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Lifestyle, Travel

Humans of KOTI: Cristina

June 15, 2020

One of the benefits of staying at KOTI apartments is that you get personal, once a week cleaning service. I have always been a hands on kind and I can clean my own apartment just fine by myself but oh how big difference this weekly deep cleaning makes! I think that I can’t imagine living without it anymore. 😀

This is why I’d like you to meet Cristina, one of the KOTI apartments cleaning girls who does an amazing job at cleaning and is also a very sweet personality wise so I’m not even bothered if we’re at an apartment at the same time while she’s cleaning.

Cristina comes from Philipines and she’s been living in Helsinki for under a year. “My cousins have been living in Finland for long time so thanks to them I have moved here. I got job at KOTI through my relative who worked with Hannu and after waiting for 5 months on my working permit I could start working. Because it’s been my first and long Winter here, I didn’t had so much chances to explore Helsinki outdoors but I definitely will now that it’s Summer and the weather is nicer.”

We went on to talk bit more about Helsinki and how does she like it compared to her home country: ” I think that Helsinki is very safe, you can walk late at night on the street, going back home and nobody will bother you or attack you. It also has great public transportation which is reliable.”

When I asked her how does she like working at KOTI apartments and if she has something she’d like to pin as the best feature of her time working for KOTI and she went on to say: ” I really have nothing to complain about , everybody from the KOTI staff have been so nice and kind to me. Also same goes for the KOTI visitors or tenants, everybody is so friendly to me and makes me feel appreciated. I am very happy about that.”

I hope that this brings you third KOTI apartments humans closer and that you know whom to expect when visiting KOTI apartments. 🙂

Lifestyle, My Work, Travel

Humans of KOTI apartments

June 5, 2020

One of my favourite profiles to follow on Instagram is Humans of NYC. That is where I got the inspiration to create couple of posts titled “humans of KOTI apartments” in which I would like to bring you closer the sweetest staff which works here and makes my life and everybody else’s here that much nicer, comfortable and makes sure that everything works perfectly. 😉

In my previous blog post I had a coffee chat with the owner of KOTI apartments, Hannu. Today I’d like to introduce you to Jasmin, Hannu’s right hand and a good fairy which always greets you warmly at KOTI apartments lobby and is always ready to answer your questions or wish you a nice day.

Jasmin, Helsinki

I have known Hannu (owner of KOTI apartments) for about 10 years. We have worked previously together and there was a break of 5 years until our roads crossed again when he was starting KOTI, he called me up to join him and I happily accepted. 

I go by the motto of “People maybe won’t remember your name or what you did but they will always remember how you made them feel.” 

That’s my guidance not just in work but also in my life. If I can make a difference in somebody’s day by saying simple “Hi” and smile to them, that makes me very happy. 

Our customers are from everywhere, all parts of the world. Usually if they’re Finnish then they’re staying for bit longer or because of their own home’s renovation but if they’re foreigners usually there are no rules and we have visits from everywhere. 

Lifestyle, My Work, Sunday Cafe

Coffee time with Hannu

May 27, 2020

Even though it’s not Sunday, I went for a coffee with Hannu, owner, heart and soul of KOTI apartments. I will attach this lovely interview to my previously published “Sunday Cafe” section for you to enjoy in the future and easily access it.

When I first met Hannu was on our business meeting regarding my collaboration with KOTI apartments about 2,5 months ago. Ever since the first meeting up until this moment, Hannu has been not just an easy person to collaborate with but also very warm and welcoming individual which is very dedicated to what he does and every single client who walks into KOTI apartments matters. I was happy to spend some time interviewing him and I hope that this will bring him closer to you and that you will too consider staying at KOTI apartments in the future. 🙂

Your name and age.

Hannu Junkkaala , Libra 🙂 

Where do you come from and what is your connection to Helsinki? 

I come from Helsinki, I was born here and I’m what’s considered “barefoot” Helsinkian.

Well, almost because you’re supposed to have 5 generations in your family who are from Helsinki, I don’t have that many but almost. That also explains my connection to Helsinki.

What are the advantages of operating a business from Helsinki and what are disadvantages? 

