To me, Helsinki is most of all synonymous with tranquility, functionality and good everyday living.
Minna Parikka is a shoe designer from Helsinki and has a brand carrying her own name. She studied shoe design in England where she also picked up several prestigious awards in the field. Minna Parikka's flagship store was in Helsinki and her shoes were sold by 100 retailers in dozens of countries.
She was born and grew up in Helsinki's Pajamäki.
"There was a lot of nature around. I would play with the other kids on Patterimäki, a hill with wartime trenches, caves and remains of fortresses. It was an exciting playground."
Sometimes Minna and her friends would extend their territory without permission.
"We secretly broke a piggy bank and took off to the Linnanmäki Amusement Park. The cashier’s expression while counting out our five-penny coins was priceless. Our money was enough for maybe two and a half rides."
"I always visit the nearby islands in the summertime, such as Uunisaari, Vallisaari, Kaunissaari and Pihlajasaari. Uunisaari is just a short ferry ride away but you can really get away from the city. I always pick the side of the open sea to lie down on the islands. It feels like the outer archipelago. I also enjoy the shorelines near my home in southern Helsinki: just hopping on a bike and enjoying a summer day exploring the waterfronts."
"I love going to the sauna and I swim all year round. I go to the nearby saunas every couple of weeks, and most often I pick Löyly. It has an international vibe and people from all walks of life. It is modern yet it has a traditional smoke sauna which is like a black cave. When you take a dip in the sea you sometimes have to hold on to the railings because of the wind blowing from the sea. I decided some years ago that I will be a super granny who takes good care of herself so I started ice swimming. Going into the ice hole is just as terrible every single time, you don't get used to it! But the feeling afterwards is incredible, it relaxes the muscles as well as the mind."
"I visit the Engel summer cinema a few times every season. The courtyard is romantic and historical. You can have a glass of wine or coffee or tea and wrap yourself in blanket while watching a French movie. It is the perfect spot for a date, I also had a date there some years ago. Helsinki's open air cinemas are amazing in the summer. There are also sometimes screenings at the Allas Sea Pool and the little seaside café Mattolaituri."
"The Riviera cinema is a lovely place. I already miss it now that I can't make it there easily with my small baby. Riviera is a great addition to the city's cinemas: getting a sofa seat with a friend and something to snack on along with a drink – well that's just perfect."
"The Artek flagship store in amazing, filled with light and beautiful. My favourite classic Finnish pieces in their selection are by Eero Aarnio. He uses colours in a playful way and the furniture is comfortable but a bit kooky. We have a Womb chair at home that literally resembles a womb. Our upstairs slanted roof has a Bubble chair suspended from it which is great for swinging."
"The beach at Kallahdenniemi in Vuosaari is Helsinki's prettiest. You can reach it via a lovely little route through some tall-standing pine trees by car or bike. The beach is way too shallow for adults to swim, but it's an excellent spot to sunbathe or, for instance, to practice kiteboarding."
"The Wintergarden Bar at the Hotel St. George is the best new bar in the city. They also have a unique silk wallpaper mural with pastel colours by my favourite illustrator Klaus Haapaniemi, which is already reason enough for a visit."