Old endings and new beginnings

In the blogosphere where I like to hang out, people are doing their end year reviews. Looking back at the ups and the downs, obstacles, lessons learned, mishaps as well as miracles showing up when least expected. When I started this blog in January 2015 I already thought how fun it would be to one year later look back at all those magic moments I was sure that would have happened in my life during this year. Today however, when I am celebrating the last official Magic Monday I don´t feel very inclined to look back. It might be that there will be reflections sneaking their way in through the back door but my main objective is not to do a year review.

This is what I had mapped out for this last official Magic Monday:

  • get up early to take a shower and have breakfast
  • then take a brisk walk to the Fontana café where I would place myself comfortably in that big sofa that I have had my eyes on for so long
  • here I would brainstorm the contents for the online course that we have been planning on offering with my biz partner Minna
  • after a couple of hours I would go to visit the Doll´ s houses exhibition that I have been curious about, a must on my list
  • after having enjoyed the exhibition I would head to café Art to use up what ever still remains of my gift card, write an enthusiastic blog post on the inspiring doll´s houses  and dribble down some other fantastic insights

Wanna know how it went?

  • woke up late, slogged on the sofa for quite some time. Then dragged and forced myself to the shower. And since it was so frickin´ cold outside I had to wait quit some time for my hair to dry before I could go out.
  • finally got my brisk walk, got into a very crowded museum and spent some very disappointed and uninspired moments looking at old Victorian doll´s houses and some new ones as well. The only thing that lit me up was when I saw an old black and white picture from the golden days in Hanko, early 1930 beach life.
  • then I walked back to the other side of the river to go to café Art but could not even get inside because it was so crowded.
  • after that I tried my luck at café Fontana where not only my sofa was occupied but the whole cafe was completely over crowded. What´s wrong with people? Can´t you stay at home on a Monday for once?!
  • after almost giving up and going straight back home I remembered café Elvina, a place where they serve Brita´s cake, a cake you never get anywhere but usually have to bake yourself.

Christmas Cake Elvina
No, not Brita´s cake but Christmas cake and at Elvina´s but it looks almost as home
Dolls Houses Hanko in the thirties
Nice looking wall-paper and Hanko beach life in the thirties

So now I have been munching on one Christmas star, one big piece of really yummy Brita´s cake and drooling over luxury apartments in various interior design magazines. And yes they do have a sofa at Elvinas as well :-). Wonder what´s the fuss about the sofas? Well my bum has been complaining lately about uncomfortable chairs and since I don´t want to bring my own cushions with me, at least not yet, I go for the sofas whenever I have the opportunity to do so.

What all this means is that I have to make a rerun, I have to cheat and consider next Monday a Magic Monday as well even if it is just a regular holiday. Just you wait, sofa at Fontana, I will capture you, claim you as mine and brainstorm the heck out of you!

Last year I participated in the lovely Susannah Conways “Find your word” facebook group. To be honest I had decided on my word for 2015 before I joined the group. But I loved the exercises Susannah provided us with and the wonderful and warm feeling in the group. And the fact that I also found my new friend Dawne in the group.  The word that I had chosen for 2015 was DREAM BIG. A word in accordance with the calendar theme that Minna and I had created for the Tea salon. But at some point the word(s) almost felt more like a burden than a motivator. Indeed I had big dreams but it felt so frustrating when so few of them were coming to fruition. Thus at some point I let go of dreaming big, not all together, but at least for this year. And should I decide to do that end year review I might get some insights that would prove me wrong… prove that I have indeed been dreaming big and that the outcome might just show up a bit later…

For 2016 I had already set my eyes on the word DELIGHT. Like in Turkish delight and how can you find delight in every day life. But the word that has chosen me is RELEASE. And yes, it did chose me, not the other way around. Ahh, DELIGHT felt so perfect and joyful until RELEASE decided to gently but firmly tell me that actually there will be no delight until I RELEASE. Release my anxieties, my pressure, my stuff (both inner and outer). And guess what, while delight felt nice and cosy release feels just right and I cannot wait to see what 2016 will bring into my life.

Next up I will release 2015 by digging into Susannahs Unravelling the Year Ahead 2016 workbook! 

