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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

*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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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.ย 

Building itself is right next to the Design and Architecture museums as well as itโ€™s surrounded by many cute and unique shops, St.Johnโ€™s church, trendy restaurants and vicinity of the sea.ย 

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.ย 

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

Sweet and welcoming KOTI staff will make sure that youโ€™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 theyโ€™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

Lifestyle, My Work

Runaways

February 5, 2020

It’s been an “hour” since I wrote something more personal. My last intimate post was a cathartic unloading which indirectly marked an ending of a chapter which I don’t want to remind myself of much but I’m still very thankful for everything because in all of that darkness and tough situations, some of the most beautiful moments have happened, some faces came in, some left for good, some challenged me to look deep inside of myself and face some of the fears I had, as well as see my flaws and make me work on becoming the best I can be.

We all need that spark, a light in the dark to overcome hard times and rise up like a phoenix. Oh yes darling, I assure you that no matter how low you fall, only one little spark of light and a little wish of your heart to live happy and fulfilled life but on different terms than the usual patterns which brought you down, I can promise you that you will rise up again and live to see the day when suddenly, so easily everything starts to look much more clearer and starts to fall into it’s place.

You will never forget your scars and maybe time won’t heal anything, but YOU , your inner beauty, purity of heart and thoughts is what will create your 2.0 version. Strong, yet sensitive, smart yet open to flaws and mistakes, self-assured but very kind and receptive – that will all be you, because at your core, before anything bad had happened to you and before all of the losses have happened, that’s been you since the day you were born.

Nothing can change you at the age XY but you can completely reinvent yourself. Take your best qualities, learn your lessons and offer the 2.0 version shining strong! Being strong and happy doesn’t mean that you can’t or won’t cry ever again it just means that you will know what or who’s worth your tears and that you won’t spend time after time overthinking everything and keep on giving chances to those who never gave you a chance to start with.

If you’ve ever felt like nobody will ever hear you or see you for who you are truly, if you were ever scared that you won’t ever be able to overcome some situations, I got news for you… It might take time, it might take convincing but God (or Universe or whoever you believe in) will send you the right people in the right moment to help you heal, to lift you up from the ashes and set you on the right road to being your best self and living the life to the fullest.

My circle is small, it’s almost a dot but the ones who are there in that dot with me, they are the most precious jewels, ones who have helped me in so many ways just by being there and themselves without even realising how much they make me happy, how much they lift me up and how much all of them in this way or another have healed all of the broken pieces of me.

When the healing happens on the inside, it shows on the outside and you radiate the energy which can heal others too. See! The game is taking a shift and you, who used to be broken have become a light, that little spark in the deep darkness that can help heal other souls which are on your path…

Next time you’re around your closest ones, make sure you’re keeping your eyes “open”, make sure your ears are hearing things left unsaid… Many of us suffer by ourselves and that’s fine but we all need that other person, even if only one but somebody who will see past the “bloody knees” and offer us a hand to get up.

Thank you to my people from that little dot which I’m mentioning. ๐Ÿ˜€ You have saved me in so many ways that I can never thank you enough! My darkness will always stay somewhere there in the back of my being just to bring the balance and remind me to be thankful for what I have now and to be able to recognise that same darkness in others and be able to understand others better.

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.

Lifestyle, Music

The Superwood Festival

September 25, 2019

The Superwood Festival , best of Nordic oddity, pure beauty and Woodland vibes can be experienced on 4.-6.10. in Helsinki at Hotel Rantapuisto area. The best of local music, art and food will come together at The Superwood Festival and make all of your senses enjoy the enchanting sounds, great tastes and a beautiful sight for the eyes.

The Superwood Festival brings you artists such as Mirva, Pink Chameleons, GLDN, Chaos Lab, Sofa, Jari Sillanpaa, Nightbird, The New Tigers and many many more. Fireplace restaurant, Woodland cafe or Sandwich club will make sure that you enjoy some delicious food and don’t stay hungry while digging the festival vibes.

The Superwood Festival will inject you with an insightful workshops, art, Q&A’s , special DJ sets, etc. so you will get two days filled with so much entertainment that you won’t have a moment to be bored, the schedule is pretty filled up so take a look at it here and find the right times of the happenings that interest you the most.

This festival has been incredibly popular for the past two years so the tickets are running out as you read this post. Take a look at different packages/ tickets here. I would personally suggest you to consider a crazy good offer of VIP package which includes two nights at Rantapuisto hotel with breakfast and entrance tickets for TWO at a bargain price for a maximum VIP experience. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Superwood Festival will make you break out your best dancing shoes, your sparkly “going out-out” clothes and make all of your senses go wild!

*This post has been made in collaboration with IvanaHelsinki/ The Superwood Festival.

Lifestyle, My Work, Outfits

How to dress for Autumn with Ivana Helsinki

September 23, 2019

How to dress for Autumn? Yes, want it or not, the Summer has finished and the season of layers is here. I must say that I’m happy to feel the breeze in the air, put on a coat and light scarf… After all, the Summer in Croatia was insanely hot, end of the Summer was also hot in Helsinki so I had it enough, officially. ๐Ÿ˜€

As soon as the Autumn arrives, I become more creative and playful with my outfits. I start to dig out the clothes which I have totally forgot about, some new, more Fall like colours start to dominate in my outfits and first thing which comes to my mind when somebody mentions Autumn are forests, trees and that golden sunshine hour which is so magical and only specific for Autumn.

