can’t steal happiness

London feels like an odd place to be at the moment. I arrived back home last night from my holidays in Finland and Estonia and it's taking me longer than usual to get back into the swing of things in the big city. It's almost unheard of. Usually after a week away I'm itching to get back to the energy, but not this time. It might be because I had such a lovely, relaxing time – and just look how beautiful it was in Tallinn (above)! Being back in London also means it's time to get back to work soon and the mountains of laundry don't help. :P

My process of unwinding started somewhere above Denmark.
For once I wasn't seated by the wings where I can never take any good photos.
Thank you British Airways online check in!

Quite soon after arriving I headed to Tallinn in Estonia for three days.
The weather couldn't have been more perfect.
Tallinn is such a beautiful city in the summer, too.
Please visit now before it gets ruined by the overwhelming tourist waves.

They are already coming… ;)

If you do ever get a chance to go, make sure you ride on the trams and find your way to the Kadriorg Park.
The trams themselves are an experience, but the park is beautiful, it's the original grounds of the Kadriorg Palace.

Just mind how you go… :)

On the other side of Kadriorg is the KUMU art museum.
Another great reason to leave the cheap beer and beautiful Old Town behind for a bit.

Did I mention the weather was perfect? :)

The nicest way to get there is by a cruiser from Helsinki.
The Finnish archipelago itself is worth the ride.

The great weather continued on the Finnish side, too.
I spent some more time relaxing in the sun, especially eating and drinking well, on the home front.
And I've come home with a quite a nice tan as a result.

The furthest I ventured in Finland was really just some really nice cafés and the railway museum.

And that about sums it all up. :)
A lot of pretty pictures, a lot of lovely memories.
I actually travelled with only my Holga and Olympus Pen-EE half frame camera with me on my holidays.
It was great to dedicate all the holiday photos on film only. Somehow it makes it feel more authentic.

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monkey business in Finland

… And we're back! It's the last moments of the last day of my holiday and I'm going to spend some time sharing some of the great time I had in Finland with you. I spent my time well with family and friends, saw two wonderful people get married, sampled a lot of local treats and drinks (my poor liver), spent loads of time in sauna, relaxed, shared old memories with friends and family, made some new ones, held the happiest baby in the world in my arms and came back to London rested, but somewhat tired. All and all the past two weeks have been wonderful.

The only time, besides the wedding, I took any photos on purpose was on Monday 23rd July when I went to the Helsinki Zoo Korkeasaari with my family. It's been good 20 years since I've been there, so it was a quite sweet day out.

Other families were having a great day out too, but not having much luck trying to decide which way to go next. The Helsinki Zoo is located on an island just outside the city centre. These kinds of rocks are typical of the Finnish landscape, especially by the lakes and the sea. We went to have a nice cup of coffee up by that table on the right soon after this family made their way to the bears.

People were dressed appropriately for the trip to the zoo.
I hadn't made this much effort, unfortunately. :D

The zoo and the surrounding areas are a great place for the kids. They have really thought about how to keep all ages happy whilst visiting the zoo. These animals on the side of the path to the main zoo from the car park were popular attractions as you can see.

Another great attraction are the peacocks wandering around the zoo grounds. They are very tame and gentle and nothing like the geese which have taken over a part of the island and created a bit of a problem to control this summer. I experienced this first hand when one of them thought my toes were really tasty and gave them a nice little bite. Ouch.
(I just love that little boy wearing the same blue and green as the peacock in the bottom photo!)

It was great trying to capture the amazement on the childrens faces when they saw and experienced something new first hand. My sister told me she had a good giggle by the lizards when one of the iguanas was having a lovely nap and not moving and one little boy started to complain to his dad that the lizard is "not working". As in as an electronic toy wouldn't when it was broken. :D

The adults seemed to be easier to entertain. I thought this was a rather funny view, but I'm only being clever. What they actually see are the baboons, but from my point of view it looked like they were fascinated by pidgeons. ;-)

The excitement was quite catchy actually. We all waited for the two grey seals to make an appreance for a long time, but they seemed to wait for enough people to assemble before they'd make the effort. When they did appear to the large crowd they swam really close to everyone, showed off properly and made everyone really excited. Yes, even me. :D

If I'd have to sum my holiday up with one word or photograph it would look and sound something like this:

I really had an amazing time, but it's great to be back to London. Maybe not so great going back to work tomorrow morning, but the -2 hour time difference between Finland and UK is working to my benefit in that case. I've noticed that I've taken a bit of a holiday from photography during this summer too, even though it's been rather unconscious. And I can't believe it's August next week… Talk about time flying.

Thank you once again to everyone at VOX and Soura for the features, and to all you readers for your kind words and support. It always surprises me how people enjoy viewing and reading my blog. Which has made me think that it's time for me to make more of a conscious effort to get on the streets of London to share my city with you again.

Until next time, be well all!

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I was tagged by the lucky Marianne the other day to share eight things about me you'd never dream of knowing… Oh man! At least it didn't take my usual two weeks to catch on to do this, so here goes:

1. I was ridiculously religious as a teenager. I now lean on firm agnosticism.
2. I have had four concussions. One due to being late home for ER I ran, tripped and fell head first to a cement wall. Talk about dedication to a TV show! :D
3. I've never been to America although in my early 20's I seriously planned moving over there.
4. I am a cross country skiing gold medal champion. Well, aged five I won the pre-school contest, because the girl in lead fell over in a tight bend and I took over in the final metres.
5. My favourite hobbies are talking whilst burping and singing in silly accents.
6. I learned to play the piano since I was seven and have accompanied everything from choirs to violins, but also appear on a dubious soundtrack of a video which is not in the mainstream release. I haven't played since I moved to London though.
7. My first kiss was with someone 11 years older than me.
8. If I won the lottery I'd take a year off work to travel the world, buy property in London and then return to my job. As much as I whinge about the work and the pressures I really love what I do.

And now, let me tag some people! Wehey! Consider yourself involved: Hurricane Hetta, Kay, Jane and Crush Monkey

Next week I'm going to be on holiday for two weeks. Expect some street photography from Helsinki on my return. Until then, don't do anything I would do. ;)

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