Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A newly resident blogpuss pet cat!

As a big cat lover, I just could not resist adding the new widget that you can see over on the left hand side of the blog. Maukie also looks very much like Mojo one of my own cats! I thought he was adorable and great fun. I hope that whenever you visit my blog, you will pet the ArcticRainbow blogpuss and get pleasure from his interactiveness! :D

Here is a photo of my cat Mojo! Both he and my other cats have been rather bemused by Maukie!!! He likes mice...especially e-mice, so runs yours over him now... he miaows, purrs and plays! :D

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All content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D

Saturday, January 9, 2010

What to wear in Lapland - for WINTER

This is a question I get asked often, so I thought that I would run a blog on this, both now for the Winter and also another during the Summer. As they obviously aren't the same! :D

The main thing to remember is that creating several layers of thinner clothing is generally far rather better than wearing something really bulky over something thin. Unless you have a canada goose expedition parka - which is the ultimate (if expensive) coat you can get imho! My husband invested in one last year and can't rate it highly enough! He is out in the snow a lot though...

It's been a 'Damn it's cold!' week here this week, the warmest being -20c and the coldest -33 - with everyone either saying Brrr!! (English) or Hrrrr!! (Finnish). Still, we are not even in the coldest part of the year.. that is to come in February, but it has been darn cold. My poor husband has to work in a unit that has doors always part way open.. so in the winter like this he freezes at work! Don't know if that is legal or not.. but there you go! Fortunately Wednesday the 6th was a national holiday, for the last day of Christmas, so he got a day to keep warmer at home!

I walked to town the other day and it was -20c. My friend Amel walked to my house, coming from the other direction, the following day and it was then -26c. That extra minus factor makes a lot of difference, I can tell you.

This is what I wore when I walked to town over my own normal underwear.

Thermal underwear - top
Long sleeved thick tshirt type top
Cowl neck jumper

Thermal underwear - full length leggings, mine are quite thick actually
Short leggings over the top of the leggings
Pair of jeans

Pair of knee high type pop socks which again are fairly thick
Pair of loose top socks
Pair of thick socks over the top of these, similar to fishermans socks - although mine are hand knitted and brightly coloured! :D

Thick fleece type hat
Fleece type fingered gloves
Knitted mittens over the top of the gloves
My good ol' trusty mid length coat

One would think that I would not be able to walk with all that lot on, but it's not bad at all! The only part of me that was actually talking to me was my face - or at least my cheeks - and my knees!

You may have noticed that I was wearing two layers on my hands. Why? Well, fingered gloves are great for having the use of your fingers still, but alone - the heat gets lost out of them very easily. Having another layer all around the hand, with a mitt, makes the world of difference and your hands stay toasty warm. When needed you can slip off the mitt and use warm fingers (still with the fingered glove on) to do what you need them to!

Protection for your face is also vital. If you are going to be out and about much in the cold and the snow, try using a good old fashioned basic such as Vaseline/Petroleum jelly. If you wear make-up (like me) then put a good lot on your skin prior to 'putting on your war-paint' and after a few minutes wipe the surface of your skin with a small towel to remove the excess. Not only does it keep your skin protected, it keeps it supple and gives you a dewy fresh look! :D Of course it also takes care of your lips and eyelashes too! Waterproof mascara is the better option too, as eyes tend to run naturally in the cold and actually, when it's really cold, eyelashes will freeze and go white! (Quite cool looking actually...in more ways than one LOL!)

Like this from Amels blog. This is what happened to her when she visited me.

Another thing to mention is that wearing jeans in the snowy environment is fine if you do not intend to be playing snow games! If you ARE going to be in and out of the snow, then your jeans will be useless - if they get wet, they stay wet and will freeze on you..so that is a definite no-no. Really then you need to have a pair padded of ski salopettes or all in one type of padded outfits. Again, even with these you do generally need some layers of other thermals and clothes etc on underneath. Eyewear is paramount for those sort of activities, either ski goggles or glasses specific for the environment.

The main thing to remember is that once you are cold out in the snow, it is very hard to warm up, so wearing more than you need is vital.. you can always take something off!

Other extra little things you can buy are ear warmer headbands, ear muffs or even earbags (these are like little ovals that you hook over your ears - they look a wee bit like a mini french beret for each ear!) Then you wear your hat. This place sells them, but you can make your own.

Worried about slipping? That is a natural concern. One that I TOTALLY understand, having slipped during my first winter here. I actually broke my elbow then, so it made me very cautious afterwards!

During the deep winter, the snow here is quite dry and often so dry it is hard to make a snowball with - let alone a snowman! As long as you have good winter boots, with a good tread, you should be okay. However, at the start (Oct/Nov) and the end (Mar/Apr) of the winter season, we generally have lots (and I mean LOTS) of rock hard ice - several inches thick at that. It's caused because the snow melts and refreezes so much during the seasonal changes and it really builds up. Not nice at all.. everything resembles a skating rink!

