Recap of 2012

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Foggy Helsinki & Firmoo aviator glasses

Helsinki, -9 degrees

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Christmas 2012

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Merry Christmas!

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Emerald

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Snowy Helsinki & photo wall project

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St. Petersburg purchases

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Work trip: St. Petersburg, Russia

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Work wellbeing trip

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Photo wall project

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Chunky oversize sweaters

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Shopista

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Snowy December in Helsinki

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Helsinki Christmas street & Slavic folklore patterns

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Early winter

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How to decorate your home with candles

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White home inspiration

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Pink & the personal assessment tool DiSC

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Santa Claus

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Restaurant Day in November 2012

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Brescia, Italy

On Thursday afternoon I was picked up by my friend F, and my short break from work began. I had asked my boss for an unusual couple of free days, during the weekend that is. Unusual since here they are the busiest. But because I let her know in advance and it was F’s birthday, she gave me the permission to do so. So we left Lignano and drove to Brescia. I got to see F’s place in Erbrusco. It’s nice, cozy and perfect for one person. F lives in an area where a lot of wine is produced and it’s surrounded by vineyards, such nice scenery. There are also a lot of hills around, covered with trees and forest, almost jungle like. He lives in a apartment building even though it consisted of only two floors. The neighbors were cute, all greeting and chatting with each other every time they met. I think in that neighborhood no secrets exist since everybody lives so close to one another and apparently follow each other’s lives.

We stopped by Bergamo Thursday evening too, because I had been telling F all about my need to visit H&M. My boss didn’t tell me before I arrived that I would have to have a white collar shirt with me, so I have been wearing a let’s say alternative t-shirts under my work outfit. Until now I have also been suffering of chilliness, since it has been raining a lot here lately which the locals say is normal for spring. What I hear, it’s raining all over Italy. But for a receptionist sitting all the time, with the hotel bar doors always open, it’s not good. I wanted a pair of dark blue pants too so I wouldn’t have to always wear my skirt. Don’t get me wrong, I love skirts and everybody that knows me know that I live for wearing skirts but I don’t want to catch a cold here, so I definitely was desperately looking for a pair of pants. And since H&M is like my second home, I always find what I need there, I was extremely happy to enter the doors of the store to find everything I needed. Once again, I owe my life to H&M, hehe.

We went for a late dinner in Erbrusco to a local pizzeria. I got to taste some local specialties too, like an ice cream peanut cake and pannacotta with strawberry sauce. Delicious. Erbrusco is a cute little village with typical Italian narrow roads and a beautiful church. Interesting enough, you can find a nice gate there made by a well known artist who makes usually sculptures.

Friday morning we decided to go to Brescia. I got the best city guided tour possible from my friend who took me through the historical center with its castle from which you can see the city panorama as well as to newer sights like the city hall, and the down town district. It was wonderful to find myself again in a city full of life, with tons of Italians. Such a difference compared to small Lignano where the high season for tourism is yet to begin.

We had lunch at F’s place and then decided to take the first step in order to realize my thesis. I had now finished writing my theoretical part, at least most of it, and therefore completed the questionnaire I wanted to be filled in as a part of my research. F took me to a place where they print things and make photocopies, so I left with 100 copies of my questionnaire. A truly great feeling, even though it only meant the beginning of my research. Right then and there, I also got my first respondent, the man who made the copies was kind enough to answer my questions.

Later on, me and F went to another shopping center. We spent the afternoon just enjoying each other’s company, having coffee and ice cream. We tried to eat sushi for dinner, but arrived too late since I fell asleep for an hour after our afternoon shopping. By now, I have got used to drinking at least four coffees a day, so it doesn’t help me to stay awake. Instead we went for dinner to lake Iseo, a nice area only 10 mintues away from F’s place by car. I had a great pizza with gorgonzola and asparagus.

Later we went to a near by town to a bar called 030. One of F’s friends was working there as a deejay. The place was great. House music, dancers etc. It was basically built up so that the bar was in the center and everybody was standing around the bar. The bartenders were also entertainers, speaking on the microphone every now and again. The cocktails were strong and the music was loud. Loved. it. A cocktail there costed about 5-6 euros, not even that much. I must add though that I hate the Italian way of ordering in bars. You always have to queue first in order to pay at a cashier, and then you queue again at the bar to get the cocktail you want in exchange for your receipt. At around one thirty we headed home and watched F’s favorite movie, an Italian gangster movie called “Romanzo criminale”. Great movie. We both fell asleep on F’s couch, it was quite cute actually. At six o’clock when the movie ended, I finally managed to drag myself to F’s bed.

