Tag Archives: Helsinki

Joulupuu Charity

Image via awkwardfamilyphotos.com/

Image via awkwardfamilyphotos.com/

Christmas is coming, isn’t it nice? (Although I prefer the Finnish word joulu because it reminds me of the pagan roots of the celebration). The season of giving and over-eating. The best! Have you already started your Christmas-crafting and present buying? Or are you finished already? Either case, I’m here to get your attention to Joulupuu…

Joulupuu is a charity for getting Christmas gifts to those most vulnerable in our society; the kids in the social care system. It’s organized by the Junior Chamber of Commerce and it’s a national event.

joulupuu-logo-pieni-2012

How it works then? Joulupuu has published a list of most wished/preferred gifts on their website. The gifts are then collected between certain dates in one location. In Helsinki that’s Forum Shopping Centre. I’ve also seen Christmas trees with hanging tags where child has written themself what they’d like to get.

Now to the best part…Handmade gifts are cool too! I did the work for you and here are some ideas (picked from the official list) you could make yourself.

Girls/Boys Ages 0-1: Clothes sized 80cm, soft toys
Boys Ages 2-4: Clothes 86-92cm for 2-year olds, 104-114cm for 3 to 4 year olds
Girls Ages 2-4: Clothes 86-92cm to 104-114cm, play food, dolls and their accessories, Hello Kitty, Littlest Pet Shop and My Little Pony-themed things
Boys Ages 5-7: Role playing outfits. Good themes: Pokemon, Spiderman, Turtles. All kinds of superheroes would do well here.
Girls Ages 5-7: Dolls and doll accessories, role playing costumes, Hello Kitty, Littlest Pet Shop and My Little Pony-themed things, jewellery
Boys Ages 8-10: Sports related items, wool socks,
Girls Ages 8-10: Jewellery, wool socks
Boys Ages 11-18: Toiletry bags, sports related items; knitted socks, hats, mittens, scarves
Girls Ages 11-18: Make-up bags, jewellery, bags; knitted socks, hats, mittens, scarves

I’ve seen wishes for bedding sets too. Pillowcases and duvet covers. I would think that for especially older kids anything for building a home would be appreciated. Couple of cool cushions, bedspreads etc. I wouldn’t buy random mugs but for example that starter dinner set at IKEA would be quite bitchin’ and pots and pans would be quite alright too. And this leads to…

I spoke with the organizer Jeni Suhonen and she said that especially teenagers need gifts. Everyone wants to buy presents for babies and young children and teenagers get completely forgotten! Not cool, peeps. The full teenager wishlist include: music, makeup, gift cards to popular clothing stores like Stadium, H&M, Gina Tricot, sports equipment, clothes, books, perfumes and scents. You know, stuff that normal teenager would like.

The full list in Finnish is HERE. The list of all Junior Chamber joining is HERE.

-Thrifty Finn-

 

 

Shopping Therapy a la Tallinn…

Couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine convinced me to go to Tallinn with him and his aunt. My plan was to take some pretty pictures of the lovely Old Town but I forgot to charge my camera battery and got only one shot. Well planned, Niina. Well planned. We only had 4 hours in Tallinn but we managed to eat a lovely lunch and do some shopping…

Tallinn, Kalev chocolate, Thrifty Finn

Kalev-chocolate. I always stop by the Kalev-store when I’m Tallinn because it’s conveniently on the route from the harbour to the Old Town. The chocolate is cheap and delicious, just the way I like it. I might even prefer it over Finnish chocolate manufacturer Fazer.

Tallinna2

There’s this cheap but fantastic shop that sells cosmetics in the Virü-shopping centre. It’s not on the main floors and it’s bit tricky to find but it’s there ;) No, I’m not going to tell you where, you have to find it yourself but anyway, it’s my regular pit stop. I spotted this brand, which I think is Russian and makes 100% organic beauty products. Of course I don’t know how true that claim is but the packaging is pretty and 1.80 for a 100 ml tube is cheap! I got a lifting, moisturizing and refreshing masks. Haven’t tried them though. But that’s not all I got…