Then I put on my wonderful Yaktrax. These are a very simple, but innovatively designed piece of footwear that everyone should own. As the weather gets worse yearly in the UK - these will become more of a godsend than you could ever of imagined! They simply hook over the shoe you are wearing and grip to the snow and ice with the wiring underneath. I cannot recommend them highly enough!

Recently in the newspaper, the ran an article about what to wear to keep warm in winter when out and about. They interviewed a few people and asked what they would wear at -10c and then again at -35... and as you can see, they were all out on the same day but with completely different ideas of what to keep warm in! Interesting. If I recall, they all said they had their thermals on... the young girls were in and out of shops so didn't want to swelter...fair enough I guess, but I do hope they had a hat in their bag somewhere! You cannot NOT have a hat!!

The last guy is certainly toasty warm. In fact you see quite a few people wearing stuff like this here, especially the older generation. Not so many qualms about fur here.....but it's not for me though!

This is what the newspaper suggested.

So, whatever you wear...I hope you will now wear it warmly in Lapland!

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All content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D

Monday, January 4, 2010

Totally off topic, just to have that feel good factor!

The first youtube video is of one of my most favourite songs. It hits the spot everytime I listen to it.. from way back in 1976, The Isley Brothers, with Harvest for the World

And then this fantastic Black Eyed Peas and Oprah Winfrey video that my friend Amel sent me today.. truly a feel good vibe to it. It all starts with the one lady at the front...if you have a look on youtube, you will see several versions of this, but this has more clarity of sound. Others show the wave effect a bit better.. but its a great 'Happy New Year' worthly type of video.

Hope they pick you up! If it does, please comment!

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All content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D

Friday, January 1, 2010


So, it is here, it is all new, it is fresh, it is vibrant and full of hope. 2010.

Breathe a sigh of relief, 2009 is dead, defunct and sacked. :D

This is a new day, new month, new year, new decade. Goodbye to the decade of the 'Naughties'! :D My goodness where has a decade gone? I can still clearly remember bringing in the Millennium and all that went with it, the expected Millennium bug etc... Ten whole years.. gone.

My boys have grown up ten whole years, I have changed my life and my homestead and I sit here wondering where the next ten will take me and my family. I hope that they don't go so fast!

2009, if I am honest was not such a nice year for me. Well, it was a mixture of blessings and misfortunes. 2009 was the year where I worked for other people. I closed my AR business online and worked from the first week of the year till nearly the end of it. First at a local hotel, then at a relatively local Gold mine, in the office.

However, I lost two beautiful and irreplaceable friends in that year. Magick my beautiful black cat on my birthday (of all days..) and my dog Fluffy more recently. Someone said to me recently that odd numbered years do not fair so well for them....I will have to think more on that and see how it goes in future years too!

Remembered with so much Love:

Magick (image taken in 2006)

(image taken in 2008)

I was also saddened by the sudden death of Michael Jackson....whatever your side of the fence you are on regarding MJ, his musical talent is a huge loss. I know a lot of famous people die every year, along with millions non-famous... but still it is sad to lose some great artists. Goodbye also to Karl Malden, Molly Sugden, Edward Woodward, Patrick Swayze, Farrah Fawcett, Eartha Kitt, David Carradine, Bea Arthur, Pat Hingle (Commissioner Gordon in the old Batman films) Natasha Richardson and the darling Wendy Richard amongst others.

There were of course, good points of the year though... my Mum came to visit in the summer, Steve at Christmas, my younger son finding L.O.V.E with his girlfriend. Other than that I am pleased to say that we survived another year... and as they say in The Matrix. "We are still here and we are not afraid!" :D

So - what hopes of the fresh year? Well, naturally good health for our family and pets, extended family and friends - prosperity and growth in as many directions as possible. Mentally, physically and spiritually. I would hope that I can cut down on the cynical 'alien-moi' part to my life here, as it is very hard to be a non Finn here in this land.

I stood outside this evening with a glass of home made 'Baileys' Irish Cream in hand and said to myself that I was shedding any negativity and bitterness that was in 2009 and was opening myself up to draw in the fresh positivity of 2010. I stood there enjoying the snow falling on my head and the relative quiet that this area offers with intervals of gentle fireworks. Its the one time of year that we do have them! Still not manic though and just enjoyable.

Have you made a New Years Resolution? My husbands is to get back to fitness again... and mine? Mine is to increase the amount of recycling and upcycling I can, in my craft work. Yeah, yeah, going by my photo above (taken Christmas day and processed quite roughly in sepia on my new camera and not from a wholly flattering angle!) I know it should be a resolution to lose weight but I love craft and fiddling around making stuff.. and have been drawn more and more back to it than ever before. So maybe 2010 will be a really creative year for me. Who knows, I might lose some weight at the same time? (Oh.. was that a flying pig??)

Here is something I made earlier...and sent to my Mum as part of her present. It's a heart for her Christmas tree. I try to send her something for her tree every year. I made this from teased wool. Its a technique called Needlefelting which involves poking the wool into shape with a barbed needle. This took several hours to do - but it was worth it.

Hope you had a good New Years 2010 celebration.

