Monday, May 30, 2011

A breeze of autumn in the beginning of summer

Helsinki, 12 degrees

Just today I saw a sneek peak of H&M's autumn and winter collection 2011. Some of the outfits caught my eye more than others. Here follows my favorites:


                                                                             WOMEN

Source: H&M
In this outfit I like above all the gloves, aren't they superb? I don't mind the dark lipstick either, and somehow like even the skirt.


 Source: H&M
In this outfit I love everything: the jacket and hat at first sight, but even shoes, tights and dress at a second glance. The same gloves work even here. A must this autumn! 



MEN

Source: H&M
This jacket is fantastic!


Source: H&M
This dinner jacket looks very smart and elegant! I like the idea of introducing it to everyday life, making every day festive!

What do you think?

Youth vs. future

Helsinki, 14 degrees

Rainy days are bad for me. They make me want to shop online. That's baaad, hehe. Today as I was looking through Hel looks, one of my favorite websites for fashion trends, my eyes were caught by some interesting golden feather earrings.

Source: Hel looks

As the girl in the photo told from where she had bought these beautiful earrings, I had to check them out! All the jewellery on the website of Youth vs. Future is amazing, love it!

I had to order a medium length necklace with some golden feathers, they're stunning!


 Source: Youth vs. future

 Source: Youth vs. future

Which is your favorite piece from the website?

Cleopatra

Inspiration from Alejandra Alonsa: Chanel pre-autumn/winter 2011 ad campaign
Love the jewelry in the hair!


What do you think? Check out the rest of the pictures on Fashionising's website.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

There is no place like it

Helsinnki, 9 degrees

I thought it would be a nice idea to add some photos from our apartment, since I have never actually before published any picture from my home on my blog. Hope you like what you see! Please comment!

                                                                       The living room


Drawer in the living room with my jewellery, head bands and perfumes


A beautiful Italian mask hanging over our bed, a present from A


A table in the living room, next to the entrance with my necklaces, a lamp and some candles


The boudoir where all the magic happens, hehe
The entrance hallway - the red boxes are filled with shoes <3


The dining room

The dining room's wall - Italy in my heart <3


The very small kitchen - the heart of every home


One part of the kitchen - magnets from places I've been to on the fridge door


One part of the dining room - Italy again evident


Shelves above the bed in the boudoir, fans brought from China
What do you think?

More sightseeing, more culture, more design, more cafes and I never felt like this before. Pictures I will remember forever.

Helsinki, 13 degrees

It’s a strange sensation being on holiday after working basically nonstop for a year now. Sure I have had some small brakes like Christmas (2 days), in February one week and Easter (4 days) but otherwise I’ve always been working with max 2 days off a week. Now a complete 17 days off! And with salary for the first time in my life!!!! These days will include a one-week-trip to Crete and maybe two-three days in beautiful Lappeenranta, in East Finland.

Anyhow, it takes some time to gather my thoughts and get them off work. Like I mentioned in the last insert, the summer season has started in Helsinki, so it was quite busy at the office during the last days at work.


On the 20th of May I went on a trip to Tuusula, which is located about 30 minutes from Helsinki. The area is located next to a lake which creates a unique setting for numerous houses and villas. Some of these houses are more famous than others; one example being the home of our national composer Jean Sibelius. Others worth mentioning were Villa Kokkonen, a building designed by one of our most famous architects Alvar Aalto and Haloseniemi, the home of painter Pekka Halonen. The idea with this trip was to introduce this area to us working in the tourism field of Helsinki so that we can better promote it to visitors from all around the world.

Source: Ainola

We first stopped at Ainola, the former home of composer Jean Sibelius. One could immediately sense a specific pleasant smell when entering. The house itself was a cozy wooden one, similar to the many wooden buildings we have in Finland; therefore something maybe common for the eye of a Finn, but exotic for a foreigner. The house has been left in the original form which meant that all the items one could see in the house were of the time when Sibelius lived in the house. Ainola was located in a very verdant and leafy setting, ideal for a house of this sort. It had some nice details, like a green tiled stove. 

