Finland – The Finndian Way!

I apologise in advance, there will be lots of pics, but then again there are gaps in the photos, as they include my kids and nephew, and we don’t generally put them on the blog!


As you all know, we had our surprise trip to Finland planned for the half term holidays. The main aim of the visit was to surprise my Pops for his 70th birthday!

Things are never smooth sailing, as I mentioned in a previous post to you all, but it started with traffic before we had even arrived!

Then once we checked in, the security check was another obstacle! I had all my liquids in a little bag, and was confidently striding over to take my bag off the conveyor belt when I realised that it was on the other side of the perspex screen… erm… what have I done now?

It ended up not being me, but Hubby Dearest slipping a roll on deodorant in my hand luggage! As the security guy checked everything, he asked me whether I had ever been told I resembled anyone… Nope, not really, apart from my mum!

Apparently I am the spitting image of Shappi Khorsandi, the Iranian Comedienne!



You Decide!




We managed to release ourselves from there relatively quickly after the guy told me that was a great compliment, and Hubby Dearest muttered “Hitting on my wife… in from of me!” under his breath as we walked away!

The flight was as uneventful as it could be, with two kids who can’t be near each other for too long!



The sea of cloud we flew across


Arrival and taxi to the hotel was fine, and we were greeted by the sight of several older folk literally staggering around the front of our hotel, drunk! There had a vow renewal service there, and obviously, it was a very good party afterwards!

My brother was sat inside cringing… What a first impression of Helsinki! But we loved it! Looked like a great place to be!

The room was compact but able to accommodate all 4 of us, but there was no air conditioning, and considering the weather we had there, ranging from 23-25 degree Celsius the whole time, it was pretty hot!



I had my one and only drink there, a traditional Finnish brew called Original, made from grapefruit, that my brother introduced me too. It’s a shame I ended up too tired most evenings, as that would have been a nice end to each of the days!


The next day we were picked up by my brother ready for the main event, the photo shoot. Pops was speechless when we walked in, not expecting to see his whole little family in one room at the same time! I think we truly made his year!  Many photos were taken, of the family and various combinations of this person and that!



This is what love is!



I snuck in and took some candid shots of the shoot taking place, and this is one of my wonderful parents!


It was so amazing to all be together, seeing my brother, sister-in-law, and my gorgeous nephew! Seeing our children bonding was priceless. They don’t get that chance much, but I was so happy to see it all!

After the photo shoot, we were whisked back to their flat for lunch. We experienced the Metro and walked through parts of the city too.

20160529_115043 This was when we saw Pii Poo… Sorry, I had to giggle at that name… toilet humour… runs in the family! It was a toy and Lego shop that Lil Man was desperate to go to, but it was always closed when we went there!


After lunch, my brother took the boys to Team Helsinki’s cricket ground, which was like a dream come true for Lil Man, who got to play in their nets! He surprised a few there too with his skills!


We spent at least an hour a day, if not more, at various parks during our stay there, as there are these amazing parks for children all around the city. Children are given the opportunity to learn through play so much, and learn independence, and social skills through learning to share!

The next day we walked LOTS! From the hotel, we went down the Boulevardii.



One of the main  roads in Helsinki city, it has a mix of amazing buildings and eclectic shops down it, cafes and restaurants spring up all over the place!


There are so many wonderful buildings to see, like the Cathedral, and various theatres, and the main station with its iconic 4 figures at the front.

We walked up the steps to the Cathedral, and my brother took an arty shot from the bottom, but I haven’t got that yet! It’s kind of ‘spot the Indians’! But I do have Pops and me helping each other down the stairs!


We went to a park named The Plague… beautiful park, gruesome history! Basically, when the Bubonic plague hit Helsinki it lost two-thirds of its population, and this was where many were buried.


A memorial to those that died of the Plague

We saw the Wooden Church, (surprisingly all made of wood), that was in the middle of the City.


We crossed numerous bridges too, over the canal…


There is also this great installation near my brother’s flat, on the dockside. Basically, a charity drive was set up called Horizons, to raise funds to clean the waterways around the city. Those that donated had their names on little metal plaques. They are all attached onto this wall, and when the wind blows they look like the waves in the sea!

