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Lifestyle, My Work, Outfits, Travel

Summer’s end

August 31, 2020

Summer’s end always comes way too quickly. As much as I love the seasons changing , almost all of my best memories from childhood and even now in adult life come from Summer time.

Summer’s end comes earlier in Helsinki, Finland than what I’m used to call as Summer’s end in Sibenik, Croatia. For those who have been reading this blog for years know that I’ve been living for the past 13 years in Finland but I grew up in Croatia.

I’m very melancholic person and in some ways I have hard times letting “things go”. I sometimes get too attached to just a feeling of something , such as the feeling of Summer at it’s best, the energy, the never-ending sunshine, the happy faces of passers by…

Summer’s end always makes me rethink of the months behind since the year’s beginning. It’s kind of my way of checking in with myself, see what I’ve done well, what I’ve done wrong and what I could do better. Not just in sense of work and success but also , if not even more importantly in sense of how I’m feeling and how I’m progressing as a human.

I hate wasting time into nothing and I try every day to be better than I was the day before. Of course work done well pushes you forward and gives you that confident “wind in your back” but more and more as I’ve been growing older, I find it that my self confidence comes from how much I’ve managed to better myself and how many people besides myself I’ve brought happiness to.

We’re living in the extraordinary times and just like with Summer’s end, I am still hang on that feeling of the world before “the pandemic”. I feel like nothing is as simple and easy anymore but I have managed to figure out how to get the best out of this situation and accept the changes as they come.

I, like many of us love to be in control of things and know what’s coming next but life is everything but predictable and changes are inevitable. We sort of forget that we’re not Higher power and that so little is actually in our control. Life is meant to be changed and life is meant to break you and raise you, that’s just the law of the Universe and as much as we’re now thinking that this Pandemic is one of the worst things that has happened to us in decades, maybe , just maybe it might be one of the best things as well…

Maybe we have been too cocooned in the safety of our daily lives, living more freely and carelessly than what we’ve been aware of. Maybe we have stopped growing as humans and so many things were getting too big, too overpriced, overhyped, etc. I think that we’ve taken so much for granted and never had a moment to actually stop and ask ourselves what are we, as earthlings actually doing here on this planet? How much are our eyes open, how much our ears are ready to listen?

Isn’t this just the right time to rethink everything? The whole structure of our society, the way how things work, what and who’s important and who and what is something that we can totally mange without or not in as big doses as we’ve been used to.

It’s time to be humble, to be thankful and to finally, when looking at your neighbour , co-worker, friend, etc. to look at them and actually care how are they doing, how can you help and / or just pay more attention to small things in life like freedom of movement!

No matter how bad things might look like, underneath it all, maybe the awakening is what’s hiding and maybe, we can together make a positive change in the world which is right now what we truly need.

Summer’s end is melancholic for me, I miss my Sibenik more than anything and I’m thankful that I was able to spend two beautiful weeks there this Summer but due to the situation at the moment I have no idea when is the next time I’ll go there. I wanted to share with you my latest photo shoot for YSL beauty here and invite you all to always search for that silver lining in everything. What you’re searching for is what will find you. 🙂

Photos and idea by : Valerio Baranovic

Make up and idea by : Katarina Jukic

Location : D-resort Sibenik, Croatia

Jewellery : LuluRoxx

Lifestyle, My Work, Travel

Helsinki boats

August 2, 2020

Experience an unforgettable boat ride and stunning sights of Helsinki archipelago with Helsinki boats!

About 3 weeks ago I had made one little dream come true! As some of you know, I have been living in Finland for over 12 years and this whole time I have contemplated on getting a private boat ride to discover Helsinki archipelago which I have heard about so much yet never got to see it properly. I don’t count mini boat ride to Suomenlinna island and back. 😀

Thanks to Marco, the best skipper and host of Helsinki boats, I made my dream come true and got to bring my daughter and brother along. Yes, Helsinki boats rides are like no others, it’s completely private, customised to your wishes rides and you can bring up to 3 people along with you. You can have whole boat for yourself or you can also share it with others starting at only 20 eur per person.

