photography

Traveling to Tallinn

Tallinn

This week I traveled to Tallinn with my boyfriend’s mom who was kind enough to take me there 🙂 I’ve been to Tallinn many times but it still hasn’t lost its charm – especially the Old Town, which is as beautiful as ever. Our hotel was right in the middle of the Old Town so we had all the amazing restaurants and little boutiques nearby.

tallinn collage

Our first night we went to a Russian restaurant Troika, which has great traditional Russian foods (the salmon I would recommend to everyone; the restaurant is on the edge of the town square in Old Town). Our hotel breakfast was in a traditional Estonian restaurant that was next to our hotel (St. Petersbourg).

Most of my shopping was done in Viru Keskus, which is a huge mall with tons of fashionable (and cheap) stores. I found some great items from the summer sales.

I will soon be posting more photos from the trip as well as a haul post so stay tuned!

Throwing a Surprise Party: Friends, Food and Fun!

PUNCH, CAKE, CHIPS

During the weekend we threw a surprise birthday for our friend Oskar and I have to say it was one of the most successful surprise parties I’ve been a part of. Oskar’s girlfriend organized the party and asked our help in setting everything up. She had gotten amazing foods for the party: croissants with cheese, basil and strawberries; chocolate cake; blueberry pie as well as chips and chili nuts.

Recipes by Susan

The secret to throwing a surprise party seems to be balancing the line of not telling the birthday girl/boy and not alienating them. I have once organized a surprise party and during the planning period the birthday girl started thinking that her friends didn’t like her anymore because we couldn’t hang out with her as much (since we were busy planning and setting up the party). This time it was a close call since many people had to blow off meeting up with Oskar but in the end, everything went great and no one ended up ruining the surprise.

We had gotten him a gift basket – kind of like a summer care package – with a jump rope, comics, sun screen, and other things. Me and Ari also made the punch, and here’s the recipe if you want to make some:

  • bottle of white wine (something fruity)
  • liter bottle of apple-grape juice
  • 1,5 liter bottle of apple-flavored mineral water
  • half a liter bottle of vodka
  • bag of frozen berries (we used a mix with strawberries and raspberries)

It was such a fun party – even though I was suffering from a migraine earlier during the day – and it was fun seeing so many of our friends there! HAPPY BIRTHDAY OSKAR!

My Life Lately: an Update

Lately

A little update on what I’ve been doing lately:

  • Barbecue at our friend Riku’s house: brilliant food (smoked salmon, lamb, salad, etc) and good company!
  • Dinner with Ari’s dad and his girlfriend: we went to Helmi Grilli, which is a restaurant at the mall near our house.
  • Enjoying the company of our new kitten, Merlin: he’s growing up so fast and it’s a lot of fun seeing all the new things he keeps learning!
  • Cycling to the nearest beach: there’s a beach 30 min bike ride away from our house and we have been going there a lot – there’s a café that serves the best salmon soup and pancakes and the water is finally warm enough for swimming!
  • Throwing a surprise party to our friend: more about this in the next blog post 😉

 

Midsummer Cabin Trip

I wanted to share a few pictures from my midsummer weekend’s trip to a friend’s cabin: here in Finland, midsummer is usually a big celebration and we decided to celebrate by taking a trip with friends. The weather has been quite bad for a while now but we didn’t let that stop us and instead packed up food and clothes and ended up spending a long weekend by the sea.

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The radiators weren’t working so we mostly relied on a fire to keep us warm, which actually made it quite nice and cozy.

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Barbecuing was obviously something we had to do and same went for the sauna. Somehow the rain and wind didn’t seem as bad after the hot sauna and a steak with corn and salad.

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How has everyone else’s vacation gone so far? I’m making the most out of these little weekend trips and hangouts with friends in the midst of my summer work.

Traveling in Scotland Part 2: Edinburgh

Here’s the long overdue second part of my Scotland trip 😀 This is dedicated to our day trip to Edinburgh, which was absolutely brilliant. We started by visiting the National Museum of Scotland (YAY for free museums!) and by shopping, of course!

For lunch we chose the Elephant House, which Potter fans might well know – it’s the birthplace of Harry Potter, and J.K. Rowling wrote Potters while sitting in that particular café. They had really great food and, especially, absolutely brilliant carrot soup.

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We also somehow ended up both into a Christian festival and a rock concert organized by Hard Rock Cafe. Slightly random but I guess adventures are part of vacation 😀 At the end of the day we had dinner at Bella Italia and below you can see my completely delicious pasta carbonara. My mouth starts to water just thinking about it…

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All in all, the trip to Scotland was wonderful and I hope to visit again sometime! Also, the weather agrees with me because my skin burns easily. And huge thanks to my friend for putting up with me the entire time 😀

Traveling in Scotland Part 1

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As I have mentioned in previous posts, I recently went to Scotland for a week: I stayed with my friend in Aberdeen and I even attended a few of her English lectures at the University of Aberdeen. We also visited the beach, which was nice in spite of the cold and wind!

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The university buildings are absolutely gorgeous; in fact, I loved the architecture there in general! Everything is either quaint and charming, or majestic and reminiscent of Hogwarts!

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On my first whole day there (traveling day does NOT count) we had to have proper afternoon tea with scones and sandwiches, which happened to be absolutely delicious. We also did some major shopping and sight-seeing (although the sight-seeing was mostly my friend saying “This is an important building! And so is this!”).

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In addition to spending most of our days in Aberdeen, we visited Stonehaven – a lovely little village/town a short train ride away from the center of Aberdeen. The famous Dunnottar castle is located there, a few mile long hike from the harbor of Stonehaven.

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Even my friend, who suffers from a fear of heights, managed to walk to the castle with me, which was great because the view was breathtaking – it was Scotland at its finest: green moors and castle ruins!

Stay tuned for more photos from my trip later this week!

Cruisin’ on a Restaurant Boat

Doris

We were celebrating my boyfriend’s mom’s birthday a few days ago and she works on this lovely restaurant boat called m/s Doris so naturally we had the celebration there. I’ve had the privilege to eat there a few times before and they have probably the best foods I have ever tasted. This time I had the most amazing and creamy chanterelle soup for starters, then I chose the salmon with lobster sauce as the main course, and we had an incredible chocolate cake as dessert.

shopping

The boat does a cruise around the main islands on the coast of Helsinki, and even though it was raining, it was really lovely seeing all the old buildings and islands. It’s rare to be able to see the place you live in new ways, because it’s an everyday experience for you – but this cruise always makes me appreciate Helsinki a bit more.

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There’s more information on the boat and the services on the company’s website.

May Day Festivities

overalls champagne

May Day Eve is a huge deal in Finland and it’s especially big for all the students who take out their overalls from whatever dark corner they lie in all year long and stitch all their new patches in and go party. I ended up going to two different parties at the university and then heading to our student organization’s annual picnic.

laura

My wonderful friend Banafsheh took this picture of me while we were watching tug of war and waiting in line for the bathrooms. The lei is courtesy of another friend, Kaisa, who always whips them out for May Day Eve.

ari

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Here are a few pictures of my overall patches. The first one is kind of a “must-have” for an English major like me. And the pony patch is the patch for Better Than Sliced Bread, which I write for so I need to have one of them as well 😀

kaisa

And last, but not least, is my friend Kaisa who kept me company for the whole day (and behind her is her boyfriend who was snacking on chips while I took the picture 😀 ). We were lucky because the weather forecast had promised rain but in the end the weather remained semi sunny for the entire picnic.

After the picnic we headed to a restaurant and then to a house party. By May Day, we were all pretty tired and partied out but then again, that was a sure sign that we had had a blast the previous day 😀