ArsNovaArs Nova Art Museum


A piece of cake

is how we express it when things just move on effortlessly as if we had no part in the action at all. Well, this year has been far from a piece of cake. Probably no year is but some seem more filled with ups and downs than others, at least in retrospect. And I am not going into all the violence and disruption that goes on in the world in general but only peeking at my own little world. Ranging from death, severe illnesses, accidents, financial struggles, teenage daughter moving out to getting new friends, learning and stretching out of all possible comfort zones, being hope to people in despair and thriving in wonderful online communities with fantastic women from almost all over the world.

When it hit me some weeks ago that my Magic Mondays will soon be over, I decided that in one way or another I will continue to infuse magic into my Mondays and that I will continue blogging. My Monday Musings will still be a part of my online journey and I just have to be more inventive with how I do it, going back to working full-time in January 2016.

There is only two magic Mondays left and one of my favorite activities through out the year has been to go and sit at a café eating cake, drinking tea and do some blogging as well. This Monday I decided instead to go to the Market Hall and by a piece of cake to take with me home. Not to make anyone jealous or anything but I am munching on a very delicious Lingonberry tart right at this very moment, made by the award winning Mbakery
A Peice of Cake   Lingonberry tart

The beautiful box and the still untouched cake

Micro moments of magic

is when you are enjoying a yummy profiterole with Tuareng green tea at a cosy café in your old home town and suddenly are hearing Cesária Évora being played as background music. All the anxiety and anger in your body and soul just melts away like last season´s snow. Perfect micro moment of magic. Cesária Évoras Sodade was the music my husband played the first time I visited his apartment. He kind of knew how to play the magic trick back in the days 🙂 It is something about Cesária´s voice that makes everything feel right even in the middle of turmoil. No other music has this profound effect on me. In two hours I need to drive back home again and I wish I could freeze time right now. To simply be enjoying the moment seems to be harder and harder for me. My head is always in the next moment, the next move. That is why I always come to this café every time I visit my mum. Somehow it comforts me more than many of my favorite ones in Turku. And as I have been quite a frequent guest here, the owner now recognizes me and immediately asks the girls in the kitchen if there are any nuts in the cake I have chosen. Bless her! There are piles of books and lovely magazines and you could easily spend the whole day here.

Finally back home again after a maddeningly slow drive due to traffic and my own cautiousness when the weather gets below zero, I am of course immediately throwing myself on the computer. Being the mad rabbit as I am I could not resist the temptation of purchasing the lovely Susannah Conway´s “The Inside Story”, so far from a business course as you can imagine, yet exactly that. There is not a single thing I don´t love about the creative work of Susannah and I will definitely go through every course she offers. The British pound is so not in my favor but rest assured I will save up money to do one course at a time. Bit by bit. In a way I almost want to keep Susannah as my own delightful treasure but please check her out if you are even a little bit curious. The nearest of a Finnish equivalent to her is probably the equally lovely and talented Sandy Talarmo whom I met at the big fair called “Osaava nainen” about a month ago.

But back to the Inside story. In the private facebook group that is part of the course, Susannah just shared this blog post and as it´s title is “I hate Monday” I thought it more than appropriate to add it here. In all its grimness it is both deep and hilarious.

LahellaDeliNovember More Sweet stuff
Having just finished tea and the morning paper & glimpses from the surroundings (not my best pic and definitely not doing the place the favor it deserves)

decorations Heart
The lovely and funny decorations on the wall. There are also upside down old tea cups as lamps hanging down from the ceiling! But they were too difficult to capture.
Yummy stuff to choose from…

A Fabulous Friday in Hanko

I am sitting at a big metallic desk surrounded by people happily chatting with each other,  coffee in one hand and the other on their laptops. There are two main groups, one is sitting in the sofa at the coffee table and the other has gathered around this huge steel table. More people are joining and the atmosphere is buzzing with anticipation. Some know each other from before, some are complete strangers. The idea of coming to this studio to do distance work in the most southwest parts of Finland was so tantalizing that I could not but jump on the train with my iPad and my journals. This is the reason I changed my Magic Monday into a Fabulous Friday instead and boy am I happy I did it.

Already on the train my creative juices got flowing and there seems to be no end to it. The weather Gods have been in our favor all day long and for once it´s neither chilly nor windy here in Finland´s World´s End, Hanko. A town people visit in the summer for its beautiful old villas and long sandy beaches but as small towns does it quiets down during the winter season.

