I can't believe it's already the first advent Sunday - feels like August was only a few weeks away.
Cosy cafe breakfast, two Christmas fairs (neither very exciting), a spot of glögg (glühwein) and a new reusable Christmas wreath.
And yes, as always, of course thinking about the environment, the planet and the miserable, disappointing being called homo sapiens. Oh I may be on the top 100-list of the most influential in social media on sustainability in Sweden - but I prefer to live as I talk/write as much as possible on an everyday basis and inspire that way. And like for many others, crowds, marches and me, we're simply not friendly peas in a pod. That fact certainly doesn't mean I don't care.
Hope you advent Sunday has been fulfilling and loving ~
I'm not a liquorice person, but this, this fine finnish liquorice with soft caramel flavour was a lovely multilayered liquorice experience. From classic Finnish bread and candy brand Fazer. Not sure I've seen it in any Swedish shops, so perhaps it was a rare treat and memory from Helsinki.
If you find it you should really get a bag or two.
When I grew up we had a nifty breadcutter machine. It may seem like a superfluous gadget to have really, surely a good knife is as good as any clumpsy machine?
No, in my not so humble opinion it is not. The breads and loafs I carve with a knife most always get to be to thick. And the further down the loaf I go the more uneven the slices. The sandwich experience just isn't as satisfying.
Sure, it's a luxuary problem, still I've thought a lot about that ol' bread machine... Seen similar ones at fleemarkets and thrift stores but yet never gotten around to buying one.
But last week M declared he had a surprise thing he found on Blocket (Swedish buy and sale site). It turned out to be an electric breadcutter machine. And it is brilliant. No more too thick and skewed slices of bread. Re-use at its best.
The bread slices and therefore the cutter has (obviously) been paw approved.
Could there actually be such a thing as a carrot cake smoothie? And if so, why haven't I known it until now?
Because it is really, really, REALLY good. Just like a liquid and all healthy carrot cake. And oh so simple to make. Recipe came from the same vegetarian magazine Vego, as the fantastic vegan, glutenfree banana pancake recipe, but from their Instagram feed.
I was a bit sceptical at first, but as soon as I had a first sip I knew the world would be a much better place if everyone drank carrot cake smoothies at least once a week - preferably while wearing Moomin sneakers - it was delicious. And I even forgot to add the walnuts, but it was still amazing.
For one big or two smaller glasses you need this:
2,5-3 dl oat, soy or almond milk
a handful of walnuts - can be omitted
1/4 tsp grounded cinnamon
1/4 tsp grounded cardamom
Peel the carrot and banana. Put everything in the blender and whizz.
As a LOHAS (Lifestyles of health and sustainability) I rarely shop at H&M (for a gazillion reasons obviously). And I do hate bling.
But this. THIS. I spotted it at an H&M store in Helsinki and was actually pretty darn smitten right away - since clearly the template for the bling cat adorning the front of the simple sweater is chubby Zigne. Not as Finnish as a Marimekko Unikko must, but still...
I was very hesistant if I should get it or not in the changing room *seriously, I can't stand bling!* and *really, I do not shop at H&M!*, but M just 'well you know you'll never ever find a similar sweater again...'.
Inaugurated it today. It was lovely. Despite the bling.
And it's very obvious how the Christmas photo of 2015 will look - Zigne just doesn't know it yet.
I'm convinced that the world would be a much better place if everyone wore Moomin shoes. From now on - or at least from spring - I'll do my bit on that front.
By getting my pair in the webshop instead of buying them in Helsinki I saved about 50% of the price (crazy).
They are adorable! I wish they came in half sizes too, because they would indeed fit better as a 40,5 instead of 40. But on the other hand my experience with trainers and sneakers are that they stretch A LOT compared to any other shoes I've had. So in this case better slightly snug fit than a bit to big.
From classic Finnish brand Karhu, they come in orange/red too. Plus two other Moomin styles, higher priced.
I may not be a Christmassy person at all, but a few things I do enjoy about this season are:
the pretty lights,
Christmas cards - anyone wants to swap this year? - and
lussekatter (saffron buns).
Thoroughly enjoyed the first one for the season this morning, breakfast/brunch at Älskade Tider, it was freshly baked, still warm from the oven - turned my back and the bobs had bought one and already tucked in.
Delicious and lovely. But also very filling after breakfast, so it kept be feeling bloated for some hours. In fact I swore I wouldn't eat anything more the rest of the day - but funny how things are, 6 hours later I was really hungry again.
I'm totally having that wonderful saffron bun again - although on its own, never again a whole bun for myself as a part of a breakfast.
This year I signed up on a reminder-list and was emailed before release date (November 1st) so I didn't miss out. Contains 24 different teas of theirs for 48 cups. Smells wonderful, but I won't open it until December 1st - it'll be such a lovely daily procedure until Christmas Eve!
And I'm thinking it's such a great DIY idea - if you buy 24 different teas of choice you can make quite a few tea advent calenders to give away to tea-loving friends and family for December.
