• When Tiina Goes Hel(sinki)

    Tiina Kivelä

    I spent last weekend in Helsinki, meeting friends, tasting wine and browsing books. It was very snowy the first day – of course I bring snow with me – then it was very rainy – perfect reason to spent day in hotel bed – and all in all, it was an ok weekend. Helsinki isn’t my favorite city, quite the opposite, but it works well enough for short visits like this.  And why wouldn’t it, for that price…

    And an ok trip can give a lot too. Here’s my takeout from the weekend, in random order. Contains  references to wine, coffee, cheese, literature, personal history and struggles, and athleisure. Like any good trip.

    Helsinki Lessons

    • It could be Girl of the North Country – but I’m not changing the title right away.
    • New Zealand makes excellent sparkling, champagne method – until now I’ve been mostly Marlborough pinot noir & sauvignon blanc kinda girl, but now I have bubbly for the holiday season too – by Lindauer.
    • I remember drinking Spy Valley Riesling somewhere in good company and I’m pretty sure it had something to do with Stockholm and one American… It was good then and it was good this weekend too.
    • The best strangers remember your jewelry, even if and when they don’t sparkle like diamonds – greetings to the Vinum guys, for remembering and for the excellent wine and service.
    • There is a difference between 4 CHF Swiss pinot noir, 20€ Californian pinot noir and 50€ Californian pinot noir. I really wish I could afford the last more often. And accompany it with a road trip and surfing in California. Lucienne, you took my heart.
    • Swiss gruyere is still the best cheese ever – and Italian truffle pasta is an excellent invention as well.
    • Vegan cook books and self help for women are so trendy, when it comes to literature – while I stick to Tove Jansson – she  was an awesome writer, artist and I can easily resonate with her thoughts and writings, especially when it comes to traveling and human nature (and I like the fact that she’s illustrated a version of Hobbit, which has literary references to my Swiss home region too
    • Helsinki weather sucks. Therefore, you should go really north or stay south. Leave Slush for people trying hard to be cool (while they could come North and see how authentic cool looks like) or enjoy the sun for me too.
    • I should use hotel gyms more often. I don’t really like going to a gym, but I don’t travel enough to get bored in hotel gyms. And if and when the Helsinki weather, gym is better than run.
    • Deat Poet is an excellent drink (and suits literary theme of early winter / holiday season) but so is El Matador as well – both from Chapter.
    • Understanding which ticket to buy to Helsinki City Centre from Helsinki Airport is impossible. Though, with more time and energy, it could be made as an extreme sport. How to not get lost or not get fined for traveling in Finland.
    • If you have the time and energy, go and get your coffee in Helsinki Airport from Johan & Nyström, even if it’s far from your gate – it will be as expensive as coffee generally is in Helsinki Airport (it’s HEL for a reason, it seems – though a very beautiful hell), but it’s definitely worth the money and effort, compared to others in there –  and it also gives you a nice opportunity and reason, if you even need one, for a  little workout between flights – but watch out for the crowds and toilet lines, which makes being on time and surviving the journey without a bruise kind of an a challenge.

    In other words, Helsinki is not a leisure destination. It’s an extreme resort. Cheer’s for that.

    I’m now back to North, where it’s snow and around -15°C . That calls for Nordic skiing and sauna after work. Writing and pics will follow. And like always something is already in here and here. For more Helsinki and Lapland tips, you may also check #tiinagoeshel and for lapland #tiinagoeslapland.

    Keep yourself warm and enjoy Halloween safely!


    Tiina Kivelä


  • BLOG
  • Living Out Of A Suitcase With Mixed Feelings

    Tiina Kivelä

    Technically, I’ve been living out of a suitcase for almost four months now. One third of a year. I’ve had more or less permanent residencies during this time though, but the suitcase has stayed in the middle of a room all this time, in one form or other. And at this point, I’m a bit tired of this. First world problem, I know. But still – this not easy and I’m looking forward to December, when I’ll finally have a place for my stuff and myself, more of less permanent.

    On one hand, I’m wondering what I’ll do with all that personal space I’ll get with the flat. And what I will do with all that stuff in the storage still, which I haven’t needed the past 17 months. On the other, I can’t wait to have a place in where to rest properly. To have a place where to sit down and reflect, close to my books and coffee mugs and history. Hotels are nice, like the one I’m now in Helsinki, but they aren’t the same (and they are damn expensive in the longer run). It’s been an accidental experiment and important lesson this nomad life. An eye opener for my privileges, and misfortune. It’s a privilege, this freedom, but I’ve also been misfortunate – having had to move and start over so many times.

    Before I get my stuff out of the storage, I try to find enough time for a good reflection.  I’ll not read KonMari or any of the “how to have a good life as a woman” books out there (which seems to be a massive trend now, this women’s wellness). Instead, I’ll think how my grandmother used to organize her life in tiny places and around essential routines. I’m planning to make a list of the stuff I’ve really missed and needed, and also to built enough self discipline that when I’ll open the boxes, I’ll easily throw sell/give away the stuff I haven’t even remembered owning. I may read book or two about personal growth too (not the KonMari though); about how to identify and execute the essential, and just manage the hustle better. But I’ll not get overly stressed about straight lines on top of my chia bowl…

    Yes, you may noticed I have a few issues with the women’s wellness trend – I mean, I’m all about wellness, just read below, and all my post of nice hotel rooms and spa’s I’ve spent time this year. But making wellness another highly stressed way of live, and add more pressure to lean in and have it all… No thanks. I run my marathon but I’ll also drink my beer. Without regrets.

