Visit Helsinki: Bronda

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In my newest post of “Visit Helsinki” cycle of articles, I’m bringing you a full-on review of restaurant Bronda! I did write about this same restaurant a little bit less than a year ago and you can read about it here in case you’ve missed it.

Unlike the 1st time, this time around we’ve been testing out Bronda as a lunch spot and it’s set lunch menu with vegan options too. Even though, it’s not pointed out on Bronda’s website, they do serve vegetarian and vegan options as well as a set menu during lunchtime too. You can either call them in advance and pre-order your vegan/ vegetarian options or you can just walk in and let them surprise you. They’re very skilled personnel, in the kitchen as chefs and as a very friendly and quick service.

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Bronda was the latest restaurant to open in BW chain of restaurants by famous chefs Tomi Björck and Matti  Wikberg, but it’s nothing less popular or amazing as the rest of their restaurants. In fact, Bronda has become a regular, “must” lunch spot for many business people, younger population and as well for any real foodie lover looking for something more refined and interesting for lunch than a usual salad buffet or a quick sandwich run.

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Just like the first time, this time around I was so impressed by Bronda’s gorgeous, spacious and very bright interior. Massive balls (light bulbs) hanging from the ceiling, big windows and an attention to the detail on every table are definitely some of the biggest assets of this place, esp. knowing that Scandinavia is always deprived of sun and daylight, so if anywhere, at Bronda you do get that too. 🙂

Besides an amazing food, central location and overlooking the beautiful Esplanade park next door are more than enough reasons to book your table if you’re living in Helsinki, are visiting it or planning to visit it this Summer.

Bronda is very proud of their extensive wine list which comes from all over Europe ( Bronda’s food is a fusion/ mix of Italian, Spanish and central Europe cuisines ). Make sure to try the menu or at lest one dish paired with one of their wines.

As previously pointed out, we has a pleasure to test their Menu Esplanad with an addition of couple of vegan options and daily choice from the lunch menu of Hawaii burger and Banana cake as a dessert.

Bronda’s set lunch menus change seasonally, whilst regular lunch menu and daily specials change weekly. They also always make sure that there is great enough variety of dishes so it’s practically impossible not to find something to satisfy your tastebuds. 🙂

In case you’ve missed out on having lunch here and you don’t have time to wait for the dinner shift, you can anyways come in and sit by the bar, where you can relax by listening to some good lounge music, sip on a cocktail and have a bite of some small snacks and salads.

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Onto the lunch! To be honest, after so many restaurant reviews and not only Helsinki ones, I wasn’t sure if I can get so easily wooed and impressed, but I was very, VERY wrong, because Bronda’s lunch experience maximised my love for exploring food and different cuisines to a whole new level.

As an opening of the menu, we were served sashimi of white fish and prawn cocktail with apple and sorrel sauce. It was a very interesting combination, very Mediterranean like because of the aroma of the sauce and saltiness of minced olives. As a vegan option we got soft taco with cabbage, avocado cream and fried tofu. This was a very different take on taco than the ones I’m used to see around and since I’ve tried the best Mexican food in LA, it didn’t impress me as much, but it was def. a great vegan option.

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Then onto the exciting, the best beef tar-tar ever! It was a smoked beef tar-tar with horseradish cream, truffle flavoured egg yolk and mustard dashi sauce, served with squid ink cracker. If a person doesn’t even blink or speak a word while they eat a certain dish, then it means that they’re so impressed by the food that they’re eating that it’s even hard to explain what exactly makes that particular beef tar-tar better than any other. I guess that a lucky combo of truffles, quality meat and smoky taste are trio for the win!

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Next up came “greetings from the kitchen” with grilled broccoli, cauliflower, roasted almonds, faro and tahini sauce as a vegan option and breaded chicken with tomato and aioli sauces. Vegan option was light, very rich in flavour and I could have just kept on eating that and I would be happy, it was that good. Chicken was perfectly crispy on the outside and buttery soft on the inside. Also, both sauces worked well with it and I’d say that this is a perfect finger food. Just as was the next up coming baby back ribs in romesco sauce which are already a staple dish at Bronda and they can always be found on the menu.

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Our favourite ribs to this date are at Yume restaurant in Helsinki, but Bronda’s are being a huge competitor to those. For a change, it’s great that some of our favourite dishes are to be found in our own city, unlike previously, they were spaced out all over the world and we would get to taste them like once a year. 😀

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My vegan option were herb falafels in chimichurri sauce with roasted hazelnuts! I almost fell of my chair when tasting these little balls of perfection! 🙂 Hands down, those were the best falafels I’ve ever tried. I swear that I have even Lebanese friends which are pros in making falafels, but I’m sorry to break it to them that I found my favourites at Bronda. 😀 If you are a vegan or vegetarian – ORDER these asap!

Main courses were: roasted salmon with saffron mayonnaise, roasted sweet pepper vinaigrette and grilled slices of spring onion and Hawaii burger.

