Sunday, 30 November 2014

DAY 100: Challenge Completed!


One hundred days ago I set myself a challenge. Every day, for 100 days, I would pick something that made me happy or I was grateful for that day, big or small, and write a blog entry about it. Back in August it felt like a long time indeed, but as usual it has flown by.
This is what everyday goodness looks like to me. 
And so much good has happened! I've made wonderful new friends. I've spent great moments with my wonderful old friends. I had my first play staged. I graduated. I'm working on an exciting new project. I turned another year. Of course there's been low moments too, but I've had so much support from the people around me that whenever times felt rough, it didn't last for long. Thank you!
And this.
And thank you to everyone who read the blog, whether you popped in now and then or honoured me with a visit every day. This isn't a goodbye, I'm going to continue writing, but maybe not quite as diligently as before. (That might be an entirely good thing.) And I will continue the "challenge" in my own head, because it never hurts to remind oneself of the good things!

Right, I hope you've had a great weekend, and here's to the next 100!


Saturday, 29 November 2014

DAY 99: Feeling Lucky

It's days like this that I remember just how lucky I am to live in place like London. Having sent off some work, I went for a walk, picked up a coffee and sat on a park bench and wrote until the sun set. It's the second to last day of November but the city still decided to treat us to some lovely weather.
Walking home I spotted several people carrying Christmas trees. I couldn't help feeling a bit excited! I've decided to get myself a small tree this year, for my room. It might not have the same scent as a large tree, but it would still look lovely and if I get one of the ones that are planted in a pot, I could then move it out on the balcony after Christmas. I'll have to keep an eye out for some nice fairy lights ...

I hope you are all enjoying your weekend, whether it's sunny or not!


Friday, 28 November 2014

DAY 97 & 98: A Happy Birthday Round 2


How are you?

I felt royally spoiled on Tuesday when I received so many lovely birthday presents and cards and good wishes, and yesterday it only continued when my friend and I had our joint birthday drinks at a local pub! A huge thank you to everyone who ventured out into the darkness and spent the evening with us, it meant a lot.
I adore my new bookmark, and I want it to get cold so I can wear my new fuzzy mittens. I call them my Ewok-mittens! My dad also sent me a whole selection of chocolates (and some xylitol gum for after) which I'll try to eat in small dozes. (Yeah, right!) 
I now feel thoroughly celebrated and I've received so many pep-talks about getting older, from people on both sides of the 30 mark, that I'm pretty keen to see what it's all about. My bookmark-making friend told me about an 80-year-old actress she'd worked with who never celebrates her birthdays, she doesn't care about age, and who is still energetic as anything. That is something I want to strive for! 

I had so much fun that I think there's enough for two days. :) Thank you again and have a lovely weekend!


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

DAY 96: Secret Agent Woman


It's days like this I feel like a double agent; office worker by day, word warrior by night. After work I shot off to meet the theatre company I'm collaborating with. We're in application mode and with a few chops and slices we managed to get everything we wanted to say down to the allowed amount of pages. After the meeting I then took the Madmobile home to edit a magazine column and a book chapter. (The first my own, the second not my own.)
You have to be ruthless. They should never see it coming. 
I think I've written about editing before, how it can be both a pain and a pleasure. Like most people I find it easier to edit bits of text that are not my own. I'm not overly attached to anything and I haven't become blind yet to all the small details. As soon as the text is my own the ego begins to protest. On a bad day it thinks everything I've written is absolutely brilliant and there shouldn't be any reason whatsoever to cut or change anything. On those days you just have to give your ego a good talking to and then be ruthless.

With two deadlines by the end of the week I'm hoping I'll get everything done on time. I'll just have to play it cool.

I'll have my diet coke shaken, not stirred. Please. Lemon? Sure. But no ice. (Do you have any straws? Ooh, mini umbrella!)