 Source: Ainola

Ainola also had a separate wooden sauna building next to it. Sibelius’ grave could also be found at the estate. A nice continuation to Ainola was the modern cafeteria Aulis built next to the house. There we got to taste the organic bakery goodies of the locals and listen to Sibelius ever so well-known classical music. They even had an interesting pot and sculpture exhibition at the cafeteria.

 Source: Ainola

Next stop was Ahola, former home of the writer Juhani Ahola and his artist wife. This was a nice yellow villa with tons of books, photos and paintings of the couple on display. It felt like a smaller house than the one of Sibelius but equally interesting to visit.  

 Source: Ainola

Before lunch, we had the great pleasure to visit the Lotta museum. Me being 25, I have only heard stories of Finland in wars, but never really understood the conditions our country must have been in during those years. 

The Lotta Museum really gave us a good insight in this though, as soon as we had arrived, we actually participated in a Lotta lesson, just as during the war days. It was a drama play of course, but followed through in such a professional way that it felt like we were truly back in the 40s. For those of you who don’t know what a lotta is I can tell you that the organization was founded by Lotta Svärd, and it was a Finnish voluntary auxiliary paramilitary organization for women during the Finnish wars.

 Source: CartinaFinland

During the drama we got to attend a training course, a lecture, about how to know the difference between airplanes used in wars and how to read the weather. It was very interesting! I must say for the first time in my life, I feel I understand the war conditions of Finland a little bit better. I especially liked that we got to known the role of women in the wars. When we left, we could smell the amazing aroma of freshly baked buns. Oh how I would have wanted to stay and have one!

 Source: MTV3

Fortunately the next stop for our tour bus of a day was hotel and restaurant Krapi where we had lunch.



In the afternoon we got acquainted with Villa Kokkonen, Halosenniemi and Gustavelund. 


Halosenniemi was an amazing wooden stock house where one walked indoors with slippers. It was huge, kind of like a labyrinth! It had functioned as the studio of painter Pekka Halonen and as a home of his large family. I could so picture the children playing hide and seek in this house! The most beautiful part of the house was the living room with enormous windows looking out of the lake. 


It somehow felt evident that the daylight and the surrounding Finnish nature had worked as the inspiration to Halonen’s work.

Source: Gustavelund

Gustavelund was a place for conferences, but functioned also as a hotel, an outdoor lunch venue and as a place to rent bicycles at. 

 Source: Wikipedia

Villa Kokkonen was just like a modern Finnish home. For those of us that have modern houses that is. I have never lived in a house of our own, always in apartment buildings. But I would say for those not coming from urban surroundings, houses are quite common in Finland. Anyway, so yeah the house was filled with Alvar Aalto’s design items like vases and interior design chairs and tables. I liked it very much. This house was also located right in the middle of the green; with forest on every side of the house. The house even had a great Finnish design shop with a large selection of design items. Finnish design items are for life, they are so pretty. What is your favorite?

Source: Korsisaari

The hosts of the house were a little bit special to say it kindly. The man was loud and talkative, not typical Finnish that is. Lets just say I'll remember him forever and you get the picture. He also sang opera, not typical Finnish again. The hostess on the other hand played some piano as we listened to the host singing. I must say that even though I don’t consider myself to understand the true depths of opera kind of music, I liked when he sang “Finlandia”, composed by Sibelius who owned the first house we visited. It is such a powerful song. Try listening to it and not be touched. Impossible. To me it brings chills up my spine. It tells about thoughts, dreams and memories. Oh what a wonder of a song.  

Back in Helsinki I was happy to be back as I always am, but I think I had a lot of good memories of the day. Now I definitely know where to send visitors if they ask for countryside and pure Finnish nature as well of a sense of design and culture!

By the way, Visit Finland and my work place (!) wonderful "Visit Helsinki" made as collaboration with cruise liner Silja Line a promotional video about coming from Stockholm, Sweden to Finland by cruise. If you dare to watch the video clip, you’ll be coming over with the next cruise liner to Helsinki! The video clip is excellent! Enjoy!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Park people

Helsinki, 16 degrees

I can smell summer in the air. The beginning of summer is finally here! You can feel it everywhere, Helsinki is bubbling again. Helsinkians love their city. Immediately when the temperature rises above 10-15 degrees, Helsinki's parks are filled with urban people all day long enjoying outdoor life in city surroundings. It's common to hear someone say "let's meet after work in the park". We're such funny park people. It's lovely to see the city once again filled with life, love and happiness!

