December 31, 2013

New Year's Party Inspiration

Happy New Year's Eve from Sydney! 

Here's my peach, silver and white themed inspiration board for this New Year's Eve. I'll be adding some more gorgeous photos on my Pinterest board, so please feel free to check that out too. 

Thank you for following and all the best for the new year 2014! 

December 28, 2013

White NYE Tea Party + A Review

I have to admit, I am notorious for not having any plans for New Year's Eve. There seems to be a reasonable amount of pressure (although less so nowadays) to do something spectacular, along with a special New Year's resolution that will supposedly make you a better person in one way or another. I'm a pretty content person as far as resolutions go, but I think this is still a good time to stop and reflect on the past year and think of ways to improve in the coming year. 

I thought it would be fun to plan a little tea party for New Year's Eve and I decided to go with an all white theme. Somehow, New Year's for me is not so heavily 'season-infused' as Christmas is, but I still subconsciously go for a winter colour palate, rather than a summery one. Little meringues seemed like a lovely sweet thing to have with a perfect cup of tea (this is one of my current favourites). 

Do you make plans for New Year's Eve? Do you make resolutions? 

Recently, I was offered to do a review for an online store called As you may know, I don't normally do reviews or product advertising, but I had been wanting to try out the Cuisinart Programmable Kettle for a while, so I agreed to review it. Please note that this is an honest review, unaffected by the fact that I was given this kettle in return for a review.

My husband and I both enjoy a cup of tea quite regularly and a kettle with different temperature settings felt like a perfect addition to our kitchen gadgets. I am a rather impatient tea maker, so I've often had to cool down my cup of tea with a dash of cold water in order to be able to drink it immediately. With the Cuisinart Programmable Kettle, however, I can choose between six different temperature settings, set the temperature to 75°C (recommended for delicate teas with a short steeping time) and enjoy a perfect cup of tea immediately. For the same reason, we have also found that this setting is great for making a perfect bowl of miso soup! Another great feature is the 'keep warm mode' which means that the kettle automatically maintains the selected temperature for 30 minutes. This is particularly convenient for that much needed second cup of tea.

As a bit of an aesthetic, I also love the sleek and modern look of the Cuisinart kettle. The stainless steel colour is easy to match with other appliances in our kitchen.

Check out my other post: Ode to Tea

December 24, 2013

Christmas Mood Board: Pink & White

Here's some more pink goodness on your way for Christmas! I just couldn't help myself putting together another mood board with just pink and white; it must be the summer that makes me turn to the pretty pastels. 

I love how those dip-dyed candles turned out, they have almost a caramelly swirl to them. The Japanese porcelain bambis are one of my favourite things; they were a lucky found from a second hand shop a couple of years ago.

With these thoughts and pictures, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! 

PS. Don't forget to check out my Pinterest boards for more pastel love!

December 20, 2013

Christmas Mood Board: Mint & Pink

Instead of the more traditional Christmas colours (see my palettes from last year here and here), I decided to go for something a bit different this year. I was inspired by the white horse I bought as a Christmas ornament, but it reminded me of children's carnivals and along came these colours: mint, pink, grey and white. 

I used white paper as a base for the parcels and added little strips of colourful wrapping paper with string, washi tape and labels. Of course I had to add a few silver bells there too as a reminder of Christmas.

Geisha and Fazermint chocolates are by a well known Finnish manufacturer called Fazer. Although I'm not a huge candy fan (let alone milk chocolate fan), these were a must for Christmas! 

What colours are you using this Christmas? Are you going for the more traditional ones like white and red or experimenting with something different? 

PS. For more inspiration, check out my updated Pinterest boards

December 17, 2013

Christmas Wish List

1. Cinnamon Buns shampoo, shower gel & bubble bath from Philosophy 2. David Jones Sunflower Necklace 3. Tasku clutch in pink from Marimekko 4. OPI nailpolish in 'It's a Girl' 5. Kusmi Christmas Tea 6. Rifle Paper Co iPhone case in Pink Ombre 7. Eva Solo drinking bottle in Flashy Pink 8. Hammamas beach towel in Classic Sand

Well one can always dream, right? After browsing endless websites and catalogues I managed to limit my imaginary Christmas list down to just eight items. I must admit I've done a fair bit of pampering (including treatments and shopping) for myself leading up to the silly season, but after quite an eventful year I feel like I've deserved it. I might even hit the shops one more time and get a couple of things on this list - just because it's Christmas! 

December 16, 2013

Christmas Gift Idea - Baby Girls' Dress

I found a pattern for this adorable open back dress for baby girls on Etsy. The dress was really easy to make and there are endless options for patterns and decorations. I think they make a lovely Christmas present for little girls! I also customised some wooden hangers to go with the dresses. Cuteness overload :-)

December 10, 2013

Joululimppu - Finnish Christmas Bread

Perhaps another 30C day wasn't the best choice for baking bread (or anything else for that matter), but I just had to have this dark, dense and sweet bread that always reminds me of Christmases spent at home in Finland. We call this bread joululimppu (joulu meaning Christmas and limppu meaning a loaf of bread) and I suppose this recipe is yet another influence from those sweet loving Swedes who also serve a similar bread at Christmas. Although the recipe calls for a whole 100ml of dark treacle plus extra for brushing the loaves whilst baking, the bread has a warm spicy taste to it, probably thanks to the fennel seeds that we also love adding to breads and other baked goods. 

