Ajatuksia Onnellisuudesta

Lapsena oli jotenkin helppo olla onnellinen. Äitini kertoo minun usein sanoneen, että minulla oli ”riemukas olo”. Aloin miettiä onnellisuutta, kun viime viikonloppuna yllättäen kolmivuotiasta tyttäreni totesi ”olen onnellinen”. Vastasin, että ”sepä ihanaa vai onnellinen” ja tyttäreni jatkoi lausetta sanoen ”äiti on onnellinen”. Totta, olen onnellinen tajusin. Lapsihan huomaa tällaiset pienet asiat hyvin herkästi ja aistii vanhempiensa mielentilat joskus paremmin kuin he itse.

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Mistä tuo onnellisuuden tunne sitte tulee ja mitä se on. Ranskan vaihto-oppilas vuoteni jälkeen olin levoton sielu. Kotiin Suomeen palattuani haikailin vain paluusta Ranskaan tai ylipäänsä matkustelusta ympäriinsä. En ollut jotenkin tyytyväinen Suomessa. Kun tapasin nykyisen mieheni ja asuimme Suomessa me molemmat haikailimme muualle milloin Sveitsiin, milloin Ranskaan, Britteihin tai Australiaan. Muutettuamme Lontooseen ei tuo levottomuus meistä kummastakaan kadonnut ja yhä kaipailimme aina jonnekin muualle missä olimme. Usein puhuimmekin siitä miksi aina haikailemme muualle vaikka kaikki on todella hyvin. Minussa tuo levottomuus oli Suomessa kaipuuta muualle ja muualla ollessa kaipuuta takaisin kotiin Suomeen. Irrationaalista, mutta niin totta. Nyt jälkikäteen ajattelen, että tuo haikailu ja kaipuu jostakin oli ei niinkään onnettomuuden tunnetta vaan toisin päin, emme kokeneet täyttä onnellisuuden tunnetta päivittäin. Syytä tähän on vaikea määrittää, sillä kaikki oli niin hyvin kuin olisi voinut kuvitella, ei itse asiassa kovinkaan toisin kuin nyt. Alettuamme puhua muutosta Australiaan puhuimme myös jälleen tästä meissä molemmissa asuvasta levottomuudesta. Kai me molemmat tiedostimme, että oli riski, että muuttaisimme Ausseihin, toiselle puolelle maailmaa ja yhä kaipaisimme toisaalle ja pakkaisimme pienen kotimme jälleen muutaman vuoden päästä.

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Toisin kävi, kohta puolitoista vuotta on vierähtänyt täällä. Ensimmäistä kertaa tuo levottomuus on poissa meistä molemmista ja juuri täällä juuri nyt on hyvä olla. Aamuisin on hyvä olla, illalla voi mennä levollisena nukkumaan, päivisin hymyilyttää pienetkin asiat. Eniten tunnen kiitollisuutta. Kiitollisuutta olla tässä maassa, ihanien ihmisten ympärillä pienen perheeni kanssa. Onnellisuus ainakin minulle on tuon minussa asuneen levottomuuden ja muualle kaipuun poissaoloa, kykyä elää tässä hetkessä juuri nyt kiitollisena kaikesta mitä minulla on.

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Useana aamuna viimeisen puolen vuoden aikana olen kävellyt töihin ja kokenut tuon lapsena kokemani ”riemukkaan” tunteen jälleen. On tehnyt mieli tekstata omalle äidille.

Tämä äiti on onnellinen, riemukas, juuri täällä, juuri nyt.

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Onnellista ja riemukasta päivänjatkoa!

Loving Switzerland

Needless to say we enjoy Switzerland. It is one of those countries that I would love to live one day. The standard of living is so high and all the food you buy is just so fresh and good quality. I also love outdoorsy life style and exercising so this country offers it all, summer hikes and winter skiing.

We are staying in a lovely apartment in Lucerne old town. The views from our window are fantastic.

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Early in the morning.

IMG_20151216_133843In the evening.

We also went to fantastic restaurant called Nix’s in Lucerne centre on the river side. The food is super authentic Swiss food and it was delightful. I warmly recommend it to everyone.
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I had a vegetarian lasagne. So tasty. Vegan diet does not really work in Switzerland as their nutrition consists mainly of meat and cheese 🙂 Meat I cannot really get down but cheese I do like.

IMG_20151216_124400My husband ordered this mega meat feast. Was apparently amazing!

We went to tobogganing to Engelberg where they already have some snow. It is very early season so you need to go higher up to see some snow, and up to 1800 metres to ski.
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My Halti jacket (Finnish brand) is fantastic in these conditions. If someone is in need of the best ski gear ever Halti ones are amazing!

