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Message to the Public from the King and Queen of Finlandia

One year ago today this American gained independence from Britain…oh the irony.

There wasn’t a huge celebration as Lord Finlandia and I had the opportunity today to help with the Helsinki Stake Young Womens camp. The whole intent of the activity was to teach the girls that they are princesses and therefore a King and Queen were needed…..cue moi and him.


All went well. Onyx was the hit of the day and would have gladly enjoyed attention like this for the rest of the camp (till this Saturday).


Before we went we were asked to prepare some stuff, one thing was a story of “our kingdom”. Well….it ended up not getting used so therefore I’m going to shove it on here:

Once upon a time a Prince who hailed from the frozen north lands, the son of the Duke and Duchess of Tampere was in want of a wife. He had spent many years diligently serving his country in the military and even furthering the message of god in a wet and dreary overcrowded land where he had spent two long years as a missionary. It was during those two rainy years that he met many people although the memory of one woman would haunt him for a long time afterwards.

One night which accessing the mystical all-seeing glowing box presented to him by his court wizard he latched into the digital realm of the facebook. There he saw a change of status to “single” from the woman who had been in the back of his thoughts for five long winters.

Seizing his chance at eternal happiness he jumped without a moment’s notice and reacquainted himself with this woman.

The woman: a bold and clumsy specimen had ended a relationship in not too pleasant of terms within the wet and dreary land of England and was expecting to spend many more winters alone and freezing in a small and tiny abode when, one night a message from her glowing box reacquainted her with a friend, a dashing blonde Norseman who she had last seen five years earlier.

Seizing courage from some unknown force the two chatted long into the night, and the night after, and the night thereafter… flirting happened, the magic all-seeing programme skype happened and it was not long thereafter that the procurement of tickets upon the flying dragon express were purchased to see each other again in person.

The flying dragon assisted in many visits and after a particularly long one the Nordic Prince proposed to his woman from the wetlands. Knowing very little of the Nordic lands customs and even less of its intimidating and excruciatingly hard-to-learn language the woman did not hesitate to become his princess.

Thus it was with great fanfare in a castle, the temple of the Lord, that these two were wed with many international dignitaries and local noblemen in attendance and great rejoicing was proclaimed throughout the land. They and their minister of inter-species relations and utter cuteness have set their palace in the greater Helsinki region.


All of this had come about not due to fate, or circumstances conveniently in their favour, rather because both of them had to courage to declare to one another early on that they were interested. May you all find your Prince or Princess one day and may you have the courage to overcome the great scourge that is known as nervousness. Be bold, be strong but mostly… wise for without the common love of the Lord and a gospel that leads and guides them this marriage would never have been and this author shutters at the thought…


Toodles Sweets – Ariane

PS – Happy 4th of July my Americanos out there!
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Draggin’ Our Tails Off To Tallinn & Appointment Update


I love Europe. I love living in Europe….well most of the time and I freakin’ love taking advantage of all the relatively short travel lengths we have between countries.


After the past few weeks this little break that the hubster bought me for my birthday was most definitely needed.


The man knows me well. Actually he is extremely talented at gift giving. He can spend a few pennies and come up with something incredibly thoughtful and this year’s birthday gift was no exception:


A day cruise to Tallinn, Estonia!


Trust me it was needed.

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Cowgirl Head

State of the Union Address


My dear minions how goeth it? The hubster , pupster and I managed to have one of those cheesy Lifetime original moviesque walks near a gorgeous little church near Tikkurila.


This may seem like a small little trip and in most ways it was but it so happens to be the first day in over a month that I wasn’t in pain from a flareup that is mentioned below.


So without further explanation I’m just going to throw in random photos of our walk in between my next sentences.


I’m pretty sure they’re not going to have anything to do with the sentences around them but they’re pretty so I shall use them as a pathetic attempt to grab your attention.


Things here for the most part are going well. The hubster is honestly the love of my life and I have become one of those cheesy stupid pathetic ooey gooey people and you know what? It’s fantastic!!!


I admit I was a bit dubious of this sense of romantic attachment being actually plausible at one point but for those despairing I assure you it is possible. Now go get ‘em!

