take it slow

in case you’re wondering (which i’m sure you haven’t been doing) where i have gone to for the past month, here is the answer: nowhere. i haven’t really been offline, though i have been lagging in terms of reading other people’s blogs & updates. here’s something new: i haven’t been sewing either.

it’s not another case of depression this time. it’s simply the realization of just how much clothes i have vs how often i actually wear them. sounds familiar?

usually one would have this problem when one buys clothes, cheap ones, clothes on sale, etc. but when one sews one’s own clothes, is that really possible? well, yeah.

you know how it goes. you can’t seem to stop yourself from getting a nice looking fabric–same thing that goes for nice looking clothes applies as well to fabrics–and you end up getting a few too many. and when you finally have an idea to make something, you open up your fabric stash only to find that nothing there is the right one for your idea! you quickly have to go out and get a new one. repeat by a hundred times.

and then you finally get to make what you wanted. you wear it with pride once, twice, and then you already have another idea for another sewing project, and you repeat the same process all over again.

i’m not saying it happens overnight, of course. i’ve only been sewing now for about 8 years, and already i can see that i have a problem. so i started ‘throwing away’ my old(er) clothes that i bought from stores, and by this i meant either giving them up for charity or bringing them to H&M for recycling. but still it seems that my closet is just getting more and more clothes.

i don’t know yet how it’s going to end, but at least i can tell you that i’m trying to reduce it now before it’s too late. i mean… i’m sure we all know by now just how ‘dangerous’ fast fashion is, right? dangerous for the environment and dangerous for the human resources. now if you thought by making your own clothes you can at least reduce that danger, think again. where do you think the fabrics come from? not all of them grow on trees either. there are still human resources, other than you, the seamstress/tailor, involved in the making of that. it makes me sad sometimes, seeing somebody make dozens of clothes a month, either for him-/herself or for others, and this is just because he/she can. of course i can’t tell just how hollow or full his/her closet is, but still… i think it’s wiser to not be excessive in anything, don’t you?

with that in mind, i am trying to be more careful in what fabrics i buy & what i’ll make from them. i no longer set myself to sew at least 2 sewing projects a month or at least 20 projects per year, or whatever, but instead sew something i actually need & will definitely wear for a long time. i hear you, i’m saying “good luck!” to myself as well! 😀

so anyway, to really answer that question as to what i’ve been doing for the past month, here are some things:

  • read the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script book. i wish i could one day see the production of this, it looked great in my own imagination! 😉
  • got a short social visit from my uncle and aunt, yay! auntunclenmeit was their first time here in Finland and of course it had to be super windy when they were here. ergh! but at least the sun was shining, the foods were great (i again of course had to introduce muikkuja aka vendace to them), the talks were fun, and i was just so grateful that somebody from the family could visit me!auntnmewe got to visit Suomenlinna – the Fortress island despite the harsh wind, enjoyed our walk in the city and the market square, and also went to the Helsinki City Museum, which is also very nice and surprisingly nostalgic for all of us (even though we come from a different part of the world!). they were really nice 2 days that i spent with them! and hey, that’s the second time this year already that i got to play tourist in my own (new) country!
  • my husband & i and my mum-in-law taught our nephew to say our names, and he succeeded! he remembered who we were, and whenever we ‘tested’ if he knew which one of us was which, he always got it right! and he liked our names so much that my sister-in-law sent us a video a week after that, where it showed that he just kept saying our names over and over again. ❤ that feeling when somebody small who couldn’t really say much of anything yet suddenly kept calling your name is just unbearably lovely!!
  • i learned how to make my first lasagne! also how NOT to make it, LOL. i only followed a recipe though, so it really wasn’t any rocket science. the first time i made it i only managed to put in 2 layers of the lasagna sheet, because the sauce were all already used up, ahahaha…. needless to say, i had to make another one, pronto, and with advices (and okay, a little bit of help) from my husband, i finally got it right this time. lasagne1no picture of the first lasagne because it was quite embarrassing, haha! not that this second one is a good looking one either, but whatever! lasagne2it’s a vegetarian lasagne with spinach and cottage cheese as the main content. it was really good for a beginner’s attempt!

that was pretty much it. of course there are other boring things like going to work and doing house chores some time there in the middle, and oh, watching some series in Netflix, but really… nothing else worth mentioning. :p

it’s time for me to take it slow and enjoy life as it is.

my summer holiday 2016…

… has ended. i swear, if there’s any 4 weeks in a year that goes by too fast, they’re always during the summer holiday! pffft.

here’s a quick recap of all that was done, minus the trip to Singapore because that one already had 3 separate blog posts.

