27 January 2015

25 questions for me about me

A while back I got tagged in a Liebster award and in a New Year's Tag. The idea is to answer some questions in the tag, and then pass the nomination forward with a new set of questions. I've actually received a few of these nominations over the last few months and while I think it is fun to type away I lack the brain capacity to come up with any new questions and to find people who haven't already been tagged, especially after a long day at work (and a naughty little girl who keeps on waking up in the night time...). So I figured I'll just do one big post of all of the questions, a sort of a mega-tag. And add a bunch of random pictures from the archives before the blog.

In case you are wondering, I got the questions from Brighton Mama and Dribbles & Giggles  and Zena's Suitcase, thanks a bunch you all! 

If you could live in any year or era which would it be and why?
I really like the here and now, so I don't think I would live in any other era. I think it is fantastic how the internet has changed the world, making friends across the globe closer and technology making it easier for people to connect. 

But, if I had to live in another era, I think I'd choose the 1960's, go and see Jimi Hendrix and The Doors live, go to some awesome parties, and live the rock'n'roll free spirit lifestyle. Oh yeah...

Describe yourself in five words.
Tenacious, smart, friendly, chocoholic, focused. 
What is the kindest thing you have ever done for someone?
I am sure I've done plenty of kind things to others but this has really stumped me. I have worked in a mobile soup kitchen for the homeless if that counts? I've also been a first-aider at the London Marathon, and have done my fair share of massaging cramped up legs and chatting to hyperventilating people, trying to get them breathing normal again. 


Where do you live and what are your top three things about the location?
I live in North London, and the best thing are that we have lots of lovely woods and parks nearby, it is still a commutable distance away from central London, and it is a child friendly area with lots of things to do with small children.

Which is the best country you have ever visited and why?
I've visited lots of countries (probably around the 25 mark), and I can't really name a best country. But Japan holds a special place in my heart as I lived there nearly a year as an exchange student and I lived in a Japanese family. Quite a special time. 

If you won one million pounds what would be the first thing you bought?
A family home, probably somewhere in Islington. It might just about cover it...

If you could change any aspect of your life (without any complications) what would it be and why?
I would live closer to work, because commuting takes up 2,5 hours a day. It is far too much.

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
My baby girl. No doubt. Hubby too of course.
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
I am an introvert. I love meeting new people and chatting to new people, but I definitely need my alone time and quiet time to recharge and energise. 

What is your greatest achievement to date?
Another difficult question... I can't really think of any particularly great achievement. I've had a pretty good life, gained amazing experiences, tried lots of new things, and that has been pretty great. Not an achievement really though is it. I got decent grades for my BA and MSc, I was pretty pleased about that I suppose.

What was the last book you read, did you enjoy it?
Mojo: How to get it, how to keep it, how to get it back if you lose it. It is one of those career-oriented self-help book, you know, how you can get better and more efficient, and really start enjoy your job. It was an easy read, with interesting anecdotes, and there was good insight there on several things, such as what forms your identity, how to build a reputation, and how to shape your career to you own priorities. I might actually give it another glance sometime soon.

What’s your most embarrassing moment that you’re willing to share?
Probably when I was in college. Before the prom started I was out having a ciggie with a bunch of friends. I had a long black skirt and a red wine coloured front busk corset. The corset had a lace-up at the front. Yes, it had a gothic vibe to it, I was going through a phase at the time. Anyway. As you do, I decided to show my dress off and decided it would be funny if I opened my jacket as if I was about to flash myself. As you do. 

Trouble was, as I stood in front of these male friends of mine, ready to pretend flash them, my fingers got caught in the lace-up, the corset opened, my "girls" popped out and I was actually flashing everyone out there. 

It was quite amusing to be honest, I laughed. My (male) friends were stupefied into akward silence.  
What is your favourite time of year or day and why?
Spring - I like the nature emerging and the days getting warmer and longer. It always feels like a new start. 
How would you spend your last day on earth?
With my little girl, cuddling her. And my husband. I'd probably also eat my weight in chocolate. 

