Archive | June, 2012

Midsummer

21 Jun

Tomorrow is the Mid Summer eve in Finland. The Mid Summer  eve or ‘juhannus’ (in Finnish) used to be on the longest day of the year in Finland, but was changed to the nearest weekend at some point.

Finns traditionally travel to the country side to enjoy the nature and the ‘nightless night’ as the northern you go the shorter the night gets and after the arctic circle in Lapland, the sun doesn’t set at all.

I’ve been enjoying the long evenings this week as it’s still totally light at 11 pm. The nature is most beautiful at the moment and I’ve attached here few pics from the other day as we walked around the local lake.

Traditionally mid summer lights (massive fires) are lit near the lakes. I remember from my childhood that it was the chance to get bigger rubbish burnt from the summer cottages, I once saw an outhouse being shipped on a rowing boat to an island in the middle of the lake, where the fire was to take place!

This year, the Finnish broadcaster YLE will be showing a ‘juhannus juna’ (Mid summer train) travelling across Finland from Helsinki (the capital in south) to Rovaniemi (north) during the nightless night. This live program can also been seen on the Arte channel at least in Germany and France, and on the internet too (Yle Teema).

There will be program on the train and all the passangers have been selected from thousands of volunteers and have some reason to be on the train. There is also program at the stops throughout Finland as the local towns try to show their best in those few minutes the train stops at their stations. If this Friday is just a normal Friday in your country, try to take a look at this program as it’s trying to give everyone a taster of the nightless Summer night in Finland.

PS. There are more of my Summer photos of Finnish nature on Oaxacaborn blog!

Baby Bjorn Bib

20 Jun

I’ve found our Swedish Baby Bjorn soft bib again! A friend of mine gave me one last summer to try with MiniMoose. Back then, he hated it and furiously wanted to get rid of it, so we forgot about it and left it in Finland. Now, by chance, we tried it again, and have fallen in love with it.

Baby Bjorn Bib in blue

The bib is soft and comfortable (as it says on the Baby Bjorn website). It has an adjustable snap that allows the bib to grow with your child and a place (hole) where you can hang it dry (I just use the strap to hang it).

Baby Bjorn Bib in Green

The bib is ergonomically shaped, easy to clean, and probably the best thing is the spill pocket that stays ‘open’ and collects most of the mess. We still mop the walls, table and floor, but the front of the top stays dry and clean.

Baby Bjorn Bib – our eating scene doesn’t look this calm and collected, but you get the idea of the bib!

The bib is easy to rinse, and unlike traditional bibs, it doesn’t mold in the spill pocket (god knows how I get the bibs to mold in there…)

Lots of colours available and they seem to retail from Amazon etc at around £8-9. Brilliant!

Nordic 80s Children’s Literature

13 Jun

I’ve been back to the flea market and got some children’s books today. I’m clearly addicted to Swedish Astrid Lindgren’s production. Today I got her ‘Pekka Peukaloinen’ (Nils Karsson-Pyssling) to add to my collection! To my surprise this little book contains not just the story about Pekka but 9 other lovely short stories about little people.

I was also more than pleased that I found an old ‘Mikko Mallikas’ (Alfons Aberg) book by Gunilla Bergstrom from the 80’s.  I love Mikko Mallikas stories – Mikko lives alone with his dad and does all sort of little mischief. The illustration is quite basic 80’s style but features real images too!

Both Mikko Mallikas and Astrid Lindgren’s books were my childhood favorites and I cannot wait that I get to read these for MiniMoose.  I’ve already got various books of  ‘Melukylan lapset’ (Swedish, Bullerbyn), Vaahteramaen Eemeli (Swedish, Emil i Lonneberga) and Peppi Pitkatossu (Swedish, Pippi Longstrump/Longstocking), together with Mikko Mallikas (Swedish, Alfons Aberg), Pekka Topohanta (Swedish, Pelle Svanslos/Peter-No-Tail by Gosta Knutsson), Minttu (Finnish, by Maikki Harjanne) and Moomins (Finnish/Swedish, by Tove Jansson) waiting for MiniMoose to be able to sit still for more than 30 seconds.

