What Was I Up To In April 2018

April seemed to run by in a second, does anybody else feel like it? I seemed to have more work again and was just trying to keep on top of work before my holiday and suddenly it was May. It feels like I don’t have much to show for April, but I worked a lot and when it is items that I send over to my clients, of course, I don’t see much, but my diary looks full. Then again there was my holiday that helped me to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy myself. It was difficult to get back to work after it and motivate myself so that is what I am doing now in May. At least spring has been showing up a little bit at a time!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Spring Time - byLiiL

April also saw the Earth Day and the Fashion Revolution Week.  I enjoyed to see so many people rallying behind ethical fashion and questioning fashion brands on who made their clothes, even if there weren’t many answers, and I hope this will continue! I also questioned whether recycling is really sustainable, especially as we’ve learned about our recyclables travelling to China and African countries.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Spring Vacation - byLiiL

I hope I have more time for work and my life in May and more lovely sunny days! But let me know how was your April, in the comment box below!

With love,

Lii

Why You Should Visit Finland

There is a good reason why I moved out of Finland, but there is also a good reason why I travel there annually (not counting my family and friends who obviously are the main reason). People often ask me if it is a good place for a holiday and I definitely do recommend it for a holiday, as most people who visit it seem to love it.

Finland is a country that has proper 4 seasons. So unlike the myth that it is always freezingly cold in there, it actually has a beautiful spring and a warm summer of up to 35 degrees celsius.

Winters are cold but full of snow. There are lots of places where they offer snow sports from snowboarding to skiing, whilst stopping at cottages to drink warm hot chocolate (which was my favourite thing to do). In the north, you can visit the Santa Claus and his reindeer or even stay in a glass igloo, which I would really like to do at some point! You can take a very warming sauna and dip into the refreshing cold water afterwards. It does sound like extreme sports, but apparently, it is very healthy for you.

Spring is a beautiful time if you want to see nature coming back to life again. It does invigorate you feeling slight cold on your face while the sun is shining and you can see a flower growing through the snow.

Summers are my favourite time of the year as they are warm and full of light. Actually, Finland is one of the places where you can experience almost never ending lightness. During the summer it can be light nearly the full 24 hours. Finland is full of lakes and forests, so it is easy to feel close to nature and don’t forget about the Aurora borealis. Some of the favourite past times in the summer is going swimming, of course. There are a lot of summer cafe’s with creamy ice cream to be enjoyed at the docks. Summers are also full of various music festivals and you can probably find a festival with the kind of music you like, although Finns are massive fans of heavy metal. There is opera, jazz, rock, r&b… Some of the popular ones are Savonlinna opera festival and Flow.

Autumns are great if you want to see the place full of colour. Trees turn to different colours from green to yellow and orange and people cosy up inside with warm drinks and delicious food. This is a good time if you want to gather some mushrooms or berries, which there is an abundance of in the endless forests.

Finland is not necessarily known as a culinary paradise and I can’t say that I love all the foods there, but there are some gems that I crave for on a yearly basis and make sure to eat when I visit.

  • Karelia pasties/pies are rice pudding wrapped in thin layer of rye and wheat.
  • Leipäjuusto with cloudberry jam. Leipäjuusto is this particular cheese that is a bit squeky. You can eat it cold or warm it in the oven and the cloudberry jam just works with it. Actually, anything cloudberry is yummy!
  • Cheeses, in general, are good. Aura cheese is this blue cheese with a flavour much milder than most blue cheese, but it is delicious!
  • Berries. Just any berries are good and there is lots of them.
  • Ice cream, like I said earlier you can buy it nearly everywhere during the summer.
  • Rye bread can be bought in any supermarket, but many cafe’s offer rye bread sandwiches as well.
  • Liquorice and salt liquorice = salmiakki are one of Finland’s favourite sweet treats. There is also an alcohol drink based on this treat, which is their favourite and available in any club or bar you visit.
  • Chocolate. Fazer is a finnish brand of chocolate and bakery products which you can find in supermarkets, as well as in a Fazer cafe.