Tallinna4

I also got a pore minimizing serum by Organic Therapy for 6.50, a sickly sweet shower gel 0.80, a whitening tooth paste, also under 1 euro, an argan oil moisturizer (it’s for mature skin but for 4 euros, I thought to give it a try) and then couple of cute vaseline lip balms. They were only 35 cents each and I couldn’t resist the packaging:

Russian, lip balm, vaselin, retro packaging, Thrifty Finn

Very retro, very cute. Then, on our way back to the ferry, we stopped at a supermarket to stock up on some basics. I got some kitchen things, a bottle of wine (4 euros!!!) and socks. Glamorous. After I had paid and was re-packing my things on a bench outside the store, my friend comes to me, pushing a shopping trolley filled with booze and exclaims “I found cheap prosecco!” So what is girl to do? Get some said cheap prosecco herself:

prosecco, Tallinn, Thrifty Finn

Finally something glamorous! Just waiting for the perfect occasion to pop these babies open…

-Thrifty Finn-

 

Refraction: Weekly Photo Challenge

Few days ago my Instagram-feed was filled with cool, fragmented photos. I wanted in on that action too but A. the app was only for iPhones and when I found a version for Android…B. my version of it is too old for the app.

Gee. Thanks.

My obsession got even further when I saw this week’s challenge theme and I thought, maybe someone has already made a tutorial for Photoshop for this effect. No, no such luck. What is girl to do? Well, I didn’t get as far as creating a tutorial or even making something  super wow but I think I got something semi-good looking going on here:

fragmented sky in Helsinki, Finland Fragment2 Fragment3

Töölönlahti in Helsinki, Finland. I think I have potential here for some great graphic designs, don’t you think?

The rest of the interpretations of this week’s theme Refraction are HERE. All of my past challenge entries are HERE. If you have any decent ideas how to progress with this technique, please let me know in the comments.

-Thrifty Finn, terribly pleased with herself-

I <3 Marks & Sparks

You know. I like to think I’m somewhat conscious consumer. I buy what I use and think about the ethical consequences, within my own means of course. But I do appreciate good business too. I can much easier justify spending money on clothes and support textile industry because the materials for those you can re-grow over and over again, where as for smartphones…Once the metallic is dug up, it’s not replenishing itself.

This same goes for all kinds of packaging. I like well designed packaging and I think ALL the packaging in the world should be designed well. Once you use any kind of natural resource, you should use it the best possible way and the sum of all the parts should always be bigger than the basic cost! Nice surroundings and things create nice people.

With these thoughts…Let me tell you how excited I am about MARKS & SPENCER OPENING THEIR FIRST STORE IN FINLAND!!!

Note: This is not an advertisement. I haven’t received any compensation from M&S. I’m just a huge fan of British high street.

marks & spencer helsinki

Last Saturday, after the demonstration against #TTIP (yes, I’m aware of the irony but ethics and business are not mutually exclusive things), I bumped into a friend of mine and convinced him to accompany me to the newly opened store. (I had a good reason for this. I knew I was going to get all kinds of fashion fan-girly embarrassing once in the store. Needed support and backup).

My swooning started already at the entrance. The huge bouquet and dim lighting immediately gave me a feeling of luxury. Me? A luxury buyer? Yes! Please! Butter me up! Butter me up!

marks & spencer Helsinki

The ground floor has the more expensive (still reasonably priced) M&S- brands like Autograph and Per Una. I kept bouncing from one display to one another because I loved every single outfit. This orange coat with the plaid dress with electric blue highlights is a perfect example of everyday luxury that just oozes confidence, style and good taste. And oh glorious…I checked the dress on the hanger and there seems to plenty of room for hips & butt. Praise the English and their pear-shaped lower bodies. Now in Finland!

marks & spencer Helsinki, footwear

The British have perfected the smart casual office style. Even the shoes have details that make sensible shoes cute and sexy. And the price point…I found black ballerinas, leather, with those hidden heels that make ballerinas good shoes instead flat, feet killers for 60 euros! SIXTY EUROS! Usually I have to pay over 100 for them.

M&S has four floors and they are shared with the Finnish department store Sokos. However it’s clear what’s M&S-space and what’s not. There’s signage and of course the presentation is much more well thought:

MarksSparks4

I took a separate tour to the Sokos-side so I could get a full shot of this:

marks & spencer Helsinki

Me and my friend just kept nodding and repeating “they know how to sell, they know how to sell”. Even the music supports this. Very cool, very danceable and very, very selling. It was the kind of music that makes you want you to put your best face and clothes on and go out. M&S (and H&M among others) gets it. Even if I’m buying period panties, I don’t want to think that I HAVE to buy something. I want to want it.

