This week’s small pleasures #319

Today is the Wellington Anniversary Holiday and it kind of marks the end of holidays and the start of the last weeks of summer for those of us in this part of the country. The normal routines are returning, bit by bit, as we head back to work, Pilates (me) and swimming (Karl). Of course the real big news here is that New Zealand has a new Prime Minister – Chris Hipkins. His new deputy is Carmel Sepuloni, the first Pasifika deputy Prime Minister. There has been a lot in the media about Jacinda Ardern’s resignation as you can well imagine, but his blog is not about politics, so that is all I am going to say. Anyway, let’s move swiftly on to the real theme of this post, and that is this week’s small pleasures.

More from the Botanic Gardens

First up. I know the Botanic Gardens feature such a lot in the blog, but I walk through them on the way to work, and of course they change so much as the seasons move on. This stunning Bird of Paradise (strelitzia) can be found near the duck pond and is one of my favourites at the moment. The lilies too are looking beautiful, but I am one of those people who can’t abide the scent, so keeping them outdoors just does me fine! Finally, the coral tree is in full flower just now. The gorgeous red blooms just leap out, especially against a blue sky.


So to this week’s food section. Starting at the top right below, I had this very tasty BLT at Caffe Mode in Kelburn for lunch on Wednesday, and found a loaf of proper rye bread from Acme which I have been enjoying for breakfast with eggs and other things. On Sunday we had lunch at Field & Green, both enjoying their amazing fish finger sandwiches, with some polenta fries to share.

In the basket this week was an aubergine to use in a new recipe I’m trying out today, courgettes, carrots, tomatoes peas, a large avocado, red onions, apricots and peaches. There was tarakihi (a fish), lamb mince and pork and feta sausages too.

More cherries

Well, it is that time of year and who can resist a large box of cherries? I decided to make a clafoutis for Saturday’s dessert, which of course means removing all the stones from the fruit. Last year I used the ‘bottle and chopstick’ method (check out the post I did on it), but the fruit wasn’t as ripe this year, so I just put on a podcast and got out a sharp knife. Anyway, here is the final result of this delicious summer dessert.

Simple things

This week’s simple things that brought a smile to my face included;

  • The good news that the first wild kiwi egg has been laid in Wellington – read about it here.
  • Sunshine, sunshine and more sunshine.
  • Spending the Monday holiday morning watching cooking videos on YouTube
  • Making potato salad again – one of my favourite things.
  • Re-watching back-to-back episodes of the comedy Upstart Crow.
  • Spending time outside reading or just sitting watching the butterflies, bees and birds.

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. I love cherry clafoutis and yours looks delicious!

    Did you review the book Letters from Tove? I may have missed it, are you enjoying it?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness those cherries look amazing. I truly feel like summer is on the way when I see cherries at the grocery store. Thank you so much for sharing my post. The cat coloring book has some beautiful pictures and coloring is so relaxing to me. I love that you can walk to work. I have about a twenty to twenty five minutes drive every morning. It doesn’t stop me from pulling over to take pictures. But I can imagine the things you see when walking. Have a wonderful week.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I find the word Pasifika very odd. No wonder people are poor at spelling. Why not Pacifica since it means Pacific Islander people?


  4. I love seeing pictures of the Botanic Gardens. I never get tired of them. That cherry dessert looks so good. Best of luck with the new prime minister. What a fast turnover compared with our elections, which seem to stretch endlessly. And since my blog is not political, I, too, will say no more. Never had polenta fries, but they sound tasty. As always, thanks for the mention.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. (Very) selfishly, I was excited when I read that you were on your “last weeks of summer.” Naively, I first thought that this must mean we were on our last weeks of winter. I double checked. Sadly not. We officially have EIGHT more weeks to go. In the meantime, I will continue to summer vicariously through your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The BLT with crusty bread looks delicious. I think what you call aubergine we call eggplant. I do not know what courgettes are. Interesting to hear some different names and see different plants too, like the coral plant.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Cherries have been so expensive this year – we have to get ours from down south & they’ve really suffered from the rain. That clafoutis looks so good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’ve gone down a bit in price now, but the ones before Christmas bought from the stalls were much better if more expensive. The clafoutis was good even though I say so myself!


  8. What a satisfying wrap to the summer! How did your eggplant experiment go? And hurray for the news about the wild kiwi egg – that is certainly something to celebrate!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a joy to have the gardens to walk through on your way to work. Yes, that bird of paradise is stunning. I like your sunshine x 3. #Weekendcoffeeshare

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love botanical gardens and haven’t seen the coral flowers over here so feel free to share more photos from the botanical gardens. Your cherry clafoutis and fresh produce look so yum. I remembered to buy zucchini this week and had some with pasta (took up on your suggestion) and some as a roasted side dish. It was delicious. Thank you for the mention and for your weekend coffee share.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh good to hear that you got and cooked courgettes! Those coral flowers are quite amazing. I should take a picture of them in winter – you wouldn’t know it was the same plant,


  11. Beautiful photos of the gardens Barbara and don’t get me started on cherries! We have eaten more cherries this year than in any previous years I’m sure, they’ve been a bit expensive but so sweet and utterly addictive! Thanks for the great posts you’ve shared as part of your small pleasures, you’re very generous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes I think we have had more cherries too this year. With all the bad weather in the north of New Zealand there is a shortage of things like sweet corn and stone fruit that are normally plentiful.

      Liked by 1 person

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