Finland has an interesting history being occupied by Sweden and Russia after which they gained their independence in 1917. They have very much of their own cultural identity, although I feel they have a more of a Scandinavian lifestyle than a Russian. There are few castles build during the occupations and there is Suomenlinna, a famous fortress and a Unesco World Heritage site, where you can still see the history of the wars standing in front of you.

Finland, as a country, is quite sustainable. I learned there, from an early age, to recycle everything, to not use too much water and to savour the environment. In addition, you can easily get around in Finland with English and they use Euro as their currency. Transportation has been made quite easy compared to many other countries. So if you are still wondering about whether to go for a holiday toFinlandd I hope this post helped you to decide.

All pictures are from this Pinterest board.

Have you ever been to Finland?

With love,

Lii

Happy Favourites of the Week – Holidays and coming home

Holiday in Finland

Seeing my lovely family, traveling to see friends and relatives, playing with dogs and chickens, fighting with siblings, eating way too much, eating good homemade food, taking dogs for a walk on a pitch black road with headlamps on, freezing my fingers, many laughs, hugs, sleepless nights

Happy Favourites of the week - chickens

Who gives a crap

This post about the brand ‘Who gives a crap’ an eco-friendly toilet paper was top notch. Go check it out!

Coming back home to my cats

I always make sure that my cats are looked after when I am on a holiday, however, it doesn’t mean that I am not obsessing about them quietly during the trip. It’s good we have understanding friends who text us how it is going with them 😀 And it is the loveliest feeling coming home to them when you see that they have missed you! They purr, want so much attention and literally they climb into your suitcase or on you when you are sleeping, just to make sure you won’t leave again soon. #cutenessoverload

UK Independent Shopping Guide

This post is like the most comprehensive independent shop list for all your Christmas needs! I will be definitely going through it when buying my presents!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Good Girls Revolt

Good Girls Revolt

This new tv-show on Amazon Originals is the tv-show for me this autumn. Set in the 70s, this show is influenced by real events, and follows female news researchers and how they figure out they are capable of doing more with their lives. A feminist show where you are intrigued by the events of the time and grossed-up by the behaviour of some of the men. (it did make me angry at times). If you haven’t seen this yet, you definitely should! And here is a great article about the show, although there might be some spoilers there. I put the book on my Christmas wishlist!

 

Pics are my own and from twitter.

What have been your favourites and happy incidents last week?

With love,

Lii

 

15 things I am dreaming about just now

A Skype talk with my mum – it’s been ages and talking to her really makes me grounded and happy!

Getting back to my healthy sleeping rhythm!

Some positive news about women’s rights and girl’s education!

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Superb cleaning abilities or a cleaning lady! Dumbledore or Sheldon might do as well..

Fresh peonies into my flat…

…In addition to a green corner with lots of potted plants!

Spacious workroom!

Long walk in a peaceful nature with beautifully blue sky!

A house next to a beach and mountains wouldn’t hurt either.

Extra time in a day to have time to do all I want and have to, procrastinate and relax!

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Mindful neighbours!

A holiday to see my family and friends in Finland!

A holiday to see my sister in her new flat, with the new cat in the new country!

A printer to ease my days.

The ability to be super creative and super organised and efficient at all times!

 

What are you dreaming about right now?

With love,

Lii

Happy Favourites of the Week – Finders Keepers

These past two weeks have been full of adventures and my mind has been so full of ideas that I’ve had trouble sleeping. So naturally I am super tired, but thankfully my first happy favourite is here to help me out!

Holiday

I have a week long holiday! It’s not actually a going away holiday, but rather a relaxation and getting my head back to focus. I finished my summer internship yesterday and although I totally loved it and will miss the workplace, I am happy to have a whole week for myself. At the moment I feel that I would just like to sit on the couch and binge watch anything! But I am sure I will come up with many many things to fill my calendar.. I always do!

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Shocking Life

This autobiography by Elsa Schiaparelli was so inspiring and interesting! Although Elsa Schiaparelli was a famous fashion designer, the book itself did not concentrate hugely on fashion, but rather on her views on the world at that time. Her likes, dislikes, people she met and the life around her. She lived through both world wars and it was interesting to read what the life was like through different eyes. I completely fell in love with her, because of her attitude to life and strength!