Summer cottage, re-painted

as usual, we went to my husband’s grandparents’ summer cottage. but this time we went there with a mission, and i don’t mean to have fun: we had to re-paint the main building and the warehouse building next to it. don’t get me wrong, painting is fun (yes, even painting a house), but the part that was tough was the preparation. first we had to brush, brush, brush off the old paint & green moss with a mini metal brush, and brush them some more until they are evenly non-coloured…. and then and only then we could start painting. huffff! we were so busy, we didn’t have time for pics on the brushing, but there are proofs of the painting! (plus my fashionable country-side get-up, ha!)

seeing the result & the scenery around the cottage, i suppose it was worth all the work, and i can only say: thank goodness the paint ran out in the middle, otherwise we would still be working there! 😀

on the last pic, though the 2 buildings are quite far, i hope you can see the result of our paintings. if you compare the colours of the building from the first 2 pics while i was painting them and this last pic, you can clearly see the darker paint… and how lovely it is painted, right? 😉 we managed to do the staircases too just before the paint ran out.


my mum-in-law and her husband lost their dog 3 years ago. we had been trying to persuade them to take a new one for years to no avail, but suddenly when we were in Singapore they made an announcement: they were adopting a cat!

H is a bengal cat and he is very shy. i don’t remember now how old he is, maybe around 2 years old? at first when we came around for a visit, he didn’t want to come near us and only hid under the sofa. but after a while, he realized we posed no threat, took a nap beside me, and even let us pet him. ❤ welcome to the family, H!

Pie experiments

summer equals fresh berries here in Finland, and there’s really nothing better than Finnish strawberries and blueberries! i have always been fond of strawberries, so of course a strawberry pie was called for.

i used 1 liter of strawberries (yep, that’s how we measure strawberries here, by liter), and in my opinion i could’ve put some more! 😀 the best way to eat it (the Finnish way) is with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, of course. it was quite successful, except that the crust was too thick on the sides–or maybe it just needed more strawberries, like i said. but the taste was superb!

we planned to make another pie after successfully making this one, to give to my husband’s granddad. but this time we decided to try the blueberries, because he happens to love blueberry pies. and so, the experiment began again.

for the blueberry pie, i used 600 grams of blueberries and just a very small amount of sugar. the first pic shows the pie before baking, and the second pic was the result! it was an even better success, and my husband’s granddad loved it. 🙂 for Finnish blueberry pies, it’s also good to eat them with hot caramel sauce. mmmm….

Turning 35 (!!!)

can’t believe i’m already halfway through my thirties! but anyway, there’s always a reason to celebrate, and my choice of celebration this year is sushi. AGAIN.

woot! they were gone in 60 seconds. 😀 just kidding, of course it took longer than that, and i did not finish them all by myself!


being 35 doesn’t have to mean being old & boring, right?

that is all we had the time to do this summer holiday. didn’t i say it went by so quickly?

multi-tasking on Easter holidays

this year i was fortunate enough to have 5 days of “holiday” right on Easter. and i didn’t even ask for it! 😀

before the holidays, i thought 5 days feel like such a long time, i would probably manage to do many things. but as always with holidays, when you’re actually in it, the days go by one by one and suddenly you’re at the end of it and when you think back of what all you have done… it turns out that you didn’t get to do anything much at all.

well, i was quite determined that that wouldn’t be my case, so when 4 days had passed, i multi-tasked to “save time”. :p


self-made dress & necklace, socks from Plaza Semanggi – Jakarta, Bianco shoes.

i had kept this Harlequin fabric (the print is called Twinkle Toes) for years without really knowing what to make from it. it’s 100% heavy weight cotton, the kind used for home interior stuffs. the top part of the dress is polyester jersey.


i used no pattern for this project, both the top and bottom part of the dress are basically just rectangles. for the pockets, i used the same technique that my co-worker J taught me when i copied a COS dress for my Moomin dress.

