This week’s small pleasures #223

This will be the last small pleasures post of 2020, and also my penultimate post of the year. In the past, I have done a series of highlights of the year, but it just doesn’t feel right at the moment. Anyway, there were lots of small pleasures of the week, which of course included Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, which you can read about here. I got a beautiful pair of earrings from my dear husband for Christmas, and was able to chat to my nieces in the US and my brother in Canada – all small pleasures at this time of year.

It was also a week that I was on holiday, and had time to spend doing a bit of clutter clearing (not nearly as much as I intended – the giant task that is the box room has not been touched), reading (again, not as much as I intended), cooking and generally relaxing. The weather has not been up to much, but there have been some sunny moments as you can see from the featured image above, and this afternoon below.

Anyway, a key distraction, or perhaps a more aptly, a more Herculean task than tidying the box room, has been doing a jigsaw puzzle. I’m not even sure it is a small pleasure, but it is certainly keeping me occupied on wet afternoons. It’s fun as it is not a picture of kittens or a cottage but of a picnic, with the picture taken in Auckland’s Cornwall Park from a collection of photographs by homeware brand Father Rabbit. If someone can tell me where the missing bit is for that carrot I will be most pleased as at the moment it looks as if Peter Rabbit has taken a nibble. You can see some more Lettuce jigsaw puzzles here.

Moving outside, the garden is looking rather lush, with Peruvian lilies and nasturtiums in abundance, and wonderful progress being made with the echinacea, which is really blossoming this year.

No small pleasures post would be complete without some mention of food. What is it about Christmas ham? I am sure it multiplies as it lies in the fridge, for no matter how much you think you have eaten, there is always some left. On Sunday, I made a quiche with some of the leftovers, adding a few slices of tomato and a topping of cheese. I served it with peas braised with spring onions and lettuce to use up a few other things from the fridge. After my adventures in jigsaw land, I could not resist picking up a bunch of baby carrots, possibly to roast. I made a tabbouleh for dinner tonight with lots of parsley, sweetcorn (it had to be used) and a nectarine (Nigel Slater’s idea) to have with chicken. For a special dessert, and because it is the season, I made a Swedish curd cake or ostkaka. Made with cottage cheese, it comes from my husband’s county of Småland – check out an old post of mine from 2019. I used Brontë Aurell’s recipe from Scandikitchen Summer and served it with a strawberry compote.

The sun came out this afternoon, and I went for a walk to the Botanic Gardens and Lady Norwood Rose Garden (rose photos will follow!): always a small pleasure.

And so to fellow bloggers with small pleasures and things that make them smile.

  • Ju Lin had some Zoom time with family and a virtual concert.
  • Fran Hubney shares another of his poems and a moment of tranquility.
  • Diana at Handstands Around the World shares her favourite sunrises and sunsets.
  • Trent’s Weekly Smile features a snowy landscape.
  • Little Pieces of Me writes about her Grateful Fridays.
  • I can’t agree more with Su over at Zimmerbitch – a piece of cake, a cup of tea and a good book – a real small pleasure.

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. I am really enjoying these “small pleasures” posts. I think if 2020 has taught me anything it is to be more aware of, and grateful for the little things. I mix sweetcorn into tabbouleh too (preferably fresh off the cob and a bit charred), but would never have though of nectarine. But if Nigel Slater has suggested it, I’m good with that.

    Thank you for the shout-out btw: much appreciated.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes – I feel I am so much more aware of small things that make me smile this year, whether it be fantails in the garden or the taste of the first strawberries of the season. The sweetcorn was at least taken from the cob, if not charred. Hope you have a happy 2021.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The missing piece of the jigsaw, its like socks & hair elastics where do they go.haha. Its fun cooking with left overs & its funny its like ham is the gift that just keeps on giving. Have a fantastic rest of the week & Happy New Year to you & yours. I hope it over flows with great pleasures.

    Liked by 1 person

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