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IMG_2307Of course my daughter wanted to copy me and pull the sleigh.
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Amazing landscape! Crispy air is so good for the lungs. My daughter who has asthma and coughs continuously in Melbourne has not coughed for days here in Lucerne. I think this is the sign that Switzerland is the place to be for healthy life 🙂

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Love the mountain views!

Today we have another exciting day to look forward to and our good buddies from London are coming to stay with us, cannot wait!

Watsons Bay in Sydney

Yesterday we did a trip to Watsons Bay. It is a beautiful small bay with views to the CBD. Lovely area to live to as you can catch the ferry to work.

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The water is calm there and there are couple of good restaurants. The red hot place to go is Doyles on the Beach. I have been there once and the seafood is amazing. You can order huge seafood platters that have everything you can possibly dream of.

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This time, however, we went to Beach club next door as it was just easier with the child, no white table clothes, lots of room to run around and an own table for toddlers to draw with crayons. Food was nice, nothing amazing but good tasty fresh food. I ordered seared yellow fin tuna salad, the tuna tasted amazing. My husband ordered crab sliders to start with and traditional fish and chips as main.

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After the lunch and couple of tasty Rieslings we took a ferry ride to the Rocks (centre of Sydney) to admire the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.

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Then we walked to Martins Place that sadly was in the news in December due to the siege. We took a train from there to Bondi Junction where our friends who we are staying with live. I am so glad our friends live in such a great location, so convenient to go around. Their house is super nice too. It is a brand new terrace, 4 bedrooms, big open plan kitchen, 3 bathrooms, small backyard and beautiful high ceilings. It has the old front but everything in the house is new and modern, light and clean. I love it and staying here has made me convinced I want to get a new townhouse in Melbourne (or a new apartment). I cannot handle old carpets, squeaky floorboards, badly built or run down everything, paint that comes off, broken small things. I like that clinical clean and white Scandi look. It is so nice here when all the corners are perfectly sealed and painted, a bit different than we had back in London. In hindsight I think we should have gone for a new built in London too, as a Finn I just do not get the old ”charm” but well I learned it and I know now what I want. This Bondi Junction area is also super good for kids as it has the most amazing parks and playgrounds nearby. The playgrounds in Australia are just fantastic.

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There are so many things for toddlers to do, they are designed to be safe and lots of water features too. For example today my dear daughter was playing with the water for ages getting all wet, I had a relaxing time with my coffee in the sun whilst she had a great time.

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Playgrounds are also extremely clean here, I have been so impressed about it. It is enjoyable to let your child run around and play when you don’t have to worry about trash and dirt.

Happy child, Happy life

We are still enjoying Sydney and flying down to Melbourne on Saturday. We are hanging out with friends and sipping local beer and wine. I have gotten so many great tips regarding wines from our friends. I have eaten so much amazing sushi and Asian food that I am about to pop. Food here is super tasty and I love the individual coffee shops in every corner.

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Bondi Beach.

What I love the most are the fresh ingredients. I have enjoyed grocery shopping every day since we arrived, all the greenies, fruits, salads, meat come from Australia..or from New Zealand if being foreign. Call me crazy but I think my daughter tastes the goodness. She never ate blueberries in the UK as they were totally tasteless when being imported from Africa or South America (probably have spent days or weeks in the ship or containers). Yesterday I gave her fresh Australian blueberries and she ate 200g in one go! I watched her and I felt confused and happy at the same time. She never ate plums or grapes in the UK either as they were either unripe or bitter, here she has been munching plums and green grapes like never seen before. In general she has had a great appetite, better than ever and she loves the outdoors and is jumping like a small lamb every morning when going out.

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Our daughter loving Bondi sand.

Allergy care here seems to be as good as in Finland or even better. Most childcare centres are egg and nut free to make sure no accidents happen, some of them even kiwi free if they have an anaphylactic child to a kiwi fruit. Just fantastic! For almost two years I begged from the specialist in the UK to get special Immunocap ISAC allergy tests done and they just did not refer us to those even though our child was prescribed to Epipen and was basically known to be allergic to dairy, soy, egg, nuts, seeds, kiwi, all pulses (peas, lentils, beans), so an extreme multi-allergic child. Here we went to the GP and got a referral straight away. The blood test has been done and now we are just waiting for the full allergy profile with 112 allergy components. I have felt so utterly grateful that I cannot find the words.

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Keeping shade and drawing.

