‘Home made wreaths are my favourite accessory for the holidays’
Drinking warm glögi with raisins and almonds while getting my hands dirty in forest greens is what pre-Christmas is all about! Thus far I’ve made five wreaths in total from forest materials that make the house look extra cozy over the holidays. I love making wreaths, they really are quite simple and home made accessories are always more appreciated then only store bought florals. I absolutely love how these white berries look in the wreaths along with juniper berries. Lingonberry and blueberry branches are extra durable in material along with pine twigs. For a little extra, I added some berries and a bit of eucalyptus and heather (calluna) flowers.
Find the flower wreath instructions from this flower crown tutorial. The only difference of course is that you can adjust the size of the wire base as you wish and accordingly make the little green bouquets smaller that you qrap around the base. Also, when making the pine cone wreath, all I did was literally wrap one twig around the wire base with florist wire.
The magic of Christmas is felt in the first snowflakes‘
The carousel is going around in circles to the tunes of christmas music, people are exchanging gifts and the market square smells of fresh pine trees and vanilla fudge, while the snow flakes are beginning to drop more heavily. Evidently, it’s beginning to look a lot more like Christmas in town, where you see Christmas spirit around every corner. My friend and I went to the Christmas market a few days ago, drank some hot glögi that pleasantly warmed our fingers, looked through the little stools and enjoyed the snowy atmosphere. It snowed heavily that evening, so the following morning, there was a gentle coating of snow everywhere.
Finland is celebrating its 101th birthday today and in honour of our Independence, the tree gets embellished! Decking out the Christmas tree is the highlight of my Christmas preparations as it brings so much magic and peace to the house. I just love the way the tree smells and the soft twinkle lights woven loosely through the branches sparkle through the night. This year the bauble colour scheme is a bit warmer than usual as I incorporated some soft rusty gold hues to the mix. I used colours from cream to muted pink, goldish, silver, clear and everything in between, from soft fuzzy tones to shiny metal. The juxtaposition of materials in a softened palette adds that texture and interest without overdoing it. Our tree is carefully picked from the forest, so it has less branches than the “perfect shaped” ones sold in stores, so the finished look is more delicate as it is less dense in style. Decorating the tree has a lot of meaning to me as together we have made it into a tradition to go hunt one down making an entire outing of it.
We brought back some Arabic almost Moroccan style baubles from Dubai, so the tree has a slight Middle Eastern touch to it this year. This little bird ornament is from Dubai as well, picked out by my husband, that will get center stage in our household during Christmas time. The birds outfit really reminds of D&G’s 2018 fall collection with its gold jacket and top-hat, that is ultra chic. This arabic coffee pot and gold cups also came back with us from holiday and lately I’ve been enjoying all kinds of tea infusions with cardamom or cinnamon, just as they served in Dubai. We brought back lots of spices and dried tea (jasmine, lavender, rose etc) from the souk and at the moment I’m really feeling the middle eastern inspiration. While decorating the tree, I made myself a golden latte with ground ginger, turmeric and milk. Both fresh spices are so strong and intense in flavour and I already know that the ginger will be getting a lot of use during December.
I love the silver feathered ornaments along with the crystal ones that are just timeless and just as elegant, year after year. I purchased some glass balls that look a little antique style that are perhaps not the most practical but sure are pretty. Lastly, our little turtle doves are put up in the tree just like in Home Alone to symbolize togetherness. Hopefully everyone is having a Merry December so far, stress free and getting the most out of pre-Christmas fun!
To me the smell of fresh coffee is one the great inventions of the world, but to drink it in the wilderness is an entirely new experience…
It’s one of those mornings, where the magical snow-dusted countryside shows what Finland or being finnish is all about. I’ve let my worries melt away in the sauna and allowed the comforting calmness of the nature to do its wonders. Getting away from the city allows me to connect with the natural world and the less I get off this, the more dimmer I feel. Our early morning began with a beautiful frothy cappuccino on the frosty lake with an arctic green smoothie bowl full of berries. With the low temperature, the berries almost tasted like candy as they cooled down and become a bit harder. Not a bad way to start the day, I would say!
