Category Archives: Sunday Smiles

Every Sunday I post about the things that I came across throughout the week that made me smile, amused me or that just brightened up my day

Sunday Smiles: “We might fail at science, but we’re pretty good at baking”

I feel the news this week has almost entirely been dominated by Hurricane Sandy – I hope that if any of you or your families live in affected areas, you made it through alright.  Then as Sandy blew itself out, there was the news that CCAMLR has failed to come to a consensus about protecting parts of the Ross Sea.  I haven’t read the full details yet, but I doubt they’ll reveal anything particularly positive about the situation.  Not a particularly uplifting week in the news department, really (but then when is it ever?).

Hopefully to cheer us all up, on to this week’s Sunday Smiles:

  • The week started off with a Baking Competition within the School of Biology.  The theme was ‘Health & Safety’ and they managed to ambush us with a H&S lecture after having lured most of the school up to the tea room with the promise of baked goods – I can’t believe that none of us saw that coming.  We had to sit through the lecture to find out who the winners were.  The Marine Lab cleaned up two of the three available prizes: one of the technicians won “Best Looking” for her amazing marine-themed cake and I won “Best Tasting” with my ‘radioactive’ lemon macarons (I’ll post the recipe soon).  If I’m honest, we didn’t have much competition, but still, yay!  The title of this blog post comes courtesy of my fellow Marine Lab winner.

  • I randomly came across the blog Things I Want To Punch In The Face which basically consists of little rants but written amusingly.  It includes an amusing (and very valid) rant about hurricane names – I couldn’t agree more that Rizzo would be a rather more appropriate name for a destructive hurricane.
  • Last week we had a groan-worthy biology joke, this week we have a punny biology meme featuring… heterozygoats.  Geddit?  (Image source)

  • Speaking of goats, our Spanish labmate told this week that the Spanish Special Forces have a goat as a mascot.  No really, I’m not kidding, and it even has a special little coat.  They’re also clearly in a hurry to get places and march funny (the soldiers, not the goat).
  • This week I ate my first strawberries of the season.  I was too busy savouring them to take a photo – I love strawberries and these were full of flavour.  I’m looking forward to eating many, many more over the next couple of months…
  • I came across this time lapse taken over a three-month holiday in Europe.  It’s incredible and rather enthralling to watch, and quite fun to see if you can recognise where the different places are.
  • I mentioned last week that Wellington airport have put up a giant Gollum in preparation for the release of The Hobbit, Part 1 soon.  Well this week, Air New Zealand has released a new Hobbit-themed safety video on their planes.  It’s totally amazing, but equally rather on the cringe-worthy side.  I can’t actually decide whether amazement or embarrassment wins out.
  • There was a Rose Festival in the Parnell Rose Gardens this weekend.  I’ve mentioned my love of roses on this blog several times, so you won’t be too surprised to hear that I’m totally keen on anything that involves looking at lots of pretty roses (unless it rains, obviously), which is precisely what we did.  I loved it, despite the odd shower.

  • And finally, I’ve also previously mentioned my love of watching fireworks, and it turns out that, although I’m not entirely sure why, Guy Fawkes is a huge deal here.  The whole bonfire thing doesn’t seem to happen and it’s all about fireworks.  From what I understand, it’s the only time of the year that fireworks can be legally sold, so this weekend has been a bit of a firework extravaganza.  In fact, as I’m typing this I can see fireworks being set off from the roof of a nearby apartment block.  Yesterday evening we went to a firework display in Papatoetoe, which was good fun to watch, although it got a little cold waiting around for 3h before they started.

What made you smile this week?

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Sunday Smiles: What day of the week is it?

Monday was a day off for us, which was marvellous (though sadly the weather didn’t play ball) but I spent the rest of the week totally out of kilter and confused about what day it was (and nearly forgot that today is Sunday).  Luckily I wasn’t the only bewildered one, so that was rather reassuring.  I’m all up for three-day weekends, but I’d like to request that we get the Friday off rather than the Monday.  Glad we’ve got that straight.

