Bilberry Powder, Nordic Wild Foods

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I have always wanted to try bilberry powder and was lucky to receive a delivery, a couple weeks ago from a company called Nordic Wild Foods.

Elina and Hanna, the founders of the company are from Finland like I am and are currently living in Hong Kong. They are two very lovely individuals who really care for and are passionate about their products. Their berries are hand picked from the Northern parts of Finland, which is known to be one of the cleanest places on Earth.

So what’s the difference between normal blueberries and bilberries? They both are good for us but bilberries have more proven health benefits. I did some research on this and they are proven to help with eye conditions, diabetes, cancer and better functioning of the overall body.  Wild berries grow in the northern latitudes and they’re especially rich in vitamins, flavonoids, minerals and antioxidants. You can read more about this from their website Nordic Wild Foods. When you cut it in half, a bilberry is darker compared to a blueberry and has a bit stronger flavour to it.

This powder has nothing added, so you will just get the pure flavour and benefits from the Nordic berries. I have made smoothies, breakfast and some baking with their powder, normally using 1-2 tsp per time.

 

Bilberry Chia Breakfast Pudding

  • Cup of Oat Milk
  • 3 tbsp of Chia Seeds
  • 1 tbsp of Maple Syrup
  • 2 tsp of Bilberry Powder
  • 2 tbsp of unsweetened Alpro Soy Yoghurt
  • Homemade granola

 

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Mini cheese cakes – makes two cakes with these measurements

For the base:
  • 50g / 4 Digestive vegan biscuits
  • 1 tbsp of Coconut oil
  • 40g Roasted Almonds
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
For the filling:
  • 175g Soy based cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp of Bilberry Powder
  • 1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup of Oat Milk
  • 1 tbsp of Agar Flakes to 2/4 cup of water

 

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Tropical Smoothie Bowl – This will be my personal favourite this summer!

  • Half a cup of Coconut water
  • 1 cup of Coconut Yogurt
  • 1 tsp of Bilberry powder
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 cups of frozen raspberries
  • 1 tbsp of Maple syrup

 

 

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Happy cookings with your bilberry powder ❤

thevegescandi x

Bank holiday weekends are the best!

What a beautiful weekend we had! What did you get up to?

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We were wandering around Brighton last Friday with the best weather! 24 degrees and blue sky all weekend. Already thinking about the summer months and all the cool stuff that is coming up. In the UK the summer season starts in May and I would actually say it’s one of my favourite months living in Brighton. Food festival, The Great Escape music festival and Brighton Fringe all in one month. People here knows it’s the beginning of the summer and can just feel the happiness around.

There is always some cool pop up bars around and one of the newest ones is this Bison Beach Bar in Kemptown. Had couple of beers in the sun and actually ended getting a good workout as well, because we’re living on the other side of the town ha! If you are in town, go and check them out – have a beer and watch the waves.

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On Sunday we headed out to London. I used to live there for 2,5 years and as hectic it gets, it’s nice to visit every now and than, specially in the summer. Had the best day for it as well 🙂 If you haven’t been to London yet, you got to put this on your bucket list! Really vibrant, colourful and beautiful metropolis. There is so much I could tell you about London, but you should go and experience it yourself!

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Our plan was to head over to North – East to see Victoria Market. They organise this beautiful little food market every single Sunday between 10am – 4pm and I was happily surprised how many vegan products and food stools they had, heaven! The easiest way to get there from Central London is to take central line to Bethnal Green and walk the rest of the way. It’s a really nice little walk on a sunny day like this, took us about 15 minutes.

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First thing I wanted to have was a strong coffee 😀 Got there and had a oat milk flat white, soo delicious! Flat whites are great because they are made with double shot of Espresso and with less milk, but still getting the whole taste spectrum – ab favs!