Nature reminds us that we are part of a large world that is charged with mystery, hidden beauty and wonders to be discovered. I love the crisp dry air that is crackling with energy, the life that you find hidden if you look closely and the actual feeling you get that cannot match with any manmade creation. A person who spends time in nature can vouch for the effects it has on the mind, body and soul. It’s called freedom.
Apparently people living in the Nordic countries belong to one of the happiest in the world because of their close relationship to nature that has given them an appreciation for a healthy ecological lifestyle. The Nordic way of life has an understanding for authenticity and seeing the beauty around us that correlates to a happier healthier lifestyle.
There is so much magic to these snow coated trees. The intensity to the whiteness almost gives you slight blindness, but makes you appreciate the brightness so much more because of the darker season amongst us. This moment with my hubby on the lake with my cozy sweater, hot mug and fur hat in absolute silence is what the countryside is all about.
Through photography, I’ve learned to become for mindful. Many can say, it’s such a cliché word that often gets thrown around too easily. But practicing mindfulness has heightened my awareness as I wait for the perfect moment to be captured. This allows me to be present and aware of the moment without distractions. Practicing to do so, has given me the art of discovering a whole new world and taking in the surroundings, the real surroundings. My mind is purely focused on what I see and not thinking about my responsibilities and this gives a great sense of peace and a respect towards nature.
Green smoothie bowls and makeup free days in the pollutionless air is the key to healthy skin and a positive mind!
Arctic Green Smoothie ( blend all ingredients together)
A few days ago my friend and I woke up at our country house to a magical winter wonderland scenery. The absolute whiteness gives the nature a fairytale-like misty vibe, while the snow coated trees create that heaviness in the air. It’s silent in the midst of the woods, all I can hear is the snow creaking from under my sorrels and as I stop, I can see the steam from my breath against the dry cold air. It’s -23 celsius, the sun is glistening off the powder snow and the crisp air brings your lashes and hair tips to an instant freeze. Our countryside is breathtaking this time of year giving your mind an instant calming retreat. Here life revolves around the wintery nature where days are filled with refreshing walks, slow cooking and relaxing by the fireplace with a glass of wine after a calming sauna.
Let’s start the weekend with a little christmas inspiration… These images are full of rustic charm, layers of feeling, Scandinavian subtilty, dreamy treats and festive drinks to get you in the holiday spirit!
For many, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. This season usually involves great food, a reason to decorate and bake more that is enjoyed with family and friends, hot chocolate, laughter, and cozy blankets. Candles are flickering all day as it’s much darker and the feeling of christmas is built up from more than just fancy decorations. Everyone can make the season special through memorable experiences, warm drinks, festive music, and wintery scents. Christmas spirit comes from whatever inspires you, to help create that little extra magic!
The kitchen smells of delicious apple clementine glögi (traditional Christmas drink) with Celine Dion’s holiday songs playing in the background. As it’s only a few weeks until Christmas, today has been all about decorating the tree! I absolutely love tree decorating and my style/ colour preference for the ornaments tend to change every now and then. Most often I prefer a markedly neutral colour scale to holiday decorating and table laying as I feel it gives a peaceful setting. I’ve never been a basic red person and warm colour spectrums are way too loud for my liking! I usually get an armful of greens (usually involving eucalyptus, thistle) that speak to me from my local florist or pick them from the forest (juniper/pine trimmings/ lingonberry twigs/ acorns/moss) and make wreaths and imperfect bouquets.