I can happily retire to the comfort of my fan and air-conditioner now, with a few slices of joululimppu smothered with butter. For the recipe, please check my previous entry of the same bread. 

wooden bread board from Pikku-Kota

December 06, 2013

Happy Independence Day Finland - Pikku-Kota Sale

Today is Finland's Independence Day and to celebrate, we're offering 10% off all Pikku-Kota orders! 

December 05, 2013

A Little Bit of Christmas

It's always hard for me to get into real Christmas spirit whilst in the middle of Australian summer. There's no need/point to burn candles and all the decorations just somehow seem really out of place against the sunny skies and lush green vegetation. Even food I grew up eating at Christmas just doesn't quite work here: oven-baked casseroles, filling salads and a hot cup of glogg are all a bit too much when the temperature reaches 30C and beyond.

I'm keeping the decorations to a minimum and sticking to my usual colour scheme of white and wood. I managed to make a himmeli (a traditional Christmas decoration made of natural straw) of some sort and although it's far from perfect, I'm quite pleased I had the patience to actually finish it. Since we won't have a Christmas tree, I've hung some decorations (hand-made and shop-bought) from tall willow branches we have in our living room all year around. The hand-crafted wooden star hanging on our window (it has a light inside) is quite old; I brought it back from Finland when I was there last year.

I think this is pretty much it for the decorations this year. I haven't even started thinking about what foods I might make, but chances are it will just be something that's quick and easy to make.

December 01, 2013

Sour Cream Cake

I don't bake much nowadays... mostly because I don't have a particular craving for sweets and my husband is quite happy to just have some fresh fruit for dessert. Summer is almost here and although I'm planning to bake some Christmas treats (ginger bread cookies are already stashed in the freezer), I will most likely bake even less.

Today's baking was prompted by a past-its-best-before-date cream I had in the fridge. I remembered mum mentioning "sour" cream was perfect for baking particular cakes, so of course I had to find a recipe and give it a go. Really this is just an ordinary sponge cake, but delicious nevertheless. You may know by now that I'm not into fiddly baking; decorations, fondants and all that, so a completely effortless cake like this one is just my type.

Admittedly the name of this cake can be a bit misleading as it is just normal cream you will need, and not sour cream as we know it in the English speaking countries. Also, the flavour is not particularly sour, even with the addition of lemon zest. I enjoyed an afternoon tea with a thick slice of cake and some fresh strawberries. Perfect for warm spring afternoon.

Sour Cream Cake
(Recipe from Kotiruoka book)

2 large eggs (free-range, organic)
170g (raw) caster sugar
zest of one small lemon
300ml heavy cream
230g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
icing sugar, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 175C.

2. Beat sugar and eggs until pale and add grated lemon zest.

3. Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl and carefully fold this mixture, alternating with the cream, in to sugar and eggs.

4. Pour the mixture into a greased cake tin (mine was about 22cm) and bake for 35-50 minutes, depending on your oven. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

November 26, 2013

Hot Air Balloons

It often happens that I find a fun little project somewhere (blogs, Pinterest, you name it) and archive it for later. Some projects (time allowing) I try immediately, others I linger for longer and some never get done (or don't work out at all - there are quite a few of those as well). This cute mobile caught my attention and I wanted to give it a go. I didn't even know I like hot air balloons so much! I used thin felt to sew the balloons and added decorations (ribbon, stars and some felt bunting). The original model uses wine and champagne bottle corks for the baskets, but since I didn't have any at hand I decided to weave the baskets myself. It was a little time consuming, but easy. I just used pieces of cardboards and normal twine and attached the baskets in to the balloons. This is a great project for a child's room or just as a colourful decoration for summer. 

November 21, 2013

Study Revamp

I'm always moving things around in our home, much to my husband's frustration. I've now taken down my desk in our large study room (his desk is still there) and replaced it with this Normann Copenhagen shelf unit I bought a couple of months ago. After opening my online shop, I needed room for packaging material and some of the stock (most of the stock is still stacked away in cupboards). I also love the visual inspiration open shelves provide; they work much like a mood board for me and I'm always changing things according to whatever inspires me at the moment. 
Packaging material and some stock: wooden butter knives and wooden spoons.

I love the look of pure white candles in a glass jar. I know it's very simple and nothing extraordinary, but to me it's as pretty as any design object. Wooden bread boards and wooden cups are also available on the store.

November 20, 2013

Christmas Gift Ideas from Pikku-Kota

No, this blog is not turning into an advertisement for my online store Pikku-Kota, but I'm keen to share (at least) one more post including a few items from the store. I've gathered some products below I think could make nice gifts for this Christmas.


Reindeer leather pouch (AUD 44), traditionally known as "a coffee bag", is perfect for carrying little items when travelling.
Wooden spoon (AUD 22), also known as a coffee measure spoon, is a one of a kind gift for all the coffee lovers (or tea lovers!) out there.
Wooden cups (AUD 44) make beautiful serving bowls for your Christmas table, alongside wooden plates (come in two sizes, starting from AUD 7.70).

Reindeer leather iPad case (AUD 176) is a stylish and unique gift.

Reindeer leather pouch with a long strap (AUD 55) fits a smart phone or other small items. Perfect little bag for any occasion.

These slippers are made out of soft reindeer leather. They come in three different sizes (AUD 93.50) and are practical for travel as they take very little space and are very comfortable to wear.

Table brush (AUD 49.50) comes with a tray: a lovely gift for anyone who enjoys spending time in the kitchen. Wooden cup (AUD 44).

Traditional kuksa wooden cup (AUD 33) is functional as well as beautiful. Each kuksa comes with a strap.