Archive | February, 2012

Finnish Lush Labels: Korpi & Gordon

29 Feb

Can a potholder be cool? Yes, if you ask Maria Korpi and Adam Gordon!

Potholder

Last Summer I got a lovely gift: a funky Korpi & Gordon potholder – the pot holder is a rectangular shaped and big enough to cover your hand and fingers, yet it’s very soft and mine is lime green on one side and white on the other.

Korpi & Gordon (image from their homepage)

Korpi & Gordon is a Finnish textile and design company, run by Maria Korpi and Adam Gordon. They design textiles, trays, towels etc. Korpi & Gordon live on Aland island between Finland and Sweden, just about in the middle between New York and Tokyo they say.

Cheese Slicer Towel

Although the Scandi heaven Skandium is listed as their UK stockist unfortunately I was unable to find any of the Korpi & Gordon lovelies from there.

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Moomin Mugs

28 Feb

Like many Finns, I’ve got an addiction to Moomin mugs! I’ve only started to collect them once living abroad, but I’m catching up quite fast.

Moomin mugs are made by Finnish Arabia (part of Iittala group). There is a vast variety of them and every Summer and Winter seasonal mugs are being sold too. Every now and then the production of one mug is finished and everyone rushes to buy that mug. There are different levels of addiction and some collectors are willing to pay thousands of euros for the rare and most sought after mugs. It was only yesterday that it was in the Finnish press that a Moomin Fazer mug (Fazer is a Finnish chocolate company) was sold by an auction website for €1800! And that’s for a mug that was sold originally for around €15-€30 euros but only 400 mugs were made.

Fazer Mug

Maybe it’s a good thing that I cannot afford prices like that. I’ve got my base collection and I keep adding the seasonal and annual mugs to it. Before I collected the mugs, I was lucky the get some of the mugs as presents from my friends, like the Winter mug ‘snow lantern’ and ‘brown sniff’.

Part of my collection – they have now relocated

Recently, I’ve started to add moomin plates and bowls to this ever expanding collection. This is because Arabia changed the plate collection recently and stopped making the plates with one figure on, so they are becoming rare. I’ve also got one ‘old’ style plate where there is an image also on the bottom side of the plate. My collection lives on our kitchen top shelf – I don’t use the mugs as they are too small for coffee or tea in my opinion!

In short, if you are beginner moomin mug collector the things to look are:

– In Finland, Iittala’s prices are usually the highest, moomin mugs are usually cheaper at Anttila, Prisma, Vapaa Valinta etc shops.

– Each Winter and Summer a new seasonal mugs is out – get it then and avoid paying higher prices later on. In fact why not get 2 and sell the other one later?

– Winter mug usually has more going on in the picture and the Summer mug tends to have just a figure and stripes on the background. There is no winter bowl, although there is a Summer bowl.

– Iittala sells second class mugs as well and usually the faults are minor, such as the stamp at the bottom is not straight. These are sold without the original stickers.

– Don’t hang the mugs from the ear (handle) as with time it may become loose.

– See the list of all moomin mugs here (pdf file) – the mugs from the 90’s are rare and expensive and are not sold in shops anymore.

– Only original characters from Moomin books by Tove Jansson are used for moomin mugs.

– Some of the rare ones – not the really rare ones, but the basic mugs that no longer are manufactured, are sometimes produced especially for some supermarket chain, like the green little my sliding last year for Citymarket.

– Some of the newer mugs have a little number stamp at the bottom, it’s thought to be the month and year the mug was made. This is important for the reruns of the older mugs .

– This year there is a special ‘Hurraa’ mug for Helsinki Design Capital 2012 – get this if you can as it’s sold only this year and hopefully becomes one of those rare ones! I’m getting it on my next trip to Finland.

– Word of warning – The hobby of collecting the mugs may become addictive and expensive!

Hurraa Mug 2012

In addition to the Hurraa mug, new additions to the moomin mug family in 2012 are:

Mymmelin aiti

Primadonnan Hevonen – Seasonal Mug for Summer 2012

Mymmelin aiti, should be available in March 2012 and Primadonnan Hevonen in April 2012. I’m glad that these mugs look slightly different from the previous ones, so I probably must get them too.

In the UK, one good moomin mug selection is at the Cloudberryliving online shop. From time to time they also run moomin mug competitions on their Facebook page.

