Sunday Sevens #118 14.1.18

Hello there, I hope you’ve had a good week. This week my trusty iPhone gave up the ghost and packed in after 3 years of loyal service. I managed to limp it through most of the week with a battery pack but it conked out for good (I think) on Thursday. As a consequence, I haven’t taken too many photos, so that’s why there are clusters rather than pictures of more events.

Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens…

Med Steps training

On Sunday I went for a gentle climb up the Med Steps accompanied by Eldest. It was nice to wander up leisurely and stop for more breathers than I do usually. It gave us the chance to admire the interesting clouds which were about as well as some of the wildlife.

Weird weather

This pink sky, complete with a rather strangely coloured rainbow is the sight that greeted us first thing on Monday morning. The first school run of 2018 was a rather soggy affair as the heavens opened just in time for us leaving home! I guess we have been very lucky over the Christmas break to be blessed with some fabulously sunny days so I can’t complain too much.

As the day wore on the skies cleared and school pick up just about stayed dry for us. In the afternoon we were faced with a sky of two halves!

MedSteps training

Wednesday was a beautiful day and in the morning I headed up the Med Steps for the third time in this Sunday Sevens week (I also did Tuesday). This was the beautiful view which me and my training buddy enjoyed near to the top.

Early on in the climb we were overtaken by a team of military men, some running up the route, naturally we stood to the side and let them past. When we reached the top, they were waiting there and congratulated us for completing the steep walk. It turned out they were waiting for a few of their party which had yet to finish. I’ll take that as a win!

Watercolour class

It was so nice to get back to my watercolour painting class this week. It had stopped over the Christmas break and it was great to get back to it again. I thought I’d have a go at painting a glass jar and was quite pleased with how it turned out. I still need to finish the flowers next week.

Car fire drama

We had a bit of drama on Thursday lunchtime. A car caught fire right next to my friend’s apartment. The flames came up to the height of her first floor windows so we had to hide behind the wall for fear that the car engine might explode. The fire brigade arrived pretty quickly and had the fire under control within minutes. Thankfully no one was hurt, but it was rather scary.

That’s all there is for Sunday Sevens this week. What ever you are up to in the next seven days I hope they are good ones for you.

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins.

2018 Friday Photo Challenge (Week 2) Home

I have two homes. The one above of course is Gibraltar, our home for over eight years now and where our children have spent all or most of their lives. It’s a close community, welcoming to outsiders, especially if you are willing to contribute to the community effort yourself. We are very happy to be here in this mostly sunny tiny British outpost.

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My other home, the place of my birth, is the North West of England. I was born just outside Manchester and did all my growing up there. This is a photo of the North Cheshire countryside where I have lots of happy memories of family days out, walks and picnics. Both of these photos were taken on the same journey between Manchester airport and Gibraltar airport last spring.

If you fancy joining in with this weekly photo challenge, it’s not too late to take part. If you write a blog post, be sure to tag me in it so I don’t miss it or put a link in the comments below. Alternatively you can play along on Instagram too with the tag #postcardfromgibfridayphoto

Next week’s prompt is ‘Me, myself & I’ – I cannot wait to see your pictures 😊

A Postcard from Rome

Last summer, we were lucky enough to do a bit of traveling. It was one of my New Years resolutions to finally get round to doing something with a few of the hundreds of photographs I took, so here goes… One of our destinations was Rome and are some of the highlights…

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Until this summer, I had never been to Italy before. I have wanted to visit for so long, but the opportunity didn’t arise until last year. As there was a direct flight from Malaga to Rome we decided to bite the bullet and do a city break with three kids in tow. Before setting off we had the feeling it might be better in hindsight and I think perhaps we were right. It was mid summer, it was very hot, we did loads and loads of walking but we saw lots of the city and it was definitely worth it.

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It is a truly beautiful city. Walking the streets of Rome felt like being on a film set. From grand palazos to higgledy piggledy alleyways, no two streets are the same.

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It was very expensive though. We had been warned before our trip that everything would cost a lot more than we are used to. Breakfast on our first morning, which was nothing more than croissants, coffee and juice for a family of five came to more than €100.

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Whatever corner you walked around there was something to catch your eye.

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I did a double take as we walked down one street and all of a sudden I found myself in front of the Trevi Fountain. We weren’t alone though….. several hundred other folk had turned up too!

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We rented a lovely apartment close to the Spanish Steps. It was amazing to be able to walk out of the front door and within 5 to 10 minutes be at such a famous landmark.

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The view from the top was great, if incredibly over populated!

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In order to escape the crowds in town we took a walk away from the city at the top of the Spanish Steps and soon found ourselves a much quieter vantage point.

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The road we had taken led us to one of Rome’s parks, the beautifully cool and shady Villa Borghese park.

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It was the perfect place to take stock, sit on a bench and rest our weary feet for a little while.

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The Romans certainly know how to do a park on a grand scale!

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We meandered through the park and found ourselves back amongst the throngs so thought we’d give the Rome Metro a whirl.

