Postcard from Gibraltar Review of 2018

Well here we are at the end of another year, it’s been a year of crafty and photo challenges, and on the whole a good one for the Postcard clan. It’s only now I’ve taken a look back at what we’ve done that I realised that we’ve packed a lot in! Here are some of my highlights from 2018…

January

I started the year off with a lovely walk up the Rock, those paperwhite narcissi were photographed on New Year’s Day. After enjoying participating in a photo challenge in 2017 under the stewardship of Sandra at Wild Daffodil, I decided to have a go at running one in 2018, so #postcardfromgibfridayphoto was born on Instagram and in Blogland. I also embarked on the Seaside Stash Busting Blanket CAL in January too. Little did I know what fun it would become.

February

February saw plenty more crochet and a fair bit of watercolour painting, along with the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth to Gibraltar. The huge Royal Naval aircraft carrier was quite a sight to behold.

March

March, very fortunately for us was a month for travel, first to attempt skiing for the very first time in the Italian Dolomites – it was amazing, and second to take the Little Postcards on an Easter trip to the South of England.

April

We began April on Easter Sunday on the Jurassic Coast in Devon, then headed to London for a few days before heading home. It was a fun trip.

May

May meant Med Steps 5 Challenge, Gibraltar’s Comic Con and some lovely spring weather.

June

June brought with it the Calentita! food festival and my very first printed article in the Calentita! magazine. We celebrated World Environment Day and I had a go at Yarnbombing the Alameda Gardens!

July

Summer holidays we the order of the day in July (along with my now traditional annual Summer Craft Challenge). We headed off to Suffolk to help celebrate a big birthday for a member of the Postcard family. We traveled by plane, old trains and kayak! Which reminds me, we went to a fabulous country fair at Worstead, I really should get a post written about that…

August

August was spent in Suffolk, Gibraltar and visiting my family in Manchester. We watched acrobats and magicians in Gib and followed the Bee trail around Manchester.

September

Back to Gibraltar in time for school starting and the end of the Gibraltar Fair. We had National Day celebrations and the MTV Presents Gibraltar Calling Music Festival.

October

At midterm in October we headed off for a short break in Portugal. We’re so lucky to be able to drive to so many lovely places from where we live. This was also the month that I finished my Sandy Bay blanket.

November

November began for us in Portugal and ended with the Christmas light switch on with the fabulous Gibraltar Literary Festival in between. It’s a truly wonderful festival which happens right on our doorstep.

December

December saw the end of the Friday photo challenge I curated as well as a rather pleasant pre Christmas trip up the Med Steps

Thank you to everyone who has followed and read my posts this year, it’s been lovely to know that there’s someone out there actually reading them! I hope that 2018 has been a good year for you and that 2019 is too!

Friday photo challenge (week 49) Sunset

We are incredibly fortunate to have a beautiful west-facing view from our home. We look out on the Bay of Gibraltar and the hills behind Algeciras in the distance. Each clear evening we get to see the sun plop down behind the hills and often, the sunsets are spectacular (the top one was taken on Sunday).

Sometimes we just get a quick glimpse as the sun comes out from cloud cover before disappearing!

We’ve been lucky enough to see some lovely sunsets while on holiday too. The one above was taken on a bridge across the River Garonne in Toulouse in Southern France, and the one below on the beach at Marbella on the Costa del Sol (Costa del Sunset on this occasion).

But my favourite sunset photo has to be this one….

…taken at a hotel a short drive along the Spanish coast from where we live in Gibraltar. I love how the dark silhouettes of the trees and bridge are reflected in the pool.

Next week’s Friday photo challenge is: ‘Decoration’.

Sunday Sevens #140 10.6.18

Hello there! We are in the middle of yet another lovely bank holiday weekend here in Gibraltar, this time it’s to commemorate the Queen’s birthday. Here’s this week’s edition of Sunday Sevens:

Birthday cake and sewing

It was my friend’s birthday this week and it coincided with our sewing class. I wasn’t expecting a generous slice of this gorgeous plate of chocolatey heaven when I turned up! As you can probably tell from the photo, it was divine. I was very careful not to drop any crumb on my dress I’m sewing!!

World Environment Day

World Environment Day was celebrated in Gibraltar on Tuesday in Commonwealth Park. Local school choirs performed on the bandstand and organisations and companies with an interest in the environment like the Alameda Wildlife & Conservation Park and the Nautilus Project had stalls to raise awareness about environmental concerns. It was a lovely afternoon in a beautiful setting.

