Homemade travel journal. (SMASH/Scrapbook)

As I have mentioned previously, I’ve been creating a travel journal to document my expedition to Finland. Well, it is finally complete (or near enough) and I have done a video to show you the pages. Yes, I have done a video! A little scary to be honest, but I’m afraid you’re only getting my voice…

If you didn’t want to watch the video, I’ve got a few of my favourite pages here:

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Matka – An expedition to Finland. Part #3.

imageThe last bit of our expedition was very different to what we had imagined. Looking online, Rovaniemi looked lovely and interesting. In reality, it was just like any other city in England!
Due to the time that we went, the tourist trips were mostly shut. Too late for winter, too early for summer! After walking around on the first morning, we headed into tourist information and managed to book ourselves onto a snow shoeing tour. It was fun but not as difficult or ‘extreme’ as expected. The guide that we had was brilliant, and told us so much information about the area, about Finland and his experiences. Rovaniemi was very warm, and had no snow. We drove out of the city about half an hour away and had knee deep snow in places!

Rovaniemi itself had some really pretty parts, but also some not so nice parts. Just like any city, right? This river was huge, and parts were still frozen from the winter, and there were also chunks of ice just floating around! We saw one traditional Finnish restaurant in Rovaniemi, but it was just so expensive that we didn’t have the money for it.

On our second day, we visited the Santa Village, as advised by the guide! It’s what most people come to Rovaniemi for… Due to the season, it was a little disappointing. The gift shops and buildings were lovely, but I guess the place just looks so much better in the winter and in the evening. I am glad that we went though, because otherwise I’d just be regretting it!

One thing that I loved, and this was the same in Helsinki (airport!), was the packaging designs in the supermarkets! Everything for kids just looked so cute! I actually saved a couple of cartons/wrappers to put in my travel journal.

Last but not least, Rovaniemi was covered in all kinds of cool graffiti. The images really helped to brighten up the area, and I loved seeing them. I’ll just let the photos do the talking…

So, that was the end of our expedition. To get back to Kajaani for our flight, we had to get two trains and it was around a 5 hour journey. Not too fun, but with a good book and nice scenery it’s all fine! Here’s a wagtail seen at Kajaani station! It came so close – clearly used to people!

Overall, the expedition was an amazing experience and I’m so happy to have had the chance! I would definitely visit Martinselkosen and the Boreal Wildlife Centre again. Lovely people, place and predators! Next time I’d maybe look at another place in the Arctic Circle – probably wouldn’t bother with Rovaniemi again! Although, Santa’s Village would be great in the winter. Hope you enjoyed looking at these photos!

Matka – An expedition to Finland. Part #1.

Well I guess it’s time I started talking about my expedition to Finland, right? If you’re new or just passing by, you may be a little confused here. I’m in my second year of university (and it’s almost over!) and for one module I had to plan an expedition. Now this could be anywhere in the world, but due to finances, we chose Finland. I say that as if it isn’t an amazing place but it was, and is a brilliant country to visit. I’m really happy to have experienced the things that we did, and I would definitely go back! Just next time it would be cool to see the summer or the winter… The spring is a relatively quiet season, with not much happening for visitors! As you may have realised from the title, I’m going to do this in three posts.

The journey from London to Helsinki was pretty uneventful. Once in Helsinki, we had a long 5 hours waiting time ahead of us as our next flight to Kajaani was in the evening. A lot of this time was spent wandering around the airport, trying to figure out the floor system and finding the supermarket and cheap food. We managed to find a pizza place (first meal in Finland was a cheese pizza – I know…) and then settled back down in front of our gate. The flight to Kajaani was also uneventful. It was a small plane, and when we arrived at Kajaani airport it was a little strange! The area where we picked up our bags was tiny. The airport only actually had one gate I think!

Our first port of call was Martinselkosen Eräkeskus Wildlife Centre, located in Suomussalmi. We were picked up by the guide and another visitor, and then driven two hours up north. It was nearing midnight at this point, but we were looking out of the car windows, trying to stay awake, and managing to see a few Arctic hare on the journey as well as getting a tiny glimpse of green in the sky! It just felt so surreal.

The place itself was really pretty, and I took a lot of snowy tree photos! On the first day we managed to explore a little before heading out to the big hide. The area in which we were staying was very deserted – no houses around and lots of forest. On site, we saw plenty of bullfinch, chaffinch and tits, as well as a few woodpeckers and a red squirrel. We also spotted some big paw prints on our walks, but obviously no sights of the bears during the day 😉

I have never seen so many Bullfinch in one place!