I want to tell you more about our experience. Marco welcomed us to his boat at Tervasaari, small island in Kruununhaka area of Helsinki. We jumped in and took off. First stop was mandatory fuel filling, since we went for the ride early in the morning and were the first ones to ride with Marco on that day.

We have witnessed some beautiful sights of Kalasatama and Mustikkamaa as well as discovered that there is a secret outdoor sauna in the most convenient spot, right on the rocks, ready to jump into the sea from the sauna.

Then we spotted Honkaluotto island which has nobody living there as it’s so small but there is a house, sauna and yard which you can rent for a whole day. Next off towards Herttoniemi and it’s beach area, lots of beautiful houses and villas, I was impressed. We saw a tiki bar! Yes in the middle of Helsinki archipelago there was a tiki bar and that’s when I thought that I must be somewhere else, this just can’t be Helsinki. 😀

We took a bit of a speed ride towards Itis and Vuosaari area where the stunning views and all sorts of secret spots continued. My jaw was dropping every five minutes and I completely fell in love with Helsinki all over again.

From there we turned back and started our ride towards Suomenlinna, passed it by smoothly as well as Uunisaari and continued towards Jätkäsaari to the Hietalahti and restaurant Hampton Bay.

During our whole ride with Marco we have talked a lot, found him to be such a cool and relaxed guy, it’s hard not to love him at the first sight. 🙂 We were happy to share lunch with Marco and talk some more about life in general and never ending source of conversation – pros and cons of life in Helsinki.

Marco was so kind to give us a short ride to Mattolaturi where we got off the boat and wished him luck with his next rides which he had lined up right after us.

I must mention that during the whole boat ride I felt safe, comfortable and incredibly happy! This was definitely one of the best experiences during my life in Finland and I can wholeheartedly suggest you to try his Italian styled boat and discover the gem of Helsinki archipelago.

*This post was made in collaboration with Helsinki boats, all of the opinions are my own.

*Photos and text by me.

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, 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, 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, Travel

Visit Helsinki: Hotel Helka

October 8, 2019

Visiting Helsinki and looking for a discrimination free, filled with unique art pieces and a “very Finnish” style hotel, Helka is the right choice for you. Located in the Helsinki city centre – Kamppi, it’s very easy to reach hotel Helka no matter which transportation you choose. Immediately as you enter Helka you’re greeted by the lovely and laidback staff.

You can choose if you want to use an electronic, self check in or the traditional one. Whatever you choose, your check in and check out will be equally user friendly and rarely that you’ll have to wait long to do either.

Hotel Helka has gone through some renovations and got a nice facelift so now it shines like a new penny. 🙂 You can check my previous review of Helka here. Besides standard comfort and smart rooms, there are also junior suites, all beautifully decorated with a touch of pink and cute notes, such as “Spend a night with Alvar Aalto” as there are a lot of designer touches in the hotel rooms, from Alvar Aalto vases to the Design house Stockholm famous brick lamps.

Many visitors have stayed in hotel Helka since it’s opening back in 1969, from the random hotel guests to the public personas. Hotel Helka also has a bit of a “movie history” as it served as a Hotel Budapest in American movie Gorky Park.

When visiting Helsinki, from the outside, Helka’s building doesn’t look that much different from other nearby buildings and you would never guess how stylish, cozy and pretty hotel is hiding inside. 🙂

I loved my stay at a Junior Suite and it’s private sauna was very much appreciated as I happen to love Finnish sauna and to have one at your own disposal in your own room is one of those small things which make life beautiful.

There are no mini bars at the hotel rooms because Helka is the holder of the Green Key and is very eco friendly so by not having mini bars it saves 50 000 kWh annually.

Delicious and organic breakfast is served every morning. If you feel like grabbing a drink with your friends or have a meeting with a larger group, Helka’s bar is always ready to serve you. 🙂 If you’re feeling like snacking, there’s a chance to grab a sandwich from the bar as well.

Finally, hotel Helka’s prices are some of the best ones in town and rooms are most of the time sold out but if you book in advance and through the hotel’s website using the code pinkhelsinki you will get -10% off your reservation.

*This post was made in collaboration with Hotel Helka, all of the opinions are my own.