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Let’s start with the burger – what usually people find annoying when eating a more “fancy” burger is the fact that you need a cutlery to eat it, so the pleasure of eating it with hands is gone, which is not a bad thing, but when having a specific, picky foodie, it’s sometimes taking away from the total pleasure. Bronda’s burger was just perfect and most possibly the top one in whole Helsinki. Brioche bun was so soft, meat was made into a perfect patty, grilled slice of pineapple added that sweet kick and gave some more density to the burger. Bronda’s own ketchup worked wonderfully with the burger! It had a smokey, almost like wood burnt taste and no wonder that they’re very proud of it, because it’s def. a fantastic product which would work well with many other dishes too.

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My roasted salmon dish was simply TO DIE FOR! Seriously! I’m a huge salmon lover, I’ve been eating all sorts of variations of salmon in the past couple of years that I got down to getting impressed only by a perfectly made salmon nigiri but this dish made my respect and love for salmon get a whole facelift!

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Finally a dish that presents salmon in a Mediterranean way and so well bodied and rich in flavour dish. I couldn’t believe how much I loved every single bite! Def. a favourite on the menu!

Desserts were already tested tiramisu which was as perfect as I remembered it and a banana cake which was equally as delicious and was presented beautifully.

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All in all, I left Bronda with such a great feeling and fantastic taste in my mouth! Their lunch is worth every penny, so go and check it out.

*This post was made in collaboration with BW restaurants. All of the opinions are my own.

*Thank you to Miss Elina for welcoming us and making this collaboration possible!

*Photography by: Natali K photography

 

10 facts about me

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Today I felt like taking a small break from my usual Monday inspiration posts and do something else instead. I’d like to share with you couple of facts about me which you might find interesting or could relate to. 🙂 I hope that you had a great weekend and are ready to kick off this new week with lots of energy and good inspiration flow. *Finnish text in the bottom.

  1. I’m the oldest child in my family, I have 1 sister and 2 brothers, one of them being 11 years younger than me.
  2. I made my first friendships at age 4 and some of these girls are still one of my closest friends.
  3. I’m a book worm and I can never resist going into the book store and coming out with at least 3 new books, even if I have unread books waiting for me to “catch up” on at home. I love reading and I love picking up a random book at home whenever I feel like. Books make me “disappear” to a whole different world for a while and are my friend when I need to just unwind and take my mind off of everything.ditagirl4
  4. I’m a HUGE sushi addict and I can eat sushi all day, every day and never get bored with. Give me a chrirashi sushi bowl or a sashimi platter and I’ll be the happiest girl ever. Funny thing is that up until maybe 7-8 years ago, I hated fish, I could not stand it and I was not craving it until I found my love for it when eating salmon, esp. smoked one like there’s no tomorrow. Then the raw fish came into the spotlight and ever since, fish is divine to me. 😀
  5. I can be a very lazy person or I can be the most hyper one around. I either do things and do them 100% or I don’t even “touch” them. In many things in my life I’m either-either kind of gal and while it’s a very good vice, it can also be quite problematic too. I guess that being stubborn is part of that problem. ditagirl3
  6. I became mom at age 21 and I was completely not prepared for it and I’ve been learning on my own mistakes from day to day. Now, 7 and half years later, I can proudly tap myself on the shoulder for raising up such an adorable, good hearted, smart and overall beautiful girl. I never had much help or family surrounding me while raising her up and while that was pretty stressful, worrying and demanding at times, I’ve managed to teach her values in life, good manners and to always be respectful and treat everybody kindly.
  7. When I’m dedicated to something, I do it so wholeheartedly that very often people don’t understand how can I be so passionate about a certain thing. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about music, food, art, work, if I’m into it, you will see the passion written all over my face when a certain thing is brought up as a subject. ditagirl2ditagirl6
  8. I grew up in a little village, next to the little city and memories from my childhood are the sweetest ones I have. I always love to revisit those memory lane places even though they don’t look anything like they were before and even most of the people that I have those memories tied to don’t live there anymore.
  9. My favourite drink is green tea! I have at least 5 different kinds of green tea at home and my favourite right now is Jasmine buds green tea!
  10. If I would win the lottery, I would spend half of the money to travel the world and half of it to youth houses and children hospitals.ditagirl5
  11. FINNISH:Päätin pitää tänään pienen tauon minun yleensä joka Maanantaisesta inspiraatio blogi postauksesta. Ja sen sijaan haluaisin jakaa muutaman faktan minusta, jotka saattaa kiinnostaa teitä. Ja joihin te voisitte samaistua. 🙂 Toivottavasti teillä oli mahtava viikonloppu. Ja olette valmiita aloittamaan tulevan viikon tarmoa täynnä, ja hyvän inspiraation saattelemana.1. Olen meidän perheen vanhin lapsi. Minulla on yksi sisko ja kaksi veljeä. Yksi sisarus on minua 11 vuotta nuorempi.

