I travel a lot but I’m normally pretty fussy about souvenirs and bringing stuff home (unless it’s the US, because exchange rates). But, like Japan last year, Helsinki was somewhere I’d wanted to go for a long time and somewhere I knew I’d want to get some souvenirs. I pictured Finnish design shops, vintage homewares from flea markets and Moomin merchandise. As you’ll see, I wasn’t disappointed! I took an extra €100 on top of what I’d already budgeted which covered basically everything pictured here.
Oversize, patterned vintage shirts are a constant in my wardrobe: I can wear them for literally all kinds of work, through the year – formal, casual, whatever! I love these two floral ones. The stripy square t-shirt was just €3 and seemed very Helsinki, whilst this denim skirt has barely left my waist. I’ve packed away the stripy polo neck for now until the colder months: a holiday souvenir to last through the year.
We were staying in the design district and naturally bought back half the local shops (aside from the gold hair slides which came from Monki – a brand most of you have already heard of I’m sure)! We used an A5 sketchbook as a scrapbook for our Helsinki trip, and I bought this house print one and the New York card for some of the future trips we have planned. The Ullanlinna and Helsinki postcards are both framed and on display now as souvenirs!
Marimekko is probably the most famous Finnish design company and I knew before going I wanted some kind of souvenir – preferably vintage. I ended up bringing back this gorgeous tray with the signature red floral print and two washcloths from the flagship store, plus this pear print handkerchief I found in a vintage shop. They’re such bright and joyful designs! The three rolls of paper have been used to line my shelves; I love souvenirs like this as you see/use them every day and they’re also cheap and easy to pack. Win, win, win.
FLOWER CROWN AND POSTCARDS
There’s a bit of a (soppy holiday) story here – I spotted the flower crown in a vintage shop in Ullanlinna and fell in love. Grecian style! Small leaves! Blue, the colour I associate with Helsinki!!!!! But as I already have a wall of vintage crowns and tiaras that rarely get worn offstage, I left it where I was and instead proceeded to talk wistfully about how pretty it was for the rest of the day. I obviously prattled on enough because CB swooped into action, snuck off the next day in secret, and then proudly presented me with the crown on our way to the airport as a slightly belated anniversary present just as I was lamenting the fact I hadn’t gone back to get it. That’s a great gift, right?
I’d already bought these two postcards of my hero Tove by that point; the one of her in the flower crown (on her island) is a really famous image, and I also love the one of her in her studio space surrounded by work – I just think it’s such an inspiring photo.
Of course I bought home all of the Moomin stuff! You may have seen my previous post sharing all my Moomin belongings or Moomin skirt: the collection has basically doubled since. My main rule with collecting or buying new things is it needs to be “useful”, which for me means either a practical use around the home or food. So here first is the kitchen/home stuff…
I bought these two mugs and a coaster (I already owned a mug and a coaster and I reckon this is about as big as my collection will be) then these two clips with Moominmamma and Moominpappa. I have no idea what they’re for but we’ve used them for hanging up towels? Also: a wooden coffee peg to keep our coffee fresh, this.. pan-lid… propper-upper?… which will revolutionise my cooking, and a microfibre cloth. As a glasses-wearer I am convinced you can never have too many of these – I have about 4 or 5, and yet there’s never one in my bag at the right time. Strange.
So after the useful stuff comes the Moomin food! I am a big coffee person, and so are the Finns – so Moomin themed branded coffee just seemed like perfect souvenir. The Moomin bag is blueberry flavoured coffee! What could be more Finnish! Also: Moomin biscuits, Moomin dried fruit, Moomin lollies and Moomin sweets. All vegan!
So there we go! There were so many wonderful things in Helsinki that I could have easily brought home double – this may seem an excessive amount but in many ways it was quite restrained. Next week I’ll have a post up featuring the shops where we found all this treasure, plus a vegan guide and a list of the free things we did. I promise I’m not sponsored by Helsinki – I just really want you to know how great it was.