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Instagram is such a great place to find pop ups, products, food or anything really but in this occasion I found all the food stools before we got there. If you want to check this market it’s @victoriaparkmkt I was most excited about these two   Crosstowndoughnuts + Jakesvegansteaks

 

PHILADELPHIA STYLE CHEEZESTEAKS

 

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This was SO good! Sub, seitan, mustard and melted vegan cheese… I could just go back for this. All the stakes are fresh and handmade. I really like their business idea, these aren’t just for vegans, the purpose is to show all the people around that vegan food is and can be really delicious and is able to fix those Sunday cravings. My boyfriend had one and he is not vegan, but said this was the best seitan he has ever had before – so win win! Next time I will need to have those steak fries..

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CROSSTOWN DOUGHNUTS

 

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I have wanted to try these for the past year because of Instagram! Lot of people that I follow have been raving about how good these are and YES I agree. My filling was peanut butter and blackcurrant jam.. Oh lord! These guys has few shops around London city if you cant make it to the market. I will join these Instagram hypers – DO IT!

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Lovely little market and a very special day.

I am already waiting my next holiday, luckily I have a week off in couple of weeks. I have started to do my own morning routine and exercises, so far so good! I have only started doing these ( it’s been two days ) but feel my day flows very differently.. I have never been a morning person and always thought people can’t change but maybe I was wrong. I will be posting updates how I’m getting on mainly on Instagram – Should I write a full post in here? Let me know your views in here or Instagram, really interested to hear. Do you exercise yourself? would you want to start? If you workout or do yoga/meditation what benefits have you experienced? Ping me a message and check out my Instagram account @thevegescandi

thevegescandi x

 

Brighton weekend

I haven’t had nice chilled Brighton weekend for a while and last weekend was exactly what I needed – friends, bit of shopping and organising our house. Have to admit that often I overbook myself, so these chilled weekends are so precious! Brighton as a city is really chilled place, but also so vibrant – events, gigs and workshops happening all the time. If you haven’t been yet, time to book a train or a flight to come see this place.

We were planning to do a trip to Ikea the other weekend, but ended up staying in London for longer so that got cancelled, instead we went in last Friday… I’ve wanted to get couple of frames up for ages on our living room wall so was pretty excited about this. The idea was to have black and white photo collage. I bought that Finland city – poster from Helsinki last December and planning to build the collage around it. Where do you get your pictures framed? I’m still a newbie in this so all the advises welcome!

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After living in London for few years, it really made me appreciate nature and home. London life can be fabulous and great, but definitely not for everyone. I spent all my summers on the country side whilst growing up so probably this was one of the reasons why I fell in love with the beach in Brighton. 

For 3 years I have wanted to buy a professional camera and last week I did it!! If you’re looking into buying one I can really recommend Sony. My Camera is Sony a6000 with 50mm 1.8 Lens, great for food photography and great for anything really. Super happy with it 🙂 Had to take my camera for a test drive with a friend and actually ended up spending a lovely Saturday afternoon with her. If you’re looking for a nice cafe in Hove, The Flour Pot Bakery is awesome.

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Sunday we had more coffees and some vegan cakes at Sugar Dough, 18 Market St, Brighton. Really cute cafe in the South Lanes. I’ve never had a chocolate mud cake before, but this was ace! Favourite barista style coffee at the moment got to be oat milk Flat White, if you haven’t had one please do!!

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There is something about Sundays in Brighton, I don’t know how to explain or describe it other than having that feeling of Sunday – sounds silly but I’m sure people who live in this city feels the same. The feel of community, we all managed another week, charging batteries for the coming week. We often go to a pub on Sundays, have a couple of beers, see friends or family and eat Sunday roast. Everyone is super relaxed and just enjoying themselves. Long walks on the sea front.. The list goes on – living the best life possible and remembering to be grateful for it all, everything and everyone.

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Couple of shops we went in the North Laines, I fell in love with… And I know already where my next pay check goes haha! So one of them is this beautiful body and hair care shop called Aesop – check them out Aesop.com

Just the shop on it’s own has such a unique and beautiful look, you want to buy everything from there… Or maybe it’s just me?

