It’s been just over a week since we boarded our one-way flight to Copenhagen. Here’s a little post about the journey.

We packed enough to get us through our first short-term rent of two months. After this, we will probably ship the rest of our stuff out, which is currently stored in every inch of spare space at our parents’ houses. The house we’re staying in is fully furnished, so we thought we didn’t need much. Oh how wrong we were! Once you take a 16-month old into account, there isn’t much space left for you. I also wanted to make sure Lydia had all her clothes and lots of familiar toys and books to help her settle.

We filled three large suitcases and three hand luggage bags and Lydia’s changing bag. When travelling with a little one, you usually get two free items to check-in, so we went with a travel cot and pushchair, which we put in a protective case. This turned into a life-saver, as it had space in it to pack extra clothes and coats. Perfect when winter packing takes up so much room, you find yourself turning up at the airport wearing three jumpers, two coats and a handbag inside a handbag. I still actually did this but somehow managed to pack some ridiculously Spring-inspired items, including one brogue. Yes one brogue. I think you can tell our bedroom was the last room we packed up. Time was running out and in a frenzied panic we were throwing stuff in the charity bag left right and centre, while working out what we needed now, what we needed by month three and what we needed longer-term. What I wasn’t thinking was minus temperatures.

They're not all mine they're Lydia's...

After getting dropped off at Manchester airport by Richie’s Dad, we checked in and headed straight for the children’s play area. Having a toddler in tow makes it very easy to strike up conversations – usually started with the phrase ‘how old is yours? Or ‘sorry, he/she’s not usually like this!’ This time, Lydia kept finding the snacks bag and making her loud food noises whenever she couldn’t get in there, while Rich was finding some lunch for us to eat in the glamour of the play area. So I started chatting to Danielle, who was travelling solo with her two boys, both under the age of four. (This is a massive achievement in the mum diaries.) It turns out she had moved from Bath to Copenhagen seven years ago with her British husband and they’ve never looked back. It’s like someone planted her there for us! We swapped numbers to meet up once we’ve settled in.

Lydia being entertained by a plane and plastic bottle
Goodbye England

The flight itself could not have gone any smoother. Lydia munched on carrot sticks during take-off, then fell asleep in my arms as it was her usual nap time, and only woke once we landed. This is the stuff that dreams are made of in parentland. We were so happy we fell asleep ourselves.

A child-friendly welcome at Copenhagen Airport.

All our luggage was easy to collect at Copenhagen Airport and I even found a handy buggy to push Lydia around in. My cousin’s husband was there to meet us on arrival and he drove Lyds and I to the house while Rich was relegated to a taxi with the extra luggage. We were in our new home, feeling hygge and eating tea by 6pm! Bedtime was more of a struggle but hey, you can’t have it all.








A photo I took from Endcliffe Park, Sheffield in 2011.

Soon after I wrote about resilience, Rich found out he got an interview in Copenhagen – on 27th December. Hurray! Time-out was put on hold while he swotted up, then flew there and back in a day to do three rounds of interview. The following day was Richie’s birthday and he found out he didn’t get the job. It was unfair timing and a bit of a blow. We celebrated anyway with a takeaway, Prosecco and watching a film. I know what you’re thinking…we know how to party.

The following day we went for a walk in the Peak District, to blow the cobwebs away and reflect on what we wanted to do. My parents swear by a good walk to sort through their thoughts – it’s what Prince Charles does apparently. So by the time we got to January, we were ready to go again. ‘The game is on!’ I scribbled down. I’d been watching Sherlock.

Plan B was to bite the bullet and just get to Denmark, where we could be proactive and get this adventure off the ground. We decided to put our house up for rent and give ourselves until the beginning of February to secure tenants, find somewhere short-term to rent in Copenhagen and for me to line up freelance work. This would give us enough of a starting block to settle in and for Rich to be in the right position to network and get a job. We decided if it all went horribly wrong, we’d come back once our short-term rent was up, a few pounds lighter but many stories richer. We know it involves a leap of faith and it also involves our savings, which is why it’s always been a Plan B. Believe me, it’s not been a decision we’ve taken lightly, especially when we have our little Lydia to protect. But after lots of restless nights, research and family discussions; things started to fall into place…rapidly.

We found a perfect house to rent for two months from the beginning of February. The family were going to Bali for the end of their maternity leave (like them already!) and leaving everything, including cot, highchair, bikes and car for us to use. A lovely family of four signed up to rent our house and even brought us a hamper to say good luck on our move. Rich and I both got work meetings lined up for our first week in Copenhagen. Before we knew it, we’d booked our flights and started saying our goodbyes.

When Rich and I got married, we set up a ‘honeyfund’ to spend three weeks travelling South America during our first year of married life. Our little miracle Lydia however came along and decided that would be a far greater adventure. She was right. But we have always kept that fund and we have always kept our spirit of adventure. Like in the film Up, our fund has gone down, to mend parts of the house, and then we’ve topped it back up. Now it’s time to grab some balloons and fly.

We are three days into our Copenhagen experience and we are so happy to be here. I’ll be writing a post soon about how we’re settling in but here’s another snippet on our journey to get here.

The decision to move abroad isn’t an easy one and even once you’ve decided to go for it and have the backing of those you love, there are still obstacles to overcome. This post about resilience was written in December. It’s strange to think that less than two months ago we were in a very different position….


