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Helsinki Souvenirs

On 'Xmas shopping in Helsinki.

Finnish Culture, Helsinki Souvenirs, Things to do in Helsinki

I always get very stressed out at this time of the month.

Nope, it is not because of exams. It’s also not because we are closing our Q4 accounts.

It’s because of Christmas present shopping. 🙁

And no, it’s nothing “nice” to do shopping in Helsinki at all, because I get so easily stressed out. In addition, The Engineering Boyfriend is pretty useless in these cases.

Like you ask, “Will person A like this?

He’d do a Sheldon Cooper: “En tieda en tieda–Don’t know!!“.

🙁

I think part of why I am so stressed over gift-giving here is because the “useful” attribute seems to be valued highly in Finland, at least to people close to me. People don’t usually buy random, pretty but useless stuffs.

But if it’s useful to them, they’d already have gotten it, so your second useful gift might become obsolete. And usually I don’t feel at ease at all buying “just useful” stuffs that aren’t pretty looking.

Shopping for Asian friends is easy-peasy, because I have many Asian friends, and I am relatively familiar with East-Asian, Southeast Asian, and South Asian culture and history. In short I know what people want–from grandparents to parents to friends to kids. So I know exactly what to get for acquaintances, clients, friends, close friends, and then family, and exactly where to get them. Shopping is inspired and efficient.

But shopping for my friends and family here is a nightmare, because I lack cultural sense. There is no intuition at all! 😀

I go to Alko, and I’m stuck. What kind of wine do I buy?! I go to Suomalainen, the bookstore, buy some books, only to discover a few days later the people you are giving these books to already have the (new) books! I go to Pentik and have no clue what to buy, because everything looks so shiny and home-y and decorative. But what if they hate my weird taste and the gift just doesn’t fit the decoration in their house?

I go to Stockmann and always end up at the food section, so whatever food I intend to buy as gifts always get eaten :X And I’m not sure if it’s ok to give fish for Xmas? haha!

So over the years, I’d written notes about what to buy, that are pretty non-intuitive:

  • Knives. Knives are actually super useful present for guy friends. Especially Swiss pocket-knives where the guy can bring around. Actually, it’s OK to give a kitchen knife as a Christmas present in Finland too. Guys really do appreciate them!
  • Exotic alcohol. I’d recommend McCallen 25 for important people.
  • Luxury Skincare. or any skincare/cosmetic products that is of a reputable brand. Like SK-II or Jurlique! But they don’t sell SK-II here.
  • Socks. I’d seen a lot of people receive socks here. And it’s useful coz’ socks keep you warm.
  • I think shopping for kids are easy because you just have to get them something shiny and novel. And just deliver the gift with a huge smile and enthusiasm!
  • Plants!! I buy my favorite professors flowers. Okay it is very embarrassing but I do fangirl over some of them :/
  • Chocolate? If there’s nothing else to buy? hahaha.
  • Personalized stuffs. I always head to Sinelli for these the materials!

Hmm–that’s about it.

Okay, round two of Xmas shopping tomorrow– I’d survive this!

Why We Heart Glitter

Finnish Companies/ Finnish Brands, Helsinki Shopping, Helsinki Souvenirs

“It’s not what you spend but how you wear it that counts. The key is often to dress up inexpensive basics with accessories. Something like a beautiful designer bag or belt can make everything else look richer and more luxurious.”

–Chloe Sevigny

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(Picture Sources: Glitter Suomi’s Facebook page!)

Today we are going to feature our favourite accessories shop, Glitter Suomi. They are not only awesome in their accessories offering– we especially heart their content marketing as well! This is truly a store that does marketing with pride. Without a doubt, they are the thought leader of the Finnish fashion accessories market. Anyway, if you drop by their store recently, you’d be seeing the copy that this lady is holding:

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This copy!

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And it’s free! you can just pop by the shop to take one. It’s worth every effort. And here’s the link to the exact online eguide for curious Singaporeans.

Basically, this guidebook teaches you how to use Glitter accessories to create awesome looks! And Glitter’s content marketing doesn’t end there. They have an awesome youtube channel as well, which provides really clear guides on how to do your hair.

Here are our top three favorites:

Volumizing Bun

Half-up Flower Bun

New Donut with pearls!

Really easy-to-follow guides, focusing on the HAIR instead of demonstrators who sometimes talk too much! 😀 Glitter really make gorgeous hairdos look so effortless.