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Another one is called Lucy and Yak, selling ethical fashion. Their shop opened in Brighton few weeks ago and this was my first visit, but will be back there soon. Beautiful summer wear – just in time for the music festival season too! Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures from there, but please go and check out their website, I want to buy all their designs – Lucy and Yak

And to finish off – this picture was taken just before I got soaking wet, can see that storm coming along the coast… Had a brilliant weekend, more of these please!

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Vegan Spinach Hazelnut Pancakes

Have you heard about spinach pancakes before? I used to looove them when I lived in Finland and specially growing up, my grandma used to make these all the time but with dairy and eggs. Just one of those things that you loved growing up, but have kinda forgotten their existence until now. I tried to find some history for these savoury pancakes, but I couldn’t find much more than they are from the 18th century and they have been part of traditional home cooking in Finland ever since.

So how can you make these fluffy plant based pancakes at home?

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You will need a high speed blender and a frying pan for this recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

1 tbsp of Flaxseed Linwoods

3 tbsp of Water

40g Fresh Spinach

150ml of Single Soy Cream Alpro Single Soy Cream

30g of Hazelnuts

200ml Oat Milk Aplro Unsweetened Oat Milk

2cm of Fresh Ginger

150ml of Self-raising Flour

50g Vegan butter Almond butter spread

1 tsp of Sea Salt

2 tsp of Brown Sugar

On top of the pancakes I added:

Oatly Cream Fraiche Oatly Cream Fraiche and Swedish Lingoberry jam from Felix

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METHOD:

Start by mixing flaxseed with water, mix and let it set for 10min on it’s own. Flaxseed mixed with water works like eggs. This is a life saver in plant based baking.

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Place your spinach, cream, milk, hazelnuts, flour, salt and sugar into your blender. Cut about 2 cm piece from fresh ginger, grate it and add it to your blender with everything else. Once your flaxseed mix has thickened for 10 minutes, pour this into the blender and mix all the ingredients well. I blended everything for about 30 seconds. You will see when all the ingredients are cut smooth and it looks like a nice pancake mix as in the picture below –

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Take out your frying pan and melt some vegan butter on it before pouring any of the mix in. Remember not to melt all the butter at once, you will want to add little bit with every second pancake I would say. Otherwise your pancakes will taste just like butter and not much else.

“How do I know when to flip the pancake other way round?” When you can see lot of air bubbles on your pancake than you know it’s ready – see below –

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This mix will give you about 10 pancakes, depending on the size you make them. So if you’re cooking for more people, just double or triple the mix ingredients and you’re good to go 🙂 Serve with Oatly’s Fraiche and Lingonberry jam, you find the links above.

 

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Happy cookings and please let me know what did you think of my hazelnut pancakes?

thevegescandi x

Almond Butter Filled Dates

Happy Friday everyone – I thought that I’d make your weekend a bit sweeter by sharing one of my favourite vegan sweet snack – recipes, these almond butter filled dates with home made chocolate and sea salt. YUM!

So.. these are super easy to make at home, perfect for a party or for yourself when you fancy something sweet.

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INGREDIENTS: For 10 filled dates

10 Organic Pitted Dates (if you want more, multiple the amount of chocolate ingredients)

Almond Butter – you need about half a tsp of almond butter for each one. Depending on the size of your dates.

Sea Salt Crystals

For the dark chocolate mix:

2 tbsp of Coconut Oil

2 tbsp of Raw Cocoa

1 tbsp of Maple Syrup

1 tbsp of Almond Butter

1 tsp of Vanilla Extract nielsenmassey.com

METHOD:

Cut your dates almost in half so that you can fill them with almond butter and pinch of sea salt.

Prepare your chocolate by melting all the listed ingredients together.

Cover your filled dates with chocolate mix and place to your fridge for cool down and let the chocolate to set.

Before serving, sprinkle some sea salt on your dates and enjoy!