at first i thought combining these 2 fabrics is a great idea. well, in terms of colours and prints i still agree. this dress reminds me of cotton candies and little kids’ dreams of owning millions of pretty shoes & eating sweets.


but how silly of me for forgetting the fact that thick fabric & thin stretchy fabric just can’t get along that well… especially since i didn’t use any proper pattern. you can see on the picture above (side view of the dress) that because the bottom part of the dress is stiff & thick, the waist part (the seam between top and bottom) is hanging awkwardly.


well, the deed was done and me being me means i’m too lazy to fix anything. and anyway, silly & awkward suit me. :p


so as i was saying about multi-tasking, while sewing this i actually had the time to do some baking as well. yes, “some”. the first one was apple roses. 😀 i’ve been making improvements on it, as i now got the hang of it. they were requests from my husband who was craving for apple.

the second one was a new recipe from J’s brother (a professional chef specializing in desserts). i had never tried this super simple but super delicious recipe for mud/chocolate cake, but even so i managed to make this in under an hour. and it was a great success!mudcake1

it may not look that different from brownies, but this one is actually much softer & more sticky than brownies, especially if eaten right after it’s baked.


the next time we ate it, it had been cooled in the fridge for a few hours, giving it a more dense texture but still soft and just SO good. it’s also very sweet, which is why J suggested to eat it with whipped cream or some sort of less sugary icing. but my husband said this is just perfect already, and without any icing/cream it feels more lightweight (yeah, as if this actually supports my diet…).

seems pretty amazing now that i think of it, how a few years ago i was huffing & puffing & sweating when i first learned how to bake, and now i can even sew and bake at the same time! 😀 though of course it depends on the sewing project & the baking recipe, but i would say this is already a big improvement.

and there goes my long-but-short holiday! i think this time it went quite productively. 😉

snow came early

as i said a few posts back, i was looking for new baking recipes to try. preferably with ‘easy’ as the middle name.

this apple roses pastry is all the rage right now in Finland. it seems like everyone posts them, makes them, and wow, it looks easy! so i went with the flow and tried making some myself.

the recipe i tried was a Finnish one, using cinnamon and vanilla sugar instead of jam for the filling.

on my first try, i soaked the apple slices in the lemon juice, heated them up in the microwave until they were easy to bend & then arranged them onto the ready-made pastry sheet. first problem encountered already at this point, the fact that i cut the apple the wrong way made the slices became too thin that they broke in the lemon juice. and i put too much apple slices in one sheet, that even when i was using more apples than what the recipe said, i was left with no more slices after filling in 5 sheets. darn it!

so i stole some apple slices from the previous 5 sheets. ergh. whatever, just let me finish making this!

when they were done, i thought they looked okay… except after i took my first bite, i noticed that not all are what they seem. so the third problem was that i stupidly put too much lemon juice when it could have been just a tiny bit of the juice plus lots of water, and i let the apple slices soak in it for too long. should have taken the slices out of the water as soon as they were able to be bent. needless to say, the first batch was a disaster because they were too sour!

i couldn’t get over the fact that i couldn’t do something that looked so simple, so the next week i decided to try another batch. this time, i didn’t use lemon at all. instead i used salt and water. also, thanks to my co-worker’s advice who’s more experienced in baking, i used a LOT of vanilla sugar–a lot more than just 1,5 tablespoon for the whole batch, as written on the original recipe.


and since i love icing sugar, of course i just used a dollop of it, too. it looked like snow came early this year! 😀

the second batch was actually edible… and delicious! okay, so since i was a bit impatient, some of the apple slices still got broken as i didn’t warm them up long enough in the microwave. but other than that, the taste was just great!


if you decide to try this recipe (there’s plenty around the internet… choose your fave one!), remember to not put too much lemon juice. seriously, the apple slices will turn darker anyway when you bake the pastries, so what if they’re brown? also remember to be generous when it comes to adding the sugar. apples are naturally a bit sour so it doesn’t hurt to add sugar to the pastry. after the apple slices can be bent easily enough, immediately take them out from the water.

