This week’s small pleasures #309

The sky is blue, the sun is shining and we are being woken each morning with a loud dawn chorus. There was time to sit in the garden and read on Sunday (when the featured image was taken) surrounded by the fragrance of lavender and rosemary. There was time to spend in the kitchen, making new dishes and old ones. There was Pilates, sunshine and wearing dresses and best of all, Charlie’s eye is now looking healthy. Now we just need to wait for his voice to return to its normal. And New Zealand won the women’s rugby world cup in Auckland, beating England 34-31.

Flower of the week

I treated myself to a small bunch or peonies on Sunday. Expensive, but a once a year treat that can’t be passed by. These gorgeous deep wine coloured ones are a real small pleasure.


I have long been an admirer of Kylee Newton’s books, and was absolutely delighted to see that some of her products were available from Herne Bay Foodstore. The two jars I ordered arrived intact – a truely amazing orange and campari marmalade that I tried with Sunday breakfast (on opening, there was a star anise, nestled into the top) and some gin pickled cucumber I will save for Christmas Eve. I also received our first Christmas card and a lovely Christmas tree decoration from my niece in the US, which she was unable to send in 2021 as the post office claimed no post was going to New Zealand thanks to Covid disruption!

Eating out and eating in

On Wednesday, I had a second breakfast or very early lunch at August café. I enjoyed Istanbul eggs (poached eggs, Greek yoghurt, aleppo pepper butter, dill and sourdough toast) with a good sized pot of tea. I can’t believe this was only my second visit to this great wee place.

Still on food, we met friends for dinner at Damascus, which has now relocated to the city centre (we first went there back in March). The hummus and baba ganoush were excellent, especially the latter which had a gorgeous, smokey flavour. The falafel, zeitun salad and lamb dishes were also good, and I even had dessert – a gorgeous crème brûlée with rose water and orange blossom served with a piece of tahini shortbread.

In the shopping bag this week – more asparagus because we might as well enjoy it while we can, garlic, another grapefruit, a crisp red capsicum, blood oranges, broad beans and the new season’s strawberries. I made an old favourite Baked Pork Bolognaise from Dish magazine for dinner on Sunday, leftovers for Monday.

Finally…good news…my dear husband is now a Professor! From the 1 January 2023 he will be Professor of Public Administration (NB – the title professor is used in NZ the same way as it is in the UK and Europe, not as it is in the US ie a professor is someone who has been promoted to the highest academic grade for their scholarly achievements).

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 or


  1. Hi, Barbara – I thought that I had the system beat…and I read this post AFTER dinner. Still, your gorgeous food pics had me drooling. And saving the gin pickled cucumber for New Year’s Eve. You have much more restraint than I have! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 We celebrate Christmas Eve, and this year we will have family from Sweden as well as our usual friends so I thought I would keep them for that…but there are still a few weeks ago and I might just have to taste them before….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A big congratulations to your husband…. a wonderful achievement to become a professor.
    Good to see you have some sunny weather, and as always, lovely food!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations to your husband! Such a fantastic achievement. Love your gorgeous peony and food photos. Thank you for the mention and your weekend coffee share.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What wonderful pleasures, simple and complex. The marmalade looks yummy (and the gin cucumbers — well!). I’m glad you treated yourself to peonies and shared them with us.

    And finally — best! — hurray for Charlie and your husband. What an achievement! Outstanding scholarship and leadership. Wow. A rare and, I’m sure, well-deserved recognition.

    p.s. Amid the joy, I almost forgot to thank you for your very kind words about my blog. Right back at you, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

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