This week’s small pleasures #317

Where have the holidays gone? I can’t believe I am going back to work on Thursday – the past few weeks have just flown by in a sea of sunshine, eating and relaxing. My diary for 2023 is filling up with a few nice things already, but I haven’t thought about a word of the year, goals for the next few months or anything like that. Of course, these things are not necessary, but there are some small goals and certain things I would like to achieve or get done this year. I’ll report more as I go along. Anyway, to this week’s small pleasures.

Zoo visit

Anyway, to the past week, and last Monday, we went to the zoo, enjoying the meerkats and their babies, cheerful and playful primates of various species, a sleeping red panda and the giraffes coming over to say hello. It was a lovely day, and nice to walk about this small but lovely zoo.


One of the big small pleasures of the past few weeks has been having my brother and sister-in-law staying with us. It has been so nice to show them around, share food and laughter, and travel up to Hawke’s Bay while the sun still shone. They left for Stockholm on Thursday, and arrived safely to a snowy welcome. On Tuesday evening, we enjoyed pre-dinner drinks at a roof top bar in town before heading for an Indian meal.


And so to food….I made a plum cake to use up some slightly past it fruit using this very quick and easy recipe since I couldn’t find the recipe I used last year It was lovely with a dollop of yoghurt and cup of Early Grey tea. I made a courgette and smoked hoki (a fish) quiche with lots of added lemon and dill one evening, and a potato salad to have with sausages on another. There was a potato gratin on Saturday for a special treat, and lamb meatballs using Sophie Hansen’s recipe from In Good Company for a change this evening, served with a cucumber and yoghurt dip, couscous and salad.

The basket has been filled with aubergines, tomatoes, courgettes and other seasonal produce, but no sweetcorn. The impact of a La Nina weather event, meaning wet weather and less sunshine than usual, has had an impact on the harvest. Add to this, Cyclone Hale is about to hit areas such as Hawke’s Bay where a lot of corn is grown, so I guess there won’t be much around this year.

Simple things

  • Sitting outside, reading, listening to the birds and that particular ‘whoosh’ when a kererū flies over head.
  • The flowers in the Botanic Gardens,
  • The quiet, gentle snoring of Charlie, now home from his holiday at the cattery.
  • Lying on the sofa on a rainy afternoon with a pot of tea and a good book.
  • A Campari and soda, ice clinking in the glass, sipped in the evening sunshine.
  • Summer

So 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. 

Also entered in The Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Natalie the Explorer.

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. Since my daughter and her family left us, I have indulged in reading and in watching birds in our garden – always seeking the shade for we have been experiencing very hot weather of late.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Simple pleasures are the best! I love your list and your photos made me drool. I’ve saved your plum cake recipe as it looks like it would be a great addition to the lunch box. We’re just started to be deluged with plums here.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your simple pleasures are so lovely. We have clear blue sky here this weekend, except with cold temperatures. I saved the plum cake recipe for when summer arrives here in a few months. Thank you for the mention and your weekend coffee share. Have a wonderful week ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It often is the simple pleasures. For me this week it was creating my first cardboard pop up flower pot and giving it to my mother. She smiled and even though she is not well at present she loved them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I need to take my grandkids to the zoo sometime. I’m watching them in February, maybe I’ll take them on one of those days. I’ve never had a plum cake. I love plums, so I may like it, though I think I’d choose those savory dishes if I had to choose. YUM. I like your list of Simple things. We don’t often think to pause and look for the simple things.

    Liked by 1 person

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