Now, on to this week’s Sunday Smiles:

  • Long story short, I’ve spent a fair bit of time on the Go Pro website this week looking things up, and came across this lovely soothing video of beautiful autumnal foliage and mist in… uhm… somewhere (it doesn’t specify).  It’s shot from a remote control plane thingy.
  • Have you seen The Intouchables?  I saw it when it was released in France last Christmas, but it’s only just been released here (not sure why), so I went to see it again with some of my labmates.  It was just as fantastic as I remembered, and they loved it, too.  If you get the chance, I definitely recommend it – a film about a tetraplegic and his carer who come from totally different walks of life might not sound like a barrel of laughs, but it’s excellent, I promise.
  • I don’t think we’ve had a dreadful biology joke in a while, so here’s one for you:  Why had the two algae never had sex?  …Because they had a planktonic relationship.  Badum-tschhhh!  It comes courtesy of a labmate.
  • So The Hobbit (part 1…) is having its premiere here in NZ some time soon (possibly next week?), though it’s not out in cinemas until mid-December.  Apparently there’s a whole bunch of stuff going on in Wellington in honour of this.  I read somewhere that they’re temporarily changing Wellington’s name to “The Middle of Middle Earth” or something and possibly even bringing out special stamps for the airport (I heard it on the radio, so this may or may not actually be true).  Speaking of Wellington airport…  A giant Gollum is now currently gracing the arrivals hall – amazing or what?!
  • I’ve previously mentioned my love for Downton Abbey, so I was in utter awe when I came across this video of Downton Abbey character impressions, all done by the same guy.  Just a warning: it contains spoilers of Season 3, so you might not want to watch it just yet if you’re not watching the series on the UK schedule.  Anyway, the sound quality is slightly off, but I’m in awe of this guy’s imitation abilities.  Just wow.
  • There was a random BMX showcase thing going on in Aotea Square this weekend, with a bunch of performance artists also doing stuff.  I’m not really sure why, but I stumbled across these goings on yesterday and since it was sunny and warm, I hung around to watch.  It was a little bit like being in Edinburgh during the Fringe, but less crowded and without the rain.  Anyway, the BMX part was utterly amazing.  I’ve no idea why you’d want to launch yourself up a ramp on a teeny little bike and do flips and shit when your only landing options are a wooden ramp or concrete, but it’s pretty impressive to watch.

What made you smile this week?

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Sunday Smiles: Triathletes are bonkers

It’s a long weekend for us here in New Zealand because tomorrow (Monday) is Labour Day.  Which to me sounds like either everybody should be working really hard or having a baby (ya, no thanks).  But quite to the contrary, it’s a day off. Huzzah!  Too bad the weather hasn’t really cooperated – yesterday was pretty good, but today was dire.  And tomorrow looks like more of the same, which is annoying, but I won’t lie – there is something satisfying about waking up to the sound rain on the windows when you know you can stay in bed a little longer.

So my Sunday Smiles for this week are:

  • Are you on Pinterest?  I am, but only sporadically – I’m not sure how I feel about it.  So much of it seems… superficial. Perhaps it’s just that I’m not particularly crafty or creative or something.  So this rant article about Pinterest made me laugh – there’s a fair bit of truth in it (and some swearing, too).
  • Fact: life is short, and sometimes it’s also terrifying.  These ecard thingies are all over facebook, but this one really made me laugh: (Cartoon source)

  • Julia Gillard (Prime Minister of Australia) has been getting a lot of flak from the leader of the opposition, and this week she snapped and gave a rather vitriolic speech labelling him as a misogynist.  Apparently the speech wasn’t all that well received in Australia because of the context of the debate, but as a stand-alone speech dismantling her opponent, I take my hat off to her, regardless of her politics.
  • I came across this dialogue between a chemistry professor and his 3 year-old daughter.  Makes me feel better about not always understanding chemistry…
  • Oh my gosh, check out this video of lightning, filmed at 7,207 frames per second and then slowed down so that the 33 second video is actually about a tenth of a second of real time.  Anyway, I just think it’s totally awesome.  I may have watched it 5 times…
  • And finally, it’s been the ITU Triathlon World Championship Grand Final this weekend here in Auckland.  The women’s race was yesterday, and the men’s was today.  I shared the pool earlier with some triathletes who were warming up (great way to feel super unfit by the way – needless to say, I stayed well away from their lanes).  You know that dire weather that I mentioned?  Ya, I got caught in an utter deluge on my way home, which took me along part of the cycling route, so I took shelter under a convenient building awning and watched most of the cycling (didn’t help much with the whole feeling unfit thing…).  I’m obviously a total expert on the triathlon after London 2012, so it was pretty exciting to watch, as was the sprint finish between Brownlee and Gomez right at the end of the race (which I watched on TV).  I have no idea how they managed to bring out a sprint finish at the end of an exhausting race (Auckland is built on volcanoes, so there are plenty of steep hills all over the place – great fun to cycle/run up, obviously) in horrid weather conditions.  I can only conclude the triathletes are bonkers (in a good way).  Gomez won the actual race by 1 second, but Brownlee ended up winning the overall championship.  Go Team GB!  Here’s Jonny Brownlee leading the cycling pack in the pouring rain (the other Brownlee brother wasn’t competing):

