The curators of Disconap have lives literally filled with Marimekko paraphernalia. Synonymous with Finland in the way the Moomins are (which comprises the other 50% of everything we communally own), the company is now celebrating sixty years of trading in a very lowkey way. To confirm my devotion and honour the ’Mekko I have done a dodgy Blackberry camera diary of all the stuff of theirs I have used in the past week. As I own practically everything they sell at Heals this could get epic.
Bag comes to work with me. Yuppie work Mac and bag in “design classic face-off”.
The ultra-yuppiesh contents of my bag: Grazia, Kindle, Eight Hour Cream, tupperware of berries, ‘Mekko umbrella.
Stripey socks. Sorry about the rain-damaged boots but check out the crystals on them!
I took this jolly green bag to the farmer’s market where A kindly bought me this coconut macaroon. I ate it while reading these edifying tomes.
My make-up bag. I decided not to bombard you with pictures of towels and trays and kitchen knick-knacks, but believe me, you would think my collection was complete, you would think I’m the girl the girl who has everything.
A will sigh at my terrible photo-ing abilities but this picture is ace because this is what I look like almost every day of my life: stripey Marimekko top/skinny jeans/backdrop of Grazias, empty milk glasses and multiple gadgets.
I will cease and desist but this is only about half of my Marimekko bag collection, if that. I’m a connoisseur!
The sixtieth anniversary is bringing one aspect I am a bit concerned about: expansion. For me Marimekko is about quality and slightly weird Finnishness, not interiors trends or seasonal collections. I want it to be successful but with news that they are expanding to hundreds of locations in America I’m just really anxious that the brand doesn’t get diluted or become too familiar. I still get a thrill when I see a lady with a Marimekko bag, even though it no longer means we probably bought it at the same shop in Helsinki. Basically, no one shopping in a desultory fashion in LA could possibly love their Marimekko bag as much as I love mine.
I’ve been musing the potential for a satchel purchase and I’d like to update you on my quest. After seeing a Cambridge Satchel Company bag in real life, I decided the strap was too thin and that I really needed something heavy-duty, due to the high volume of books I will be carting around soon. Thus, and this isn’t surprising as 90% of my bags come from them, I’ve gone for the Marimekko Ladybear.
It’s massive! I bought it on my annual trip to Finland last week. I think this year’s holiday was the best I’ve had as an adult: all the necessities such as lake-swimming, fish-eating and visiting the grandparents all went off without a hitch. And no one got stung by a horsefly.
Lots of pockets:
While I was in Helsinki, I visited NEW shops I had never visited before, imported from Sweden: Weekday and Monki. I’d heard of them before, mainly from the Flying Saucer blog so I was quite keen to take a look. Only now that I google them is it revealed that Monki is aimed at teenage girls but I loved that shop and spent all my remaining Euros there. It was very brightly coloured and had weird little stuffed monsters as a mascot.
They seem to do fun twists on the basics and in addition, it is very cheap, definitely in the Miss Selfridge price range: a pair of trousers and a black sweater with frills (both of which I have worn incessantly since I bought them – pictures to come once they come out of the wash) came to 50 euros altogether. I could have bought loads more.
Weekday was a lot more trendy, in the vein of Acne or other Swedish designers. I liked their t-shirts but nothing magentised the money out of my purse the way everything in Monki threatened too. Perhaps I am just a teenage girl at heart, or I’m regressing.
Well I’m now back in England after my week in Finland and it was lovely, although there was a lot of rain. The good thing about going to a country cottage in the Finnish countryside is that you’re not there to do anything anyway so it doesn’t really matter whether you are lazing about in the house or by the lake.
This is not the most picturesque bit of the surrounding countryside by any means but you get the idea.
We borrowed a cottage from my parent’s friends in a place called Lohja, about 50 miles from Helsinki. One of the friends is an architect and their son works for a Finnish design company called Lundia so although they haven’t had the cottage very long, it’s on its way to being really lovely.
The view from the cottage: mainly rain falling on trees for hundreds of miles.
All country cottages are different geographically and this one was on a long thin piece of land that was very steep and required all these little wooden stairs to get down to the sauna building and the lake. Sadly the jetty, which you can just see at the bottom, had sunk so we couldn’t sit on it, although we would have gotten very wet if we had tried anyway.