DAY 95: A Happy Birthday


Greetings from a happy 30-year-old. I had a lovely birthday, celebrating it with cookie baking and decorating in good company. I wanted to do something low key since the actual "party" is on Thursday when Lotta and I are having joint birthday drinks in a pub close by.  
Traditional and not so traditional cookie cutting.
 One of my friends congratulated me on Facebook and asked if I'd had my crisis yet. I don't think I'm having more of a crisis today than I had yesterday, even though your 30s do determine a lot. But I look forward to all the great things that might come along!
The concentration was fierce.
 I received some lovely cards and gifts and I was even presented with a surprise cake with candles and everything. Thirty years on I still get embarrassed when people sing happy birthday to me. But in a good way! I managed to blow out all 13 candles, one for every letter in Happy Birthday. (That's not unlucky is it?)
 I didn't remember to take photos of all the cookies so here's just a selection. These were some of the first ones we made so we hadn't quite gone crazy yet. My flatmate had bought some fab stuff for the decorating, she'd gone all out and it was great fun!
A massive thank you to everyone who made my birthday special, whether you could be here in person or sent me a kind wish. I look forward to seeing many of you in the upcoming year and celebrating your birthdays too!

Thanks again!

Monday, 24 November 2014

DAY 92, 93 & 94: Sitting in the dark


It's been quiet around here since Friday, I know. But I'll rectify that now by doing a weekend round up!

A friend was visiting London for the weekend. She's a great dance lover so I took her to Sadler's Wells Theatre for Triptych. I'm embarrassed to say I hadn't been before despite living close by. It was a great evening and I'm always amazed what the human body can do! It got extra exciting when the lights on stage suddenly went out and we all sat in complete darkness for a while. First we thought it was part of the show, but when the live orchestra stopped playing as well we realised something had gone wrong. The unpredictability of live entertainment! The audience shared a few worried glances before deciding it was all quite amusing and there was lots of clapping and cheering.
On Sunday I did another first. I ventured East to Stratford for some shopping. It was either that or Oxford Street and Oxford Street on a Sunday, in torrential rain, just seemed like the most miserable option ever, so I decided on Westfield instead. At least it was all indoors! I wasn't the only one who'd had the idea, but while the corridors were quite busy the shops weren't too bad. No queuing for the fitting rooms! 
Swedish dough - Close enough
Today I finally took the tube to Scandinavian Kitchen for the gingerbread dough. Birthday Baking tomorrow! I ended up with a few other things as well ... But like I told the shop assistant (in Swedish!), it was still cheaper than flying to Finland and getting the stuff there.

Right, time to enjoy the final hours of my twenties! I hope you had a great weekend! 


Friday, 21 November 2014

DAY 91: Oops I did it again

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Drum roll please ... Or not, that's fine too. Although it's been quite an exciting day for me because I received the final mark for my MA! I have officially graduated! (Except the graduation ceremony isn't until January.)

I achieved what I had set out to do so I'm pretty pleased. I was proud when I received my MA in Social Science at the University of Helsinki, mainly because it had been hard work and I'd done a large research project which resulted in my thesis, but this MA means even more  because it taught me the thing I really want to do. And having someone say "Hey, you're not half bad at this", is always highly appreciated.  
So, I guess I should stop introducing myself as a student now. Should I even get used to introducing myself as a writer? The thought!

I hope you've had a good day too and have a great weekend!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

DAY 90: The BBC thinks I'm ancient


Greetings from my sushi coma. Some good food and good company made it a very pleasant evening indeed. I might have had a bit too much green tea. Hopefully it won't make my current nocturnal tendencies worse.
Good but evil.
In other news, I was listening to BBC Radio 2's Non-Stop Oldies at the office and this song came on, Daniel Powter's "Bad Day".

My brain did a flip and went "Hang on!". That's not an old song. Definitely not old enough to be part of Non-Stop Oldies. For that segment I'm thinking Elvis, The Beach Boys, some Beatles and maybe a Barry White or two. Not the biggest hit of 2005! I refuse to think that my early 20s are now None-Stop Oldies material. I was still quite pleased though because I'd completely forgotten about the song and I suddenly remembered how much I liked it back in the day (me and the rest of the world). I'm not sure it has aged very well but it was still a nice bit of time travel. Who doesn't want to meet "The One" on a rainy day under a red umbrella? (And vandalise a piece of advertisement in the tube.)   

To be fair, it's not the BBC that picks the songs, people are allowed to send in their own playlists of oldies and then the BBC chooses a suitable list (so they do make a judgement call of sorts ...) Anywho, I didn't have a bad day and I hope you've enjoyed your day too!


