19 February 2016

What my perfect holiday is and is not about

Perfect holiday... I suppose it is something different for everyone. I do however know what it is and what it is not for me.

My perfect holiday is not about the location. Sun or snow, rain or shine. It's all fine.

My perfect holiday is not about quantity. Once a year, twice a year, two weeks or four weeks away. The number doesn't really matter at the end of the day.

My perfect holiday is not about extraordinary experiences, of the amazing, exciting, breath-taking extravaganza. They say life is not measured by the breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away.

I say, every moment spent with the right people is magical enough.

For my perfect holiday is about family. It is about being together. It is about loving the life shared between the nearest and dearest.

We haven't been on many family holidays together. We have had separate mummy-daughter and daddy-daughter holidays, but rarely have all three of us gone together. We were fortunate enough to go to Levi, Lapland on an amazing ski holiday last year. And I so wish to repeat that experience, us three. It doesn't really matter to me where we go, as long as we go together.

To be together, our little three member family. To relax, to have fun, to be close, all three of us. Together.

On my perfect holiday I would love us ...

... to take the road less travelled. 

... to peek through and share the wonder of seeing something unexpected.

... to smell the air and wonder what it reminds us of. 

... to walk where there are no roads.

... to stop and smell the flowers, one after another.

... to stay up and enjoy the sunset, pondering what colours it will turn next.

... to sleep in and to relax, and to have a full night of sleep for each and single one of us.

... wake up to a new day, ready to explore its wonders.

... to run towards new adventures.

... to play together.

... to eat together.

... to laugh together.

... to meet new friends.

... to sample the local delights.

... to look far and wide and wonder where we will end up by the end of the day.

... but most of all, to be together and to be close. Just the three of us.

That is what my perfect holiday is all about. Family, life, laughter, shared little moments. It doesn't matter where, it doesn't matter for how long, it doesn't matter what. What matters, is us, together, as a family.

What is your perfect holiday?

How to have a fun family ski holiday in Levi, Lapland

Levi in the Finnish Lapland is a great location for a family ski holiday. I've been there once or twice as a pre-teen, and last year I went there as a mum for the first time. Our ski trip to Levi was brilliant, and I would highly recommend the location for a family ski holiday! Here are a few of my top picks on fun family things to do in Levi, and a bit more about what I thought of Levi for a ski holiday.


As a location, Levi is perhaps a bit more exotic than the Alps. Don't get me wrong, I love the Alps and spent nearly two years of my life in the Alpine off-piste Mecca (aka Chamonix) as an intermittent ski bum. But I digress, that's a story for another time. Instead of an Alpine cheese-fest, in Levi you will be treated to reindeer in all its forms. Yum. We ate reindeer everyday, I kid you not. At the slopeside caf├ęs we sampled sauted reindeer with a side dollop of lingonberry jam and reindeer soup. Down at the village we were treated to reindeer cold meats, reindeer hamburgers and even reindeer pizza. So go eat reindeer!

Culture and activities

As for culture, in Levi you can get acquainted with the customs of Sami people, the indigenous population spread across the Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian Lapland. We visited a museum, but there are sometimes other cultural experiences organised as well. Going to meet Santa Claus is another fab thing to do with kids!

There are other fun and exotic experiences you can do with your kids too. We went to feed reindeers, but with older kids you could do all sorts. Go reindeer or husky sledging, go on a snowshoe safari, and try to catch the Northern Lights... Go and experience something exciting and new. As a kid I really enjoyed having gone on a husky ride and "digging" for amethysts in a cave - both quite popular tourist things to do. I would also recommend trying a snowmobile, great fun!


In terms of child care Levi isn't the easiest place. There are some daytime indoor creches, and for evening time hotel reception may know some local services. For older kids it is not such a problem as they can either go to ski school, accompany you, or play at the sledging slopes (where daily kids activities are organised) but if you have toddlers you might find it more difficult. We were on an inter-generational trip, so luckily had grand parents to look after our little one while we swished down the slopes.


What did I think of the slopes though? In terms of skiing they were very good. You can't compare them to the Alps of course. The Lapland mountains are much lower. That said, you will still have plenty to ski and the runs are long (although not as long as in the Alps).

The variety of slopes in Levi was great. You have lots of gentle, family friendly slopes, but you can also find more challenging pistes. The slopes are often also in a very good condition, and no terrifying mogul fields in sight. The only unfortunate thing I'd say is the magnitude of button and anchor lifts. They are a serious pain in the butt (figuratively and quite literally...) - there were very few chair lifts. You do get used to the anchor lifts, but it is a bit more physical and you may tire quicker.

And how to best get family fun out of the skiing in Levi? Take your kids down the easy slopes first thing, grab a reindeertastic lunch out, and then take them to a creche for the afternoon and have some adult ski time!

Overall, I thought Levi was a gorgeous location for a family friendly ski holiday, and I would love to go back!