What made you smile this week?

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Sunday Smiles: From highbrow to lowbrow

On Thursday I realised that it was exactly eight months since I landed in New Zealand.  Eight months?  Wow!  It’s funny because it feels rather longer than that, and yet I can’t believe that it’s already been eight months.  I also realised that I can’t do basic maths because I spent a good hour or two thinking I’d been here for ten months.  Ya… I forgot to subtract February’s two months from October’s ten months.  Ya, hmmm.  Clearly doing basic maths before coffee isn’t my thing.  Or perhaps the fact that it was bright and sunny and warm enough to take morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea outside without a cardigan (!) went to my head.

On to this week’s Sunday Smiles:

  • I’ve previously mentioned that I find space fascinating, so I was rather excited when I came across these photos of the fully powered-up flight deck of Space Shuttle Endeavour.  Oh my gosh, amazing.  Also, I clearly could never have been an astronaut – it looks way too complicated and I only just figured out how to get emoticons on my phone (I’ve had it for eight months, ahem).  And the seats don’t look too comfortable, either.  I hope space suits are padded.
  • I got an email last weekend from Lucy at The KitchenMaid saying that she’d had to re-draw her Equagold giveaway and that I had won!  Super exciting since I rarely win things.  Anyway, so the goodies arrived this week which was marvellous – now I just have to decide what to do make with them.  Too many options!

  • Somebody sent me a link to Cookie Monster’s Share It Maybe song (his version of Call Me Maybe or whatever that ridiculous song that makes no sense is called).  I do love Cookie Monster.
  • This dissection of a spam email really did make me laugh – we all receive them, and this really is a great way of laughing at it.
  • I love Downton Abbey, so this Downton Labbey comic made me chuckle when I saw it.  (Cartoon source)

  • One of my facebook friends linked to an intriguing-sounding blog called Introvert Fairy Tales.  It describes itself as ‘What “Happily Ever After” looks like when being alone isn’t a problem to be fixed‘ and it’s hilarious.  The posts are few and far between, but I find them really funny (no prizes for guessing that I’m more of an introvert than an extrovert).  My favourite one is about Ariel.
  • There have been Diwali celebrations in Aotea Square (central Auckland’s main big square thing) this weekend and they were setting up on Friday when I was passing through on my way home and there were flower garlands everywhere.  It was so colourful and beautiful, particularly in the sunshine.  I went along yesterday and had a nosy around some of the stalls and watched the concert for a little bit, but it was incredibly windy so I didn’t stay too long.  I could actually hear most of the concert from my flat, where there weren’t 80 km/h gusts.

  • Speaking of Diwali, I’m guessing the celebrations have just come to an end since we’ve just been treated to a massive firework display over Aotea Square, which I could just see by craning my head out of my window.  Grainy photographic evidence:

  • I’m a firm believer in treating oneself to birthday presents, and so for my birthday a month ago I offered myself a ticket to last night’s performance of the Imperial Russian Ballet Company’s Swan Lake, which is touring NZ at the moment.  Swan Lake is probably my favourite ballet because the music is just so expressive, and it was beautifully danced and the costumes were stunning.  I had a few music-related niggles (namely that the music was pre-recorded), but I won’t dwell on that.  I adore watching ballet, and this performance definitely had me enraptured throughout.
  • And finally, just in case you thought I was all highbrow, here’s some lowbrow…  This restaurant is near the pool that I go to, and the name never fails to make me chuckle.  Oh, you thought I was mature…?

What made you smile this week?

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Sunday Smiles: A truthful calendar & discovering an island

Uhm, somehow we’ve ended up in October.  Can time slow down a little please?  September seems to have whizzed by, and this week seems to have whizzed by, too.  Possibly because we seem to have spent most it eating cake.