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
It would be pretty cool to meet Barack Obama, because well, he is arguably the most influential person in the world at the moment, and he seems like a genuinely nice guy. 

Describe yourself in 3 words. 
I already replied to this, but I am sure I can come up with three more words... Impulsive, adventurous, excitable.

When was the last time you laughed or cried and what was the reason?
I was watching Orange is the New Black, and laughed. It is one funny TV series!

If you could have the courage to do one thing what would it be?
I would like to think I am courageous enough to do what I want - it is more the practical reasons that stop me from doing some of the things I would like to. But perhaps sky-diving would be a pretty interesting thing to try. 

Who is your best friend?
My husband. 

What's your most used website? (Other than your chosen blogging platform)
Hmm. Probably Facebook, or perhaps BBC News. 

Highlights of 2014
I finished my maternity leave, and got a better, shinier, new job. My baby's first birthday was great as well. 

Excited for 2015
At the moment I am excited about going on a ski holiday to Lapland - OK, it is not quite the Alps, but we haven't been skiing in years and Lapland is a gorgeous and beautiful place. We are going there with the grandparents so get to have some extended family time too. 

New Year's Resolutions
I didn't do any resolutions, but I did choose a New Year's Theme. And I wrote a blog post about my New Year's Theme too, about what the word I chose means to me. 

Blogging High
Writing my first blog post here in August 2014 of course, and attending Blogfest not long after. I had fun, even if I moaned about Blogfest a little afterwards. 

Photo of the Year 

It has got to be this one - I just love it. My favourite picture of my little one by far. 

So, that was 25 questions about me - would you have had similar answers to any of the questions? A gold star if you managed to read them all! ;)

21 January 2015

Toddler OOTD #17 - A big girl dressing up

Our little girl is growing up. All of a sudden she has become a big girl, all curls and long legs. And her own will, and oh boy, what a strong will it is. 

Cardigan: RJR John Rocha 
Dress: John Lewis
Boots: H&M
Toddler choice boots: Clarks 
Real fur bobble hat: market find

She loves dressing up. She also loves shoes, and she also loves bags. She has two little handbags of her own she walks around with, but she loves nothing more than grabbing my work bag (a big Longchamp), pulling it around, and going to the door and waving daddy bye-bye. Just like mummy.

She also loves putting on her coat, and her trousers, and shoes.One of her favourite games is to put on her jacket, then take it off, then put it on again, and repeating that until doing the same with shoes. She would try one pair of shoes, then another one, then the third pair, and walk around the living room, doing little rounds in each pair of shoes.

Little by little she is starting to express her own preferences when dressing up. She insisted on bringing her little handbag to the supermarket yesterday. If you let her choose from two dresses she usually opts for the more colourful one. Sometimes she refuses to wear one certain piece of clothing, and insists on wearing something completely different. 

These pictures are from mid-December, when she was starting to really express her will over her clothing. Parental colour-matching of her hoodie with her booties apparently didn't please her aesthetic eye, and she decided her bunny booties from Clarks would be much more suitable. After a few fruitless attempts to put the "right" shoes on her, we had to relent, and go with her flow. 

Lovely isn't it, to start to gain those little glimpses of independence and assertiveness, and to start to really know what your child is like as a person. And at the same time it is a little bit sad, as your baby is not a little baby anymore, but a proper little lady, with her own opinions and thoughts.

What did you think of the outfit? And her choice of shoes? :)

Giveaway: A brand identity logo for your blog or business

I have one fabulous giveaway courtesy of my graphic designer husband! If you have been thinking of sprucing up your blog for 2015, or perhaps starting a company or improving the visual look of your company then keep on reading...

My husband has promised to do a visual brand identity design for one lucky winner. What that means is a unique design that reflects the image and brand you want to portray.

For a blog this includes a logo, a co-ordinating square avatar (for Twitter, Facebook etc.), a banner (in accordance with the design of your site) and a favicon. For a business this includes a design and supply of a logo in a high-resolution file for print and digital (CMYK and RGB), a co-ordinating avatar (for Twitter, Facebook etc.) and a favicon.