Even the men’s wear department got me all excited.I mean, look at this display:

marks & spencer Helsinki, men's wear

If a guy wearing any of those looks, smelling really good came to me and said even so much a hello, I would put out. Yes, I said it because it needs to be said. A smartly dressed man is same to a woman as a half-naked woman is to a man. Suit catalogs are porno for women.

I have a feeling a lot of men in Helsinki will be finding Marks & Spencer-clothing in their Christmas-socks. Men, if you do, take the hint.

Anyhoo, on the same floor is also a small food section. It mainly has biscuits, candies and other packed snack foods. Do I even need to tell you my excitement level here? If you, like me, are package enthusiast, you love this section. Every single thing in here is such that you can give it as a gift. Even if it’s cheap, the packaging itself makes it a special and more thoughtful gift than, let’s say a TV-mix, from a regular store. Bonus is that you get the fantastic shopping experience.

I bought some chocolate covered honeycomb crunch thingies. Delicious. I joked with the sales assistant that this was my breaking point. After buying this one thing, I won’t be able to stop shopping there :D

My only negative thought is that M&S was brought to Finland by S-Group. S-Group is one of the two chains that control 80% of Finland’s food retail (and presumably a lot of other retail too since they own any kind of retail chain possible), so M&S is not really new competition. That also probably prevents them from opening a full scale M&S food retail space because S-Group wouldn’t want anyone new on their turf. Although the basement of the building where M&S now resides, already has a grocery store and the space would be perfect for M&S.

What comes to the fashion retail, I think the biggest blow will be for Stockmann (that’s the “better” department store in Helsinki). Their clients are more international and they have learned to shop at M&S when abroad. M&S clothes are also better priced and like I said, feel very luxurious. But then again, M&S brought much needed newness to the Helsinki- fashion and shopping scene and could bring everyone’s sales up. From an artistic and designer’s point of view, it’ fantastic have a place where I can get international inspiration. Patterns, cuts, displays…Hopefully an endless treasure trove.

Edited to add: The opening hours Mon-Fri 9-21, Sat 9-18, Sun 12-18

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. When I got to the lingerie department, the first thing I asked from the manager was that do you have the multi-packs? They did:

marks & spencer Helsinki

H&M just lost about 30-50 euros of business per year from me.

 

A Little Paper Shop

papershop, paperikauppa, helsinki, shopping

Few weeks ago, I was on a Sunday walk in Helsinki and spotted a very cute looking shop with tons of pretty goodies in the window. I immediately decided to come back next week because who doesn’t like lovely paper products?

papershop, paperikauppa, helsinki, shopping

papershop, paperikauppa, helsinki, shopping

They have these wonderful cards from various indie makers.

papershop, paperikauppa, helsinki, shopping

And I think these are a sure hit with the Instagram-crowd.

papershop, paperikauppa, helsinki, shopping

How about some wall art? They have bunch of others too and the prices seemed reasonable. Personally I’d be ready to hang some of the gift wrapping papers on the wall too:

papershop, paperikauppa, helsinki, shopping papershop, paperikauppa, helsinki, shopping, vintage floral pattern

The floral patterns are very William Morris-esque, don’t you think? The flamingo is just too perfect. There was also a vintage Paris-map paper that I nearly bought.

papershop, paperikauppa, helsinki, shopping

Everything is so nicely presented. They have notebooks, washi tapes, those bitty bags (can’t remember the manufacturer right now), gift wrapping and other paper related paraphernalia. Basically it’s a cute paper related Pinterest-board gone live. I could have bought everything but managed to control myself to buy some necessary crafty supplies but that’s for another post.

papershop, paperikauppa, helsinki, shopping

I don’t have a bad thing to say about this place. You can find it on Fredrikinkatu 18. They have an online store too and you can find it HERE. The postage to Finland is always free and they have service in English too.

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. Do I even have to tell you that I love the smell of paper? All the paper sniffers of the world, unite!