Why hello there. Welcome to Sunday Smiles… On Monday. Evidently I am doing marvellously at the whole being organised thing. The (mostly) lovely weather and the sea are just too tempting. I mentioned last week that I only had accommodation until Friday, and I’m sure you were all terribly worried for me, but you’ll be glad to know that that’s sorted (phew) and I’ve moved into a student house which is great, but my blogging time has consequently been even further reduced. I’ll get myself organised eventually.
Anyway, it’s still Sunday somewhere, so let’s jump into
this last week’s Sunday Smiles:
- By far the most exciting thing to happen this week is that I saw a New Zealand eagle ray (Myliobatis tenuicaudatus) in the wild for the first time ever. That’s my study species and I’ve been watching them in tanks for the past seven months or so, but it was super exciting to see one in the wild! Sadly I didn’t have a camera with me so couldn’t get any photos to share with you guys.
- Sunday Smiles is pretty good evidence that I’m a bit of an Instagram addict, so when I came across a Nickelback parody by College Humour, Look at this Instagram, it made me laugh. Mostly because it’s largely true. (Also it contains some swearing.)
- I’ve been looking for a wine stopper for ages and completely randomly came across this totally amazing shark wine stopper. Is it not totally amazing? If anybody is looking to get me a present… *Unsubtle hint*
- I’ve previously mentioned that I’m a bit of a stickler for grammar, and although a lot vs. alot isn’t my personal pet hate, this post made me giggle – not only the point of it, but the style in which it is written and the accompanying cartoons. I actually came across it a while ago, but happened across the link again this week, and thought I’d share…
- So you know the shark wine stopper above? Well, I thought I’d have a look at whether there was anything similar going on Etsy. There wasn’t, but I did come across this baby shark bath robe – why doesn’t it come in an adult size?! (Hint hint you crafty Etsy people…)
- The finding of horse meat in some burgers in the UK and Ireland prompted a bit of a media storm this week. And as with any big story, there were some rather humorous reactions on Twitter – here’s a round-up of the best horse burger jokes.
- Between the wild eagle rays and shark-themed things, today’s Sunday Smiles is turning into a bit of an elasmobranch edition, so I’ll just keep running with the theme. One of my friends regularly sends me links to shark cartoons, and her latest offering amused me greatly since this particular friend and I frequently have some similar not-so-bright moments. (Cartoon source)
- And finally, in case you’re still having a bad day, my friend Emma sent me an instant cheer up: 19 people having a worse day than you. I feel the Lindsay Lohan dig at the bottom is a bit harsh, but the other ones all amused me (bad person, etc.).
Enjoy the rest of your day, wherever you are in the world!
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?
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.
- 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?
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?
Fun fact: Dr. No was released 50 years ago today. That means that the James Bond film franchise is half a century old (holy shmoley). That also means that today is James Bond Day. How awesome is that? (Correct answer: something along the lines of oh-my-gosh-so-awesome.)
I had intended to make James Bond-themed cupcakes for today. In fact, I had a truly smashing idea for Bond-themed baked goods but had to put it aside because as much as I’d love to, I can’t really take an entire day off just to bake. Even if it is for something as fabulous as James Bond Day. In the end though, I didn’t even have time to make the cupcakes. Gutted. They’ll have to wait until the release of Skyfall, which apparently won’t be released in New Zealand until the 22nd of November. Excuse me, what? We have to wait a whole month after its release in the UK?!?! Not on, chaps, not on.
So, no James Bond cupcakes today, but I’ll leave you with this utterly appropriate “James Pond” cartoon from one of my favourite websites, Shaaark! James Bond and sharks. Clearly a fantastic combination – what more can one ask for?
Have a marvellous James
Pond Bond Day, wherever you are in the world!
PS – I wanted to pepper this with awkward Bond quotes, but there were just too many to choose from. I struggle to even pick a single favourite. Do you have a favourite Bond quote?
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!
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?