This week’s small pleasures #290

We are now in July, which happens to be my birthday month. When I was a child growing up in the Northern Hemisphere, it was also the start of school summer holidays. Here, though, it is winter, and celebrations are more about cosy evenings with candles and good red wine than summer dresses and a glass of chilled rosé. Still, we have had some amazing weather, as you can see below. The pictures below were taken on Saturday morning.

I was up in Auckland for work this week, flying up for the first time in ages. It all seemed normal and familiar, except for the mask wearing, and I was pleased to see the usual sandwiches in the Koru lounge and enjoy a glass of wine and cheese and biscuits on the return flight! Anyway, on Saturday we went to Winetopia, the annual wine tasting event show casing wines from around New Zealand. Regular readers will know we have been to this before. As usual, we tasted a wide variety of wines, including one (the glass of red below) coming from a bottle retailing at NZ$220 (US$136 or 130 euros). We shared a platter of French cheeses and salami, and I also enjoyed some oysters, because they were calling out to me. Locals will recognise Ben Hurley who was the host on the main stage interviewing various ‘wine people’.

So to this week’s food, and we didn’t need to pick up that much this week – some lentils for Wednesday’s soup, some cavolo nero and spinach for our greens, persimmons, mushrooms and some ‘peach’ coloured yams (oca). We had poppy seed bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon for my birthday breakfast on Sunday, lemon cakes from Arobake for dessert on Saturday, and lunch at Field & Green on Sunday, where we enjoyed their wonderful fish finger sandwiches. We had dinner out as well on Sunday – more on that on Wednesday! (link here).

My birthday present was a new waterproof jacket from Stutterheim which you can kind of see below. Rainy weather is expected in the second half of the week so I expect to get good use of it then.

We enjoyed watching the first part of The Great Big Tiny Design Challenge, where contestants build miniatures each week in a competition. It is great fun and the people are so nice and supportive of each other. The last part of BBC drama Sherwood proved exciting and of course the last two episodes of Stranger Things, though so far we have only seen one. Guess what we will be doing this week? We’ve also been enjoying more lovely sunrises and sunsets: below is today’s sky seen on the walk to work.

So, 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. 

Also entered into the weekend coffee share hosted by Natalie the Explorer.

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. Happy birthday – love the coat. I haven’t watched Sherwood, but apparently many of the woodland scenes were filmed about seven miles away from where I live. Someone posted a still on our local villages facebook page of a small mountain,(left) a mobile phone mast (centre) and an installation that looks like a space shuttle launch pad (the local cement works). I live on the mountain (but round the corner a bit)!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy belated birthday! It looks as if you’ve had a week of good food and wine. Who ever pays for those really expensive wines? …..but there always seems to be a market for everything, I guess.
    Lovely sunny photos along the water’s edge, we usually get sunny days in winter, but this year is very wet and dreary. Have a good birthday week, and at least you get to wear your lovely new coat if it rains.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great birthday week! I’m delighted you’re getting many glimpses of “normal” — and your hubby did a brilliant job in buying you that new coat. I love the length and style (and, yes, well, practicality)! Thanks for the tip on Sherwood — and for mentioning my blog. I send you lots of hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi T&K,
    Is that you in the new coat and am I the only one who hasn’t seen a photo of you until now?
    Has my attention span gotten so weak?
    Anyway, whoever that model is with your coat on looks great, lively and happy on a sunny day out enjoying her birthday.
    Glad to hear that you’re able and enjoying some travel again. I’m still holding hope that someday, covid will become a memory that we all share but nothing more.
    I’ve had a good weekend here. got my coffee share done in a reasonable time and even got time to create a new story that I really like. It was posted after my coffee share so you might not have seen it. If you have 5-6 minutes for a smile, this might be a good metal treat and if you’re still looking for fun things to share on your posts, feel free to share this one as I’d love for more people to see it.

    The Reach of a Sea Horse :: N2W 220709


    Liked by 1 person

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