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Have a lovely weekend folks!

thevegescandi x

 

 

 

Mushroom Spaghetti

 

Now where to start with spaghetti, everyone loves it right? I have always loved creamy pasta dishes and this particle one is pretty straight forward that you can make at home. Easy and super tasty, that’s what we’re after right..

So first of all, something new I learned – if you cut and roast your mushrooms with little bit of oil, they are so much more favourable.

For this recipe you will need a pot for your spaghetti, frying pan, high-speed blender, fan oven and a tray.

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INGREDIENTS:

Spaghetti of your own choice – I used 250g of Barilla’s whole wheat Spaghetti

2 Garlic Cloves

Half of White Onion

250g Chestnut Mushrooms

250ml Alpro Single Soya cream

Olive oil

Salt

Black Pepper

Paprika

Half a butternut Squash

Liquid Smoke ( optional )

Basil for decoration ( optional )

 

METHOD:

Reheat your over to 200 degrees Celsius. Dice your white onion and garlic. Add some olive oil to your frying pan and cook the white onion until golden brown, and then add garlic. If you add garlic at the same time with the onion it might burn and we don’t want that. Pour the cream in to the pan with onions and garlic, bring to boil and set aside.

Cut and slice up the butternut squash as you like, I made thinner square slices. You are going to roast the butternut squash, so the thinner your slices are the quicker they will cook. Spice these slices on a baking tray with some olive oil, paprika, black pepper, salt and liquid smoke. If you want to add some spice, you can use cayenne pepper instead of paprika. Keep checking these once they are in the oven and make sure you rotate them so the butternut squash cooks evenly.

Slice the mushrooms with Stems on them. Drizzle some olive oil on the mushrooms and place into the over for 15 minutes to cook.

Pour onion, garlic and cream into your blender with 2/3 of the roasted mushrooms. Cut the rest of the mushrooms to small cubes, these are going to add texture on your spaghetti. Add some salt and pepper to the blend – keep blending until smooth and you’re happy with the flavour.

Cook your spaghetti and mix everything together and you’re done 🙂 Let me know how your cooking goes!

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thevegescandi x

 

Weekend in Helsinki

 

This holiday was so needed. I travelled to Finland and spent a lovely weekend in Helsinki with some friends and actually got to do quite a lot. People who know me, I’m always doing stuff so it felt quite natural to be out n’ about the whole time. If you are planning a visit to Helsinki, I would recommend to stay at least 4 days.

 

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Flight from London to Helsinki was absolutely fine. I travelled with Norwegian that is one of the cheapest airlines from London to Finland. I think they are pretty good considering the pricing and overall.  Do you like making friends while you’re travelling? I always make new friends in the plane, specially if I’m travelling on my own, mainly because I’m afraid of flying and also you get to hear the greatest life stories! This time I talked about David Bowie with this older man who was travelling to Finland to see his son who is married with a Finnish woman.

I had those coriander soy noodles at Cafe Bar No 9 in Helsinki. They were ok, would say 7/10. I have noticed it’s pretty difficult to be vegan while you’re travelling because all these places would have one dish for you and it’s normally Falafel in a wrap. Any experiences?? I loose my interest really easily if I keep having the same stuff. I should have done more research as well, so I blame myself this time 😀 Home cooking options and supermarkets are the next level though comparing to the UK. You have got so many options and products there to cook with. I always feel like a little kid going into the supermarket in Finland, always so excited!8CD96B1A-41B5-4359-B9B7-460CFA86DBCE

Pretty much all the snow was melted in Helsinki, but it was still very beautiful. All these colourful streets and alleyways in Ullanlinna, Helsinki.

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Nicest areas to stay in Helsinki I would say are Eira, Ullanlinna, Kamppi and Punavuori. This is if you’re travelling to the country as a tourist and want to be in central Helsinki, in walking distance to everything.