Some rules:
1. You have to fill in a questionnaire, which will help in formulating the basis of the design brief. The questionnaire will ask things such as any preferred colours, designs you like, and so on. 
2. You will get two options to choose from - at this stage you can ask for revisions, such as colour, or minor changes in the design.
3. You will receive the design files, and you can use them as you wish.
4. All communication via email (this means you can enter this competition no matter where you live!)
5. You will be responsible for all installation of the files on your web/blog platform.
6. Whilst we will make every attempt to deliver the design to you as fast as we can, good design does take a lot of thinking time and will be done alongside normal work. In other words, it will take a while. 
7. Check out my blog banner which is typical of the design style of my husband - if you like it, I am sure you would like his design for you as well.
8. Good luck!

P.S. You can repeat the tweet and free entry once a day, so if you pop in back again and want another entry you know what to do ;)

P.P.S And just to make things crystal clear - this giveaway is of a visual brand identity, which means the visual look of the brand and the overall communication, such as a logo. Not a web design. So if you were McDonald's you'd get the golden arches, but your website design would be up to you to manage.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


17 January 2015

A day out in the snow

Snow. And a lot of it. That was the only thing I had on my letter to Santa last Christmas. And we did get it, plenty of it! Of course, it did help we were in Finland over Christmas holidays.  So here are a few more pictures of us frolicking in the snow, one of those many days we were out and enjoying the great outdoors. 

I grew up in Finland so when I was little, playing in snow was all we did, all winter long. We would burrow through snowbanks, pretending to be snow moles in their tunnels. We would build snow forts, gather an arsenal of snowballs, and battle till the sunset. We would build snowmen, snow women, and sometimes even snow horses to ride on.

These are some of the things I wish my daughter would have memories as well. We are planning to visit Finland every winter, so hopefully we will have a chance to do these things together.

This time we sat in snow, played with snowballs, pulled her around in a sled, ran around in snow, and made snow angels. Well, I made one, and had a little assistant jumping on me. Next year she will be old enough to understand what snowmen are, and I am already looking forward to making a few with her. Or for her, for her to topple over. 

We played out pretty long, nearly until twilight...

I am pretty excited about one thing coming up in a few months... We will have another chance to go out and play in snow in March, as we are going skiing for a week!

Have you had a chance to have fun in the snow yet this winter?

15 January 2015

My 2015: Well-being

I am not a fan of New Year's resolutions. Oh how many times have I promised to lose weight... First promising to lose 10 lbs. Next year it was 15 lbs. The following year 20 lbs... And so on. If I would make the same promise this year I think it would probably be 40 lbs. The only New Year's resolution I've managed to keep and make a habit has been to floss every day.

So no, New Year's resolutions aren't really for me. But I liked the idea of choosing a New Year's theme. It is all about choosing a one-word theme for your year, of what you want your year to bring you. A word to focus on when living your life, a word to come back to and evaluate if what you are doing is really what you want to be doing. 

My theme for 2015 is well-being

I thought about a few different words. There are things I want to do, things I want to achieve, things I want to gain, things I want to experience. I was thinking of themes like achievement, improvement, capability, doing. Big, grandiose and active words really. But then I thought I should really look at something deeper. Something underlying. Something basic.

Cheesy analogy perhaps, but you can't build a skyscraper without strong foundations. For far too long I haven't been doing what I should be doing to improve the well-being of myself and my family. Burning the candle at both ends, not sleeping enough, not eating well enough, not exercising enough, not being there enough... 

So well-being felt like the right theme. It will provide the foundation to build upon in the future, but it must be a priority or otherwise it just won't happen. There are several things that well-being entails for me - less screen time, being mindful, being present, more sleep, de-cluttering, simplifying, eating healthy food, making sure I don't miss my scheduled lunch time gym sessions because of too much work... But mostly it is about keeping that word, well-being, at the back of my head when I am doing decisions, big or small. 

The pictures are from our recent trip to Finland - enjoying the outdoors, having fun and being present in the moment is what I want my 2015 to have more of.  

I might do the occasional 2015: Well-being post to keep track of if I am actually doing what I should be doing...