Graphic by #ABeautifulMess

Written December 2016

I am reading a book about Danish parenting and one thing that keeps coming up is resilience.* I feel it’s what Rich and I need right now.

Resilience is something inherent in the Danish gene, apparently. According to the book I’m reading, Danes are realistic optimists; they turn negative situations into more positive ones and don’t get hung up on unnecessary negative information. This positive reframing is the key to being resilient and being resilient, is the key to success.** You follow?!

I know I have resilience, when I need it. In fact I’m sometimes a blind optimist and go for everything in the hope it will all work out. (Thinking a 3-4 hour round commute, to work a 10 or 12 hour shift, whilst breastfeeding/expressing and getting up 3 times a night with Lydia would be fiiinne!! I was wrong.)

But sometimes, just sometimes, I need a wallow. Rich doesn’t understand wallowing and has little patience for it, so a wallow will never stay around for long in our household. Tonight however, it’s lurking.

It’s one week until Christmas, we have all been run-down with colds/man flu, Lydia is fighting sleep like a furious fiend and Rich hasn’t had any openings for work in Denmark. We still want to move in February but we’re not sure how and it now feels like we’re in limbo. We decided that Rich getting a job was going to be the catalyst for moving, so for the past two months we’ve put all our energy (what’s left of it after Lydia), into searching, Google translating, applying and approaching companies for Richie to work for. Once Rich has the job it makes registration easier, we’ll know where we should live, what rent we can afford, whether I can freelance, work full-time or part-time. But maybe we need to change our mindset and make it happen another way. It’s unfair having all that pressure on an elusive job. Looking at this from my Danish realistic optimism, we have things going for us that still make this a possible move. I am at a natural point in my career to try something new, Rich has a job to come back to, we know we can rent our house out quickly and easily and it’s there for us to come back to. We also have our family and friends rooting for us, both in England and Denmark. And then there’s Lydia. Our happy, adaptable, clever little bean who is at that golden pre-school age and will lap up the new experience in bounds.

We’ve talked about Plan B and Plan C so I think it’s time to implement them. Except right now we’re tired, and it’s nearly Christmas.


* Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Dissing Sandahl, The Danish Way of Parenting (Piatkus, 2016)

** Dean M, Becker, Harvard Business Review quoted in The Danish Way of Parenting (Piatkus, 2016)

Wild at Heart make-up mirror

So deciding to start a blog and enter the world of social media the week of packing up our lives to move country was a bit ambitious, so I haven’t yet put up all the past posts. But, to keep up with the idea that blogging is about posting current events (as Rich helpfully pointed out tonight) I thought I’d quickly write this!

It has been a week filled with a lot of packing and a lot of farewells. Many people are asking whether we are excited/apprehensive/scared. To be honest, we are just exhausted. It turns out we have accumulated a lot of possessions during our 11 years together – well I have anyway. At one point in the week I actually asked Rich if I had a problem a.k.a. Cathy Coronation Street (must research if hoarding is in the Danish gene). But I have now successfully completed the New Year wardrobe detox and then some – and we are ready. Friends and family have given us a wonderful send off. We can’t wait to start this adventure and share it with you. x

Gifts from friends and family

Graphic by #ABeautifulMess

Post written in November 2016

Sometimes you just need to be reminded that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Last night I started wavering about moving to Denmark. As I was in my evening Pilates class, I started to think, ‘I won’t have a clue what’s going on if I joined a similar class in Copenhagen’. Then in between hip curl lifts and hamstring stretches, my mind started wandering even more. I enjoy my life in Sheffield. We have family and friends here, I have a good network of mums I’ve got to know, we have a lovely house in a great area. And bloody hell, I think I’m suddenly a bit broody. That’s good timing Emma. So then I started thinking about being pregnant in Denmark, giving birth in Denmark, do they do hypnobirthing courses, will it all be a bit traumatic, won’t it be ridiculously hard juggling Lydia, a newborn and no immediate family support? But I don’t want another baby right now, just at some point in the future and that future could be in Denmark. I off-loaded all of this onto Richie just before he announced he was going to bed. You can imagine, we had a wonderfully constructive conversation about it. “Ah….OK….I stopped listening a while  ago to be honest. Like I said, I’m going to bed….”

So this morning I went to a Mama Social meeting in Sheffield. It’s a group where the babies play and mums listen to an inspirational talk by another mum who has set up her own business. This morning we heard from Grace Tindall, founder of Scandibørn, an online children’s store selling Scandinavian-inspired nursery and children’s interiors, clothing and gifts.  She set up this gorgeous business during her maternity leave in Sheffield. So apt! To hear how much she has achieved, with a baby Lydia’s age and the focus, drive and self-belief she had, was just what I needed to hear. She’s working long hours in her day job three days a week, to then spend her other time not only looking after baby Harry but staying up late each night for her business, which she runs with her husband. Being around other new mums reminded me of the strength we often forget we have. And to hear everyone’s enthusiasm about my plans really gave me a boost. I was also reminded I’m not the only one who gets tired, questions themselves and wonders if broken nights will ever end. But we all get through it. Mums are a tough bunch I have discovered. Actually that’s an understatement. Mums are super-beings. So to conclude this ramble; the thought of having a second baby in a different country is not a reason to give up on the whole idea. It may not even happen. But if it does, the adventure will just become bigger.