Alameda Gardens

We are in the midst of a bit of home improvement Chez Postcard at present. The place is in utter chaos with stuff moved from it’s normal locations, floor tiles lifted, power tool noise and lots and lots of dust. I ran away one morning to escape the noise and mess and sat for half an hour in the tranquility of the Alameda Gardens. While I was there, these beautiful day lillies caught my eye. Aren’t they beautiful with their deep purple edges?

Sunny Catalan Bay

In another bid to escape the work at home I took a walk through Catalan Bay one lunchtime. It was beautifully sunny and quiet! It won’t be long before this place is full of deck chairs and sun umbrellas cheek by jowl on the beach. Until then, it’s such a peaceful place to be!

Cock a doodle doo to you too!

You can often hear cockerels crowing in the South District of Gibraltar, but until recently, I had never actually seen who was making all the noise! A couple of months ago on an early morning walk I came face to face with a rather impressive black cockerel, but he ran away too fast for me to catch him on camera. This week though, as I walked along Europa Road, I not only heard, but saw two cockerels crowing. They were oblivious to the traffic whizzing by them just a metre or so below them.

Sunny walk on the costa

Yesterday we took a drive along the coast to Puerto Banus near Marbella. It’s a rather swanky place full of designer shops, very (and I mean very) posh cars and mahooosive yatchs in the marina. I quite like going there to people watch and to see how the other half lives. Away from the razzmatazz there’s a lovely promenade where you can walk all the way to Marbella. We had a very pleasant walk there yesterday (not as far as Marbs though) the Little Postcards enjoyed jumping from rock to rock along the wall at the side of the path.

International Yarnbombing Day preparations

Did you know it’s International Yarnbombing Day tomorrow? Well it is, and I may be working on a little yarnbomb of my own… watch this space!

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

Sunday Sevens #108 5.11.17

Good morning and hello from a very sunny Gibraltar! You join me as we calm down after a very pleasant mid term break in Spain and and prepare for a return to the usual routine. Here goes with this week’s Sunday Sevens…

And relax…..

We were so lucky last weekend to be able to return to our favourite nearby holiday destination. This resort is on the Costa del Sol, very close to Marbella. We often debate about trying somewhere else, but are drawn back to familiarity and love the fact that as soon as we arrive it feels like coming home and we totally relax. Ahhh, bliss 😊

Spooky shenanigans 

Tuesday of course was Halloween and we took a trip to Puerto Banus and had lunch in the very  spooky Hard Rock Cafe. We were served (or should that be severed) by a zombie. Not sure about the waiting staff recruitment but the food was good, even if it was devilishly loaded with calories….

Boo!

I finished Gloria the ghost, who came free with the Halloween edition of Simply Crochet Magazine from last year. As my copy always arrives too late to be totally relevant for the season, I was astonished that I managed to unearth the kit and correct magazine for instructions in time!

Midterm break sunshine

A new month, meant a new project using a new stitch. I can’t say any more about this as it’s a secret.

Nooo! Too soon!!


I don’t know about you but I’m not ready to be faced with Christmas merchandise in the shops yet!! This was one small section of a large Christmas shelf in a Spanish supermarket…

Thunderbolts & Lightning 


On Friday night we experienced a very long and dramatic thunderstorm. I didn’t manage to catch a photo of fork lightning this time but these two photos were taken about a second apart. An amazing amount of rain fell, just in time to remind us to dig out the waterproofs in time for this winter’s rain.

Homeward bound


The rains continued into yesterday morning but less heavy and there were glimpses of sunshine too, so we saw a couple of rainbows 🌈. Can you spot the faint one over the hill?

October mosaic

Here’s a few of my October highlights….

I’m linking with Natalie from Threads & Bobbins for the Sunday Sevens weekly blog series.

Sunday Sevens #74 12.3.17

Hello there, I’m pressing the publish button on this edition of Sunday Sevens in Spain. It’s a bank holiday weekend in Gibraltar and we have taken the opportunity to get away for a couple of days.

Without further ado, here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens…


A first attempt at corner to corner


YouTube is a wonderful thing… I have used it to learn lots of different crafty things. My latest tutorial to watch was one on corner to corner or ‘C2C’ blankets. It was presented by Bella Coco and I can highly recommend it for clarity and being easy to follow. You can find a link to her channel here.