    Tiina Kivelä


    I’ve come to notice that when you live out of a suitcase, you are kind of a drifter, no matter how cool it may look. Day by day, it gets easier to leave, to move on and not care too much. Which, essentially, creates almost an unbearable lightness of being, as Milan Kundera has put it in one of my favorite books. You don’t really have your own space this way; the only space you can and will claim is yourself. Or that’s how I feel about it. While being overly connected in one way, and so happy for all the technology and money and freedom, which allows me to keep contact to my friends and loved ones wherever I am or they are, and travel and move this much, I feel overly disconnected. I can and I go as I like. Unbearable lightness, that is.

    I don’t seem to be alone in this. Some say comfort is the new cool. That more than ever, we seek to regain connection and comfort. For ourselves and others. For some, this creates new business opportunities and others try to remake a remake of the office before another remake. And for someone like me, this is shown in the way I turn into comforting things, familiar things; solitude and stories and food and even wine. Nature and sleep and good design. Things which soothe and reduce the stress and noise in the head.  Things which make me physically so tired that I forget how mentally trained I am. Remember the marathon?

    Research at the University of Oregon concluded that exposure to sunlight and outdoor views correlated to about 6 percent fewer sick days than those without

    I’m still looking for the good place to live in. Not sure I even need to find a place, but something is missing here. It doesn’t need to be a place, maybe it’s other way of moving on. But something, something can be done better, like always. Maybe I start with the sunlight exposure. And outdoor activity possibilities.

    These days, me and my suitcase are exploring Helsinki. Browsing books and listening good writers in Helsinki book fair; drinking wine and tasting food (there’s Applenzeller cheese – grüezi!) in wine & book fair, and having cocktails and meet-ups with local friends. Helsinki is still not my cup of tea, quite far from it, and I’m afraid it never will be. But like always, good people and good moments make it bearable. Some book and wine tips will follow here, for sure, and maybe, hopefully, some bar & restaurant tips too.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Yesterday, I arrived in Helsinki during a heavy snowfall. In the evening, I walked to the restaurant to meet a friend, along snowy Aleksanterinkatu, to Senate Square and the Cathedral, which stood there like an ice queen, opposite the cozy looking restaurants with candles and beautiful people.  It was snowing still, big fluffy flakes, and the scene was a bit melancholy, nevertheless lovely, fusion between Nordic Noir and Leo Tolstoi: “The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience”. Then I went and had some awesome cocktails which had their literary references right with my friend.

    On my way to sleep I stopped to get a falafel-halloumi pita from Fafa’s (my Helsinki late night routine for years already), before returning to my suitcase. From there, I picked my pyjamas, sat down to browse the books I bought from the book fair, and tried to think something which would read cool and thoughtful in here. But in reality, I was just happy I had food, a big comfy bed and warm shower. I thought I needed a good rest and I knew I’d gonna get it the next few nights. And luckily, others had already said what I needed at this point.

    Like my altime favorite Tove Jansson has said, snow also looks (and really is) cold, but if you make a snowhouse of it (like the snow lantern or igglo), the house will be warm. With the same logic, maybe this “cold” life can also be warm, if I make it warm. I don’t know yet how, but I’m on my way. Wish me luck. And please, if you have any tips of how to make this kind of life more bearable, share your thoughts. Me and my suitcase would appreciate. And maybe there’s someone else struggling with the same things as I. So hi – you’re not alone.




  • BLOG
  • But I’m Hiking In Lapland

    Tiina Kivelä

    Despite the recent efforts and wishes I still haven’t seen any tickets to Switzerland with my name. Luckily though, the sun started to shine in Lapland as well. And on top of that, the first snow arrived with glistering frost and magical landscape. Yay! They’ve also opened the first “stored” snow Nordic skiing tracks in Rovaniemi, so it’s not so bad being here either. I haven’t been skiing yet, but I’ve enjoyed the weather and posed well for selfies while hiking in Lapland – exactly in Pyhä-Luosto National Park in the pictures, for example. [Strava data]

    And please, let me have a fashion blogger moment in here. May I introduce: my cool new jacket! It was damn expensive, but as it’s 6 years since my last shell jacket I kind of needed badly a new one. Moreover, this practical beauty (and apparently a bit of eco too) is finally a jacket which is long enough to cover my butt (no fitness blogger butt selfies in this blog), and it has long enough sleeves while being lean enough. Quite naturally then, it’s the kind of self-care I deserve, especially with this color (still a rare find in women’s collections).

    This week I’m having few more days of this and work, followed by weekend in Helsinki, for some books and wine and urban training (Helsinki Book Fair, some wine & food fair which has no english name, running, swimming and sauna). Maybe I find and can then tip you another cool remote working place in there too. In the series of which, I’ve moved myself into a new office up here, so less remote work in the coming weeks. And I have to say, if something, constant change is permanent in my life. It’s not light, but it has some good sides too. At least I don’t get bored easily.

    Now I’m plugging off to sleep the Monday blues away. Take care, enjoy the sun while you can, and talk to you later!

    Tiina Kivelä

    Where: Pyhä-Luosto National Park