    2. Solmin minun ensimmäiset ystävyys suhteeni neljän vanhana. Ja osa niistä sen aikaisista tytöistä ovat edelleenkin minun lähimpiä ystäviä.

    3. Olen lukutoukka. Enkä pysty ikinä vastustaa sitä että kun menen kirjakauppaan. Niin sieltä ulos tullessani kauppakassissa on aina vähintään kolme uutta kirjaa. Rakastan lukemista. Ja tykkään ottaa kotona jonkun vaan kirjan käteeni. Vain alottaakseni sen lukemisen, aina silloin kun tekee mieli. Kirjat saavat minuthetkeksi “eksymään” uuteen rinnakkaiseen maailmaan. Ja ovat minun ystäviä. Silloin kun haluan rentoutua, ja saada ajatukset hetkeksi muualle.

    4. Olen SUURI sushi addikti. Voin syödä sushia koko päivän, joka päivä enkä ikinä kyllästy. Olen maailman onnellisin tyttö, silloin kun saan chrirashi sushi kulhon tai sashimi lautasen kätösiini. Hassu juttu. Vihasin kalaa vielä 7-8 vuotta sitten. En voinut sietää sitä enkä todellakaan himoinnut sitä. Kunnes löysin taas rakkauden kalaan, maistettuani täällä savustettua lohta. Sen jälkeen raaka kala vei minun sydämeni, se on taivaallista.

    5. Voin olla todella laiska henkilö, tai sitten olen maailman hyperaktiivisin. Teen asiat joko 100 prosenttisesti tai sitten en ollenkaan. Olen monissa asioissa joko tai tyyppi. Vaikka se on hyvä pahe, se voi myös olla ongelmallinen pahe välillä. Veikkaan että minun itsepäisyydelläni on jotain tekemistä asian kanssa.

    6. Tulin äidiksi 21 vuotiaana. Enkä ollut siihen henkisesti yhtään valmistautunut. Olen oppinut virheistäni päivä kerrallaan. Nyt 7,5 vuotta myöhemmin voin taputtaa itseäni olkapäälle. Koska olen pystynyt kasvattamaan suloisen, hyväsydämisen ja kaikin tavoin kauniin tytön lapsen. Minulla ei juurikaan ollut paljon apua tai suurta perhettä ympärilläni, kasvattaessani häntä. Ja vaikka se oli aika stressaavaa, huolestuttavaa ja vaativaa. Olen onnistunut opettamaan hänelle hyviä elämän arvoja, hyviä tapoja ja ainaista kunnioittamista. Ja sitä että kohtelee toisia hyvin.

    7. Silloin kun olen omistautunut jollekin asialle. Teen sen asian täydellä sydämellä. Ja yleensä ihmiset eivät ymmärrä sitä että miten voin olla niin intohimoinen jonkun asian suhteen. Oli kyse sitten musiikista, ruuasta, taiteesta tai työstä. Jos olen innostunut jostakin asiasta. Niin naamassani lukee aina intohimo, silloin kun kyseinen aihe pulpahtaa esiin.

    8. Vartuin pienen pienessä kylässä. Joka sijaitsee pienen kaupungin kupeessa. Ja lapsuusmuistoni ovat minun rakkaimpia muistojani. Rakastan välillä palata takaisin noille muistojen värittämille seuduille. Vaikkakin suurin osa niistä lapsuuteeni kuuluvista ihmisistä ovat jo muuttaneet niiltä seuduilta pois.

    9. Suosikki juomani on vihreä tee. Minulla on kotona tällä hetkellä ainakin viittä eri vihreätä teetä. Tämän hetken suosikkini on Jasmiinin nuppu vihreä tee.

    10. Jos voittaisin Lotosta. Käyttäisin puolet voitosta maailmalla matkustamiseen. Ja toisen puolen lahjoittaisin nuorisotaloille ja lasten sairaaloille.

 

 

Good things right now

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Good Friday morning my dear readers! I hope that you’re all doing well and that you’re ready for the weekend. We have started weekend bit early here in Finland because there’s a very “important” celebration of Midsummer that people here go nuts about. It’s just a Midsummer, chill-ax peeps, but nope, they really take it seriously and this is also when almost the whole capital city migrates into the country side because it’s very popular to visit summer cottages and have Midsummer aka Juhannus celebrations there with the families and relatives.

This celebration is also known for Finns getting very drunk, jumping into the nearest lake and, unfortunately, very often drowning themselves. Every single year, same story goes around in the media and instead of a happy event, this turns into counting how many of them walked over to the other side and how many of them have managed to put their house or cottage on fire, because that too, does happen. :O

I can’t really tell you how me, as a foreigner feel about it since I haven’t lived with this celebration my whole life vs. Finnish people who did. I believe that there are beautiful sides to these celebrations too, enjoying the beautiful nature, good talks and laughs with your closest people and good, home cooked food.