With only four hours of sleep, we woke up at ten and went again to lake Iseo. This time for lunch. The area was beautiful. It reminded me of lake Como, which F corrected me in saying that if I would say that out loud to a local, he/she would probably kill me. So even though the lake might have seemed like lake Como to a foreigner, for the locals, it’s something completely different. The lake is surrounded by green hills but also mountains with snow. There are several small villages surrounding it, I liked that. It was a hot day, at least 25 degrees so I was wearing only a top. What a great feeling! I had the privilege of going to a local seafood restaurant with F. I got to taste the most amazing food, for sure the best I’ve had since I arrived. Despite the fact that foreigners seem to believe that Italy is only the home country of pasta and pizza, there is a wide range of other typical food here. I ate as a first dish pasta leaves, similar to lasagna leaves, with a mix of crayfish and shrimp inside. It was soooooo good. My second dish was a local specialty, a fish called tinca. It is a very greasy fish, so it is perfect winter time when it’s cold outside. Even now it was wonderful. They had prepared the fish in the oven putting bread crumbs on top of it. It was accompanied by polenta, the North’s similarity to pasta, made out of corn flour, something that reminds me of cuscus. I really liked everything I ate at the restaurant, and of course the sparkling wine that followed. A divine meal, if you ask me.

After enjoying our time at the lake, it was time to start to head back to Lignano. The car drive took about three hours, of which I slept one in the car. F must think I’m very strange since I seem sleepy all the time. But I have noticed that for me it’s normal in Italy. Here I’m always more tired since the surroundings are more demanding for me with the foreign language and unpredictable circumstances. Once we got back to Lignano, the city was packed. I was surprised to find life here. But the 25th a local party, the flower market called Fiori a Lignano started so it brought a lot of people here. Apparently all weekends are going to be like that. My colleagues have especially warned me about next weekend, starting on Thursday because then it’s a holiday in Italy like in other countries, but here it is preferred to be spent on the beach if the weather allows it. The first of May is celebrated in a simple way; it’s merely a day for workers when many demonstrations are held in the big cities, but there is no carnival feeling as at home. I hate thinking about missing the celebrations in Finland, so I’m happy if we will have a lot of customers. Work will keep me from thinking about it more.

As I mentioned before, Sunday was a busy day so I got to work some in the breakfast section in our hotel too. It was a nice experience. Mainly my work was to clear left tables, remake tables, ask customers what they wanted to drink and bring them coffee or tea, and add stuff to the buffet table. The customers were nice, so I like the experience. I also got to wash some dishes that came from the breakfast. It was refreshing to try another type of job, so I’m looking forward to helping in the kitchen also next weekend.

Baroque style clothing patterns

Helsinki, 6 degrees

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Whoopie pies

Helsinki, 8 degrees

Jewelry brunch

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Sunshine award

Helsinki, 5 degrees


Christmas interior / home decor inspiration

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I'm dreaming of a white Christmas - just like the ones I used to know. Where the treetops glisten, and children listen - to hear sleigh bells in the snow.

As I promised on Wednesday, I wanted to take this blog post to show some of the Christmas decorations I've added to our home. We decided that this Christmas would be silver and white, instead of the traditional red. I bought our Christmas decorations on H&M Home and Ellos.

I placed some of the candle holders on our side table next to our TV. I also hanged one of the Christmas tree decorations on one of the plants we have on the table. We haven't decided yet if we'll have a Christmas tree or not this year. I think it would be wonderful to have one on our balcony!

I've placed the white pillow with rhinestones that I've got on our couch. At the same time, I wanted to show you our new painting in the living room, with Helsinki as the pattern of couse! We have made it by ourselves because there are no ready made paitings with fabric like this! The fabric is from Finnish Vallila Interior.


I'm in love with our new silver sequin runner, it's perfect for our black dining table! The same rhinestones as on the sofa pillow can also be seen on this beautiful white fabric basket which I use as a fruit basket. I think the silver candle holder is lovely as well. I would like to use this opportunity to mention how much I love the turquoise platter I've got from Finnish Iittala!


