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LoveRichCashPoor abroad

Smushi Royal Cafe Copenhagen

‘Smushi’ at Royal Cafe Copenhagen

I think I’ve bored everyone silly mentioned in the past a) how much I LOVE my job and b) how much I ADORE absolutely everything Danish.

An all-expenses-paid trip to Copenhagen you say? Did I mention I LOVE my job?

Relae Copenhagen restaurant michelin star

Relae, Jaegersborggade, Copenhagen
http://www.restaurant-relae.dk/en/

I flirted briefly with the idea of reading Scandinavian studies at university but alas it was not to be. Mistake. Big Mistake. Huge. Why? Well, I spent years of my life learning Italian but no matter how immaculate my accent or how many colloquialisms I mastered, no one ever, not even once mistook me for an Italian.

Thanks to my blonde hair and English-rose complexion, for the year I spent in Florence, I was given English menus in restaurants, greeted in English in shops and cafes and even catcalled in English. It got a bit annoying to be honest. I just wanted to be able to blend in. I would have made the world’s worst spy.

However, if MI5 has an imminent posting to fill in Copenhagen, may I humbly suggest that I am the girl for the job? Everywhere I went in Copenhagen, people addressed me in Danish. A little awkward as I don’t speak any Danish – but refreshing. Here, I belong.

liquorice

Learning how to make liquorice at the Liquorice Festival, part of Wondercool Copenhagen http://www.wondercoolcopenhagen.com/

pork marinated in liquorice

Pork marinated in liquorice, at the liquorice festival – part of Wondercool Copenhagen, http://www.wondercoolcopenhagen.com/

The food is incredible, the interiors delicious. It’s all just so damn cool (and not just because it was snowing during my visit in February).

Mussels, gastro cruise Copenhagen

Mussels from Brussels on the Gastro Cruise, part of Wondercool Copenhagen http://www.wondercoolcopenhagen.com/

Gastro cruise Copenhagen

A chic stop on the Gastro Cruise
http://www.wondercoolcopenhagen.com/

The minute we get a new house, I am straight back on a plane with an empty suitcase – the shopping is out of this world. Special mention has to go to Illum (http://www.illum.dk/) and Hay (http://hay.dk/) where if I hadn’t been on the damn budget, I would have seriously abused my debit card.

Extra special thanks to Visit Copenhagen for inviting me – I had such a ball. Now, when do I move in? http://www.visitcopenhagen.com

Copenhagen Royal Copenhagen

Lust objects at Royal Copenhagen’s concept store http://www.royalcopenhagen.com/en

Copenhagen

Hygge in action at the Royal Copenhagen concept store

Room set up in the Royal Copenhagen flagship store

Copenhagen Danish pastries in the covered market

Danish pastries in the covered food market, (Torvehallerne), Israels Plads, Copenhagen

Copenhagen Nyhavn

Nyhavn, Copenhagen

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Country cottage

LoveRichCashPoor has officially run out of holiday. Not even half a sausage of a day until the annual leave calendar ticks over again on January 1st.

Wallace the Alpaca

Wallace (or was it Hugo?) the Alpaca

If there is anything more annoying than having no holiday left, it’s having no holiday left and being invited on a fabulous free holiday with some of your favourite people. Still not even the powers that be can take away our Saturday night (actually they can, and frequently have, but that’s another story), so we drove down to the wilds of Oxfordshire for the miniest mini break in the whole history of the world.

Tea and cake on the terrace

We watched the sun set as we sipped on a sundowner, followed by a super spaghetti bolognese supper (with TWO different types of garlic bread! Whoop! I love holidays!) then we tucked into bed to dream of Alpacas. After a restorative bacon butty in the morning, we attempted to visit the only duck decoy in Britain, but it was closed (so don’t ask me what a duck decoy is—I have absolutely no idea). Instead, we went for a Sunday Roast and a play on the swings, followed by tea and cake on the terrace and a last play with Pickle before the drive home. Bliss. Thank you, you wonderful lovely people, you!

Pickle on the lawn

wedding flowers

Honey I’m home! Gosh I’ve been busy, performing my matron of honour duties, being an adoring aunt and gushing godmother and generally beetling about. But I’m back. Broke, but back and determined to climb back onto my budgeting wagon.

wedding marquee lanterns and flowers

Oh, and if anyone wants to hire a not-at all skilled florist for their wedding, then look no further…

wedding marquee lanterns and flowers

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“I saw from out the wave of her structures rise / As from the stroke of the enchanter’s wand”

I have yet to visit every city in the world, but I have no compunction whatsoever in declaring Venice the most beautiful of them all. Here’s a little taster of what 24-hours in Venice looks like, as long as you don’t count the meetings, that is…

1300h Speeding towards The Cipriani

1900h A passion fruit cocktail on The Cipriani’s terrace

2000h Sunset at The Cipriani Dock

2100h The moon resplendent over the lagoon

0900h Breakfast with a view

1000h A tour of The Cipriani’s kitchen garden

1100h Attempting to hide among the grape vines in The Cipriani gardens (I don’t want to go home)

1300h Off the beaten track: a quiet back street in Venice

1310h A gondola floats by…

1330h Drooling over biscotti at Fuori Menu

1340h Buying a souvenir from Italy: Parmigiano Reggiano

Leonidas chocolate, Brussels, Belgium and Magritte

I’ll be frank, there isn’t a whole lot of cooking going on in the LoveRichCashPoor household right now. We’re in the middle of re-painting, which means that everything from the sitting room is currently in the kitchen, while the bedroom is filled to the brim with all the elements of the husband’s former playroom study (think wires, decks, multiple pairs of trainers, computers, mysterious black boxes with lots of knobs on, camera equipment, records… you get the picture). Getting into bed is a veritable feat of balance and gymnastic ability.

