Six Word Saturday: 12.7.2014


REM told us: everybody hurts sometimes.

Fork In Hand

In case you’ve wondered about my relative silence of late: here is one of the reasons!

Presenting Heather’s Helsinki’s first official product: Fork In Hand! In conjunction with Veronica of  WEFactory and with considerable assistance from our good friends at Iittala, we are delivering food tourism (Foodism) in a new way. This is the last time you’ll hear me mention the words tour or guide. Instead we’re offering stories and food – Finnish Food Tales told by Food Narrators 😉 Sounds cool, yes?!

The last weeks have been a jumble of calls and e-mails and texts and this week it all comes together. Well that is the plan. We’ve lined up a great selection of tastes and treats, it’s like a pot-luck in reverse!

I’m super-excited and trying hard to suppress the little bubble of terror that threatens to erupt regularly.

If you want to keep up with what’s happening check out Heather’s Helsinki or Fork In Hand on Facebook.

PS: Isn’t that fork earring the greatest thing ever?!

Nothing like a countdown…

The new business website launch date draws nearer and nearer. Now we have a date and a time. In honour of this momentous step I’ve added a countdown widget over there <— to keep track.

There’s a new twitter handle floating around (@heatherhelsinki) and coming sometime in new future will be a Facebook page to match.

Feel free to follow… there’ll be all sorts of little hints and teasers over there!

Yes, I’ve found my oomph – in buckets!

Have you seen my oomph?

Have you seen my oomph? I could have sworn that I left it here somewhere. I’ve also misplaced my travel card. I think it will be easier to find the travel card than the oomph however…

The offending bus pass looks like this…

I’ll be away for a short while, and once I’ve got the oomph sorted it will be business as usual! I know exactly what needs to be done, and returning to the blog will be my reward 🙂

As for the travel card, I have a pretty good idea I know EXACTLY where that is. If not, it’s off to the HSL office and forking over a few euros to get a replacement card…

Helsinki, there are plenty of good people here!

I had a very special encounter with some quite amazing people not so long ago. You may recall I wrote about the inevitability of death on All Saints Day. In part that post was inspired by the man behind Yobot, Tom Beidler. On my Heather’s Helsinki I tried to write an obituary. You be the judge of whether I succeeded or not. Anyway, obviously as today’s post indicates, I was not the only person inspired or touched by Tom.

One night two separate friends on Facebook invited me to a brainstorming at Yobot. I tentatively RSVP’d knowing that the date in question was already double booked. Tom’s ex-wife Jaana (and in his own words), number one supporter also contacted me and asked if I would be interested in joining a brain storming session to discuss the next steps for Yobot. A second date was proposed that I could more easily attend and my tentative became a definite.

The table is set

The table is set
(Photo credit: Yobot)

What happened next is really quite incredible and just goes to show how much the world hasn’t changed *. We were a very eclectic group: artists; ballerinas; entrepreneurs; expats; family; Finns; food lovers; immigrants from every continent; local residents; not so local residents; restauranteurs; students and teens – all brought to this one little cafe in Töölö to discuss the next step; the next chapter of the Yobot story.

The author and fellow Yobotians discussing the next phase
(Photo credit: Yobot)

Check out all those little post-its in the shot above! After we’d gone through the whole let’s introduce ourselves to each other, we had a quick 5 minute session of jotting down all the important Yobot things. Each person announced their jottings and we started mapping the wall. Plenty of points overlapped and it very quickly became obvious that the attraction was far more than just the frozen yoghurt. Two hours rushed by and I for one, left feeling that it while it would be challenging for Tom’s kids, Emma and Max to continue the business as Tom had expressly wished, it would not be impossible.

Round two: more Yobotians brainstorming
(Photo credit: Yobot)

For me the most amazing part was that so many different people were willing to come out in the middle of a snow storm to discuss the continuation of somebody else’s business. How great is that? How often do you hear about that happening in a place like Helsinki? A place where so many of us are trying to fit in and carve a little niche for ourselves, to be accepted for who we are. Let me repeat that: somebody else’s business! As Jaana mentioned to me later, this is not the way of the corporate world. Perhaps it should be. It probably isn’t what you would expect in a big city either. While Helsinki is far from being a big city, it’s big enough. The spirit of Yobot was very much based around Tom’s personality and attitude. While it can’t be bottled, it can be regenerated. While Yobot is for the locals in Töölö one of their local coffee shops, for many others it’s a home away from home.

