Doing life right, at home and away

Category: Hostess

Of having yourself a very merry Christmas time

I love Christmas – and yes, what a wonderful time it is. I’m not in my core this positive, optimistic person but, during Christmas, for a brief moment, I become one.


Our house was full for the whole holidays – of both people and joy, but also Christmas music, singing, chatter, several languages, laughter and animals running around in circles, like crazy.

I don’t get to see my family all that often and, of course, the same goes for W. We’ve been alternating holidays every year: last year, in the UK with his family and, this year, my family came to Leipzig.


Our Christmas menu was faithful to the Finnish traditions. I had prepared the pickled herrings almost a week earlier and my family brought the gravlax with them from Finland. Heaps of waxy potatoes were boiled. Spirits were bright CLEAR. (That’s the tradition – vodkas or equivalent with the fish starters.)

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Of housewarming garden parties

We had a housewarming party. Ten things I learned:

  1. The best grills are cast iron.
  2. Try not to let the fire go out if you have hungry guests.
  3. Making your friends perform engineering tasks before the party officially starts is a great way of making everybody mix & mingle. In our case, a sun/rain cover needed to be assembled.
  4. If you want the best taboulé & hummus of your life, ask if your Syrian friend is up for the task.
  5. Avalon also makes a great punch that will gather dozens of compliments.
  6. There can’t be too many light garlands and twinkly lights.
  7. The steak recipe my high-school boyfriend taught me still works.
  8. A little rain won’t ruin a good party! Just be prepared. See number 3.
  9. In the end, you might be so busy hustling with everything that you might not really have time to eat yourself.
  10. And if you are so positively busy with your party – eating, drinking, socialising, laughing – that you have don’t even have time to even put on make-up or comb your hair, it’s a great party!


I’m planning on writing a whole post about BBQ and grills and equipment and such, as the art of BBQing deserves some special attention. So here I’m just gonna share our recipes for the salads and side dishes – which go together with EVERYTHING grilled.

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vintage christmas tree candle holders

Of cheap & chic christmas decor

I love throwing parties, but am often hung up with the issue of decoration: most party decoration is really expensive for what it is, but even more importantly, it has this aura of slightly redundant clutter, only usable a couple of times a year and even more so – a lot of it just usually ends up in trash.

So for our “five-fold” party, I wanted to go in a different direction. Such a grand festivity called for some grand decor, yet I wanted to spend as little money as possible, as little resources and reduce wastefulness to the minimum. The items that I’d have to buy should be reusable and have a long life.

So what did I do?

1. DIY snow globes

These jam jars have  a long shelf life! I got a 20-pack of wintery plastic spruces meant for building miniature landscapes, hot glued them on the lids of empty glass jars and poured in an appropriate amount of salt/sugar/flour. You could also construct the spruces from actual spruce branches or fold them from paper. It won’t be as realistic, but it’ll surely still be a lovely snowglobe!

Homemade salt snowglobes

They are quirky, reusable, adaptable and most importantly – simply adorable. One could take it a tad further and paint/cover the rim of the lid with a tape or a ribbon.

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