Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Under Fire...

I went to the movies last night and saw one of the best ads I've seen in a long time.

A sensitive subject well-handled (pardon the pun) I thought.

Hope this lit up your day and kindled a little Tuesday chortle.

ps...okay the fire puns are finished now...normal service is resumed.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

On Bored Shopping...

Over the past year I have broadened my travel horizons to include several domestic flights in the USA and thus have discovered the delights of SkyMall. SkyMall is a quarterly magazine that can be found in the seat pockets on the majority of US domestic flights and allows passengers to shop online for a wide variety of items.

Having spent some time in airline retail during my career, I decided to have a flick through to see how things worked on the other side of the pond. Not for American passengers the high notes of the latest fragrances, the glittering array of designer watches and jewellery and the select range of premium travel accessories that I am used to considering in flight. No, you can buy a whole lot of other stuff on SkyMall

Where do I start?  

There's furniture, lots of furniture - lamps, shelves, couches, tables, collapsible beds, bedroom suites and even a bidet sprayer for your bathroom (although I am not sure that this qualifies so much as furniture). 

There are various brands of shape wear to help you hold your 'bits' in a more preferred position. There are items designed to remedy everything from bad breath and skin tags to plantar fasciitis and sleep apnea. And there's even a whole swag of stuff for your pets - 291 items in fact.

I had a bit of time on my hands while they were de-icing the various planes I sat on a few weeks back so I got to know this chaotic catalogue quite well and thought I'd share a few of my favourites with you.

Mounted Squirrel Head - $24.95.
Yes I know. It's a rather random choice to begin with. But it did remind me of all of us sitting around waiting, waiting, waiting for flights to arrive and depart. There were a few faces in the boarding queues that looked a lot like this.

Write On Travel Map - $149.95

I love this. It combines my two of my great passions - scribbling and dreaming. Dreaming about where I might like to go next in the world and scribbling stuff down so I don't forget that I thought about it in the first place. However it does seem that the little people of this world may be consigned to exploring the Southern hemisphere only.

Talking Dog Collar - $29.95

You record a message on the dog collar and activate it remotely - and you can change the message as often as you like. A day at the park suddenly took on a whole new lustre and I had a little chortle at the prospect of unsettling passers-by with a little pooch chatter, a bit like the old Candid Camera shows. I could see myself enjoying this for hours and hours...if I had a dog.

Hawaiian JellysTM - $39.95

There were a few offerings throughout the catalogue that claimed to ease a range of foot ailments (a particular bug bear of mine) but the range of Hawaiian JellysTM got my vote for sheer inventiveness. You could start with the tropical - Papaya, Mango, Lychee, Dragon Fruit or Coconut - branch out into a little Mysore Raspberry or Chuo Ume Plum or even scale new heights with Kilauea Volcano or Aouli Sky. America, land of the free and home of the endless choice.

40" Foldable Photo Studio - $199.95

We actually have something similar in the office and it saves a whole lot of bother when it comes to getting product shots done. Might be a little more difficult to do head shots though.

Speaking of head shots I just had to show you this one.

The Zombie of Montclaire Moors - $99.95
Why? Just why would anyone buy this?

Or this for that matter.

SPAM Costume - $70.76

(Although after a few more hours sitting on planes I may have done just about anything to relieve the boredom!)

And last but not least there was a myriad of t-shirts on offer - these were just a few that made me laugh out loud.

(Seattle-A please note the pink box top right, my new mantra for life.)

So this is how I spend my time travelling...marvelling at the weird and wonderful and generally just keeping myself amused. 

After all, there's only so much 'cultural exploration' a girl can take.

Image Source: all images are taken directly from the SkyMall.com website.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Commuting Gems...Private Eyes

I have been travelling again this week and with today being first day back in the office, I felt too tired to do my regular walk back up to Charing Cross station, choosing instead to duck into Westminster tube and change at Monument station for the right coloured line to get me home.

Day-dreaming about the event free weekend ahead of me, I wandered onto the platform at Bank station - it's connected with the aforesaid Monument station via a short walk underground - and stood in my regular place, the one that means I get off at the right spot on my destination platform for an expeditious exit ahead of the hordes.

Checking the overhead screen to my left, I was pleased to note I had only two minutes to wait so I turned back to face patiently forward (boy I am getting 'British!') and found myself rewarded with a couple of commuting gems...

Commuting just got a whole lot more interesting. 

Shame I don't subscribe to Sky really...

Friday, 14 February 2014

Yellow Peril...

In my last post I mentioned that I'd been travelling in the USA and one of the rare delights of hanging about (for hours!) in airport terminals is browsing through the local portfolio of magazines. The New Yorker is a bit of a fave so that's found its way into my reading pile again. But I've uncovered a new candidate for my affections - Mental Floss - and having recently discovered their witty snippets on twitter (@mental_floss), I was delighted to find the magazine on the newsstand and spent part of my time Seattle-bound, devouring its pages.