Have you ever been to Lapland for a ski holiday?

15 February 2016

My happy little summer memory from Finland

In the freezing cold wind and the dreary drizzle of February, I start to longingly look back at summers gone. The sunshine warming my face, the gentle wind caressing my cheek, the scent of the ocean surrounding me... and maybe a glass of frosty white in my hand. Ah, summer. I miss you. 

I am perhaps a bit biased, coming from there originally, but one of my favourite holiday destinations is Finland. And in Finland, my favourite destination is a very specific place too - my parents summer cottage near the sea. And it isn't so much about the nearby beach, or the sauna at the waterfront, or the beautiful nature. It is about being a bit distanced from everything average and everyday, and being with family. Being able to spend time and experience life with my nearest and dearest.

I have many warm memories from our summer house. My favourite memory from there is from a windy summers day, bright and sunny, which we spent on the yard.

My daughter running around, collecting pine cones in her bright red plastic bucket. Me picking up pine cones and running after her. Us walking around in the woods, admiring little forest flowers and trying to spot the best pine cones in the woods, carefully selecting only the perkiest and firmest for the bucket. My daughter showing her catch to her great grandmother, proud and smiley. Her great grandmother just as smiley and happy, spending time with the youngest member of her family. And her grand parents, watching all of this, enjoying the life and laughter that follows every two year old.  

It perhaps isn't a grand or a special memory, a fleeting moment of collecting pine cones, but it was a happy moment. Spent together, as a family, as a happy family of four generations, enjoying an average day out.  It was just one of the many summer days last year, but it is a day I could go back to again and again. My favourite summer memory. 

Do you have any favourite summer memories?

12 February 2016

Toddler OOTD #36 - Christmas jumper (yes, in February!)

We are well past the Christmas now. Even well past the New Year. Well past the time for Christmas decorations. Yet sometimes, you still see smattering of Christmases out. In shops, displays and decorations, forgotten and tucked away, or perhaps held on to like precious heirlooms because they were just so damn hard to hang up you can't bare taking them down so soon.

At the end of December these lone decorations look still a bit cheerful. By January they look a little bit sad. By February they almost look like they are mocking you, saying "Merry Christmas! 0nly 317 days more!"... 

And you what? I don't care because this Christmas jumper is just far too cute to pack away just because December is over! 

This Polarn O Pyret number (similar here) is just about the cutest Christmas jumper I have seen, thus we will be using it as long as we can. And let's face it, it is not like the jumper has huge giant Santa Clauses jumping next to Christmas trees, so we might get away with it a bit longer still...

What do you reckon, Christmas jumpers post-festivities - yay or nay?

2 February 2016

My Monthly Roundup - January 2016

So at the end of each month I usually round up my Instagram pictures and do a little round-up of the past month. For some reason I thought I would have lots and lots of pictures to share from January as I remember being on Instagram a lot. Well, it appears that I have just been lurking around and liking pictures rather than posting my own as I only had eight photos and one video. Oh well - I have plenty of pictures to put up there in February!

For us January has been all about cycling. We got our daughter her very first bike after Christmas. We got a balance bike as a Christmas gift, went to Halfords to get her a helmet. While there we put her on a normal bike, and she just took off. Knew exactly what to do. So we figured let's just get her a bike then! And that has meant much of our January has been spent in the park, round and round, biking away. 

1. A kiss a day keeps the doctor away! I love my little kisses and I'm glad my little monkey chops loves them too :)
2. Beautiful light, beautiful park, what more can I say. 
3. Aili got a lovely gift from Jacadi, of which Iwrote a post earlier this month. 
4. "One, two, three, race!" My little lady challenges people to a race, and will win (if you are slower than a slow jogger)!
5. I took a video of her cycling - she is pretty good going forth but we still need some practice in stopping... 
6. When all of Instagram was filled with glorious snowy pictures, I was pretty envious, so went back to my old photos and dug this one out from a year ago.... Sadly no snow for us in London!
7. Toddler tantrums - never last a long time when there is snow! First she threw herself on the ground face down, quickly turned on her back, and then got up. Ha ha. 
8. While there was no snow, it was damn cold! So we wrapped up warm.
9. I am loving taking pictures of her on her bike an enjoying our beautiful park and the beautiful light... I reckon there might be much more of these in February!

So that was my January - lots of cycling. Other than cycling at our local park we have been getting quotes for new windows (so expensive!) and I have caught a cold twice (so crummy!). We have been meeting friends a lot and been planning lots with our house. 

We even got the estate agents in to give us a valuation of our home. We have only moved in about three months ago, but we are getting itchy feet again... I think we have caught the renovation bug and we would love to find a new project to get our hands dirty with and do up big time. The valuation we got showed that we have added value to our current home, big time, and we are now planning our road to riches as property developers, ha ha. OK, that might not happen for a while yet, but we shall keep our eyes open!

Do you guys have Instagram accounts? And how was your January? 

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