Sometimes getting out of London is necessary. I wish I could do it every weekend to be honest. Definitely a country girl by heart! A few weekends ago we ventured to Hampshire in Southern England. Only an hour by train outside London, but a world of difference. Sometimes walking across a field and looking at an old tree is just what the soul needs.
I have lived in the U.K. for 7 years. But I am Danish. And I have, as most other people, followed the story of Marius the giraffe, and how he ended his days in Copenhagen Zoo. There are many opinions on this subject. From outrage, to understanding, to looking at Copenhagen Zoo as barbaric, twisted killers, that turn children into mass murders.
I love animals. I spend 20 years of my life being a ‘horse-girl’, I used to have tame mice in our garden that I would feed little seeds, and Frida, the dog, was my best friend. Cruelty to animals hurts me. But, at the same time I do eat meat. Not a lot, but a few times a week. And I buy this meat in the supermarket. The chicken fillets, which ones used to be a chicken, probably had a pretty short life, then got killed by a massive machine that kills thousands of other chickens every day. Whichever way we put it, it’s not exactly a fairy tale.
Us humans aren’t the nicest species out there. Far from, we’re probably the worst. I understand that we like to see ourselves as ‘good people’, but the reality is different whether we like it or not.
When I was a child, maybe around 8-10, we had sheep. And sometimes they would get old, and would have to be put down before they would suffer. My dad let me see it, and I remember it as being very un-dramatic. Because it was not made into a big deal, but a natural end to a useful and good life. They were then made into sausages, and eaten. The wool was given away to anyone who would like it for making hats, scarfs, sweaters, etc.
I don’t agree with the killing of Marius. Maybe there could have been other options, and maybe he could have ended his days naturally. No-one likes an animal being killed, and it makes me sad to see a dead giraffe. But, when we keep animals in captivity, we are already taking on the role as mother nature. I understand how Copenhagen Zoo has taken their responsibility of ensuring a healthy giraffe population in captivity seriously. Anything about a Zoo is unnatural and the natural selection process becomes unnatural too. We decide through breeding programs when new animals come into the world, which genes they carry forward, and when they leave this world – Whether it be giraffes or cats. Once an animal is kept in captivity, it is the human’s sole responsibility, whether it be in a Zoo or a private home. And that includes taking on the role of death too. I think it’s important to somehow try and see this as an investment in the future health of giraffes in Zoos. It doesn’t make it any less sad though, and it would have been great if Marius could have been castrated (maybe not that nice for him) and had a long life somewhere good. I can’t help thinking though, that because Marius was a giraffe, and not a (in some peoples eyes) a less likeable animal like a wild bore, it’s been blown up even more.
But I do think it’s important to see this story in context. As sad as it is that Marius had to die, what about all the other animals? What about all the animals that die when forests are being cut down every day to provide us with houses and heat? What about the mink that are bred purely for their fur? What about the poor geese, that are born to be force fed until their own legs can’t hold them up anymore, living in such a confined space that they only have minimal movement, in order for them not to loose any of the weight that is being forced on them? Many people in the world still happily eat foie gras, in fact many see it as a delicacy. Now in my mind, that is sick. Although Marius days ended, at least he had a nice life, with space to move, and other giraffes to play with, he didn’t suffer, and his dead provided some lions with dinner. His body wasn’t just discarded, as the minks after they’re skinned. And had he lived in the wild, things would of course have been different, as for any wild animal that lives in a zoo. He was eaten by lions in the end though, which quite likely would have happened if he had lived on an African savanna too.
