My articles about motherhood in London- Artikkeleitani äitiydestä Lontoossa

Despite my crazy tiredness due to non-sleeping multi allergic baby I have still found some time to contribute to a website that is directed to Finns who are moving to London and looking for information regarding various topics. My articles have all been about pregnancy and motherhood in London. They have been published as a series on lontoossa.fi website lately.

If you are interested in having a look at them see the links below. Unfortunately or fortunately (depends which way you look at it from) they are all written in Finnish this time 🙂

Raskaus Lontoossa suomalaisen silmin

Kymmenen tärkeintä ohjetta synnytykseen Lontoossa

Synnytys Lontoossa suomalaisen silmin

10 tärkeintä ohjetta vauvanhoitoon Lontoossa

Five people I admire – Viisi ihailemaani ihmistä

I did artistic gymnastic all my childhood and youngster days. Whilst other kids were catching up after school or going to house parties I was in the trainings and prepared for competitions. I just loved gymnastics. As my mother put it she tried to take me to go to some dancing lessons but the only place where my eyes where truly sparkling was the gymnastics training. My biggest idol of that time (90s) was  Shannon Miller, an American, 1996 Atlanta Olympic games beam gold medalist. I watched her performance on VHS in repeat and I had to have the similar fringe.

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At the same time as the gymnastics filled my life I fell in love with Queen music and I have to say until these days Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen is still on the top of my list of people who I admire. As one of the first things in London was to go to see Freddie Mercury’s Garden Lodge house in Kensington.

freddie mercury

During the university years I went through a philosophy phase. I sold my soul to French existentialists and my student book shelf got new additions from authors like Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and Simone de Beauvoir. The one that mostly appealed to me was De Beauvoir. I read the whole series of biography she wrote and I booked my first trip to Paris just to walk on the streets she walked and visit the restaurants where she used to dine. I adored the life style of Sartre and Beauvoir and wanted to be one of those philosophy students back in 1930s Sorbonne, drinking wine, eating fois gras on baguettes, smoking cigarettes and enjoying decadent life style. The book ”The Second Sex” is still a cult work and a feminist classic. De Beuvoir is admittedly one of the most genius thinkers of 20th century. I love to quote her saying ”women are made weak by encouraging them to wear high heels as they cannot run and escape” or ”women’s independence relies on their financial independence”. Well, as much as I still admire her, I have to admit that I wear high heels every day and as being a housewife at the moment I live with the pocket money I get from my husband. There goes all the great feminist ideals that I once so furiously advocated.

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What comes to authors one of my favourites is Oscar Wilde. I love her irony, sarcasm and the richness of his English language. I admire how he plays with words and says things that everyone thinks but cannot dare to say. In London we went to see one of his theatre pieces called ” An Ideal Husband”. It was better than I could have ever dreamed of!

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Time goes by and I notice that the older I get the fewer people I genuinely admire. I guess that is due to a fact that as an adult you start realising that they are only human beings and their life is sometimes as ordinary as your own.

If I should mention a person who I currently admire purely based on his talent, it has to be Will I Am. I think he is a genius as a producer. He has an eye to not only what sells but what is entertaining, grooving and compelling. View the link of his recent production for Voice UK that he created in no time. Only a really talented person can put together such a show in a week.

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Bang Bang Voice UK -Leah and Will I am

Our typical Sunday in North London – Sunnuntaimme Pohjois-Lontoossa

Yesterday when the morning was sunny we thought we would have a family walk from Muswell Hill to Highgate. We hadn’t done that walk before so we were curious to see what the are between was like. We have our eyes constantly open for new places and potential areas to buy house in. Muswell Hill is one of my favourite places in North London. If you have not been there, go! It is like a small pocket of London and cute own world. It has great shops and cafes and it is super baby friendly too. There is this awesome place called Crocodile Antiques . It has a fantastic shop attached to a love coffee shop. They have play corner for kids and in general lovely atmosphere. Muswell Hill has lots of non-mainstream shops which I prefer.  There is a shop called COOK.  I love the concept of this place. It sells gourmet style pre-made meals, lots of Indian food and wonderful cakes and desserts! Every meal has a signature of a chef who cooked it! I think this must be the dream of any busy housewife at Muswell Hill if surprise dinner guests arrive!

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These days Planet Organic is my favourite store to do our family grocery shopping  in! There is one in Muswell Hill and the other one on Essex Road, both North London. The store has a great selection of organic food, and goodies! They do home deliveries too!

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From Muswell Hill we chose a nice road to walk to Highgate. We passed beautiful houses and walked across Highgate Wood, a wonderful forest like park! The air smelled so fresh that it felt almost like being at the countryside.

