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Books, Children, Interview

Interview with children’s book author Nicole Warriner

Since 1967, on 2 April, International Children’s Book Day is celebrated across the world to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books. In my blog post ‘A Mother and Son Letter Adventure‘ that I wrote last year, I presented the importance of reading books to babies and toddlers and featured one of Philippos’ all-time favourite books ‘Behind The Magic Door’ written by Nicole Warriner.

It’s high time, I shed light to the charismatic young lady who made her author debut with this beloved and popular personalised children’s book. Ladies and gentleman, here is my interview with Nicole. Read along and if you are a parent, remember to a) buy and read books with your children from as early as possible and b) if you have a teenager, remember to support their creative (writing or other) endeavours as Nicole’s parents did. One day your child will be a well-rounded human being or even a published author!

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Beauty, Hairstyle, Interview

Flatter your face with a new haircut. I did!

My hair has been in need of a haircut for months. My ends are split and dry, my roots are flat and there is no shape or volume to my hair, which makes my whole face dragged down.

In early December 2016, a new Pepe Åhman hair salon opened in Lauttasaari and I decided to book an appointment to give my hair a new life, since I was planning to attend the opening of Lauttis Shopping Center. I was paired with the beautiful, talented and sporty Kristiina Kangasniemi, a 26-year old hairdresser and fitness enthusiast from Nurmijärvi.

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Hotels, Interview, Travel, Weddings

From the Olympic Games to managing a 5-star Spa Hotel!

This summer I had the pleasure to meet with Anastasios Mexas the General Manager of Pomegranate Wellness Spa Hotel in Halkidiki, Greece. We sat down for a cappuccino freddo by the pool and we also walked around the impressive 5-star hotel talking about this background and how he found himself running the prestigious Pomegranate Wellness Spa Hotel, which is all about an atmosphere of ‘relaxed elegance’ for demanding guests.

First, I am always curious to get an insight into the person sitting across me by asking about their background. Anastasios takes the opportunity to highlight some of his careers early steps. He was born on the island of Corfu -one of the most beautiful islands of the Mediterranean- and from an early age showed interest in the tourism and hospitality sector. At the age of sixteen, he got a job as an assistant waiter at a French hotel in Corfu. This experience further strengthened his interest in a career in hospitality and after completing his army service, he studied for a year at the Alpine Center in Switzerland, one of the most reputable hospitality focused schools in Europe, and also got his Bachelor’s degree in Switzerland. He then completed internships at Schweizerhof hotel in Germany and Mövenpick in Switzerland and worked at one of the most elegant restaurants in Zurich for two and half years before returning to Greece in 1993. Continue Reading

Food & Drink, Interview

At Wayne’s Coffee Forum all day long!

If you are looking for an opportunity to take a break in your everyday life to enjoy a moment of relaxation over a cup of coffee or simply to socialise and catch up with friends, the recently renovated and expanded Wayne´s Coffee in Forum is the place to be. An urban, coffee shop concept with an international reputation yet a cosy vibe to it! Wayne´s Coffee serves its own brand of coffee, pastries from their bakery and food made from natural ingredients of the highest quality.

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Business, Events, Interview, Press

Lessons for success from a homeless turned multi-millionaire!

Dani Johnson from USA visited Finland for the first time on March 25 to speak on the Millionaire Bootcamp event organised by graduate students of HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences together with young entrepreneurs from other Universities.

Dani Johnson’s story is the typical ‘from rags to riches’ narrative that encapsulates the American dream. Johnson grew up on welfare, was pregnant with her first child at 17, and homeless at 21.

“I grew up in a drug-infested and abusive home, I was the kid that was made fun of and not a person of vision until at age 19 I was introduced at some business concepts. After trial and error starting various businesses, I became a millionaire by age 23 by marketing a product from my car trunk. Today I travel all over the world and help people start and grow their business,” said Johnson in the press conference held before her 3-hour talk in front of a packed auditorium at HAAGA-HELIA Haaga Campus.

Lessons about finance and education

“In USA and in many countries around the world, from primary school until the 12th grade there are 14,000 hours of lessons without a single class teaching basics of money, about wise versus foolish spending, on becoming an entrepreneur or an investor. There is a prevailing mindset of spent, spent, spent without vision of future. We learn the poorest financial habits and people skills at school,” says Johnson.

Johnson thinks that the high-quality and free-of-charge education should be taking into advantage in order for people to invest in improving their knowledge and skillset and achieve results.

“The system is broken and is designed for people to fail. Our country was set up like this on purpose. They wanted a small elite class and a larger class of the masses to work for the elite. I was a part of the larger class, which was kept uneducated in order to spend their money foolishly. As I travel around the world, I realise that people lack communication, emotional, relationship and people skills and, therefore, are unable to solve their problems,” explains Johnson mentioning that she teaches those skills in her trainings all over the world. “If we were equipped with conflict resolution skills and able to understand different people personalities, we would be more successful people,” she continues.