I recently picked up this stunning lamp from Jotex. I love its crystals, they light up the whole living room!


Although I love all the pieces we've got so far, I'm still excited about the pieces that are still to come. What do you think about our decorations so far? How will you decorate your home for Christmas?


I would also like to add to your Christmas feel by sharing with you this teaser for Helsinki's upcoming Christmas parade!


Happy Friday! What are your weekend plans?

Christmas spirit

Helsinki, 3 degrees

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Swedish speaking Finns

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Electric blue

Helsinki, 5 degrees

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Pattern & floral pants

Helsinki, 8 degrees

Helsinki's Abattoir

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Helsinki Vintage

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Pub crawl in Helsinki: Siltanen, Baari baari & Sävel

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Design District Helsinki

Helsinki, 2 degrees

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You meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet. But sometimes you meet those people you can't forget. Those are your 'friends.'

Like I mentioned yesterday, today I'll tell you some more about my hectic but ever so wonderful weekend! I will tell about last weekend in several posts since there is so much to tell about it! Hope you will enjoy reading about my experiences! It all got started on Saturday morning when I and my colleague went to one of the main harbors here in Helsinki and met up with five Swedish bloggers that came over to Helsinki by ferry from Stockholm.

Well, actually, this all started several weeks ago since I've been planning the program for the weekend ever since but I must say, this time, the planning sure did pay off because the weekend was amazing!

However, once we had met the bloggers in real life, which is always a thrilling experience since it's completely different than emailing and reading their blogs beforehand, I knew immediately that the weekend would be great since the bloggers were all such lovely people! 

We went straight on a two-hour-long city sightseeing tour and I couldn't have been more pleased with our guide. We had discussed the route by emails beforehand, but I think she did a superb job in realizing the guided tour. At the end of the tour, we made two stops: at the newly opened Kamppi Chapel of Silence, which I've written about in an earlier blog post here, and the Design District Helsinki

In the Design District Helsinki, we went to the Design Forum Finland, a showroom for the Finnish design that gathers items from the whole district and puts them on display all under the same roof. In total, the Design District Helsinki consists of over 200 different design related actors, so the showroom is a great place to start if one wants to get a general idea about what the whole district is all about.

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The Design District Helsinki can be thought of as an umbrella organization for all the design actors in the area and this organization is responsible for tons of fun events that are arranged in the district, e.g. late night shopping nights and design markets.

Three of the bloggers had been to Helsinki before, but one more than ten years ago and even the other two, that had been here before, had to say that this weekend showed them a completely new side of the city, yey! The bloggers had blogs that are concentrated in design/interior, food, and music/culture, so I tried to plan a program that would interest all of the bloggers despite the fact that they focus on different things blog-wise.

After the guided tour, we had to relax a little bit all together so we headed to one of Helsinki's most legendary cafés called Fazer. Fazer is a true must see in town, and is most known for its delicious sweets and chocolate. Lately Fazer even launched an interesting Finnish co-operation with Angry Birds and now there are Fazer Angry Birds' sweets, have you tried them?

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After our quick coffee, we went to the hotel that hosted the bloggers - Radisson Blu Plaza - for check in. It was exciting even for me since the hotel has been redesigned and I hadn't been on a hotel tour since the renovation. Now the hotel is the first in Finland to offer restaurant menus on Ipads and actually all around the hotel, there were several touch screens with e.g. the map of Helsinki and hints on what to do in the city! I loved the interior of the hotel, it looked very fresh and the design items that were present made the hotel experience unique. I fell in love especially with the hotel's bar called 7 Blings that had amazing, almost churchlike, glass windows!

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After the bloggers had done their check in, we headed to Russian restaurant Saslik for lunch! This wasn't my first time at a Russian restaurant, but it is always an incredible experience since it differs so much from an ordinary eating setting. Saslik is known for its homelike interior and huge portion sizes! We had a three-course lunch which was fabulous! I recommend this restaurant to everybody that loves good food! Finally, I got to try some brown bear meat, a first time for me! The bear salami was a part of the enormous starter plate. I also loved the combination of pickle, smetana (sour cream) and honey - yummy!


And look at this dessert - baked Alaska (ice cream with slices of pudding and topped with meringue)! What can I say - finger-licking good! Have you ever tried baked Alaska?