On the plane home from Helsinki I browsed through the plane magazine and this picture was pretty much the only thing that caught my eye. What a lovely idea, to see beauty where noone else does - old garage doors - and create this collage. Gorgeous, wouldn't you agree?
I think it was a Lithuanian photographer and she called her work Beauty Remains. This is just heavenly inspiration for a colour nerd like me. If not old garage doors, there are so many other things out there which offer colourful beauty in decay.
With the Wilfa blender came a simple, little recipe booklet that inspires me to try fruit combinations I probably wouldn't have come up with myself.
So today I made this fantastic, uplifting, sunshine in a glass smoothie - the blender works amazingly well to make a smoothie with crushed ice and if you blend everything together at once the ice crushing isn't nearly as deafening as with ice only - with four ingredients only:
2 tins of sliced mango - I would have prefered fresh, but I also like using up what I already have in the fridge. Food waste sucks.
2 large organic pears
1 tsp grated organic, fresh ginger
10 ice cubes
It seems like THE thing of shopping choice these days is tea - it's the perfect and useful souvenir somehow. And since I/we drink loads of tea there's most always room for more...
I bought a few tins and boxes of tea in Helsinki too. The prettiest may be this selection of organic and fairtrade teas from English Tea Shop. First time I tried this brand was last year when I got the chocolate, rooibos, vanilla tea, which was really lovely. I had hoped every single one of these 9 different teas in this collection would be equally nice, but sadly they are not. I think a few of them lack that fullness in flavour the above mentioned one has. They're a bit blah. But M has enjoyed some of the ones I don't like so all is well in the tin anyway.
And yes, a tea snoopervision session has certainly been held.
We're living in a mad and violent world, where politics, religion, meat-eating, power- and profit-hunger cause so much pain. It's really really REALLY difficult to grasp that so many people harbour so much hatred and ill-will towards other earthlings while hiding behind this and that reason of superiority.
It has been a trio in extra excellent things happening this past autumn week, mindblowing really; not only the fabulous win of a Schwarzwald trip and the honouring placement on the Sustainability Engagement Mapping-list, but I'm a third time proud that my business Prosit Ord & Bild AB has been nominated to the Small Entrepreneurs' Favourite 2015 Stockholm North (Småföretagarnas Favorit 2015 i Stockholm Nord) - I'm touched. Again. If you want to vote for Prosit (aka me) you can do so by following this link: http://bit.ly/1iUXfNv Thank you so much for the kindness!
Today the reportSustainability Engagement Mapping 2015 was released by Whispr Group and Sustainable Brand Index. It's a study of the formation of opinion in Sweden regarding sustainability. I got information that I was on this mysterious list and was invited to the breakfast seminar. My first reaction was, oh another one of these lists of everything, of which I'm number xxx thousand or so. But then I decided to attend the breakfast anyway just because it's a topic I am very interested in of course. I didn't feel too good when I woke up this morning and reluctantly decided against going. When I later saw the report and the list I really regretted I was unable to attend. Because I'm so happy and proud to be not a xxx thousand or so on a long, blah list but in fact rated number 62 of the 100 "Most influential opinion-makers in Sweden within sustainability with the highest engagement and credability in social media" - it's a list full of amazing people and organisations. A lot of them after me on the list - the fact that Johan Rockström, award winner and internationally acclaimed expert on global sustainability issues is right behind me as number 63 is pretty darn mindblowing! Together we can make a difference. We need to.
In a Gudrun Sjödén newsletter in October I saw a notice about a competition; describe in 10 inspiring words why you shop at Gudrun Sjödén and attach a photo of yourself for an even higher chance of winning.
First prize was a four days trip to Freiburg in Schwarzwald, Germany - I was there in the very early 1990ies and it is indeed a gorgeous. lush part of the world - and I thought I'd have a go. 10 words and 1 picture, well I wouldn't work with what I do if I wouldn't be able to have at least a fighting chance of winning that, right?
And as much as I dislike having pictures taken of myself I did win that other competetition with me and the best accessory recently, right?
A mere 10 words is quite a limitation to write something engaging and inspiring with. So I wrote down some keywords (made up words are the best!) and dabbled with those, came up with ridiculous dry and unengaging motivations. Until suddenly, hey this is quite neat, in fact really neat. And exactly 10 words.
The picture I attached was of course the above one, thank you little Zigne for once again putting up with my silly ideas and human nonsense.
I emailed my contribution. And then I kept my fingers crossed, the winners would be announced in middle of November.
When I was at the hairdresser yesterday I noticed I had a missed call, when I tried to google the phone number I noticed that it was indeed from Gudrun Sjödén headquarters. Yay, there was *a bit* of excitement there, could it be that...? Today they called again when I sat on the train home - "Congratulations, you won first prize!".
Current Pia-status: so very excited and happy!!! Wow. Wow. Wow.