I decided to have a go at making a baby blanket with this new found skill, and I rather like it. It’s very addictive though – you have been warned!

A new project…

I’m trying my hand at patchwork quilting. I have made a few quite basic ones in the past, and this one will be similarly basic too. I love the look of the really intricate ones but the thought of how to make them makes my head ache. 

I had a few hours spare on Monday so I decided to set about cutting out my fabric pieces and laid out the pattern on the dining room floor. My word, it took such a long time to cut out and figure out the pattern that I only had an hour left before the school pick up. Unfortunately that’s as far as I got with it this week. I hope I can get a bit more done on this soon.

Zip’s in!

I missed my dressmaking class last week because of a poorly Little Postcard. Part way through this week’s class I received a phone call from school to go and collect another Little Postcard as he’d had a mishap. I’m pleased to report that he’s fine and was none the worse for his sporting injury by bedtime. I’m also pleased to say in my brief time at my lesson I managed to insert the invisible zip into my dress. 

A walk in the clouds 

In case you missed my post midweek, here’s another chance to see my view from the top of the Med Steps. We climbed up through the clouds to get to the summit. You can see the post I wrote about it here.

Flower making at football training 

So at football training this week I struck up a conversation with one of the other mums as I sat crocheting in the afternoon sun. She really surprised me by telling me that she had read Postcard from Gibraltar and it was one of the reasons why she’d moved here! Holy moly, I did not expect to hear that!!

It’s the weekend!


It’s a bank holiday weekend in Gibraltar this weekend. Schools are closed on Monday because it’s Commonwealth weekend (a fact I find befuddling given that it’s not celebrated in the British Isles). Anyway, we made most of it and ran away for an impromptu couple of days along the coast. 

The Little Postcards didn’t know we were going, although they did question why we were crossing the frontier into Spain straight from school. It was a gorgeous afternoon and so clear. We could see the Rock getting smaller and smaller as we drove along the coast to Marbella. 

Saturday night rock and roll


Hibiscus and strawberry gin and tonic with a side order of crochet, that’s how I roll on a Saturday night these days! Perhaps it’s my age… Did you spot the fact that I’m on my second C2C blanket already?? I warned you the are addictive!!

Thanks so much for stopping by, whatever you’re up to this weekend I hope you’re having a good one!

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

Review of the year : 2016

As the clock ticks inexorably towards midnight on 31st December and we close the door on 2016, I thought it was time to take a look back at the year we have just had. Most of the newspaper reviews I’ve read so far have focussed on the negative aspects, celebrity deaths, the seismic political changes afoot both in Europe, America and the rest of the world, and general doom and gloom.

I am very fortunate in that for us, in our little corner of the world, apart from the uncertainties of Brexit and what that could mean for us in the years to come, we’ve had a pretty good year. Looking back at all the interesting things we’ve done makes me think about how fortunate we are. If your 2016 has been a difficult one, I sincerely hope that 2017 will be better for you and your loved ones.

January 2016

The New Year saw us spending a few days up the coast from Gibraltar on the Costa del Sol, but we were back on the Rock in plenty of time to see the Three Kings Cavalcade. It was also back in January when I went for the first of my strolls around Gibraltar the first one was an homage to the many beautiful balconies, the second one paid tribute to the many steps we ‘enjoy’ here!

February 2016

February brought us some misty and stormy weather, but there was plenty of indoors activities to keep us busy here in Gibraltar. The second annual Gib Talks event saw speakers from all walks of life take to the stage for short talks on a huge range of subjects. Later in the month, the extraordinary Gibraltar Womens Association celebrated their 50th Anniversary, I found  their story fascinating.

March 2016

In March, we were blessed with some beautiful sunny days with bright blue skies. Along with completing a tin man outfit for World Book Day, I finally managed to finish my Attic 24 Cosy Stripe Blanket after a year of hooking! We made the most of the lovely spring weather and took a dolphin trip out into the Bay of Gibraltar. There was also a beautiful exhibition in Gib celebrating  women’s creativity.

April 2016

During April we made another short trip up the coast and headed inland to Ronda a beautiful Andalucian town. I was very productive at my dressmaking and home furnishing courses inserting my first invisible zip and producing curtain tie-backs for the public transport fan in my life. A tall ship called into port at Gibraltar and members of the public had the chance to go on board and have a snoop around.