I never plan anything special or do anything spectacular during Midsummer celebrations, so this weekend will be all about being as spontanues as it can be. Depending also on my luck with the weather, but I’m hoping for a non rainy weekend so that I can spend as much of it outdoors.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you couple of photos of things/ moods/ places which were making me happy for the past week or so. I hope that you will follow me on my Instagram to see all of the places and details I share with everybody on daily basis. 🙂

FINNISH:

Hyvää perjantai aamua rakkaat lukijani! Toivottavasti te kaikki voitte hyvin, ja olette valmistautuneet viikonlopunviettoon. Olemme aloittaneet viikonlopun hieman aikaisemmin täällä Suomessa. Sillä edessä on tuikitärkeä Juhannus, josta kaikki menevät ihan sekaisin. Juhannuksenhan pitäisi olla rauhallista aikaa. Mutta ei, lähes koko pääkaupungin väki suuntautuu pois maaseudulle. Sillä on normaalia lähteä kesämökille. Ja viettää Juhannus perheen ja sukulaisten parissa.

Tämä juhla on myös kuuluisa siitä. Että Suomalaiset humaltuvat sankoin joukoin, ja hyppäävät lähimpään järveen. Mutta ikävä kyllä valitettavan moni hukuttaa itsensä. Sama tarina toistuu joka vuosi valtamediassa. Sen sijaan että tämä olisi iloinen tapahtuma. Se muuttuu ikäväksi laskutoimitukseksi. Jossa lasketaan sitä että kuinka moni siirtyi tuonpuoleiseen Juhannuksen aikana. Tai että kuinka monen talon tai mökin jäljiltä on enää kasa hiiliä. Sillä sitäkin tapahtuu. :O

Minun on ulkomaalaisena vaikea kuvailla teille, että mitä mieltä olen tästä kaikesta. Sillä en ole asunut tässä maassa koko ikääni teidän tavoin. Mutta uskon että juhlaan sisältyy myös paljon kauniita asioita. Kuten kaunis luonto. Mahtavaa kanssakäymistä ja ilon hetkiä lähimpien ihmisten kanssa. Ja maukasta kotiruokaa.

En ikinä suunnittele tai tee mitään maatamullistavaa Juhannuksen aikaan. Joten tämän viikonlopun teema on olla mahdollisimman spontaani. Paljon riippuu tietenkin säästä. Mutta toivon sadetonta viikonloppua, jotta voisin viettää suurimman osan ajasta ulkona.

Joka tapauksessa. Haluasin jakaa muutaman kuvan teidän kanssa asiosta/mielialoista/paikoista jotka tekivät minut onnelliseksi menneen viikon aikana. Toivon että te seuraatte minun Instagram tiliäni. Jotta näkisitte enemmän kuvia paikoista ja yksityiskohdista joita jaan siellä päivittäin kaikkien kanssa.

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-walking through my city and admiring it’s charming streets!

-kävellä kaupunkini halki ihaillen sen viehättäviä katuja!

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-seeing old timer cars makes my love and appreciation for them grow even bigger!

-minun rakkaus ja arvostus vanhoja autoja kohtaa kasvaa entisestään niitä ihaillessani!

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-being nearby the water and loving the serenity it gives me

-olla lähellä vettä ja rakastaa sitä tyyneyttä jonka se minulle antaa

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-home cooked soups are the best!

-kotona tehdyt keitot ovat parhaita!

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-special dessert tray and treat at my favourite restaurant

-erikois jälkiruoka herkku lempi ravintolassani

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-taking a spontaneous boat ride to an island nearby the city

-ottaa spontaani laivamatka lähellä sijaitsevalle saarelle

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-being impressed by the same building over and over again!

-vakuuttua samasta rakennuksesta yhä uudestaan!

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-working and being thankful for it!

-työskennellä ja olla kiitollinen siitä!

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-late evening strolls through the city center

-myöhäisillan kävelyitä keskustan halki

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-DIY Magnum ice cream experience rocks every year!

-DIY Magnum elämys rokkaa joka vuosi!

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-loving the city vibe and it’s pace

-rakastaa kaupungin fiilistä ja liikettä

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-an ode to summer on my plate

-oodi kesälle minun lautasellani

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-seeing myself in a whole different way

-nähdä itseni ihan eri valossa

 

Visit Helsinki: Savu

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It’s been a little bit over 8 years since I have moved to Helsinki. No matter where I go, to known or the unknown cities/ countries, I always love to wonder around and discover new, exciting and interesting spots. I was so happy when I found out that even after 8 years of living here, there are some undiscovered places in Helsinki which I was more than happy to visit and find out what makes them so special. One of those places was the island Tervasaari! I took a walk from the city center all the way to Tervasaari ( it’s easily accessible via small bridge ) and it took me about 30 mins of nice and slow paced walk. I believe that with the car, getting to Tervasaari, even in the worst of traffic it wouldn’t take you longer than 15 mins.

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This is a very small island which is such a little paradise spot. I could easily spend a day there having a chill by the small sand beach, walk through the island or just watch the old ladies wash the carpets in the traditional way with the brush. 🙂 One of the biggest reasons why I would want to come back to this island and tell everybody else to visit it is because of a restaurant called Savu. Savu means smoke in Finnish language.

