Daebak! That’s awesome!

Daebak! That’s awesome!

South Korea was on the plan for 2020. COVID-19 was surely not. But as the saying goes, ‘If you can’t go, let it come to you!’ Or did I just make that up…

Can you see the green men shovelling snow?

I always wanted a Daebak box, a seasonal box full of Korean products. It has now became a trend to love all things Korean. Think about all the K-Pop, K-Drama, K-Beauty, K-Food, K-Snacks… However, just as COVID-19 disrupted most of our lives, it also affected the mailing system. My Daebak box was cancelled! So I ended up just enjoying each and every photo posted on Facebook about the Daebak box. Beauty products here. K-Pop and K-Drama merch there. Snacks and drinks to enjoy. All awesome, Daebak stuff. I’ve became more and more a fan of the Daebak box with each passing hour, day, week, month…

Then something happened. The Daebak staff opened a portal. A tiny portal intended only for me to order a Daebak collaboration box with Mediheal. Well, I’m not entirely new to Mediheal. I’ve been using Mediheal face sheets for a while now. They are not just for relaxation but they deeply moisturize, taking away the fear of the winter months.

The Daebak / Mediheal collaboration box is a must have. The box itself is so cute and trendy. And the content is absolutely amazing. It gives you the urge to really take care of yourself. Beauty and functionally went perfectly well together in this box. The box is packed full of face sheet masks, eye masks, a foot mask and a hand mask. A face cream, a lipstick, a face mask and sponges are also found in the box. And a plus for BTS fans out there, it also includes the BTS face sheets!

And once you empty the box, there are many creative ways to reuse it. Here is mine. Can you guess what is my favourite colour? How do you reuse yours?

If you don’t want to miss out South Korea delivered to your home, check out this link. You won’t regret it, I promise! 

All photos by Ari Vitikainen at arivitikainen.com

The beautiful snow covered Helsinki

The beautiful snow covered Helsinki

It was a fun snowy day in Helsinki and an evening walk was all it takes to fully enjoy it. The Old Church Park (Vanha kirkkopuisto) is one of the best places to enjoy the scenic snow in the Helsinki centre. The tree silhouettes against the snow covered ground felt so magical as the old lamps glow their golden lights. The beautiful old buildings surrounding this park add to its elegance. The Old Church Park was a cemetery. There are 48 gravestones visible in the park dating back from 1790–1829.

Walking further is the beautiful Espanade Park which leads to the Senate Square. The snow covered steps of the Helsinki Cathedral was a fun place to just enjoy the scenery and take in the cold, fresh air. But in fact, it was not cold at all. At 0 degrees celsius, my coat felt like a warm sleeping bag.

All photos by Ari Vitikainen @ arivitikainenphotography.com

Finally, snow!

Finally, snow!

The weather did not cooperate as I wanted to during the holidays. Darkness and rain was all it gave. There was anticipation of snow during Christmas which never arrived. But alas! 2020 ended. The new year came. And on the third day, snow appeared. It snowed beautifully, covering the city with its shine and glitter. A feeling of freshness and hope came along with it. The darkness turned into a beautiful Helsinki!

All photos by https://www.arivitikainenphotography.com

The year that was!

The year that was!

The end of the year is normally the time for me to summarize my year’s travel. 2020 was not that year. Instead, I’m posting my December illustrated journal, including thankful thoughts for 2020. I honestly can’t say that I’m hopeful for 2021, that things will get back to normal, that we will take back our lives. However, new normal can be created as we have been doing so over the past months. One thing I would like to do in 2021 is to listen to music as in the old days, when music was not in the background but the main activity. I listen to music all the time. Even when there’s no music, I play songs in my head. But during the past years, listening to music became an addition while doing other things. Now I want to listen to music and just close my eyes…

How was your year 2020? What are your hopes for 2021? May 2021 be better that the year that was!

Christmas COVID style

Christmas COVID style

BT21 and Moomin collaboration

This Christmas season, it was inevitable to spend it following the COVID recommendation. Although, there were still unavoidable situations like the crowded shops ( we need to get food!), in general, downtown Helsinki was strangely quiet. The city is obviously lacking some tourists as seen during our evening stroll on the 23rd. It actually feels empty.

However, the Grand Noel afternoon tea at the Kämp Braserrie is not to be missed. Additional Christmas flavours are added to spice up the Christmas spirit. The obvious addition is the gingerbread macaron.

One of the Christmas traditions in Finland is to visit the cemetary on Christmas eve. Hietaniemi cemetary is located 650 meters from our flat. Many famous Finns are buried here since the 1820s. Here, I’m standing where people can light candles for those who were buried in other places. We also visited the graves of past Finnish presidents.

One fun thing I did this Christmas time was to open a Japan crate. My first time ever! I got Julian from the Animal Crossing. It was lots of fun! Greetings too from Emiko who lives on Mochi Island. Please come and visit!