lastly, even with the ‘easy’ recipe and all, i must say that it’s just a tiny bit too much work for such a small amount of delight (even if i use the whole pastry sheets in the package, i only got 10 pieces… and about 2 hours of preparation from washing the apples till the whole pastry was done!), so i don’t think i’ll be making this any time soon. it was a nice experience, but unless i’m having a tea party which requires a nice looking pastry to go along with the tea, i think i’ll stick to making brownies. :p

food talk while having flu

just when the summer finally starts here in Finland, i caught a nasty flu. you know how it goes… first you feel the pain in your throat, and it starts to climb up to your nose… the next thing you know you start blowing out your nose and coughing, and at the same time you start losing your sense of taste.

when i was still living in Indonesia, i heard all kinds of stories from my friends and family members who lived abroad, and always, there would be stories about the food abroad. i should mention that most of this “abroad” living means somewhere in the western world, where of course the food culture is a lot different than in Indonesia.

the main thing was always the same: food abroad (in the western world) sucks. they have no taste.

since i never had the experience of living abroad back then, i could not say otherwise. the least i could say was, “huh, is that so.” but since this happened a lot of times, and everybody always said the same thing, well, i was starting to believe it. okay, okay, you are right, Indonesian food is EVERYTHING, we’re the gods of food, there’s really no hope of good food in the western world.

and then without even planning it (i mean, well, not like a life-long plan), i happened to move abroad. and that’s not all… i couldn’t cook any Indonesian food. AT ALL.

so i was aching and crying and panicking while i tried to learn to make my fave Indonesian foods, using 32 different ingredients just for one tiny meal, because how the h**l was i supposed to live without them?? foods here have no taste, that’s what people had been saying!

it took me a long while to “master” cooking some Indonesian foods, and to this date the varieties of Indonesian food i can make (without seeing any recipes) still can be counted only by using one hand. yep. but how then did i survive all these years living in a western country?

it may shock Indonesians, but i actually eat these tasteless foods. these good-for-nothing foods they were talking about, i proudly make them and enjoy eating them. to me, they’re not tasteless. they are good.

once you can open your mind to a world of tastes, no matter how simple and true-to-its-core, you will appreciate food even more. why does everything have to be full of sauce, you can’t even taste the real taste of a green bean? if these Indonesians say that food with no spices or sauces are no good, then i wonder how come they like sushis so much?

even here in Finland, when i met a fellow Indonesian and got into a small chit chat, and my husband asked him how he liked Finland so far… guess what he said? “it’s nice… but the food is not so good.” so my husband asked, “oh, so you don’t like the gravlax?” and the Indonesian man said, “oh, yes i do!”. my husband went on to ask other Finnish foods, to which the man answered that yes, indeed he liked those (out of politeness or was it the truth, who knows). so… um, what was it again about the food not being so good?

strange, huh. but anyway, i generally don’t care what other people think and feel about things that don’t concern me or my loved ones, and really dislike to judge others. but this one makes me feel sad to realize, are Indonesians generally that closed minded when it comes to simple food? it’s sad to think what kinds of simply good food they’re missing around the world just because they don’t have enough spices in them.

so back to my present flu. when i was just beginning to get the full blown flu, goo dripping from nose all the time, feeling unwell, painful headaches, fever and stuffs, i was fortunate to be invited to eat at my dad-in-law’s place. i nearly canceled it, but pushed myself to go after all, and did not regret it once. the menu was simple: grilled whole corns, grilled tenderloin steaks. all grilled by my dad-in-law, served straight from the barbecue grill. and of course, no BBQ sauce used, just tiny hints of salt and pepper.

at first i was afraid that with my flu, i wouldn’t be able to taste a thing. and though my initial craving whenever i have flu is to have a hot & spicy soup (i am still Indonesian at heart), i decided to just enjoy the time with family. miraculously, after a bite of the grilled corn (eaten with melted butter), my sense of taste came back. even if it’s just a simple taste, it tasted really good and heavenly to my tongue. and once i tried the steaks (eaten with garlic butter), there was no doubt about it. these simple foods can do wonders to your sense of taste.

i had a lovely night, and though i am still currently recovering from the flu itself, i will forever remember how it was not some spicy and heavily sauced food that helped me get my sense of taste back. good food is always good no matter if it only uses 1 spice ingredient or 32. sometimes it’s good to stick with the simple things.

