This week’s small pleasures #268

What a glorious summer we have been having! Lots of warm, sunny days that lift the spirits in these gloomy times. Shorts and summer dresses, stone fruits, and Campari and soda – all the things of summer. Meanwhile, Omicron sits waiting to pounce… But of course this post is about the small pleasures of life, not the news or world affairs…so without further ado…..

My Monday lunch time stroll today took me down to the waterfront. I spotted a large, yellow starfish and gazed out at the blue of the sea and sky (see the featured image at the top of the post – if you can’t see it, go to the home page of Thistles and Kiwis). It was a lovely break in the working day (yes we are still going to the office….despite what you might have heard, New Zealand is not in lockdown).

And so to food, and on Friday evening we went out for dinner to a new Burmese restaurant in town, Mabel’s, to celebrate 9 years in New Zealand and Karl’s Name Day. The photos I took of the food were of dreadful quality, apart from one of the rhoti, but you can see Karl waiting for the food to arrive, armed with a glass of wine, below. We enjoyed a lovely salad – Le Phet Thoke – that had pickled tea leaf in it, some fried chicken and a chicken and cinnamon curry. It was very good and I am sure we will be back someday.

We had a real special treat for Sunday breakfast with pain au chocolat and fresh figs – not for any reason, just because we wanted a little special treat. I had poached eggs on avocado toast as fuel for my Pilates class on Saturday, and made moussaka for dinner on Sunday with leftovers for tonght. So yes, we are enjoying the good things of life while we can.

In the shopping basket this week, as well as the figs, there was nectarines, yellow peaches (roasted for Saturday dessert), plums, courgettes, aubergines, shiitake mushrooms, pea shoots and lamb mince for the moussaka.

We started watching the British drama about bomb the disposal unit in the Metropolitan Police, Trigger Point, which is unintentionally funny (we are watching it on TVNZ). We also watched the disturbing account of DuPont and Teflon in the drama Dark Waters and the psychological drama The Lost Daughter, starring Olivia Colman. The latter two films are available on Netflix. If you’ve watched any of these, let me know what you thought. Do also please check out my former student Daniel Rosenfeldt Star Catcher in the Snow. He’s been performing in London, Dubai and Paris recently.

For the first time in ages and I actually listened to music. I have just discovered the jazz trio GoGo Penguin and am listening to a lot of their back catalogue. Here they are on NPR’s Tiny Desk (thanks Laurie who introduced me to Tiny Desk). I’ve also been enjoying enjoying book podcasts this week – The Bookshelf from ABC and The Book Review from the New York Times. Actually, I have so many podcasts to listen to it is a bit overwhelming at times!

What were your small pleasures this week? Here are some other blog posts from a few fellow bloggers looking at the good things in life. The featured image at the top of the post was taken waiting at the bus stop on Saturday.

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. Such delights! Thank you both for mentioning me and for the link to the ABC Bookshelf – I plan to listen to the podcast about “The Dictionary of Lost Words”, which I received as a gift. A great ‘small pleasure’ was walking along the outskirts of town with a friend on Friday – followed by coffee and a chat 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another lovely post. Thank you for taking us with you to the waterfront and to the fascinating starfish. I’m also grateful to learn about the Bookshelf podcast. I just subscribed. (I love the NYT Book Review podcast too.)

    Another interesting podcast — who has time for more?? — is The New Yorker’s “Fiction” podcast, where writers read aloud and discuss other writers’ short stories that appeared in The New Yorker. I tend not to read short stories, so this podcast has really cracked open my mind.

    Finally, thanks for telling us about your former student, and thanks for the mention!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Star Catcher in the Snow is lovely, congratulations to your student, Daniel Rosenfeldt. I love podcasts too, and because I follow so many, I listen to them while I’m cooking, and also when cleaning the house!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t had much experience with Burmese food (lucky you, to have a lovely restaurant like Mabels) but I do love Lahpet thoke – I first had it in Bangkok years ago (in cafe featuring specialty dishes from around the world), and then found a little Burmese hawker stall in a small neighbourhood shop which also served it. Now I am thinking I must go back to this little stall to try their other foods. Anything else you might recommend from your meal at Mabels?

    Liked by 1 person

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