Kenzo advert

I was only today introduced to this advert, which apparently is not news by now, but I loved it! I recognised instantly the similarities to Sia music videos, which I like, however, what got me really inspired was the interpretation by Margaret Qualley! She as well is probably not news to anybody, except to me. I need to watch the Leftovers now (adding it to my binge watching list).

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Finders Keepers

Well, actually I found this illustration by Holly Sharpe in my own house. I remember buying the card with this illustration a long time ago at some fair, but somehow it got buried under a bunch of other important stuff. I must hurry and put it on display!

New Phone

On Monday my boyfriend surprised me with a new phone. I’ve been looking for a new phone for about half a year now as my old one has been dying. I finally decided on Nexus 5x and now I finally got it! It has so much longer battery life, almost twice to my previous. It has a lot better picture quality! So good actually it might ease my life that I don’t have to carry my camera with me everywhere. Pictures of the basil in the last post were taken with the phone. I am really excited about my new phone and hope Google did its job as I am planning to be able to use it for several years to come!

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Martian

I’ve finally watched this movie. I love sci-fi movies and am so interested in anything to do with space! Martian was a positive take on all the other space movies that I’ve seen (Interstellar, Gravity, Alien, Armageddon etc.). It was completely different to what I was expecting and unexpectedly I didn’t feel anxious at any moment while watching the movie. So if you haven’t seen this movie then I definitely recommend doing so.

 

What have been your happy favourites of the week?

With love,

Lii

Metz

On my trip to Luxembourg, I also got to visit the beautiful and charming city of Metz in France. It was a pretty quick stop with a walk across the city’s nice little shops, the cathedral (which was magnificent!) and the food market, so there is not a lot to tell. Instead, I will shower you what it was like and reassure that it is one of the places to visit if you are in the area.

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With love,

Lii

Fairytale village Vianden

 

You drive into a small village. It is quiet and peaceful. There are barely any people on the streets and cars nowhere to be seen. Sun is shining on the little patch of colourful little buildings around a sparkly blue narrow river. They are surrounded by hills of green tall trees with a magnificent castle in the midst. It looks like a fairytale and it feels like peace you’ve needed the whole week.

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Everything is closed except the couple cafe’s selling the best array of ice cream flavours which you can eat by the river bank on a beautiful white tiled terrace. Nobody is bothering you and you feel like you could spend hours in there.

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This is Vianden. A small village on the outskirts of Luxembourg right next to the german border. Actually, it only takes 1km to Germany. If you have a car and are visiting Luxembourg or any nearby city this is a place for a visit. It offers hiking routes and cultural pleasures. For me, the best thing was just sitting and enjoying the view and the vibe!

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Have you visited a fairytale village?

With love,

Lii

Luxembourg city

Luxembourg is a small country, however not as small as I originally though. It actually has more than one city. It is a great place if you want to travel around to other countries like Germany, France, Belgium or Nederlands. But there is also a lot to see in Luxembourg and in the city.

Luxembourg city is surprisingly big with amazing history, shopping spots, yummy pastries and gorgeous parks. You can take a bus almost everywhere. A ticket only costs 2 euros, however, most people do not usually even pay that as they check the tickets rarely. And yes, they use euros in Luxembourg. It is told that everything is very expensive. I found that touristy stuff was not really that expensive and with eating you can save if you buy from the cheaper supermarkets, like Lidl. Most museums are closed on Mondays, although many of them are free. The thing that shocked me the most was the opening times of the shops, as not only did the clothing shops close early so did the grocery stores as well. So remember to check opening times if you are planning something.

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What to see

Cathedrale Notre-Dame

The gorgeous sanctuary. With beautiful archways and glass windows. Come here to just sit and relax, or look around the magnificence of it. It is right in the centre of the city, next to the Grand Ducal Palace. It is a favourite with many tourists!

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Casemates

I found casemates to be one of the best places to do city sightseeing of the old town. It is located right above the Grund and the old city and it overlooks the Grand Duchess Charlotte bridge. However, there are parts of the casemates that are not for those who are afraid of confined spaces. Casemates are a set of tunnels initially built in the 17th century. They have a long and important history within the city and I found it one of the most exciting places to visit, although the confined spaces really did give me some anxiety, especially with the narrow and slope staircases.