My Sunday Smiles for this week are:

  • A new month means a new calendar page, and once again, my desk calendar speaks words of great wisdom: “Remember that everything looks better in the morning*  * except for your hair which, quite frankly, looks like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards”  The dragged-through-a-hedge-backwards look seems to be one of my particular specialities – how does it know?

  • All that cake that I mentioned?  It might be a little self-indulgent of me, but one of my highlights this week was the egg-free spiced date cake that thankfully worked wonderfully when I really though it had all the odds stacked against it.  Phew!
  • Ok, so, if you’re a regular reader, you may have figured out that I have a rather cheesy sense of humour…  No surprises then that this made me chuckle (cartoon source):

  • It was James Bond Day on Friday, marking 50 years since the release of Dr. No.  The theme song for Skyfall was released, and I don’t know what reviews it has had, but I really like it.  It reminds me of the old school Bond songs.  Have you listened to it?  What did you think?
  • Feeling a little down and want something to make you smile?  These photos of “happy” stingrays will sort you out – I stumbled across them this week and I couldn’t help but crack a smile at them.  (PS – Happy stingrays are a total anthropomorphism, but we’ll just ignore that for now.)
  • We took a day trip to Waiheke Island yesterday which was marvellous fun – discovering a beautiful island 40 mins from central Auckland by ferry is a fabulous way to spend the day.  Particularly when it’s full of vineyards…  Ahem.  The weather was rather blustery (didn’t help the messy hair situation) and couldn’t make up its mind between sunny and overcast, but it didn’t rain so it’s all good.  And the weather doesn’t particularly matter when you’re indoors for wine-tastings…  I can’t wait to go back and explore more wineries of the island – I’m not remotely surprised that people go visit it and then just end up setting up there.

  • And finally, on our way back from Waiheke we were treated to this dramatic view of Harbour Bridge.  I really like it (not so much the associated weather though…).

What made you smile this week?

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Sunday Smiles: Marine biology geek-outs & knockwurst

New Zealand went into summer time today, which means the clocks went forward through the night.  I’m super excited about being one step closer to summer, but mildly unimpressed at losing an hour of sleep.  You win some, you lose some.  And waking up to bright sunshine definitely helped, particularly since a couple of days ago, the forecast for this weekend was solid rain.

So on to this week’s Sunday Smiles:

  • First off, this photo of the Space Shuttle Endeavour flying over San Francisco’s Bay Bridge is rather amazing.  I was totally into space and astronauts when I was little, and I still find the Space Shuttle awe-inspiring.  Even if it’s attached to a 747 (or whatever kind of plane that is).
  • The Great Barrier Reef has been put on Google Street View.  I’d heard that this was going to happen, but thought it was currently still being photographed.  Clearly I’m just behind in my news…  Anyway, it’s amazing, fabulous for procrastination and we totally had a marine biology geek-out the other day in the lab.  We’re super cool like that.
  • Clearly it’s marine biology geek-out week, although if you’re a little squeamish, you might not be too keen on this one.  The technicians have some starfish in tanks at the moment (possibly for a lab, but I’m not sure) and on Friday they were consuming some little crabs that were in the same tank.  I’m not sure if they were supposed to do that or not, but regardless, it’s rather awesome.  Because the starfish are attached to the clear sides of the tank, you can see the trapped crabs, and, totally exciting, the starfish’s stomachs.  Quick biology lesson: many starfish species digest their prey outside their body by everting their stomachs.  It’s kind of utterly amazing.  And also pretty slow I think.  I’m rather intrigued to see what state these crabs will be in tomorrow (there’s actually a tiny little crab to the right of the larger one, but it’s difficult to see in the photo):

  • Check out these amazing light paintings set around Los Angeles.  I really like the dinosaur ones (because dinosaurs!), but the one of the campers is so clever.  People are so skilled!  I can hardly draw on paper, never mind with light in a photograph.  Just wow.
  • I’m not the greatest fan of London’s Underground (give me Paris’ metro any day – oooo controversial), but these guerrilla Underground signs make me want to take it just to see if I can spot one.  They amused me.
  • And finally, it appears that OPI have brought out a Germany collection of nail varnishes (I’ve no idea why).  It’s not clear whether a miniature painting of the Fallen Madonna With The Big Boobies comes hidden in the bottle of My Very First Knockwurst or not.*  (If you’ve landed on this page after some strange search and haven’t found what you’re actually looking for then I do apologise.)