Savu restaurant is situated inside of the 210 years old wooden building/ house which original purpose was to store tar barrels. Restaurant can seat indoors and outdoors with the covered terrace, all together more than 200 persons. The menu changes seasonally and is also very famous for offering house special dishes with aromas of smoke and tar. During summertime, there is a special lunch menu available as well as a-la-carte selection.

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We have decided to present both, the lunch menu and some preferences from the a-la carte menu. To start with the lunch menu, we were served a cauliflower soup with cauliflower pickle and roasted almond. This was a nice, warm and light soup to start the lunch with. Homemade, rye bread was perfect condiment to eat the soup with. 🙂

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From the a-la-carte menu we chose a white fish ceviche with dried shrimp white raddish and caramelised soy. I must admit that I was bit sceptic about how the ceviche was going to taste like but it caught me by surprise, a very pleasant one! This was possibly the best ceviche outside Peru, very “Finnish style” but oh so good!

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As for the mains, from the lunch menu came fresh pea risotto with red pesto and smoked salmon filet. This was such a simple, unpretentious but to die for dish! I’m a huge salmon lover and when it’s smoked, it wins my heart immediately. 🙂 Risotto was perfectly creamy and tasted just the way I was hoping, hearty and comforting. I can say that I had an ode to Spring and Summer on my plate!

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Main course from the a-la-carte menu was marbled steak of Finnish Limousin beef which was served with summer potatoes, creme fraiche and spring onions, as well as with white asparagus and fresh tomato sauce. Savu chefs def. know how to prep a great steak! After setting limits high by trying steaks in Argentina and at Gordon Ramsay’s The Maze restaurant, it’s been hard to meet the competitors to those, but Savu delivered with perfectly tender and medium rare grilled steak. Fresh tomato sauce and asparagus were wonderful to eat the meat with, esp. on a hot summer day, it’s not going to be heavy on your stomach.

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For dessert we have tried a buckthorn sorbet with sliced and marinated rhubarb, berries and cream cheese mousse. I’m not the biggest fan of sorbets but this was possibly the best one I’ve ever had, so different, interesting in taste and worked so well with the rest of the “party” on the plate. 🙂

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If you are visiting Helsinki this Summer, go for a nice walk by the seaside from the Market Square all the way towards the Uspenski church, towards the Kaisaniemi and you’ll spot the island of Tervasaari on your right hand side. The calming effect that this island has is magical, just as is the food of Savu! Welcoming and knowledgable service won’t let you down either, so in other words: “Tervetuloa!”

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*This post has been made in collaboration with A&S ravintolat. All of the opinions are my own.

*Thank you to Miss Johanna for making this collaboration happen.

*Photography by: Natali K.photography

 

Afterlife

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Time… Accepting it or not, the fact is that our time is limited. Our time on this planet, in this lifetime is limited and we’re never promised tomorrow. We have today, but we limit our “today” and make our time even more shorter than what it could be by the stress, worries, work overload, failed plans, too high expectations, disappointments… What is it in our nature that makes us most of the time, waste our time?

I will never forget my grandma telling me that to people work is important, things are important but what you will bring with you to your afterlife are none of those…

I’m thinking about myself, about my sister, my friends, friends of friends, you name it… I’m thinking about what makes me/ us successful and happy and will those things matter in the end? I believe that those should be the only and the best guidances to live your day to day life the best you can, if you just ask yourself about all of your choices, actions and people that you meet/ have in your life already. Just ask yourself: “Will this matter ( be worth it ) at the end of the road?” and ” Will I be able to bring this with me to an afterlife?” Those are the questions which have opened my eyes and brought on a whole different perspective on how I want to live my every day, what I want to create my life around and what is so meaningless or barely important.

Full fridge, good house, successful career, fancy shoes or expensive dress, yes, all those things are nice to have but very soon after getting them, we always need more, want better and therefore soon we need an extra fridge or at least a full pantry, maybe another house or an extra apartment, maybe two careers which we can push at once and earn even more money, maybe couple of shelves of fancy shoes or two racks of expensive dresses will finally feel good enough? Nope, we will always want and need more, that is our human nature… But will all of these things matter in the end? Will you be able to bring them with you to an afterlife? The answer is NO! Things, career, what somebody said wrong about you or mistreated you, those are not the things that will matter in the end and that you’ll be able to bring with yourself “somewhere over the rainbow”.

What does matter is what makes your heart happy and your soul to dance? In my case, travelling, exploring and being surrounded by people whom I love and which love me unconditionally is what makes life worthy for me and those are the memories and feelings which I’ll be able to bring even when it’s time to go.