Often I prefer a more subtle nordic decoration and a very minimal tree but this year I wanted something for decadent and luxurious. The colour scheme I have gone for is very winter wonderland / fairytale feeling with hints of muted pink, crystal, glass and dusty white. I just instantly fell in love with the faint unsaturated pink that almost has a mixture of silver in it, so the tone becomes really refined and luxurious. I wanted mixtures of teardrop shapes and spheres with very delicate soft lighting. I absolutely love these feathered spheres with the detailed sequins on top and colourful features over the chrome. For those who want to keep up with the trend, a peacock petrol green or coppery gold is also hot this year if you want to go for something more unique! The two turtle doves on our tree are a symbol of togetherness that my hubby and I “copied” from home alone II the movie. Not only do we love the movie but the meaning behind the two doves being together! If you’re wanting an extra dose of that magical Christmas feeling in your home hang up a few extra strands of twinkling lights, bake a batch of gingerbread cookies, add a Christmas tree or make delicious warm cups of christmas drinks as you watch your favourite seasonal movies! Whatever your December look like, I hope they give you joyous memories!
Lastly, here is the recipe for a traditional Christmas drink that is a great substitute for tea in the evening and gives you that holiday feeling instantly. You can spice it up with alcohol if you wish for a more festive version!
Homemade Apple Glögi (serves 4)
1 litre apple juice
You need good quality apple juice that you gently simmer in a saucepan.
1-2 Cinnamon sticks, 2 star anise, about 5 cloves and cardamom seeds, 2 clementines, a chunk of fresh ginger, sugar (optional)
To this, add a cinnamon sticks, ginger and a couple of cloves, cardamom seeds and star anise. Then add the juice of 1 clementine, and the slices of another (remember to wash them well) and their leaves into the juice. I didn’t add any sugar, but you can add some at this point. Place a lid onto the saucepan and let it gently simmer and intensify in flavour from a half an hour to an hour.
Ready to serve: garnish with raisins, almonds and clementine slices/ spices from the glögi
Re-heat the glögi when served. You can add some apple cider/vodka/white wine/rum to the juice if you want a more festive drink for the evening!
This weekend my hubby and I went to pick up a Christmas tree from my parents place and we were lucky enough with the snow and sunshine! The sun shined beautifully through the trees and glistened on the snow before it dropped to the horizon. We found a perfect symmetrical tree that is now standing in our living room waiting to be decorated! Dressed in cozy all white knits, uggs and red lips, we listened to christmas music all the way there and saw a cute deer just as we drove into my parents place. They say the deer like to hang out in their backyard and drink water from the little pond that is in the woods (see picture below). I also gathered some wreath material from the forest and we had a little picnic after cutting the tree. I made some homemade Christmas cake/bread and drank warm cups of glögi (mulled wine) before heading back home! ♥
Spicy Christmas Cake
Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Batter: 1 1/2 cup flour, 2 ripe bananas, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 cup carrots, 1 cup oat milk, 2 tablespoons olive oil, , 2 tablespoon syrup, 1 cup lingonberry, apple juice (optional)
Mush the bananas with a fork until soft, add in the grated carrots. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a large bowl until it forms a thick paste. If the consistency looks too dry, add a bit of apple juice
When its -20 celsius degrees outside and the sea is at freezing point. This moment is a photographers dream, frosty magic that lasts for a few days before the water is covered with ice. The moment looks like out of a fairytale, the surface is covered in steam from the change in drastic temperature and the intense sunshine in the horizon almost looks unreal. I can tell you I wasn’t the only one with a camera on this island today…
On Friday Mr. N and I had a dinner party and I managed to snap a few pictures before it became all dark in the kitchen. I just love to mix old and new elements into a Christmas table decor, lots of candle light of different heights and harmonies light textures. My favourite tones are light grey, white and a light oat. The table has a definite Scandinavian feeling to it, the simplistic setting that is clean and minimalistic despite all the decor. I love the hyacinths in different pots of tin, glass or terracotta and a touch of Mediterranean from the thyme. I’ve thrown in a blanket and lamb fur on some of the chairs that make it a touch more cozier and great for long slow nights around good food. This style of table setting would work wonderfully on Christmas eve, so hopefully it has given you some inspiration! Today we are off to chop a Christmas tree with all our family members… have a great sunday!