This week’s small pleasures #198

This past week saw both a trip up to Napier (see Thursday’s post about wine tasting and my next post on Wednesday) and my birthday, so it was a week full of small pleasures. Small pleasures aren’t just about memorable meals, cosy afternoons and great theatre, but there is also a certain joy in spotting olives on the olive tree outside the Pilates studio, seeing lots of fantails fluttering about in the garden and enjoying a simple dinner at home with some good wine.

Apart from the obvious pleasure in being able to travel this week, there were lots of things at home that brought a smile to my face as well. I actually managed to walk through the Botanic Gardens on Friday morning. After days and weeks of doing this during lockdown, this all came to a stop when back at the office (it is dark when I go to work), so it was lovely to see what was going on in the gardens. The first thing to catch my eye was this narcissus underneath the ginkgo tree. The beautiful magnolia already has some flowers on it, and it won’t be long until all the camellias are in flower.

Spring is ahead of us

With Friday also being my birthday, I went into town with the aim of treating myself to a cushion from Small Acorns. I had been planning this all through lockdown, so it was hardly an impulse purchase. This is the one I chose in the end. I also bought some books from both Arty Bees the second hand bookshop and Unity Books, had lunch with a friend, and had a lovely, lazy afternoon at home.

My new cushion

On Friday evening, we went to Logan Brown for dinner, where we enjoyed a three course meal with wine pairings as, after all, it was my birthday. We started with some breads: sour dough and a cranberry and raisin loaf with salted honey butter and black garlic butter. I then had pāua ravioli with coriander, lime beurre blanc, and some lovely crispy kumara (see below) and Karl the goat’s cheese croquettes. We both had the excellent pork belly with cavolo nero, pancetta, a carrot puree and a few slices of pear for contrast, and some roasted Brussels sprouts. For dessert, I had the Sauternes creme caramel, with rum preserved cherries, a lime macaroon and tamarillo jelly. Karl had the hazelnut and ricotta baked cheesecake. The wine matched perfectly, the food was excellent and it was a lovely evening all round.

Saturday morning dawned, and I made it in time for smoked salmon toast at Squirrel before Pilates and food shopping. A friend popped round in the afternoon with a birthday present and a bunch of daffodils, and after dinner we settled down on the sofa with a new series of Finnish detective series Deadwind on Netflix.

Wine, pāua ravioli, toast and meatballs with orzo

Sunday was also a good day with lots of time for reading, ‘personal admin’ and cooking a new dish from Diane Henry of meatballs (I used turkey mince) with orzo (see above, bottom right).

The post started with a daffodil and ends with one too. What a joy to see these cheerful flowers.


So that is it for this week. Wherever you are, take care and look out for those little things that make you smile. What were your small pleasures of the week just past? 

Check out what is making Notes from the Hinterland happy too.

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

So that is it for this week. Wherever you are, take care and look out for those little things that bring you joy. What were your small pleasures of the week just past? 

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. Yes, belated happy birthday! Sounds as though you had a splendid celebratory meal. That little cushion is so bright and pretty. And daffodils always bring joy to the heart. Finally, thanks for the shout-out.


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