This week’s small pleasures #140

For the third week in a row, This week’s small pleasures is coming to you on a Sunday. Yes, the reason is because I am travelling, but not for work this time. Updates will be forthcoming.

Anyway, you may have seen the pictures taken last Sunday in Rotorua. The weather that day was stunning, and it was a gorgeous flight up. I have to say it was not like that coming back…

Flying to Rotorua on Sunday afternoon

Next up…food. I had a lovely meal in Rotorua at Urbano, opting for some perfectly cooked venison, and on Thursday we popped into our local Italian restaurant for after Pilates dinner, where I thoroughly enjoyed the carbonara, stirring the egg in at the last minute.

Pasta time

I am loving my new Saturday morning routine of tea and gorgeous toast (see the featured image above) at Squirrel, followed by a browse in Commonsense Organics, and then Pilates and food shopping. It really is a small pleasure.

Next up…..well, I went to the ballet. I love going to see dance, and was curious to see what this piece was going to be like. I’m going to go into a bit of detail, because the performance was both good (the dancing) and bad (some of the choreography). This is slightly off piste, so skip it if you wish. I used to write a blog about dance, many years ago, and every now and again I feel an urge to write about that again.

So on Saturday evening, I went to see the latest production from the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Black Swan White Swan, an alternative to the classic ballet, Swan Lake, is choreographed by Mário Radačovský and sees Siegfried battling his demons (if you don’t know the ballet, check out the lengthy entry in Wikipedia). In this version, Siegfried is tormented by sickness, and is “caught between two women, the black swan and the white, he struggles with ideal love, pure evil, temptation, and most of all, himself”. Well, what did I think? Now, I have no issues with alternatives to the classics: I loved Matthew Bourne’s all male Swan Lake and his take on Nutcracker. However, for me, this version did not really work. Firstly, the choreography for the men was so much stronger than for the women. Now some may say ‘well the old classics focussed on the woman, time for a change’ – but surely in this day and age choreographers should work equally with men and women? Rothbart is portrayed as Siegfried’s demon, the sickness. The duets with Siegfried and Rothbart (stunning performances from Paul Mathews and Massimo Margaria), designed to express Siegfried’s torment, were at times overlong. There was a lot of use made of the floor by the swans (a pet peeve), and some curiously ugly shapes for the female dancers. Personally, I didn’t think Radačovský used the music well, and there was a real lost opportunity at the point where in the traditional version, the Black Swan performs the classic 32 fouettés. This started well – Rothbart doing some amazing turns – then fizzled out into some uninteresting movements from Siegfried, Rothbart and the Black Swan. He could have easily turned this into a tour de force for one of the male dancers, which would have been a lovely, subversive moment. There was also a lot of angst ridden staring out at the audience, and a ridiculous ending of water pouring down on Rothbart and Siegfried. However, the dancing and dancers were fantastic, and I have nothing but praise for them. As my companion said ‘you kept thinking ‘now this is going to get good’ and then it fell flat’.


Finally, I am storing up some good reads and making plans for winter. I’ve added Ali Smith’s Winter to my pile, and also another food book A Basket By The Door by Sophie Hansen which looks like perfect inspiration for projects during the next few months. I also picked up some unwrapped soap with the smell of sandalwood this week, as well as a new dark green fluffy sweater to keep myself cosy during the coming season. All of these are small pleasures.

And that’s it for this week. What were your small pleasures of the past week?

Thanks to Mani over at A New Life Wandering for the original idea.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram@thistleandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on


  1. The top one looks good to me. It’s been a few years since I was in Rotorua, bet it’s cold at this time of year.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.