I can’t forget to mention the Pissing  Man! What a funny installation!!


The next day was a trip to the Zoo which is on an island! We walked in through the city to the docks to catch a ferry. Boy, was it hot!

I don’t entirely agree with zoos, and animals in captivity, but it was pretty amazing to be so up close to so many magnificent creatures, like lions, tigers, bears, to name a few!

Can’t forget the beautiful Peacocks and Peahens!

Oh, and I got attacked by a Canadian Goose! I unknowingly went to close to its nest, and it flew at me and pecked at my head! I still have a sore spot there!



This is not the crazy duck, but one with two gorgeous ducklings!



I also caught Pops and Mum strolling romantically through the enclosures!


And we can’t forget the giant mosquito!


That was also the night Lil Princess suffered heatstroke (told her to drink plenty and keep her hat on, but would she listen?!) so we dealt with vomit and all sorts, thanks to a great hotel staff!

The next day meant that I had to stay in with her, as she wasn’t right, but the rest of the Finndian contingency went on a boat ride courtesy  of my Sis in Law’s brother. Lil Man got to steer the boat too, he was so excited! And they went to one of the numerous islands on the coast to paddle in the sea!



Lil Man sailing!




My Family



Popped for a coffee with my Pops, Mum and Brother, while Hubby Dearest had the kids at a play centre, and sis in law took my nephew for his nap!


It was a wonderful trip, all in all!

Here are a few other random shots from the trip…



Dog parking anyone?



Breakfast fit for a Queen!



Egg Box Lego! How cool!!



Good indicators!



A boat Lil Man insisted I take a picture of!



Row upon row of Nakki – or Sausage to you and me!



Luggage packed, it was time for home…



Helsinki cried as we left…


And to top it off on the plane, Lil Man had a pocketful of change so wanted to buy something from the Dutyfree… he found Jellybeans for five Euros. Then he promptly spilt half of them on the floor. As he was eating some of the surviving ones, this happened!



Yup, that’s his tooth! Luckily it was already wobbly!

So now we are home, my piles of laundry are done, and it is back to the real world… one more day before school starts back…

I only wish I could share the video of Pops being surprised… I was just sent it today, but it has the children in it… Still this whole holiday has been a time to create priceless memories, and to cement relationships for the kids with their other family.

It was wonderful! I hope you enjoyed a little stroll through Helsinki with me!










A Fine Day With The Animals!

On Friday we had visitors so decided a day trip would be good. The weather appeared to be fine and it was decided that we visit Howletts,  wildlife conservation park nearby.  I have posted about Howletts before, when we visited the park with my school.

It was a lovely day out, seeing the elephants and rhinos. They have successfully bred these animals, and reintroduced many into their natural habitats too!

The black rhinos had a baby and they were so lovely to watch, mummy helping baby out of a trench, and them walking companionably together around their paddock. the elephants were just magnificent and there were a good eight of them in the aea at once, following each other around.

The tigers, once they woke up, were pretty amazing too!

And I just love the monkeys, all manner of primates, from Gorillas to baboons to macaques. We saw the big gorilla really show his authority, and even beating his chest at one point. A motorbike zoomed past, outside the park and the noise got his hackles up, so he raised to his two feet and beat his chest, before running towards us, then stopping and striking the pose below (that’s him, the silver backed one!). The keeper came out too and they all knew it meant food time. Big man over there went and sat slap bang in front of the food hatch and waited until he chose his food, two carrots and a leek. After he sauntered off to eat the others got a look in. But it didn’t stop a cheeky younger one from tapping the big guy on one shoulder, reaching over and snatching a carrot from the other side then running away! Hilarious to watch!  Then the other beautiful beast was brilliant too, playing chase with two younger ones through cages and tunnels, before sitting down to contemplate life and stare wistfully out!

The baboons had us in hysterics, chasing each other around, each playing the ‘Big I Am’ and asserting authority before another scared the first away!

The Asian leopards were pretty stunning though one pooped as we were watching and the kids marvelled at the similarity between Sonu Singh and his bigger cousins!


