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Food & Drink, Travel

Finlandia Caviar: A caviar oasis in Helsinki

I grew up in Greece in a humble, middle class family of hard-working entrepreneurs. We followed a Mediterranean diet cooked with fresh ingredients from the local street market. Our palates were not exposed to flavours such as caviar and oysters, yet there was a weekly dose of a cheap and delicious fish roe spread (called ‘taramas’ or ‘the caviar of the poor’) on our breads.

Living in Finland, as an adult I tasted various caviars at events, restaurants and hotels and I developed a taste for this salty and oily speciality. In summer 2015 the first caviar shop and restaurant opened its doors in Helsinki. This year we had a business meeting at Finlandia Caviar over lip-smacking caviar and oysters. A true caviar oasis in Helsinki!

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Beauty, Hairstyle, Make up, Travel, Weddings, Wellness

Destination wedding in paradise!

Destination weddings allow couples to live their dream wedding ceremony in a stunning location and celebrate surrounded by their closest friends and family members creating long-lasting memories for both the couple and their guests.

If you’re looking for a unique way to say ‘I do’ , a destination wedding in a romantic paradise that affords dramatic and unique locations for photography is ideal. For this purpose, I recommend Halkidiki in Northern Greece! Halkidiki’s three fjord-like bays with emerald beaches and coves, imposing mountains, gorgeous sunsets, delicious cuisine and high-quality level of hospitality makes this blessed place an ideal location for your dream destination wedding! I am personally considering Halkidiki as a place to host my own wedding, so this year I did a little bit of scouting of my own with my fiancé.

When spending our holidays with my fiancé at Pomegranate Wellness Spa Hotel in breathtaking Halkidiki in Greece this year, we were privileged to witness a symbolic wedding of a Russian couple during sunset. The symbolic or blessing wedding ceremony is becoming more and more popular every year. Compared to a  legal ceremony (civil), the symbolic ceremony is not legally binding apart from the love and commitment between the couple. Many couples may have already taken a registry office legal wedding prior to a symbolic ceremony.

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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

Beauty, Hairstyle, Make up, Travel, Weddings, Wellness

Destination wedding in Paradise!

Destination weddings allow couples to live their dream wedding ceremony in a stunning location and celebrate surrounded by their closest friends and family members creating long-lasting memories for both the couple and their guests.

If you’re looking for a unique way to say ‘I do’ , a destination wedding in a romantic paradise that affords dramatic and unique locations for photography is ideal. For this purpose, I recommend Halkidiki in Northern Greece! Halkidiki’s three fjord-like bays with emerald beaches and coves, imposing mountains, gorgeous sunsets, delicious cuisine and high-quality level of hospitality makes this blessed place an ideal location for your dream destination wedding! I am personally considering Halkidiki as a place to host my own wedding, so this year I did a little bit of scouting of my own with my fiancé.

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Beauty, Health, Travel, Wellness

Afrodita Roa Spa: A heavenly divine spa in Halkidiki, Greece!

Greece is a top summer destination for Finns and Scandinavians as well as many international travellers. In travellers’ minds Greece is associated with white and blue houses, crystal-blue sea, delicious Greek food and sunny beaches. Many international travellers especially from the Nordic countries visit the islands of Kos, Rhodes and Crete in South Aegean region to experience Greek summer and recharge their batteries. However, in Northern Greece there is a hidden paradise like no other place in Greece that only a few know and it’s worth discovering. Ready to discover a hidden gem? Halkidiki -birthplace of Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle- is a dream destination balancing a combination of nature, gastronomy, wellness, culture and tradition.

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Food & Drink, Travel

Holy (Mountain) cuisine!

The most mystical part out of Halkidiki‘s three peninsulas is Mount Athos, the self-governed region of the Holy Mountain, which is home to the unique Orthodox community of 20 monasteries. It is a place dedicated solely to prayer and the worship of God, known informally as the ‘Garden of the Virgin Mary’. Mount Athos is also a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. Monks live a self-sufficient life cultivating the land and using local produces to feed their brotherhoods and the guests (note that only males with the necessary permits are allowed to visit Mount Athos, no females are allowed).

During my holiday at Pomegranate Spa Hotel in Halkidiki in Northern Greece, I experience the Mount Athos Culinary Night at the Poseidon Restaurant. Six recipes, containing many of the secrets of the macrobiotic diet that the monks of Holy Mountain Athos follow for centuries infused with creative ideas from the hotel’s chefs!

The Mount Athos Culinary Night Menu

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Food & Drink, Travel

Greek gastronomy: Your immune system’s antivirus!

Greek cuisine is a galore of tastes and aromas! What makes Greek gastronomy a unique culinary paradise on a global level?

Well, it must be the unique micro-climate of the Aegean and Ionian seas with the sun shining 250 days a year, the refreshing wind as well as the fertile soil that give birth to unique produces. Local specialities with a strong character, shiny olive oil, aromatic herbs and spices: those are just some of the ‘delicious’ reasons why the Greek cuisine is so magnificent in its simplicity!

At Pomegranate Wellness Spa Hotel the emphasis on gastronomy is on meals made from the freshest ingredients and true care. Fine meat and diary products produced by small farmers, fresh fish and seafood, healthy fresh vegetables served with brilliant wine, and mouth-watering fruits all serving to create a kaleidoscope of tastes!

At the Poseidon Tavern of Pomegranate Wellness Spa Hotel, during our holidays, we had a taste of delicious Greek dishes and fresh fish on a daily basis with a view of Mount Olympus and a gentle sea breeze.

Fresh fish was delivered at the Poseidon Tavern daily and we were lucky during our stay to witness the catch of the day that would later be served to us!

