This week’s small pleasures #253

Well…cases of ‘you know what’ in the Waikato has put Hamilton and surrounding area into a Level 3 lockdown. Meanwhile, it was announced today that Auckland is going to slowly come out of lockdown, week by week while the rest of the country stays at Level 2. The likelihood of us being to travel abroad looks no closer (well, we can leave, but it is problematic getting back)…..

But this blog post is about things that make us smile, about the small pleasures of life that keep us going. And so, without further ado… was a lovely sunny day on Friday, and I visited the hairdresser after work, where I sat at the window looking out at the Rita Angus mural opposite. I caught a new podcast with Sophie Hansen and Germaine Leece, Something to Eat and Something to Read, combining two things I enjoy. I also made Welsh cakes on Saturday for the first time as some of you have already seen.

On Wednesday, I finally got to August, a new cafe in town. I decided to try the Istanbul eggs – poached eggs with Greek yoghurt, Aleppo pepper butter, topped with dill and served with sourdough toast – which was featured in the Pandemic Pack cookbook I mentioned a few weeks ago. It was so good, definitely something I would go for again: spicy, perfect eggs, good toast and the dill to cut through the spice. Lovely.

Also on Wednesday, I picked up these gorgeous – and rather expensive – tomatoes from Commonsense Organics. The variety is vintage wine, and they were really full of flavour, just served simply on toast with a sprinkling of Maldon salt and a twist of black pepper, they were worth every cent. I also picked up a bunch of radishes, which for some reason I associate with spring, and in Saturday’s basket there was spinach and silver beet for some leafy greens, asparagus as ’tis the season, mushrooms, oranges, limes, chillies, apples and an aubergine (eggplant).

On Sunday we drove over the Remutaka Hills to Featherston, where we had lunch at Brac & Bow in the Royal Hotel. I had the smoked fish and sweetcorn chowder, which I have had there before and really enjoyed. Karl had a burger, which was also good. We then drove over to Martinborough, for a browse around the shops (including the book shop and Mint, where I found a lovely little mustard spoon and spoon rest from Galit Maxwell. Below you can see lunch, the park in the centre of Martinborough and my purchases.

Finally, I counted nine ducklings in the pond in the Botanic Gardens on Saturday morning. A small pleasure and a sign of spring!

What were your small pleasures? Here are some other blog posts from fellow bloggers looking at the good things in life.

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. Great to see I’m not alone in my thinking, as that was the first thing that came to mind! The colours, the size, the shape, they are just beautiful.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Shame about the cases there but I do think that’s the reality. It’s never going to be zero with delta. Love the ducks! And visiting cafes seems like such a novely! 🙂 Hope you have a lovely week ahead

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s always interesting to read about your small pleasures. Your food and produce photos are lovely. It seems as if Wellington at least, has been able to keep restaurants open during this tricky Delta year…..I’m afraid the same cannot be true of Sydney and Melbourne and Canberra, I feel sorry for businesses generally.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am beginning to enjoy the novel freedom of meeting a friend or two for coffee at a coffee shop – there is still something ‘daring’ about doing so. Some I haven’t seen since the start of ‘you-know-what’, so it is a real treat. Thank you for drawing attention to my pink flowers, which have benefited from a very, very light sprinkling of rain.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nothing much happening here, but now I’m trying to understand exactly the new “roadmap back to ?normalcy for Auckland Region” as far as I can tell, it will be the same-as for me for a while. I don’t have another bubble that I want to picnic with, I’m not into “hunting or fishing”, if I drift off around town – everyone else will be there, and I don’t have anyone who needs to be at early education….

    What I had hoped for was craft/art store open as I don’t want to order anything – too potluck and I want to make sure the colour of xyz is what I need…- it seems to be in Step 2 but as of now, have no idea when that will be!

    But for now I’m happy with my little life here…BUT I feel for those who have lost their work/leisure – family/pleasure life and that makes me feel “over it all” – because there isn’t anything I can do for those friends/people out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I sigh when you mentioned travel, or the lack of it. That is the concern – returning. We may leave when all is well (or as well as can be), but after a few weeks, who knows.

    But to happier things – those tomatoes are gorgeous! I love their name: vintage wine – given their colouration, very well-named. I am imagining how the flavours would tantalise the palate!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To get back into New Zealand at the moment you have to spend two weeks in managed isolation in quarantine and there is a shortage of places so really can’t take a risk unless absolutely necessary.

      The tomatoes were really good – so full of flavour – worth the expense!


      1. I hear you. We still have a managed quarantine period upon return, but the benchmark seems to be in flux right now (from some countries, quarantine can be done at home). Our expat friends are facing a challenge though – movement into Singapore is restricted for non-PRs & non-citizens.

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