May 2016

May meant Med Steps for me big time as I completed my final training sessions for, and then finished, the Med Steps 5 Challenge with my two stepping buddies. It was a rather intense day but we were so proud of ourselves for climbing to the top of the Rock five times in quick succession. We also managed to raise a fair amount of sponsorship money for the brilliant Cancer Relief Gibraltar. Some of my sponsors are readers of this blog and I am so touched that you took the time and effort to support our fundraising efforts – thank you.

As I spent so long prattling on about the Med Steps during my training, I figured I should tell you all about it:  The Med Steps: a few facts & figures . May also meant saying goodbye to a good friend to me and my blogging adventures. One of the sad things about living an expat life is that many of the friends you make are in the same boat as you and therefore may not be around for long Saying goodbye…

June 2016

June was a very eventful month not only for me but for Gibraltar and the rest of the UK as a whole as BREXIT loomed large (this post was my most read of all time and by a very long way). Six months on, we are still no further forward knowing what it all means.

Another unexpected thing to happen to me in June, was when I chose to go back up the Med Steps one foggy morning. I thought that the mist would make the climb cool as the summer heat had begun to build. I was wrong. As I climbed up the Rock, I climbed out of the mist and fog. I was nearly roasted alive, but I did manage to take a rather good photo of the Rock emerging out of the mist below (see second left image on the bottom row above). I got loads of likes and shares and retweets with that picture taken on  A mini stroll in the mist!

11th June 2016 marked International Yarnbombing Day 2016 and I had a little go myself with my first guerrilla crochet project as I attempted to Yarnbomb the Alameda Gardens to celebrate the park’s 200th anniversary.

July 2016

July equals the beginning of the very long school summer holiday in Gibraltar. As I stared down the barrel of 8 weeks of no school and the prospect of entertaining the three Little Postcards I felt a little overwhelmed. In an effort to find some way of surviving (with my marbles intact) I decided on day one that I would set myself the challenge of doing something crafty every single day of the holidays…. and the Summer Craft Challenge was born. One of our summer holiday outings took us up into the Upper Rock Nature Reserve to visit one of Gibraltar’s newest attractions, the  Windsor Suspension Bridge .

August 2016

August, for us, was mainly spent in England. I travelled back with the Little Postcards to spend two weeks based in the North West with my parents (with a lovely trip down to Berkshire to visit friends) and then two weeks with Mr Postcard visiting his family in East Anglia. We were blessed with the best of English summer weather. When the sun shines – there really is no better place to be. Our East Anglia holiday base was Southwold in Suffolk, it gave us the perfect opportunity for multiple visits to a special place for us Southwold Pier .

The end of the month brought the school summer holidays to an end. After eight weeks of full-time kiddiwinks and eight weeks of the summer craft challenge, I was very proud to still be in full possession of my marbles (I think) and I also managed to do something crafty on every day except for one (the day we travelled back to Gibraltar). The final instalment of my challenge is here.

September 2016

September is always a very busy month in Gibtraltar. Just after the children return to school, we all have a day off for Gibraltar National Day on 10th September. Around this time we now have the Gibraltar Music Festival to enjoy too. This year saw the Stereophonics headline and Europe played the air guitarist’s dream of The Final Countdown live on the Rock.

Towards the end of the month, I was able to fulfil an ambition of mine to visit the Yarn Festival of Yarndale. It was everything I had expected and more, with bells on. My absolute highlight was meeting my crochet hero Lucy from Attic 24 and being able to give her one of my Llanitas (Llanita, the Gibraltar Yarndale sheep that is). The sheep were made to raise funds to support a children’s hospice in North Yorkshire, I made two and they have both gone to live in Yorkshire!  My Yarndale 2016 (featuring Llanita’s Yorkshire adventures)

October 2016

In October I was still determined to keep up some of the crochet momentum I had achieved during the summertime and finished off my contribution to the Sixty Million Trebles project. I made a rainbow granny square blanket which will go towards the World Record breaking attempt to create a huge crochet blanket made up of sixty million treble stitches. Each treble stitch represents a displaced person or refugee. After the world record attempt the giant blanket will be made into smaller blankets and handed out to charities in the UK and those helping Syrian refugees. The organisers also hope to raise a considerable amount of funds too to help Syrian refugees.

A big event locally was the fourth annual Gibraltar Literary Festival 2016 I was lucky enough to be able to attend several events this year and really loved it.