Well some might feel that they offer their products at a premium price, for instance, as compared to Asian markets, or ebay. But I think their accessories are worth every cent you pay! Here are three reasons why this is so:

1. Glitter deeply understood what we ladies shoppers want.

Simply put, accessories business is pretty much the same anywhere you go. A bobby pin is a bobby pin is a bobby pin. A scrunchie is a scrunchie is a scrunchie. Customers who enter an accessories shop are essentially not looking for just basics. They want beautiful hair, a gorgeous look, and essentially a style that suits them.

If accessories shops were to compete on price, there would be no end to it. Neither would it add value to the consumers. Glitter clearly understood this, and seeks to surpass consumer’s expectations by showing them what they can do with the Glitter accessories. In fact, they also sometimes have in-store events like this:

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Which clearly generates interest! Getting a free, professionally done hair-do in Glitter? For customers, that’s a clear proposition of service and value.

2. The marketers behind Glitter are probably really passionate about accessories themselves. 

Have you ever met some marketers belonging to certain companies who don’t give two hoots about the brand or product they are representing? I have.

They would be saying things such as “Oh I just do the minimal for my brand marketing, I just want to get home on time.”

But it’s clear that Glitter’s group of marketers are not like that. They are not only creative, they really do seem to go the extra mile into seeing things from the consumer’s perspective. This is why, as a social media manager myself, I heart them and I think they are awesome!

And…point three is probably the most important.

3. Glitter made our team and other fans more than delighted to pay the premium. It’s almost like a pleasure to pay. 

They never fail to delight us! Whenever we are in need for hair inspiration, we would just hop into a Helsinki Glitter store and be bedazzled by the myriad of beautiful accessories. I view that as the most important, because they always exceed their customer’s expectations and imaginations.

Before I end this post, let me conclude with another quote:

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😀 [Taken from www.Fontcrafts.com! 🙂 ]

Here are the locations where you can find them in the Helsinki larger region:

Espoo Ainoa || Espoo Iso Omena || Espoo Sello || Helsinki City Center || Helsinki Forum || Helsinki Itis || Helsinki Kaari || Helsinki Malmin Nova || Vantaa Jumbo || Vantaa Myyrmanni ||

Have fun shopping at Glitter!

Fazer Chocolates: The Epitome of World-Class.

Finnish Companies/ Finnish Brands, Helsinki Souvenirs

Today’s article is super exciting, because it’s about the chocolate brand Fazer, a brand which makes me love Finland so, so, so much! I eat Fazer Chocolates at least once a week and the Fazer chocolate line keeps me alive and happy during winter! ^_^

The trademark of Karl Fazer chocolates is the blue. Yes, you heard me right, the “blue” of Karl Fazer is a registered trademark; in Finland, no other chocolate brands can sell their chocolates in this blue. Today, this Fazer blue has become synonymous with premium chocolate richness and quality–there is even no necessity to print the Karl Fazer brand on the wrapping.

Anyway, Blue Fazer is good! Blue for Finland and The Hieno Shops, haha. Fazer chocolates are without a doubt the secret to happiness.

I also hear that there is a Fazer Chocolate factory, but I never had the time to go yet unfortunately. Apparently you can only visit while they have a tour, and not just independently drop by as and when you wish…? My friends told me that there is a eat-all-you-can-Fazer-chocolate buffet after the factory tour, and I was simply awed by that! I’d also heard that there are FAZER GOODIE BAGS given after the tour. (/hyperventilates and dies) Anyway, every bit of it sounds awesome! I’m positive that there are still tons of Fazer I haven’t tried, and I am looking forward to going to the factory one day.

Anyway, to all friends visiting Helsinki, you should get as many Fazer chocolates as possible as souvenir. Simply put–nobody hates chocolates, and everybody loves Fazer. Fazer is different from most other chocolates (especially in Asia) because their chocolates are really rich in texture, and you pretty much taste milk + cocoa instead of funny unhealthy chemicals and coarse sugar. And to be honest, I find Fazer really affordable, cheaper than the average mediocre-tasting chocolate bar in Singapore anyway! (Blame the sky-high Singapore rent!)

On a sidenote, Hokkaido’s trademark Shiroi Koibito (16 pieces) costs around 1050yen from Narita Airport. Fazer chocolates, 400g, cost just under 2.50Euros. ^-^ And you never get sick of Fazer.

I also found this pretty neat 6-minute video about the history of Fazer; watch!