I do however think that dissecting Marius publicly, and then feeding him to the zoo lions, is okay. I do not get squeamish at the thought of children seeing the realities of nature, in fact, maybe if all those people blaming Copenhagen Zoo for being barbaric and turning children violent had seen something like that themselves when they were small, they would understand that it’s an important education in life. Where do the bacon they eat themselves come from? It does not magically appear on a plate unfortunately. Nature is harsh, life and death is difficult subjects, but, in my opinion, very important parts of education. I have never been shielded from dead pets, and I don’t think i’ve suffered. I went to the vet with my parents when Friday, the dog that was my best friend, got cancer at 6 years old, and was in so much pain that she had to be put down. It’s not the same as Marius, as she was sick, and he was not. But the whole idea of children being exposed to death relates. It is a part of having an animal, and I was taught that responsibility early. Children are naturally curious, about death too. And is it not better discovering it in an undramatic and educational environment, rather than on questionable internet sites? Understanding that nature is not always treating everyone fairly, and that some animals (ourselves included) eat other animals, is part of the process. It’s the circle of life. But we need to show respect for other species, which I do think Copenhagen zoo did. Yes, killing him was unnecessary. But at least it was not a waste. His death was purposeful. And Lions have to eat too, right? If not a giraffe, then a horse, or a cow. Once we put animals in a zoo, the problem starts. We could of course feed carnivores cooked meat (which would still have to come from another animal, which somehow would have to be killed), but that wouldn’t be a very natural way of life for them either, would it? Why do people not get angry about all the cows the lions are fed regularly? Is that because a giraffe is a better animal than a cow? I have a feeling that many people forget that Marius was not a character out of Disney’s madagascar, but a beautiful, real giraffe, with natural instincts, and a place in the hierarchy of ‘who eats who’. In a zoo or on the savanna.
Compare it to hunting in Africa, killing for trophies on the wall, which lot’s of well educated western people, royalty even, have no problem doing. Or, eggs from caged hen. It’s very easy to distance ourselves from all this cruelty happening, when it’s all neatly packaged on supermarket shelves.
It’s a difficult subject. Animals are our friends, and they should be treated as such. But maybe children need to see something like this sometimes, in order for them to fully understand themselves, how life works, be fascinated with the process, and through all of this gain that respect for animals.
I do sometimes consider going vegetarian. I think I quite easily could, considering the small amounts of meat I actually eat. There are many things around eating meat that I don’t like, but I do understand that it’s natural, and it’s my responsibility to research where the meat I might eat come from, and how that animal lived. Perspective is important before we start judging. Especially looking at ourselves, and our own habits, where the food we eat come from, and how the leather shoes and jackets we buy are made. I have read comment on articles from people, that claim they will boycott everything Danish. Everyone deals with things differently, and thats absolutely fine. But how will they go about boycotting themselves? Can anyone of us really account for how EVERYTHING we do or buy affects animals? If you can, that’s amazing. But I’m sure it’s less than 1% of the population.
Maybe the real discussion here is whether or not us humans should be having this power over animals in the first place, but I’m not gonna go into that here, because I’ll never be done writing :)
From a PR and human point of view, I do think it’s refreshing how open the zoo is about the whole thing, and striving to stay professional and factual. I don’t even dare imagine how many useless animal killings around the world are covered up every day. It has at least provided us all with a chance to think and discuss, while having all the facts available.
Watch the director of Copenhagen Zoo being interviewed by a (in my opinion) rather embarrassing journalist on channel 4 news.
And see this Facebook post for some good arguments and reflections for and against the whole thing.
It is January. Soon to be February. And the sky is grey, it’s 8 degrees warm (yes, warm), and there’s no sign of snow anywhere. This makes me sad.
Most people, especially in London, are probably very happy that there’s no snow so far this year. Snow to many means disruptions, impossible transport, wet feet, cold hands, and frozen cheeks. To me snow means happiness, calmness, and peace. When it snows, the world listens. It makes people stop, look out the windows like they did when they were kids and were longing to get out and build snowmen and have hours of fun. Getting cold to the bones, and look forward to a warm cup of cocoa to warm up the frozen fingers afterwards.
So, this is an ode to snow. Some of my best memories involves it, whether it be skiing trips to the alps, or sledging in Denmark.
I clearly remember the first time I saw snow ‘for real’. Well, the first strong memory I have was once in Denmark when I was 6 or 7. We woke up to a snow storm, and listened to the radio announce that our school was closed. I played all day outside with my best friend and neighbour, while the grown-ups tried to keep up with the heavy snowfall and clear the pathways.