Helsinki is clean, safe and has pure, straight forward people living here. Helsinki is modern and always developing more. To me, it’s much easier to operate my business from Helsinki because there is enough space on the hospitality market for what I’m doing. KOTI apartments are quite unique in that sense and it makes a big advantage for me. 

Disadvantage might be that Helsinki could still have more bigger/ worldwide  known companies their offices here and create more centred point for business traveler who are are also majority of our guests. If you compare Helsinki and Zurich for example, they’re the same size wise but Zurich is still much more advanced in business operations and such vs. Helsinki.

Running small, private business vs. bigger one? What do you like about being a small business owner? 

I used to work before as part of big business and I must say I prefer more running a small business. Decisions are sometimes made in seconds, there is not so much thinking through and having endless sheets or power point documents but rather going by the feeling and knowing what’s the right decision or the next step in the given moment. 

I also like that I have a great and close relationship with my employees and they feel like family members rather than my workers. I don’t think that it’s possible to have that in big business. 

Also, my days are all different. It might sound like a cliche but every day is different. I might have an empty schedule when driving in with my car to work and suddenly it might be that it’s 9 pm and I’m only then going home. That can be good and bad but mostly a  good thing and I like that.

Why name KOTI apartments? 

I used to own KOTI hotel before and I sold my business to Forenom apartments in 2015. I have then lost my “rights” on that specific name so when I was about to open KOTI apartments I chose that name half because I had some melancholic attachment to my previous business and half because KOTI means home in Finnish and that’s exactly the feeling which I wanted to create at KOTI. It can be of course modern design, luxurious  and classy apartments with great equipment but the feeling needs to be the one of “home”. It is nice to see that not many people who visit us know what KOTI means in Finnish but when they come over and get that homey vibes and find out the meaning of “koti” in my language they connect the dots and are pleasantly surprised that the name fits the feeling of the place. 🙂 

What inspires you or makes you happiest the most in your work? 

I can honestly say that I’m the happiest when I interact with my visitors. Due to the current situation I have been “locked up” inside of my office for the past 3 months and I miss the daily interaction with our guests. It is part of our KOTI vibes, to see me or Jasmin and have a smiling face say hi and wish you a nice day. I am also happy when I hear that our clients are happy and that we have met or exceeded the expectations. I’m happy when I hear that somebody had been marketing us in “mouth to mouth” way and they have only good things to say, that is what truly inspires me and gives me motivation to go forward. 

What is the best place you’ve ever stayed at like hotel/ apartment/ etc? 

I would say that the best experience was last Summer in one boutique hotel in Lourdes, France. I went there with my girlfriend because of Tour De France and could easily go each day with car or by bike, from the hotel to see different stages of the Tour de France. I liked the fact that it was ran by elder couple who would also every morning prepare big breakfast table for all of us and each morning you would be seated differently so you get to meet and talk to different people. I liked that. 

When it comes to my benchmark place/ hotel, I always stay at Ett Hem hotel in Stockholm who’s name by chance means home in Swedish just like KOTI does in Finnish. 😀 

What’s your life motto?

Angels live in details. Some people say for the contracts that the devil lives in details and I was thinking that Angels live in details because in my work, you have to have basic ground great but details are what makes the work or place stand out and special. We have lots of little details at KOTI and I think that it is nice touch. But it is true that if basics are not right, then details won’t matter at all. If I put a bowl of candy at your room it won’t make you happy if rooms are not clean or if our staff is not nice.

Recommend a book, movie and song? 

Favorite book is by Simon Sinek, Start With Why 

Texas country music, something like Kenny Chesney.

Michelle Obama – documentary 

Name 3 things everyone should do or see  when staying at KOTI apartments?

I think that if it’s first time someone is visiting Helsinki and staying at KOTI apartments they should go to Loyly, Suomenlinna island and jump on the tram 10 which stops next to KOTI and wonder off. 🙂 

Thank you Hannu for this interview!

Lifestyle, My Work, Travel

Finnish sauna at KOTI apartments

May 7, 2020

Finnish sauna experience at KOTI apartments was just what I have craved for on a rainy Spring day. I must admit that I have never been to sauna before my move to Helsinki, Finland. It has been 12 years already that I have moved here and I can proudly say I’m a big Finnish sauna fan. 🙂

There are many saunas in Helsinki, some are private, some are shared and public but almost every building has one, unless you’re a lucky one and have your own inside your own apartment.