November 2016

At the beginning of November we had just one Bunny in the Postcard household, then one Sunday afternoon during a walk through the Alameda Gardens, we found some abandoned rabbits. One of them, Blizzard, came home with us (Blizzard turned out to be a girl and she is now known as Snowflake). It was back in November when I had my first attempt at Podcasting I had such fun making it, and hope to be able to share another one with you soon.

December

In December we sadly said goodbye to Bunny Postcard. She had only been with us for 11 months but she’d quickly become a much loved member of the family.

This month I also headed out for my most recent stroll, to see some of the Christmas lights  we have on the Rock – amazingly it was the 16th stroll post I’ve written this year. I also took the plunge (literally) and joined with the annual Boxing Day Polar Bear Swim at Catalan Bay – I’m still feeling proud of myself for doing it!

 

Thank you so much for joining me this year, I have loved having your company and enjoy reading all the lovely comments. Here’s to next year, who knows what it will have in store for us all, here’s hoping it will be a good one.

Sunday Sevens #56 6.11.16

Sunday seaside stroll


We started our mid-term near Puerto Banus on the Costa del Sol, I do like it there, but not for the reasons most folk do. It’s very glitzy and has very posh designer shops jostling for position along the marina quayside. The super rich clientele park their large posh cars on the waterside next to the super yachts. It’s a place for people watching and being ‘seen’. 

My favorite part though, is away from the razzmatazz. There’s a lovely promenade which follows the coast from the edge of the glitzy marina along the beach and across the Rio Verde. We’ve had many walks along here over the years with Littlest Postcard at just a few months old and on several different mid-term, Easter or Christmas breaks since.

On Sunday there was a fishing competition going on and we watched the fishermen preparing their vast array of technical equipment – who knew it was such a science? I thought a rod, line, hook and bait was all that was required!

Heatwave colours 


I’ve been waiting for the right time to begin my Weekend Bag kit I bought from the Attic 24 stall at Yarndale in September. I bought two kits, but wanted to work on this one first because I thought the colours were more suited to the autumn and winter.

Our home for the first bit of our holiday really matched the ‘heatwave’ colour scheme don’t you think?

Border Queue fun


On Tuesday we had to return to Gibraltar for a few hours before being able to continue with our holiday. Thankfully we were only an hour away and the border queue into Gibraltar was only 20 minutes or so. In the evening, though, it was a different matter. We were put into a kind of stacking system and had to wait more than 40 minutes before we could cross back into Spain.

I don’t think it was anything more than volume of traffic, but crikey I’m so glad I don’t have to do that every day! I feel sorry for those who have this to contend with on their commute to work. I’m afraid we do avoid crossing over to Spain a lot of the time because of the queue, it’s just not fun with small people in the car.

Giant chess anyone?


I ‘played’ (if that’s what you call it) chess with my Littlest Postcard on Wednesday afternoon. His rules… which meant walking around the board with a knight under his arm and basically claiming all of my pieces. I lost, needless to say. I have only played the game a handful of times but I’m pretty sure that’s not the official version….

Poolside crochet


I quite like swimming, when you are allowed to actually swim. However, these days, trips to the pool invariably end up with me being pummeled, dive bombed or used as a vehicle to transport children around the pool. Perhaps that’s my lot in life as a mother of three boys… 

I struck lucky on Thursday when Mr Postcard offered to ‘take one for the team’ and went in with the boys and let me stay on the side to crochet and observe the usual high jinks from the safety of a lounger. For the record, I did go in the pool and suffered the usual abuse on the following two days… 

I was working on my shawl from the summer after the arrival of the last ball of wool I needed to finish it…. on the final straight!

2 WIPs finished



Oh the joys of holidays and having the time to sit down and crochet! Two of my works-in-progress (WIPs) were completed on Friday. My newly started Attic 24 weekend bag and my first ever lacy shawl begun back in August during my  Summer Craft Challenge – I was waiting for the arrival of the final ball of yarn before I could complete it. Many thanks to Marisa (aka @mariwish on Instagram) for the shawl-making & pattern reading lesson and for the yarn delivery last week!

End of our holiday


Our week away began with lovely sunshine and blue skies, but ended with heavy thundery showers and even tornados a few kilometers away! There were some sunny spells though yesterday and this was one of them. The beach was pretty empty yesterday with the inclement weather but we still managed a table tennis marathon, football, basketball, chess, swimming and I ran for 4kms at the gym without stopping – go me!! I ate my dinner guilt free last night! 🙂

October 2016


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