UPDATE: Iittala has announced that they’ll stop producing the blue Moomin troll on ice and the yellow Snorkmaiden mugs by the end of 2012 so get them now if you don’t have them! They are still available in many webshops!

Favourite Shop: Familyroom

23 Feb

Swedish familyroom.se has been my secret favourite for all things cool for a while. They recently changed their name from Barnvanligt (child friendly) to family room that is probably better suited since in addition to kids’ toys and wall stickers, they also do interiors items such as lamps, wall stickers and posters,gifts etc for everyone. I’m really into owls (still) and clouds at the moment, which might come quite clear of my picks!

Personalised Birth Announcement Poster/Canvas €32.50

Cloud Pillows €18/each

Owl hook and money bank

Cloud Plate Mat €11.50

Mushroom Wall Deco

Big Mouth Pillows €19 each

Familyroom has a poster week until end of this week with -15% off all of their posters with POSTER code!

Poster Week -15%

Luckily Familyroom offers a worldwide delivery so everyone can get their hands on these quirky things!

Nordic Lush Labels: Boob Maternity

22 Feb

Swedish Boob Maternity clothing is one of the premium Nordic Maternity wear makers and famous for fabulous designs, quality and practicality. And that’s no wonder, these clothes are absolutely stunning! The founder, Mia Seipel, set the brand up in 1999 after seeing her sister nurse a baby on a cold windy day in Stockholm. She decided that mothers should have stylish and funky yet practical and warm clothes.

The Boob maternity range includes clothes to wear with the bump and for nursing, there are also some baby clothes in their selection. As a bonus, the clothes are made of organic cotton.

I had their nursing hood for breastfeeding and I absolutely loved it, so cool and easy to use, yet so warm with the fleece inside. I also had their nursing t-shirts.

Boob Nursing Hood £62.99

Before and After Top £56.99

Oh and have look at this wardrobe saver, Boob Maternity Magic Tube, that is pure magic! The tube can be worn as a dress, top, skirt or belly tube!

Boob Maternity Magic Tube £49.99

In the UK one of the best Boob ranges is at Everydaymaternity

Kappahl, Lindex and H&M

21 Feb

The usual trio on the Nordic High Street is Kappahl, Lindex and H&M. They are all big chains that offer affordable, stylish clothing for women, men, children and babies. H&M is obviously well known in the UK, but not many know about Lindex or Kappahl. Lindex opened their EU wide online store over a year ago and hence deliver to the UK. Kappahl, however, is currently only based within Nordic Countries. What is similar to all the three of them is that they make lovely funky children’s wear that I tend to stock up on my visits to Finland. I’ve listed some of my favourites below.

Kappahl:

€7.95

€7.95

€19.95

€9.95

Lindex:

€8.95

€8.95

€8.95

€8.95

€12.95

€9.95

 

One similar brand to Lindex and Kappahl is Danish Name It, that is also available on Hei Moose!

 

MiniMoose Lives Here

19 Feb

MiniMoose kindly opened the door to his room and was happy to show us around! The room used to be our office/storage and last Summer the floor boards were painted white and MiniMoose moved in with his cotbed. In true Scandi style most of his things are either Brio (bed, toys) or Ikea (drawer unit, rugs, book case), we have also brought back a suitcase full of Finnish books (some of them translated from Swedish) and toys.

Not so Nordic Toys:

 

Steiff Teds from Grand dad Moose

Nordic Books and Cars:

Finnish Wooden Car Toys - On Hei Moose Wish List!

Books that I remember from my childhood!

Versatile Blogger Award!

17 Feb

I received a ‘Versatile Blogger Award’ from Anchal Puri – thanks so much, I’m impressed, since I’m so new to this that I thought hardly anyone would even read it (in addition to friends who sort of have to…)

Here are the rules of Versatile blogger award:
1. Nominate 15 Fellow Bloggers
2. Inform the Bloggers of their nomination
3. Share 7 random things about yourself
4. Thank the Blogger who nominated you
5. Add the Versatile Blog Award picture to your blog post

7 random things about me:

1. I used to be vegetarian until I was heavily pregnant and couldn’t resist filet steaks!

2. I didn’t like to study Swedish in the school

3. I collect Moomin mugs (more about it to follow)

4. My favourite TV program is (still) Sex and the city

5. I used to have a pet rabbit for 10 years

6. I crashed my first car into a tree within 4 days of getting it

7.  I think I have chocolate related problems.

15 bloggers to nominate (I don’t know that many):

Mrs Agahta

My Little Nutmegs

aaah I have to get back to this…

Ikea find: Crocodile Bathtub Mat

17 Feb

Ikea’s Crocodile Bathtub mat is a must for anyone with kids who love to bath, and it also works for showers. Being a cool green crocodile the mat looks funky in any bathroom, it has lots of suckers on the other side, has a hole for hanging and overall makes bathing kids much more manageable as it prevents slipping! The price is very affordable at £5.32! Just remember to hang it  to dry to avoid molding….

Crocodile Bathtub Mat

Finnish February Traditions

16 Feb

I’ve always liked February! In Finland this month is a proper Winter month with temperatures below freezing. I remember from school that February was filled with little treats.

Obviously, there is Valentine’s day, which in Finland, is Friendship day and therefore not just for lovers. When Valentine’s day came to Finland in the 80’s Finnish Red Cross suggested that it should include everyone, not just people in relationships. Hence, 14th of Feb has been a day to remember friends and family.

Then there is Laskiainen, the celebration 7 weeks before Easter which also used to mean the start of lent for the religious. The tradition goes that you go sliding down snow covered hills or sledging in a circle (napakelkka) and afterwards eat pea-soup with ham (the last bit of the Christmas ham according to an urban legend) and a bun filled with cream and jam.

Napakelkka

For me, the cream filled bun is the best bit of Laskiainen! These buns are very easy to make, they are normal buns that are then cut in half and filled with cream and jam (after the buns are cooled down).

Laskiaspulla

On 5th of February there is also Runeberg’s Day that celebrates Finnish National poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg. For me, again, the best part of this celebration is the Runebergin Torttu (=Runeberg tart) that is very unique and very delish! I’ve never attempted to make them, but I really miss them in February. Luckily my mum buys them for me in Finland and freezes them so I can have them when visiting! There is a recipe in English here.

Runebergin Torttu (pic from Kotiliesi)

Other nice February things in Finland are school holidays and the few days before the holidays, as the eldest students  in the 6th form leave the school and drive around towns in trucks and throw sweets to the kids. The day after, the new ‘oldest’ class has a prom after which the school winter holidays starts!

'Abit' celebrating the last day of School (pic hs.fi)

Prom

So no wonder February is a fab time to be in Finland!

Finnish Label Love: Marimekko

15 Feb

Marimekko is one of the most colourful and most loved Finnish Brands that is known worldwide. Founded in the 50’s by Armi Ratia, the bold prints and striking designs are still very modern and loved by most Finns. Marimekko’s fabrics are probably their best known articles but in addition to the fabrics and garments Marimekko also makes glass wear for instance. Marimekko’s ‘unikko’ ie poppy print patterns are probably Marimekko’s best known print and they are featured in many chairs, pieces of clothing, curtains etc – even in one of the Sex And The City episodes!  The latest addition to the list is Fatboy beanbag, which we were lucky enough to get as a Christmas present!

Marimekko Unikko

I’ve grown to really like Marimekko whilst living abroad, and I’ve started to collect Mariskool i.e Maribowls. I’m planning to get us Marimekko curtains and a table cloth, and seem to stock up on Marimekko napkins when in Finland. Luckily Mr Moose also seems to like Marimekko and he’s got MiniMoose Marimekko bibs and socks, and for me Marimekko Oiva teapot and cups for instance.

Marimekko Oiva Teapot

My first memory of Marimekko is however, when my primary school teacher wore Marimekko’s crazy prints. Later on my friends had Marimekko purses, make up bags etc. and I wanted to have Marimekko’s stripy make up tote too. The Marimekko fever, as said, really hit me once living abroad – sometimes you have to go far to see near!

Marimekko 'In a Good Company'

Marimekko’s shops are also always worth a visit. They have recently relocated their flagship shop in Helsinki, Finland and also launched their New York store. Next, Marimekko is opening several stores in China. This year Marimekko also celebrates Helsinki World Design Capital Event with many special products. They also have an interactive Helsinki map on their home page!

Marimekko Helsinki Map