“All people are created equal but nowhere more so than in the sauna.”

KOTI apartments sauna is a private one which anybody can use with an announcement beforehand. You have to reserve the time and date and then it’s yours for the whole day.

When you enter the sauna from the 1st floor, you get inside a big space with relaxing area which also has TV, fridge and coffee machine. Then there is a walk in shower with Rituals body shop and shampoo and then there is the sauna with pamphlets and mini pillows for the maximum comfort.I have tried many saunas, even the old traditional wooden ones but this is by far my most favourite sauna experience. 🙂

*This post was made in collaboration with KOTI apartments but all of the photos and opinions are my own.

Food, Lifestyle, My Work

What’s in my fridge?

May 5, 2020

What’s in my fridge? One of interesting things is that lots of people don’t even realise how their fridge tells a lot about them. What you eat is who you are and that is so true. Wonder what’s in my fridge at KOTI apartments? Keep on scrolling. 🙂

I don’t know how about you, but I love to peek into people’s fridges and get inspired by the food or products others use in their daily lives. I always get some ideas what to cook for myself at KOTI apartments.

My fridge at KOTI apartments is big and nicely organised so I can fit in everything I need and store my produce. I usually like to stack up my fridge with greens, berries and cheese. “You are what what you eat eats.”

If you care for yourself and those whom you’re feeding at home, you know that the more fresh produce you have at home the better. The less packaged and “long lasting” produce you have at home the more chances are you will live longer and healthier life.

In my fridge you will always find different cream cheese spreads, current favourites are from Bonjour. Some Turkish yoghurts, smetana or Creme fraiche are always on my shopping list. Some feta cheese or Parmesan are my favourite ones to snack on or put in salads, pastas, etc. Fresh berries like blueberries and strawberries are always great sweet treat.Lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and mushrooms are always occupying my fridge shelves. Different lettuces, broccoli and fresh herbs like basil are not just great for the sight but are part of my daily diet. In the bottom shelf I always have some food I’ve cooked the day before or some fresh pasta and gnocchi.

Eating healthy isn’t science fiction and you don’t need to know more than just listening to what your body is craving for. Some days it will be more raw and green, some days it will be something warm and with cooked vegetables, etc. but as long as you don’t keep bad foods at your home, the easier it is to make the right choice.

Food, Lifestyle, Travel

Breakfast in bed

April 28, 2020

Breakfast in bed at KOTI apartments is what the dreams are made of!

Breakfast in bed is what anyone has to treat themselves once in a while. One of the best parts of staying at the hotel is that you can order your breakfast in bed. Guess what? KOTI apartments can order your breakfast to bed from next door’s restaurant Ventuno. Specially created breakfast just for KOTI apartments visitors will satisfy all of your tastebuds.

Every Friday there is a delivery of freshly baked cinnamon buns to KOTI apartments. You can just swing by the lobby and grab your treat. I think that it’s a small gesture but every person ever visiting KOTI apartments was happy camper eating those delicious buns. What’s better for weekend breakfast than that?

I always thought that it’s important how you start your day. If you wake up slowly, take your time to stretch, do your morning beauty routine and make a healthy breakfast is just a perfect way to kick off your day and make sure that your energy levels and vibes are high and positive.

I like to start my day with freshly squeezed orange juice, croissant sandwich and yoghurt with berries and mysli. If not that then a smoothie and porridge with honey and cinnamon. This is what I usually order when I’m staying at the hotels and now I am treating myself every now and then to this kind of combo in my own bed at KOTI apartments. 😉

This post was made in collaboration with KOTI apartments, all of the opinions and photos are my own.

Food, Lifestyle, Travel

Live like a local

April 27, 2020

Live like a local at KOTI apartments. I think that it sounds very interesting. At least to me, whenever I go somewhere I’m not that much interested to do typical tourist things but more see what locals suggest and do what they do too.

Live like a local at KOTI apartments is easy, thanks to this mini guide and also thanks to the best location in town which offers so much at your doorstep.

The best time to visit Helsinki is just coming now. Summers are my favourite time of the year in Finland and Helsinki looks especially enchanting at that time.

DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE MUSEUMS

Two museums in one! Check both of museums with the same ticket and enjoy the past and present of the Finnish design & architecture. In both museums you will find works from Alvar Aalto, Aarikka, Arabia, Iitala, IvanaHelsinki, Fiskars, Stefan Lindfors, etc.

ST.JOHN’S CHURCH

This Lutheran church designed by the Swedish architect Adolf Melander in the Gothic style is the largest stone church in Finland. It is definitely a delight for your sight outside and on the inside. You can come in to just check it, make a prayer or attend a full mass service.

ANTON & ANTON GROCERY SHOP

Anton&Anton is local’s favourite grocery shop. You can find many interesting products from small, local producers and farms, from freshly baked bread and pastries, to special sauces and seasonings, to meat, fish like Finnish salmon, fresh eggs, milk and so on. They also have a mini deli cafe as part of the shop so you can sit down and enjoy your coffee or their famous porridge for breakfast.

VENTUNO RESTAURANT

Or you can enjoy breakfast next door to KOTI apartments at Ventuno, cosmopolitan restaurant serving the best flavours of Italy. Ventuno is the latest restaurant to open from B&W restaurants who have famous sister restaurants such as Farang and Gaijin which are also very popular amongst locals for fine dining Asian fusion cuisine.

YES YES YES

Another popular restaurant among locals is fully vegan and vegetarian restaurant Yes Yes Yes. It’s almost always full so it’s good to make your reservation in advance but you can also just walk in and catch a seat at the bar. Besides trendy and visually attractive interior it will amaze you with the best vegan and vegetarian food in town such as halloumi fries, tandoor bread with dips and baked sweet potato. Nearby is also YYY’s sister restaurant The Cock also worth checking out. 🙂

URBAN A & WILD THINGS HELSINKI

If you are in the mood for shopping some new clothing you should definitely stop by Urban A. They offer carefully selected mix of hand-picked brands mostly from Scandinavia. In their shop you can also find flowers, plants and pots by Wild Things Helsinki and Studio Arhoj.

EXTRA TIPS

Here are some extra tips for you, best pizza near KOTI apartments and in town is Daddy Greens, for a great night out and the best cocktails, Liberty Or Death is the bar to visit, for some more unique shopping, check a lot of second hand shops like Relove, Paper shop, Putiinki or sustainable bags designed in Finland by Lovia.

Whatever you will decide to check and make your stay in Helsinki more like a locals live you won’t make a wrong pick. 🙂

*Commercial collaboration with KOTI Helsinki. All of opinions are my own.

*Photos by me and Liisu @ashiyad

Food, Lifestyle, My Work, Travel

KOTI Helsinki ; live like a local

April 16, 2020

In my previous post I have introduced you to luxury apartments in the heart of Helsinki – KOTI apartments. Today, I wish to let you know some of my thoughts of actually living there as a local. Testing made in 1 week time period made me realise that KOTI apartments are even more than what I was expecting.

KOTI apartments have 30 differently sized apartments and I was testing one of about 40 m2 their Classic apartment. Besides cool and modern design, I have right away noticed how comfortable it is to live there. Couch is very comfy and can be made into extra sleeping space if needed. Bed is also very comfortable and has 4 pillows which I love because I always sleep with 3 pillows if I can. 😀

Toilet has enough space for everything you need, shower is just perfect and you can pick which shower you want, the regular or rain shower and all while laddering nicely scented Rituals body wash.

Under the sink there is washing and drying machine in one and also gel tablets for washing your clothes. Of course, dryer, hand soap, 2 people towels set…

Kitchen is full of utensils and machines you would need during your longer stay, from toaster and coffee maker, tea boiler to pots, pans and cutlery, mugs and glasses. You’re all set for living. 🙂

Complimentary coffee and tea are waiting for you and they get replenished once a week during your personal cleaning day. Dishwashing machine helps a lot to keep everything clean in the kitchen but you also have some cleaning supplies in case you need them. Oven, micro and fridge are all of great quality and I would pick them for my own home too.

Small sized table is actually great for 3 people to sit comfortably, flat screen smart TV will keep you entertained when needed and Helsinki guide book comes in very handy to be aware of all of the great spots locals love which are also nearby KOTI. WiFi is great and works well on multiple devices.