In the past two years, loss was big in my “football field” of life and I have seen some dear and close people pass away, as much I have also seen people suffer, be lonely and disappointed in not having things or not having a career of Beyonce… All of this made me think really deep because I’ve been having some of health issues of my own and just thinking about life and afterlife in general made me realise that of course it’s nice to have things, to have properties, to have a successful and enviable career, but all of these aren’t and shouldn’t be the most important things in our lives. Life well lived, loved and travelled is the only one which you’ll be able to bring with you and the one which does make you fulfilled from the inside, not only from the outside for your Instagram photo roundup.

Now, if you’ve been stressed out, worried, hurt, etc… Just ask yourself: “Will any of this matter in the end?” and “Is this thing or person worth waisting/ spending my limited time on/with.?” You’ll see how these two questions will make you much more aware and make you re-think some values and priorities in your daily life as well as say goodbye to some people who no longer are meant to be part of your road…

Live life to the fullest, love others and believe in goodness, even after you’ve been hurt multiple times. Go travel and enrich your soul, be openminded, love and spread love… Those are the “things” and feelings that will give you a happy and rich life, the one that will matter in afterlife too… 🙂

Happy Monday!

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Croatia roundup

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If you do follow me on Instagram, you have probably noticed that I’m back to Helsinki. The temperature/ weather difference came to me as a shock, it’s at least 10 degrees less than in Croatia and it’s been raining like crazy for the past two days. If it continues like this, I can kiss my “olive skin” tan away. 😀

Anyways, Croatia was amazing, the sun, sea and people made my soul and heart filled with happiness and gratitude. I didn’t knew how much I needed to recharge my batteries until I have arrived there and on the very first day have realised that all I wanted was to sit by the sea, in peace and just “be”.

My dear readers, whenever you can, go and travel, you will always return back home a different person than you were before you left on a trip. Travelling always makes you richer and gives so much closure on some things that are so important as well as make you dismiss those that are of no use/ good for you anymore.

Here’re few photos to roundup the final days of my trip. It’s FRI-YAY and I’m happy for the weekend to be here, some quality time will be spent with my daughter and close friends.

Have a great weekend sweethearts!

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Visit Croatia: Pasta&svasta

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Croatian gastronomic scene grew tremendously in the past 2-3 years and many already “established” restaurants such as previously written about Pelegrini, took their service, food philosophy and presentation to a whole new level that meet the worldwide standards of fine dining.

Unfortunately, there’re still way too many tourist traps, restaurants with endless menus which are always very convincing about freshness and quality of their food… That is until you’ll possibly fall for it, order your food and that’s where the romance will stop because you’ll realise that food is not freshly made, fish wasn’t caught “this morning” and most of the owners and restaurant managers couldn’t care less about what people are going to eat, as long as the portions are huge, prices are low and endless pasta, pizza and meat prepped in million ways with the grande finale of pancakes for the dessert are on the menu, tourists and locals will keep on returning.

On the other hand, there are people who are world travelers, people who are true foodies, people who don’t see food just as a fuel and who are taking a visit to restaurant equal to a mini trip to another “world” which will give you an amazing experience that you’ll gladly share with your certain special someone, family or business partners. Food is more than just a gas for your body, food is the best and most hedonistic way to enjoy your life, socialise… Food is a cultural thing and just like with fashion, I take a very sophisticated approach to it and see the whole picture, from how much love, time and effort it’s needed to just start a restaurant, all the way to how much nerves, smarts and once again appreciation for food and believing in what you’re doing is needed to present you with only ONE plate of perfectly homemade pasta with the best truffles and a glass of white wine specific only for the a certain part of the country or region…

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This was the case with a charming restaurant in the middle of Zadar’s old town known as Poluotok among the locals. Pasta & svasta is the name you should mark down if you’ll be visiting Croatian coast this Summer since it’s worth taking a small d-tour even if you’re not planning to stay in Zadar.

Pasta & svasta opened it’s doors about two years ago, back in Spring of 2014 by it’s masterminds and true foodies Mr.Ivan and his lovely wife Ivana. Ever since the opening, Mr. Ivan, together in collaboration and agreement with his kitchen staff have been creating a wonderful crossover kitchen of traditional Croatian food/ cuisine presented with a modern twist. Whilst the authenticity of taste is “spot on”, the presentation is far from traditionally known in Italian/ Mediterranean restaurants. No big portions of everything and anything on the plate, but carefully presented, simple but bursting with the taste dishes are about to blow you off if you haven’t or have tried this cuisine before.

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Just when I thought that I can’t be impressed by “yet another” bruschetta, pasta, etc. I was completely proven wrong. Mr. Ivan, who has a phd in costumer service and hospitality is very strong driven restaurant owner, meaning that he has a clear vision of what he wants to offer to his costumers who come from all over the world. One of the most surprising facts is that his restaurant has a Kosher food certification which is to me “unheard” of in this part of the country. He is the only one who has such certificate on Croatian side of Adriatic coast and that def. sets Pasta & svasta highly apart from any other restaurant nearby.