What made you smile this week?

*If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, you should watch ‘Allo ‘Allo (British sense of humour highly recommended…).

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Sunday Smiles: A last Olympic huzzah!

I spent most of this week rather wiped out from the tummy bug that ambushed me last weekend – an entire day of vomiting and not eating much for two days really does floor you.  I didn’t have enough energy (nor the desire) to cook something more complicated than plain pasta until Tuesday evening, and even then my energy only extended as far as chopping up some kumara and roasting it in the oven… and then adding it to pasta.  Being ill is miserable.  And if I barely had the energy to cook, I certainly didn’t have enough energy to bake.  No baking for an entire week.  Sad times.  Luckily, in an unusual fit of organisation, I had this week’s blog posts prepared, and there were quite a few things that brightened up the week.

Here are my Sunday Smiles for this week:

  • The third season of Downton Abbey has started!  Huzzah!  Yes, it’s rather ridiculous, and yes, some of the plot points are dubious, but it’s utterly addictive and I’m hooked.  I won’t give anything away in case you haven’t watched it, but it looks like Season Three is shaping up to be just as addictive as its predecessors.
  • I’ve heard whispers that strawberries are very nearly in season here…  I’m beyond excited.  I adore strawberries.
  • New Zealand offered the perfect antidote to any Olympics and Paralympics withdrawal symptoms this week with the Gold medal ceremony for Valerie Adams (women’s shot put).  The original winner from Belarus was caught doping, so Valerie Adams, who also won Gold in Beijing, was upgraded from Silver medallist to Gold medallist.  After some delays with getting the Gold medal back (apparently) and further delays whilst Valerie Adams was participating in other competitions, an official medal presentation ceremony was finally held on Wednesday evening here in Auckland.  The Sky Tower was lit in gold for the occasion.

  • But that’s not all.  This was the first ever Olympic Gold medal ceremony to be held on NZ soil, so the Kiwis went all out and ended it with seven minutes of fireworks simultaneously in Auckland and Wellington.  Can you imagine if NZ actually hosted the Olympics?!  It would be amazing.  Not to mention hilarious – my favourite part of the ceremony, which I must admit resembled more of a school prize-giving than the very official London Olympic ceremonies, was the part where the “MC” thanks Auckland’s mayor for having an easier to pronounce name than the Tongan royals present.  I kid you not.  You can watch the ceremony here in case you missed it or just want to listen to Kiwi accents (there are several speeches at the start, so the actual medal presentation part starts around 31:30, and the Auckland fireworks at around 45:00).  I bundled up warm and went down to the Waterfront to watch the fireworks, which were beautiful.

  • On a more sobering note, I heard about Operation Sugar this week, which aims to provide birthday cakes (baked by volunteer bakers) for critically ill children in NZ.  I think this is a fantastic idea, although from what I understand (I need to read the information email properly) cakes need to be able to feed 40 people which might be a little past my abilities, so I’m not sure whether I can really commit yet.  But I absolutely do want to spread the word!!!  So if you’re a baker in NZ and you’re interested, head over to their facebook page for more information.
  • The iPhone 5 and the new iOS release seem to have been the big tech news this week.  I haven’t upgraded to iOS 6 yet (I was going to but then got distracted and forgot about it), but from what I’ve heard the new Apple Maps app is dreadful.  There’s a whole tumblr dedicated to it (of course): The Amazing iOS 6 Maps.  Whilst very amusing, I’m not sure how keen I am to update because I use the Google Maps app a lot.
  • You may have noticed that I have a slight Instagram addiction…  If you also share my over-enthusiasm for Instagram, you might appreciate the Instagram song which Craig sent me this week.
  • And finally, this meme made me laugh about 56 times more than it should have…  Don’t judge my sense of humour.  Thank you Emma for brightening up my week no end – alpaca lunch next time we go for a picnic.  In the meantime, I think I’ll be printing this out on Monday and pinning it next to my desk.  (Not sure of the original source)

What made you smile this week?

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Sunday Smiles: Flowers, fossils & toast

It’s been a bit of a dull week.  A plodding week, to be honest – not a great deal happened, with the exception of my birthday, and then I was really ill with a tummy bug this weekend that came out of nowhere.  So all in all, fairly uneventful.

