"This blog is not necessarily for lovers of art, it includes a variety of topics and whatever. I'm a painter who likes to know what's really going on in the world today. So you might find anything from Shamrocks to Salmiakki mentioned here on my blog. There will of course be some boring, factual and informational posts, but I'll keep them to a minimum, I promise!

And I might get a bit nostalgic now and then.

So you have been warned!"

- Alan Hogan

Showing posts with label Fazer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fazer. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

My Finland 100 : 81- 90

Finland became an independent state on 6 December 1917. Already there have been numerous events staged throughout the country to celebrate this centenary year. The theme of the centenary year is ‘Together’. 

As I have been a resident of Finland for the past ten years I wanted to do a little something. For this I decided to post 100 images to my Instagram account on social media with the hashtag #finland100_igchallenge .

Anyone familiar with the Instagram application will be aware of the vast amount of wonderful photography posted every day online. There are so many amazing images to be found featuring Finland's stunning nature and landscapes. I imagine my photography may be lack lustre in comparison and as a result may not be noticed. So I decided to simply look closer in and around my new home for another approach. I have posted a variety of images found around my own house and neighbourhood. I didn't know much about Finland before I moved here, so I view this as an opportunity to show others a few things I discovered about or associated with Finland and it's culture. I have included everyday items, nostalgic items, locations, food and also some Finnish-themed artworks which I painted myself while living here. In other words, a bit of everything!!

The images are in no particular order of importance or preference, so I'll continue with 81-90...

... 'Kivimiehet', aka the Stone Men of Helsinki. This is a graphic impression of Emil Wikstrom's big statues outside Helsinki railway station. 

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.. these Finnish Christmas pastries are called Joulutortuu or Jultårta, and I'm having a pre-festive #instatasting ! 😊

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...when summer arrives many Finns disappear to the countryside or out by the sea to a place I call 'The Escape Hut' (acrylic on canvas). A small summer cottage which usually has a sauna, just like the one in this painting had. I took my first finnish sauna in this one!
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..for that retro look you can't beat Marimekko's classic 1965 'Unikko' design. ...Nice curtains! 😀

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..clearing snow is part of life in Finland. And like everything else, it's good in moderation! ⛄
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.. 'Snow Tango' (acrylic on canvas) 👫🎶 - it's not uncommon to see people dancing the tango in towns around Finland during the summer and every year in the middle of winter the world snow tango championships take place in Tampere city, no matter how cold it gets!

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...originating in Italy, the celebration of St Lucia is celebrated in a spectacular manner at the Helsinki Cathedral Finland every year in December. Here's this year's Lucia leaving in her carriage. ...Bringing some light into darkness! 🌋
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...having grown up beside the Cadburys chocolate factory in Dublin I've been a fan of chocolate for a long time. I've tasted a lot of it from near and far. This large Finnish Christmas chocolate bar or Joulusuklaa is one of my favourites! ..I used to take several bars of it back to Ireland with me every Christmas for friends and family, and they love'd it too! ..Sadly the bars aren't to be found anymore. Maybe they'll bring them back again. They only have them in sweet form now, but i really miss the big chunky bars! ..💯% Christmas!!
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...scissorsisters!! ✂✂✂...every artist needs a good pair of scissors and I can honestly say there's nothing better than Fiskars scissors. Their factory a short walk from where I live. A company who now own Iittala, Wedgewood, Royal Doulton, Gerber, Rörstrand and (a piece of my Irish heritage!) Waterford Crystal. 😀
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Oh..Star Wars, you never let us down! ..Brilliant!! 😀🚀 to watch it in 3D (recommended!) at the Bio Forum cinema in Ekenäs. It's Finland's oldest cinema, operating since 1912 and it doesn't seem to have changed much since then. No computers, just one old lady behind the desk selling popcorn and tickets while scratching seats off a piece of paper. A nostalgic gem!! 🎥
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Click below for more:

1- 10

11- 20

21- 30

31- 40

41- 50

51- 60

61- 70

71- 80

81- 90

91- 100

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Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends.

- Alan


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Easter Eggs: Irish v Finnish eggs

As it's the Easter this weekend I just wanted to post a quick blog on Easter eggs.

As a kid growing up in Ireland the best thing about Easter was receiving chocolate Easter eggs. It's customary for Irish children to get an egg from their parents and they often get a few more from relatives also. With lots of nice and kind relatives I usually got around five or six eggs in total!

The eggs themselves vary in size from the smallest 12cm to the largest being around 20cm in height. It's possible to buy much larger eggs, but these are usually expensive and popular with husbands buying for their wives. Most eggs are made from either milk chocolate, dark chocolate or white chocolate. Inside your average Easter egg you can find a bag of chocolate sweets or candy
depending on which brand. 

Most eggs are packed in boxes and foil, some come in very large boxes! The lower-priced eggs (without a box) are usually made from a chocolate-candy, and not as tasty as the real chocolate eggs. Some popular eggs when I was younger were the 'Buttons', 'Flake' and 'Milk Tray' eggs all produced by Cadburys. The famous Milk Tray box of chocolates has been around for as long as I remember and is an old favourite in Ireland. .... James Bond has nothing on the Milk Tray man!

I may be wrong but the large-sized Easter eggs don't seem so common in European countries outside Ireland and the UK, although a few can be found in shops such as Lidl and Aldi. When some Finnish friends of mine were presented with eggs while visiting me when I lived back in Ireland they were quite surprised at how large the typical Irish Easter egg was.

In Finland the eggs you find in shops are usually small. The most common ones I've noticed are the Kinder Surprise egg with a small toy inside. There are many other egg brands of a similar size such as Minnie Mouse, Transformers and of course Angry Birds. I consider the Kinder egg to be like the Cadbury's Creme Egg, and not quite an Easter egg due to the fact that they're both available all year round, at least I think they are. 
For me the best Easter eggs in Finland are the Mignon eggs. These are something special, and nothing like anything you will ever find in Ireland.

The Mignon Egg

The Mignon Egg is produced by the Finnish food company Fazer, one of the largest companies in Finland. This egg is the second oldest Fazer product, dating back to 1896 and is considered to be the quintessential Finnish Easter egg. The most notable feature about the Mignon egg is it's resemblence to a normal everyday hen's egg. This is because it is indeed a perfectly natural egg which has be drained of it's contents, cleaned and then filled with a blend of delicious nougat and chocolate. The natural egg look is then enhanced by it's real egg-box packaging. The result is a piece of chocolate art and what I would call an adult's easter egg!!! In other words, it's sitting in my fridge now waiting to be devoured! 

Of course, for those who don't like chocolate here in Finland there is also another customary dish which can be found well-stocked on supermarket shelves this Easter. This is called Mämmi (pronounced Memmy in english). 

Mämmi is an acquired taste and will only appeal to some. For me it was a big NO!! NO!! the first time I tasted it. But as I am a fan of Guinness (a sort of liquified version of Mämmi) I may try tasting it again someday. The Finns consider Mämmi a dessert, but I would rather compare it to a potent energy power-breakfast. Here's a video of what sounds like a Scottish guy describing this Finnish Easter dish in detail !!!
 ... Warning! Viewers discretion advised!!!

Thank you for visiting my blog and Happy Easter from Finland!!!

Thank you very much and please share this with your friends!!!


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- Alan


The Art Garage, Finland

The Art Garage, Finland
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