9E6D7D7B-6073-45FF-8C58-A8E1F2249F86One really fun thing we did this Friday was Yrjönkadun uimahalli, this is a day Spa with 3 different saunas and it’s only 15 euros for an entry. Good heads up though, they have women’s days separate from guys because most of the people swim naked in here. You can wear a swimming suit, but pretty much everyone is naked so it just feels natural. Also with that 15 euros you get a little cabin upstairs where you can change and you’ll have a waitress  – obviously we had some champagne! It felt like the place had so much history and character. Such a nice afternoon xx

 

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Saturday went drinking cocktails at the Helsinki Drink Festival. Was so nice to see all these Finnish companies and brands to stand in one place. Two of my favourites from the night must have been Koskenkorva vodka and Napue gin.

 

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Gin – Tonic – Cranberries – Rosemary

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Hopefully next time the weather is a bit warmer, it was only -6 degrees but I’m starting to feel like it’s time for the summer – don’t you think?

 

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Until next time Finland …. Where to next?

thevegescandi

Helsinki, Finland

One part of our holiday was to visit Helsinki, the capital of Finland. I used to live in Helsinki the last few years before moving to New Zealand and it was so lovely to be back in town. The city is full of great food, art, interior design and the list goes on. Food and drinks are quite expensive but if you’re looking for some Scandi-inspiration, go and visit Helsinki.

I’m really lucky to have friends in Helsinki, but there is also decent price hotels in central. Year ago I stayed at Omena Hotelli Kamppi – really central and great value for your money. Nice, clean and modern rooms for about 70 EUR per night.

This time we stayed with Friends in-between Punavuori and Kaartinkaupunki, really lovely area – quite posh… You will find a lot of designer shops and art. Our friend described the area, being full of antic shops and older ladies with their poodles haha! To be fair I didn’t see any.

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All the snow was pretty much melted, saying that we had some snow on the first day in.  All the roads are heavily salted because of the ice so people wouldn’t fell down all the time and cars crash into each other. Can get really dangerous! Once a year you would fell down and break something, and this was more of a rule than exception!  Just part of living in a cold country I suppose. One of things not to miss after moving abroad.

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So it was Friday night and we wanted to explore some food, what Helsinki has to offer? Went to this really nice pizzeria called Putte’s Bar & Pizza with these two handsome guys. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture to show you but I had a pizza with mozzarella, blue cheese and walnuts – insane! Great vegetarian options. The walnuts were whole and felt like a substitute for meat.  We didn’t need to wait for long and all their staff was friendly, can really recommend this place in Helsinki. They had some cool posters and pop-up art on the walls.

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After having some food and wine we did a nice walk around the city. I won’t go too much into details but I took few pictures to show you. Our visit was in December and temperatures around -10 degrees in Helsinki. Such a beautiful city at night-time.

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I had the best holiday! Was so lovely to see friends and family. And luckily – this time it won’t be too long until my next trip…

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thevegescandi x

Vegan Mushroom Wellington

Wellington is originally from Ireland, so this isn’t really a Scandinavian dish but I’ve always wanted to create my own version of it. What makes your Christmas? For me it’s always been pastries, heavier food and wine… Have chocolate for breakfast, who cares it’s Christmas right??

It was so exciting to go to a supermarket in Finland, as funny as this may sound… Something I have in common with my boyfriend is that we both love supermarkets. I’ve really started to love food shopping and this time we had a chance to do this in Finland. There is so many options and brands for vegetarians as well for vegans. Earth Control is a great Nordic brand for snacking or cooking, healthy and delicious! I wanted to give the Wellington a Christmassy flavour by using Earth Control’s Salad Mix with nuts and dried fruit. This way you get protein and natural sweetness.

If you live in Finland, Sweden or Denmark go and check out their product selection. Hopefully the business will expand and this way we’ll get their products to the UK too.

 Link to Earth Control’s website

 

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Veggie Wellington is pretty easy dish when you’ve got the right ingredients and the right puff pastry. There are many versions out there, but here is mine.

