This week’s small pleasures #311

Yesterday, Sunday, was the first Sunday in Advent, and we got out our candles and lit the first one to mark the day. It is hard to think that Christmas is so close when work is busy and the list of things to do before our visitors arrive is not getting any shorter. It is at times like this that it really is worth stopping and taking a breather: try walking on the other side of the road you normally do and see what new things you spot; stand outside and just gaze at the sky; stop and listen to the birdsong in the morning. Or do what I did on a very wet Sunday afternoon – lie on the sofa, read and drink tea.

Saturday’s walk

In the Botanic Gardens on Saturday, I saw that one of the white ducks has had a whole bunch of bright yellow fluffy ducklings. They were bobbing around appearing to have fun and she was constantly calling and watching them carefully. A little lost mallard duckling appeared, calling for its mum, but mamma white duck was having none of it and chased him away. I do hope he found the rest of his own family. The featured image at the top of the post is the display of Japanese primroses that are next to the pond at the moment.

I had to take a slight detour on Saturday as I approached the building work still going on next to Parliament. I spotted this new art work, He Auripo, in between two of the new buildings. It will be interesting to see once things are finished and the plants are growing how it will look then.


On Thursday, after a pain free check up at the dentist, I popped into tLeafT with the intention of just buying a couple of new tea infusers, but also came out with some Passionfrutti green tea with papaya, pineapple, lily flowers and calendula (see picture of it below). It is really refreshing and I think will be perfect chilled on summer days. I also went to the special evening shopping event at Small Acorns, and picked up quite a few things such as this gorgeous pāli basket made in Myanmar, a lovely tea towel (too nice to use perhaps?), candles, a couple of presents, a magazine and got a bonus gift bag which included these scented t-lights.


And so to food…and we had a lovely dinner out at Field & Green which you can read about here. In the basket this week was the first of the season’s sweet corn (still a bit expensive but I couldn’t resist), more broad beans and peas, asparagus of course, tomatoes, lemons, strawberries, oranges and another grapefruit – and a tin of these lovely sardines with lemon. I made chicken breasts stuffed with leek and feta for Sunday dinner and orecchiette with sausage, spinach and a creamy sauce tonight with asparagus on the side as you can see below.


The week ended with two dance performances: the classical students end of year performance at the New Zealand School of Dance and the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s triple bill Venus Rising. The students’ danced works by choreographer Loughlan Prior, which formed a lovely evening of bright, light and captivating pieces that allowed the dancers to really shine. The picture below is of the entrance to the school.

On Saturday, we went to the RNZB’s much delayed thanks to you know what, evening of works by female choreographers. The opening piece Aurum by Australian Alice Topp, was a lovely lyrical piece inspired by kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics with gold lacquer. The second piece by New Zealand choreographer Sarah Foster-Sproull, The Autumn Ball. was my least favourite of the evening. It never really ‘went’ anywhere, though the dancers were excellent. The evening ended with Twyla Tharp’s 1994 work Waterbaby Bagatelles which was my favourite of the three pieces. A suite of dances set to seven short twentieth century compositions, it was an exuberant display of dance set in and around a swimming pool.

However, in amongst the many small pleasures, was some very sad news. The day before Thanksgiving in the US, a member of my extended family who lived in Maryland, died suddenly. Giving thanks for her life seemed the thing to do.

That is it for this week. 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. 

  • Carol Ann over at Fashioned for Joy celebrates Thanksgiving and shares some lovely photographs.
  • Ju Lyn at Touring my Backyard spots signs of Christmas.
  • Natalie the Explorer shares the Toronto Music Garden in autumn.
  • Anne over at Something Over Tea shares more pictures of indigenous flowers.
  • Share a coffee over at Trent’s World in Cape Cod.
  • Popsicle Society motivates us on Monday.
  • Green Dreams grows sprouting seeds – which reminds me I have packets to get started myself.
  • Thanksgiving Eve and other delights over at Southern Patches  
  • Retirement Reflections shares a lovely guest post – do check it out – lovely and serene. 
  • Deb writes about the gift of sisters. As someone with only brothers it is something I haven’t experienced, though there are a couple of people who I have always thought of as big sisters.
  • Jo over at And Anyways popped over to Wellington, went to a party and also ate lots of good looking food.

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. If you want to get in touch, email me on or


  1. Your small pleasures have been spread around in a most satisfactory manner. I’m afraid that as we age we seem to experience more deaths of family and friends – I find that distance doesn’t make the loss any less. Like you, I have no sisters (three brothers instead!) and have always been fascinated by relationships between sisters I have known.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right about experiencing more deaths as we age. Some affect us more than the others. Yes…the sister relationship is something different to that between brothers and sisters I think – I am no expert!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Some of those seemed like pretty large pleasures to me, especially as we are increasingly in the grip of winter here. My chief small pleasure was to sleep in my own bed after a week away from home. As you get older, home comforts are more and more appealing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, Barb – Thank you for your kind comment regarding Cynthia’s guest post. 😀
    I too cannot believe that Christmas is just around the corner. Seriously, how did that happen?
    Oh, and I too have a couple teatowels that are simply too lovely to use!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no idea how we got to Christmas so quickly…we have guests too this year and nothing is ready. Work is just too busy and I want to spend Sundays on the sofa…..

      I feel better about my tea towel purchase now!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I always love reading about your small pleasures. Thank you for sharing mine. I especially loved reading Deb’s Sisters post. Having three sisters and four sisters in law and several nieces who have felt like sisters, I have been truly blessed. Have a wonderful week.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a lovely collection Barbara! I love the He Auripo artwork, so cool!! Your collection of other posts that have given you pleasure is always a joy, you are very kind. Almost December now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love your small pleasure posts. For me, this week I went to the port seaside with my brother, sister and mom. I enjoyed the waves and boats. Today it rained and I love watching the rain on the windows. Also, my 7 year old sons smiles, laughs, hugs and kisses are all beautiful moments I hold on to.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love your suggestions about pausing and taking a breather, especially walking on the other side of the street. I’m glad you had a restful Sunday, because your week was clearly full of zest and spirit! I love the food, the shopping (your new bag is divine) and the dance performances. What a special week!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes, I too, enjoy reading your small pleasures, and the lovely part about blogging is that you get to know different people and places in the world. AND you add the pleasure of reading about restaurants and lovely food in Wellington.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful post, Barbara. Sorry for your loss. I enjoyed your small pleasures as well as your other readers expressed. Your vegetable plate looks so yummy. I never think to display the things that I buy before I use them. You do it so artistically. Have a great week.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Fascinating that we’re almost into Christmas! It’s pleasant to see someone else celebrating Scandinavian-type Advent.
    I have a weakness for tea shops… you always come out with something nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love watching little ducklings swim with their mama and enjoyed your small pleasures. I’m sorry for your loss. Thank you for the mention and for your weekend coffee share.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s such fun to see a “winter” so similar to ours in Singapore – as opposed to first snowfalls and pretty winterscapes. As always, I enjoy so much your views from your Botanic Gardens; I am always amused & amazed to see offspring look so dissimilar to their parents; my favourite white-breasted waterfowl are a pretty sleek black & white, but their chicks are completely black & fluffy.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ha, ha, keep the list short. Your visitors just want to do the things you’re doing: stand outside and just gaze at the sky; stop and listen to the birdsong in the morning – or lie on the sofa, read and drink tea. : )

    Liked by 1 person

  14. That first paragraph is so good…so true. I’m reading through an advent book and I love the simple thoughts that catch my attention. I’m also sorry for the loss of a family member.

    Liked by 1 person

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