As you can see from the list, many traditional Finnish children’s books are translated from Swedish. I’ve decided to take Pekka Peukaloinen and Pippi Longstocking to my summer reading list! I keep my eye out for more of these treasures at the flea markets, since many of them are out of print these days.

Moomins and Astrid Lindgren’s production (at least) are also available in English and can be found on eBay or Amazon for instance. I do hope that they have kept the original illustrations by Bjorn Berg, Eva Billow, Ingrid Vang-Nyman and Ilon Wiklund etc. in the Astrid Lindgren’s books, but it seems that at least the covers have been ‘localised’ and changed in some of the English editions, which I personally don’t like.

Peppi illustration by Ingrid Vang-Nyman

Do you remember these books from your childhood too?

Flea Markets

11 Jun

My not-so-subtle obsession are Finnish flea markets. Luckily, there are loads of them filled with gorgeous used children clothes, Iittala/Arabia plates etc, Marimekko fabrics, toys, books, furniture, hats – in short everything. There are car boot sale type flea markets, but more and more hall type of self service flea markets where the sellers hire a table and leave their stuff there with price tags on among other tables. Some of these are even specialized for children! Shopping is easy as you can hunt through all tables and when finished proceed to the till where usually also cards are accepted (dangerous!).

I usually look for children’s books (as these are expensive in book stores), toys (lots of brio – today saw a Dachshund for €4 and last week Brio stove for €25, plasto, lego etc) and children’s clothes (despite having my own shop – clearly need some therapy). I also keep my eye out for Iittala/Arabia glassware but usually sellers are aware of the value of rare moomin mugs – for example spotted a brown Nipsu mug this morning priced at €60 in a flea market! Other than that, estates usually dump homes into the flea markets and there are lots of old Arabia ware that offers a great starting point for collections or topping up existing collections!

Our recent finds have been Julia Donaldson ‘Hide and seek Pig’ book (in Finnish) for €0.50 and moomin laptop €12

Pram Curtains

10 Jun

When I had MiniMoose a couple of years ago I saw lots of muslin squares pegged on prams in Finland to give babies some privacy for a nap or protect them from snow/wind/mosquitoes/sun. I bought a mega pack of cool Name It muslin squares and pegged them on MiniMoose’s carriage to my husband’s terror.

These days, there is a more stylish solution available in the form of a pram curtain and the Finns seem to love them! One of the most popular pram curtain brands is Swedish Kurtis Baby Peace that is available from many web shops.

Kurtis Baby Peace Engine

These curtains not only offer a funky design but also protection from sun, are made 100% organic cotton and are universally designed to fit most prams and car seats. They are quickly attached with plastic rings and leave no marks on the hood. The curtain can be moved aside or flipped back to ensure easy access.

Kurtis Baby Peace Jungle

The lovely Swedish Teddykompaniet makes The Original Dooky curtains with adjustable height.

The Original Dooky

In addition I’ve seen different styles and I especially loved a stunning crocheted pram curtain in Helsinki, but haven’t managed to find it online.

Smafolk Nursing Pillow

7 Jun

Hot Hot Hot! Danish Smafolk’s brand new nursing pillows fall to the ‘Need’ category for expectant mums. There are various colours available and since we found it exceptionally difficult to choose a colour from all the lush alternatives we went for the multicoloured apples at Hei Moose. Mr Moose has also confirmed that these are c-o-o-l.

Smafolk Nursing Pillow

Available either with a pillow and cover (the ones we have at Hei Moose) or just a cover (you’ll need to google them) these pillows provide support to find a good position for breastfeeding. When breastfeeding MiniMoose ages ago I also found myself using my nursing pillow back then for sleeping, as a pillow for travelling in a car, MiniMoose’s pillow support for the floor etc etc.

These pillows aren’t the cheapest at the market – RRP at around £59.90 but they are the funkiest breastfeeding pillows I’ve seen for a while!