Tag Archives: Frogs

Sunday Smiles: It’s back!

Sunday SmilesSunday Smiles has somewhat fallen off the radar.  And by that I mean it has plummeted into the abyss of disorganisation and stayed there for the past two months.  Woops.  The original premise of Sunday Smiles was to give me a way to focus on the positives of the week – things that made me smile or laugh or that were simply just pretty – and aside from being disorganised, I guess I haven’t needed that so much over the last few months because I’m enjoying life in Leigh so much.  But I think it’s time to bring Sunday Smiles back,* which obviously has nothing to do with the afforded opportunity to procrastinate from writing my thesis and everything to do with all the sunrise, sunset and sea view photos that I keep posting to Instagram…

So, time to kick off another edition of Sunday Smiles:

  • You know those sunrise photos that I mentioned?  Well.  I’ve yet to get bored of the sunrises here and I’ve yet to cure my Instagram addiction…  So here’s Wednesday’s sunrise – I just can’t get over the colours:

How ridiculous are those colours?

  • One of my housemates and I have been going for walks around the Leigh area most evenings, resulting in some superb views (generally of the sea…) around sunset.  It’s difficult not to feel happy and calm here (I’ve been informed that I’ll revise my opinion in winter – we’ll see).

Super calm (it's not always like that…)

  • Ok, enough of how lucky I am at the moment, let’s move on to the cutest frog ever.  Seriously.  Since the desert rain frog (Breviceps macrops) sounds rather like a squeaky dog toy, it may also be the most ridiculous frog ever.
  • Speaking of cute, how utterly adorable is this little harbour seal pup (Phoca vitulina) on a mission?  That is one determined seal pup.  I totally want to try this next time I have a spare surfboard and GoPro camera lying around (so probably never).
  • A couple of my housemates and I went up to Waipu for St Patrick’s and on our way back we discovered a Dutch delicatessen in more or less the middle of nowhere (Kaiwaka to be precise).  The deli (which also sells delicious cheese by the way) sold Chocomel and my favourite hagelslag ever: chocolade vlokken.  I couldn’t contain my excitement and just had to buy some, resulting in quite possibly the best breakfast I’ve ever had, largely because, on the complete opposite side of the world from The Netherlands, it was so utterly unexpected.  Lekker!!  (PS – Chocolate sprinkles on toast is a legit breakfast.  Stop judging me.)

Mmmmmm lekker!!!

  • On a more cultured note, you may have read that Rembrandt’s The Night Watch has returned to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.  But have you seen the flashmob recreation of the painting to celebrate the fact that it’s a bit of a big deal?  Isn’t that an amazing idea?
  • And finally, we wouldn’t want things to get too high-brow around here, so we’ll finish off with this excellent take on a motivational poster, which came to me courtesy of Craig (source):

218 - Inspiration

So on that inspirational note, what made you smile this week?

*Even though this is actually going up on Monday, thanks to our Internet completely conking out last night…  Living in rural NZ does have the occasional downside.

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Cocorico, c’est le 14 juillet!

Today, le 14 juillet, is French national day (hurrah!), which I believe is referred to as “Bastille Day” in English.  This is obviously a day of national celebration, which means that large amounts of delicious food are involved, followed by fireworks where possible.  I had originally been planning to bake tricolore cakes or madeleines or something for today in celebration, but sadly one of my French great-aunts died on Tuesday and the funeral is tomorrow morning, so as this post publishes itself (I do like the scheduling feature in WordPress – awfully convenient) I should be located at an altitude of around 10,000m en route to France.  In a plane, might I add.  Which isn’t exactly the ideal place to go about baking cakes.

I was working in St Andrews over the summer last year, so to celebrate the 14 juillet (yes, I’m going to stubbornly write that in French throughout this post) I threw a small dinner party for the people I knew who still happened to be in St Andrews (with lots of help from Kat – thanks again Kat!!!).  Although only two of us were actually French, everybody else was a francophile and appreciative of good food, and I think I can say that we all had a great evening.  I hung up the string of French flags that I happened to be storing for French Society (I was President of the society, I didn’t just steal them, don’t worry), decorated the table with blue, white and red candles in little dishes, and set out blue, white and red napkins at each place.  Ok, so I was a little over-enthusiastic with the whole tricolore thing, but it was French national day, so whatever.  My back-up plan for today had been to share the recipe for the spiced lamb and chickpea stew that I’d made, but since this was pre-blog and therefore before I took 56 million photos of everything that I cook, it turns out that I unfortunately don’t have any photos of the stew.  In fact, the only photo that I seem to have is of one of the clips that I used to hold the three coloured napkins together on each plate.  I totally don’t play up to stereotypes whatsoever:

Afterwards, little frog clips mysteriously appeared in random places throughout the flat, and they were added to over the course of the summer.  I left them up as an amusing reminder of a delightful and relaxed summer evening (although anybody who came round and hadn’t been at the dinner party must have been somewhat confused by the profusion of tiny frog clips dotted around for no apparent reason).

So to conclude this slightly pointless ramble of a blog post, whether you are French or not, I hope you have a lovely 14 juillet, filled with lots of delicious food and pretty fireworks!!  (Although be careful with the fireworks bit if you’re doing them yourself.  Actually, I don’t even know if it’s legal to let off fireworks from one’s back garden in the UK.  Maybe.  Maybe not.)

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