Honeymoon at the Arctic Circle with huskies and reindeers {winter wedding special}

Welcome back! Today I take you along our honeymoon. I know I am nice. So get some hot beverage, put on some socks because we are going to the Arctic Circle!honeymoon at arctic circle

When we were planning our wedding we realized a week prior to the big day we didn’t have any idea what to do after. Usually people go on a honeymoon. We always wanted to do lodge hopping in Canada for our honeymoon but that was just out of the picture financially. So we figured a few days somewhere to relax. But we couldn’t decided and time past…
Good thing a text came in telling us to save ten days after our wedding. So end of looking and off to a surprise.

And a surprise it was. Due to the lack of snow at our winter wedding my parents figured: send them where the snow is.

downtown levi

Yes we were sent to the most nordic town in Finland with huskies, reindeers, ice hotels and winter wonderland. But let’s go one day at a time.

Arriving in our hotel, discovering our room with a build-in sauna, a funny metal box – later figuring out it’s a heated closet to dry your stuff, reindeers grasing in front of our window. We were in honeymoon heaven. We took a short walk to get a lay of the land and fed the reindeers at the hotel.

walk around levi finlandThen we had dinner and went to bed because next morning was already scheduled.

Breakfast was strange. I let a picture speak because I really can’t describe:

finnish breakfast

After we got in our skiing gear and went to do our introduction to snow shoeing and snowmobiling. Later that day we just wandered the town and enjoyed the snow and came across a reindeer – in the middle of town! We also hit the tourist info and booked us a reindeer sledge ride and a husky sledge driving class.

Our day with the huskies

First thing to know: I am scared of dogs! Mr. ♥ loves huskies and wants one. So going on a husky farm took a lot of willpower but I am glad I did. We went to Huskysafari Levi. First we got a little introduction to sledge riding – like never step of the sledge, Huskies will run no matter what, to go slower you push the break, they eat snow to cool of, Huskies can actually die from over-heating…
Once we knew all this we got the dogs ready and my were they ready. Got a few pics:

jumping huskies

First it was my turn to stir the sledge and even though it was nice to try I was totally worn out (I was still really sick and the antibiotics took a toll on me too). So I was glad when we switched and I was able to enjoy the country side being chauffeured through by hubby. Again dusk was setting in early so pictures are a bit dark but that’s just the way it is up there.

landscape husky ride

When being back in the camp we had hot cranberry juice, coffee and traditional sausage.

husky

Our day with the reindeers

Our day at Wolverine Fell Wilderness and Nature started by getting a taxi and then being quite anxious if we will ever arrive. Seriously there was no way to drive on, all was white, the driver wasn’t quite sure where to go. Than we passed a ensemble of three cottages and a women (trying) to push a stroller through the snow. Soon after we arrived at the gate and so did the lady. She was our tour guide Petra and brought her 3 month old with her. Her husband was busy feeding reindeers and preparing the sledge. And we were the only ones. It was a wonderful quite and very informative afternoon we spend with them. As she kept mentioning reindeers are semi wild animals. You can not train them like horses. They “work” for you because you provide food. They are herd animals and it might happen that they decide to go another way – and all animals will follow. We went for a 1 mile sledge ride which took quite a while. The surroundings were amazing. Snowy trees, snow sunken fences and a reindeers butt.

reindeer butt

We stopped at a little cabin at Levi lake were we had hot cranberry juice and coffee.

panorama levi lakeWe heard stories about crossing the frozen lake and breaking through. We looked at animal pictures and listened to hunters stories. And throughout the time we felt like visiting friends, listening about their every day life struggles and joys.

our sledge reindeer

And one of their reindeers (the white one) was actually a star in a Christmas movie – unfortunately I forgot which one. So if you are ever in Kitillä you need to take a ride with them.