The park was set up by John Aspinall, the centre, along with it’s sister park Port Lympne where you can even stay in cabins and go on jeep safaris, to help with the conservation of these beautiful animals, and many more, like giraffes and zebras too!

And here are a few Instagram posts I made from the day too.






All in all, a lovely day!

#SoCS April 30/16 – Zoo

Linda’s SoCS prompt for this week…

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “zoo.”  Use the word zoo, or find a word that contains it. Have fun!


Zoo – I’ve visited many zoos in my life, from when I was younger, ’til date when instead of being taken, I am the one doing the taking, alongside Hubby Dearest!

I have always enjoyed the experience of being able to get so close to these magnificent creatures, who we would undebatably never encounter in our usual humdrum existences.

But is it fair? Allowing them to be sat in these cages, for all to stare at?

Admittedly, the cages are not so small anymore, the enclosures are usually huge, and there is much for these animals to do, but still…

When the children were younger, we took them to London Zoo.  They loved it! Then Lil Man decided it was time to give Mummy and Daddy a heart attack!

We had passed many big beasts and had watched as a Llama had a wee ( Lil Man’s highlight of the day!) and walked through the petting zoo area, where your usual farm animals were kept. It’s a relatively quiet area, as most people come there for the large animals, not goats and chickens, and such like. As we walked away, I was suddenly aware that my son, Lil Man was not by my side! Frantically we searched everywhere around us and retraced our steps. It’s amazing how long 5 minutes can feel like when you’re searching…

We found him… gazing longingly at a chocolate vending machine! Thank Goodness he was ok, but still, that is one memory I always associate with Zoos.

Zoolander – can you believe I only watched this a couple of months ago for the FIRST TIME! Now I finally understand what Blue Steel is all about! LOL! Hopefully, I watch the sequel in a more timely fashion!

There you go, ZOO!

Have a great Saturday Peeps!


Our Day at the Zoo

Yesterday, we had a great day!  The visit to Howletts went swimmingly!

We had great weather, no rain, even though Lil Princess still managed to be smothered in mud waist down(??!).

The animals were fantastic!

We saw elephants, rhinos, many different monkeys and primates, like gibbons, and macaus, baboons, tigers, leopards, wild dogs, fishing cats, pallas cats, lemurs, river water hogs, bongos ~(did you even know there was an animal called a bongo?!)


Mummy and baby


Sibling tussle!

This guy was so cute, he’d hit a box hung high with his trunk and it would shower him with carrot bits to eat!








Loud lemur!

Did you know lemurs got their name from the Latin word for ghost? In days of old, they would hide in the forest canopies and the humans would not know where the noise came from! They thought they were ghosts!

Mohican monkey!


Pallas Cat


Perfect Peacock!


Siberian Tiger


Magestic moggy up close!


European Bison

And not forgetting the


Black Rhinos

Then came my favorite! We were greeted by this sign…


Uh oh!

The Gorillas!


Beautiful beast!




What d'ya want?

A great day had by all!
Who knew such an amazing place was just round the corner from us?!

(Apologies for poor quality pics… I’m not the best photographer and these were taken on my phone!)

Day one of the holidays…


It’s officially day 1 of the kids half term holiday.
The weather is yuck, damp and foggy.
Great, a wonderful start, to what’s meant to be a fun day!
We’re off to Howlett’s Wildlife Park, it’s a kind of zoo. Like a Nature Reserve.
The kids are so looking forward to possibly seeing tigers, and gorillas and elephants!
The school has arranged it as a family day out, so I don’t need to worry about the travel etc, we go by coach, and the time there is ours, not structured. I’ve packed our lunches, just need to sort out suitable clothes, and Hubby Dearest will drop us off. I have my phone, so hopefully pictures will come out ok!

When we get back, I might actually be able to order our new bed (silent yippee! I’m still trying to convince hubby it’s the right one!!)

Then after dinner I still have 2 hours of Bhangra dancing and Dhol Drum lessons to endure…

Who said holidays were relaxing!? Who?? False advertising I say!!!!

My interactive peeps!

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