What Was I Up To In September

September was my month of holidays. After a whole summer of working hard, it was great to take a couple of little trips and get my mind off things. My holidays could be seen on this blog as well from trip posts and long breaks between posts. When I wasn’t travelling I was working a lot, which is why I couldn’t quite keep up with blogging. Sorry about that, but I hope I can get back into the schedule with the blog now as I have many great post ideas in the works!

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

First, at the beginning of the month, I visited Isle of Mull and the Newlan Ark, whilst at the end of the month, I visited Berlin again in 10 years and fell in love with it (more on that soon). During my trips, I was very excited about wildlife and local produce on sale!

I was researching a lot about sustainability, but could only get the monthly sustainable news on here. I should soon be writing more on my research though! I did also share a beautiful collection of Instagram pics as well.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Trips and Wildlife - byLiiL

I really enjoyed my September, but I am looking forward getting into my routine in October; working a lot and posting here.

 

How was your September?

With love,

Lii

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The Isle of Mull Experience

Looking ahead into the misty horizon where hills rise in their majestic calmness, you can see the Isle of Mull, the second biggest island of the Hebrides, after Skye. The ferry floats towards the isle through the quiet sea, it is in no hurry. On another side, you can see another isle with more hills. It is quiet almost serene.

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

It surprises me how small the community on the island actually is. We visit three towns during our visit, Tobermory being the biggest of them all and only having the population of around 1000 people. Still, at 4pm the town of Tobermory is buzzing, mostly from all the tourists who have come to hike, see wildlife or just the beautiful town. It is quickly obvious that the island depends on tourism. Tobermory has at least 3 hotels, youth hostel, several B&B’s and all over the island there are several locations with self-catering lodges for longer stays; quite a lot for such a small town. There are several restaurants and cafe’s, but only one grocery store. At 4pm it is difficult to find a dinner place as almost every place starts serving dinner at 5 or later. The pier of the Tobermory is filled with little local boutiques selling local produce from whisky to beauty items and ceramics, in front of which is a fairly big parking area.

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

Every corner is filled with adverts for guided wildlife tours and boat rides, which is not a surprise as Mull is one of the best places to spot a number of coastal bird species, eagles, otters, seals, sharks, dolphins, whales and deer. Within the two days, we saw seals twice sunbathing on the rocky beach of Salen Bay. Various species of birds is almost impossible not to spot, not to mention the sheep who are so used to the traffic they don’t even flinch when a car drives towards them, but they do slowly move aside to let the cars past and then move back onto the road. Funnily enough, they do not let people close to them.

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

The island is full of small single track roads with bubble passing places, similarly to the rest of the Scottish Highlands. You can easily recognise the confident local drivers from the careful tourists, nevertheless, everybody s polite and considerate, although the tight passing places are not fun when there is truck driving way too close to you. There isn’t really any public transport other than occasionally going bus and all the tourist bus tours that drive from Craignure to Tobermory. To most attractions, you do need your own car or be on a tour bus that visits those locations.

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

 

In addition to wildlife, there are many other attractions on the Isle of Mull. Historic places like standing stones and castles; natural wonders such as geology caves and waterfalls and Aquarium. We visited the Aras waterfalls (there were two), which were absolutely beautiful and offered us a great little hiking trip as well. For anybody who is considering doing this, I recommend good waterproof shoes as the area is slightly muddy and slippery.

The few things that I definitely recommend for a trip to the Isle of Mull. Research things well what you want to see or do and where you find your accommodation (there is almost no internet around once you leave the Craignure area unless you can find wifi in some restaurants. We ran into a problem when we weren’t quite sure where our hotel was and couldn’t access the internet in Tobermory until we sat down to eat dinner. Check the Craignure visitor centre before going anywhere, they have maps and information. Aras waterfalls were beautiful, easy to find, didn’t take a long time and it is close to Tobermory. There is an electric car charging station in Craignure so driving an electric car there is absolutely possible. Stop at different viewing points and take in the view. Park lodge hotel was a great place for a one night stay and the cheapest hotel we found. It was still comfortable, had a great breakfast that was included in the price, good wifi and great staff (it is a family owned business). Macgochans offers great food at a good price and you can have dinner even at 4pm. Dogs are allowed almost everywhere! Check the little shops in Tobermory, even if you don’t buy anything they have very original stuff on sale. When waiting for the ferry in Oban check out the Pokey hat ice cream parlour. They make their own ice cream and, after Italy, I think it is the best ice cream in the world. I’ve tried pineapple, mango and cherry flavours and they were all amazing!

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

Have you been to the Isle of Mull?

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

Travel Sustainably

If you have followed my blog for longer you know that I occasionally post about my travels and that I do love travelling. Travelling, unfortunately, can often be a burden on the ecosystem and we rarely consider what the carbon-emission of our practices during our holidays is. Why should we abandon our hard learned values when we travel? Well, we shouldn’t. And although travelling sustainably sounds like it is a lot of effort when the only thing you want is to relax and enjoy yourself, it does not really have to be that difficult.