Naturally, being in Rome, it had to be decorated with mosaics…

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It’s not just the people who are stylish in Rome, their homes are elegant too. As is often the case in Gibraltar, people feel the need to cultivate some greenery in whatever small outdoor space they have. I spotted quite a few balcony gardens.

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Next to the Roman Forum there were lots of green balconies….

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One of the new things I learned about Rome on our visit was that it has a castle…

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Castel Sant’Angelo was built as a mausoleum from the Roman Emperor Hadrian but later was converted into a papal fortress as it’s located a short distance from the Vatican. Nowadays it is the site of a museum.

On one of our long circuitous walks we found ourselves outside Quirinal Palace,  the Italian President’s residence. It was only when we spotted the rather grand garden in the distance and the guard of honour that we realised we were somewhere important.

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One thing you cannot escape in Rome is the profusion of fountains, both large like the Trevi fountain and the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) in Piazza Navona (below)….

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…to the smaller drinking fountains dotted around the city providing fresh, clean drinking water for anyone who should need it. The water gets into the centre of the city thanks to a network of underground aqueducts built by the ancient Romans.

At this point I must address the elephant in the room. You may be aware that there are a lot of marble statues in Rome, a good proportion of them had their marble nether regions on display. Travelling with young ones, meant that these were frequently pointed out and giggled about…

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Roman food was a great hit with the whole family. Pizza and pasta rate highly in the favourite foods list for all three Little Postcards, as does ice cream, or should I say gelato?

We managed to visit one gelateria which boasted 150 different flavours…. what a dilemma. (I opted for cappuccino in the end in case you were wondering).

You can’t visit Rome without seeing some of the magnificent ancient Roman architecture which has stood the test of time. The Pantheon was utterly mind blowing. I will share more pictures of this in a couple of weeks when I focus on the ancient side of Rome.

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We also enjoyed a fabulous tour of Vatican City. I will share a Postcard from there next week.

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I hope you have enjoyed this little snippet of our lovely few days spent in Rome. Thanks for reading 🙂

Sunday Sevens #117 7.1.18

Hello and welcome to the first Sunday Sevens of 2018. After all that build up, the festivities seem to have passed in a flash and we’re one week into the New Year already. Schools in Gibraltar go back tomorrow (hooray!) and life is returning back to normal. Let’s rewind a bit though and look back at New Year’s Eve…

Happy New Year!

We brought in the New Year in Spain. We ran away for a few days and did things like play Cluedo, table tennis, swimming and chilling out. It was a really lovely break. The hotel next to our resort laid on the most impressive fireworks display. We have stayed in the same place a couple of times before and in the past the only fireworks locally were a few rockets set off by families living nearby. This time it was something else.

Starting as I mean to go on!

Within half an hour of us arriving home in Gibraltar on Monday morning, I had my trainers on and I headed up the Med Steps for my first of many climbs (I hope) this year. It’s been a few months since my last visit and the first signs of spring were in evidence with these beautiful narcissi dotted along the pathway.

The view from the top was so clear, Africa looked so close!

Morning moonlight

I believe it’s a ‘wolf moon’ that we had on New Year’s Day and into the 2nd. Here it is just as it was about to disappear behind the hills above Algeciras on Tuesday morning. This beautiful image was captured by Mr Postcard on his way to work. Just as well he took it – I was fast asleep!!

Child cruelty

As the schools in Gibraltar haven’t started back yet after the Christmas break, I have had three Little Postcards at home this week. We had beautiful weather for much of it and it felt criminal to stay indoors, so I dragged them out with me and took them for a steep walk up the Rock.

We started from the centre of town and walked up to Princess Caroline’s Battery from where we could spy on the city below and watch the comings and goings at the airport. I was an awful mother, taking them away from their devices, making them walk miles and miles up a ‘vertical hill’ (their words not mine). But I did get them ice cream at the top and in hindsight they said they enjoyed it ;-).

Being tourists

Last month, Gibraltar’s newest tourist attraction opened – a viewing platform to see the entrance to Gorham’s Cave and Vanguard Cave. They are part of the UNESCO World Heritage site we have here in Gibraltar and the site of significant archaeological discoveries relating to the Rocks earliest inhabitants. We decided to pay it a visit this week and enjoyed a really informative talk by our guide. It’s well worth a visit.

Three Kings Cavalcade

Friday was 5th January and that meant it was time for the annual Three Kings Cavalcade in Gibraltar. After a decline in the number of floats in recent years, there was a lot more out in time for the 61st Cavalcade. Local businesses, community groups and even families put on elaborate floats to delight the crowds. This marvelous fish was on a float made entirely of recycled materials – what a fabulous idea!

That’s all for Sunday Sevens this week, a week in which I launched my Friday Photo Challenge and was overwhelmed by the response. Thanks very much to everyone who’s taken part so far!

I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

2018 Friday Photo Challenge (Week 1) New Beginnings

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Hello there and welcome to this, the first 2018 Friday Photo Challenge.