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

DAY 89: A slightly less lethal lunch

I know, I've already written too many "Hurrah, lunch in the park!" entries, but come on! I'm Finnish. To me having a sandwich and a coffee in the sunshine, outdoors, in mid-November is pretty much a miracle.
No rabid penguins, just a few covert doves. 
Back home I'd be keeping one eye on my numb feet and the other on the rabid penguins watching from the shadows. It's hard to run from a penguin when you can't feel your feet and you have tomato and mozzarella, frozen solid, stuck halfway down your throat. (Okay, I should point out that there are no actual penguins in Finland (or polar bears for that matter). Way too many people still believe there are. No. Not even up North. We have normal bears. And wolves. Lots of flesh eating bunnies (they might not be flesh eating) and worst of all THE SEAGULLS. But you don't see them much in winter. Not the bears either, they normally sleep.) What I'm trying to say is, I really enjoy living in a country where I can sit down for an al fresco lunch without freezing to death or at least catching a urinary tract infection.

I could also tell you about the meeting I had this evening, but let's leave the shoptalk for another time. (My head has gone a bit too night time mushy by now, as you might have noticed.) I'm very happy to be involved though and excited to see where it might all lead!

I hope you've had a great day!

Monday, 17 November 2014

DAY 88: Sweet sweet art

Hurrah! Scandinavian Kitchen in London sells ready made gingerbread dough! There will be gingerbread cookie-baking/decorating this year as well! Why ready made dough you might ask? Well, ideally I would like to make my own but I have a nagging feeling I won't have time, and finding all the right spices in London is a pain. Previous years I've had to leave some out because I just couldn't buy them.
Last year's dough, which had already spent a year in the freezer ... Krhm. (Nobody died! Nobody got sick! ... I think.)
The fun part is decorating the cookies anyway. In Finland we would usually go for the traditional Nordic Christmas motifs but since my flatmates joined me here in London, we've gone off-piste a bit, as you might remember from 2013 and 2012. Lots of fun anyway!
Hopefully I'll be able to pick up a bottle of glögg as well (Nordic version of mulled wine which you can drink with or without alcohol). The risk of going to places like the Scandinavian Kitchen is that I get all food nostalgic and spend way too much money on things like Felix Smörgåsgurka. Oh well, it could be much much worse!

By the way, if S Club 7 was my office radio soundtrack on Friday, today it was all about Queen and "Don' stop me now".

Hope your week has started off well! (I'm definitely feeling better so the resting cure seem to have worked! Knock wood.)


Sunday, 16 November 2014

DAY 87: A break from the break


I had geared up for a meeting this afternoon and when that got postponed, I decided to take a break from all the resting and use my stored up energy (real or imaginary) to go out for a coffee and some window shopping. I want to find a birthday outfit (any "we're all born naked" jokes can be checked by the door, thank you) and did spot a couple of maybes. I just need to go back when I have the stamina to actually try something on. I might even pop out the heels! (Normally I'm very much a fan of "Sensible shoe day".)
How about these? I'm sure the museum in LA wouldn't mind lending them to me. I'm sure Judy Garland would have wanted me to have them. 
And what I wouldn't give for an outing in my running shoes. After two weeks of almost no decent exercise I fear my legs might be plotting mutiny. I just haven't had the time! (And running with a bug is never a good idea ...) Anywho, as you might have noticed there's not much to report today either but I did give you glitzy shoes. What's a Sunday without glitzy shoes?

Have a great evening!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

DAY 86: Milk + Herbal = True

Hello there,

Not much to report today, I'm just trying to rest and hopefully avoid a full-fledged cold. There's no time for that! It's moments like this when I really wouldn't mind some kind of house-elf that brings nice cups of tea and checks that the heating is on.
Oh well, there's an upside to making my own tea, I can put as much milk in it as I want! It doesn't matter if it's black, green, fruit or herbal, I enjoy a splash of milk in most kinds. I know, I'm weird. People give me "the look". But I don't care! I left the flat long enough to buy dinner and stash up on ginger and lemon tea. There is no cure for the cold, but a hot drink is always comforting and I think there's some Strictly on in an hour or two ...