But that was nothing compared to my first skiing trip to Norway. I remember I had slept in the car, and woke up when we were parked at the foot of a mountain. There was a queue of cars in front of us, and snow everywhere. My parents told me that we waiting because people couldn’t drive up the mountain, and that the police were out helping the ‘poor tourists’ without snow tires and chains, to get up. We did, and made our way up the slippery mountain to ‘Gaustablik’ named after the mountain ‘Gausta’. We got out of the car, and it was freezing – probably around -30. Everything was white – The roads were flanked by 2 meter high walls of snow, some of which had unfortunate cars hidden inside, only given away by a side mirror sticking out. Everywhere you walked this squeaky sound of compressed, deep frozen snow followed you, and everything else was quiet. Even during the night it was light, as the moonlight shining on the glistening snow would brighten up everything.
Snow is amazing and magical. It dresses up the world.
A few images from a wintery walk in Denmark a few years ago with my cousins and the dogs (Back when my hair was brown)
All images taken by me, please do not use without my permission
Happy New Year! Everything is new, yet nothing really is. However, a new, fresh year always feels like the perfect occasion to make some promises to ourselves, of how the next 365 days should be put to use.
I’m not big on resolutions. I prefer to make plans. 2014 will be a big year in terms of planning, especially as I recently agreed to marry my lovely man (Absolutely no idea where to start with this one!). But, more about all of that later on. I also plan to read more. And watch more films. And go for more walks. And travel more. And blog more. And listen to more music.
For now, happy new year to you all, may all your wishes and expectations come true. 2014 will be a great year, but it’s up to us to make it happen.
This is turning into a tradition. Sometimes when certain social networks get on my nerves and become nothing but bragging and sucking up, I turn to Tumblr. Because, at least it’s inspiring on there. Here’s what’s inspired me this week. Have a lovely weekend guys, remember to go out, look someone in the eyes, have a real conversation, enjoy nature, look at the sky. It’s important sometimes.
All images from Tumblr
Frengers. The title of an album I bought back in 2003, by a Danish band called Mew. The album has been a favourite of mine ever since, and not a week goes by where I don’t listen to a Mew song.
We kinda grew up together. Mew was formed north of copenhagen by a group of school friends, and to this day the band has changed very little on the members front. Only one of the original members has left to start his own project. The rest of them are still a team, still producing dreamy, rocky tunes.
I first saw them live several years back, and I was blown away. It was one of those gigs that takes you even further than just listening to a band playing some music. There was an euphoric atmosphere, and it felt like the entire audience was taken on a journey. Yesterday I saw them again, at the Roundhouse in Camden, London. And they were just as amazing as ever. It was a happy reunion on my part, and reminded me, in a good way, of my late teenage years.
So, here a small recommendation to check these guys out. They have quite a unique style, mostly due to the singer Jonas Bjerre’s very high pitched voice, and, as with all music, not everyone will like it. They are however genuine, hardworking, great writers, own-label artists, who do not fall for the ‘Simon Cowell world of music’, that a lot of artist unfortunately is blinded by these days. These guys deserve some love.
The below is a recording from Roskilde Festival 2012
For long I have thought of onesies as – to be blunt – extremely ugly. They have always created associations in my mind of the Slanket, and that’s not a good thing. Never have I seen a picture of someone wearing a onesie that looked good, however beautiful the model is. They always looked weirdly big and deformed, and somehow not as comfortable as the advert suggested (also, think of the effort having to be put in just to go to the toilet).
I found myself window shopping on asos.com (as you do) a while back. And I fell in love with a onesie. So I saved it on my ‘saved items list’ (along side 20+ other items) and thought I would sleep on it, and, hopefully, come to my senses. I woke up the next morning still in love with the onesie, so I decided to order it. But, horror, it was of course sold out. Destiny decided for me. I’ve been keeping an eye on it ever since, and then yesterday it was suddenly back in my size. With the speed of a very fast ninja I snapped it up, and checked out faster than my brain could tell me to stop.
So this is it. I’m thinking it’s quite a good looking onesie, perhaps even one you can wear in public (gasp) but I’m obviously thinking it will look EXACTLY the same on me as on that model. Lets see.
