Tag Archives: Roses

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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Introducing a new blog feature: Sunday Smiles

I have a confession (and it’s a bit of a heavy one).  I’ve been feeling a bit miserable lately.  And by lately I really mean a few months…or even the past year.  I’m thoroughly fed up of always feeling down, but I can’t seem to shift it.  Of course it fades when I’m out having fun, doing things I love, like visiting the zoo, or watching the All Blacks, but it’s only temporary and I know that the feeling will be back the next day, which is frustrating.  I’ve tried not to make it noticeable in my blog posts, but I’m not sure how well I’ve succeeded.  Anyway, in a vague attempt to improve things, I’ve come up with a new blog feature: Sunday Smiles.

It’s a simple and straightforward idea – basically I’ll list some of the things that have made me smile over the past week, whether they’re new discoveries, things I’ve read, or just pretty things I’ve seen.  I guess it’s similar to the “Friday Favourites” lists that I’ve seen on a few blogs (but since I tend to post a recipe on Fridays, that doesn’t really work for me).  The point is basically to focus on good things, happy things.  Oh, and I’ll post it every Sunday.  See?  Simple!  Do let me know what you think – good idea or not really that interesting and rather self-indulgent?

So for this week, my Sunday Smiles are:

  • Google released Street View for Antarctica on Wednesday.  This is totally utterly amazing and full of totally educational procrastination potential…  I love that you can see inside some of the research stations.  And the penguin colonies, of course.  Antarctica fascinates me and I would absolutely love to go there, but only ever as a scientist, since I firmly believe that no tourism should be allowed in Antarctica whatsoever.  The only flaw in this plan is that there aren’t any elasmobranchs in Antarctica (that we know of).  So I’m not sure how I’d ever wrangle that one…
  • I picked up these roses at the farmers’ market that I went to last weekend.  I love roses (as corny and cliché as that may be), and I really loved the dusky and faded “old rose” look of these ones.  I nearly always have flowers or plants in the flat because I find that they really brighten things up, but I’m not very good at keeping them alive…

  • One of my highlights of the week remains my Kiwi labmates’ reaction to the kumara and chocolate cookies that I made the other day – I’m still not over their genuine surprise and excitement at the concept of using kumara (sweet potato) in cookies
  • I made macarons for the first time since moving to New Zealand yesterday, and thus the first time with my oven here – and they worked!  Ok, so the feet could have been a little more developed, but I’m still happy with them.  I only had time to make the shells yesterday and will be making the ganache filling later today, but feel free to guess the flavour based on the shells…  They’re a little more purple in real life.  Clue: they’re alcohol-based.  Ok, that wasn’t much of a clue since nearly all the macarons that I make are alcohol-based.  Better clue: the alcohols involved will be covering my entries to both this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge (ingredient: black currant) and AlphaBakes (letter: W).  Can you guess?  All will be revealed in Tuesday’s blog post…

What made you smile this week?

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