Oh yes, and the Fazer Group has a bakery (which bakes super awesome bread), owns CANDY KING (which is another very awesome mix-and-match chocolate concept, which will be written about in another article), and also operates Fazer Café. I haven’t had a chance to visit Fazer Café too, because I’m always so busy with school/work, but now that it’s summer vacation I’d absolutely make it a point to visit!

So today’s article is essentially my recommendation of some of my favourite Fazer Chocolates:

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The Classical Fazer Kismet

This Kismet brand is one of the best selling brands in Finland.  It is made of waffle and nougat, divided into four sections and covered with a layer of rich, beautiful milk chocolate. Extremely rich, a must-try for all chocolate enthusiasts! Fazer has apparently been making Kismet since 1974.

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 The Fazer Kismet Fazerina

This is just super awesome. Before you get this, be sure to get the classic flavour (the one before this). This flavour consists of the original hazelnut nougat, but it has this really surprising taste of Fazerina–an orange flavoured milk chocolate by Fazer. The combination is not only heavenly, it is nothing short of a delight!

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 Fazer Dumle Mini Cookie

This bag of cookie is to die for, if you are a sucker for caramel. Seriously! Everybody loves Dumle–it is apparently the top favourite caramel toffee in Sweden, Finland’s neighbour. Dumle is lovingly covered in chocolate, and filled with caramel. Super yummy.

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Fazer Marianne Cookies

Marianne is a really cool chocolate brand in its own rights, and Fazer combines the best of Marianne’s peppermint flavored filling, and mixes it with its own rich cocoa chocolate. It is mad love, super addictive, and be sure to eat them with coffee!

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 Fazer Chilli Chocolate Bar

This sounds ridiculous right??? But actually it is an interesting chocolate milk bar. It’s crunchy, mildly spicy and extremely crispy! I taste some rice in it actually as well. It’s not as spicy as it seems though, at least for me. Be sure to watch this cute video when the chocolate was first launched! 🙂

Such a cute baby girl haha!

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Fazer Blueberry X Raspberry

This chocolate combines both the fresh tastes of blueberry and raspberry, and mixes it with dark chocolate. Heavenly! The berries accentuates the richness of the dark chocolate.

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 Fazer Dark Chocolate

The ultimate dark chocolate with 47% cocoa. Extremely heavenly! ‘Nuff said.

 Fazerina Cookie

Lovely orange-flavoured cookie with truffle. I think it’s the third time I’m talking about this in a single article. 😛

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Fazer White Chocolate with strawberry and raspberry

THIS IS MAD LOVE. This special chocolate has a dark chocolate base (again, 47% cocoa, a guaranteed happy base), and a white chocolate covering on top. It has a refreshing taste that is flavoured with red berries, strawberry and raspberries. Super yummy!

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Karl Fazer Raspberry Yoghurt

I don’t even know where I should start describing this. It’s not too sweet, and you can eat this the whole day! Basically you can even fool yourself into thinking that you are just eating chocolate. In addition, it’s a really good remedy when you are stressed–because it somehow works like a happy pill.

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 Fazer dark chocolate with orange and crisps.

It’s crispy, its tangerine-y, it’s dark chocolate! Quite a good mix. ^_^

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 Fazer SUSU Original Snack

SUSU is somehow always very comforting for me. I have no idea why. Perhaps it is because of the rice fillings and the caramel? I think whenever someone bites into the rice part of it, there is an indescribable sense of happiness. And oh, don’t get me started on the rich chocolate again. This is the must-have snack when you are studying.

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Fazer Angry Birds…something.

I bought this because of the Angry Bird’s packaging, to bribe Singaporean kids into running errands for me. Not going to expect much, haha!

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 Karl Fazer Moomin…something.

Not sure about this–I haven’t tried it myself! I bought it because of the packaging. I’d let you guys know how it tastes like after trying.

And last but not least, presenting…SalmYIAK.

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Fazer Super Salmiakki Lollipop

Okay I mean “Salmiakki”. It’s terrible tasting, and probably the only thing made by Fazer that I truly hated. But you got to try this at least once in Finland. I think it costs only 30cents euros so it’s no big loss.

I hope you have enjoyed this article today! So, don’t waste your money on stupid useless souvenirs targeted at tourists. Just buy Fazer; it is worth every cent, and more! 😛 Now you know why I can never lose weight in Finland–Fazer is simply too irresistible!