Source: Cartina Finland Oy
 
Across the street from my apartment there is a huge balcony with the view of the city from the 6th floor. Me and A like to watch the owners of this balcony as they organize even parties up on their sunny terrace. Oh what joy!
 
After my latest post, I started smiling when I got the newest issue of my favorite Finnish women's magazine called Trendi. Just look at the cover, see something familiar?

Source: Trendi

The same smurf nail polish I mentioned that I saw in Sweden some weeks ago. Irconic how some trends start here and cross over to Sweden, but on the other hand some start there and cross the Bothnian bay as a side passenger on the crossing ferries.

Converse all stars were sooo popular in Sweden. We started counting pairs at the Central Railway Station while working there, and we got to 30 pairs in a minute! The interesting fact was that everybody was using them there, even middle aged people. In Finland Converse shoes are seen as something only for the youth, sadly. I don't like when trends get fixed on ages. One should be able to express oneself in the way they want despite one's age.

Source: Vale!

A characteristic trend in Helsinki are graphical prints. One example of this is the company Superyellow, who will make our summer outfits for the office this summer.

Source: Superyellow

We'll have wise owls on our outfits, I can't wait. I'm so ready for the new ones since we've had the old once, nice as well  from Marimekko, for some time now. It's always exciting with new outfits. Usually I love Marimekko but the tunicas we have have seen their days.

While mentioning cruises, I must add that Helsinki's cruise season has started and we receive at the office every day tons of cruise visitors. Cruise visitors are recognizable due to their questions. It's funny how a city with a small center can seem enourmous to the cruise visitors. Nevertheless, the cruise season brings anually 360 000 visitors to our beautiful capital city so we consider them very important for our activity.


I have planned some new "products" for them this summer, a Finnish menu where our typical Finnish dishes are presented in different languages so that the visitors understand what they are having at the restaurants (I find pictures lack from the Finnish menus in restaurants). Somehow we assume that everybody in the world knows how a reindeer or white fish looks like. Another brochure I have made to ease my work this summer is a TOP 10 list which I won't hand out but show to our customers. Let's see the response these two products receive. After all, we are there to help and guide our customers so everything we do is based on our customers' needs.
Monday, May 16, 2011

The cocktail called my life, part 2

A dear friend’s wedding


The first week in May was also filled with program. One of my dearest friends got married! Due to many factors she decided to have a simple ceremony at the register office and the mosque (her husband is a Muslim), and I was one of the persons who joined her there and later on at the wedding reception. I have now been to two weddings of dear friends and I must say it doesn’t get easier. I always get tears in my eyes, my friends are so beautiful! And this bride was no exception! She was amazingly beautiful! It was an interesting experience also to witness a marriage in the mosque in downtown Helsinki; I had never been there before.


The wedding reception was held at Palace Kämp Hotel Kämp’s Kämp Café restaurant. It was stunning, a real luxury! The wedding bouquet was thrown in the Esplanade Park, just next to my working place. I didn’t catch it, but I surely enjoyed the whole celebration!

 Source: Finnish Elle

My first business trip abroad


On the 5th of May I went on my first work assignment abroad, to our dear neighboring country Sweden! Visit Finland, the marketing actor for Finland abroad, has organized the Finland days, held in the central Railway Station in Stockholm. The city itself was very familiar to me, but I had never before spent a night there in a hotel, nevertheless worked there so it was exciting! We had a stand in the main hall of the station where four different areas from Finland were represented: Helsinki, Turku & Naantali, Ostrobothnia (Western coastline of Finland) and the Åland islands. Our goal was to promote Finland as a destination and remind the Sweeds about us.

