Let’s celebrate: International Day of Happiness

I recently learned that March 20th marks the International Day of Happiness. It was initiated by the United Nations recognizing happiness as one of humans life goals and was first celebrated in 2013.

While I appreciate that happiness is taking a front seat in global politics I am a bit baffled that it has only been acknowledged four years ago.

However there is a whole movement behind it and you can sign up here for a free happiness guide, a kids pack and a study on world happiness. And there are ten posters to print out.

In the end of 2015 I realized that the happy moments in my life are there but I do tend to ignore or forget them. So since January 2016 I write a daily happiness journal. It made me realize that there are much more happy moments, that they are usually small, that I am still not mindful enough to catch them all…

International day of happiness grass

Today I want to share some of those moments with you:

  • Early morning sunshine in my living room
  • The smell of fresh coffee
  • The smell of fresh air
  • The smell of snowflakes in crisp winter air
  • Dancing snowflakes
  • The sound of leaves in the wind
  • A day without migraines
  • A cup of my favorite blend of tea
  • The joy of reading a book
  • Being in the flow while doing something e.g. those easter eggs or taking photographs
  • Absolut quietness
  • A good nights sleep
  • No back pain
  • A call from the godchild
  • A fun letter in the mail
  • The joy of like minded people (is anyone going to a blogging event? I am thinking about The Hive in May?!)
  • A yummy piece of cake
  • Beautiful flowers
  • Something I made
  • Laughter
  • Goofing around with Mr. ♥
  • Summer BBQ with friends
  • Learning something new in a class/workshop
  • The joy of traveling
  • Sitting by the water

International day of happiness water

If you start thinking about those little things you can go on and on and on. Fun thing is that after I wrote my list I check out the mentioned research and I listed quite a few things that the study defined in finding happiness.

But now I am interested: what would you would put in the list? Let me know in the comments.

Happy International Day of Happiness,

Tobia

PARK LIFE #3 – 2017 PHOTO PROJECT

March sneaked up on me… how did it happen and why is it already half over? I was busy the last weeks working on some business stuff. It took all my time, all my thoughts and more often my sleep.

I had to remember to actually go outside. Good thing I have my little photo project. And I didn’t want to miss the March edition (even though I shot it a week late and putting it out to see even later…).

park in march volkspark friedrichshain berlin

The park in March starts to fill with life. It’s not only the hardcore fitness people, dog walkers and stroller pushers out there anymore. You can see people walking for the fun of it. There are groups already sitting on the lawn in the sunshine and older couples going for a stroll.

parklife in march volkspark friedrichshain berlin

The other day I took my coffee break to the park. Grabbed my wedding coffee to-go cup a podcast and and just spend an hour out in the sun. It was nice.

I can hardly believe the first quarter of the year has gone by. I was curious how the three month look next to each other and put them together.

park life 1-3 meadow Volkspark Friedrichshain

Looking at those pictures I like the meadow a bit better than the view with the trees. Maybe because it is so different in those pictures… What do you think?

park life 1-3 tree Volkspark Friedrichshain Berlin

Soon the park will be crowed, noisy and green.

For now I enjoy it the way it is.

Happy weekend to you,

Tobia

The Fluffiest Waffles of all Times

There are days when you just need waffles. At least I’ve got those days. It was raining, it was cold and I had a craving. In the days I somehow always go for sweet stuff: pancakes, semolina, french toast or waffles…

Those waffles were the most fluffiest waffles I have ever had. Seriously. They are fluffy yet crunchy, not too sweet and just yum. A real treat. Don’t believe me? Have a try and be convinced.

The Fluffiest Waffles – Crunchy Oatmeal Waffles Fluffiest Waffles

Ingredients:

125 g whole grain flour
25 g grape seed flour
250 ml milk
3 tbsp coco flower sugar
3 tbsp vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 pinch salt
4 tbsp oatmeal, whole grain

Directions:

  1. Mix flour, milk and sugar and let sit for 20 minutes.
  2. Separate eggs and whip up egg whites with salt.
  3. Add oil, egg yolks, oatmeal to the flour mixture.
  4. Fold in egg whites.
  5. Bake waffles.
  6. Enjoy with salty butter and powdered sugar while still warm.