Emiko on Mochi Island

Here is also an illustrated recipe of Joulutorttu. Joulutorttu is a Finnish Christmas pastry made from puff pastry in the shape of a star, filled with prune jam and dusted with icing sugar.

Have a Happy Christmas to all!

All photos (except my illustrations and Emiko on Animal Crossing) by Ari Vitikainen at https://www.arivitikainenphotography.com

Food travels

Food travels

I’m one of those people who travels through my sense of taste. I love food. And I love them especially when the common blends and taste pairing are discarded, but, instead non-overlapping flavours are valued. Think about Indian food and the secret of its flavourful taste! I have to admit that food takes a huge portion of my spending. I’m never afraid to try something new and I enjoy expressing my compliments over a meal again and again and again…

During these COVID times, I illustrated more recipes to create travel memories through food. Fortunately, I don’t have to travel far to get a taste of delicious cuisine. In a two-minutes walk from home, an exotic meal awaits me! Here are my latest illustrated recipes. They can also be found on They Draw and Cook Website.

Imagine… Travel…

Imagine… Travel…

When the COVID crisis was just looming around the corner, we were in intense state of planning for a holiday in Shanghai. It was an exciting time. Flights and hotels were just a click away from purchasing until we came to our senses and realised that this was such a bad idea. Then COVID – 19 exploded…

Our plans changed to a holiday in Greece – Athens and Santorini. Flights and hotel accommodations were all bought. After all, Wuhan was far away from Greece. Then COVID – 19 entered Europe. We were on a lockdown. This was not only affecting our holidays but even more our work travels.

We remained positive and accepted that this is how it is. I didn’t really miss traveling until lately. It has been awhile now and I’m imagining myself sat at a cafe somewhere…

Well, during the past days, I created travel memories through illustrations. It was fun creating them. They brought me back during those times, although a bit of sadness was felt too. I wish I’m back in Asia.

Please walk with me and take the trip down the memory lane. There is nothing wrong in celebrating the past this way. Although these adventures will never be recreated, they were fun for as long as they lasted…

Golden Helsinki

Golden Helsinki

Autumn is my favourite season. Everywhere in Helsinki seems to be framed by this beautiful Autumn colours and the lovely golden backdrop. Helsinki is even more beautiful in Autumn and this year has been an endless supply of warm and sunshine.

One of the best places to see the Autumn colours is at the Hesperia Park. This park never ceases to amaze me and gives so much hope for the coming darkness.

All photos by Ari Vitikainen @http://arivitikainenphotography.com

Magical Kuusamo

Magical Kuusamo

It has been many months since the last time I was on an airplane. To be exact, it was on the 1st of December 2019, coming back from our holiday in London. Although there were many travel plans over the last months, the Corona virus put them all on halt. But September is a wonderful time to visit the northern Finland.

We flew to Kuusamo and from there, we explored the surrounding areas. We started in Myllykoski (rapids). The hanging bridge was the most magical of all!

And the Kitkajoki (river) is very beautiful in the midst of the Autumn backdrop.

Waiting for the sunrise on the top of Pähkänä Kallio was such a highlight. It was so beautiful that I almost forget how tricky it was to find the place in the dark.

While the sunset was on Konttainen mountain peak. Although, it was a blustery day, it was a sunset worthy of the climb.

We were always met by beauty as we drove around the area. Colourful trees lined up the roads. There were peaceful lake areas and blue foggy moments. We even found a small magical lake surrounded by multi-coloured tress. Beauty was everywhere! Autumn is indeed my favourite season.

But the climax of the trip happened during the last night of our holiday on Rukatunturi (fell) at midnight when the skies were clear and the stars were visible. There I experienced something I haven’t experience before under the massive night sky. The Northern Lights appeared above us, flickering as if begging for attention. It was the most beautiful thing ever!

But beauty didn’t stop there. On the way to the airport on a foggy morning… My heart overflowed with gratefulness!

All photos by Ari Vitikainen @arivitikainenphotography.com

Aside

Konditoria Huovila

381A7F46-0163-4BC1-9043-D540429787F4Stood by the town hall in Hamina at 4 in the afternoon, I can’t help but think that it’s coffee o’clock! At this instance, the best move was to look at Google map and type in “the best coffee in town”. With no further delay, the result was Konditoria Huovila. Well, it was the cafe just right across the street from where we were standing with it’s tagline, “Joka hetki on juhlahetki”. (Every moment is a moment of celebration). How appropriate is that!

The Konditoria (confectionary) Huovila in Hamina was established in 1966 in a building constructed in 1888. The place is idyllic with many elements from the past. And the best part –  the coffee was good and the sweetness of the cakes was just right!

All photos by Ari Vitikainen@ https://www.arivitikainenphotography.com