Tuesday, 24 September 2019 / London, UK


I love travelling back to Finland and bringing few new Nordic/Scandi designs back to the UK with me. Although this time it ended up costing me a lot more extra (ouch) and I had to pay excess baggage fees. Must remember next time to stick with linen and light accessories. No books, magazines or heavy wooden trivets. It's actually cheaper to check in another bag with Norwegian (than pay the excess like I did) which is what I'll be doing next time.

So, let's start with the wooden trivets that heavily contributed to my over-weight luggage. I picked up these beauties in the market square in Helsinki ('kauppatori' in Finnish). I wish I could say that they were a bargain, but for 10 euros each they really were not. I was looking for pretty wooden trivets to protect our new wooden table with and these definitely were the chicest I could find in the entire Finnish capital. They are hand-made in Finland and no item is exactly the same. The colours and the patterns vary a little bit which makes each piece unique. I believe they are made of Finnish juniper wood which smells very aromatic (I think the tarry smell reminds me of Finland and the forests). Apparently placing hot dishes on the coasters increases the aromatic smell (I haven't tested them yet though). I did try to hackle a bit but it didn't really work. I was hoping they would throw in one trivet for free (4 for the price of 3) but ended up with an extra wooden spoon in stead. I guess that wasn't too bad, right? You won't find identical ones online but these look quite similar. 

Next up I discovered a new lifestyle brand Anno. Anno was founded in 2007 (not that new after all) with a mission to create simple products that feel good to live with. Natural materials and nature are pretty much the basis for the entire collection. We get through a lot of kitchen towels at the moment which means there is always room for one more (or 3). The pretty pattern caught my eye initially but I also couldn't get over how soft and luxurious the cotton felt. Quite a few department stores in Finland stock Anno products now (I got my towel in Sokos). They don't have a distributor here in the UK but their online store ships worldwide.

I may have returned home with more than just one tea towel. Like I said, you can never have too many kitchen towels and the pretty ones are hard to find. I spotted the Aalto and the Ultima Thule  tea towel in the Iittala outlet back in February, but felt we didn't really need them at the time. Well, I regretted that decision for months and when I saw them again in the same store in August I just had to buy them. I always invest in good quality kitchen towels. They get used and washed so many times a week that if you don't go for quality they'll fall apart before you know it.

I love these cream napkins from Marimekko. The 'Juustomuotti' pattern looks exquisite, but it looks like it has been created for the Ideal Home Range exclusively as I cannot find it on their website. I only found one online seller for these in Belgium, which means I must stock up next time I'm in Finland. The gold napkin holder is from H&M Home (currently on sale!)

I bought these neutral placemats in Stockmann (biggest department store in Helsinki). I love browsing their furniture and homewares department. They've got everything from high end designer furniture and accessories to more affordable items too. The placemats are by a Swedish brand called Dixie. The colour is called oyster and I would probably describe it cream with hints of light grey. They go perfectly with the new table but don't provide 100% protection unfortunately. I find them fine with grown ups but bigger spills (by children) tend to get through the textile to the wooden table. I still like them, but I just kind of wish the material (yarns) would be a little more tightly woven.

I also brought some interior magazines home with me. These could be the most expensive magazines I've ever bought considering how much they probably contributed to my over-weight suitcase. They were simply too pretty to leave behind and I always like to have a nice selection of magazines at home for inspiration. I do find that a lot of interior magazines in the UK have similar design and products, so it's nice to get inspiration from different countries too.

I just realised I've never official introduced my Iittala Nappula Candelabra on the blog. I bought it last year in Finland and it's probably my favourite design item from Iittala ever. I know that's a bold statement considering how much Iittala I have in our home but I just love the Nappula design. I already had the candle holders in black and white but I felt the candelabra just takes the design to another level. The great thing about the candelabra is that it can also be used with tea lights (not just dinner candles). The pastel dinner candles below are by True Grace.

I hope you like my new Scandi finds. Although I bought the items in Finland, you can find most of them online (I've link them all for your convenience).

Do you like to bring homewares back from your travels?


Tuesday, 10 September 2019 / London, UK


Most people I know (with young children) wouldn't dream of getting velvet upholstered dining chairs. It's kind of a crazy idea even from me, but as you know I like to stand out from the crowd. Technically they're not wrong by the way. Velvet is a relatively high maintenance material and children tend to be quite messy. I read somewhere that you shouldn't buy fabric dining chairs until your kids are 18. How depressing is that? So, by the time you get your dream chairs your grandchildren will arrive soon enough to destroy them. No thanks. I'd rather risk it and get myself some velvet dining chairs right now.

So I went against all the (sensible) advice I was given and bought myself some new velvet dining chairs to go with my new wooden table. My girls are a little bit older now (soon 4 and & 7) and I no longer have to worry about toddlers and babies in the house. They're still kids though and make a more of a mess than grown ups do (obviously). I decided to go for darker colours to hide any immediate stains. Unfortunately they don't hide breadcrumbs or hairs though. Quite the opposite but it's easy to remove them with a lint brush which is the main thing.

I placed the black and white chairs on the tops as my children won't be using them. These are our 'adult only' chairs. They are actually softer than the black ones (they are velvet polyester rather than cotton). I wouldn't dream of buying light coloured dining chairs for my girls just yet. It's not that they can't be cleaned, I would just hate to maintain them looking pristine. So that's why I opted for black chairs in the middle (plus they go with the decor too!)