Actually we did have some beautiful weather while we were there as well as rain and the very long hours of daylight lend themselves to sitting around til very late. We mainly ate sandwiches and cake during the day and had really late dinners like this one, which I made. It’s smoked fish (YUM) with dill.
The cake of which I speak is the national cake of Finland, the pulla. It’s basically a cinnamon and cardamom roll, a bit like a chelsea bun without fruit, and you can get it everywhere and in all manner of variations. The one that’s killing me on the nutrition front at the moment is the “Dallas” version, which has some sort of vanilla custard piped into it and is absolutely delicious.
Here, for your education, is a pulla. My dad said this photo was too boring to put on the blog but I bite my thumb at him!
I might need to eat one of my stash of these now to prolong my Finland feeling.
Stockmanns is like the Selfridges of Helsinki, except not quite as edgy or exciting. It does have amazing sales and a lovely food department, plus a really comprehensive selection of magazines and its own bookshop.
I used to always get this weird Finland-only magazine called Bulgaria but this year it costs 29 euros, which is a bit beyond my means.
You should be here! It’s basically a manual on Finland’s awesomeness - you can see on the left-hand page a little thing about Minna Parikka, a shoe and handbag maker who I’ve blogged about before.
I had a peek around Stockmann’s little Malene Birger department (they also stock labels like Bruuns Bazaar, Tiger of Sweden, Filippa K etc, which were all nice). The sale was insane – everything was at least 60% off. If I had any money from, for example, a job, I would have bought this skirt I have been eyeing up all year.
I also dug this leather feather dress. What is indeed not to like about it.
I made the mistake of telling my family about the blog while telling them about A’s trip to Paris (A is part of the family) and now my parents have started giving me advice on what to post about and how to frame my photos – all day my dad was saying things like “that jacket looks just like a moth! You should take a picture just like this and put it on your blog!” My mum contented herself taking lots of pictures of me – for my blog!
p.s. I am probably eating blueberry pie as you read this.
Hey! I’m in Finland. To prove it, check out all these crazy letters: ö ä å. I can just make those any time I like.
After a rather aggravating night spent sharing a hostel room with my brother, who may or may not have swine flu (no darling bro, it is not morally neutral to play dubstep at 2am in a hostel), had a good day wandering around town. I love walking from my aunt’s lovely flat by the sea through the market up to the main shopping road, to my favourite shop Marimekko. I especially like the stalls with berries, which they sell by the litre:
The view from the bridge connecting my aunt's demi-island to the market.
A big case of cakes and the new MEAT DOUGHNUT pictured far right.
Me, checking out some flowers. There is a weird lack of blondes in this picture.
Historic fountain\wind change carnage.
My super-awesome grandma gave me some euros so I might go back on Monday and buy this clutch bag.
I’m off to the countryside tomorrow to sit by the lake and relax. I look forward to it all year: the sound of birch trees rustling and mosquitoes buzzing in your ear while you try to sleep, and other than that, utter, utter silence. No phones playing Cascada on the train, just beautiful red wooden houses and morose blonde people on bicycles. Blueberry pie and strawberries and Coke in paper cups. HOLIDAY POWER!
Amazing alternative maternity-wear from cheerful Finnish lady. Please note this is not even a Hallowe'en costume.
Like everyone, I am a big mix of influences when it comes to what I am attracted to style-wise. I’m a bit of a magpie and love things that are shiny and bright, which is probably the London part of me; but then I also love the quietly chic, perfectly tousled, tailored French look.
Then there is the Finnish part of me, which definitely errs on the quirky side of interesting. Finns are big on their design and personal style is important, with the emphasis on the “personal”. School kids are often influenced by the team styles in Japan while 20-somethings are quite into their electro and grunge looks. One thing that is embraced is quirkiness and originality, as illustrated on the website Hel Looks.
This is one of my favourite style blogs because it just documents the slightly off-the-wall outfit decisions of FInland’s young dressers. I love how many people refuse to let go of the 80s; the love of punk and grunge; the beautiful Nordic ladies refusing to go pretty-pretty; and the general emphasis on self-representation over trends. If you ever need reminding why your slightly bonkers look is awesome, go to Hel Looks.