Until then do let me know - Did you do New Year's resolutions or do you have a New Year's word? Or maybe neither is for you?

14 January 2015

Revamping our bedroom

About ten months ago we had a huge problem. The walls in our bedroom were beginning to change, becoming furry with black spots, transforming into a leopard...

OK, I am dramatizing this a bit, they weren't really transforming, not into anything else than a giant moldy wall. It was bad enough though not to be gotten rid of with a bleach solution and a sponge, and the whole room needed work. The plaster on the outer wall and the cupboards had to go, and a new, waterproof layer installed, with new cupboards. Now it is, touch wood, fine, and apparently after (insert loads of technical wall-building and plastering talk that went completely over my head at the time) it is sorted for good. 

We still have a a few problems though. Our bedroom is nice, non-moldy, and functional. But it is very bare. I was just about to start my new job, and after getting the bedroom renovated we sort of ran out of time and energy to do anything further. We have a cupboard and a bed in there. There are no furnishings, bedside tables, nor even a shade for the ceiling lamp. In other words, it is in dire need of some revamping.

You can see it in the pictures. Nice bedroom but there is just nothing personal there. It needs a lick of paint here and there, mainly to sort out some of wooden frames for the cupboard, and the stain from a water damage on the wall. And putting up the picture. After that is sorted there are a few things I want to get to make it more homely, more inviting.

I've been looking at getting some soft furnishing to make the bedroom look a bit more inviting. Some pillows, new white bedsheets, and a bedspread. In the past I've always taken a utilitarian view and thought bedspreads and decorative pillows on the bed are, well, naff, but maybe I am finally becoming an adult. I thought cream coloured pillows and king size breadspreads, like this one from Yorkshire Linen might go nicely in our nutmeg-coloured bedroom. Pillows, like these ones from IKEA, could also be used to inject a bit of patterns and colour into the room.

Another thing we definitely need is a bedside table. There isn't much space on the other side of the bed, so we will have to be careful with measurement, but something like this from Oak Furniture Land would look pretty nice in our bedroom. We also need a ceiling light - it has been difficult to find anything we like, but perhaps some sort of a pendant shade would do, like the one from John Lewis. And my final thing on my wishlist - is to get to bed early, get comfy with all the pillows, read a book, and when ready to go to sleep, dim the lights without having to get up and walk to the light switch - how cool would it be to have a remote-controlled dimmer switch (like this one from LedPlanet)!.

I am starting to think that this revamping mission is going to be more expensive than I thought...

Are you guys planning any renovations?

6 January 2015

Our Christmas 2014 - in Finland

I always get rid of the Christmas decorations around 6th January. For me that has always been the last day of the Christmas period, the day when the holidays properly stop and the New Year is well underway. I didn't have the time to write about our Christmas celebrations before as we have been busy traveling, so I thought it would be about time to do it now, on the Twelfth Night...

We try to spend every other Christmas in Finland, in my home country, and every other here in the UK. It is a nice tradition to have - both of us get to experience the Christmas the way we remember it from our childhoods. Every other year it is turkey, crackers and stockings, and every other year it is plum tarts, gingerbread biscuits and slow-cooked game. 

This year we went to Finland and spent the Christmas at my parents second home in the countryside. I was really excited about it - it was the first Christmas my little one would have in Finland. There you celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, have a dinner and then open the presents. Santa makes a home visit to families with small kids (and daddy always manages to miss him, having to go and get milk few minutes before Santa gets there...). This time we didn't have Santa popping over, but we did enjoy the Christmas tree found from the nearby woods, and a gorgeous table topped with local delicacies. My absolute favourite Finnish Christmas foods are plum tarts, and white bread with butter and roe, and I ate my belly full of them. My husband prefers the slow-cooked game and gingerbread biscuits, and was happy to have plenty of both. 

toddler wading in snow

making snowangels toddler

lamp beach winter

wading in snow toddler

After some rice porridge for breakfast, we popped out to play in the snow.

finnish christmas table

marimekko toddler

roe sandwich

In the evening we had a lovely meal - smoked salmon, roe, deer, traditional potato, swede and carrot casseroles, cold meats, salads... Lots of different things, all equally tasty!