Here are my (rather brief) Sunday Smiles for this week:

  • The Paralympics ended last Sunday.  I actually thought that we had a whole other week of them and they were ending today, but nope.  Gutted.  I loved the Closing Ceremony though – and dare I say it, enjoyed it rather better than that of the Olympics.  I mean sure, it was basically a Coldplay concert, but since I happen to quite like Coldplay, that was fine by me.  And there was a lot of fire, which is obviously awesome.  If you missed it, you can watch it here.  I’m rather upset that all this procrastination potential sport is over though.  And we’ve four years to wait for Rio…
  • There are some lovely tulips right by my uni building that I get to see every day.  I love tulips, they’re so bright and colourful.  I really hope that spring hurries up now.

  • Somebody searched “no talking to me until I’ve had my coffee” and landed on my blog.  I don’t know who you are, and I don’t know whether you found what you were looking for (probably not), but I know how you feel.  Thank you for that moment of amusement.
  • Did you know that Google makes you a special birthday Google Doodle if it knows it’s your birthday?  Slightly freaky (Google is watching you…) but kind of amazing, too.  And I’d rather they made me personal Doodles than sell my information.

  • I saw this interesting little news piece about fossils in London, specifically the stones and marble slabs of London.  It’s something I’d never really thought about, and the next time I see some marble I might have a closer look.
  • And finally, something a little silly.  I came across this little toaster USB hub, complete with toast-shaped USB keys.  I admit that it’s totally impractical – I’d lose the USB keys within about ten seconds since they don’t seem to attach to anything (like a keyring).  But adorable nonetheless.  (Image source)

  • Ok, that wasn’t quite the end – let’s finish off with some more pretty spring-like flowers.  I really can’t wait for this winter to be over.

What made you smile this week?

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Sunday Smiles: And stuff like that

I got all excited last week about spring finally getting here and all, but apparently the weather had other ideas.  Despite managing to eat lunch out in the courtyard twice this week (but solely because it’s sheltered from the cold wind and it happened not to be raining on those days) the weather has been very changeable and the weather this weekend has been positively autumnal – rainy and awfully blustery.  And not excessively warm either.  Brrrrr.  Thankfully I’ve got a batch of apple spiced camomile and honey cupcakes in the oven smelling fabulous and warming the apartment as I type (and if they taste as good as they smell, they’ll be showing up in a blog post soon).

Here are my (not particularly concise) Sunday Smiles for this week:

  • Firstly, I finally finished watching the Paralympics Opening Ceremony.  I loved it.  I’m always going to be enthusiastic about something that features so much science.  The Large Hadron Collider was even mentioned, and involving Stephen Hawking was a stroke of genius.  Sir Ian McKellen as Prospero was also fantastic (though that’s hardly a surprise) and I loved that he was involved right the way through and even partook in some awkward dancing at the end.  And of course Boris Johnson seemed to be having the time of his life, no matter how bored some of the other dignitaries looked.  I’ve also been watching some of the Paralympics, but not as much as I’d like since I’ve been buys and it’s not on a continual loop on mainstream TV.  But at least most of it is available online for free on the Paralympics channel (the Olympics should take a lesson from that) so I’ve been able to choose what I watch.  Although bizarrely, the live stream isn’t available in NZ, which isn’t too much of an issue since the time zones are inconvenient anyway.
  • The only good thing about this week’s ridiculously changeable weather (I don’t know how many times I’ve simultaneously required sunglasses and an umbrella) is that we’ve been treated to plenty of rainbows.  I spotted this double rainbow over the university as I made way home the other day.  I love rainbows.  They never fail to make me smile.

  • At the same time as the rainbows above, this was the view in the opposite direction.  Sunshine behind the Sky Tower, but pouring rain in front of it.  I really like this photo (even if it meant that I was getting rained on):

  • I came across these completely amazing hand paintings the other day.  I’m always in awe of anybody with artistic talent.  And maybe a tiny little bit jealous, too.
  • I discovered Pyrenées, a French deli, last weekend, which sold some of my favourite cheeses.  Cheeses that I haven’t had since I moved to NZ seven months ago, which is a big deal for me since I am a total cheese fiend…  So I obviously couldn’t leave without buying any, despite the rather astronomical price.  I’m considering them an early birthday present to myself in order to ignore that.  I’ve been happily nibbling way way through some morbier, comté, brie de Meaux and munster this week.