While I am deep into writing my blog post simultaneously scribbling ideas in my notebook a girl sits down next to me. We start chatting and soon find out that she came all the way from Helsinki just as I did from Turku. She wants to figure out what to do, I offer workshops together with my business partner Minna for women just like her. Serendipity or coincidence?

A leisurely lunch accompanied by a glass of white wine makes me long for more occasions like these. When the afternoon grew nearer we decided to name this day a “Creative work day”. Much more fun than a distance working day. And truth to be told I have been in a flow ever since I entered the train, being more creative than in weeks, maybe even months. But contrast is what makes it all the sweeter so we probably do need boring and or stressful weeks to fully appreciate when opportunities like this show up. No light without darkness, no black without white. It has indeed been a roller coaster week and far from boring but on the verge of being too much for me. A creative work day away from my regular routines and surroundings is definitely the best way to end a work week!

The whole idea of inviting people to this photography studio can be attributed to the Creative Hanko Collective, a bunch of crazy creative fab people wanting to change this small town into something more than just a ordinary place of living. Warning peeps – this group has it really going!

Next creative work day is December 4th and it is already in my calendar.  Well, I guess someone has to support public transportation to this small town where my mother was born 91 years ago or else there will be no more trains stopping at Hanko.

Hanko LiljeforsArriving at the train station (sadly no longer in use as a train station)
Studio regatta
At Studio Tomi Parkkonen                               Passing by the Hotel Regatta, beautifully renovated.

Monday musings

Yesterday a chiropractor had his way with me for the first time in my life. Ouch! But the pain in my hip is gone. Today for the first time ever, I had a pleasurable non-invasive facial. Ahh, blissful heaven. Laguuni day spa is indeed a small heaven on earth. A spa I have wanted to go to for years and now finally thanks to the gift card my dear friends gave me on my birthday, I had the opportunity to enjoy a facial like no other I have tried before. Lots of oils, gentle massages of my face, neck, fingers and some less gentle ones of arms and legs.  Absolutely no squeezing of pimples! And at the end of the session I was offered a cup of spicy tea with a bit of honey. On my way out I almost forgot my jacket. Not the first time it happens to customers the receptionist informed me.

So now I am in total bliss. Thanks to the chiropractor my hip does not hurt anymore, darn do I sound like an old lady…and my head does not feel like a heavy square box. The idea was to use my other gift card and then go to Café Art to have a nice cup of green tea and a sandwich. Well, fat chance. The queue almost went out on the street and it was only fifteen past 4 pm for Moses sake! This is not the first time it happens to me so a fair warning to those of you who want to enjoy great coffee at around 4-5 pm, choose another coffee shop! The next café had gone back to being closed on Mondays, but third times a charm so I went to a coffee shop nearby and indulged in both a croissant and a chocolate mint cake. Not a bad choice at all. But I forgot to take a picture of the cake, it went down that fast.

Self care is both the new craze and at the same time a symptom that we in the western world have gone some what astray. Both too much me and too little we. And vice versa. For many years now I have neglected myself and my health in many ways and what I might have been forgiven in my thirties is no longer an option. During this weekend at the big exhibition “Osaava nainen” here in Turku where I shared a stand with my business partner Minna and Laura and Karri from lvngroom I got so many golden nuggets from different people that I think it´s time to move from careless to self care. If this years theme was Dream Big, next year will be about health and nurturing body and soul. In a way I think this video sums it all up!

On my way home I strolled through on of the big malls in Turku and found this advertisement showing how absolutely genius the Finnish language is. ‘Lokakuu’ means October and ‘Lukukuu’ is a playful way of showing that October is the month to indulge in reading as the word ‘luku’ means both chapter, count and reading amongst a lot of other meanings.

Day spa Lukukuu
Day spa gift                                                The playfulness of Lukukuu vs Lokakuu
Autumn bliss  Tranquility
Beautiful Autumn in Turku!          Serene tranquility – best de-stressers ever!


















When the only thing left is a pair of dirty Converse

What do you do? Throw them in the washing machine? I tried that but could not notice any difference. In all honesty the Converse sneakers were not the only thing left when our daughter moved out to create a life on her own in the big city. But this is how it felt in my heart when I came back home after having helped her move. It was in the middle of the night and her Dad was with our friends at our summer cottage and I had no shoulder to cry on. If I felt this much sorrow in a quite normal and ordinary situation how excruciatingly horrible must it not be to have to say goodbye to your family not knowing if you will ever see them again?