There is small balcony, enough to catch some fresh air and enjoy the view. 🙂

There is a ton of closet space and you won’t be lacking space for your clothes, shoes and so on.

Weekly cleaning is a saviour and I believe that when staying longer than a week you realise that it means a lot to have a day off to not worry about cleaning and have somebody else change your bed sheets and vacuum clean.

Finally, let me mention that every Friday lovely people of KOTI leave freshly baked cinnamon buns at the lobby of KOTI for the residents to take and enjoy. MMMMmmmm! Sounds heavenly doesn’t it? Yes, KOTI is really worth booking your stay with them.

*Commercial collaboration with KOTI apartments, all of opinions and photos are my own.

Lifestyle, My Work, Travel

KOTI apartments

April 3, 2020

KOTI apartments offer you modernly designed and highly comfortable apartments in the heart of ever so popular area in Helsinki called Ullanlinna. 

Building itself is right next to the Design and Architecture museums as well as it’s surrounded by many cute and unique shops, St.John’s church, trendy restaurants and vicinity of the sea. 

With concierge-services and short or long term accommodation, KOTI apartments are perfect for those who wish to live like a local when visiting Helsinki. KOTI customers usually stay from couple of months to years but you can also book your stay for as short as one night only. 

Each of KOTI apartments are like a real home where you can make food, do laundry or invite your friends over. 

Sweet and welcoming KOTI staff will make sure that you’ll feel cozy and lively during daytime, and have your peaceful haven at evening and night.

KOTI apartments also provide you with once a week apartment cleaning, speedy WiFi, smart TV, possibility to have private sauna moments as well as breakfast delivery from next door restaurant Ventuno. 

Nothing is impossible at KOTI apartments and they’re your perfect choice when you want to have the comfort and convince of a hotel but privacy and coziness of your home in one. 

*This post has been made in collaboration with KOTI apartments. All of the opinions and photos are my own.

Lifestyle, My Work

Corroded

March 14, 2020

Corroded or destroyed is the word which comes to my mind when I think about the current moment. Who feels like it’s been only couple of days ago that everything was “fine” and fast forward to Friday the 13th of March, we’re all on our toes waiting on the latest updates on Covid 19 known as Corona virus. A virus which found us all unprepared for such mass madness and fear it has created.

I must say that I have my point of view on all of this and while I’m not afraid of anything or anybody and while I’m using my free will and common sense and I am refusing to be upset by the current situation in any way, I do feel for those affected or who’s families are in immediate danger and had to pause their normal day to day lives because of the virus.

Model : Alison, Clothes by Destiny Helsinki and Alison

I have been entertained by reading some of the articles in different media regarding hygiene, from how to wash your hands to how everybody should be more aware on personal space, sneezing and so on. I’m thinking, is it really necessary to point out something which is absolutely natural to me and goes under “normal” in my household? I guess that yes, because apparently, many people are not having the best of hygiene or aren’t aware how poor their hygiene is even though they might have been thinking that it isn’t so.

Washing your hands many times a day, drinking lots of water, using hand sanitisers and not touching everything and everybody is just most normal for my daily life and that is what I teach my daughter too.

Model : Alison, Clothes by Destiny Helsinki and Alison

Yet, the times we’re in right now are more than needed… I unfortunately think that this is just the beginning and some bigger and more lethal things might happen if we don’t learn something from this Corona virus situation. This world needs a reset and people need to stop volunteering their lives and minds to the media and mass control run by people who love to play God. People should be more aware of each other, less selfish, more conscious and more responsible. Poor is the human who blindly follows what they’re being told, not questioning and agreeing to be manipulated by the installed fear.

Model : Alison, Clothes by Destiny Helsinki and Alison

Nature never breaks it’s own rules… Why do we, humans who are so smart, so advanced, so perfectly created, so stupid at the end of the day? When did we become hypnotised masses and when are we going to wake up finally??

The time is now to DO SOMETHING and not let another, even worser situation than this one or the wild fires in Australia happen on even bigger scale. Think about it… You have the power to change the world, start with yourself.

All photographs by Natali K. photography