Last, Johnson emphasized that ‘poverty mentality’ leads people to accumulate debt. Thinking that money will last forever and spending foolishly is a ‘poverty mentality’. She referred to money as a ‘seed that is looking for a place to go’ and emphasized that it is important for people to ‘know how to make money, how to keep it and how to grow it’. “Wealth is generational, it can be passed down –not given– to the next generation along with equipping our children with skills on how to save and invest money. This is how we are grooming our children for success,” remarks Johnson.

A dyslexic international best-selling author

Being dyslexic and without attending college, Johnson read her first book at age 21. However, she has read the Bible cover to cover 9 times and has been influenced by Dale Carnegie’s best-selling self-help book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’. “This book has tremendously changed my life when I was homeless. I decided to buy it at the grocery store instead of food. The first 3 chapters showed me why I was homeless. ‘Do not criticize, condemn and complain’: that’s all I ever did! No wonder no one wanted to help me. Also, I like to read biographies of successful people. Nelson Mandela inspires me and I have been studying his life. You need to study success in order to become successful,” explains Johnson.

Dani Johnson is a dynamic, thought-provoking speaker on the international circuit, a best-selling author, an international radio talk-show host, success coach, business, financial and relationship marketing expert. She is also a mother of 5 and a grandmother of 5 and a committed philanthropist.

Johnson is currently on a tour in Europe. She has visited the Russian Federation and Latvia prior to her visit in Finland. Her next stop on March 30 is London.

Dani Johnson has been interviewed on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, Forbes, Fox & Friends, and was the season-premier star of ABC’s tv show Secret Millionaire.

Food & Drink, Interview

Thai cuisine at its best!

Kenny Wu is a 28-year old restaurateur. I met Kenny at Tamarin restaurant in Forum and we discussed over delicious Thai dishes. Tamarin Forum is the new addition in Forum’s restaurant offering. It is located next to Stadium as you enter from the corner entrance of Forum on Mannerheimintie opposite the Kolme Seppää statue.

Kenny’s parents, enterpreneurs hailing from Hong Kong got involved in the restaurant business at the end of the 1970s. In 2006, they retired and their first-born son Kenny took over the family business and moved in to the new level with fresh ideas and concepts that only a young man with international experience and rich cultural heritage could bring to the table.  Kenny speaks fluent English, Finnish and Chinese. He is friendly and polite.  At 2007, he decided to change his parents’ business to Tamarin and now there are four Tamarin restaurants in Helsinki.

My parents have been farmers but they have a strong background in the culinary art since my grandparents owned restaurants in Hong Kong,” explains Kenny. “My parents did face a lot of cultural and languages barriers in Finland. As I was growing up -since the age of 10 years old- I was helping them with paperwork,” he continues. When Kenny’s parents retired more responsibility fell on his shoulders. Kenny has graduated from high school in Finland and currently studying to perfect his Swedish! He is is the owner of five restaurants, four Tamarin ones and the Itamae in Forum.

The Tamarin Thai restaurant & lounge in Forum is a popular place during lunch time. In addition, in the evening it transforms into the Tamarin lounge which still serves popular classics and a large variety of finger foods for those that are want to enjoy a cocktail or a drink along with a small snack while waiting for their wives or their freinds after a shopping spree.

The atmosphere of Tamarin lounge and the design offers intimate moments that one can spend with their loved ones. Tamarin has two sections. In the inner section, at the lounge you can hang out, sit down to have a drink and not feel disturbed.

The word ‘Tamarin’ comes from a Latin American monkey that Kenny had as a pet when he was living with grandparents   from the age of 4 until the age of 7 -years old in a small village in Hong Kong. Twice a year he would visit Finland to see his parents. Why Kenny decided to make a restaurant serving Thai and not Chinese cuisine? “In Helsinki, there are too many Chinese restaurants and Chinese cuisine at the moment is downgraded. There are only a few(4-5)Thai restaurants.  I even like their food and I have been a customer but I would never take a friend to spend the night because of the decoration and the lack of intimacy and privacy. Therefore, my vision was to create something different than the average Chinese and Thai restaurants. I don’t like the waterfall paintings and the Christmas lights in the Thai restaurants!”, says Kenny Wu.

Indeed, Tamarin is a cozy lounge with a modern interior design and excellent Thai cuisine. A great combination of elements at the heart of Helsinki in Forum Shopping Centre.  I love one of Tamarin’s  classics the cashew chicken, which I heard that the majority of  Finnish business customers love it! I have to admit that everything I have ever ordered in Tamarin is lip-smacking! To all of you, I recommend another  of my favourites, the sweet and spicy combination  of patay noodle. Nammy!

Tamarin Thai restaurant &  Lounge in Forum is a great place to have your lunch and dinner with delicious and healthy Thai dishes and fingerfoods along with an amazing customer service in a cozy atmosphere. “Every 3 months we renew our menu in the hope to inspire Finnish people to experience not the same old Thai foods but get to know Thai cuisine and hopefully like it!” says Kenny smiling.


Photos: Kim Ekman (Vision51)

Tamarin Lounge, Forum Shopping Centre, Mannerheimintie 14, 00100, Helsinki


Tel. no.: 09- 6980026
Mon-Fri: 11-21
Sat & Sun: 12-18