The friends we are staying with have a dairy allergic daughter same age as our daughter and it has been amazing to talk to them about it all. The way the allergy care has been handled here in Sydney is exemplary. They got a food introduction plan from the paediatrician and by saying this I mean a proper plan that even included the order of grains and fish they should introduce. I have been listening feeling jealous thinking what our life could have been here if we migrated earlier. I am thinking how I could have prevented all the anxiety, fear, feelings of being helpless. I really suffered in the UK with no help and I felt like an animal in the cage, no way out of the allergy hell as I call it. I still remember that I even told to the specialist that I could pay anything and I really meant anything to get the special Immunocap tests done in the UK but I did not get a referral. I am really passionate about this all as you can probably read between the lines. I know how much fear and anxiety is involved in children’s allergies particularly if you don’t get any health care support and you are all alone with an anaphylactic child. I guess I owe a huge thank to Australian Medicare already to help us right away since migrating. I think after we have gotten these results our life will look a lot brighter as we know more and we can start introducing new food without sitting around the kitchen table an adrenaline pen ready to go.

This week we are still planning to go to Manly, Taronga Zoo, centre to see the opera house and stuff more sushi into ourselves. We are also looking forward to the Australia day party at our place in Melbourne. We have the old London Australian crew together, this time with toddlers so it will be such an amazing reunion! Cannot wait!

Australia-Day-2015

Hi from Sydney!

We have been so busy and have not had much internet for the past 5 days. We flew to Sydney the other day. It is great here! It is so lovely to see our friends. They have a little daughter same age as our daughter so the two girls have been extremely busy playing and swimming.

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Yesterday we went to Watsons Bay, it is a lovely small beach, water is not rough and there is lots of shade for little ones. We set up our tent and had BBQ there. Great way to spend all day. Today we will go to Bondi beach, have some fish and chips maybe and swim more. Kids love it and we can just relax and chat.

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We had some super tasty Japanese last night, Asian food is so good here in Australia, so fresh. We have been drinking extremely good Aussie Chardonnay and really had the most relaxing time. Our daughter has slept well and we have been waking up every morning feeling refreshed. The weather is unreal here, so sunny, so warm and so beautiful. Sydey is such a beautiful city. The natural harbour is just gorgeous! I have been here before but not at this time of the year.

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Our daughter has had a great appetite too due to the outdoorsy lifestyle. The sun and beach make a big difference. She could spent hours on the sand where the water is hitting the sand just building sandcastles and playing with her bucket.

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday. I cannot wait to hit the beach!

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Mount Tambourine, Gold Coast and Noosa

We have had a busy week. First we went to Noosa in Sunshine Coast. We booked a lovely resort package at Outrigger (Little Hastings Street, right in the centre) that included dinner and breakfast too. I personally love Noosa, quite high end, mild waves and the beach just perfect for toddlers to swim and relax on the beach. It is always a good place to stay.

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After Noosa we drove to Gold Coast to Surfers Paradise and stayed there for couple of nights. It was so great! The ocean was pretty rough for our toddler so we swam mostly in the pool.

image (18)We did a funny day trip to Byron Bay to see hippies and backpackers enjoying their life. We also passed the funny Backpackers Inn that was in the Inbetweeners movie! It was exactly as in the movie, slightly run down and hippy.

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I loved this local surf store. Guys having beer at 1pm and just having the time of their life, so laid back!

We also went to the lighthouse. The views were beautiful! The ocean is so green and sky so blue. At the right time of the year you can see humpback whales here.

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From Gold Coast we drove via Gold Coast hinterland and visited Tambourine Mountain. It was so beautiful, amazing views and just gorgeous rain forest like landscape, humid but fresh. I actually love rainforest and being close to the nature. That is probably the inner Finn in me, we love our summer cottages in the middle of the forest and simple life. It makes me feel like I live properly and life seems so much real and greener than in the city. We found a great little jewel called The Polish Place on the top of the mountain and I want to share this tip with you as it was fantastic. They have a restaurant and coffee shop and cottages for accommodation.

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The cottages have the most amazing views, in the restaurant they prepare traditional Polish food and the atmosphere is magical. Tamed parrots are sitting on terrace entertaining people and you can see all the way to the ocean. As Finnish food has some similarities with Polish cuisine the smell from the kitchen reminded me from my childhood, Karelian pies in fact. The location was perfect and the ice coffees we drank there were heavenly. I warmly recommend this place for anyone who is looking for a retreat. It is quite a romantic location so I was dreaming of returning there for some love retreat as they call it on the website haha!