And tomorrow I'll be up and running again as normal, right? Right?!

I hope you're having a great weekend!

Friday, 14 November 2014

DAY 85: Stars and Rainbows

Hello! How are you?

I'm battling an itchy throat and spending the evening at home. I'm quite happy though with a tidied room, clean sheets, fresh flowers and some "throwback" music.
The song first came on at the office and reminded me of those teenage years when I was still quite good at popular music. Sure, music snobs might crinkle their noses and have 99 reasons why it's not good enough, but today I couldn't care less because it makes me happy (and it's a great song for cleaning).

I hope you're also dancing, whether it's in a club or in your bedroom. Dance like everyone's watching and it doesn't bother you at all!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

DAY 84: Radio!

My office job can be a bit antisocial at times (in a shared office you don't want to disturb everyone else by constantly chatting) so I spend a fair amount of quality time with my headphones and the radio. BBC radio 2 has become my go to station for everyday live listening, their mix of talk and music suits me well and it keeps me in a good mood. Sometimes I feel like a duck on a pond, upper body all calm and professional while under the desk my feet are dancing.

Speaking of feet, it's lucky my office is a relaxed kind of space. I got dressed in a bit of a hurry this morning and didn't realise I'd picked the shoes I wore at last week's filming. Our holding area was rather muddy and I hadn't had time to give my shoes a good clean ...
Oh well, I think my shoes are the worst sufferers. They keep getting drenched and dirty whenever I'm out on "adventures" and somehow they still manage to pull through. A good old pair they are.

Have a good evening!

In my next decade ...

... I want to be three things. I want to be a kinder, braver and more generous person. I don't think I'm a bad person, but I do feel like I could do better.

It might sound weird, but I've begun to look at emotions and behaviour like muscles. If you don't exercise certain muscles enough, for whatever reasons, it might become difficult to use them. And if you exercise the wrong muscles too much, you might end up a little bit crooked.

I want to become better at listening to others and expressing myself, without fear. The good and the bad. Be more open and less defensive. I want to bring out the sides of me that I know are there but remain hidden because perhaps it feels safer that way, even when it has damaging effects in the long run.

We don't always get second chances the way we want them, and maybe that's a good thing, I don't know. But I do hope that past mistakes can help me in the future, whatever it brings. And I look forward to improving my posture.  

Right, time for bed, it's been a long and fruitful day. Sleep tight! (Unless you're somewhere in the world where you're just getting up and in that case, have a great day!)


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

DAY 82: Mamma Mia!

Hurrah! An evening free to cook! I'd been waiting to try my friend's recipe for vegetarian lasagne ever since I came back from Finland. I now have lunch for most of the week. Is there a limit to how much pasta you can eat before you automatically turn Italian? 
It's not very pretty. It's not for weight watchers. But you will at least enjoy yourself while your cholesterol shoots through the roof. Mmm, cheese.  (Who says vegetarian food is healthy?)
My friend had promised it would turn out good and luckily it did! Of course if it hadn't I wouldn't have blamed her recipe, but my varying cooking skills and my tendency to tweak any recipe I use. (And that frickin' onion made me cry proper tears this time! Like watching ET all over again. Twenty years on and I'm still not over it!)

Right, after this rather early dinner I'm going to do some reading and I'll see you tomorrow!


Ps. I'm not overly superstitious but when I looked at my office computer's clock today it said: 11:11, 11/11/2014. Sign or just random timing? ;)  

DAY 81: South Bank by Night

It's getting dark early now but that's okay because many of London's gems are just as great at night. The lights and the water makes the city sparkle. I spent a splendid evening at the Southbank Centre and mourned the fact that my camera and I can't do the world much justice.

It was pretty anyway. I hope you've had a great day!