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FILLING:

Olive Oil

400g Chestnut Mushrooms



2 Garlic Cloves



1 Red Onion



200g Mix of Fruit and Nuts – Earth Control

100g of Red Organic Lentils

1 Sweet Red Pepper



Chopped Chive

Dried garlic

Black pepper

Sea Salt

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

Puff Pastry

Oat/Soy Cream

 

METHOD:

Start by getting your puff pastry out so it can get to room temperature, so it’s easier to roll. Next heat up your oven to 225 degrees celsius. Dice your mushrooms, onion, garlic, sweet pepper and chive. Blend all the nuts and fruit in a blender. Add some olive oil into a large pan, adding the onion and garlic. Once they turn golden brown, add all the rest of the ingredients for the filling. Leave the mix to cool down before adding into the pastry. While your filling is cooling down, take some baking paper and on top of it roll the puff pastry so t’s a little thinner and a bit wider. Place your filling in the middle of one half of the pastry, so you can roll it over and then fold under both ends. Gently make few cuts on top of your pastry and brush the top with oat or soy cream. Place your dish in to the middle section of your oven for 30min until golden brown. This really depends on your oven, so keep an eye on your tray. Let to cool down and decorate with chopped chive.

 

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Next one I’m going to try is with Spinach and vegan cheese! Such a great Sunday comfort food. PS. Try your Vegan Wellington with mustard… So tasty!

All images taken by jonnahelinphotography

thevegescandi x

 

 

Christmas in Finland

This year was really special for me, I had the opportunity to spent Christmas eve with my family and this weekend have another Christmas in the UK with my boyfriend’s family. In Finland everything was covered in snow and the coldest we experienced this year was -19 degrees!! So cold… It was so beautiful and special as unfortunately you forget after living abroad for so long. When I was younger and still living back home I didn’t appreciate things like I do now. A very good friend of mine said a few days ago, “you need to look very far to be able to see very close”.

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I was planning to write and post pictures whilst I was in Finland but we didn’t have good internet so I decided to just enjoy the time off, not worry about social media and share bits with you later. I am sitting in a plane back to London right now. Flying makes me really nervous so this is a great way to distract from it.

We started our holiday from Gatwick last Saturday. If you are looking for a bigger snack, lunch or dinner and you are a veggie eater, they have got great options for vegans and vegetarians at Wagamama’s. I had Vegan Pad Thai with tofu and a pineapple & spinach smoothie. So tasty and 100% plant-based!

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After landing on Saturday we drove to Lahti, which is a small skiing town where I’m from, about 150km North from Helsinki. I went to see some old friends the next morning and had the best homemade ginger bread cookies! My friend’s daughters baked these a few nights before, the cutest little girls! I’m really looking forward to having a Christmas one day with my own kids, it will be really special in a different way. It’s always so nice to see old friends happy and well. I think it was -12 degrees on that Sunday and I felt like that 10-year-old again. Walking around in the same neighbourhood where I grew up, listening the snow crunching underneath my feet and feeling the cold air in my lungs.

The older I get, the more I’ve realised how important it’s to have those little moments on your own. Don’t get me wrong it’s so lovely to share moments with your other half or your best friend but sometimes it’s good to do things on your own, not talk to anyone or be on your phone, just experience what’s around you and live in the moment.

Before heading out to Hartola for Christmas Eve, we decided to visit the harbour in Lahti. It was freezing cold, but so beautiful. It feels so special to be able to share things like this with my boyfriend for the first time, temperatures and places where I spent most of my time growing up.

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We got to the cottage later on that evening. At this time of the year, our little cottage in Hartola is surrounded by deep forest and a frozen river. I have needed a holiday for a long time so it was really nice to get there. Our Christmases are about spending time with the family, Sauna, Disney classics and eating great food.

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Christmas Eve was an absolute gem!

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Where did you spent your Christmas this year?

thevegescandi x