Guest Post: Surviving Finland

Monday, 30 March 2015

Hi my name is Kirsty and I’m currently in charge of a little corner of the interweb called Effortlessly ExcessiveI’d like to class myself as a serious blogger but when you’re sharing stories about baking a cake for your guinea pigs and setting your vaj on fire, I’m not sure how well I fall into that category, (and here’s you thinking you were in for something civilised today. I’m sorry guys!)

Like Polly, I've lived the sunshine dream in what is affectionately called, ‘The Sandpit.’ Qatar was my home for 18 months until I jumped ship and stumbled head-first into a very snowy and blisteringly cold Finland. A year on, I’m still wondering what the hell I was thinking.

As an ode to Finland, (and to throw a bit of contrast out there on Follow Your Sunshine) I thought I would dish out some snippets of wisdom if you will. My top tips for surviving the cold and coming out the other side a living, breathing, and most importantly sane human being. Let’s hop to it shall we?

1. Embrace the fact that you’re going to look shit for at least a month or two of the year. When the temperature is hovering around a brisk -18 degrees, your skinny jeans and leather jacket just aren't going to cut it. I own a coat made out of goose and thermal knickers that would give Bridget Jones a run for her money… and that’s saying something. That being said, it has its perks. No need to fear the bad hair day as a woolly hat is essential uniform and most people can’t actually see you as they've likely developed a layer of permafrost over their corneas anyway. Fabulous.

2. Any hobby is better than no hobby. When going outside requires more layers than a Tesco’s lasagna, the key is to find joy in staying at home and indulging in your latest hobby. Be it knitting, cross-stitching, playing the ukulele, nothing is off the table when it comes to beating the Winter blues. Blogging is an escape for me and one that has definitely kept my face from appearing on a Channel 4 documentary, surrounded by cats and handcuffed to my psych nurse.

3. Best served steaming. A piping hot cup of tea/coffee/hot chocolate/vodka is your new BFF. Nothing melts my heart quite like a minty hot chocolate with half a can of whipped cream and sprinkles. You can always burn those extra calories off skiing later *ahem*

4. Speaking of drink. Nothing quite warms the cockles like a large, several large G&Ts with a slice and ice. 10 points to Gryffindor if you can scale a flight of steps knee-deep in snow, in your heels. Speaking from experience here, it can be done!

5. Fairy lights are your best friend. Remember, the key to surviving a cold, dark Winter is to surround yourself with happy things. I've yet to meet anyone who can resist the lure of twinkling lights, garnishing every available surface like a sprinkling of merriment – or that’s how I sold it to my other half anyway.

If you've made it this far and I haven’t managed to scare you away, then hats off to you! You can delve a little deeper into the madness that is living the Finnish expat life, over on my blog. I also occasionally try to do the sensible blogger thing and post about beauty and fashion too.

Massive thanks again to Polly for opening her doors to me and making me feel at home. She’s a fabulous host – I regret that our paths never crossed in Doha as I’m sure we’d have had a blast! Keep on shining girl! 


Hahaha (still laughing at the vaj on fire story!). Thank you for this fantastically funny Bear Grylls-esque post Kirsty. I think this will help the Brits, Americans and Northern Europeans amongst us to survive the Baltic winters of the Northern hemisphere a little better, and it has even, dare I say it, made me a little envious of your anti-follow-your-sunshine life (an excuse to cover up bed head with a hat every day? YES PLEASE!). For all of you that are new to Effortlessly Excessive, you should head on over to Kirsty's blog here without delay. It's pretty to look at, full of useful fashion and beauty tips, but the best thing about it? Kirsty isn't afraid to speak her mind and her honest posts on life and occasional rants have had me doubled over in stitches on more than one occasion. Wish we could have met in Doha Kirsty!


  1. Ahhh, Kirsty's blog is new to me but I love her humour, I will check it out!
    Lots of love,

    SilverSpoon London

    1. Awesome, I think you'll love it Angie! Kirsty's blog's beautiful and she shares a sense of humour that's very similar to some other bloggers we both follow!

      Polly xx

  2. Oh this really made me laugh! :D
    I have a couple of friends from Finland and this is basically how I imagine their lives to be! :)

    1. Haha, I had a good giggle too. I'm not sure if this was Kirsty's intention or not but I now really want to visit!!

      Polly xx