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Past week has been phenomenal! I do love Queensland and I think these couple of weeks have made me realise that after Melbourne I do want to move here. I just love the lifestyle up north. I love swimming, beaches, nature, I cannot wait to go camping with our little one and this relaxed feel of life is so tangible and real. I surprisingly met a Finn in Outrigger resort in Noosa. She started to talk to me when she heard me speaking Finnish to my daughter. She told me she had been here in Brisbane for 6 years now and loves it, she mentioned there is a huge Finnish community here -there must be as there is a Finnish radio here I just listened today!!!!. She also told me she thinks the lifestyle when you can bike to work in 29 degrees when it is sunny is without comparison and I do agree. I will aim for that. Melbourne will be great when our daughter is small and when we want to have more of a continental city vibe but Queensland is great. Like they say in the car plates it is Sunshine state and Tropical state, everything you can possibly dream of. I cannot disagree.

Back to Singapore for a bit…

Like I mentioned before Singapore was amazing. So amazing that I could imagine to live there at some point of our lives. I love the smell and feel of tropical air believe it or not, I don’t have Polar Circle genes for some reason. I loved the humidity in t the air and the burning heat. As Singapore was so great I would like to share some tips here.

Accommodation first. There are plenty of options of course and pretty high end like everything in Singapore. We stayed in a lovely one bedroom apartment in Pan Pacific. With our allergic child hotel rooms just won’t work for us as we need to be able to cook all the meals for her so it is always a lot more planning involved when traveling. Pan Pacific was fantastic. Super child friendly, modern Scandi decor, amazing aircon, great breakfast, infinity pool on the 21st floor and the perfect location. View to the harbour was stunning!

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We stayed near the Arab quarter. It is a cool, artsy and stylish area. Lots of small boutiques and bars. If I did not have a child I would have been going out there every evening. Jazz bars and middle eastern cuisine! Fantastic.

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One must do thing in Singapore is the Raffles hotel. Like I mentioned in my previous post this is a colonial hotel, super fancy, great courtyard for drinks. Drinks are super expensive but the place is worth a visit. Most of the people are there drinking Singapore sling cocktails as they are the Singapore classic. As I am not a big fan of cocktails I ordered some white wine.

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We met Santa there too, which our daughter loved. She got even a decorated gingerbread as a gift but could not obviously eat it as it had all the deadly ingredients in it.

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Another great place is a water park for toddlers and kids. It is in the area called Gardens by the Bay. The whole area is a huge tropical garden, super impressive and extremely child friendly! Our daughter did not want to leave this water fountain park as you can imagine.

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You get also amazing views of the Singapore landmark Marina Bay Sands hotel. My husband was looking for us to stay there but they only had hotel rooms not apartments so did not work for us this time. It is an architectural miracle as you can see in the pictures above and below. The big boat like structure stays on the three poles that consist the hotel -unreal! It is huge too!

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Beneath this Marina Bay Sands there is a huge shopping mall that is worth visiting. All the luxury brands are represented including a three floor Chanel store: men’s fashion, women’s fashion and make up all in separate floors!

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We ate lots of quick noodles in the malls during this trip and they were better than any noodles in the best noodle bars in London or elsewhere I have been to. One evening I had this phenomenally good vegetarian dry noodle dish. It was so tasty that I went and ordered it again on the next day! I know, quite boring of me but it was too good to leave as one off thing…

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Today we head to Brisbane city and I hope to take some beautiful shots of the town and the river. I hope you have a great day too!

Walkabout Creek wildlife, QLD

We had a lovely day yesterday. We went to Walkabout Creek to see more Australian wildlife. I was so excited to trial my new camera with the professional lense I got as a Christmas present from my dear husband. I cannot remember if I told about it but I got CANON EOS 100D with two lenses. One Canon lense and one professional one. I also got a super stylish white professional camera back bag to carry my camera, lenses and macbook in. It has been super useful here! The professional lense is TAMRON AF 55-200mm 1:4-5.6 MACRO. I am super happy with it. Perfect for wildlife photographs and zooming as you can see below!

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Owls in love.

IMG_0498This animal above I have never seen before, it is called a quoll, a carnivorous marsupial.

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Some red wallabies too..and more kangaroos..sun baking..what a life!

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Snakes…

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It was so beautiful to walk around. Our daughter loved every second of it.

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I love Australian landscape, the contrast of green and the reddish ground is beautiful.

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We drove up to Mount Glorious mountain to have some ice coffee and spot the beautiful scenery. There is a lovely coffee shop on the top of the mountain which is extremely idyllic. We have been there before but thought we want to take our dear daughter there too. We have this Ford Territory at the moment, could not get any more Australian! It goes super smoothly up the hill but eats petrol like a tank.

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Ice coffee with ice cream in the bottom and whipped cream on top. Tasty!