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Fantabulous Free Fabric For a Flirtatious Frock

…see what I did there ;)

During our most recent trip to Hurdy-Gurdy land, which I had assumed I had actually blogged but completely blanked (I’ll atone I promise) my beloved Shannon decided to have a clear-out of her fabric stash whilst I sat on her bed awash with splendour whenever she would ask if I wanted some.
One of those piles happened to be a lot of pieces of the most gorgeous teal-coloured satin. Freakin high-quality 20-euro a metre stuff and I got it….for FREE!


Her timing could not have been more perfect for just a few weeks earlier Ville’s (and my new) cousin had asked if I would help her make a formal dress for a prom-esque event at EFY this summer. My worry was the price of fabric here in Finland. For example what I know I can buy in America for around $7 a metre costs here around $30 a metre.

So with the purchase on our end of only a zipper and matching thread we started our pattern-puzzle. We managed to get most of the pattern sections cut out in one go but there two large panels that we had to piece together. My intention was to do it unusually so that it looked intentional. I figured a diagonal line would be better than a straight one.


All cut out and I started sewing while Jenny masterfully made amazingly beautimous matching flowers.


Onyx helped too….by falling asleep among the madness and not insisting for attention.


All was not perfect in the land though. For one: I should have realised that the pattern she picked out was for a flowy fabric and we cut it out of stiff fabric. Now I know and also nowhere on the pattern does is say that it is only intended for one specific body type which coincidentally happened to be the exact opposite of what Jenny was so yeah….that created a bit of pattern re-mongering and lots of adjustments.

At one point the bodice wasn’t coming together and so I had Jenny put it on as I was racking my brain thinking of how I was going to fix this. After a minute or so I noticed that she was getting really uncomfortable and it took me a few moments to realise that I had spent the whole time staring at her boobs!  *inner chuckle* oops….poor girl.

Another harrowing moment: during my exhaustion and one-tracked mindedness I hadn’t noticed that the iron was on too hot and I managed to burn a HUGE dent into just below the bodice completely ruining the dress. I just about cried. Thankfully Jenny optimistically piped up with “Well there I can prove to my friends wasn’t store bought and we have the flowers”.  So with a bit of floral camouflage and one and a half days of constant sewing we ended up achieving this:


Hopefully you can’t tell that it's been pieced together.


I hear that the Madame doth like the garment indeed.


And all for the cost of a smidge of over 5 euros.



Toodles Sweets - Ariane
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Alas Poor Jorvik No More! We Knew Thee Fully.

I’ve always maintained that if you want to see London…go to London but if you want to see the real England is all its romanticism and whelp of historical goodness you need to get your butt out of London and do what we did. Head up to the best place I can think of that fits the bill of not too busy, charming, old but upkept: York.


I love York. First fell in love when Sheila and I had a journey that was cut short by some stupid winter weather. This time we were lucky enough to spend a few days .


I was tempted to somehow make my gazillion of photos of the place into a easily readable narrative but yeah…time went by and I got a bit lazy. Here are the photos of the pure awesomeness we saw in no particular order. Be prepared for a glut of photo goodness.


My hubster had a little trouble navigating the tremendously large door and alleyways.


Sheila on the other hand...did not.
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Toodles Sweets - Ariane
Cowgirl Head

Once Upon a Blasted Freezing March Day

... three intrepid adventures


Set off across the northern English countryside


and thought that setting the GPS for no motorways would be a smart idea. What a silly notion.


After many a sheep sighted through a dirty windscreen




And one to many a little village driving through


The three found themselves stuck in the dangers of traffic and horrors of Manchester’s construction and wondered why the construction had to take over many miles of roadway when simply fixing a few miles at a time would seem the most sensible process.


The male entertained himself with taking plenty of photoCollapse )

And after nearly four hours of driving on a trip that was intended to take only two the three finally arrived at their destination and approached the medieval gates that many a traveller had come across before.

York had thoughtlessly left the city gates open. The three were dissappointed that at this time no traderous heads were displayed.


Lesson learned in such warm temperatures as this: windy country driving is probably not the best idea when your poorly designed rental car’s windscreen wash pipes freeze over...oh and when the cheap knock-off gps offers no motorways it means not a single motorway and you will go miles and miles and miles out of your way to avoid one.