  • Somebody has finally solved the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster.  Manatees, of course!  (Yes, yes, I know, manatees in Scotland, and in a freshwater loch to boot…  It’s still funny though.)  All those tourists will be gutted, I’m sure.  (Cartoon source)

  • And finally, Flight of the Conchords have written a NZ charity single for sick children which was released about two weeks ago (I think it’s part of the Red Nose Day for Cure Kids fundraising).  Now I’ve heard it several times on the radio and been a little confused because it doesn’t really make any sense.  It contains lyrics such as “kids need us to come together, we can make them better [so far so good], we can get them some feta [huh?]” and “John stop blowing all the money on couches,” there are made up words (“lospital” and “mospital” – to rhyme with hospital) and it’s called Feel Inside (and stuff like that) which also happens to be the chorus.  (Actually, the first time I heard it, I thought they were singing “feeling sad (and stuff like that)” which would have made marginally more sense.)  So I decided to look the song up on YouTube out of procrastination as you do.  And it turns out that there’s a whole sketch that goes with the song.  And once you’ve watched it, the song makes complete sense, because Bret and Germaine visited a school and the lyrics are actually based on what the kids said.  The sketch includes the interviews with the children (they start at 5:07) and ends with the song (sung by plenty of famous Kiwi artists, but I don’t know who any of them are, aside from Bret and Germaine).  It’s 15 minutes that will brighten up your day, I promise.

What made you smile this week?

PS – Look what I accidentally broke whilst being removed from its mould…  Woops.  It went down as “quality control” (gutted, ahem) – scrumptious!

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Sunday Smiles: Spring is on its way!

Huh?  It’s September?  Already?!  Are you sure?  Yes, it really is September.  Normally at the beginning of September I’d be looking forward to the leaves turning pretty colours (which is pretty much the only part of autumn that I like) and very much not looking forward to the days getting shorter and weather getting colder and worse.  But this year, September means that spring is on its way and after the snowdrops in early August, flowers are starting to show their faces in the parks and the days are getting longer.  Yay!

Here are my very spring-oriented Sunday Smiles for this week:

  • I was totally surprised to discover that there are magnolias here, and they’ve been in full bloom the past couple of weeks.  I love magnolias, they remind me of Louisiana (which unfortunately got rather battered by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isaac this week – my heart goes out to you, Louisiana) and also of our house in Norway which somewhat bizarrely had a stunning magnolia tree in the garden.  I particularly love the colour of these ones in Albert Park.

  • The daffodils are also showing their sunny yellow faces, and it’s difficult not to smile whenever one sees them!

  • My favourite bit of spring though, is baby animals.  Specifically lambs.  We went to One Tree Hill and Cornwall Park this weekend which includes a farm and it has lambs.  Lambs!!!  Oh my gosh, so cute!!!  I only just managed to resist the urge to take one home with me.

  • It’s difficult to move on from such adorable lambs, but in non-spring related news, the Paralympics have started!  I haven’t quite finished watching the Opening Ceremony (but I’ve enjoyed it so far) and haven’t watched any of the events yet since I’ve been busy this weekend, but I’m totally excited about procrastinating catching up.  And discovering new sports to get distracted by watch.
  • Viviane from At Down Under posted these stunning photos of Budapest this week.  I’ve never been to Budapest, but it looks beautiful and these photos make me want to visit.  A little impractical from New Zealand though, so that’ll have to wait!
  • One of my best friends sent me this cute little shark cartoon, which made me laugh.  Poor white sharks, so much pressure.  (Cartoon source)

  • Sticking to the shark theme, another of my good friends sent me a link to this Jaws-themed nail art.  I find nail art a little odd – how do people have time to create such masterpieces?  And how do they stop it from chipping??? – but these are seriously impressive (I love the swimmer).  And I’m pretty sure the shark nail could be used as a mini weapon.

  • And finally – a little bit of self-indulgence here (sorry!) – I was Freshly Pressed yesterday!  Ironically, I hesitated to publish the post as I thought it might just be a bit silly to talk about the sound of gas cookers.  Looks like I was wrong (or that people enjoy silly posts about gas cookers…) and waking up to that made for a rather smashing start to the weekend!

What made you smile this week?

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