Starting a new business is harrowing enough; losing the owner and the driving force so soon after opening might be just too much for some. Not this time. It makes me really proud to be involved with a group of like-minded individuals who say, no, the show must go on – there is a Finnish term called sisu that springs to mind about now!

The opening party is just around the corner. This weekend business resumes as normal. I’ll be there and looking forward to meeting old and new friends alike. When things like this happen, it reminds me that really, Helsinki is a pretty cool place to live. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

By the way, I’ve made a new word: Yobotian. Definition: Friend and fan of Yobot Frozen Yoghurt Café, Töölö, Helsinki, Finland (planet earth!) pl: Yobotians.

* I grew up in a small community that looked out for each other. All the time. There was never a question of not helping, rather how much to help. My helping out and volunteering philosophy is much the same: each person puts in as much or as little as they can at the time.

Six Word Saturday: 17.11.2012


Opportunities present themselves in strange ways.

Project work, your opinion of Finland!

School has been in for a few weeks now, and the assignments are building up! One project requires some on-line research, so I’ve posted a little question over at Heather’s Helsinki – What does Finland mean to you?

Feel free to follow the link and answer the question – or of course add your comments below! There are no wrong answers, anything goes.

It’s my humble opinion that every blog post should have either music or some eye candy and as the only music I think of is Monty Python’s Finland, I thought I’d throw some random pictures your way:

Look-out! A moose doubling as a viewing spot 😉

Maritime Museum in Kotka (the photo DOES not do it justice)

Beautiful colours

Fearless seagull (he’s a teenager, what do you expect?!)

Catching up!

Summer School! It was great. I don’t want to reblog, and I don’t want to use all the same text here…. The summer school and some Helsinki info is over on the Heather’s Helsinki blog, if you’re not following that one, here is a quick link to get you over there!

The class mates were really great, and we had a lot of laughs and fun in class. With such a broad range of nationalities represented there was plenty of opportunity to share and compare. The co-ordinator had managed to gather up a really broad range of guest speakers, some inspired great passion amongst the class! The majority were staying in hostel or student accommodation and the thought did cross my mind that I could do that also if I do another summer school course…. Maybe not. Let’s see what happens next year!

The cafeteria food from the kitchen at Hanken (School of Economics) was very good, and the kitchen ladies super friendly. Lunch tastes so much better when it’s served with a smile 🙂 The campus internet worked fairly well (some mornings it seemed to be on  a go slow) and all up it was a good introduction to learning in the 21st century. I am sooo last century!

Now I have to get back to normal life. Remember the ‘formal‘ night. Ah, well tonight is the next one. I must admit I didn’t take too much notice of the invite when it arrived ‘Iltapuku’. Sunday I double checked, with a picture search as well. My worst fears confirmed. A girlfriend had mentioned months ago that she know of a boutique having really good prices. I called, unfortunately that shop is closed down for good. She threw some names at me, both of whom I recognised from tram trips through the city.

Monday afternoon I walked into their shop, and 20 minutes later (ok, maybe 30 minutes) walked out with dress, shawl and shoes. Turns out that spending an hour the night before researching dress styles for pear-shaped figures really pays off. I told them what I needed, and got the right dress with the minimum of fuss! I have to say, it’s a great looking dress and I think I might just have to show it off! Yes, Kanerva unveiled, coming soon to  a screen near you 🙂

I have three other things to get off my chest, all of which I’ll get into more detail in coming posts. Six word Saturday will be all about a tough decision we had to make earlier this year. Monday I have an interview with another learning institution (looking for an Official Helsinki Guide?) and we’re adopting a furry four-legged creature in the coming months.

Oh, it was my birthday last week earlier in the week (21st if you must know) and at 46, I have to say things are looking not bad at all! Now to read some blogs that I haven’t visited much lately and check the comments. Nice to be back, if only for a short while.