Riverside Park

Riverside Park

The Riverside Park is located in Kotka city. This park was previously called Friendship Park after friendship trees were planted here during the mid-70’s. From 2012 to 2015, the park was rebuilt and changed its name to Riverside Park. It used to be a part of the Kotka harbour in the old days for shipping livestock, mainly sheep, to Tallinn and Narva.

Although it’s not a vast park in terms of its area, it was designed to cover an array of colourful plants where people can enjoy a nice walk and a lovely picnic with a view of the river. It’s amazingly beautiful!

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

Settled

Settled

On Tuesday, I got a message that my iMac has arrived and that I can pick it up from the mall which is some 2 minutes walk from our flat. The iMac that I ordered was, of course, pink and I’m one of the first ones in Finland to have got it. It is beautiful that I can’t resist not making an unboxing video which can be found here:

https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMdFYAcSN/

So the product is not only beautiful and chic, the display and the audio are also so amazing. What is more was the fact of what it actually says about me. I’ve settled! I’ve been a wanderer for many years. All my life I felt that I have to be somewhere. Then after nearly 6 years in Helsinki, I feel like I’ve come home and this iMac symbolizes that fact! 🙂

Beautiful Finnish summer

Beautiful Finnish summer

It’s the second COVID summer in Finland. However, the COVID cases are getting lower each passing day with 47 cases yesterday. Vaccination is in full speed. 49.2 % of the population have now received one dose while 12.2 % are already fully vaccinated. Seems like things are going to the right direction and most of the restrictions have been lifted, expect for large gatherings and the recommendation to avoid non-essential travels. This feels like I’m very much affected as I’m truly missing concerts and traveling. This is also affecting my work!

But here I am, grateful of the beautiful summer we are experiencing in Finland right now. Blue skies, blue waters and colourful flowers. It’s just about right. It’s just what I needed! How is your summer? Let me know!

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

Conquering the second year of COVID summer

Conquering the second year of COVID summer

Exactly a year ago, I wrote my first blog about the beginning of my summer COVID style. I thought it was the first and the last COVID summer. But here I am conquering this second year and hoping for the best. My work has been very much affected as it involves travels and gathering of people. But we have gone too low that there is no other way but to go up! Let’s conquer this summer in blue! Blue skies, blue sea, blue dress and coffee! 🙂

Traveling through food

Traveling through food

One thing I find exciting about traveling is getting a taste of the local food. I always remember the excitement of looking for a place to eat during travels. One of my travel highlights was having dinner at the Souk in a beautiful evening in the Medina. I love Moroccan food in a Tajine with different kinds of vegetables. I also remember those times in Bangkok with my colleagues searching for a good dinner in the middle of endless choices.

Aside from enjoying a good meal, I also love illustrating food as a food memory, as something to look forward to eat and as a recipe for reference. Here are some of my food illustrations.

Enjoying these food in Helsinki in the comfort of home is something I look forward to during partial lockdown. I don’t have to travel far to savour every taste. Although, I’m still hoping that someday soon I can travel again and enjoy the local delicacies. How about you?

Traveling through illustrations

Traveling through illustrations

Remember that time when traveling is possible? Here is my travel journal from June 2019. It was fun looking back on that time when traveling seems to have become a possibility for more and more people. But then you know how the story goes…

After June 2019, I created my travel journals digitally. This one was about Iceland from October 2019. This was published on They Draw and Travel

My last holiday trip abroad was in London in November 2019 which I journaled as a boarding pass and as a part of a small book project.

I continue working on illustrating my past travels and will be posting them in the coming days. I hope you’ll do the same too. Creating travel journals has a way to bring you back to those happy memories. 

Pandemic creativity

Pandemic creativity

Creativity is not meant to dry up during the pandemic. In fact, I feel an overflowing daily dose of supply of creativity. It’s probably my way to distract myself and feel a sense of accomplishment, even more so during this strange time. No travels, no worries. We can always dream and anticipate the moment when we can. This pandemic too will pass!

Aside from work where I also get to illustrate, my official GIPHY channel has been approved on the 24th of February. As I write, my simple gifs have been viewed 54,8 M times. It feels amazing! I also created a TikTok account three days ago in preparation for a bullet journaling project. One of the things I’m really enjoying this moment is creating dream boarding passes. Yes, let’s dream! Here is your boarding pass to Helsinki.

I also created London, Japan, South Korea and New York boarding passes. I’m really enjoying this process. Which city would you like? Let me know! Have a great weekend to everyone.

Outdoor cafe, anyone?

Outdoor cafe, anyone?

There is nothing like a cup of hot, creamy chocolate in this very cold day. You need a warm blanket and another warm blanket to enjoy it outside. But the experience is worth it. It’s not an everyday occurrence to be sat in -10C but felts like -20C, right? A cafe on the island of Suomenlinna is just the best place to have it. This place is so idyllic and you will like its pink exterior. The cakes were lovely too!

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

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 admiring 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. My three purses fit perfectly in the box. How do you reuse yours?

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

All photos by Ari Vitikainen at arivitikainenphotography.com

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