0

My Year of Living Danishly – The Happiest People in the World

I just love reading about what other people are reading, as it gives me inspiration so here is some for you! I am totally obsessed with reading right now, it is the one activity that I can easily fit-in, in little snippets, whilst taking care of my baby girl – how you ask? How do you have time to read when you have a baby? Well if you don’t already know me, this may be a surprise, or maybe not…audiobooks!! Sorry if you are bored with my harping on about audiobooks, but I have been a big fan of them for like 5 years now, and I have never read and enjoyed so many books in my life! There are two ways I read audiobooks, one through my library (which is free), they have an app called OneClickDigital which enable me to “check out” an audiobook and listen to it on my phone. Though they don’t have many books to choose from.

The best, but not free version though is Audible – I love audible, they have more audiobooks than any other company, their app works perfectly, they are part of amazon so I use the same login, and if you purchase a pack of 12 audiobooks they come down in price to about £4-£5 per book and you own the books, so if you cancel you account, the books are yours to keep forever.

Listening to books mean that no matter what you are doing, you can be reading e.g. on the school run, cleaning the house, at the gym, shopping, waiting in line, driving!

I digress, so what have I been reading recently (or listening to), well my favourite, which I listened to in 5 days (how often do you read an entire book in less than a week?) is “My Year of Living Danishly” by Helen Russell.

happiest people in the world book cover

I read it so quickly because I loved it. Her writing style, her quirky nicknames and the way she describes life just had me captivated. I also loved learning about a country that I had never even considered visiting, I knew absolutely nothing about Denmark, before reading this book. Okay I have to be honest and say that I didn’t even know where Denmark is – my geography is not very good. The fact that they are the happiest people in the world, was interesting, and I enjoyed learning why – some of which anyone could adopt and I was totally fascinated by their amazing way of life over there.

After inhaling this book I immediately read Helen Russell’s second book “Leap Year” because that is also set in Denmark and had the addition of her toddler “Little red”. I love reading books about family life. Leap Year was more about making changes and becoming happier over the course of a year. Also a good read though not as captivating as her first endeavour.

Another highlight of reading these books is that I told her on twitter how great they were and she actually replied to me! It’s so exciting when an author replies to you, I also got a tweet from Jodi Picoult once!

where is denmark map

10 things I learned about Denmark:

  1. Lego is Danish – and if you work for Lego, you get to play with Lego in meetings – how fun would that be?!
  2. Hygge – have you heard of Hoogah (Hygge) it is the art of living a cosy life, this is how the Danish survive their long harsh winters!
  3. They only have 11 hours of sunlight per month, in winter and it gets as cold as -20DegreesC – that certainly shut me up when I was complaining about our particularly cold and rainy winter this year.
  4. The state pays 75% of their childcare, so for a full time nursery place they only pay £200-£300 per month!! That’s nuts, we pay that per week in England!! I almost starting packing my bags on hearing that!
  5. Because childcare is so cheap, everyone works and women have equality, the gap between what men and women earn is less, and the gap between the rich and the poor is very narrow so the quality of life is fantastic.
  6. The state pays all university fees and life-long learning up until the age of 30 years!
  7. If you lose or leave your job you are paid up to 2 years of earnings to look for a new job! And because of this they leave their jobs/careers whenever they are unhappy – how lovely to be able to do that.
  8. They have Danish Patries – okay I did already know that, but I didn’t realise how amazing they were or how long you have to train to be in the pastry business. I have totally had cravings for Danishes ever since I read this book, yum!
  9. Denmark is a very small country, with a population on par with London.
  10. They trust each other, doors are left open, babies are left in prams outside of restaurants and cafes – wow what a world to live in.
5

Questions to ask a Childminder or Nursery

My friend is soon to pop out her first, and over lunch the other day she grilled me about all the questions you need to ask a childminder. I eventually sent her my list of questions and I realised that it might be useful for others. When I was pregnant with my little man I initially chose a nursery for him, however, our financial circumstances changed and therefore we decided a childminder would be more cost effective. I have to say, how very glad I am that I chose a childminder instead of a nursery, it’s so much more personal and the activities they get to do are more varied.

So when Nate was a few months old I visited and interviewed 6 different childminders, to try to find the perfect fit for both Nate and our family. Please note that choosing a childminder or nursery is a very personal decision, and you should use your gut instinct, not just the answers to your questions. These are the people that will be part-raising your child, so it is one of the most important decisions you can make, especially if you work full-time and your child is in full-time childcare (like Nate is).

mum and children painting

Continue reading