 
Nevertheless, at least in Helsinki, Sweeds already represent our second largest visitor segment. I noticed though that it was important for us to be there since Sweeds had a lot of questions about Finland and Helsinki seemed to be least familiar area to them (out of these four that is). Many of the Sweeds asked about where Swedish is spoken in Finland. The language really seemed to be a determinant factor concerning the decision to visit Finland. Many Finns came to talk to us as well. It seemed the recent parliament election had caused a reaction even in the Finns living in Sweden.



I found the Sweeds very nice and friendly. All the people I talked to had a positive attitude towards Finland, which was nice. It was also fun to get to know tourism actors from other parts of Finland. The city of Naantali had brought the Moomin troll and little My with it since the Moomin world, a theme park made in the honor of the cartoon characters, and they were a huge success. I had never imagined that the Moomin characters would be that popular in Sweden. People, even adults, actually ran directly for the characters and wanted to take photos with them. Before I had only witnessed similar reactions concerning Asian people but this was the first time I saw something like this in the Nordic countries.

Source: Touring Cars

I was thrilled because I also had the chance to get to know Stockholm by night since we stayed in the city for four days. I went with my colleague to restaurant Riche, which is famous for its after work hours. Restaurant Riche is one of the most legendary places in Stockholm, dating back to 1893. With a Parisian restaurant as its example, the place has strived to create a unique atmosphere. And that I must say that it truly has succeeded in.

Source: Riche

Once we got to the restaurant, the tables were all taken, so we ended up at the elegant bar, first standing but later, after one hour or so; we finally got a place to sit. Here it was evident that the crème de la crème was. The people were extremely elegant and sophisticated and we enjoyed ourselves very much. Later we heard that this place was popular also because the Royal Swedish princesses used to come there.

I can’t really come to think about any place in Helsinki that would be similar to Riche. Sweeds love to dress up and be elegant. In Finland it’s still a minority that likes that. Maybe restaurant Teatteri could be considered somewhat similar. I was happy to notice some fashion trends in Sweden that differed from the ones in Finland.

In Sweden, women had a lot of jackets, kind of blazers. These were usually black but also red. I like the red ones, they were so intense.

 Source: Randys

Women also had a lot of red or blue nail polish, fascinating. The blue ones were the same color as the smurfs back in the days.

Source: Swedish Elle

Men on the other hand never wore ties, only open shirts or bowties. With bowties they always had colorful handkerchiefs. I thought it was delightful.

Source: Gefundenes Fressen

We ended the evening, after having far too many wine glasses at Riche, at restaurant Sturehof. During its more than 100 year old history, Sturehof has undergone a number of interior changes. Opening as a beer hall, the place got a more restaurant like inside in the early nineteen hundred. A refreshment in the year 1936 added elements of the new and controversial Swedish modern style with its very limited ornamentation. The splendid glass works from Labouré in Paris which are now separating the Stureplan bar from the dining room, were purchased in the same year and are the only remaining item from that, now extinct, interior. The 30’s restaurant combined the old with the new, but altogether succeeded in creating a simple and light atmosphere in keeping with the spirit of the time.

I must say that I had the best lobster soup ever at Sturehof. It was pure heaven!

Source: Enjoy wine & spirits

Even though at first it felt hard being alone in Stockholm, getting from the airport to the hotel late in the evening, after some days it felt like I had been living there for a long time already. After all, once you speak the language, without much effort you adapt to the surroundings. Business trips are fun when the team you work with is good. You also start to appreciate small things in the hotel, like good internet connections and breakfast buffets.

Season novelties in the tourism business

During the last couple of weeks I have also had the possibility to get to know the new actors on the tourism field this summer. This summer Helsinki offers three different sightseeing tours by bus. That’s more than ever before. We also have more options concerning combination tickets (bus&boat). We also have a selection of new design products like a design tour on bus that starts in the design district in Punavuori but then ends in the new design area of Arabia.

Source: ART AND DESIGN CITY HELSINKI OY

Later this week I will also get to know the Tuusulajärvi area, located some 30 minutes from Helsinki, and including e.g. the home of our national composer Sibelius. I can’t wait to get acquainted to the area since it’s something we get asked a lot about at the tourist office. I'll keep you updated on the visit. Until then, thank you for reading my blog and please comment if you have any thoughts or comments about the post!

Update

Helsinki, 10 degrees