Where were you born?
Oulu, northern Finland (Emilia) and Helsinki (Hanna).
Where do you live?
We both live in the creative city of Helsinki.
What’s best about your neighbourhood?
Compared to other parts of Finland, in Helsinki there is always something happening. You can always see people around you and enjoy a bit of urban life with a Finnish twist.
If money was no object, where would you live?
Emilia: I would still live in Kallio, near our shop and office on Hämeentie.
Hanna: In a wooden house in the middle of the city.
Which is your favourite Helsinki neighbourhood?
Definitely Kallio and the surrounding areas like Kalasatama. Kallio is bubbling and growing all the time, with new shops, cafes, restaurants, clubs and especially events organised by the Kallio society. Once you attend the Flow festival or the Kallio Block Party you know what we are talking about.
Which are your favourite Helsinki stores?
Our R/H shop on Hämeentie; My o My on Erottajankatu, which sells the finest fashion and lifestyle pieces in the whole of Finland; Hakaniemen Halli market in Hakaniemi, which sells organic, fresh, local food; and Ansa on Fleminginkatu, which sells selected vintage treasures at affordable prices.
Where are the best bargains to be found?
The Hietalahden and Vallilan flea markets, which are always worth a visit. Hietalahden is only in the summertime.
Which are your favourite restaurants?
Siltanen has a really good selection for different appetites. We always wonder who the chef might be. It’s just so good! We recommend the Cleopatra’s Garden salad with salmon. Kolme Kruunua; the Finnish food here is delicious. You should definitely try the escargots with Aurajuusto cheese. KuuKuu’s atmosphere comes from a beautiful environment and a mix of Russian and Scandinavian dishes. You cannot make a mistake ordering the fish of the day or the meatballs. Kahvila Suomi became very famous when a Japanese movie called Ruokala Lokki was filmed there. Kahvila Suomi offers Finnish food in a cosy environment. We recommend the home-made pancakes with jam and cream.
Do you have a favourite local café or pub?
Ihana Kahvila is a café in Kalasatama, which was a fish harbour just a few years ago. Great view, creative vibes and good things happening! The Jääkellari café on the island of Suomenlinna is open all year; it’s a former ice cellar built in 1898 to serve as a fridge for the army officers. Siltanen on Hämeentie is the best local bar in the east of central Helsinki. We also like the Katri Antell café in Oulu, known for its one-of-a-kind pastries.
Where do you take out-of-town friends?
To the museum of modern art in Kiasma; shopping at My o My; relaxing and walking on Suomenlinna; dancing at 6.Linja; and to eat afterwards at Harrin Nakki in Karhupuisto.
Where do you like to celebrate?
The 14th-floor terrace of Sokos Torni Hotel’s Ateljee Bar in the middle of the city.
Do you have a favourite Helsinki walk?
Töölö, at the beach.
How do you like to travel around the city?
By bike or tram. The tram system is very good.
Which is Helsinki’s best attraction?
Töölönlahti bay in the middle of the city.
Which do you think are the best museums in Helsinki?
Kiasma and Ateneum.
Which person from Helsinki do you most admire?
Our president Tarja Halonen. She comes from Helsinki’s working-class Kallio area and sets a good example of how a woman can be the president of a nation and still keep her feet on the ground.
Can you reveal any secret spots?
Torkkelinmäki at the top of the Kallio area is full of small parks.
Can you recommend any good hotels?
Hotel Anna on Annankatu in Punavuori has a warm, nostalgic atmosphere. Request a room in the top floor!
Any advice for visitors?
Always remember to have coins with you.
What can’t you live without?
Finnish rye bread, summer nights and dear friends and family in Helsinki.