You can get it here, although it does spend most of its time being sold out at the moment. Makes sense when you look at the price though.
I already made plans to wear it out, but then I thought of the combination onesie+pub/bar toilets, and figured it’s probably not the best of plans. Pics on instagram when it arrives (unless it’s horrible)
There hasn’t been much time to do anything, let alone blog, lately. But then again, I guess all I ever do is ‘anything’. Life is busy, but it is good. I have been looking for an opportunity for an opportunity ever since I graduated, and last week started an internship which is pretty much all I could ever want. A medium size company – big enough to be very busy, but small enough for me to be involved with lots of things. Is there a better feeling than finally having a job that challenges you and gives you a fulfillment at the end of the day, and a feeling of a brighter future? I don’t think so.
Having said that, life have gotten rather busy. And the next few months won’t be any less busy. But as proven time and time again, the more you have to do, the more you will get done too. Bring it on i say!
Here are a few snapshots of what have happened lately. By the looks of it I’ve been quite inspired by autumn, with good reason (All iPhone photos, so do excuse the quality).
This Friday is Cinnamon bun day. Or ‘Kanel snegle’ (Cinnamon Snails) as we say in Danish. So, I thought I would get a heads start and try them out. I did however make them like the English do (attached to each other in a baking tray) and not as individual buns as they normally are in Scandinavia.
They turned out pretty well though, so here’s the recipe I used (Originally from here, but with my own tweaks – As in no prunes and leaving out orange, which are both not very scandinavian ways of making cinnamon buns. And slightly more simplified perhaps).
500 g of white flour
50g of brown sugar
1 1/2 tbs dried yeast
- Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the softened butter, and work it into the dry mixture as much as possible. Make a little well in the middle, and add the ‘wet’ ingredients:
Mix it all well together with your hands. It needs a lot of work this dough (consider it a workout before the treat), until it’s completely smooth and soft. I then left it to rise for approx. 45 minutes, while making the filling;
Approx 100g brown sugar
1 1/2 tbs ground cinnamon (I put more, about 2-3 tbs as I like them a little spicy and not just sweet)
100g soft butter
Mix it all together to a paste.
When the dough is ready, roll it out into a square, the thickness not much more than what compares to the thickness of a pound coin. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, and then roll it up from the long side of the dough square. Cut it into 12-14 equal sizes, and place them side by side (but not squashed) in a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Leave them to stand for another hour (or 1.5 for the patient ones). Warm up the oven to 180 degrees (gasmark 6, but it varies so be careful). Pensel the buns with one egg, and cook them for 10 minutes, turn turn down the heat to approx. 160 and cook them for another 20 min. The time will probably vary depending on your owen though, so only guidelines. Mine took only 25 minutes in total, and could have done with a little less time at the high level.
Use glacing sugar to make the stringy sugary patterns on top, and Voila! Danish/English cinnamon bun fusion. Granted, they do take a bit of time, but they are so worth it. Happy bun day!
A few images from Tumblr that have in some way inspired me recently. Colours, shapes, moods, dreams, or just simple cuteness. What better way to start of a weekend, hey?
Wishing you all a good one, where ever you are and whatever you’re doing.
On a grey Wednesday when nothing really seemed to go anywhere, I decided to go somewhere. Out to be with some nature to be precise. But, when you live in London, most nature is well-kept-moved-lawns-royal-parks, which to me is not really nature. Fortunately our neighbourhood has got its own little spot of almost undisturbed nature.
Here are a few pics from my day at Walthamstow Marshes. Great place to breathe and think.
One of my birthday presents from Joel was a trip to zsl London zoo. Despite having lived in London for almost 7 years, I had never been to the zoo before, and was pretty exited to see it.
The verdict? It was nice. We had a great day out, and it wasn’t too busy as the school holidays are over. It is a nice park to wander around, and we spend most of the afternoon there. On the down side It was smaller than I expected, and I was quite disappointed by the fact that they don’t have elephants (I LOVE elephants), bears, hippos or rhinos. And only one tiger (which was a little disappointing considering as they have a brand new area called ‘Tiger Territory’). The animals looked happy and very healthy though, which is something I’m always worried about when going to a zoo. Also, it’s advisable to bring lunch with you, as the prices are, as could be expected, pretty high. As in £5 for a tomato and cheese baguette. Or £10 for a small portion of Fish and Chips.