Grund

This apparently is the name of the old town, which is located in a valley below the centre of the city. It is a very picturesque walk along a river, in a park and between cute buildings. You can get there either by walking down a long set of stairs or going down with a lift. The lift is free to use to everybody and unless you want to do some cardio on your way up to the central, it is the best way to get up (and has free bathrooms right next to it).

Banque et Caisse d’Epargne (Bank museum)

This building is probably the image building of the city and for no wonder, as it was the first bank in the city. Within the building, there is a bank museum, which takes you through the history of the bank, money, and history of Luxembourg. Interesting and free!

There are of course many other museums and parks in Luxembourg as well and other places to see. It might be a small city, but it has a long history.

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Food

Well, to tell you the truth I mainly ate patisserie throughout my trip and it is the best thing to do in the city. We went for brunch one morning only to realise that most people still like to eat something small and sweet next to brunch of fluids such as coffee, juice and possibly bubbly as well.

Rawdish

This was the only place where I didn’t have something sweet, but rather just a chia pudding with this amazing nutty paste. So yumm!! I also had so yummy raw juice and delicious coffee. Definitely a great place for breakfast or lunch.

Chocolate House

This was my favourite place ever! It is located across from the Grand Ducal Palace, but the price is not too bad. They offer massive yummy cakes, great hot chocolates in different flavours (also with alcohol) and different chocolates.

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Cathy Goedert

I know that this place also serves brunch on Sundays, but it is 27euros per brunch with a buffet. We did not try this so I cannot tell you whether it was good. The thing that got me in the patisserie where the great cakes they were serving and the bagels. My cake was the best thing ever!!

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Where to shop

The centre itself is the best place unless you want to travel to nearby outlets, which are not actually situated in the country itself. Rue Philippe 2 is good for the high-end finds, whereas Grand-Rue is best for high street fashion. But just circling around the centre, which is not massive you can find loads of places to spend your money and see lots. Although, if you are planning to travel around, then I would research some outlets, as they are much cheaper than the centre of Luxembourg.

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Where to have a drink

If you are looking to party the old town is the best place. There is a whole little area filled with most of the clubs next to each other. But if you would rather just have a quiet drink with a friend we loved the place next to Gare Centrale, next to the Rotondes. Can’t remember the place, but they had a lovely patio outside and reasonably priced drinks, as well as a grill outside where they made delicious burgers. We tried their falafel burger which was so yummy!!

Have you been to Luxembourg? Do you have any other travel tips?

With love,

Lii

Travelling in Scotland

HOW TO TRAVEL

There is some public transport in the form of a train to the biggest cities like Inverness. Buses travel to most places, as well, between smaller towns as well. However, if you want the freedom to go to any attractions/activities travelling by car can be much easier.

Be aware that roads are narrow and serpentine like. Other travellers are usually very polite and there are not that many people on the roads. Also, when you are driving your own car you can stop and wonder at the beauty of Nature. Like here we stopped to wonder at these deer!

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WHERE TO STAY

There are hotels and hostels, but I would rather stay in an Airbnb, cottage or a lodge. We stayed in a lodge, which was beautiful. We had an amazing view over a hill, lake and flowers, gorgeous! In a lodge, you have more space with your own kitchen and a living room, for relaxing in the evening.

These can be expensive during the season, however, you can find good deals and off-season prices are much more reasonable. Really good places to look from are hoseason.com and embracescotland.com.

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WHERE TO EAT

Seafood in the speciality in the highlands and you can find good seafood restaurants, especially in the big cities. Fish and chips should be available from almost all the restaurants in the area. In small towns and villages, there is not a big variety, but you should be able to find food. We loved having breakfast in our lodge, which kept us full until a late lunch. Also when we went for walking trips we could make lunch in the lodge and take it with us to eat in nature.

I ate the best ice cream ever in Oban. They had this small gelateria on the square (can’t remember the name) and I had pineapple ice cream, which was so creamy and fresh and just yummy!

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With love,

Lii