everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

Treats from Ireland

I wrote last week that some friends from Ireland were visiting Australia for the Lions tour, spending this past week here in amazingly sunny Sydney. I haven’t yet processed my feelings about the match on Saturday night, where I was the lone little Wallabies supporter in a block of hundreds and hundreds of Lions fans, but I’ll try to write about it another day.

Anyways, my lovely friend Gavan brought me out a bag of treats from Ireland as an international gesture of goodwill. I’m not sure who started this crazy contest – I have been known to send over hideous Austrayan goodies (mostly to remove them from our shops) from time to time – but this bag o’ crap from Dublin’s finest tourist store has really raised the bar. In fact, it has inspired me to put together a Diddly Dee Oirish showbag for next year’s Easter Show in Sydney. It will go off like a leprechaun in a pot of gold, so it will.

Here are some pics of my gifts – do let me know if you would like to borrow anything…

The bag. Off to a very good start.

The bag. Off to a very good start.

Complete with a tin whistle playing leprechaun, if you don't mind.

Complete with a tin whistle playing leprechaun, if you don’t mind.

They really would work with any outfit.

They really would work with any outfit.

Roll on, 17 March...

Roll on, 17 March…

Probably not so lucky if you actually eat them.

Probably not so lucky if you actually eat them.

An unexpected warning on the bag of ShamRock lollies.

An unexpected warning on the bag of ShamRock lollies.

I’ll stop there, even though I’ve only covered maybe half of the contents of the bag. But you get the idea. Although, I do need to add one more highlight – I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Tayto, the Irish crisps that backpackers miss so much that they have their family post out boxes to them (well, they used to, until an entrepreneur started importing them to Australia and charging extortionate prices for a taste of home). Anyways, the flagship flavour is cheese & onion and they’re pretty much a national treasure. So, what else to do but release a limited edition treat – embed the chips into chocolate bars and sell them to the general public. I’ve tried it and it’s pretty much as horrible as you might imagine: some things were just not meant to be, Tayto.

Limited edition indeed.

Limited edition indeed.

Huge thanks to my friend Gavan for this bag of treats – I don’t know that I’ve ever had such a thoughtful/generous/funny/scary/sickening gift all in one bag. Now the stakes have been raised, I’m off to find some hideous Australiana to further advance global cultural understanding and tolerance. Or something like that.

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Beware the addictive app

A confession – I think I am addicted to an app. It all started out innocently enough – I was talking to my 7 year old niece about my new favourite game, Jewel Mania. (You have to match coloured jewels to remove them from the screen and win points – I assure you that it’s way more fun and challenging than I just made it sound.) Anyways, as I showed her, Ells said that they had found an even better game – similar to Jewel Mania, but with lollies. Sounded pretty perfect to me, so I searched the App Store and found what she had been talking about. And that was the beginning of the end.

Candy Crush is a brightly coloured game filled with jelly beans and a heap of other lollies, including – if you’re very lucky – chocolate freckles that can magically destroy all of one colour on the screen. I know, AMAZING, right? At first, it’s easy and you can fly through the levels. Then, the challenges get harder and since I am unwilling to pay money to play the game (I have some limits, see!) it can take a while to get through a level. If you’re willing to pay real $ for your fake candy, you can accept the advice of the patronising prompt that appears from time to time – something like “You seem to be struggling with this level. You can buy a [insert crazy sounding candy weapon here] for only $12.99!” But I’m old school, so I’ll save my money and take my sweet time (see what I did there?!) to get through the game using just my wits and my broadband data allowance, thanks very much.

Don't be fooled by the bright shiny candy - this game is brutal.

Don’t be fooled by the bright shiny candy – this game is brutal.

When I say I’m addicted, I don’t mean that I have my phone out all the time, playing the game. Mostly because I just can’t do that – if you don’t pay any real world $, you can only make five attempts at the level before you are ‘locked out’ and have to wait some hours before you can play again. So, I can still function in the real world – go out to dinner, work, see a movie, drive the car. I could stop playing any time. If I really wanted to stop, I could. Just like that. Truly.

One of my favourite features of the game is actually the soundtrack – there is some kooky background music and occasionally a voice that sounds eerily like Barry White compliments you on your moves, cooing sweet nothings like “Tas-ty“,”Sweet” and “Divine”. He’s very encouraging, if a little creepy, that Candy-Barry-White.

