Italy: Apulia (with gluten-free tips)

Our trip to Apulia was lovely but it’s also good to be back home. My husband has work to do, I could see the boys were already tired after the traveling and we all missed our routines. I can’t wait to do my usual, everyday things at home. I want to cook my own food, write my blogs and just spend a few hours alone in peace and quiet. Some practical notes. First of all, I had only hand luggages for myself (the others shared a bigger suitcase) but had still packed way too much. I was mainly wearing my…

Italy: Naples

Our long weekend in Naples is over and we are heading to Apulia this morning. Just a few days and I’m already in love with the city. I’m quite easy this way. If there’s a volcano and the place is a bit shabby I probably like it. Naples is very much like Catania that way and I like the both places. I generally enjoy Italy and the southern part is a great place to find gluten-free food (pizza, pasta, even pastries) which makes it an easy destination for my family. Unfortunately The Mount Vesuvius area was closed due to fires…

Packing for family holidays

I would love to have a beautiful, stylish wardrobe where every item has personality and is carefully considered and preferably handmade or second hand. Unfortunately I’m not patient enough for that. I’m not willing to use the time or make an effort and usually choose an easy option: basics. Most of my clothes are very basic. Jeans, basic shirts, maybe a black dress. All my t-shirts had little holes in them and I needed something for summer so I added a few pieces to my small wardrobe. I was looking for white trousers and found a pair of white stretch…

Assumptions

The older I get the more it disturbs me how easily people make assumptions about other people. For example, people often think I’m a certain type of a person because I like tattoos. Or that I’m stereotypically something just because of my age or gender or because I’m a mother. It’s not that way in reality, of course. The biggest effect motherhood has had on me is the tremendous love I feel in my heart. It has also effects on my actions because I want my sons to feel safe, loved and taken care of. However, it hasn’t had an…

Not hidden in corners

Clutter hidden in corners feels emotionally heavy. It takes space in my mind using my capacity even I don’t actively think of it. I just know it’s there. Letting go makes me more energetic. It lifts my spirit and I can feel how the stagnant energy previously stored in unnecessary, unwanted items is suddenly free for me to use as I like. It doesn’t have to be unwanted stuff. Sometimes we don’t value things enough. I’m still amazed how big an effect it had to move our books from upstairs corners to our downstairs living room. We used to have…

Paris love

There’s been an unintentional break in my blogging, sorry about that. I was busy accomplishing things at home and did three lovely trips to Paris. Now I’m in such a good mood after all that, my heart feels light and happy. My original thought was to keep this blog focused on traveling but the truth is I don’t have time to update it during my trips, it’s easier to do it afterwards. My library project is almost finished and having my books near me all the time is an absolute joy! This was one of the best ideas ever. I…

Botanical thoughts

I found these flowery cards in Taormina, Sicily two years ago. I visited Sicily twice that summer, first with my family for two weeks and later to see a concert in Taormina for two days. I had planned buying a tarot deck to use as a writing tool (by picking a card, thinking about the symbol or theme in the card and doing a small writing exercise around it) so I visited a small card shop. I knew nothing about tarot and chose these flower cards just for their pretty botanical illustrations. Even the box says “flower tarot” these are not…

Labels

I never intentionally labeled myself as a minimalist, I’ve always thought I’m just someone who wants to have less and loves simplicity. I named my blog Helsinki Minimalism simply because it’s a nice, compact name and sounds good in my ears. I still like it. I don’t mind being called a minimalist though. For me it means only positive things like knowing what’s essential in life and moving from the situation where we have so much and still not enough to another one where we have less but still everything we need and want. I read this post from Leo Babauta…

Positive cycle

I don’t believe in having only sunny, happy days. I think it’s natural to have also melancholic feelings and it’s natural to let those feelings show. For me it feels fake to pretend they don’t exist. Maybe I see it this way because I live in a Nordic country so I’m used to seeing how darkness and nature during long winters can affect human mind. However, for things to go smoothly it’s important we work for our moods and maintain a good, positive energy level in our everyday life. The state where things happen like we had hoped for and…

Minimalism and teenagers

The most common question people have lately asked me is how to manage to live a minimalistic life with a family and especially with teenage children, something generally seen if not totally impossible at least a big challenge. I understand where the assumption comes from but in my experience it’s not true at all and there’s a natural explanation for it. When people of my generation (today’s parents) were young things were not as easily available as they are for today’s teenagers. We developed a mysterious glory around stuff and dreamed how it will magically change our lives if we…