As a starter, we were presented by a home wine, bubbly Krauthaker sauvignon which comes from a certain vineyard in Istria of which Mr. Ivan is being part owner. Warm, crunchy and perfectly salty bruschetta with marinated sardines on the bed of arugula were divine “appetite opener” for everything that was about to follow up.

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For the, so called 1st plate we were served home made, wonderfully al dente tagliatelle with hand de-shelled prawns in tomato sauce with big slices of truffles. I must say that I was having a very high expectations for this dish because I’ve been told by the owners that if I ever try this same dish somewhere else, it must taste the way it did at Pasta & svasta or better if possible but def. nothing less than what I was about to taste. Only one bite was already enough to understand what they meant, it was a perfect marriage between al dente pasta, sourness of tomato sauce and taste of the sea via the most delicious prawns I have ever tried anywhere. To top it all off, the truffles were like eating pure gold, absolutely prime ones, straight from Istria which is famous all over the world as the region for some of the best truffles.

We drank perfectly matched white wine, Galic chardonnay with our 1st plate.

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2nd plate was slow roasted lamb with baked potatoes and pancetta. The meat is slowly roasted for many hours on a low temperature. This is one very traditional dish known to be prepped in Dalmatian households for generations, but the sophisticated and the most delicious version ever has been right this dish at Pasta & svasta. This is very manly dish which is perfect for all of the meat lovers. The meat was so soft that it’s been falling off the bone as you start to “dig into it” and it was beautifully matched with the crispy pancetta and aromatic potatoes. To maximise the ultimate experience of this dish, we drank red wine Skaramuca Plavac mali premium .

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By this point of our dinner, we have already become great buddies with our hosts, Mr. Ivan was happy to see that his food philosophy was understood and appreciated, so we have already made agreements to come and visit him again sometime soon to try couple of more dish-gems that he has hiding up his sleeve. 🙂

No ending of any dinner is good without something sweet, so we couldn’t resist the calling of deconstructed cheesecake with berry sauce and warm, melty goodness of chocolate suffle! Yum!

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It was one of the best traditional, Mediterranean food experiences I’ve had in a long time. Without any doubt, I’ll be back again to Pasta & svasta. 🙂

*This collaboration has been made in agreement with Pasta&svasta. All of the opinions are my own.

*Thank you to Mr. Ivan and Mrs. Ivana for the warm welcome and for making this collaboration possible.

*Photography by: Natali K. photography

 

Where is the love?!

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I’m a person who barely ever watches TV. If I do watch TV then it’s usually Netflix. I never buy newspapers and I usually never read any even if I happen to see some newspapers at the cashier or at a favourite cafe.

I guess that thanks to FaceBook and my active friends, I do stay quite informed about what is going on in the world, but I take everything I read with a grain of salt and a “distant viewer” approach, meaning that I don’t take everything I read to be true, important or as dramatic as media tries to portray it to be.

Media is a powerful tool, I would say that they have the power to ruin and build the world. That is one of the reasons why I filter every news I come across and don’t allow big amounts of unnecessary information bother me. I like to live in “my own world” the one where I’m aware of what is going on around me and I do fulfil my “duties” but I also prefer to stay in that part of my own world which is ruled by love, goodness, inspiration, creativity and music. I live by the rules of heart and commands of the soul and I don’t know for better… No matter how many times I get “screwed” over for giving too much, loving too much and feeling everything so deeply… I end up hurt and upset quite many times, but I can’t live differently… I can’t “harden” my heart, be more thougher, distance myself from who I am by birth.

Ever since I was a little child, I have been led by my holy trinity of three : love, sea and music. If I had those three surrounding me, I was happy. To love and be loved in return is my motto and the biggest blessing and curse in my life. I always love too much, but so often stumble upon “closed” and hard hearts… In the past couple of years I’ve dealt with those kind of hearts too often and it all made me ask myself: “Where is the love?!” Even by filtering all of the media and information that reaches me, I can not understand all of the shootings and bombings going on all over the world. When was the spilling of blood an answer to anything? Who gives the right to a human to lift his/ her hand over the destiny of another person(s)?

Dear people… Hate, envy and darkness aren’t the roads to be followed… We all have the goodness, love and light inside of us, so the more you nurture them, the more they will prevail the dark side of us, which we all have. We are all made of yin and yang, it’s up to us which side we will choose to be. We can’t and won’t be another Mother Theresa and we don’t need to, that’s not what this article is all about, but I can not but not to realise that people have never been more as distant from each other and the source of goodness and love as they are in 2016. Situation needs to change immediately or we’ll be as good as robots and look more of a Arnold Schwarzenegger from the Terminator movie than a beautiful, sensitive and loving human race that we are supposed to be.

Peace, love and understanding… It’s not so hard to remember, acquire and spread these three words/ actions/ feelings. Let’s start today!

My heart goes out to all those affected in Beirut bombing and Florida shooting.