Anyway this leads to the point of this post - flowers. In particular, yellow flowers. And not because it's Valentine's Day. 

(I'm a bit bah-humbug about Valentine's Day and would much prefer to receive protestations of love all year 'round.)

No, it's because I have just purchased my first daffodils of 2014.

This is a bunch from a prior year as mine haven't bloomed yet. However I expect to get up tomorrow morning and seeing bright bobbing blossoms emerging from their green buds.


I do find such happiness in a simple (and inexpensive) bunch of cheerful daffs.

But according to Mental Floss, when it comes to a splash of golden colour, it's not always sunshine and roses daffodils. In fact it could be downright perilous.

In Japan, a bunch of yellow flowers means 'I'm jealous' so green with envy seems not to apply in the land of the rising sun. In Peru, it's a declaration of hatred while in Russia, the message is 'let's break up', not exactly what you'd want to receive at any time of the year let alone on the 14th of February. 

But yellow flowers need not always be a declaration of your lack of affection. According to Mental Floss, if you are in Mexico, scattering marigolds over someone's grave means 'come back to Earth and visit me'...

Marigolds decorate this grave to encourage the soul to rise again
So on this St Valentine's Day, if you've planned to say it with flowers, choosing yellow may not be the floral tribute your heart's desire is looking for.

However, my source informs me that daffodils mean rebirth and new beginnings, regard and chivalry and 'you're the only one'.

So if I'm your 'one' - or even one of a special 'few' - you can feel free to send me some of these golden yellow trumpets any time of the year.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

A Town Called Snohomish...

I have been travelling this week and with work taking me to the US of A for a few days of meetings, I decided to add a few days more and pay a visit to Team-M in Seattle

It's been eight months since I last saw Seattle-A and all of her boys and while I turned up ready for an intensive cuddle top up, as far as the little dudes went, well young memories are not so long it seems and it's taken few hours before screaming and suspicious looks were replaced by a cuddle (O) and cheeky grin or two (R).

Today was crisp, cold and clear so we bundled everyone into the car and headed off to the small historic township of Snohomish. Yes, it is a real town, founded in the mid-1800s with a population of less than 10,000 people (2010 census). 

Anyway I felt the afternoon was already looking promising when we crossed paths with this Waffle Wagon on the way there...

...so as soon as we arrived it was off to the Snohomish Bakery for a spot of lunch.

We then meandered down the main street, lined with antique shops and stores exhorting passersby to 'buy local'. The flat-fronted buildings really gave it an old frontier town feel and I particularly liked these two.

A short stroll off the Main Street gave us a different perspective on the town, surrounded as it was by stark and beautifully pristine scenery...

...while this totem by the water presumably gave a nod to the local Native American tribe, sdoh-doh-hohsh, for whom the township was named.

And just as we were heading back to the car, we came across the Snohomish Pie Company. It would have been rude not to pop in, so we did emerging five minutes later with a bag of goodly vittels and some words of wisdom...

...and yes, yes it did. That chocolate pecan pie did indeed fix everything (including fixing a few more lifetimes on my hips!)

So that folks was my afternoon in Snohomish. Now, back to Operation Cuddles...

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Sour Grapes...

It's the 1st of February. Where did January go for heavens sake? It's only just begun and the year is already whizzing by.

As promised, with the heralding of the new month comes the next installment of the 2014 Calendar Challenge and February's funny finds inspiration in the language of our childhood...

Image Source: Simon Drew's Famous Phrases Calendar 2014
Now come on admit it. Your pre-school world was full of moo-cows and baa-lambs wasn't it...

Anyway the sketch of these woolly warmers gassing over a vino or two reminds me that today is National Pisco Sour Day.

I know. Who knew?

Pisco is a powerful grape brandy created by both the Peruvians and the Chileans and forms the basis of the potent Pisco Sour cocktail. Each nation has a slightly different recipe but Peru pay homage to their national tipple on the first Saturday in February - today. And if you are in London, the kind folk at Londonist have published a list where you can sample the best/most authentic manifestations of this South American delight - just click here. If not, you'll have to google your own list.

I first discovered the joys of pisco during a girls night out at the then newly opened Ceviche Peruvian Bar and Kitchen in London about 18 months ago but rather than sour grapes, it was passion that I found at the bar. Or rather Pasion de Ceviche: A delicious blend of ginger-infused pisco, passionfruit juice, prickly pear liqueur and honey that was so smooth and delicious I had four that night, firstly transferring from an early allegiance to Toro Mata (a cocktail combo of coffee, pisco and sugar syrup) and then duly convincing my three cocktail-ing compatriots to join me.

Unsurprisingly sour grapes were in short supply at our table that night.

Note to self: Must go back. Soon.

In other alcoholic news, just yesterday Lil Chicky posted this on Facebook...

 Buy this at http://www.flaschengeist.com.au/

It's chocolate port...in a glass shoe-boot. 

*Excited squealing*

What's a girl to do? It's just leading this 'sweet' Aussie lamb to alcoholic slaughter.

Baaa-mmer hey...