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

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

Peaceful Burgas

Peaceful Burgas

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Photo by arivitikainenphotography.com

After all the busyness of the past weeks, I had no other choice but to look forward to a very relaxing few days. Seeing a bit of a gap during these busy times, I planned a holiday where all I can experience is peace and quiet. It’s a holiday that doesn’t need to hurry to go here and there, and to see this and that. Because all I really need is some rest, to read a book, to draw, to listen to music, to do origami… A stroll on a secluded beach will be a plus factor too. And there I found Burgas in Bulgaria!

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Staying some 20 kilometres from the Burgas City centre, it is not even overrated to feel completely isolated from the rest of the world. The resort was completely empty! It felt like I have a complete possession of the place, yet with friendly people cleaning up and serving us good meals. The daily walks on the empty beach was such a wonderful routine. And to hear the constant sound of the crashing waves gave such a comforting feeling. Of course, I didn’t really finish any book and haven’t done much drawing either. But I did sleep and ate a lot!

Beautiful Lisbon

Beautiful Lisbon

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I love Lisbon. The people, the food, the architecture, the sea, the language, the music are just some of the things to love about it. I love how the sun revealed and hid itself during sunrise and sunset. The colours gave so much delight that I wanted to witness these moments of change repeatedly by Ponte 25 de Abril and Cristo Rey, by Cais Das Colunas overlooking the Rio Tejo, by the Belém Tower and by Castelo de S. Jorge.

p1300952Staying at a hotel on Rua Augusta near the Arco da Rua Augusta, it was easy to walk around the city and explore Barrio Alto and Rossio Square. The Santa Justa Lift is just nearby. Rua Augusta, the main pedestrian street of Lisbon, also gave a lot of good food experience. Pastelarias are everywhere to get a taste or two of the famous Pastel de Nata and the Pastel de Bacalhau. Ginha bars are also in many places to try Ginjinha, a sweet cherry liqueur which originated in Lisbon. I recommend sipping it from a chocolate cup. Although the chocolate cups came in later, around 10 years ago from Óbidos, the chocolate town of Portugal.

p1310136Then there were lovely walks in Alfama and the sentimental Fado music experience. The costal town of Cascais was also just an hour train ride to the west of Lisbon, then walking all the way to Boca du Inferno. The weather was pleasant, not cold and not warm. It was just right. The sun was shining and even the light rain added more spice to this wonderful holiday. One thing I was always tempted to say was Arigato instead of Obrigado. After all, Arigato originated from Obrigado. It was also interesting to understand that I can now travel using both English and Spanish. I totally recommend Lisbon for your next travel destination!

The magnificent Mt Fuji

The magnificent Mt Fuji

850_3322After taking a very expensive Shinkansen ride from Kyoto to Mishima, it took a bit over an hour to reach Fujikawaguchiko on a Thomas’ Land bus. It was a lovely surprise to get on a Thomas’ Land bus. It was the cutest bus I’ve ever been!

850_3331Arriving in Fujikawaguchi, Mt Fuji’s presence can be easily felt. It is very domineering that there is no way to miss it. It is behind the bus station and it shows itself at the restaurant while eating a bowl of soba.

Then a further 25 minutes ride on another bus led to Lake Kawaguchiko where Mt. Fuji reveals itself in all its majesty.

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36518196_10156990265472137_1575591314970378240_nAnd by the Lake Kawaguchiko, I also saw the prettiest manhole ever!

Mt Fuji can also be seen from the guesthouse’s window while having breakfast and dinner. Even when taking a shower!

All photos by Ari Vitikainen @ arivitikainenphotography.com

Beautiful Kyoto

Beautiful Kyoto

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Imagine to be in a place so green, beautiful trees surrounding you. Then comes the rain, a wonderful relief from the summer heat. You are sat under a shade, feeling calm as you wait for the rain to pass by.

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Then you walk pass a beautiful garden. So beautiful, so breathtaking. It represents peace and tranquility.

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Then imagine walking pass traditional houses lined up on the narrow road. You walk in silence as not to disturb anyone. You are amazed at how clean these roads are. How quiet, how peaceful.

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This is Kyoto. Beautiful Kyoto.