This week’s small pleasures #225

What a week in world news…from a plane crash in Indonesia, to the never ending tales of Covid, to the fallout of Brexit, to snow in Spain, to the events in Washington DC. 2021 is certainly not short on news, and we have barely got to the half way point in January. But there are also good things happening – just look around you – there are always some small pleasures around us.

We were lucky enough to have a few days holiday down in Dunedin. We flew down on a lovely sunny day, which gave us a chance to see a lot from the plane window. Check out my first post about the trip here – a couple more to come.

As ever on a Small Pleasures post, there is always food, and this week is no different. On our first evening in Dunedin we ate at The Press Club, housed in a building once used as a meeting place for local editors and publishers. We began with cheese rolls, that speciality of this part of New Zealand (read about them here). These were delicious, if slightly posher than the usual! I had the fish with a flavourful couscous which was gorgeous, while Karl opted for the burger. We had a good curry at Indish on Tuesday, a giant pizza at Biggie’s Pizza (the one you can see is called Nigella, after Nigella Lawson) and then on our last night headed over to No. 7 Balmac in Maori Hill. We shared some wonderful bruschetta topped with tomatoes, basil and mint, then I had a really tasty venison saltimbocca with balsamic roasted potatoes and whipped chèvre. Karl had the beef, which got good reviews.

After returning from our trip, grocery shopping was naturally on the cards. At this time of year there are so many wonderful things to buy – sweet corn (oh so good at the moment), courgettes (zucchini), tomatoes, radish, fresh peas, baby carrots. There are all sorts of berries (we had some gorgeous raspberries on Saturday night) and stone fruit – peaches to be roasted and plums to be made in a compote to enjoy with breakfast yoghurt.

On Sunday, we drove over to Martinborough, making the most of our last day of freedom (back to work today). On the way home, we stopped off at Kaitoki Regional Park where you can see Rivendell, a part of the park used to film bits of the Lord of the Rings films. The place itself is so stunningly beautiful that it is well worth a visit. Below you can see Martinborough with an interesting car, two pictures from the park and have a look at the featured image at the top of the post to see how beautiful ‘Rivendell’ is.

Finally, we picked up Charlie from the cattery. Here is watching the world go by. Lovely to have him home.

Here are some other favourite things from fellow bloggers.

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. Wow, it feels like we have had a year’s news in 9 days. YoPhew, I have given up trying to follow COVID, it’s far too depressing and I only end up shouting at the cov-idiots on TV who reckon it is a scam and or refuse to wear masks.

    You guys are so lucky in New Zealand.

    However,there are so many positives when the pace of life is paused. Looks like you have had a wonderful vacation:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes – the news is just overwhelming at the moment. And yes we are lucky, but there is always the chance that the virus will escape a managed isolation facility. Ah well, until then…we will make the most of ‘normality’!


  2. I’m with Piglet in Portugal.It sure does feel as though we have had a year’s news in 9 days. But your post sure perked me up. First, all the gorgeous pictures of the food. Nice! But what really caught my attention was Rivendell. I am a huge “Lord of the Rings” fan, and I remember one move critic noting about New Zealand: “Now we know what Middle Earth looks like.” Indeed we do.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoyed both your posts about Dunedin. We didn’t get there on our last visit, but will definitely visit at some stage. My father is Scottish, from Glasgow, and I always enjoy reading and hearing about the Scots who have immigrated…they are a hardy lot! (my Dad immigrated to Africa). We did take the train to Christchurch and I would love to go on the one in Dunedin. (a good tip about Sundays) What an amazing railway station…it would rival some of the best in Europe.
    You’ve had some lovely meals on your travels, New Zealand has so much fresh food and wines, it takes me back to our visits.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hope you get to visit again once the bubble opens up. My husband spent a month at ANU on study leave 3 years ago, and I was lucky to visit Canberra. An underrated city!


  4. Wonderful to see life being lived normally with summer and lovely trips and delicious dining out on the otherside of the world. It’s like a glimpse into another Universe.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I so look forward to your Small Pleasures post each week – it never fails to perk me up with your forays into culture & food.

    So glad that you managed a scenic & delicious getaway – after all, we get to share it with you!

    Liked by 1 person

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