Today we are planning to go to Brisbane West End. It was raining heavily in the morning but now the sun is out again and we can hit the town. Hope you have a nice start of the week!

Southern France in July -Etelä Ranska heinäkuussa

I was meaning to write about our Antibes holiday ages ago. The post has been sitting as a draft since July!

We had a great holiday in Antibes in Southern France in July.  We flew to Nice and rented a lovely apartment in Antibes. I can truly recommend this place. It was nothing particularly fancy but  a big apartment and super close to the centre. 3 bedrooms, one huge lounge, lovely modern kitchen, 3 bathrooms and a beautiful balcony view to the sea. If you want to have a look at it and you are planning a trip to southern France check out this place, it is great.

We were enjoying the beach as much as we could. Weather was phenomenal, so beautiful and warm. My dear Aussie husband started  feeling extremely home sick. He is from Queensland and loves beaches so being there on the beach every day with our daughter reminded him of his childhood.

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The port is so amazing in both Cannes and Antibes! The biggest yachts as far as eye can see.

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We went to Cannes too. It was nostalgic as the last time we went there I found I was expecting our little daughter right after the romatic trip!

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We had to go to Carlton terrace. They definitely do the best drinks in town plus the wine selection is amazing. I picked a refreshing rose as you do in Provence!Our daughter loves her 3h naps and so do we!

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We also had to take a picture of both me and us standing in front of Carlton. We did the same last time we were there. Time flies..now we had a third person with us.

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Our daughter loved her first ride in the carousel. We really had to fight to get her out of this park..in fact the lady who sold the tickets saw how desperately our daughter loved the carousel so she gave the second ride for free.

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We went also to Juan-les-Pins for a day trip. It is a short walk away from Antibes. The esplanade there is gorgeus too, a bit Aussie style, more of a surfy vibe than in Antibes. A big contrast to Cannes that is just flash and fancy. Antibes is definitely more like a place were I could imagine French themselves going for a family holiday.

I have to say Cannes is still my absolute favourite out of these all, it has an easy access to Monaco and Cannes itself has great shopping, fantastic restaurants and beautful beaches! I have  a hot tip to stay in Cannes too. Last time we were there we stayed in a luxury hotel called 3.14 that has theme floors: African, Asia, Oceania.etc. It is very eccentric but super cool and artsy! They also have a great roof top pool and bar! If you fancy something different I recommend to book this place!

I absolutely love Provence. I could go there every summer and never get bored.

Autumn Finland -Syksyinen Suomi

It is great to be back home. The travel went well. I booked a lunch time flight on Sturday which I know is the easiest in terms of Heathrow traffic and my baby girl’s mood. My daughter knows how to make most of the flying these days. I guess she has gotten quite a lot of practice. She just sleeps through the flights. As soon as the engines go on she is gone. It was so lovely she slept all 3h to Finland and I was able to listen to my favourite music, sip my coffee and enjoy chocolate all that time -luxurious! She was just toes up in the air!

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I always forget how stunning Finland is at the Autumn time.  We call it ”ruska”. It is when everything turns to colourful and nature is filled with Autumn magic. Sun is shining and it has been so beautiful. Not even cold at all. We have still as much daylight here as in England so it is just perfect.

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What colours!

I have been out and about exercing more than probably at the whole summer! In the morning, day time and afternoon. I am excited to think of being a  lot more fit after these three weeks.

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I love Finnish wooden houses -they are gorgeous!

My daughter loves cycling. She is pointing her helmet all the time and wants to go out and ride the bike.  She has been sitting in her baby seat in the back of the bicycle and we have been out admiring trees that have turned to colourful like rainbows.   I have enjoed breathing this fresh, cool and crispy Nordic air. As a small detail  I love  water here too. It is unreal that the tap water is spring water so clean and tasty! It is also unbelievably peacful everywhere, it blows my mind. So quiet, no cars on the roads, I feel like the king of the road when driving here all by myself!

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My baby girl felt like a big girl when taking the dogs out.

Stores and playgrounds are empty, no people really, and I have all this space just for me. It truly makes me feel calm and relaxed not to have people like ants around me. It is also nice to have this break straight after my resignation as I felt so emotional on my last day at work. I had to run to the elevator not to have tears running down my face. I will miss my colleagues like I told them and I know I will miss London too. This break here gives me a bit distance to those emotions which is good.

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This is the beautiful wooden church where I got married. It is so amazing inside that it has been used in the film scenes too.

It is wonderful to see my family and all the friends. Most of them have babies now so we have lovely time catching up, kids can play and we can talk!

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I hope you all are having a good start of the week! My next post is probably about shopping..like always I went a bit crazy here when all the Finnish design is at my doorstep!