This week’s small pleasures #225

Another week, another set of small pleasures, those little things that bring us joy and a smile to our faces. Autumn is here, so it is time to plan reading lists, trawl recipe books for seasonal eating ideas and look forward to the Easter break. So without further ado, here are some of the good things of the past week.

Dance and music

Last Monday evening, a friend and I went to a lovely evening of music and dance. It was a special evening bringing together the New Zealand String Quartet and dancers from the newly formed Ballet Collective Aotearoa. Musicians and dancers were together on the stage, with the dancers moving around, and sometimes interacting with, the musicians. The first piece was set to music by New Zealand composer Tabea Squire, I Danced Unseen, a lovely spirited work that was full of life. This was followed by Dvorak’s String Sextet in A major, with the string quartet being joined by a second viola and cello. Again, the dancing was playful and joyful and quite lovely. The final piece was Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night, a dramatic ending to the evening. All the dance works were choreographed by Loughlan Prior, who is also Choreographer in Residence at the Royal New Zealand Ballet. The three dancers were Laura Saxon Jones, William Fitzgerald (both ex Royal New Zealand Ballet) and Tabitha Dombroski. It was such a lovely evening, made a good start to the week, and nice to see how the performing arts in New Zealand are thriving.

Eating out, eating in

On Monday, prior to the performance, we stopped off for a bite to eat at St John’s Bar and Eatery, where I had a pesto chicken burger, topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles and feta and served with chips (or fries). It was exactly what I felt like after a day at work! We had pasta midweek, with sausage, courgettes, peas and lots of parmesan, which was also formed my lunch one day. In my shopping bag this week there was celeriac and potatoes (for a gratin on Sunday), broccoli, courgettes (zucchini), apples, and my first feijoas this season. If you aren’t sure what a feijoa is, you can see what they look like below. Also in the basket were these dill pickle crisps (or chips), which while not nearly as good as Swedish dill crisps, did have a little flavour of dill and will keep us going until we can get the proper ones. Our Swedish food suppliers haven’t had a delivery since before Christmas thanks to Covid disruption to all supply chains.

On Thursday, we went for dinner at Pravda, situated underneath where I now do Pilates and known for its special cheese scones. It had been years since we last ate here, but thought it worth trying out for a change. We shared bruschetta, topped with all sorts of good things including a carrot puree, and then I had fish (tarakihi) with a kumara mash and apple and celeriac slaw, while Karl had a steak with peppercorn sauce and chips (fries). We also shared a really good salad of rocket (arugula) with pear, parmesan and walnuts.

(Side note; I found this handy guide to foods that have different names in the UK and US. Oh and to make things more confusing, aubergine are called eggplant here, but courgettes are courgettes!).

Little successes

I went to the hairdresser, managed to fit in some reading (even a moment sitting in the sun on Sunday), and best of all, I got my New Zealand passport in what must be record time (applied on Thursday, picked it up from the postbox on Saturday). Not that we can travel anywhere abroad yet, but those days will come back.

Blogs, blogging and friendship

Finally, a word about the featured image at the top of the post – a card received during the week from a friend in Hawke’s Bay who saw it and thought of my blog theme of small pleasures. What a lovely thing to receive, and it really brought a big smile to my face.

There are so many lovely bloggers out there – here are some other bloggers with their favourite things from the past week. I’m also going to enter this week’s small pleasures into Natalie’s Coffee Share this week (hence posting this on Sunday instead of Monday), a place you can find lots of other bloggers posting about their lives. What were your small pleasures this week?

  • Laurie over at Notes From the Hinterland celebrates her 40th wedding anniversary and shares some great music too. Congratulations on your anniversary Laurie!
  • Shout Out Saturday over at Deb’s World has all sorts of interesting things this week.
  • Natalie the Explorer enjoys spring and also shares her weekend coffee share.
  • Grateful Fridays from Little Pieces of Me has an appointment for her Covid vaccine – hoorah!
  • Carol Ann of Fashioned for Joy enjoys some good looking pasta and daffodils amongst her delights of the week.
  • Sanch Writes‘ Weekly Gratitude post includes a gorgeous cat…
  • And there is a Jar of Smiles from Piglet in Portugal.
  • Ju Lyn of Touring My Backyard enjoys a new part of the Singapore Botanic Garden. Oh how I hope I can visit one day!

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. As we haven’t eaten out for a year now, I enjoy reading about your forays into enjoying meals away from home. The violas look very pretty indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Here in Aus, I think courgettes are called zucchinis :). Love all your bits and pieces here and that feature photo is perfect, what a lovely friend to see it and think of you. Isn’t it weird having a renewed passport but nowhere to travel to just yet, I renewed ours in the month before Covid hit so it’s not going to get much use for a while yet. Yours was done so quickly!! Thanks for linking to my Shout Out Saturday post, your support is much appreciated!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is lovely to read about people living normal lives aka meals out and concerts with friends. You guys hit COVID hard, shut your borders and looked after your own, while Europe failed to act fast and hard.

    I love the idea life has a second layer just like some boxes of chocolates. You just have to look for the positives in life. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gosh, you had me at cheese scones. Yum. I am envious of those who get to eat…and out too, as since my oral cancer and subsequent restoration lots of foods are too challenging. I am a member of a very active and friendly FB group helping us head and neck cancer patients share our stories and it’s based in NZ. You are doing so well in Covid times too! Denyse #weekendcoffeeshare

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoy reading about your going out to dance and music performance, hairdresser, and have meals in eateries. Your friend’s card message brought a smile to my face too. Thank you for linking with #WeekendCoffeeShare.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So much good food, as always. I am intrigued by carrot puree on bruschetta and will be looking for recipes. Blogging friends are an absolute treasure, and it’s no exaggeration for me to state that these friends helped keep me sane during the pandemic. So many wonderful connections all around the world. Finally, thanks for the mention and the anniversary wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds like a fun week. I’m in the US….I follow a FB page and the guy is from new zealand and he has shared the different words and how they’re used there vs. here. So funny and interesting. From foods to other things. I enjoyed your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve looked up what feijoas are: it sounds like a heaven-sent fruit! I wonder if it will make it to our grocery stores ….


  9. We tried to visit a Vietnamese restaurant last week but it was closed, pity. Avocados are a staple in our household, I use them instead of butter.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your delights delighted me. I felt I was there with you in a concert hall, at a restaurant and all the rest. These smiles are as good as chocolate! (And thanks for the note about my pasta and daffodils!)

    Liked by 1 person

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