marimekko toddler shirt elf hat raitapaita

christmas tree finland

And then it was all about relaxing and opening the presents. While we didn't have Santa making an appearance this year (his costume had been misplaced somewhere...) we did have plenty of presents and our little elf was helping us in finding out the contents of each package. And then we had dessert too - gingerbread biscuits, cheeses and chocolates.

marimekko toddler raitapaita tonttulakki

Little mischievous elf had trouble keeping her fingers to herself... 

sauna stove finnish

traditional finnish wooden sauna

And as most folks do on a Christmas Eve, we went to a traditional Finnish sauna in the evening - what a lovely way to end to the day.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas too! How did you celebrate Christmas?

1 January 2015

My Monthly Roundup - My Instagram December 2014

my monthly roundup linky

1. Snapped a picture of the entrance to Harrods Christmas Grotto - magical experience.
2. We got a picture to take home of us and the Santa.
3. This is the book I got in the Blogfest goody bag - read it and left it on Highbury & Islington for another commuter to read. Would certainly cheer me up to find a free book, so may this continue in 2015.
4. We went to see Mockingjay. My husband wanted to see Interstellar, I wanted to see Mockingjay, so we (...obviously...) went to see Interstellar. But our vouchers didn't cover the supermax (whatever) screen Interstellar was shown on. So Hunger Games it was. My husband called it annoying, I called it fate.
5. For the Christmas Jumper Day I wore a jumper made by my nan for my uncle. Over thirty years ago. It is older than I am and still looks perfect.
6. Making, baking and eating gingerbread cookies with blue cheese is THE Christmas tradition of mine.
7. A week before Christmas we were off to enjoy a well-earned holiday - to Finland.
8. But we missed our connecting flight and had to stay in a hotel to wait for the morning flight. At least the hotel had a nice, very Finnish (Karelian pies and rice porridge) breakfast.
9. One of the first things we did in Finland was to get our hair in order. Yae, new haircut!

my monthly roundup linky

10. When we arrived it was dark, gloomy and rainy. No snow. I hoped that for Christmas I'd get a bum slider and some snow to slide on...
11. ... and a day before Christmas it was official - we had a white Christmas!
12. On Christmas Day we had srambled eggs, smoked salmon and champagne for breakfast, went out to play in the snow and glorious sunshine, and during nap time, watched It's a Wonderful Life with a cup of hot chocolate. Could a Christmas Day be any better?
13. The snowsuit our little one had was way too small. Like ridiculously small. So a new one needed to be bought, so we were pondering between four options. My favourite was the blue one with circles, my husband's the zebra one.
14. A quote I fully agree with - "Depresso, the feeling you get when you've ran out of coffee".
15. We eventually ended up with a bright neon pink snowsuit - so bright it looks blurry on my iPhone.

A fun month - and I have to say, it has been fabulous and wonderful to be off work for an extended period of time. When I get back to work next week, I have been off for nearly three weeks. Feeling properly refreshed now. Now off to new adventures for 2015! And if you want to check my Instagram account out, I am @wavetomummy there :)

Quick introduction to "My Monthly Roundup" linky:
1. Linky will go live on 2nd of each month. First time in 2nd January 2015. 
2. Please grab my badge or link back to me if you join the linky. Would be lovely if you could share the love and comment on other linkers posts too. 
3. Tweet me your entry and I will retweet. @wavetomummy and #mymonthlyroundup
4. I will pin your post to my Pinterest board "My Monthly Roundup".
5. I will comment on each post linked. 
6. Your round-up can be anything, as long as it is a roundup of the previous month. I do a round-up of what I have done, usually my Instagram or what I have been doing. But if you prefer something else, do a round-up of your crafts, achievements, best blog posts, whatever.

Wave to Mummy My Monthly Roundup

You can use this HTML code for the linky badge. It should work... Do let me know if it doesn't! 

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And here is the linky tool for any of your My Monthly Roundup posts. As it is January, feel free to link up any 2014 in review posts as well if you want to :)

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