How cute is this little cabin?!

To get to the hide we went in a 4×4, and then on a snow mobile ‘sleigh’ for the final bit. I’m not going to lie, that bit scared me! First impressions of the hide were that it was huge! I knew it had bunk beds in, but it really was huge. We had been inside the hide for less than 5 minutes, and the guides were still putting food outside, when the first bear turned up. It was ridiculously easy this night… Overall we saw four different bears and even managed to see them all at once. It was incredible, and as I said, super easy. It kind of felt too easy…

The bear on the right was definitely the most photogenic…

Pretty river!

I really loved all the forest around us.

The second day was also spent exploring. We managed to find a really pretty river, which looked very strange against all the white snow. In the evening, we went into another hide for a night! This hide was a lot smaller, and was meant for two people. We had three of us squeezed into it! Fine for the evening, but sleeping was something else! We were very squished and had extremely sore hips the next morning… Anyway, this time we were waiting for at least 4 hours before we got our first bear sighting! Very different to the first day’s experience, right? We also saw four bears on this night, and I’m guessing that they were the same ones from the first night – we were actually only a few hundred metres away.

Mr Photogenic again 😉

That was our time at Martinselkosen Eräkeskus! The next part will show our time at the Boreal Wildlife Centre and I will post it next Friday!

My Week #17 & #18

Well, two weeks behind… Oh dear! I have been very busy. The first week shows my last 7 days in Finland, and the week just past was busy with hopeless attempts at revising for my upcoming Animal Behaviour exam. I have discovered that if there’s a question on function, I may be half okay…

Last Monday I got to see McBusted in concert and they were amazing! It was such a fun show and I loved all the AV that they did. Always love seeing Mcfly live!

Last week also gave me my first LUSH party experience! It was really good, and I definitely loved having a face mask on whilst getting my hands/arms massaged! I bought myself the face mask that I tried on (Love Lettuce), as well as the Ultrabland cleanser and ‘Stimulating and refreshing’ hair shampoo bar. The latter claims that it will help hair growth. My hair grows at an okay speed anyway – I was just drawn in by the cinnamon and the fact that I had never tried on before!

And finally, I also did some extra work (including today) which proves to be a great way of procrastinating from exam revision… I like to get as much extra money as I can hahah.

Photo Friday #16

(Photo by Louise Groom!)

Since getting back from Finland, I haven’t had much time to sort through all of the photos. I have an exam on the 6th so my main priority is revision at the moment! Once that’s over, I still have two assignments to complete for the 16th May, so if I get time I will post some Finland photos up! They will appear eventually…

Anyway, here’s a preview! Click the link at the bottom to see it on my 500px page.

Photo Friday #15

Here’s a few instagram photos for today! It’s very cold and snowy here in Finland! We were in the bear hide last night and saw four different bears!

Keeping organised on travels!

Well, as you may have read/seen online, I am heading off to Finland! This trip is a university self-led expedition, and I’m going with two others in my group. Our aim of the trip is to see and photograph/film bears. However, I’m also hoping to see lots of other wildlife, get some nice landscapes/starscapes and some timelapse videos! The second half (or ‘alf – as I said in my expectations video!) will take us up to Rovaniemi, which is just on the edge of the Arctic Circle. It’s not very likely mid-April, but I am kind of hoping to see the Northern Lights! Let’s hope they’re feeling generous 😉

Right now, I am making my way down to London, ready for the early flight on Wednesday morning!

Anyway, over the past 6 months or so I’ve been using a pocket mode Filofax to plan this expedition, and it will be coming with me! (Thanks to Janet @ This Bugs Life! – The Filofax Project)

One of the main tabs in the filofax will of course be the ‘important’ tab. Here I’m writing down things like my passport info, insurance info, emergency contacts and the like… Just in case!

Under my travel tab I have written down every step of my travel. So I have all the times, the places I’m going and the places I will be next… I feel so much more comfortable travelling when I can look at something and see all the times at a glance! On the other side of this page has the travel information for when I’m actually in Finland.

The itinerary section has a piece of notepaper with the general plans, and behind the empty timetable I also have some WO2P diary pages so I can write what we’re doing each day.

And finally, I have my passport in the pocket, my train tickets to London and also have my EHIC card in the plastic wallet on the left!

All organised with the important information all written down… I think I’m ready!


  • I am 21 years old, currently studying Wildlife and Media at University and blogging about life, stationery, Filofax, fitness and more.

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