This week’s small pleasures #295

Oh it really feels like winter today! The cold winds and rain have returned today after a gorgeous sunny Sunday – well it is the season after all. I just hope my spring flowers survive (check out Saturday’s post for signs of spring). Anyway, last week was a week full of all sorts of small pleasures as you will see.

On Wednesday morning, I headed over to Te Papa to see the Robin White exhibition. The works were from her 50-year career and were ones are normally housed in galleries and homes all over Aotearoa New Zealand. The exhibition included early watercolour and drawings, works from her time in the Otago Peninsula and pieces from her collaborations with Pacific artists. Below are four pieces I particularly liked, starting with the self portrait in the top left. Next to that you can see Fortress House, Paremata, so called because the artist thought it was so neat and tidy and never saw anyone there. The distinctive Art Deco building is so typical around New Zealand. The picture bottom left is a work on bark cloth created in collaboration with Tamari Cabeikanacea, and is an interior based in a living room in Fiji. A large scale work, That Vase, it is stunning seen on a wall as opposed to a photo. One of my favourite pictures was Sam Hunt at the Portobello Pub from 1978. Again, in real life this canvas really stood out – I just love his casual stance, looking as if he is waiting for someone.

I also went shopping on Wednesday, picking up some much needed new candlesticks from Magnolia Trading Company – needed after one of my lovely glass ones cracked in the heat – and some more beeswax candles. From there I headed over to Good For, a ‘refillery’ selling all sorts of bulk items in a beautiful looking shop. I picked up a jar of tahini and these lovely looking dried green apple rings that I guess I might use for a lunch box snack treat.

Wellington on a Plate has started, and we had our first taste on Thursday when we had dinner at Capitol. The festival dish was a crayfish soufflé with housemade salmon roe and gem lettuce salad, but unfortunately my picture was of too poor a quality to use. However, I can assure you it tasted fantastic. The main course was seared venison loin with porcini, potato gratin and salsa verde and dessert honey-poached pears with ginger crumble and lemon curd. A glass of pinot gris with the first course and a syrah with the main completed the experience.

It was also the first night of the New Zealand International Film Festival – if you look below you can just spot a red carpet outside the Embassy Cinema which is next door to the restaurant (situated on the corner).

Sticking with food, I had lunch on Wednesday at perennial favourite Squirrel, enjoying a roasted winter vegetable sandwich. In our basket this week were oranges and golden kiwi fruit to boost our vitamin C, fennel, parsnips, more bright red yams (oca) and some fine stemmed broccoli, along with a packet of soup mix (lentils, barley, split peas) for Wednesday’s soup, and pork mince for this pasta bake.

Then to what is probably the highlight of the week – a return to the newly earthquake strengthened St James Theatre to see the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s new production of Cinderella. It was such a fun production with choreography by Loughlan Prior, music specially composed by Claire Cowan and costumes and sets by Emma Kingsbury. While retaining the key elements of the story such as the step-sisters, glass slipper and fairy godmother, there were many different aspects in this production: the Fairy Godmother has helpers known as The Fab Five, Cinderella falls in love with the Royal Messenger, and Prince Charming, helped by the Fairy Godmother, unites with Prince Dashing. The costumes and sets were fabulous, and all in all it was a wonderfully magical evening. There were even projected images on the outside of the theatre.

On Sunday, we headed over to The Roxy cinema (see below) to see the French film Full Time (À plein temps) which was shown as part of the film festival. The film stars Call My Agent star Laure Calamy, and is the tale of a harassed single mother of two who finds her life made even harder by a transport strike. We both really enjoyed it, with the everyday struggles of the lead character made worse by the situation around her. I found this revue pretty accurate.

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 in Natalie the Explorer’s Weekend Coffee Share.

Check out Wednesday’s post too!

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. What an incredible week! The art exhibit is fascinating; imagine the courage (and humility) to collaborate with another visual artist. I love the works you feature, especially the interior (WOW) and Sam Hunt. I also enjoyed reading about a new take on Cinderella — I want to attend more ballet! — and the film. Thank you very much for mentioning my blog. We both had such fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you re the art exhibit – if one can possibly judge a person by written comments and reading about their life, Robin White strikes me as a strong and compassionate individual. You have The Washington Ballet in your – sort of – doorstep so you should try and see something 🙂

    I always enjoy reading your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right about the Washington Ballet. Long ago I had a subscription with a friend. Every season we crept closer to the stage, and then life intervened. I am indeed thinking about returning to ballet and the opera. The season is coming!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Barbara, your post always leave me hungry. . .
    That roasted winter vegetable sandwich alone has me drooling.
    My wife often does great things with roasted veggies and I love them.

    Liked by 1 person

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