Dreams can come true. Some dreams. Some times. And, they certainly did over one long weekend in November when we travelled to Lapland in Finland thanks to global tech brand Huawei, pinching ourselves as we went, particularly as they’d chartered a second plane for us which made me feel a bit like Kim K for a few hours (and someone even tweeted they recognised us in Helsinki airport (always nuts when that happens abroad)! Crazy! START A BLOG EVERYONE, QUICK, GET TO IT!
Firstly Lapland, Finland, was everything and more I could have dreamt of. It was Narnia, then some.
You step off the plane and walk onto a movie set or live action Christmas card if you like. You can’t believe your eyes. Literally.
And boy did we breathe in the achingly beautiful mis en scene:… the frosty forests, twinkly starry skies and thick, crunchy snow beneath our feet, the picture-perfect sunsets at lunchtime, and utter quiet and tranquillity which enveloped and soothed us in a place which only a few hundred call their home.
Wrapped up as warm and toasty as can be in the biggest of snowsuits with thermals underneath (sparkly no less, from M&S), I’ve listed the things we experienced during our stay in Lapland and the lessons learned, below.
We visited the real Father Christmas in his ginger bread house which moved me to tears. Making your children’s dreams comes true is a feeling like no other.
We witnessed the beauty of reindeer as the sun set. We huddled around vivid campfires in the snow, warming our hands in the -4 temp before Xander gobbled pancakes in the prettiest tepee I’ve ever seen.
Oliver and I made snow angels in the pristine snow by our lodge before sledging down hills together while Peter and Xander napped inside. It was a special time I shall not forget.
We made iced ginger biscuits at the Star Hotel overlooking this view.
Peter and Oliver enjoyed tobogganing together as Xander and I returned back to the resort as he’d become overtired. We decorated a Christmas tree in front of the fire instead and cuddled under a blanket on the sofa. Bliss.
We ate our body weight in root veg and Finnish bread (the best) and I even drank brandy in the sauna in our en suite (I know).
We laughed a lot with pals Matt, of Man vs Baby fame, his wife Lindsey and hilarious little toddler Charlie who bonded with Oliver and wouldn’t leave his side (which Oliver loved).
We also learned about Huawei’s new StorySign app by Huawei which enriches story time for deaf children and their parents by translating children’s books into perfect sign language in real time.
The app was created in conjunction with European deaf charities and a film to launch the project was created by Aardman Animation and can be seen below.
The film is by Academy Award® winning director Chris Overton and starrs seven-year-old actress Maisie Sly who also came on the trip with her family. Both her and Chris worked on Oscar®-winning short film The Silent Child. The StorySign film sees a young girl struggling to read with her father on Christmas Eve. Later that night when she sneaks downstairs to peak at her presents, she is stunned to see Santa who hands her a book for a gift.
On realising that the little girl is deaf, Santa begins to sign the book to her and in that moment, she is the happiest little girl in the world, as he helps her enjoy the magic of story time.
I was incredibly moved by the short film below, and the changes this app has, and will continue to make to deaf children.
We truly switched off which enabled us to feel more switched on.
There’s nothing like achingly beautiful scenery and the utter tranquillity of snow-scapes in the Arctic Circle to help clear a cluttered mind. This is my new ‘happy place’. When I’m stressed, I take a deep breath and remember this sight!
I also learned it’s not how cold the weather is that matters but how warmly you dress that matters and that Santa is real and you’ll never find magic if you don’t believe in it, as Oliver kindly reminded me!
I was also reminded that these really are the days of our lives.
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Thank you Huawei.
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