Anyways, I wanted to share the good news that this morning, I finally passed Level 34, on which I had been stuck for at least a week. I had come close before, but after an embarrassing number of attempts (thankfully, they don’t tell you how many), I finally made it. Now, I’ve never run a marathon or won a Nobel Prize, but I imagine that’s pretty much what it feels like. It’s going to be a good day!

(As an aside, my sister S currently runs a very successful virtual farm, my sister Jo used to run a fancy and very busy virtual clothes shop and I have successfully managed some very challenging virtual restaurants, diners, hairdressers and hotels. Still trying to find the best way to detail our extensive business experience on our CVs, though.)

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Anything is Pozible…

I was having a look at the Pozible website this morning – it’s another crowdfunding website (like Kickstarter), specifically for creative projects and ideas. There are always some interesting people and plans on there, looking for some cash to turn their dream into reality. Today, I noticed the pitch of a lady called Skye from Sydney – it was entitled: Are you brave enough to eat a BUG?

Apparently, Skye runs the Edible Bug Shop and is looking for funding to help expand her range of buggy treats. Skye has degrees in Entomology and Food Science, making this business the perfect marriage of her two skillsets.  In promoting bug eating, Skye says: “Edible insects are high in protein, low in fat and have various essential vitamins and minerals (depending on the actual bug itself). Crickets (which are one of our best sellers) are high in calcium for example.” Indeed.

Skye’s shop has been selling Creepy Creature Candy since 2009 and Skye assures us that it is a very popular product. Here is a photo of some of the Creepy Creature Candy range. I don’t know about you, but it’s the kind of lollipop I would take straight back to the shop as some sort of health & safety breach, asking for a refund.

Skye has developed a new range of products – Rocky Roach, Bug-O-Nut Rough, Buggy Brownies and Energy Bars. Apparently, some of these products contain invisible insects (you can’t see the bugs but they are ground up inside), and some are obviously have insects inside, so there is something for every level of bug eater”. Yummy.

If you’re brave enough to eat a bug, or you would like to read more about Skye’s business proposition, or you would just like to check out the freaky bug shop, Skye’s Pozible pitch is here. And you have 50 days to get on board with the bugs (and Skye).

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Just add sprinkles

I am not embarrassed to say that I like sprinkles. I am not sure of the chemical process involved, but somehow, adding brightly coloured bits of sugar to your ice cream, cake, cappucino froth, or even just a piece of bread and butter turns it from ho-hum into an exciting party.

Which is why I was so pleased to find these sprinkle covered heels on etsy. Made by the clever people at MerloDesigns in the USA, these sweet shoes will liven up any outfit. But you probably shouldn’t wear them out on the town in the rain, just to be on the safe side. Although apparently, “the candy is 100% real, but 100% inedible! That’s right, these little guys have been glued and sealed to keep ants, mice, and other curious critters off your toes!” See, pretty and practical! You can check them out here.

Or there’s this fabulous rainbow resin bangle made by Nicola Williams in the UK – available from her etsy shop Made By Daisy here. Handmade to order, this beauty would make a great gift for any lass – although it will probably prove endlessly frustrating to hungry toddlers.

For summertime fun, you might like this 100s and 1000s giant inflatable Havaianas thong. Once you’ve blown it up, it’s 1.65m long and 65cm wide. Apparently it comes with a matching carry case. Surely it’s gotta be worth buying a pair, if only to scare other people at the beach or pool into thinking there are giants around. They are available at the Havaianas website.

Or for a slightly different take on art, here’s a piece by Joel Brochu – a recreation of a photograph of a dog getting washed. A recreation MADE OF SPRINKLES. Yep, for a Fine Arts project at university, Joel used jewellery tweezers to place each of the 221,184 sprinkles to form the image. Incredible. You can read more about this amazing artwork at My Modern Met.

And now, I’m off to make some fairy bread, with extra sprinkles.

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Baby love

I love New York – pretty much everything about it, in it, from it, around it. But I don’t know that I really love these Porcelain Baby doll head planter / candy dishes from Brooklyn designer, Danielle. They’re kind of creepy, in fact. And I don’t know that I could be friends with someone who has a garden full of these little baby heads. Although – and yes, I know I can be shallow – if they had a house full of these stuffed with candy, I would probably be ok with that.

And as much as I love fake pets, I’m not sure that fake babies hold quite the same appeal, although Danielle tries to tempt visitors to her site: Always wanted twins or triplets, or more?… You can be an “Octo-mom” (or octo-dad) too – get multiples!

If you’d like to stock up on baby heads, check out Danielle’s etsy store, reshapestudio.

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