In all honesty, I have found the black velvet chairs absolutely fine in the last 2 weeks. The worst stain we've had so far was yogurt and it wasn't that difficult to remove. I got rid of the stain with a bit of kitchen roll and a damp microfiber cloth. My kids aren't very messy (or so people tell me) but we are still going to get the odd stain every now and then. But this will happen no matter what material you go for. Our old dining chairs were (faux) leather and they were easy to wipe clean, but showed every single finger print. I had a much more relaxed approach (thanks to the wipeable material) and they never actually looked clean. Having velvet chairs means I need to be a bit more proactive and clean stains when they appear. I don't wipe them daily. I only clean them if a see a mark which is probably few times at the week. I do have to get rid of the breadcrumbs daily though!

Here are some tips how you can keep your velvet chairs clean and dust free..


If it wasn't for my Miele hoover I don't think I would have had the courage to buy the velvet chairs. My hoover comes with a furniture attachment (although I tend to use it without it as it's more effective). You need to make sure the suction isn't too strong for furniture (it has a separate setting for this) and I do use the furniture attachment for our sofa, curtains etc. The trouble is that it marks the velvet so I prefer to use it without it. Once a week I hoover the chairs but I only do this because I suffer from allergies. I try to keep our house as dust free as possible, so a hoover with a HEPA filter is a must.


I love microfiber cloths and this has been ideal with the velvet chairs. I regularly use a damp microfiber cloth to remove any marks/stains. You should always use kitchen roll first if the seat is wet to get the moisture out. Then I just clean the stain with a slightly damp cloth. I don't even need to add any detergents, warm water works just fine. You could always add a bit of dishwasher detergent for more stubborn stains (remember to dilute it with warm water). The fabric just seems to spring back to normal after using a microfiber cloth. I love it.


I always have extra kitchen roll on the table for the kids to wipe their hands after eating. Good table manners don't cost anything, so you might as well start them young. 


I've never actually used a steam cleaner on the velvet chairs but a lot of people swear by it. There are mixed opinion on this online so it's always best to check with your chair manufacturer first. The great thing about steam cleaners is that they can be used on all soft furnishing (curtains, sofas, carpets etc) and steam also kills dust mites which means they are great for allergy sufferers like me. I've added one to my wish list now.


This is not a necessity but brushing the chairs occasionally is apparently very good for velvet. It's also a handy way to get the breadcrumbs/dirt off the chair. It's better to use the soft side as some velvets (like silk) can be very delicate. Also, make sure you're brushing it to the right direction where the velvet fibers are woven. If you do end up with a large wet stain, brushing the velvet will help you to restore the fibers after cleaning it.


A lot of people use baby wipes to clean smaller stains but I personally prefer a damp microfiber cloth. Both work just fine. Baby wipes are probably more convenient though.


I bet you're a bit sceptical about this one. Apparently larger spillages and deep cleans require a bit of heat and air. Water can leave nasty watermarks on the chairs which is why drying with a hairdryer afterwards is recommended. I've used the hairdryer method on our light grey sofa but never on the new chairs. I find that they dry fine on their own but you may need to do some extra work with lighter colours/bigger stains.


You could buy a cleaning solution for your velvet chairs or make your own with baking soda. Luckily I haven't had the pleasure to resort to any cleaning solutions yet, so please do it at your own risk or try it on a smaller area first (at the bottom of the chair).


These are handy, especially if you have any pets or long haired ladies in the house. I have one but I don't really use it. It's too much hassle and I usually just stick with my damp microfiber cloth. 


For bigger stains I would always hire a pro. It's so much easier and hassle free and they really can do miracles. It's probably not a bad idea to get them annually professionally cleaned (same with carpet and rugs).

I'm going to be 100% honest with you here and say that velvet is not a carefree material (if that's what you're after). It's beautiful and luxe, but yes it's also more work than leather or wood for example. I do find it easier to maintain than regular flat weave fabrics though. Our light grey couch shows stains and watermarks so easily. If you want a (more) low maintenance velvet stick to darker colours (blacks, dark greys, navy, greens etc) or go for 'clever velvets' that are made of synthetic materials. I find my new chairs so comfy that I don't mind looking after them. They also aren't as much work to maintain as people think. If you think I'm hoovering and dusting them daily you couldn't be more wrong. I have two small children and I don't have time for that. I only clean the chairs when I see a stain and hoover them once a week and that's it. I do think going for darker colours makes a huge difference. I don't know how long they'll last but I've heard that good quality velvet (especially cotton) can look good for decades. Of course the chairs can be upholstered too but whether I still want velvet chairs after 10 years is a different story. Velvet dining chairs are not for everyone but I don't think you should rule them out just because you have children.

What are your thoughts on velvet? Would you consider velvet chairs if you have children?

Tuesday, 3 September 2019


It's that time of the year again and I wanted to share the happy news with you that I've been nominated again for an Amara Interior Blog Award in the 'Best Use of Photography' category. Thank you so much whoever nominated me. I don't take it for granted I promise and it's always nice to get recognition for what I do.

If you would like to vote for me or for any of your favourite blogs, please use this link. It's very easy and quick. Just enter you name, email address and you're done. You can vote until 11th of September so you've still got few weeks left. All the public votes will be combined with judges votes which means I really need all the help I can get to get shortlisted. Oh and did I mention that one lucky voter will also win a very cool Sofort camera from this years' sponsor Leica?

Vote for you favourite blogs HERE.

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