This week’s small pleasures #243

Here we are, Monday again and well into the second half of the year. You can feel the days gradually getting a little longer, and while we still need our sweaters and padded coats, there are days where our coats are open and scarves moved to our bags. In amongst the gloom of everything going on in the world, there are moments that spark joy and being smiles to our faces, which is what the Small Pleasures posts is all about.

Sunny days

We have had some sunny days, some rainy days. The big magnolia in the Botanic Garden is in full bloom just now, with big pink flowers that look stunning against a blue sky. My iPhone doesn’t really capture it properly, but I hope you get the idea.

The featured image at the top of the post was taken on Friday at lunch time, when the skies were bright blue and it is on days like this that Wellington looks its best. This offshore surveyor was moored down by the waterfront, the red contrasting beautifully with the blue skies.


So to this week’s food highlights! I managed to pick up three bunches of greens from Commonsense Organics in town on Wednesday, choosing cavolo nero, kale and red chard. I made kale chips as a side dish that evening as you can see – I love these if got just right, and these were perfect. In the shopping basket this week, potatoes and parsnips to make a mash to serve with sausages, mini carrots to roast at some point, persimmons and both red and yellow tamarillos. There was ginger and green chilli for a midweek dish from Ottolenghi’s Simple and Jerusalem artichokes, lemons and shallots to add to chicken in a dish from Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s book Jerusalem (see below). On Sunday, we had lunch at one of our favourite places in town, Field & Green enjoying their special fish finger sandwiches and sharing polenta fries.


Before walking along the waterfront on Friday, I popped into the Winter Exhibition at New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts. There was a real mix of work, with some that I really liked (and took dreadful pictures of so am not including them here). It such a good think to do at lunch time – gets you out of the office and thinking about something different – and free too.

On Sunday after our hearty lunch, we walked over to Te Papa to the exhibition Surrealist Art: Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The exhibition has works by Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Marcel Duchamp, Leonora Carrington and Man Ray as well journals, magazines and other artefacts on display. It is well worth a visit, if you happen to live in New Zealand, and the catalogue, which I had ordered in advance, is excellent, covering every item in the exhibition as well as being nicely produced (and for NZ$30, a bargain).

So those were my small pleasures this week – what were yours? As usual, I like to feature other bloggers who have made me smile, made me think or generally shared some interesting aspects of their lives.

I’ve recently subscribed to Sophie Hansen’s weekly newsletter 5 things to be cheerful about that comes out every Monday. It is a lovely uplifting little reminder of the good things that pop into our lives. Sophie is the author of two lovely books A Basket by the Door and In Good Company which I turn to when I need inspiration in the kitchen, and her newsletter provides a good antidote to Monday-itis.

  • Carol Ann of Fashioned for Joy shares her flowers and cake – looks so lovely!
  • Ju Lyn at Touring my Backyard finds a rubber duck and enjoys homemaking.
  • Deb, like me, lives in the Southern Hemisphere, where it is winter. and reminds us not to wallow and to enjoy the things around us.
  • Natalie the Explorer shares some street sculptures in Toronto – well worth a look.
  • Anne at Something Over Tea has rain and cooler weather.
  • Sanch Writes is still in lockdown in Sydney…but finds lots of things to be grateful for. 
  • Jo at And Anyways goes tramping on the Routeburn Track.
  • And over at Trent’s World, despite car troubles, there are dog and cat walks (if you are a cat lover, you must have a look at his gorgeous cat).
  • The Nordic Dowager describes managed isolation here in New Zealand – compulsory for those coming into the country.
  • And over The Ditch in Australia, Sammie at The Annoyed Thyroid had to do the same and shares her tips.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram@thistlesandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on


  1. I find your small pleasures a joy to read. Thank you for highlighting my joy in the little rain we recently received. None is forecast for the foreseeable future, instead we have an icy wind cutting through the pale sunlight. Your photographs of food look very professional 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an interesting exhibition at Te Papa and also, lovely to have such a sunny (if chilly) day to walk around the waterfront…my favourite part of Wellington.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m with Anne all the way. So love reading about your small pleasures. Also, took a look at Sophie Hansen’s newsletter and subscribed. Love how blogging friends connect us to other wonderful newsletter/blogs. A great thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooooh, 2 exhibitions this week …. I envy you. I know how you feel about taking photos at galleries, though – mine never come out the way I want. Maybe it is the lighting. I have much better success with outdoor art.

    Your vegetables look divine as always – the cavolo nero looks beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, my memories of walking around Wellington harbour come flooding back when reading your post. I remember my daughter riding those “silly cycles” and I wonder if they are still there. The art exhibition sounds like a delight too! The fish finger sandwiches were a surprise though. Was it just like fish fingers in bread?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes those “silly cycles” are still there – at least in the summer. The surrealist exhibition is on until the end of October should you be in this part of the country. The fish finger sandwiches – well, not the frozen sort of fish fingers – ones made in the restaurant and yes put between slices of bread with tartar sauce and salad greens. Really good!


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