presents and warm socks for the flight. Yesterday afternoon I walked home but today it started snowing a bit so I got myself on a train as quickly as I could. It’s freezing out there! We haven’t had much snowfall this year so I’m really hoping the snow doesn’t show up this week and mess up flights.

So looking forward to the sunshine.

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It’ll be cold at night but I think I can handle that with some wine and cute new sweaters from all the shopping I’ll be doing.

Two more days. Dinner tonight will be chicken and Israeli cous cous salad but our food supplies are dwindling and I think it’s going to be a mish mash of eggs and left over veg from here on out.

12 Days of Christmas and counting…

Since we’re going for a visit back home in January, Danny and I have set a strict budget for our Christmas gifts to each other. We want a little something to open up on Xmas day but both know our real present is California. However, I’m still getting fully into the run-up to the holiday and the Christmas spirit. I love the festive season in Glasgow.

On Saturday Danny and I finished up Christmas shopping for the kids. This meant lots of boring toy shopping but I did have some fun picking out my teenage niece’s gift. I know nothing about Moshi Monsters and the newest Legos but I do know Topshop, New Look and Miss Selfridge. Usually I don’t like New Look’s jewelry but I found a pretty cool necklace for my niece in there and dropped major hints to Danny about another. When I got up to the till, the cashier told me it was BOGOF on all jewelry and so I rushed to grab my free present to myself.

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Yes it’s a direct copy of the wildly popular J.Crew bubble necklace. Although I’m about a year behind in this trend, it doesn’t matter in Glasgow! The J.Crew look isn’t very popular over here. There’s no J.Crew stores obviously, so the whole J.Crew/Jenna Lyons aesthetic never caught on. Glaswegians wouldn’t bother with understated glamour anyway. They just do full-on glamour.

Sunday was another day for wintery things. The local activity centre reopened in Danny’s home town so we took his niece ice skating.

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I had planned on going skating too but got there and realize the rink was way overcrowded. I can barely skate on my own so I sat this one out and got a latte in the swim center’s cafe. It was humid, 80 degrees and smelled like summer. I could have spent the entire day there.

To end the weekend I wrapped presents while watching Elf and The X Factor final. I’ve been here for three finals now and it’s almost becoming a new tradition. Shameful, but true! It’s just part of the British Christmas.

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Working 2 to 10, what a way to make a living

Since I know no one is reading this blog (haven’t told anyone about it yet) it really doesn’t matter if I forget to update for two weeks!

My absence is due to my new job. I started on February 13 and have been covering the US shift for the first three weeks of my contract. It’s 2 pm to 10 pm which is a nice change from my previous hours of 8 am to 6 pm and I get to sleep in! I go back to a normal 9 to 5 on Monday. Will nice in some ways but I’ve also really enjoyed the benefits of a late shift  – being able to watch daytime TV and the aforementioned sleeping in of course.

It has been hard to get into a schedule since I know this is just a temporary position. Also, Danny’s been working overtime every night so both our schedules are out of whack. I’ve been eating grocery store sandwiches and crisps for dinner or coming home at 10 and eating a huge meal. Then in the morning I sleep in and eat a small breakfast and a rushed lunch before leaving to catch my train at 1:30. I’m hoping to get into more of a routine once I work the 9 to 5. I’ll be able to cook again! I cooked and baked a lot during my time off work and I have so many recipe ideas that I want to try out and didn’t have a chance before I started working again. And as much I as love staying up late, it’ll be good to get back into a more normal schedule and feel like I’m part of the normal working world.

However for tomorrow I am truly embracing my alternative schedule. I have a couple of parties in the next few weeks and I’ve decided that I need new dresses for all of them. One party may involve a day trip to the Ayr horse races then straight on to an engagement party in the city centre. Going to see what’s new in the shops that will fit the bill!

I’m up, now where’s my medal?

Danny and I woke up at 6:30 this morning to go to a car boot sale. A swap meet/flea market for the Americans. This was sort of a silly idea as we have plans to go out later tonight and now we’re both shattered.

I’ve been reading DIY blogs all this week and Danny’s been getting into home brewing (more on that later) so we went bright and early to see what we could find. Not so bright actually, as even though I’ve been off work for a whole month, I discovered that it’s still dark at 7 am.

Car boot sales in Scotland have the same sort of people just trying to offload their junk but there’s also quite a few stalls with stuff that ‘just fell off the back of a lorry’. There’s also still some pubs in Glasgow where you can place an order with the dodgy guy in the back for a certain iPod or mobile phone, etc and then have it delivered before your next round of drinks. Danny says that this happens in the rough pubs in the east end. I think it sounds like an episode of ‘Only Fools and Horses’ and only reinforces the idea that living in the UK is as much fun as it seems on TV.

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Not so interested in the cutlery set, but I’ll take the coat!

No new MP3 players for us though. I ended up buying a mirror for 5 pounds that I plan to spray paint dark purple to give it that DIY edge.

To continue our morning we decided to get breakfast in a greasy spoon cafe. The problem here was that nothing was open before 9 am. I was miffed. If I’m going be up and at ’em by 7, I expect other people to be as well! Where are all the morning people that everyone is always going on about? I did see a few people, a lone dog walker and the random weirdos that roam around and talk to themselves no matter what time it is.

I fully expected there to be loads of people out and about, being motivated, successful and happy. All the things that are promised if you’re an early riser! My dad gets up every morning at 5 to go swimming and has a bunch of buddies, but I suspect that this is an American thing. Scottish people do it differently. The only thing you get if you wake up early on a Saturday in Scotland is darkness, freezing rain and the possibility of bumping into people who haven’t even finished the night before. Which really is the proper Glaswegian way to meet the early morning and perhaps I’ll try that tonight.

My mecca, my Target

I uploaded all my vacation photos to Facebook a few weeks ago, labeling nearly every picture with food as ‘Reason #93834 I miss America”. Only one non-food picture got that  caption and that was the below.

TARGET.

There’s nothing in the UK that compares to Target. Maybe a mix of Tesco/Matalan with the quality of Next but cheaper prices. It’s one of those stores that you visit intending to only buy a bottle of lotion and then you walk out an hour later and $100 poorer. I love it.

When I was in school the nearest Target was 30 minutes away and in the same town as the nearest Costco. As a normal 90’s family, we shopped at Costco for TP, paper towels and all the free samples. A trip to Costco every few months meant a trip to Target. A pilgrimage to Target in my mind. I think all the makeup and CDs of my teenage years came from these trips. And most of my cardigan wardrobe.

Target was there for me when I moved out for dorm life. Closet shoe organizers, shower caddy, umbrella for my new rainy life in Portland, notebooks. And more cardigans for my new college student wardrobe.

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So collegiate!

A couple of years later I moved out of the dorms and into a house with three other girls. Now I could get into the Target homeware! We had thrift store/Craigslist furniture but I could go to Target and buy laundry detergent, a new lamp, pens, potato chips, mascara and the new issue of Cosmo! Brilliant. Danny will protest that Tesco serves the same purpose but personally I think there’s too much food at Tesco.

We finally got a Target in my home town a year ago. The slow growth enthusiasts voted against it for all those years. When I went back in November I went at least 4 times and bought a lot of clothes and toiletries. And some new cardigans for work! I didn’t have any luggage space to take stuff back for the flat but it was nice to look at everything and be jealous of what my American friends could buy for their apartments. At the end I got a soft pretzel. That part is definitely better than Tesco, Matalan and Next combined.