I don't win competitions often - which of course might have something to do with the fact that I rarely enter them - and I never ever enter any on social media that calls for the passive "like, share, tag" stupidity. I'm a firm believer that competitions should be about active things, creativity and competence. They don't have to be complicated, but you should at least actively in some way contribute with your own ideas.
I will now contact the travel agency to sort out the details. Hopefully I can save the trip for spring and lighter, greener weather. Freiburg is not only very pretty but also a city with a green profile and exciting sustainability projects - and yes, I've already looked up the vegan and vegetarian restaurants on offer. I will certainly not go hungry.
The ones sprayed with colour (yellow, orange and red) did, on closer inspection, look a bit tacky. But I decided to get one of them anyway, just to remind me of unexpected possibilites and the beauty of the all natural.
So. I've been enjoying a fantastic array of vegan food in here in Helsinki. The Yelp-app has helped in finding those gems that didn't exist when we were here in 2012. And I have rekindled with old favourites. Yes the food has be great. The cakes not so much alas, but the odd cinnamon bun thrown in has been fabulastic too.
I have yet to write reviews on Yelp for most of the places, but I can still give you a hint on where to go for a kind and great meal if you find yourself in Helsinki! (And be sure to check out my When in Helsinki-list on Yelp, I will slowly add things to it. These have been my favourite food moments over the long weekend:
Classic vegetarian - vegan restaurant Zucchini was just as good as I remembered it from 2012. Old school, healthy and very flavourful vegan and vegetarian food. Kind staff that speaks both Finnish, Swedish and English. (This was a potato cake with tofu and spinach plus a great salad and ratatouille.)
This is a wonderful vegan meze plate at Just Vege. Lovely textures and flavours, the pita bread is fab. Mostly organic stuff and just as the name says, an all vegetarian (mainly vegan apart from the halloumi) place were they make their own bread and falafels. The owner got so excited about the bobbaloos he took a lot of pictures too - myself I politely declined to be in them. M had a seitan kebab plate which he enjoyed a lot.
Remnants of a, surprisingly given the looks, good vegan pie at cafe Bergga. Simply filled with great, firm tofu, carrots and onions in a flavourful gravy. Their cakes weren't nearly as good, quite the opposite, but this savoury pie, mmm...
A simple falafel from Fafa's - which is a chain of falafel bars that, unfortunately, offers some meat dishes too - which wold have been rather nice (but of course not as lovely as the falafel at the Stockholm place Falafelbaren) if M hadn't said yes to extra chili and we'd gotten it as takeaway...
At another vegan fast food place Soi Soi, situated in the same street as above Just vege, we had these vegan burgers and sweetpotato fries that was quite heavenly according to at least me. Mine is a tofu burger in oat bread and M's is a hot chili tofu in pita bread. I really really enjoyed the texture of the tofu here too, in Sweden the tofu despite claiming to be firm often is to soft, not in Helsinki obviously.
This was the nicest, by far, breakfast (brunch) I had in Helsinki. The popular (amongst all ages and walks of life) cafe is called Tin Tin Tango and they have different breakfast menus of which this is the vegetarian. I don't eat egg, so M got that one, but I fully enjoyed the rest, including a strawberry smoothie, orange juice, an apple, two rolls, cheese and veggies. Plus tea of course. Who knew there was such a thing as a heart shaped roll, too cute!
We shared this freshly baked cinnamon bun too - it was delicious. All and all we shared three different buns at three different places, they were all very very good in their own ways. Conclusion: Helsinki knows how to make a most pleasing bun for a discerning Swedish fika high liver.
There are a lot of window displays in Helsinki that get my juices flowing - and others that certainly don't given that Finland is the 3rd largest producer of fur in Europe (3,8 millions per year compared to Sweden on 5th place with 1 million and that is really really heartbreakingly bad enough)... -
these wonderful Moomin lamps are certainly on my top five list of those! Pretty fantastic, wouldn't you agree? Especially on a dark winter night. Instant happiness.
Marimekko's collection colours for 2015 are just up my colour alley, a lot of pink, red and orange - which obviously the average dull Swede is afraid of, but I love love love -
And I have been oogling this fake fur coat, also from Marimekko, since I saw it on their website. It's adorable and fluffy, but also quite expensive. I don't think that will be the reserve winter coat for my darling happy coat alas.
And some cute cups seen in the Design Quarters shop's window display, shop was never opened when I went by though. Which probably was a good thing. Window shopping should not be underestimated. Still inspiring but also good for the wallet and the planet.
I may prefer comfort AND style over high heels like this, but I can still adore the quirky prettiness that is a pair of My Little Pony shoes by Finnish shoe designer Minna Parikka. I love her sense of style, but I've never contemplated getting a pair since they're simply not me.
And not just because many are high heels, she unfortunately uses real fur trimmings and such too. Never okay.
If you are a shoe lover you should definitely check her website out, it may inspire in new ways.