Sunday, 9 November 2014

DAY 80: Father's Day (and something horrid)

Today is Father's Day back in the old mother country so happy Father's Day to one and all! My dad has never cared much for the whole concept but I still decided to have some cake in his honour, hehe. He is a great dad after all! A thought also goes out to my granddads and my baby brother who has most likely been thoroughly celebrated by his two sons.
Dark Chocolate Marquise for one.
There's a cute photo of me and my dad when I was a baby that I'd really like to share, but then I don't want it floating around on the WWW so instead you're getting a picture of my cake. Speaking of cake, I made a Darwinian discovery in the fridge today. You might remember the black bean chocolate cake I made about a month and a half ago? The leftovers had sneakily hidden themselves away in the fridge and created a colony of ... something disgusting. I want to publicly apologise to my flatmates. Then again, they enjoy moldy cheese so this isn't that different, right? Bon appetit!
It now looks a bit like Rocky Road, no? 
I hope you're having a great Sunday whether you're celebrating important men in your life or not!


Saturday, 8 November 2014

DAY 79: An Extra Income

The first rule of working as an extra is: You do not talk about your work as an extra. Or at least not about any specific production you might have been on.

I occasionally work on films and TV as an extra (or supporting artist if you want to get fancy) and people sometimes ask what it's like and if they should give it a go too. I try to explain the job. I personally enjoy it but it might not be for everyone. I thought I'd write up a list of the pros and cons to give you a better idea. (It is not exhaustive and they are all my personal opinions.)


1. If you're interested in film and TV-making, working as an extra gives you a better idea of what actually goes on behind the scenes. You quickly realise what a massive machinery it can be and how important it is that everything runs smoothly.

2. You can earn a decent amount of money in a few days (but it is not a holy grail).

3. You might get to see a lot of places you would never see otherwise, from heritage castles to state of the art film studios.

4. You meet plenty of interesting people, mainly other extras, who come from all walks of life. You don't need to be sociable, but chatting to fellow extras does make time go faster.

5. If you like to dress up, extra work can give you the opportunity to wear costumes from different eras, or get turned into something not quite human. Because of my long, undyed hair, I often get picked for period work. 

6. You don't need a lot of experience to be taken on by an extra's agency, they do however demand that you are reliable, flexible and take direction well.


1. The days can be very long. A 12-hour day is pretty standard and then there is overtime, travel time etc. and if you can't get up early in the morning, it's probably not for you.

2. A day on set is not always action packed. Sometimes you end up not working at all, spending the whole day in holding. This is when it's good to chat to others, or read a book. Patience is important.

3. Not all jobs are within easy access so if you don't drive, or have a car, you might have to turn down some projects. I don't drive in England so I'm limited to jobs that I can get to by public transport, unless the production company offers a free pick up.

4.  You never know how much work you will get. There might be weeks or months when you don't get booked at all and very few extras can make a living doing just extra work. The reasons are many; your look, how many agencies you're with, how flexible you can be, and what is being filmed at the time.

5. The needs of the production companies change quickly so you have to be flexible. You might not know exactly when and where you'll be filming until the evening before. You might also get booked or cancelled last minute. Having constant access to your phone and email is important.

Extras do not get to be divas. It's not glamorous. You don't hang out with the actors. You don't have trailers. At times you will be cold, wet or too hot. Corsets will squeeze, shoes will pinch. You will be tired and you need to feel somewhat comfortable changing in and out of clothes together with a lot of other people. Having said that, I still enjoy it a lot. You get to be (a tiny) part of something quite special. Sometimes you get to do really fun things (over and over) and it's one of the ways I get to meet new people, many of who have the same interests as myself. There is something very bonding when you're doing a night shoot and everyone's giggling like mad due to sleep deprivation.

That's it I think. Like all jobs, being an extra has its good and bad moments. I just did three fun days on set and will spend the weekend resting. (This post will also have to cover those three days, aka 76, 77, and 78.) Oh, and I should probably do some washing ...

I hope you're having a great weekend!


