Category Archives: Food

Beside The Sea

Helsinki is a great place to explore on foot. Being obsessed with my pedometer scores (as I am) means that I can be counting my steps whilst taking in the sights. A word of warning though, keep an eye out for cyclists. Some of the pavement is marked pedestrian or cyclist only, but it’s not always clear.

The South Harbour area is typically busy with tourists, but if you don’t mind the crowds, there is much fun to be had. Guided boat tours, market stalls, shops and restaurants. Apart from the traffic, which can be a little fast for this country mouse, I love spending time in this corner of the city.

You’re never far from a cafe or kiosk selling drinks and ice cream. I don’t have a particular sweet tooth, but I’ll usually end up having ice cream almost every day here. Just as well really that there’s no excuse not to walk off the extra sugar.

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Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Food, Health, Holidays, Outdoors, Shopping, Travel


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Weigh Your Veg Out

Being on holiday means that everyday, mundane things become exciting. Just because they’re a little bit different and in a different place, the novelty of it all brings out a sense of fun that you wouldn’t have back home. Seeing familiar brands with different names and flavours, for example, always makes me smile. Just about any food can be bought with Angry Bird packaging these days too.

Shopping for groceries never fails to amuses me in Helsinki, primarily because of the way you weigh your fresh vegetables/fruit before you buy them in the supermarket. In itself this is neither strange nor unreasonable, but I’ll never forget the ‘eureka’ moment I had when I first figured out how to use the label-printing scales.

If supermarkets aren’t your thing, then there are plenty of regular old-fashioned markets to buy your fresh food from. In particular, fish and bread are best bought from one of these. Being a port, Helsinki is a great place to eat fish. Admittedly, I’m not overly adventurous, but whether you like your fish to be fish shaped (like I generally do) or if you like things with more tentacles and shells, then all kinds are readily available.

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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Food, Shopping, Travel


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Touch The Sky

I’m not the best or the worst flier on the world. I don’t particularly like take offs or landings, but once I’m up in the clouds I’m usually OK. Today’s flight was on a gloriously sunny day, so it was predominantly enjoyable. Being diabetic, I have to request a special in-flight meal (even though there’s nothing in particular that a diabetic should have). It’s an available option though, so curiosity dictates that I have to try it. Turns out that I get a slightly larger sandwich, to keep my carb levels up.

The Marimekko branded cups, napkins and uniforms on the Finnair flight made me geek out a bit. It certainly brings a bit of colour and some Nordic cool to the journey. With the wind at our backs, it was just under two and a half hours from England to Finland, with almost enough time for me to finish off the James Bond audiobook I’m in the middle of listening to. As we approached the airport, the view over Helsinki whilst we circled for landing was pleasant as ever, if a little dizzying.

A quick shuttle bus later and The Sock Mistress and I were soon checked into our apartment. Hotels are fine if you don’t know the place you’re staying in, but since Helsinki is a regular holiday destination for us, self catering is a much more enjoyable option. Once the fridge/cupboards have been fully stocked with essential supplies, we can start planning our first full day in the Finnish capital.

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Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Clothes, Food, Holidays, Outdoors, Travel


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Going Up North

Airports are strange, unnatural places – which makes sense, because there is very little less natural than being strapped down in a metal tube and allowing yourself to be exploded across the sky. However, if you want to travel internationally, they’re something of a practical necessity. Not for the first time, I’m going to be taking my Spring vacation in Helsinki. Over the years it’s become a second home to me, so rather than risk trying somewhere new, I’m taking comfort in familiar Finland.

I’ve never managed to master the language and the exchange rate between the Pound and the Euro isn’t particularly favourable. Nonetheless, I love the design consciousness that pervades everything in Helsinki, I love the markets and the closeness to the sea… I even like the food… so really, there was no other choice.

Before I head off up North, I’ve got an overnight stay in Manchester. Luckily that means I can begin my holiday gorging/feasting a day early!!! I hope this won’t effect the flight-worthiness of my plane tomorrow, I’d like to think that even I can’t eat and drink so much that I can stop a plane from being able to lift off.

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Posted by on May 26, 2013 in Food, Holidays, Outdoors


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Jumping Frog, Albuquerque


Like a good sized portion of the world I occasionally like to treat myself to the guilty pleasure that is a hot dog. Preferably one that contains the same ingredients as those named on the menu (dog precluded). My favourite is usually a chilli dog, something so messy that it’s a challenge to get more than half of it in your mouth rather than dribbled down your shirt front.

Today I opted for a ‘Mexicana’ from Primo’s Gourmet Hot Dogs. The dog itself was a fairly typical Frankfurter but the thick spicy sauce and heaps of jalapeno peppers gave it plenty of kick. The guacamole and sour cream meant that it was a continuous struggle to keep the toppings from spreading across my face.

The bun was a little insubstantial for the amount of filling and it began to come apart as the sauces soaked through. However, all things considered this was a good hot dog that that left me feeling stuffed (but not overstuffed) for the rest of the afternoon. There are plenty of different varieties of hot dogs served on the menu, so based on this – my first visit to Primo’s – I would happily go back.

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Posted by on March 12, 2013 in Food





Today I was lucky enough to have achieved that fabled, fabulous and rare thing – booked a day off from work. In reality I get as many holiday days allocated to me as the next wage slave. However, as I needed to have 3 different kinds of eye test performed on me (long story) I thought that I may as well take the whole day off from work and spend some time doing… um…

Well, that’s the question isn’t it? What to do when my time is my own? As much fun as sprawling on the sofa/in bed can be, the inactivity makes me restless. Window shopping is fun, but I buy most things online these days (Windows shopping?) but it makes a change to flick through a rack of albums or Blu Rays. Lunch with the Sock Mistress is a bonus and so much nicer than a Tupperware lunchbox of sandwiches at my office desk.

The best thing about my day off though is just taking a break from the usual routine. Being able to take a coffee break when I want to take a coffee break. Not having to see the same faces on the train, answer the same kind of questions on the phone and not having to rush through the day bound by somebody else’s ticking clock. Today I haven’t even worn a watch and there’s something slightly liberating about that.

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Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Food, Health, Holidays, Shopping, Travel


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Let The Festivities Begin!

With Christmas just around the corner, the Sock Mistress and I have escaped from our usual habitat to a cottage in the Lake District for the week. I’ve been looking forward to this tremendously over the last month or so and now it’s finally arrived I’ve got that ‘big kid’ feeling that only Christmas can really bring.

During the past week at work there’s been the usual round-the-watercooler type of conversations with colleagues about everyone’s plans for the festive season and (rather pleasingly) I’ve been able to trump them all every time. Most people were bracing themselves for marathon drinking sessions, marathon child-wrestling bouts or just wanted a few days relief from the office. Telling them I’ll be in a small cottage by a lake beneath snow capped hillsides just caused people to turn glassy eyed as they drifted away with the thought of it.

Even in the most remote corners of England, you’re never too far from a decent WiFi signal or a Co Op with reasonable opening times. As such I don’t feel as though civilisation has been abandoned, it’s just been put to one side for now. I have a fridge filled with full-fat milk, local eggs and butter. I have underfloor heating and a bathtub I can stretch out in. I have a Christmas tree in the corner of the room and no particular plans to stick to. That all feels very civilised indeed if you ask me.

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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in Food, Holidays, Outdoors, Travel, Xmas


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