Next up: A plethora of photos to bore you of our York adventures. Three days was not enough for this one city.
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Back to the Land of the Angles

We’re home safe now…where it’s warm…so…gloriously…warm. England was not.


The people were wonderful. I miss them so so much but what I don’t miss is quadruple glazing and saunas and the need to never wear a sweater inside. Finland may be notorious for it’s frigid temperatures but that’s OUTSIDE not inside. One resturaunt we ate at was actually colder inside that when we went back outside! Swhat??? I am amazed – utterly amazed about how soon I became “unconditioned” to living with English cold. The week we choose probably didn’t help either. Rain, fog and freakin’ hail stones greeted us when we arrived. It was fun driving on the M25 in all of that let me tell you.

In all though, I did pray that I wouldn’t fall back in love with everything English and that I would have the desire to return home and it was provided. Be careful what you wish for.

Now onto the good stuff: mainly the people.


These people.


The ones who came to our pseudo-reception.


Where we asked them to dress up a la 1940s style.


They didn’t fail to impress with photos and for the support and love they gave to us by being there.


Thanks guys! Cannot wait to visit you again….no wait….I can…I’ll visit when it’s warmer next time.


This was the main idea for our trip:


.....but we managed to kidnap our beloved Sheila for three days up north to geek all out in medieval York.


Where the hubster took some oh-so-charming photos!

Toodles Sweets - Ariane
Cowgirl Head

Reminder of Finnish Awesomeness

Of course I’m going to come back to Finny after this weeks little jaunt back to the land of the Angles; our entire lives are here including this fuzzbutt whom I love more than is probably healthy:


The following is a list of emergency motivation in case I find Engurland a little too charming.

Where else do you get to suntan on a park bench in full winter garb?


Or see someone strolling down the street like this


Or get to spend the weekend at a summer cottage in the middle of winter?


Or get a family picture taken whilst standing on a lake?


Or playing fetch with your puppeh on said lake?


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Spontaneous Serendipity with a dash of “What the….?”

The alarm buzzed rather loudly this morning only six hours after I managed to succumb to the lulls of sleep. Ville had to go into Helsinki and I was determined the night previous to sleep in…but an occurrence that I have not seen for many a day had happened: the sun was out and temperatures had finally crossed over to the plus side of the scale! I could not resist the pull to get my backside out of that bed and go exploring once again.

Culture shock happens more frequently that I am comfortable admitting, especially because I have repeated moments of déjà vu akin to when I first moved to England. I have moments like this I witnessed a few nights ago where I peer over the landscape and admire it’s beauty a full 2.3 seconds before the record scratch echoes in my ears and my brain shouts “Wait! What?”;


See that little black figure in the bottom-right of the photo? That ladies and jellyspoons is a dude….walking, nay working on the ice! I wish I had more time to take better photos because he was certainly not the only one. I should have also taken a photo of Ville’s face. Imagine a façade of complete nonchalance.


I’ve been to Helsinki a few times before, mostly touring the obvious places but this time I wanted to explore roads and waterways that I didn’t know existed. We found a bridge with this cuteness:


Most of the locks had engraved inscriptions. Me thinks we need to revist this and leave a little bit of ourselves next time.


I also managed to meet up with a long lost old friend: Bertie! Here we are posing in Senate Square.


Isn’t he beautiful? Oh how I have miss thee. Thanks for bringing him back into my life Hankiala family!

Now it can never be said that the Finns are a wussy bunch. They even have a word specific to their language to describe what takes a gazillion in English to signify their hardiness: Sisu. Imagine fortitude, strength, guts, umph and a triumphant punch to the air and I think that translates to about a quarter of it’s true meaning. I have heard of it before and I have heard of the legendary use that the natives have of it but never before have I seen it in person until today:


That above is a woman in a SWIMMING COSTUME!


Walking…slowly…towards the water…to engage in this madness!!!


Oh Finland, will you never fail to make my eyebrows reach epic sceptical altitude?

We spent the rest of the morning wandering around & grabbing lunch before it was off to the super-crowded (only) railway station at noon:


Victoria, Euston & Marleybone: eat your heart out.