Yummy fluffy waffles

Did you know that I made my very first waffles when I turned 30? I did not grow up with waffles. But for my thirties birthday party I had waffle and lemonade party. Ever since I am a bit hooked.

Do you make waffles for breakfast? Or is it more a treat in the afternoon? Would you spill your favorite recipe? And do you know of a recipe where no egg whites need to beaten? Because lets be honest its a pain in the a**.

Anyhow happy waffle baking

Tobia

Lohikeitto – Finnish Salmon Soup

It has become a bit of a tradition that I share a Finnish recipe to celebrate my anniversary. In year one we had cake, year two I shared pancakes and today I invite you for soup. Lohikeitto – Finnish Salmon Soup.

Lohikeitto Finnish Salmon Soup

And let me say this soup is amazing! I am so glad I actually know about it. When we spent our honeymoon at the attic circle I’ve seen this soup everywhere. Unfortunately I felt sick most of the time and fish soup just didn’t sound appealing.

On our last night in Finland we slept in an ice hotel. And there Lohikeitto was served yet again. I decided to give it a try. Been angry with myself for not ordering it earlier ever since. It comes as no surprise that I immediately googled a recipe for this Finnish Salmon Soup.

You can find original recipe easily. I made my own version the other night and really enjoyed it.

You need:

♥ 1 Tbsp Ghee (you can also use regular butter or olive oil)
♥ 1 Finely chopped onion
♥ 1 sweet potatoe
♥ 1.25 litres vegetables broth (alternatively you may use fish stock)
♥ 1/2 kg fresh cubed salmon fillet
♥ 250 ml cream (use milk for a thinner soup)
♥ 1 handful finely chopped baby spinach
♥ 5 pieces Bay Leaf
♥ 5 grains of allspice
♥ 5 grains of junipers
♥ dash of sea salt
♥ dash of pepper

yummy Lohikeitto finnish salmon soup

Lets get cooking

  1. Chop onions and add to large saucepan, simmer in the ghee over medium heat until soft
  2. Cut the potato roughly into 1-inch cubes and add to onions, let simmer a bit.
  3. Add enough water to just cover the potatoes. Add allspice, junipers and bayleaf. Turn up the heat to high, cover the saucepan with a lid, bring to a boil and cook the potatoes until almost soft
  4. Add the vegetable broth.
  5. Cube the salmon and add to the pot. Cook until it is mostly opaque (maybe 5 minutes). Do not stir the soup so as not to break up the salmon – I did as I didn’t care much though.
  6. Add cream and make sure it does not cook anymore. ( I hardly ever manage that part. The cream will clot. It doesn’t matter for the taste but it just doesn’t look too good.)
  7. Take off the heat and stir in chopped spinach.
  8. Serve hot and enjoy.

Finnish Salmon Soup Lohikeitto

So can you image coming back home after a long day outdoors with freezing numb cheeks? This soup is a total game changer than. Its warm, it’s reach, it’s filling.

Let me know how you liked it.

Happy Soup Sunday,

Tobia

Anniversary Trip To Helsinki – Travel Log

Today I have been married for three years. We are not doing anything fancy today but go for dinner Friday night. Last year we’ve celebrated our anniversary with a trip to Helsinki.

When we went to our honeymoon we had a lay-over in Helsinki and agreed to come back after seeing the city from the plane. So we did. It was fun.

Most people are probably scared to fly north during winter but than we love winter. Why don’t I tell you a bit more.

Helsinki City

Ok, first I have to be honest. We had tough weather. It was around freezing and it was so humid. Something between fog, sleek and snow-slush-rain… Being outside was sometimes tough so we didn’t wander that far out of the downtown area and had quite a few coffee stops. BUT what we liked what we saw.