Our day at the glass igloo

Our last two days in Lapland we didn’t spent in our sauna hotel. We went to the glass igloos for one night.

inside glass iglooHonestly I think this was our highlight. Unfortunately due to the warm weather (only -3-6° C instead of -30° C that would have been normal around this time of year) it was very cloudy which turned the landscape in a winter wonderland but also covered up all the aurora borealis we were gonna watch.
But the snowy trees were worth the trip. Just have a look:

snowy trees

Since there wasn’t anything to do up there we went to the traditional finish hut and just hang out by the fire before we headed to our igloo and heated up dinner which you have to bring yourself.

finnish hutWe then spend the night reading and looking out of the window. Being entertained by crazy Asians running around in hello kitty pj’s and big cooking pots…
Next morning we ate breakfast that was in the fridge.

breakfast at glass igloo

Then we headed out for another photo tour in daylight and before the bus picked us up.

snowy landscape at glass iglooWe spend the day wandering the town, taking a cable car up to the mountains and enjoying the view until our trip to the next hotel.

Our day in a ice hotel

Now this was something we really looked forward too but were also a bit scared of. The brochure mentioned “cozy -5 degree”. When we drove to the ice hotel with our taxi we were a bit surprised because everything was dark. After going back and forth and looking into some windows a nice lady opened saying they were waiting for us and saying we would be their only guests tonight. What that really meant took us a while to set in… First she wanted to serve us dinner unfortunately we ate because we figured there is nothing up there. So she took us on a tour through the ice hotel. The hotel is build every year by cutting ice cubes out of the river and shooting snow on a big air dome which is later removed. Art students come in and carve pictures and figures and decorate.

ice hotelThe hotel has a little chapel (were you can also get married), an ice bar (mainly for groups and events) and 15 rooms incl. one suite with a heatable water bed – we didn’t have that room…

ice hotel chapel
We went back to accompanying restaurant and invited our waitress to have a drink with us. So we spend the time getting to know each other, exchanging life stories and cultural differences learning words in each other’s language and enjoying time together until it was time to get to bed.

We were provided with a sleeping bag, fleece inlays and lots of reindeer furs. We bought matching cross country skiing hats to not freeze our brains of and then off we went into the glacier. Before undressing and getting ready for bed we took a photo and video tour of the hotel, looked into every corner and behind every reindeer hide hanging somewhere. It was dead silent, chilly and a weirded atmosphere. Imagine sitting under a glacier or having a tiny cave in an avalanche. It didn’t help much that Rittaa (our waitress/hotel lady) mentioned that the dome steadily sags and that Mr. ♥ vividly described how a murder with lots of blood splatter would look like…

ice hotel sleeping

Anyway once we got into a our sleeping bags and finding somewhat comfort on the ice cube that was our bed it was great. I didn’t freeze at all, it was a bit chilly but it felt great. Breathing was a whole new experience in this crisp air and I felt totally healthy waking up.

Unfortunately waking up also brought our departure day. Getting to the airport was fun. Exactly three flights were managed that day – 2 arrival and one departure.

airport kitilläAnd while we very hanging around the airport we realized one not thing: the Fins are bad ass. The runway was covered in snow and ice… And yes it was fully operating.

kittalä airport with plane

Well so much for our little adventure. So what you think honeymoon in the Caribbean or at the Arctic Circle?!

For all the ones interested in going to Lapland here are a few hard facts

Read more

What to do with your bridal bouquet?!

Wedding preparations are so fun and exhilarating but I am pretty sure you don’t plan what to do afterwards besides maybe go on a honeymoon or paying bills.

So pretty soon you’ll wonder: what am I gonna do with my bridal bouquet. Well look no further I’ve got the perfect way to preserve it.

What to do with your bridal bouquet?