Toodles Sweets - Ariane
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Weekend Shenanigans

Hello. How was your weekend? Boring? Ours wasn’t. Since this is a journal I suppose I need to record life happenings. You see on Sunday I ended up here;


Accident and Emergency in Tampere Hospital.

The last time I went to A&E for myself was when the wind slammed and locked a car door on my thumb in 2003…I was kinda hoping it would have been the last time ever but nope. Fate had other plans.

The following contains icky medical stuff so if you are squeamish or easily grossed out or a complete immature wuss who plans to make fun of me later for what I’m admitting to the world than you can just pander off into some other blog. Ok? Thanks.

It all started on Friday afternoon. I was setting the house to rights in order to prepare for a loooooong awaited weekend away with my in-laws in Tampere. That’s when I noticed that I was getting the tale-tale signs of cystitis (UTI for the North Americans). I have only had one of these blasted annoying infections as a teenager and as such thought that my antibiotics still in date and brought all the way over from England would have done the trick, especially considering that it was close to being too late to make an appointment with a GP.

So off we went driving up north and stopping at every other service station. I was uncomfortable but everything was under control.

I’m currently in the process of making a special handbag for my sister-in-law whose fashion taste is good…but almost the opposite of me so I needed her to go fabric shopping and on Saturday we ventured off in search for fabric, which in Finland is not an easy thing to do. We ended up buying a duvet cover and intend to shread that….wait….digressing…back to the medical stuff. My sister-in-law noticed that I was uncomfortable and that I needed to use the necessity more than a pregnant woman and started asking me if I wanted to go home. I was determined to get all of our shopping done and after struggling to get a birthday present for a 12-year-old boy (seriously what do they want? Still baffled) I was uncomfortable enough to the point that I gave up and just bought some American imported candy.

That evening the uncomfortable-ness started to merge into pain. But I channelled my inner Xena and decided to duke it out….stupid mistake #2.

I could not sleep a wink that night. My stomach was cramping akin to the worst monthly cramps and a huge shooting pain nestled in my lower back was so strong that I could not find any comfortable position nor any relief. Around 5am I woke Ville up as I had no idea what to do. Never seeing the inside of a Finnish hospital and used to dealing with surely and dismissive English doctors I was scared and really really did not want to go into hospital. Only one choice was available.

We arrived around 5:30 am. Samples and temperatures were taken and I was ushered into a waiting room where we waited…..and waited….and waited…

Whilst I do appreciate and understand just how busy A&E doctors are I was losing patience as my pain reached levels that I would rate a 10 on that frowny-face chart. My breathing became heavy and erratic, I could not get comfortable in any position and so was left half-hovering over a chair. I couldn’t contain the moans that erupted from my mouth causing stares and embarrassment and in a final need for some sort of stress and pain release I started to cry, nay bawl like a little pathetic pansy. This is where Super-Ville stepped in and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for him getting my appointment slot moved up.

This was now sometime near 7:30am, a woman who looked like she had a nasty flu had complained that she had been there since 4:00am. I could empathise but there was no way I was going to give up this slot.

The doctor, whose bedside manner was wonderful even though it was evident she was stressed got me some killer pain meds and a shot that made me go all blissfully loopy loopy. Though to be honest if I were offered an epidural at the same time I would have gladly taken it.

My simple infection had started to turn into a full-blown kidney infection….which if we hadn’t caught it when we did would have necessitated a couple-of-days hospital stay and intravenous drugs.

Lessons learned: Erythromycin is crap at clearing up cystitis and once symptoms are felt get yourself to a doctor STAT!

I’m better now. I still have the all-powerful drugs that make me sleepy and dippy when the pain comes back but it looks like I am on the mend.

I wanna to give a shout-out to all those who helped with prayers and actions, especially to my man who stood up an insisted I get seen sooner. Thanks mucho. I also want to apologise for missing that 12-year-old receiving the priesthood at church and for missing his party; sorry Valtsu.

…needless to say I was a tad occupied so I didn’t get any photos and a post on here without photos is ridiculous so I shall leave you with a little fun Ville and I got up to when he shaved off his beard in stages.


I am so freaked out how much of an American this makes him look


…or how Ned Flandersy this does...


Steemy glasses *giggle*


Toodles Sweets - Ariane