We walked and wandered around a lot. It’s our way of discovering a city and we easily get the lay of the land. More than once we ended up at the South Harbor and were mesmerized with the frozen Baltic Sea. I’ve just never seen anything like it. We came back almost every day…

Trip to Helsinki winter skyline

Close by is the Old Market hall – Vanha kauppahalli. A cozy warm roofed market. We had the feeling that locals and tourist were at balance among the visitors. Lots of people had lunch. Unfortunately we weren’t hungry. Still it was interesting seeing local food and warm up.

Helsinki Trip Old Market Hall Vanha kauppahalli

Also around the corner you can find Uspenskin cathedral. A russian orthodox church.

trip to Helsinki Harbor with Uspenskin katedraali

Unfortunately the building is not open for public but we walked around there and the neighborhood and found it was quite different. The heavy fog might have had something to do with it…

Trip to Helsinki houses

Sunday afternoon we were frozen so we went to the design museum. We really liked it a lot. If you are interested in interior design this is for you. If you are into design history go there too. We learned a lot about how strategic the Finnish people planned their design supremacy. Also there are so many objects we knew by sight but had no idea they were made in Finland.

Trip to Helsinki design museum

Just across the street from the museum is the Johanneksenkirkku – a church (ok, I do have a thing for sacred architecture…). I believe it is one of the nicest I have seen in all my travels. While there is pompous decor it is not dark, stuffy and gold but rather light and withdrawn. You can hardly find any pictures from the inside, I think it’s so worth seeing.

Trip to Helsinki st. Johns church

Suomolinna

On our last day before heading to the airport we went to Suomolinna. An island with a huge sea fortress or better an island fortress. Going by boat through the ice floes was maybe my best experience. It is much louder than I expected and you feel every impact. We journeyed through the skerry landscape and I discovered quite a few cute remote houses. I could easily spent a few weeks there…

Helsinki Trip ice floes on the Baltic Sea

The island was somewhat deserted as we went there off season. However it was still nice to walk around and get a feel of what it must have been living there in rough weather. Being at Suomolinna was the only time I really felt cold during our trip to Finland. The wind is crazy, it was snowing a bit and we were outside walking for a long time. We didn’t go to the museum as we didn’t have much time and rather walked to the far end of the island to have a look at the open waters. The history of the sea fortress is quite interesting and it is under UNESCO World Heritage. You could easily spent a whole day there specially in summer with picnics and nice views.

Helsinki Trip Suomenlinna

Food

During our honeymoon we had a tough time with the food. It was just so very different and than we were even further north and not in a city. Being in Helsinki the food scene was much better. While I started to like it and ate my way through fish and crabs and karjalanpirakka Mr. ♥ had a tougher time. Assuming it’s due to the conditions and location of Finland – they just don’t have veggies and if there are they are really horrible… Just be aware. It all looks old and frozen and tasteless – even in the supermarkets. Maybe that is just a momentarily picture in February but that is what we got after two trips to Finland. On another note, Helsinki has a broad selection of craft beer. I had quite a few and I liked them all. So if you like that Helsinki might be for you.

Helsinki Trip Finnish Food

Accomodation

We found a nice and affordable hotel within the city – Hotel Indigo Boulevard. The hotel is located in Helsinki’s Design District. Al lot of small little shops are in the surrounding neighborhood. We liked the hotel as it was clean, modern and had a separated bathroom – something hard to find nowadays.

Trip to Helsinki Hotel Indigo

Transport

We took a flight from Berlin with airberlin and were surprised it’s only about 2 hours. From the Helsinki airport we took a bus to the central station where we switched to the tram that took us directly to the hotel. We found public transport very easy and comfortable to use.

It was a nice trip to Helsinki we had last year. I would go there again. Maybe in summer. We heard and read the summers in Helsinki are legendary with lots of outside activities and festivals … and the sun never goes down…

Have you been to Helsinki? Would you take a trip to Helsinki? What would you check out?

Happy traveling,

Tobia