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After arriving to Highgate village we went to this fantastic and cosy pub called Red Lion and the Sun. The food was excellent, service really good and pub so popular and crowded that we go the last table they had, so next time we need to book a table well advance! This pub is the place to be on Sundays. I warmly recommend it. It was a find!

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We had a lovely Sunday.

I also have to mention that my baby is so good. During the whole long (3h) lunch in the pub she was happily sitting in her highchair and being social and charming all the people around her. The group of people in the next table to us was admiring her and her huge blue icy eyes. I definitely feel so thankful for having such a lovely daughter, but it has been a long journey and the allergy problems messed up our happiness for a long time so I feel like as a family we deserve this. I am glad to get the happiness back and say I finally fully enjoy my motherhood.

Last night I realised I have been adding very few posts about our travels and I think in addition to the recipes I will be adding lots of traveling tips and accommodation recommendations as we have found so many lovely places to stay and visit whilst traveling around Europe. I hope you find them useful for your travels!

Have  a wonderful Monday!

Surprise Saturday pampering -Lauantain yllätyshemmottelu

My dear Aussie husband surprised me on Friday night.  I was having a lovely glass of Chardonnay in a local pub with my Norwegian friend. We had a proper girls’ evening, talking rubbish and having great time.  After coming back home I went to change my nighty on when I suddenly noticed there was a small piece of paper on my pillow in the bed. There was a poorly drawn heart on it and my name written with wonky handwriting. I opened it and there was a surprise full body massage reservation done for the Saturday midday to one of the most amazing local beauty salons. I was wordless. How sweet was that?

In the Saturday morning we did a walk in our new neighbourhood that I am absolutely in love with. A couple of months ago we decided to move to a bit more North London and get a big place for ourselves with the beautiful back garden and a small ”guest wing” as we call it. With the baby girl it is nice to have more space, two levels and big kitchen to do my cooking in.

I haven’t posted any photos of our new place. I love our rose gate in the backyard.

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The neighbourhood has just more and more stunning houses nearby and I love admiring them. This was what we discovered whilst doing our morning walk in the morning. Pretty!

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We had a cup of tasty coffee in our local Italian brasserie before I headed to enjoy my massage.

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The place I had my massage in is called ”House of Vanity”. It is such an amazing beauty salon. So luxurious and the massage was one of the best I have ever had, even the massage I once got in a fancy Alpine resort cannot beat it. It is so difficult to find a good massager and I think now I have found one so I will return to this salon..soon. Breastfeeding and nigh time wake ups have really made my shoulders and neck tight so a good massage is worth every single penny!

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What a relaxing Saturday afternoon. I feel like a human again. London is great! I have a peace of mind (and body too!).

Pia’s Mediterranean Sandwiches

My boss took me to this amazing pub in Islington London called ”The Elk in the Woods”. It was a funny small cosy pub, didn’t look anything special, but when I saw the menu I was happily surprised -it looked fantastic! In fact, everything on the menu looked delicious. I ended up ordering the halloumi-hummus-carrot-beetrot-olive sandwich and to be honest it was probably one of the best sandiwiches I have ever eaten. A few days later I had to test and cook that kind of sandwich at home. It was excellent and my sweet Aussie man loved it too (we had it again for breakfast on the following day!). Here you can find the recipe, it asks a bit of work but is worth every minute spent in the kitchen!

Buns or baguette

1/2 onion

1 can of black olive slices

bunch of basil

2 carrots

1 cooked beetroot

1/2 packet of halloumi

1 packet hummus

salt and black pepper

good quality olive oil

1. Grate the carrot and beetroot and mix them together. Cook them in olive oil in the frying pan. (do not be careful with oil for it gives an amazing flavour, so use heaps), add salt and black pepper. After the mixture has been cooked, put it on a plate to wait.

2. Cut the onion, cook it slowly in the frying pan until golden, then add the olive slices, cook for a while (5min).  Add salt and pepper. Whilst cookin this, finely chop the basil. Take the onion-olive mixture away from the pan and mix it together with the chopped basil in the bowl and leave it wait for the sandwich building.

3. Cut the halloumi into small slices (3x3cm slices) and cook it in olive oil in the frying pan. After they have been cooked put them on a plate to wait.

4. Cut the baguette or buns  into halves (2 per person). Cook them in the olive oil in the frying pan.

5. Build sandwiches: First put hummus on the top of the cooked bread (on both of the halves). Then on the other half put the carrot-beetroot mixture, then halloumi slices on the top of that and then olive-onion-basil mixture on the top of that. On the other half put only hummus and a bit of the olive-onion-basil mixure.

6. Serve with wine or beer -these sandwiches are heavenly!