The story behind

You will carry all those memories with you – in shape of a fancy necklace. I do for sure. In my wedding planning I know quite early how my bridal bouquet was gonna look like. It was either calla lilies or white peonies. When I decided on the peonies I just had to find the perfect little flower shop in a city I didn’t know and that is a bit too traditional for my taste when it comes to flower arrangement. But somehow I found Mrs John and when walking back to the train station looking for another shop but saw some candles in tiny dark alley which were so inviting that I decided I want to go in and get a feel. Just entering I knew that gone be it. She is doing my flowers.
So when I told her I wanted peonies she tried to move mountains to get me some. Unfortunately they did not deliver and 3 days prior to the wedding I had no idea how my bridal bouquet should look like or what to do because we had to take what she bought already. If someone told me I would marry in carnations I would have yelled: never! You must know I hate carnations because I think of them as communist flowers – but mainly the red ones. And I found this really cool idea of a carnation snowball. And that’s what I ended up. Nothing I would change only maybe a bit of color at the edge of the bouquet because than you actually see it in front of the dress.

carnation bridal boquet

But anyways, you wanted to hear about the tutorial. Well I am a bit into jewelry making and so it was pretty clear to me what I’ll do with my bouquet afterwards.

Step 1 – preparation

bridal boquet to beads preparation

You can either do this with fresh flowers or with your dried bouquet – opens whole new possibilities doesn’t it?! I wanted to do mine with fresh but was sent on a surprise honeymoon.

Pick all the flower petals from your bouquet leaving a skeleton of the greens. This can be quite a meditative task.

Step 2 – cook

Yep throw them all in a big pot and add destilled water until covered.

bridal boquet to necklace

Step 3 – blend and filter

Now through the whole gooey thing into a blender and go crazy. Once that is done take a fine mesh cotton clothes and filter out the water. The flower dough should be really dry with a consistency of cookie dough.

bridal boquet coooking

Step 4 – making beads

Now comes the fun part. Form little beads and stick them on your tooth pick. They really shrink! About 50%. I didn’t believe but it’s true. Let them dry. Best for several days (or in my case weeks). Unfortunately I forget to take a picture of the fresh beads.

beads of bridal boquet

Step 5 – get creative

I read that all flowers kinda turn some shade of brown when you cook them. Specially white ones have no color on their own to bring in. So I knew I was going to paint mine. But I still wanted to see the real bouquet. So I dip dyed my beads. Since they are not waterproof I also coated them with transparent paint. After that I made jewelry.

necklace out of bridal boquet

I like what I have turned my bridal bouquet into. Now it’s you turn!

Here is what you need:
– flowers
– destilled water
– tooth picks
– paint (optional)
– clear varnish

You can also read up more on this topic here.

Please share, I would love to collect other bridal bouquet turned jewelry.

Happy bead cooking,

Tobia

 

PS: This post has been entered to the RUMS linkup party.

Life as a married couple :: Year 1

Tomorrow its our one year wedding anniversary. One year. It’s seems so long ago but yet the time passes way too fast. I have to admit nothing really changed but then all has changed… Does that even make sense?

Well being a couple for 8,5 years before getting married kinda gave us enough strength, knowledge and composure not to freak out when times are a bit rough or the way we would like them to be.

wedding bands

I have to admit I didn’t imagine my first year quite like it has turned out. But than I didn’t really have any ideal scheme of our year as newly weds. There have been times I felt lonely the past year. Work has been plenty for both of us but Mr. ♥ worked for a third person. We knew what was coming – living with it though is rough.

I had romantic plans of us getting a picture of every season during our first year (as I had seen on Pinterest) – take a guess, didn’t happen, we didn’t take any romantic trips together besides our honeymoon.

But still it was a great year! I know we can trust each other. I know in the end of the day it’s us we take care off. So what have I figured out so far:

1. Love is shown in the little things and not necessarily in grand gestures.

2. Saying “I am sorry” sucks but saying it, is often all it takes.

3. Laughing together is the best thing that can happen. Specially in tense situations. But the goofy ones are my fav.

4. Having a couch day is equalling happiness.

5. Sometimes it helps to set a date to actually make time for each other. We used to do date nights and I hope we can reintroduce into our schedule.

