This week’s small pleasures #226

It is hard to believe it is already half way through January already. Holidays seem far away and the daily routine of work has started again. At least this past week has been full of lovely, sunny summer days, which has meant walking to and from work through the Botanic Gardens a real joy and made going back to the office just that little bit more bearable. The hydrangeas in particular are looking stunning right now as you can see. The annual outdoor summer concerts have started up in the gardens, and there are decorations all over the place, including these colourful star shapes and the fluorescent birds, which I presume are designed to glow in the dark. The third picture below shows the wonderful display of marigolds, salvia and other flowers that can be seen at the moment: just so uplifting and joyful.

On Thursday evening, we headed into town for dinner at Noble Rot Wine Bar (details in Tuesday’s post so I don’t fill this one with pictures of food and not much else!). Below you can see part of the newly renovated and earthquake strengthened building on Cuba Street and a couple of other buildings in the same block. It is a fun street to walk along, with second hand clothes shops, lots of cafes and restaurants and of course the infamous Bucket Fountain (which I feel must have featured in posts when we first moved here – might be time for a new urban walk post).

And so to food…in this week’s basket there were nectarines, apricots and raspberries, locally produced goat’s cheese, an aubergine (eggplant) because who can resist the glossy, dark purple of this vegetable, some beans and a kohlrabi, which are really plentiful this year. I made turkey and courgette burgers from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem for Saturday’s dinner and his kohlrabi salad with a yoghurt mint dressing and sprinkled with sumac from the same book as a side on Sunday.

On Sunday, a friend, her daughter and I went to the World of Wearable Art exhibition at Te Papa (the national museum). With the theatrical spectacular that is WOW (as it is known) cancelled in 2020, this exhibition was a wonderful collection of some of the costumes that have been in the show in past years. Below you can see a few of my favourites – and please note that we are not required to wear masks at events like this in New Zealand at present. The black dress below, created by Natalie Hutton from Australia is made up of 50 metres of silk and took eight years to complete, with each of the 30 panels taking 12 hours each alone. The creation below that was inspired by the poodle moth and 1920s opera cloaks. Made from faux fur, cotton, leather and crystals, the costume was designed by Tina Hutchison-Thomas from New Zealand.

I decided to showcase a few more designs in this post, as it really was a great exhibition. Normally you can only see the costumes from the audience in the theatre, but with this display you could really get up close to see the details in the construction. The first dress below is actually made of wood. Mahogany, lacewood, maple and cedar were all used to create this incredible gown by David Walker from the US. The second piece is a fantastical castle is made of multi-layered felt which took 7 litres of fabric glue to put together. The designer of this amazing creation is Lynn Christiansen from the US. Finally, the pink dress below is made of fibreglass and plywood and was crafted by Peter Wakeman from New Zealand, taking 300 hours and over 7 months to make. The WOW show is planned to take place again this year, so fingers crossed and all being well we can go later this year to see the designs from 2021.

So…that is it from me this week…but there are others who have been sharing some of the good things in life.

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. What a stunning way to get to work. I haven’t been to an art exhibition in ages, not much of that in our little town. Thankyou for sharing, I love the butterfly wearable art & the castle such fun. Saturdays dinner looked delicious. Have a great day whatever your up to.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so taken by the costumes from WOW! Particularly the castle outfit – I am trying to imagine what it would look like on an actual person!

    Your salad looks fab – I listened to a podcast this past week with Ottolenghi which was really interesting. I haven’t actually tried any of his recipes, but I think I might do now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the actual show you can see how the costumes move or look like on a person. It is quite spectacular but so good to see the costumes up close. I heard an interview with Ottolenghi too recently (perhaps the same one?) and he came across as a lovely person.


      1. The show must have been a sight to behold!!! Lucky you to have enjoyed the costumes at so many levels.

        The Ottolenghi interview I heard was on The Food Chain, Ottolenghi: My Life in 5 Dishes. He came across so warm and interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the inclusion in your post, always lovely to see! Those dresses are amazing especially the one made of wood. What a great show.


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