Coming to an efficient, organised place like Finland, one might have thought that opening a bank account would be as easy as falling off a log. Hence, it was a bit of a surprise to me to find that a few friends had not only had difficulties, but had in some cases simply given up.

A little investigation with one friend revealed that several Finnish banks not only do little to entice foreign customers, some seem to actively discourage them.

Are you still buying your lentils and pulses in a normal grocery store?

STOP! Step away from that box of overpriced lentils and come with me. To where lentils are sold in kilogram bags, where you are not limited to two varieties, or to sad colourless beans floating in slime. Come to the Promised Land, where you buy your lentils in kilograms and pay the same price as you do in the normal store.

A new locale for Helsinki’s Jamaican flavours.

PIDGEONS, grey office buildings, a Lidl at the corner, a busy street swarming with busses and pedestrians. Dark windowed bars waiting to open their doors for the early birds. The location is as Kallio as you can get. Yet stepping in to Jamaican Mamas I suddenly feel far away from the notorious Helsinki district. A beach hut. A soft Bob Marley ballad. The smell of cinnamon and spices, and happy chatter coming from the corner. A green, black and yellow flag is on the wall. Am I still in Finland?

On a ferry back from Tallinn a few weeks back, I happened to sit close to a family with a youngish child – probably around eight-years old. She was playing with a robot toy that squawked a few bars of heavy metal guitar music at the push of a button. Needless to say, the button was pushed continuously.

At first it was only mildly irritating, but I noticed that after 20 minutes, passengers were starting to stare, and the child’s parents to notice. At first, they settled on “Isn’t she sweet?” smiles, which after another hour sank to, “I know… but what can you do?” grimaces.

A new restaurant brings some Mexican sunshine to the office quarter near the Central Railway Station in Helsinki. Rapidly securing its place in the hearts of food lovers, even the Ambassador of Mexico is a fan.

It is probably the most ideal time of the year to discover some Mexican sizzle in the city of Helsinki. The polar nights are upon us and as the general gloom of November sets in, every means for keeping the winter blues at bay will be needed. Well, here is one top tip: head down to Eatos.