i’m not saying that i can get over Indonesian food yet (i still jump at the chance of eating it whenever there is one!), but when i learned how to enjoy every taste of food, be it elaborately seasoned or plain, i find that living–abroad or just wherever–is much easier and i get to feel contented more easily. 🙂

food stuffs in Finland

before we start, i’d like to say that this blog post is just for fun. i am definitely not an expert, especially since i’ve only lived here for 8 years, but this post is based on my own observation during that time.

so… if you’ve never been to Finland (okay, to be fair, i’m only going to talk about the metropolitan area: Helsinki and around it) and are planning to do so one day, you might be wondering how easy or hard it is to find food that you’re used to eating in your own country. well, here is a small guide for that.

in no particular order, the most common food served by restaurants/eating places that you can basically find in almost every corner of the street (not including fast food restaurants) are…

1. pizza place. the pizzas here are the thin crusted ones, though of course some places offer the pan pizzas as well. another trivia is that most of these pizza places also serve kebabs (or pizzas with all kinds of kebab toppings). yum! there are so many pizza places, and almost every week a new pizza place opens around your neighbourhood (we know this because they always send leaflet to our mail). it’s literally easier to find the nearest pizza place than the nearest McD’s.

2. Indian food. there are the “stop and go” kinds, small-ish places where they sell 9 or 10 different set meals, same meals everyday. there are also the more “serious” kinds, with pages of menu filled with different types of Indian delicacies. some of these more serious ones play actual Indian (or Bollywood) music/videos. as for the quality of the food, i have not yet tasted any bad ones in any of these places so far! also getting more common these days are Nepalese restaurants. just like pizza places, Indian & Nepalese restaurants are quite common, there’s bound to be one in every neighbourhood.

3. Tex Mex. okay, this one isn’t a “place”, but rather surprisingly it is so common that in every hypermarket, supermarket, or even smaller markets, there’s always an aisle or a minimum of a separate shelf devoted to Tex Mex. from the tortillas, salsa sauce, down to the guacamole dips of all kinds, they’re always there. i don’t think i saw any Tex Mex aisle/shelf in supermarkets elsewhere, but then again i haven’t been abroad that much, perhaps i’m wrong?

4. Chinese food. another common thing, like pizza places and Indian restaurants. although, for this one, i can’t say i’ve tried them that much, so i can’t tell if all of them are as good as the others, as is the case with the Indian food. and the funny thing is, at least lately, these Chinese restaurants also serve sushis. which brings us to number…

5. sushi place. when i first came to Finland for a visit, let me say that i can count the number of sushi restaurants available in this area with one hand. but now, ohhhh… it makes me so happy to find more and more new sushi place opening up here and there. as a sushi lover, i would strongly suggest though that you choose your sushi place wisely. making sure the place is clean is our number one rule, but then again Finland has quite a strict hygiene rule when it comes to restaurants. still, since what you’re eating are generally raw fish, it won’t hurt to be extra careful. i myself prefer going to sushi places where they serve the sushis fresh for the customer, but i admit i’ve also eaten at sushi buffets as well. i haven’t had a single problem with any of my sushi-eating experiences here.

6. vegetarian/vegan food. being a vegetarian/vegan is so common here that there are actually quite a few places that offer only vegan/vegetarian menu. there’s also always vegetarian/vegan menu in any restaurant, no matter how small or big the place is.

7. berries & peas (mostly in the summer). when it’s the season, small berry & pea marketplaces/kiosks start popping up here and there, all around the city. they are usually local products, and the prices are slightly more expensive than when you pick them up yourself in one of those “pick your own strawberries” fields. but unless you live near the countryside (like us), who has time for that, right? it’s such a treat to munch fresh strawberries and cherries in a long hot summer day, i can tell you that!

8. buns. mostly, of course, cinnamon buns, but you can find any other buns just about everywhere, too. a small bakery or cafe is much easier to find than, say, a doughnut place. (i know what you’re thinking, what’s the difference between a cafe and a doughnut place? if you have lived in a place where J Co doughnuts exists, believe me, you’ll know the difference.) even in very rare occasions that i happened to go to some local pubs, they served buns there. (but no doughnuts.)

and now for the rarest foods or non-existent ones…

1. fried chickens. yeah, you know, we have probably 2 places that say that they have fried chickens. but it’s not the same kind of fried chicken as a REALLY REAL FRIED CHICKEN. oh well. Finns have healthy eating habits, i get that. but i do miss them fried chickens. sniff.

