This week’s small pleasures #294

We are at the end of July already – can you believe it? The mornings are getting brighter, the days slowly getting longer and there are signs of spring popping up all over the place – all small pleasures to me as I am not a winter person. The rain, however, keeps on falling – 26.2mm on Saturday, 10.6mm between 4am and 5am on Sunday morning, and 39mm by 11am Sunday morning. Yes folks it has been rather wet! I am glad to say it has now stopped….and today, Monday was sunny.

So to this week’s small pleasures, and I am going to start with food and Tuesday evening’s dinner at Mariluca Ristoro, a lovely Italian place tucked away in Thorndon. We shared some bruschetta topped with roasted vegetables to start with, and then Karl had the Fettuccini alla Bolognese and I had the Linguine ai Gamberoni which you can see pictured below. Lovely food and excellent service made up for the – yes, you have guessed it – rain outside.

Sticking with food, I had a good ham and cheese baguette for lunch after the hairdresser on Wednesday, and we got bread, bagels and rhubarb and custard tarts delivered on Saturday from Arobake. It is citrus season here, and in the shopping basket this week were oranges, a grapefruit, lemons and a Rangpur lime (the small orange coloured fruit below). I had spotted them last week, and decided to go ahead and try one. They are actually a cross between a mandarin orange and lemon, with a strong citrus taste and lot of juice. We added a couple of slices to our Saturday evening gin and tonic and very good it was too. I also picked up some golden kiwi fruit, spinach, silver beet, red lentils and some chorizo which will go in Sunday night’s pasta.

In amongst all the doom and gloom in the world there was this story about the rising numbers of native birds here in Wellington. This matches with other figures I have seen which have found that native birds counted across the capital since 2011 had risen by 50%. For some species those figures were much higher: kākā had increased by 250%, kererū by 186% and tūī by 121%. I can certainly vouch for the rise in kākā and kererū since we moved here.

We watched the prize winning film Licorice Pizza which we enjoyed, and a French film The Rose Maker about a world-renowned rose grower whose business falls into financial difficulties and how she fights back. The National Theatre Live films are back, showcasing top drama from London. On Sunday a friend and I went to see Prima Facie, a one woman play about a young, successful barrister whose life is turned around by a sexual assault. Jodie Comer (who if you ever watched it, was in Killing Eve) was amazing, and the play, written by Suzie Miller, is a powerful drama. If you get a chance and you think this might be for you, look out for it. And of course we are still watching The Great Big Tiny Design Challenge.

All in all on reflection July was a very mixed month with a fantastic start (my birthday weekend) a miserable middle (catching Covid) and a busy end what with one thing and another. August is already looking interesting with three films booked on the New Zealand International Film Festival, restaurants booked for Wellington on a Plate and the start of a trip to Vancouver on the 31st of the month.

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. 

Thistles and Kiwis is a Wellington, New Zealand based blog written by Barbara, who likes cats, summer, good food and pretends to garden.

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. Things are looking good for August if you have the NZ International Film Festival and Wellington on a plate And a trip to Vancouver… lucky you, I have always wanted to go there..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All that rain … mind you, it can become too much of a good thing. I enjoy the way you highlight your pleasures of the week. Mine was meeting two friends unexpectedly at the airport yesterday when I drove down (an hour and a half each way) to meet my son. One friend was meeting her son from Japan and the other her son from Sydney – both haven’t seen their respective sons for over three years. I experienced that joy when my Norwegian family visited last month – also for the first time in three years!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic news about the native birds. When we visited NZ in 2019 we fell in love with the tui, and also enjoyed seeing kākā and, kererū…thank you for evoking some happy memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love how you let the rain guide you to a delicious (and lovely) week of food. I can’t take my eyes off the baguette filled with ham and cheese….. I’m also delighted to learn about the recovery of native Wellington birds. Keep sharing happy news when you find it!

    Liked by 1 person

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