This year has been the year of “Trees” for IvanaHelsinki. Their main designer and founder, Paola was inspired by the Red Wood forests in California as well as the nature in her homeland, Finland. Trees and forests have a mystical grounding power that is channeled into the prints of this collection. Forests are spiritual, intelligent, enduring yet very delicate and vulnerable.

I couldn’t agree more with Paola, ever since I was a little kid I’ve been wondering in the forests, that’s where I would find the best inner peace, my inspiration would blossom on my long walks in the forests, I had many “realisations” about life, solution to my own problems and so on exactly in the middle of the majestic forests in Russia, Croatia and finally in Finland too.

I’m happy to have partnered up with IvanaHelsinki to collaborate together and spread the word about everything that IvanaHelsinki is and stands for as well as, in my mind, one of the best collections the brand had to this date. You still have time to shop “Trees” collection at THIS LINK with a discount of 15% by typing IVANAXNATALI at the checkout.

To those who remember IvanaHelsinki flagship store on Uuudemankatu in Helsinki, it has moved to a new, much bigger and more functional space , an architecturally unique Finnish atelier house built in the 70’s on Palopirtintie 15. When you arrive to the shop, you can not just explore the newest collection but also have a cup of coffee or tea and talk to the lovely girls which are working there, check out an exhibition because the space also serves as a mini gallery or just wonder around and admire the beauty of the wooden house with a calming and elegant atmosphere. You will feel very welcome either way. ๐Ÿ™‚

I will link some of my favourite pieces from the “Trees” collection here, happy shopping! NORMA , SYLVIA , JOCELYN .

Food, My Work

Minato sushi

September 13, 2019

Minato sushi is a lovely little restaurant located in the city centre of Helsinki, it has opened a little over a year ago and is ran by two very passionate foodies and professional chefs, Tuomo and Riina. Riina has 17 years of experience and is very specific about sushi rice, fresh fish, perfect cuts and giving an own signature twist to the dishes.

Minato sushi has a small but very satisfying and delicious menu which will definitely leave you enough of choices to satisfy your cravings.

Minato sushi is a welcoming breeze of “fresh air” in the sea of wanna be Japanese and sushi buffets which have taken over Helsinki food scene.

Minato sushi delivers to your doors too, so if you’re living in Helsinki you can order their delicious sushi via the delivery services too.

While visiting Minato sushi, it was such a pleasure to talk to Tuomo a young, very involved and proud force of the restaurant. We had a delicious chance to indulge in miso soup with grilled salmon and portobello pieces, sashimi and sushi platter including signature roll, Kolari with smoked reindeer.

Just a little bit before we have dined at Minato, they had two special days of fresh tuna and they promise to have more of those kind of surprises in the future. ๐Ÿ™‚

*Thank you Tuomo for this opportunity. This post has been made in collaboration with Minato sushi but all of the opinions are my own.

*Natali K.photography

Lifestyle, My Work, Travel

Radisson Blu Plaza : Visit Helsinki

September 11, 2019

Radisson Blu Plaza is one of 4 Radisson Blu hotels in Helsinki. I haven’t stayed at the Radisson Blu Plaza previously but I knew that it’s one of the nicest looking old buildings in the heart of the city.

Radisson Blu Plaza

Radisson Blu Plaza is located right next to the Central Railway Station and it’s hard to miss on not spotting it as it’s facade is grandiose. There’re 302 rooms in this hotel which have been refurbished back in 2012 so now they’re decorated using the most impressive classics of Finnish design, for example some of the suites are decorated with Alvar Aalto’s most famous furnishings.

Hotel Lobby

Big ball room is perfect for events and weddings, there’re guest saunas, gym and hotel lobby is a perfect place to chill at or work on your laptop while you’re waiting on the room or on your private chauffeur to take you to the airport.

Radisson Blu Plaza has some of the services which aren’t so common in Helsinki such as concierge, bell boy and private chauffeur as well as a possibility to pick your own pillow (there are 5 different options).

I must say that the bed was one of the most comfortable ones I’ve slept in and that’s something that is very important to me when I’m staying at the hotels.

I also found it very convenient that all of the lights in the room could be adjusted on different “modes” on a mini electronic screen right next to the bed. Bathroom was well set up with the Radisson’s own toiletries and the TV screen in the bathroom mirror was a nice touch.

I sometimes like to test room service by requesting either a meal or something random like a set of cutlery or tea just to see how quick they are and how willing they’re to meet your needs. I did it this time too and Plaza’s room service was 5/5.

Radisson Blu Plaza is getting more and more recognised for it’s big breakfast buffet. The selection was plenty, various and thoughtful, meaning that they have served different variations to suit different diets. The restaurant’s design was incredible, very beautiful ceiling and lots of art photos everywhere.

If you’re stying at the Business Room or suite, you have the exclusive chance to have a more private breakfast at the hotel’s Business Lounge/ terrace. If you’re arriving with the car, Radisson Blu Plaza has its own parking garage.

It was a short but sweet stay at the Radisson Blu Plaza which I would recommend as a great choice for a weekend getaway or a very convenient place to stay at in Helsinki at a competitive price. ๐Ÿ™‚

*This post was made in collaboration with Radisson Blu Plaza but all of the opinions are my own.

*Thank you to Miss Annukka for making this possible.

*Photos by Natali K. photography