What have you learnt in your marriage so far? What will I have to look forward too? Let me know.

Oh and tomorrow on our actual anniversary I invite you for cake. Yep that’s me cake for all.

Happy Anniversary,

Tobia

 

PS: photo made by the great wedding photographer Anja Schneemann

Last Minute Wedding DIY {Winter Wedding Special}

winter wedding garland

I know I know we are right in the middle of summer and no one wants to read about winter. But those DIYs are simply made for any wedding no matter the season. And I still wanted to show you a few more things I made for our special day back in February.

We’ve put a lot of effort in our save-the-dates & invitation. And we started out with two languages (German & English) for all the overseas friends & family.

winter wedding stationary

So obviously we’ve ended up with tons of spare ones due to minimum purchase quantaties. You know me by now – I hardly through anything out so I was trying to come up with things to do out of those spare cards and what the hubby-to-be would agree upon.

I already mentioned the tissues at the ceremony.

DIY tissue band for wedding

I just cut strips out of the sparkling paper. Then cut out our logo and sewed everything together so that the tissue had a pretty little band. The whole project only took me about 1 hour once I figured out the look. Well of course it depends how many guests you’ve got.

The next thing I used those cards for. I just glued a nice part of a card to the cover of one of the bigger match box.

DIY match box wedding favors

I figured I like it better than just the ugly store bought ones. However we never really used them. No ice lanterns and the tea lights we wanted to have in a star shape outside on the patio instead had to be removed because of heavy rain. So I am not only having matches on hand but over 60 unused tea glasses as well…

I also punched a quadrillion stars out of the cards but hubby thought it was cheesy so they never made their appearance… But it’s another idea. We were planning on getting this photo but simply forgot to shoot it.

The next one is a bit more time consuming. I looked all over for those cute shoe stickers that are quite common in the US. However in Germany it wasn’t really possible to find any and if the price was outrages. I actually would have payed but: how come that the fonts are always different for bride & groom? Or why are they mostly blue? This really bothered me so I just did them myself – a day prior in our hotel room. All you need is rhinestone stickers, a pair of tweezers, a steady hand and shoes, obviously.

 

DIY shoe sticker

And while I was setting up my craft lab in our tiny hotel room I also finished up our Best-Day-Ever-Garland (see header). A project I found a couple days before the wedding on Pinterest and we both suddenly needed urgently in our wedding. Here you see me working hard:

best day ever garland

And one last one I have. I’ve had a really really hard time finding shoes. Either to small, to tight, to expensive, too cheep, not white white and matching my dress… You get the idea. And since I needed two pairs (inside and outside) they also had to have the same hight. In the end I gave up and got myselfs some plain white pumps I could easily spend the day in and figured I make myself some wedding-theme-matching shoe clip.

DIY pompom shoe clip

This project actually took more time than I anticipated due to the (old school) pom pom making. But I used the yarn my mom made my cardigan of. So all worth it. Once that was done I just glued them on the shoe clip*, attached it to the shoe and tada, done.

I hope you’ve found some inspiration for your big day. And I would love to see what you’ve done, so leave a comment and I come visit.

Cheers, Tobia

Some of the pictures were taken by our wonderful wedding photographer Anja Schneemann.

*affilliate link (more information here)

Avocado Tree Growing #2

Hey there,

it’s time for an update on my green thumb experiment.

As you can see I didn’t trust myself much with only one pit so I bought a couple more, ate them and put them right next to my wedding pit. Now can you see the difference in size?! Crazy huh?

avocado pit

What I’ve learned so far:

  • They need a lot of water. I easily add 1 drinking glass of water a week to keep them hanging the the water
  • I peeled off the skin of the pit as suggested in some post I’ve read online
  • However I am not sure if that was such a good idea.
  • I am impatient to see some sprout by now – but it’s been only a little over 5 weeks…

avocado pit

So hopefully next round of avocado pit pictures we can see some sprouts.

See the story behind: Part I