This week’s small pleasures #169

What a week….politics in various guises, the Australian fires, Samoa virtually closing down due to the measles epidemic, and rain, storms and flooding here in New Zealand. Moreover, today, at least one person has been killed when the White Island volcano erupted. With all these things going on I think it is even more important to take a deep breath and think about the small things that bring us pleasure and get us through the days when out minds are distracted by other things.

First up, I’m going to talk food, as usual, because I believe the meals we eat should bring us pleasure. We collected our Swedish food for Christmas Eve, including of course, some ansjovis for making Janssons Frestelse, a lovely dish for Christmas eating made of potatoes, cream and ansjovis. These are not anchovies – any English language version of this recipe that calls for anchovies is just plain wrong. These are little sprats that are normally cured in a spiced brine and sold as fillets in tins. They have a sweeter, milder taste than anchovies and are not interchangeable in recipes. Please note! (I mention this every Christmas on this blog). We have also been enjoying raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries and blueberries, and a small pleasures post would not be complete without a picture of Saturday’s morning toast at Squirrel.

Despite some pretty awful weather, there are lots of things to see in the Botanic Gardens from the first hydrangeas to these gorgeous strelitzia or bird of paradise flowers.


Other small pleasures this week has been my twice weekly Pilates classes, dinner at a little Italian place in town on Thursday, a rather good moussaka I made at the weekend and even Monday night’s meatballs with a tahini based sauce from Julia Turshen’s Now & Again (you can find the recipe here if you scroll through).

Monday night’s dinner – not a particularly good picture of very tasty food.

On Sunday, we went to see the film Knives Out, which, like Laurie Graves over at Notes From the Hinterland, I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend. You can watch it is a straightforward detective thriller or look at it more deeply for the political aspects. Over on Netflix, we watched Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, which is another excellent film I can recommend.

Finally, after all the stormy weather over the weekend (the worst weather at this time of year for forty years…we even had two thunderstorms here on Saturday evening and at 3am on Sunday morning), we had lovely sunshine today as you can see below. A real small pleasure.

What were your small pleasures this week? The featured image this week are the candles we lit on Sunday for the second Sunday in Lent.

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. My small pleasures last week? Not too many – because I didn’t look hard enough for them! I focused on stuff ‘going wrong’. You’ve reminded me to look properly at the start of this new week, so thanks!


  2. What a week is right! At times I am filled with grief with all that we have sowed and are thus reaping. But you are right. We must focus on small pleasures to keep our balance. Glad you enjoyed “Knives Out.” And thanks for the shout-out.


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