After the zoo we walked to Camden via Regent’s Canal, which is always lovely, and very recommendable! Lots of spectacular looking house boats, book sale, etc.
I have recently started guest blogging for a London based art gallery/shop/blog. I love art, all sorts, so it will be a great experience for me. If you are interested in all sorts of art, artist profiles, photography, want to discover new upcoming artists, popular culture, etc., then pop by and have a browse. And feel free to read my first post, “Creative collaborations in Advertising – Spike Jonze“. I’m sure this new challenge will give me great reason to be more creative, discover new art, and dwell into things that interest me.
I’ve had lovely breakfasts while job searching
Gotten back into painting, this time no skulls :)
Made a lot of smoothies (this one is a favourite – Strawberries, blueberries, and ripe mango. Yum!)
Made this red velvet/cream cheese icing layered cake for my birthday gathering/housewarming for our new flat. It was awesome, will definitely be making that again.
The result of the smoothie from above
Spend a sunny day in Hyde Park with the lovely Miss Despeyroux :)
I’ve taken serious selfies laying in the grass
I have admired the beautiful night sky from Walthamstow on my way home from work. Beautiful colours! (And this is no filter, mind you)
… and last but not least enjoyed some of the last summer evenings on our terrace with Joel and his two brothers.
Hope you are all making the most of the last days of summer!
I love TV series. I could easily take a whole weekend out, stay in bed, and go through an entire season (or more). To be honest, I would consider that a pretty good weekend. Below are a few of my all time favourites as an inspiration. If you haven’t watched them, I can definitely recommend you too – In my opinion they are all brilliant in their own way.
Borgen: Borgen is a Danish political drama series about a female prime minister, Birgitte Nyborg. It’s about her political struggles, personal struggles, about spin doctors and journalists. I think the reason why I love it so much, is because of the mix of political games, personal drama, and the link between the two. Furthermore it’s full of great actors which never hurts, right? Thankfully all seasons have been shown on BBC4 (thanks, BBC) just a short time after they aired in Denmark.
The Killing: The original Danish version that is. I haven’t seen the american remake, but I can’t imagine it will be as good as the original version. The Killing is a crime series revolving around a rather alternative female investigator, Sarah Lund, who has got a deep love for woolly sweaters. Each season she investigate one murder case. Again, this series achieves a brilliant mix between the cases, and the characters personal struggles. It is set in Copenhagen, and is a rather dark series. I love the down to earth-ness it conveys, while being very difficult to let go.
Dexter: Dexter is probably my all time favourite show. I have watched it since it came out, some seasons several times, and I am still hooked now as the final season 8 is currently out. It is brilliantly dark, humorous, and very well filmed. The show is about Dexter Morgan, officially a blood spatter expert with Miami Metro, unofficially a serial killer. But due to his late foster father Harry, Dexter has a code. He can only kill bad people. The fact that his bad mouthed sister Debra is also a police officer/lieutenant at his station does not make it easier. Dexter’s constant battle with his inner ‘Dark Passenger’, having a normal life with friends, family and girlfriends, avoiding being caught, and hunting down his victims while solving cases in his day job (usually related in some way) makes this series, for me anyway, perfect.
Twin Peaks: A classic. Really does not need much introduction. Dale Cooper, Special agent for the FBI investigates the murder of Laura Palmer in the small town of Twin Peaks. At points Twin Peaks resembles a horror film, always quirky, sometimes supernatural, weird humor, and great characters. Twin Peaks is a must-see.
Big Love: Big Love is a series about a fictional mormon family in Utah that practices polygamy. It’s a very different story from what is normally seen in big TV series, but it works extremely well. The series is about their problems with mormon relatives from the compound, being a polygamy family in a ‘normal’ society, and trying to hide the fact that they live the way they do from neighbours and the people in the town. It is about the relationships they have with each other within the family, their children, intrigue, jealousy, being a mormon family in a modern society, and, of course, love. It’s a great series starring well-known film stars such as Bill Paxton, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Chloë Sevigny.