The Greek cuisine that is part of the well-acclaimed Mediterranean diet has obvious nutritional benefits, too. “Greek gastronomy is of high nutritional value. Here at Pomegranate Wellness Spa Hotel cook with ingredients of the highest quality. Feedback from our international repeat customers suggests that after holidays in Halkidiki and at our Hotel our guests and their families had fewer colds throughout the winter months! Iodine from the swimming in sea, the Greek sun and all the vitamins of our local and fresh ingredients are the best anti-virus for our immune system in the cold winter months!” explains Konstantinos Pavlidis, Guest Relations Manager at Pomegranate Wellness Spa Hotel (photo below, on the left).

Text: Chryssa Skodra

Photos: Kim Ekman (Vision51)

Make up, Travel

Summer memories!

I returned to Finland last week after a long summer holiday in Greece. First, I visited my parents at my hometown and, then, head off to the island of Paros for one week with my brother. Paros island is a picturesque island situated in the heart of the Aegean sea, 4 hours away from the port of Piraeus.

Houses are white with blue windows and the streets are narrow with lots of colorful flowers and cats chilling on the pavements!

Before leaving on holidays I visited FORUM’s Yves Rocher store to equip myself with all necessary cosmetics for my trip.

I bought After Sun Care products. In particular, I loved the 3-in-1 After-Sun Lotion that soothes and moisturizes my skin after long exposure in the sun and prolongs my tan!

Paros has many beautiful restaurants and nightclubs that you can enjoy the music and a juicy cocktail. For glamorous night looks, I always have my favourite Yves Rocher Sexy Pulp Volume Gloss in my purse.

For my toe nails, I chose a variety of nail lacquers in radiant and fruity colors. Red is always an all-time classic along with fuchsia, pink and coral shades.

Hope you all had a relaxing summer and feel ready for the upcoming autumn and winter!

Text: Chryssa Skodra

Photos: Vassilis Skodras & Yves Rocher Suomi

Jag återvände till Finland förra veckan efter en lång sommar semester i Grekland. Först besökte jag mina föräldrar i min hemstad, och sedan åkte jag iväg till ön Paros för en vecka med min bror. Paros är en pittoresk ö som ligger i hjärtat av det Egeiska havet, 4 timmar från hamnen i Piraeus.

Husen är vita med blåa fönster och gatorna är smala med massor av färgglada blommor. Du kan också se katter som går fritt på trottoaren!

Innan jag reste iväg så besökte jag Yves Rocher i Forum för att utrusta mig med all nödvändig kosmetik för min resa. Jag valde After Sun Care-produkter. Framför allt älskar jag 3-i-1 After Sun Lotion som lugnar och återfuktar huden efter lång tid i solen och som förlänger min solbränna!

Paros har många vackra restauranger och nattklubbar där du kan njuta av musiken och njuta av en cocktail. För en glamorös kväll ser jag till att jag alltid har min egen favorit Yves Rocher Sexy Pulp läppglans i min handväska.

For mina tånaglar, valde jag en mängd nagellack i strålande färger. Rött är alltid en klassiker tillsammans med  fuschia, rosa och korall nyanserna.

Hoppas ni alla hade en avkopplande sommar och känner er redo för den kommande hösten och vintern!

Text (in English): Chryssa Skodra

Translation (in Swedish): Kim Ekman

Photos: Vassilis Skodras & Yves Rocher Suomi

Events, Travel

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day today and in many countries this day is a perfect opportunity to thank and honour your mother! I called my mother today and wished her but I miss my family so much since they don’t live in Finland…

I will dedicate this article to her and send her all the flowers I found on my trip to Oslo last week virtually!

Happy Mother’s Day, mama!

The photos were taken at the Botanical Garden of Oslo that was founded in 1814 and displays a wide variety of plants from Norway and other parts of the world. The Botanical Garden seeks to increase public awareness of the importance of plant diversity and currently contains approximately 7500 different plant species!

Text: Chryssa Skodra

Photos: Kim Ekman (Vision51)

Travel

Visiting the Nobel Peace Center!

Greetings from Oslo, Norway!

Finland’s neighbour (to the North) is nicknamed “The Land of the Midnight Sun”, however last weekend that I spend on the capital of Norway the weather was cloudy and gloomy with random glimpses of sun! As Norwegians say, ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!’

Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world but at the same time one of the world’s richest countries per capita. Oslo is a city filled with culture and museums!

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo every year. I visited the Nobel Peace Center near the harbour of Oslo what it seemed like a design district with beautiful architecture and lovely restaurants and shopping centres.

In 2008 the Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize to former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari for his efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts.

Martti Ahtisaari has worked for peace and reconciliation as through various posts a senior Finnish public servant and President, often connected to the United Nations. In 1989-90 he played a significant part in the establishment of Namibia’s independence; in 2005 he and his organization Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) were central to the solution of the complicated Aceh question in Indonesia. In 1999 and again in 2005-07, he sought under especially difficult circumstances to find a solution to the conflict in Kosovo. In 2008, through the CMI and in cooperation with other institutions, Ahtisaari has tried to help find a peaceful conclusion to the problems in Iraq. He has also made constructive contributions to the resolution of conflicts in Northern Ireland, in Central Asia, and on the Horn of Africa. (Source: www.nobelprize.org)

On the second floor of the Nobel Peace Center, visitors can enter a room with all the Nobel Peace Prize winners exhibited. The Nobel Peace Center is an absolute must-see for those visiting Oslo!

Text: Chryssa Skodra

Photos: Kim Ekman (Vision51)