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Visit Croatia: Hotel Life

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Situated in a small bay of Zecevo, between cities Primosten and Rogoznica, Hotel Life is an ultimate destination for a private getaway from all of the noises and rush of the city life. While the hotel is perfectly tucked away and has one of the most beautiful sea views I’ve ever witnessed in my life, it is still only a short car or bike ride to either of two mentioned cities in which you can get anything you might need, some souvenirs as well as visit some heritage places such as church of Our Lady Of Mercy, chapel of St. Rocco, metal museum/ shop – crafts and souvenirs made out of different metal parts. Very nearby are famous Babich fields where the best wines come from. You can take a tour of Babich vineyards and learn more about the vinery and how the wine is being made.

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While in Rogoznica, you can discover some more architectural gems, big marina and as well a natural phenomenon, salt lake called “Dragon’s Eye”.

Hotel has it’s private indoor and outdoor pools, but one of the most “raw” and untouched beaches with the clearest sea is right in front of the hotel.

Besides vicinity of many amazing and traditional restaurants in Primosten and Rogoznica, Hotel Life has it’s own restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. For lunch and dinner you can choose whichever dishes you like from their a-la carte menu. Menu is traditional, based on authentic Dalmatian cuisine with a bit of modern twist.

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Hotel Life is a 4 stars, family run business and a lot of care and thought has been put into decoration of the hotel, esp. it’s bedrooms. I loved the fact that all of the rooms were very spacious, modern and had some of my favourite beauty products by Rituals as their toiletries. Rooms are varying from superior room with a sea view to the Presidential apartment of 90m2 which could be a perfect honeymoon suite for instance. 🙂

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If you wish to have a relaxing and pampering day at the hotel, it’s very much possible by visiting it’s Finnish sauna or Turkish steam bath as well as taking a massage at the Spa.

One thing which I was very impressed with that all of the staff was very welcoming, pleasant, fully skilled and has met all of my wishes and needs. As somebody who has travelled a lot and have stayed in many different hotels, I find it very important to be happy with your accommodation and hotel’s service. When you’re on a holiday, you want to feel relaxed, safe and welcomed and that is how I felt staying at Hotel Life.

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*This post has been made in collaboration with Hotel Life, all of the opinions are my own.

*Thank you to Miss Tatjana for this collaboration!

*Photography by: Natali K. photography

 

 

Sometimes…

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Do you have those days in your life when you think that you’ve “cracked” the code? When you think that you totally got this thing called “life” and what it’s all about. I mean, there has never been more self-help books or inspirational speakers than there are nowadays, all of them teaching you something about life. Their “how to” books on what to do so that you would be happy or what to do so that you would succeed, how to this or how to that… I mean, we can’t be that lost?

You must have experienced those days when you think that everything is just falling perfectly in place, you have a clear vision about everything and you’re in a peace with everybody around you? If the answer is yes, well, congrats, at times, I have those days too… At times I have those kind of days when I’m somewhere in between, in a way as things aren’t maybe happening as fast as I have expected, but they’re still “moving”. Or in a way where I think that you know that person ain’t that correct in how they speak or act, but it ain’t anything real bad to not give them another chance… Or in a way where I have tried to solve this one problem for quite a while now, but hey, there are worser things in life I could be dealing with now.

Then there are those days like the ones that I’m going through right now… When your head hurts from thinking too much, from questioning too much… Those days when you think that everything you thought you knew or understood about life and people was completely wrong. Those days when you think that you could have done so many things differently and even though I don’t like to dwell in the past, sometimes it’s so hard to get rid of the past, because your past actions and choices are affecting the “today” that you’re living in right now.

Yep, not the most uplifting post, but one that I wanted to write down and start a conversation with you my readers… What do you do on those days when they look like a big, blurry mess…? When all of the lines are so intertwined that you have no idea how to separate what’s the “head thinking” and what are the “whisperings of the heart” and how to put these two back in sync with each other?

I’m all about positivity, inspiring people however and whenever I can, but I must say that I’m really tired of all of the “How to” books because what if there is no secret formula for having your thoughts, feelings and life in perfect order? What if it’s absolutely normal to feel and find yourself in a situation where you question if anything ever made sense in your life and it’s absolutely normal to find yourself in a situation in which you tap yourself on the shoulder and feel as if you’re the king of the world.

What if it’s good to every now and then have those days where you’re questioning everything? Aren’t those possibly the moments when you’re “growing”, when you’re indirectly admitting to yourself that you might have been smarter about some things/ choices, that not everybody will be as great as you’ve imagined them to be? Maybe it’s actually necessary to have those days when you’re completely lost? Isn’t that those are the moments when you’re about to see a brighter light on the new path that’s just uncovering in front of you?!

I have survived before those “How to” books, so I think that I’ll be fine now too… My blurry situation and unanswered questions might be in a completely different shape in a week from now and life will again look different and more “understandable” than it is right now. I also believe that we will never really “crack” the code of what life is or how it should be. Living it as honestly, simple and as kind as possible is all that matters…

Bag by Borsha, get a similar bag -> BORSA by Mala Radnja Dizajna

 

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