“Sustainable travel is all about making simple choices to lessen your negative impact on a given destination. Indivually, each of the these choices makes only a small difference. But collectively, becoming more coscious about these little things can have a huge impact.” Greenglobaltravel.com

5 easy ways to be more sustainable - byLiiL

Travel

  • Consider using other means of transport than flying if possible.
  • If you have to fly, then use IATA member airlines or pay the small fee that supports carbon reduction projects. Most airlines should have this and the fee is not large.
  • When renting a car opt out for a hybrid or electric car. Although, remember to research first how easy it is to use in your selected travel location.
  • Use public transportation rather than a car.

Accommodation

  • If you are staying in a hotel you might want to consider the following things: what percentage of the hotel’s resources are local, is there sustainable site development, do they have schemes for water savings and energy efficiency and so on. Utilising local resources helps to invest in the local economy and by being energy efficient you are leaving a smaller footprint on the place you visited.
  • Consider using AirBnB. Although some renters are definitely doing it as a profession, it is still an accommodation where you are quite in control of your footprint by making your own food and controlling the heating and aircon.
  • Stay with friends. Of course, this is not always possible, but when it is I usually do stay with friends or family. I am in the lucky position that I have family and friends scattered a bit all over the world.
  • Couchsurfing can be a great experience. You can meet new people, it is economical and environmentally friendly. Make sure you stay in a place that has good reviews of the person so that you feel safe!

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Tourism

  • Take into consideration the local people, their laws and their culture. By doing even a little bit of research you can find out if there are restrictions on how you should be dressed or whether animals are sacred including much more.
  • Do not litter. You can take a bag with you to collect your trash and throw them into a bin.
  • Opt out for a shower instead of a bath, and take short showers.
  • Support the local economy. Find out what foods are good for the local economy and items that are locally made. Restrain from purchasing and eating endangered species (turtle eggs, shark fins, ivory).
  • Do not buy water bottles, but rather bring your own that you can fill. You will save money with this as well!
  • Do not use a hotel laundry, but rather pack with you items that you can wear multiple times and can wash in the sink and dry quickly.
  • Switch off any electric devices when not in the room.
  • When in a hotel leave the “Do not disturb sign”. There is no need for the room to be cleaned every single day with all the chemicals.
  • When walking stick to marked trails. It will be safer for the environment and for you.
  • If you bring your own try to use biodegradable soaps and shampoos.
  • Do not touch coral reefs, they are fragile.
  • Find out what practices are harmful to the wildlife and avoid them. Such as hands-on encounters with animals (elephant ride).

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Travelling is about experiencing something new so try to be open for it. Keep your eyes open, learn from your experience and meet new people. That is the best about these trips!

You can find more about sustainable travelling from Greenglobaltravel.com, Green-Tourism.com and Sustainable Travel International.

 

Do you have any additional sustainable travel tips?

With love,

Lii

Happy Favourites of the Week – Finland Trip

Adventure walk – It probably sounds more exciting than it is, but it was exciting to me. Spending Sunday walking through the city with friends, stopping at places where we’ve always wanted to go and learning more about the city was lovely!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Finland Trip - byLiiL

Trivial Pursuit – I love playing board games with friends and this week it was the trivial pursuit. Funnily enough, I am usually a very competitive person, but with this game, it is definitely more about the fun!

Meeting my Godson ❤ – I finally got to meet my godson, who was the most adorable little baby ever! Calm for a child of 1 month and heart warming. The feeling of responsibility and pride is amazing. I will definitely spoil him to bits! Can’t wait until the next time I will see him!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Finland Trip - byLiiL

A trip to Finland – Seeing my family and friends and spending some quality time with them. Not even talking about all the goodies I took home with me. Now we have rye bread for at least a month 😀

Sea Buckthorn Berry Juice – I’ve been a fan of sea buckthorn berries for a while now. Before going to Finland I got a cold and so my mother made me drink a sea buckthorn berry juice and I fell in love instantly! I love the sour taste of it that almost makes you cry. It makes me feel really awake and the c-vitamin content made me feel better so quickly!

Surprise friendship – This surprise friendship wasn’t mine, but something that I noticed. When flying to Finland I noticed close to me these two women talking together lively with enthusiasm. I thought to myself how fun that they were travelling together. When we were getting out of the plane they hugged like close friends, said how wonderful it was that they met each other on the plane making it obvious to me that they hadn’t known each other previously, and they went their own ways. It made me smile the rest of the day!

My furballs – Getting back home to my furballs was amazing! We were cuddling the whole day long! I missed them so much!

Bloom – The trees have been blooming almost everywhere except outside my bedroom window. The first morning I woke up back home, they were finally in full bloom and it made my day! How beautiful are they?!

 

How was your 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

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