Last year I really enjoyed being part of a weekly photo challenge which was organised by Wild Daffodil and Nana Cathy. Each week, we were given a one word prompt to use to inspire a photograph based blog post. This year (after several years spent organising other photo challenges) they have decided not to carry on with this on a weekly basis. Sandra at Wild Daffodil is now hosting a Monthly Meet-Up instead.

That left me with a yearning for a weekly photo challenge for this year, so I decided to come up with my own. It will (all being well) happen on a Friday – hence the name, and I would love it if you would like to join in too. At the end of this post, you will find the list of prompts for each of the 52 weeks of the year. All you need to do is publish your post and tag me in it. That way I can keep track of anyone who’s joining in and I can share your lovely posts with everyone else. If you don’t have a blog and want to join in on Instagram, just use the hashtag #postcardfromgibfridayphoto

There’s absolutely no pressure, if you don’t want to commit to every week, that’s fine. Just dip in and out as you fancy.

So here’s my first entry for the 2018 Friday Photo Challenge. It’s the photo I took as we drove back home towards Gibraltar after a few lovely days along the coast in Spain. We drove back on New Year’s Day morning full of enthusiasm and raring to go. A fresh start and a New Year.

If you aren’t familiar with this part of the world, Gibraltar is the great big rock standing in the distance to the right hand-side of the photo, the mountains in the back ground stand across the Strait of Gibraltar in Morocco in northern Africa.

Here’s the list of prompts for the 2018 Friday Photo Challenge:

Monthly Meet-up January : Sparkle

Throughout 2017 I took part in the weekly photo challenges set by Nana Cathy and Wild Daffodil. This year, they have both decided to take a break from setting this particular challenge. Instead, Sandra at Wild Daffodil has started a monthly meet-up with a prompt for you to share photos or blog posts you may have which are appropriate for that prompt.

This is the first of the monthly meet-ups for 2018 and January’s word is Sparkle. What better way to start the year’s new blog series than with some sparkly fireworks from New Years Eve?

As I enjoyed taking part in Sandra and Cathy’s photo challenge last year so much, and I thought I would miss having a weekly photo post, I have decided to launch my very own photo challenge for 2018. Starting this Friday will be the 2018 Friday Photo Challenge. The first prompt is aptly ‘New Beginnings’ and if you would like to join in, just tag me in your post and I will share any entries each month as we go along.

Do join in if you fancy it, there’s no pressure to get involved each week if that’s too much of a commitment, just dip in and out if you like. The full list of prompts will be published with the first Friday Photo Challenge post this Friday.

Sunday Sevens #116 31.12.17

Well here we are on New Year’s Eve 2017. What a scary thought, another year older (not sure whether I’m much wiser though). A year when I was lucky enough to be offered new challenges and be able to take them. A year when my blog-friends have stuck with me despite not having much time for them in return. Thank you all.

I guess if you can get to the end of a year feeling thankful, it’s been a good one for you. I know it hasn’t been plain sailing for some of you, but I sincerely hope that 2018 brings better things your way.

Here’s my end of 2017 edition of Sunday Sevens:

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve afternoon was spent at the park at Europa Point, it was unusually quiet (unlike how it probably was on Christmas Day or Boxing Day with children testing out their new bikes and scooters). We spent over 2 hours playing football, swinging on swings and climbing (well I played the football – not sure the swings were built for my age group) in the hope that the fresh air would help aid excited Little Postcards doze off ahead of the arrival of Santa. We were there so long that the sun started to set. With tummies rumbling for dinner, we headed home…

Christmas Day

The fresh air worked – they did get to sleep eventually! I’m pleased to report that Santa came and everyone was pleased with their Christmas morning surprises. The best bit about Christmas for me, apart from being with loved ones has to be the food…

Boxing Day in Marbella

When I was a child we used to go for a Boxing Day walk in the north Cheshire countryside near to where I grew up. We’d have turkey butties and a thermos flask with coffee in (maybe with a tot of whiskey when I was old enough – to keep out the cold). We’d crunch through frozen puddles or squelch along muddy canal tow-paths. I fear we are raising Southern softies…. this is where we came to on Boxing Day, an hour or so’s drive from home.

Christmas crochet

I started this project just over a year ago as a Christmas present for last year, as you can see it’s still very much still in progress. Hopefully I’ll get it done by next Christmas!!

Blue skies

We had some mixed weather over the Christmas break, some rain and stormy winds (we tried and failed to fly kites it was too gusty), but we did get a couple of days with magnificent blue skies. There’s no filter on this photo – it really was that blue!

It’s begun…

My actual weight is a secret between me and my Fitbit, but crumbs I got an unpleasant surprise when I stood on the scales this week. Well perhaps it wasn’t that much of a surprise – you kind of know when you’ve over indulged and your profile is slightly more Michelin man than Olympic athlete.

So I have begun my new regime, I have to get fitter again – less than six months ago I climbed the Med Steps five times in less than 4 and a half hours, I feel like I would struggle to do it once, something’s got to give (and it’s not my waist band).

So here’s to 2018 and health and happiness and a slightly smaller waist! Happy New Year!

I’m linking with Natalie of Threads & Bobbins for this weekly blog series.