Now two adults and two cats in the household is the new normal and I have wild dreams about how I will transform the daughters old room into a walk in closet, a sanctuary, a library, a meditation room, a boudoir or then none of these. I want her to feel welcome whenever she visits us so the room has gone from sort of empty to storage room for our old kitchen table and chairs. Ehem, not very welcoming when I come to think about it.

This is the end of one era and the beginning of a new one. Most of the sorrow work was done last summer and the transition into this life of twosomeness (I know, it is probably not a real word) has gone better than I anticipated. My husband still refuses to go into his daughters room while I shamelessly use her old mirror (best mirror in the house) when I choose clothes in the morning. Instead I feel that our conversations on the phone are more meaningful and longer than the previous “what’s for dinner” ones that usually ended quite abruptly.

But worry never leaves us. Indeed I worry less for my daughter, I know she can take care of herself, instead it’s my Mum that occupies my thoughts. She is one feisty woman but also very fragile. The good thing is that we talk much more often on the phone and I feel so grateful that we have an uncomplicated relationship with each other. Much the same as with my own daughter. Grateful for being a Mum, grateful for having a Mum.

My Magic Monday was changed into a Fabulous Friday so I chose to be writing my first blog post in a long time in one of my favorite cafés, Tiirikkala. There I enjoyed what was left of one of the gift cards that I got from my fantastic colleagues from work as a birthday gift.  They sure know what I enjoy  – sitting in cafés and books 🙂 even if I did not read any books this time, but merely was indulging in mud cakes and hot chocolate!

Tiirikkala Tiirikkala-round2
Enjoying the first part of the gift card  Enjoying the second part this Friday
back in August
Up in the second floor of Tiirikkala
RefugeesWelcome TreatySeries
On my way to work… I passed these two ‘signs’

A Pile of Books

Or rather piles of books are scattered all over the apartment. And when I go somewhere even for a short period of time I have to bring as much books as possible to create a pile, albeit a small one. Piles are beautiful and also offer variation when reading. The horror of starting a book, the only one, and realizing it is bad, boring or both. That is something to be avoided at all cost. Piles of books also look nice as part of the interior in the same way as lamps, figurines or stones collected from a beach in a far away country.  One of my inspirations on the interweb is Susannah Conway – blogger, photographer and a fantastic creator of online courses with warm and fun communities. Susannah has a community project called The August Break with words as prompts for inspiring us to take pictures every day throughout August.  The word for today is Reading and thus I decided that my Magic Monday blog post will be about reading and books.

This summer I have actually done less reading than in previous ones but instead of devouring the content in rapid pace I have been perhaps slightly more mindful. Summer of 2013 my pile of books showed a great variety but only one book has stuck with me even if I read quite a few good ones. The heroine of that book was a fifty year old psychologist who founds out that she has Alzheimer and then begin to prepare for her own death. Fun and scary at the same time.

The summer of 2104 had a much lower pile and perhaps my quest for mindfulness begun then and there because I read all them very thoroughly. One was a book about Kundalini yoga and I actually did every single movement with accompanying mantras in the book!

There is a book by Noelle Oxenhandler called “The Wishing Year” that I bought many moons ago and finally last autumn decided I will read this year, starting with one chapter in January, the next in February and so on. This because the chapters follow the months and I thought it would be more fun to read it this way instead of falling into the pit of gluttony once again. The sad fact is that I read books like fast food so this was a way to avoid that. This also means I look forward to every month because I have to know if Noelle will get her wishes and what happens then.

Apart from reading at least one or two books on Feng Shui every summer I am having a new world opening up to me. And that is Palestine before and after 1948 through a poetic and heart-wrenching story written by Palestine Author Susan Albuhawa called “The Blue Between Sky And Water”. Nothing is ever black and white in the world except in interior decoration.

Pile of 2013 Pile of 2014 Threesome

Summer of 2013 pile was big, summer of 2014 pile was more modest & summer of 2015 pile looks very slim

Reading Skyandwater

Relaxing with Feng Shui & having my world expand with Albuhawa

Friends Stilleben in Pink

Perfect piles as part of the interior!