I’m rarely speechless (the question of whether there is an off-switch on me may have been asked before, eeep) but even I am struggling to put aptly into words just how ridiculously thrilled I am to contribute to A Life Loved. I’ve had a long-standing girl crush on everything Annabel and her dazzling team have done over the years and, when I heard about the launch of A Life Loved, I practically fell over myself to get on the contributor list.
Here I am, hurrah-ing a lot as I’m sitting down to introduce myself to you scrumptious readers, hoping to get you hooked on our mini-adventures of living a life more Scandi in Copenhagen.
So this is me, Anna MacDougall; born in Germany but having lived in the UK for the best part of 20 years (which makes me an almost bonafide Brit, no?) – founder of bride&glory Weddings & Workshop – wife to Mr Mac – wrangler of our two fur children (Barley the Doodle & Rufus the Rescue) – daughter, sister, friend, godmother, hugger-in-chief, trying to get a handle on this thing called life for 42 years.
Up until May this year, the b&g pack was happily settled in a tiny chocolate box village in Bucks – and then we moved to Denmark. Errr, why?
See, Mr Mac has been working in Copenhagen for the last three years, flying back and forth on Mondays and Fridays. So far, so very 21st Century. But here comes the snag: my job as wedding coordinator means I work at least 30 weekends a year and we ended up seeing each other on average about a day and a half per week.
As much as I adore my job, my little fur-family comes first and that, Ducklings, simply ain’t enough time as a pack. The plot thickened after I spent a few weeks out here in autumn last year and we both realised just how much of the day-to-day ‘stuff’ we were missing out on. It’s surprising how important the most mundane things, like balancing the chequebook or taking out the rubbish, become when you don’t get to share them.
I may be infuriatingly indecisive when it comes to picking what I want for supper, but the decision to move to Denmark so we could be fully reunited was a doddle.
Thanks to Skype, bargain flights and a shared office in London, there’s almost no difference to me running my business from Bucks or Denmark and, as I wanted to cut down the weekend work anyway, why not give this a go?
Fast forward six months, and we hit the road, boot full of dogs and Scampi fries (I know how to live, me) and have been settling into our utterly bonkers Danish house-on-stilts ever since.
And oh how glorious it has been! Copenhagen is a beautiful city – small enough to get around easily (without that feeling of having run the gauntlet like me rushing around London, sweaty and frazzled) yet Cosmopolitan enough to make you feel like you’re in a ‘proper’ city.
People say that you’re never more than 30 miles from the sea wherever you are in Denmark, which makes this seaside-worshipping-girl whoop with glee every day. I used to think nothing of driving three hours to Holkham just to get a whiff of seaweed and see the dogs’ sandy-paw-smiles. They do smile when they’re on the beach, I swear! Now, we can walk to the marina in 20 minutes and have some of the most beautiful beaches and sea woods a measly 30 minutes drive from home.
But almost more importantly, I’m hell-bent on taking on more of the Danes’ approach to life, which is where the whole ‘Be More Danish’ idea comes in. Danes have the work/life-balance thing sussed perfectly – something I’ve been appallingly bad at most of my life.
They just don’t buy into the idea of dedicating their entire existence to the job, at the cost of family life. So while they may be in the office at 8am and work efficiently, they will also leave in time to go home, kick a football, have dinner and read the kids their bedtime stories. Or go to Jazzercise, dinner and a movie! It doesn’t matter as long as it’s in the name of self-care and not work-related. There’s none of that glorification of busy-ness we’ve been so conditioned to over the years. If you’re still in the office at 7pm, they’re more likely to pity you for not working effectively enough than admire you for being such a dedicated Trojan workhorse.
Changing the habits of a lifetime isn’t all that easy but I will darn well try my hardest to take on the Danish way of less rushing mindlessly and more sniffing the seaside air.
And with that, my Loves, I will stop for today. I’ve got candles to light and Christmas decorations to dust!
I’ll be back in January and I’d be thrilled if you checked back in on our ‘The MacDougalls do Denmark’ mini-adventures.
Have the happiest and most hyggelige Christmas and the best start into 2018. I’ll see you on the other side.
Toodles and pips,
– Anna Mac