This week’s small pleasures #324

Here we are at the end of February already, and what a month it has been for New Zealand with cyclones, torrential rain, earthquakes and a tornado. The good news is that all but 5 people are now accounted for and that power has been restored to most, though not all, homes, in Hawke’s Bay. As the Prime Minister stated, the cyclone has estimated to have caused more weather-related disruption to businesses and the primary sector than any other event since Cyclone Bola in 1988. For me it was important to look for little good things this week, and in fact it turned out to be a week full of lots of small pleasures.

Out and about

I’ve moved my Thursday Pilates class to Wednesday mornings, so giving a different sort of focus to the week. The weather on Wednesday was very humid, but it was nice to walk through Post Office Square while the sun still shone as you can see in the featured image at the top of the post.

Encouraged by Natalie, I stopped and took note of the new mural on this wall on Bowan Street near Parliament, Designed and painted by Ariki Brightwell, you can read the details about Kaiota here. It certainly brightens up this stretch of road leading into town.

The real highlight of the week, and the ‘biggest small pleasure’ if that makes any sense, was going to Flamencodanza, a perfect little gem of an hour of music and dance. The evening was part of the New Zealand Fringe Festival and held at BATS Theatre. Guitarist Raul Mannola and dancer Aylin Bayaz gave a wonderful performance of modern and traditional flamenco, including one piece by a Brazilian musician. Just lovely and the perfect antidote to a wet evening.


A few of us said farewell to a special and lovely colleague with a ‘High Brunch’ at Two Grey during the week. A cross between and afternoon tea and brunch, there were some charcuterie and cheeses, some mini avocado toasts, and omelettes, fruit, a dessert and breads, pastries and waffles. A fun event and good for a group of people.

On Friday, I was treated to an afternoon tea at Le Cordon Bleu, with some very special savouries (the revisited club sandwich filled with chicken mousseline, scallop tartare on brioche toast and a cheese puff filled with goat cream cheese). There were scones, little pieces of opera cake, a choux pastry filled with fruit, a little lemon meringe tart, and peanut macarons and a mini charlotte aux fraises. No – I didn’t try everything – but almost!

On Saturday I had my first hot cross bun of 2023 and enjoyed a very good cheese and ham baguette for lunch on Wednesday. In the basket this week: half a cabbage (there are only 2 of us, a radiccio (salad or roast?) more courgettes, potatoes, a couple of black peaches, a few early season belle du jumet pears and a tub of that really good dill goat cheese which is wonderful slathered on toast.

Simple things

  • Listening to a bus driver play the saxophone at the entrance to his bus early on Saturday morning. Now that was quite something!
  • Ally Mitchell’s From France With Love news letter and her beautifully written food stories and recipes. Do subscribe, do read if you are interested in food and cooking.
  • A sleepy cat, snoring gently. Sadly this is the last picture I took of him. Charlie passed away on Tuesday morning. We miss him so much – a full post coming next week on his life,
  • Finding time just to sit and read
  • Listening to the kākā screaching over head, on my way to work and the faint cry of a ruru or morepork in the wee small hours of the morning
  • A plate full of hearty pasta

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.

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. A lovely post although I’m not a foodie! My small pleasures (and there have been SO many this past week) would probably be too small to recount. But I love the principle and enjoyed reading yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A performance of modern and traditional flamingo would have been a treat.
    Lots of good food as always in your post, and Charlie the cat looks so very cute all curled up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Holy cats, you have wonderful restaurants where you live, and being a brunch lover, I love the notion of “high brunch.” Very glad to read that the New Zealand is recovering from the storm, and earth quakes. As always, thanks for the mention.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read a very sobering report on the damage down by commercial forestry to the area that got hit by the cyclone. It is bad enough to be flooded but to be flooded by mud and logs must be truly terrifying.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi, Barbara – I always love reading your simple pleasures. They are very inspirational. I am so sorry to hear about all of the weather catastrophes that have been happening near you.
    Thank you again for the shoutout. It is greatly appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am so sorry to read about your cat passing away. Other than that it does sound like you had a really lovely week of small pleasures. The foods all look so yummy!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reading your coffee shares always makes me smile. I love how you see the small pleasure of life and hang on to them. It sounds like you are enjoying a wonderful, wonderful week. Thank you for the delicious coffee. I managed a solo visit to one of my favourite coffee shops in town this week. I enjoyed a grilled sourdough sandwich with tofu and chili, along with a good (but scary) book.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The lovely styling & capture of your first hot cross bun of the season reminds me that I need to get me one soon! Shall I have a traditional? or a chocolate chip? or some other fun combination? remains the question.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Not yet … I was just Marks & Spencer’s and drooling over the many different renditions (chocolate, apple) … decisions decisions!


  9. I’m so sorry for the loss of your kitty!

    High Brunch needs to become a thing here in the States. So does afternoon tea. And maybe Second Breakfast and Elevensies and… yeah, can you tell I’m a chowhound?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your Charlie. I’ve been seeing the cyclones on the news. It’s been dreadful. Looks like the week was a mixed one for you. I had my first hot cross bun last week too. I love them and have to make a special effort to limit them.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Love the idea of the Sax man. Watching a program about the Piano at the moment. Yang Lang and Mica hosting, as they hide in a train station and watch people perform. It’s a bit staged, but loving the variety. Thanks for Coffee

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Barbara, Thank you for the shout out and your weekend coffee share. I’m sorry to hear Charlie passed away. I love your photos of the new mural and yummy-looking food.

    Liked by 1 person

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