Leonidas chocolate, Brussels, Belgium and Folon

In fact, it’s a good job I came back from Belgium loaded with chocolates (thanks dad!). Belgium is renowned for its chocolates and there are artisan chocolatiers on every street corner but I was reared on Leonidas and Leonidas remains my chocolate of choice: specifically truffes speculoos.

At Leonidas, chocolate-making is an art. So how better to show off each tiny creation than by photographing these beauteous bites on famous Belgian works of art?

Leonidas chocolate, Brussels, Belgium and Magritte

A visit to Leonidas is an event in my family. We each have our chocolate of choice: at the moment, my sister and I are obsessed with the truffes and coupes. We’ve been through phases of cerise emballee, manons and irresistibles., we’ve branched out into orangettes and mendiants. Heaven knows where our chocolate journey will take us next, but it will no doubt be delicious.

Each of us takes it in turn to voice our request, then we stand back and watch the lady behind the counter leap into action; her gloved hands deftly selecting the gleaming ganaches and laying them in one of Leonidas’ signature gold boxes, lovingly protecting each layer with a sheet of foil. Then the box is wrapped and beribboned and carried home to savour. Yum.

Leonidas chocolate, Brussels, Belgium

Leonidas choclates, Brussels, Belgium

 

To the casual observer, it will no doubt appear that I spend my life flitting around Europe. Said casual observer would be fairly justified, but rest assured I am sticking to the budget; it just so happens that both my parents live overseas. Well, that gallivanting gene had to come from somewhere, n’est pas?

 

Marche du Midi, Gare du Midi, Brussels, Belgium

This weekend was a case in point: I popped over to Belgium to visit my dad. He paid (thanks dad)! Dad is even more punctual than me so, on Sunday, I found myself at the Gare du Midi with an hour to kill before my train home. All the more time to spend exploring Brussels’ largest Sunday market: the colourful behemoth that is the Marche du Midi.

Marche du Midi, Gare du Midi, Brussels, Belgiumv

I love this market. There’s fresh produce a-plenty at rock-bottom prices, plant stalls, clothes and home furnishings and a certain spice in the air that sets it apart from similar markets on the continent: this is a predominantly Moroccan area of Brussels. LoveRichCashPoor was already loaded with bounty from dad’s kitchen garden, not to mention the odd slice of cheese and box of chocolates, so I didn’t indulge this time. But I was tempted, reader, I was tempted.

Marche du Midi, Gare du Midi, Brussels, Belgium

London 2012, G Kelly eels, Roman Road, Bethnal Green

To continue my countdown to London 2012, I cycled to Roman Road in London’s Mile End on Saturday. My clever little iPhone took me past Well Street Common and through Victoria Park where the paths are lined with lime trees giving off the most intoxicating scent. Roman Road is a long old road, so to avoid confusion, I visited the easternmost section, sandwiched between St Stephen’s Road and Parnell Road.

The Eastenders are a friendly bunch. Admittedly we had the world’s cutest almost-seven-month-old in tow, which tends to make people smile and chuck indulgently, and gets you more free samples of smoked sausage than you can shake a stick at, but baby or no baby, Roman Road is a wonderful place to rediscover your faith in humanity and to fall in love with the marvellous melting pot that is London all over again. It’s not the prettiest of places, but therein lies its charm. The gentrifying upper-middles haven’t moved in en-masse — yet — and the cool creatives are too busy working their magic on Dalston. This feels like real London. And if that’s too much for you, then retreat to The Morgan Arms just off Tredegar Square and you’ll be back in Kansas.

Roman Road is a foodie paradise, but utterly unpretentious—here, delis are still about the food and less about the Farrow & Ball colour schemes, although that is not far off… it’s already changed considerably in the past few years if Google Streetview is anything to go by. Fact checking was tough for this one – I really must carry a notebook wherever I go.

Here’s my top 5:

1) Roman Road market

Fruit and vegetables, plants, home-wares and clothes all at rock-bottom prices sold by friendly stallholders more than willing to engage in a bit of banter. Oh, and you can nip into one of the many salons along this road and get your eyebrows threaded for £3. Beat that!

London 2012, Roman Road market, Bethnal Green

2) Polskie Delikatesy

Run by a lovely, smiley mother and daughter duo, this exceptional Polish delicatessen sells everything from specialty breads to jars full of pickled cabbage and smoked sausages. In a word: yum.

London 2012, Polskie Delikatesy, Roman Road, Bethnal Green

3) G Kelly Noted Eel & Pie Shop.

You can’t get more East-End than a pie and eel shop and the queues stretch out of the door and on to the street for this Roman Road institution. LoveRichCashPoor had a job getting a photo.

London 2012, G Kelly eels and pie shop, Roman Road, Bethnal Green

4) Bangla Halal Grocers

Looking for a catfish that is bigger than a 10-year-old child? You have come to the right place. This little gem of a shop also sells every spice under the sun.

5) Old-skool confectionary delights at Mickey’s Sweets

London 2012, Mickey's sweets, Roman Road market, Bethnal Green

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