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All content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D

As the season draws to a close....

I have had a busy few days, as I guess you all have! We had a lovely Christmas together and to be honest it was much better than I had envisaged!

I got a couple of very unexpected pressies - and other than a couple of things not arriving in time from the UK for the lads, everything was received well by everyone!

It was a really warm day in our house, some Christmas music playing (although I know the lads hate it!) but they put up with it as I love it and I really miss British carols at Christmas. Finnish ones (Sorry Finns) just suck. They do not have the same oomph for me. I guess it is all relative. So, we had that going, the dinner cooking - a roast this year and not the Finnish Joulukinkku (Christmas Ham) but a couple of chickens. Believe me when I say that you do need at least a couple as they are very small here for some reason (and expensive at over 9euros each). Perhaps they are not pumped full of steroids? Damned tasty though! :D

Dexter, our beautiful Husky was the star of the show, as this was the first year that he was really old enough to understand that everything was very different this day. All the presents were under the tree.. and there were four for him. Three toys and one full of edible goodies. In years by, our previous dogs always had pressies and George our Border Collie would always root out his one with gusto. This year, Dexter just seemed to know what to do.. and was busy opening his squeeky bone, when 'squeak' happened and he suddenly realised what the game was! Oh he was so funny.. and then he found his other one...then another and then the food!!! Oh my! He was just such a happy bunny all day.. it was so lovely.

After we ate, the eldest son of mine slunk off (as is usual) to go play PS3 something or other. We had pulled our crackers and sat there looking silly with our hats on and were playing with the toys inside them. There was a pack of cards, so my husband and I played Snap! We had a real laugh when it got to the end of the pack when he said to me dryly... 'You didnt shuffle them then darling!' We had gone through the whole snap process and my number was concurrent to his! LOL! Derrrrr..... Then the younger son, who had said 'NO' to boring old Snap! decided that he would actually play and as is expected with such a simple game.. he actually had a laugh and enjoyed it. Then I decided to instruct him in the rules of 'Charades' We had a lot of fun with that too, almost wetting ourself at one point and he even created a new genre, TV show/Film, Play,Book etc.. and Playstation game - indicated by a wiggle of thumbs! Kids! Still.. a new generation.. new ways. I have to say that by the end of the games.. he said that whoever invented Charades should be shot! :D So, maybe he WON'T be playing that again in a hurry!

I spent the evening fiddling with my best pressie - a new camera - which I had been hoping for and was desperately in need of - I had been dropping hints left right and centre and was hoping that it had been picked up on. It came with a wind-up though - so that I thought I didn't actually have it! Here is what happened...

I got given a digital card - a HUGE 2 megs worth and I thought.. oohh maybe I HAVE got a new camera after all!! Then I got some AA batteries ... LOL... I was pleased as I thought, well I DO need them! Camera? Camera?

Then we opened all the rest of the pressies bar one and the tag said.. "Well, who would have thought I would have ended up buying you this?" I looked at it and thought.. Hmmmm... THAT does NOT look camera shape to me.. damn!!

I asked if it was a storage box - as I always need them for my craft things. However, I opened it up and inside was a power tool!! LOL... Yes, a tool! I had said I wanted one, so he HAD listened after all. It's a hand tool, that has drills, sanders, buffers, you name it. It has a screw on holder for the table, to which you add the tool, then you attach a long additional tube.. to which you attach the small head of the tool... so you dont have to work with the heavy tool in your hand.. just a lighter weight, more easy to use item! So I was really chuffed with that.

I went to the kitchen to start doing the food and after five mins a box was seen left on the kitchen table. I didn't see it arrive. I tried my best to ignore it, despite the fact that it looked suspiciously camera box shaped! My husband eventually sidled up to me and said.. "Well? You gonna open that or what?" I said.. "It's not for me!" He said.. "Yep - it is! You know it is.. you have been doing your best to ignore it.. I know!!!" God.. I tell you, that I was SO trying to stifle a smile, but I just couldnt keep it in!!! I read the tag and it said knowingly... "SMILE! - It's Christmas!" lol!!!! (Like he had read my mind) and inside was the bestest camera ever!! :D I LOVE IT and I LOVE my MAN too! :D Bless his cotton socks! It's an Olympus SP-565UZ. Here is a great review page for it...


Its got SO much to it, it will take me some while to get used to it! Yeah! No more moaning about my camera! No more 'camera envy'! I've spent some days trying to get used to it.. its so hard when something is new, but when I get pictures right.. they are great! LUCKY ME!

On Boxing Day 26th December, our friend Steve flew out from the UK and he is here with us until the 2nd. Our younger son's girlfriend has been with us since the 29th and goes home on the 3rd, so its been a nice full house for us.

I hope that the season has been merry and warmly loving to you all too!

I do have some other Christmas images that I promise to upload soon.. a mixture from both cameras.

Sooo... it is now Goodbye to the decade of the Naughties! I am quite happy to say goodbye to 2009 (What about you?) and happy to say hello to 2010... :D

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All content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D