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

DAY 75: Sew Over It

Holy pin cushion! I just realised a new sewing shop is opening up really close to my office. And it looks super cute! Apparently it's going to be Sew Over It's second shop and although I've never been to the original one in Clapham, I'm quite excited just having looked at their website. In addition to selling fabrics, they also seem to do classes, run a sewing café etc. etc. I might end up going to the office just to spend all my hard earned money on haberdashery on the way home! (Btw, I love the word haberdashery, it's definitely one you don't learn in a Finnish school.)
My blog has seen quite a few crafts projects over the years. Quilts, pillows, random pieces of clothing, knitting. I've cursed zippers and button holes. I still mourn the fact that I can't seem to get my sewing machine over from Finland (and where would I put it anyway?). It used to be my mum's, it must be over 20 years old by now, but with the right touch it still works fine.
An oldie but a goody. 
I grew up in a world of patchwork. My mum sewed professionally for a while and I still have fond memories of us driving to this massive place where they sold fabrics in bulk. There would be huge piles of fabric on the floor and my brother and I would jump in them. (I don't know if this was allowed but I can't remember anyone telling us off.) It was definitely more fun than the hardware stores our dad would take us to. We had an old house that needed a lot of TLC but hardware stores back then were dead boring, no toys, no sweets, and our parents seemed to discuss the length of nails and thickness of timber for hours on end. My brother and I usually opted to stay in the car. There wasn't anything to do in the car either but at least we got to sit down!
Anywho, very excited about this new shop. I hadn't heard of them before today, but I'll definitely pop my head in once they've opened.

Hope you're doing well!

Monday, 3 November 2014

DAY 74: From Fact to Fiction

New week! New office! New research material! I've put one project on hold so I can focus fully on this collaboration, and I'm already noticing how things are beginning to grow in my head. Visuals. Snippets of dialogue. Sudden insights. It's amazing how the subconscious keeps on working while you actively think about something else.
I know, an unopened package isn't very exciting to look at, but hopefully one day you'll get to know what was in it!
I ordered a book, which will hopefully give me some new information and also verify the knowledge I think I already have on the subject. I've always preferred writing fiction, but I do enjoy doing research and finding all the facts that make a story believable. (So maybe that BA in journalism wasn't a waste after all?) ;) 

I hope your week has started off well!

Sunday, 2 November 2014


I've always known I need to sleep. If I sleep at night, I can manage almost anything during the day. I can work hard. I can accept feedback for what it is and manage my emotions "appropriately". I feel mentally strong.

But what happens when I don't get enough sleep? I become overly sensitive. I easily misinterpret things and react before I've had time to think it through. I can't help tearing up.

Sometimes I don't know why I cry. Sometimes I know exactly why I cry. I ask myself whether the sleep deprivation creates these emotions or if it only lowers my normal guard and allows my true feelings to rise to the surface.  More than one person has told me I'm one of the strongest people they know. It's meant as a compliment and maybe I do take some pride in being strong, but sometimes I fall to pieces, usually hidden away, and I feel like the weakest person in the world. And if someone came into the room right then and just gave me hug, I would probably break a little bit more before feeling like I could pick up all the pieces and move on.

Why am I writing this now? I guess two disrupted nights this week knocked me off my feet a bit and made me think. Since April this year I've had a fair few nights when I didn't get much sleep, and I can see a pattern. Of course I don't blame every mood swing, misunderstanding and bad reaction on sleep deprivation, I can make mistakes well rested as well, but I do know it makes things worse. I envy people who can choose to stay up and still function, but that's not me. I'm a lightweight. For me, stability comes with a good night's sleep.

I hope you've had a restful weekend!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

A Milestone

It's November 1st. For most people, November is just another grey and rainy month. For me, it has always been the month I turn a year older, and this year, November is important for two reasons. 1. I turn 30. I'm skipping into another decade. And 2. I get marked for the full-length play I wrote for my MA and it will pretty much determine the mood of my graduation.
I bought these in a shop in New York. Maybe they're a bit cheesy, lined up on my window sill, but sometimes they do give me a well needed boost of energy and confidence. 
How do I feel about turning 30? Not too bad I guess ... As usual I'm grateful to have lived another year. There are of course things I wish were part of my life by now, important things you can put on a wish list but money can't buy, but I can also look back and appreciate everything I've achieved so far. So much has happened just in the past 10 years. And I know what I want to accomplish in the future. I know what I want to do. I'm just not a person who writes 5- or 10-year life plans. To me personally, it feels arrogant. I've witnessed too many times how a split second can change a life. For better or worse. I just want to live as much as possible while there is still time.

Today we celebrate Alla helgons dag in Finland. I've written about it before. I can't go to the cemetery this year, but I'm sending a hundred hugs and kisses to all the people I love, living and dead, and hope they have someone special to spend this day with.

I hope you're all having a brilliant weekend!