2. wok food, Asian style. this is rare, though not non-existent. and out of the small few that are existing, only 1 counts as a real Asian style wok, in my opinion. it’s a small place, a “stop and go” kind that only sells 9 or 10 set menu, but the taste is so real Asian, i’m always transported immediately back to the streets of Jakarta whenever i eat there.

3. sea food, other than fish, served hot. there are of course plenty of fish dish here, and then there are the crayfish. as much as i love my salmons and crayfish, i must say… i miss eating grilled shrimps & squid, something i could easily get from a foodstall on the side of the road in Jakarta. actually, let’s just move on straight to number…

4. Indonesian restaurant. not entirely non-existent anymore, i’m happy to report, as there is one place that serves Indonesian food every Sunday (and i heard it’s good!). i actually know some Indonesian women here who cook so well, i have no doubt they would succeed if they start an open-everyday restaurant. i sometimes wonder why they don’t just go ahead and do it (come on, people!! i want to eat Indonesian food without having to cook them myself!). but this is a good start, right? it’s just too bad they only open on Sundays and i’m almost always at work. hope business is going well with them that they will consider opening on other days, too. 🙂

i’m getting quite hungry writing about these food (especially hungry for those food in the rare/non-existent list, ugh) and it’s past midnight, so i’m gonna call it a day. remember, this is just for fun and in no way meant to be taken seriously. just don’t go looking for fried chickens when you come visit Finland. opt for berries and buns instead! 😉

Finnish Lappish food

a little while ago, my husband & i celebrated our 8th anniversary. by ‘celebrate’, i meant we ate out (of course). this time our place of choice was a restaurant in Helsinki which specializes in Finnish Lappish food, Saaga restaurant.

neither of us had been here before, but we once tried another restaurant from the same group which also serves Finnish delicacies. based on that nice experience, we decided to try this one as well.

when we arrived, the restaurant was just opened for the night, so it was still quiet. it was as if the whole restaurant was opened for us! 😀 we went to the balcony, and after ordering our food we took a look around.

the interior was made to look like someone’s wooden cabin in Lapland: thingamabobs made of wild animal bones, decorations made of animal skins, fishing equipments, pictures of the snowy Lapland. i don’t really like real animal fur myself, but as a decoration in this restaurant i think they serve the right mood. we felt like walking into someone’s home, who hunts wild animals to eat them & make use of them, just like people used to do in the old days. if you imagine what Santa Claus’ house would look like, it would probably look like this. 😀

so… what exactly is Finnish Lappish food? well, it’s actually kind of exotic, even to my Finnish husband. and since we don’t eat this kind of food everyday, we chose to try the most exotic ones we could find. namely bear and reindeer meat (with all sorts of berries).

after ordering, the waitress quickly served us a small first bite as a complimentary. then, the real appetizer came. it was an assorted mix of Lappish specialties.

that appetizer alone was worth the trip to this restaurant! i personally had never eaten any of those before, except for the fresh salad and mushroom salad. and i mean, every single thing was soooo good, you will want to lick the wooden plate clean.

next, the main course. we chose 2 different main courses, so that we could share them.

we could barely finish the main course, since they were so fulfilling! but they were so yummy so we ate as much as we could… and still moved on to the dessert afterwards. 😀

the cranberries were sour like crazy! 😀 it was painful to eat because of the sourness, yet so good that we couldn’t help taking more and more.

it was a really nice experience, starting from the atmosphere, to the friendly waitresses & waiters, and of course the delicious food. quite an unforgettable night for us both.

some people (mostly locals) might think the interior is cheesy, but we actually like it. the way the food were served was not as fancy as at some other overpriced restaurants, in fact it was rather modest. but that is just what Finnish people are like, modest and humble.

some would probably also think that there’s nothing special about Finnish food. well, i am a living proof that that is completely wrong! if you ever visit Helsinki, if you only have a short time but want to get to know traditional Finnish Lappish food that are actually good, then i highly recommend this place. you won’t regret it!

more info on Saaga restaurant here.

PS. sorry for the bad quality pics… it was dark and i only had my mobile phone camera, of course.

PPS. again, i am in no way paid by anyone to advertise this restaurant. this review comes from the heart. 🙂