Next up for me must be Breaking Bad (I know, hopelessly late) and the Sopranos, which I have always wanted to see, but never got around to it.
What are your favourite series?
This weekend Joel and I ventured down to Hampshire to visit his parents and brother Tom, who were house and dog sitting for a relative.
I’ve never been to Hampshire before. It’s a lovely area, beautiful nature, lots of cottages, small pubs, rivers, and forests. A real English country-side feel. We relaxed in the massive house, walked the dogs, and had drinks and dinner by the river-side, and explored Winchester, the previous capital of England. I wouldn’t mind moving in to a cottage in that area at some point, get a dog and a few horses and enjoy country life – with only an hour on the train to London.
One weekend was definitely not enough. We will be back :)
All images are taken with iPhone4, hence the picture quality. Gutted I didn’t bring my SLR.
I’m turning 27 tomorrow. No choice. Ready or not. Where exactly are you supposed to be in life when you turn 27? I’m pretty happy with where I am to be honest. And who decides where we ought to be at certain ages anyway?
These are a few of my material wishes this year:
From top left: 1. Pots and plants for out terrace 2. Chinese lanterns for same terrace 3. A Sheepskin for the living room 4. A pair of white converse low tops 5. Nike Freerun 5.0 in black 6. An original Fjallraven backpack (Not because I’m a hipster, but because I’m scandinavian, mind you) 7. Knot ring (loads of them on Etsy.com) 8. Chanel nail polish in summery shades
Images from google.
Ever since I could hold a pencil I have drawn on all the blank papers I came near. In the beginning strange looking people with big heads and small bodies, later on mostly horses and other animals. the childish innocent imagination has developed into adult thoughts and feelings, and my recent creations have been rather dark. (you can see some of them here)
I find that painting is a very personal thing, and more than the finished product I enjoy the process. Shutting everything out for a while and only concentrate on shapes and colours and shadows. I have always found it rather nerve-wrecking sharing my things with others, as taste is very different and some of my things, granted, probably only appeal to a rather small audience at the moment.
I have never the less set up a little shop online, on one of my own personal favourite websites, Etsy. Can surf around in there for ages and be amazed over how many creative people there are in this world.
Stop by and have a look right here
A few days ago we all got dressed up and went to The Barbican for graduation ceremony for the class of 2013. Being Danish I have always found the whole thing rather strange, but intriguing. Especially all the funny hats.
It turned out that in reality, it’s a lot of hard work. Keeping the cape in place, trying not to loose the hat to the wind or have the little whip thing hanging right down in front of your face. I’m quite happy I only had to deal with that for a few hours.
Once it was all returned it was a lovely day though. Family, friends and loved ones all together in one place celebrating what symbolises a new start and a hope for the future.
A few pictures from the day:
A big dog to take for long walks. A pair of Birkenstock Amazonas (although they do remind me a bit of nurses… hmm. I’m telling myself that in the black version they’re cool). An exercise ball and a yoga mat (oh yes) and obviously the best fruit in the world, mango.
hope you’re all enjoying the summer out there!
I have discovered something great. And easy. And much better than crisps. Salty Almonds. They’re really easy and lovely either as a snack or in summer salads.
200 grams of almonds
Bring 2 dl of water to boil. When boiling, stir 4-5 tablespoons of salt in until it’s completely dissolved. Pour the salty water into a bowl with the almonds and let it stand for 20-25 minutes. When done, spread the almonds out in one layer on a baking tray and bake them in the oven at 150 degrees for 20 minutes until the almonds are crisp. (might vary depending on your oven).
Leave to cool, and thats it! You can adjust the amount of salt and soaking time after how salty you want them to be.
There was a small moment of doubt. But I did it. After days of waiting I Tuesday morning opened the internal university web and saw this. Still pretty tired and only half awake it took me a few minutes to really grasp it. I reached my goal and graduated with a 1st class honours degree. Needles to say I’m very chuffed. A bright light in the middle of a rather extended job-search. Much needed boost of motivation. Hurra!