Review of 2017

Crumbs, it’s looking awfully like we are on the cusp of another New Year, it surely can’t be a whole year since the last one, it’s gone far too fast. I guess now’s as good a time as any to have a look back at some of my Postcard from Gibraltar highlights from the past 12 months….

January 2017

A new year meant a new challenge for me this year, a photo challenge. Last year I read Nana Cathy’s blog and was intrigued by her weekly photo challenge. When January came around I thought I’d join in myself. It’s been such fun and quite inspiring throughout the year to have weekly prompts to find pictures for. If you fancy joining in check out Wild Daffodil’s blog for more information.

Also in January I joined forces with my friend Kate of H and FlossieDoodle to start the Gibraltar Crochet Collective. We did meet weekly to crochet and chat over coffee although our meetings have got less and less frequent due to other commitments lately. Our mascots Gib and Rocksy went for a bit of an adventure.

Another new project for me this month was my podcast, you can find my blogposts and the related podcasts here.

February 2017

In February I ran my Creative Gibraltar series looking at some of the very talented craftspeople who live in Gibraltar. I began with my lovely watercolour teacher Deborah M Lawson and ended with local craftswoman and up-cycling guru Sue Orfila. February also brought us the 2017 installment of Gib Talks. I was also fortunate to be able to speak to Gib Talks organiser Julian Felice before the event for one of my podcasts.

March 2017

March was a month for Lenten crochet (far easier than giving up chocolate) which helped support the Sixty Million Trebles effort, a beautiful Suffolk family wedding and a sad goodbye to our rescue bunny Snowflake.

April 2017

April began for us in Southwold in Suffolk, one of our favourite places and involved a lot of Med Steps training, which was very handy for burning off those seaside fish and chips! I was also able to finish another Sixty Million Trebles blanket – this one from the Gibraltar Crochet Collective.

May 2017

May meant Med Steps 5 Challenge again this year and I even managed to beat my time from last year! You can hear my podcast about it here. We also flew back to the UK for our second family wedding of the year.

June 2017

June started for us in Wigan in Lancashire, the location of our latest wedding and the perfect setting for a lovely walk. It was also the Calentita! food festival in Gibraltar. (For some reason the same aerial photo of Gibraltar appeared in May and June’s collages – not sure why that was. It is a good photo though don’t you think?).

July 2017

In July our big summer of travel began with a trip up to the North West of England and a flying visit to North Wales. We also drove to Portugal.

August 2017

This has got to be my most cosmopolitan of all months, featuring travel in Portugal, Rome, France and of course good old Gibraltar. Which reminds me, I have loads of holiday photos on my phone and camera SD card which are crying out to become blog posts – watch this space in the New Year.

September 2017

September is a big month on the Rock, this year more than most as Gibraltarians celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum when they voted overwhelmingly to remain British. Gibraltar National Day on 10th September coincidentally happened to be the day of my 100th Sunday Sevens. We also had a fabulous music festival.

October 2017

October brought with it some interesting weather, beautiful sunshine, murky mists and exciting lightning storms.

November 2017

November was a good crochet month for me as I finally got around to making last year’s Little Box of Crochet autumn wreath. I also greatly enjoyed this year’s Gibraltar Literary Festival with talks by Nicholas Parsons, Patrick Gale and local photographers and naturalists Clive, Geraldine and Stewart Finlayson.

December 2017

December seems to have rushed by in a flurry of end of term carol concerts and panicked making of Christmas presents (some of which failed to get finished in time). There have been some opportunities for peace and quiet though, namely the last Saturday before Christmas when we avoided the shops and headed for the beach for peace and tranquility.

Summer craft challenge

For the second year running, during the long summer holiday we get in Gibraltar, I decided to set aside a little time each day to do something crafty and I documented this with my Summer Craft Challenge. Each day I featured a photo on Instagram and each week I wrote a blog post on my progress.

At the beginning of the challenge I made a little amigurumi unicorn which I got the kit for in an edition of Simply Crochet magazine. I christened her Europa and she became my Summer Craft Challenge mascot and came on our travels with us. There were several occasions when the Little Postcards thought Mummy had lost her marbles posing a crocheted unicorn in various European locations for photographs…

This year, I returned to work part-time after 13 years as a full-time, stay at home Mum. I have to admit that during the last few months I have found it hard to make time for Postcard from Gibraltar alongside my new commitments and at times I’ve wondered whether I can actually keep it up. I have had some really lovely comments and support from my online friends and that’s kept me going. Thank goodness I have Sunday Sevens and the weekly photo challenge to keep me ticking over during ‘dry’ spells.

I think I would really miss the community I have ‘met’ through Postcard from Gibraltar, and if I’m honest, it’s you and the support you’ve given me which gave me the confidence to apply for the job in the first place. Thank you very much to everyone who’s taken the time to read my posts over the past 2 and a half years, and for the virtual friendship you have given me too – it’s not taken for granted. Every comment and like is very much appreciated.

Here’s to 2018 and all the wonderful challenges it may bring!

Best wishes to you and yours for the New Year x

Creative Gibraltar: Crafting & Upcycling with Sue Orfila 


Crafting and making is something which Sue Orfila has always done, from making clothes for her Sindy doll and making her own crib at Christmas at the age of 5. “I’ve always made something from nothing” says Sue “I’m a thrifty kind of artist”, something which is evident when you take a look around Sue’s workspace and shop; OriginArta.

When Sue left school, she went to work in an office “that went against the grain, I wanted to be a hairdresser and be creative, I should have stayed on at school but I wanted money to buy clothes”. That office based work continued until Sue came to live in Gibraltar with her husband, an advert for a part time job at the Caleta Palace Hotel at Catalan Bay was the catalyst for a change in direction.

Acrylic on canvas
The job advertisement was for a hotel gardener but also offered the chance to do some flower arranging for weddings and that pushed Sue’s creative buttons. She got the job and after 2 years it became a full time position. “I realised my creative side” says Sue, “the pinnacle was at Christmas when they asked me to dress the Christmas tree on a tight budget – I was in my element”.

Sue (centre) with husband David & son Adam
After having her son, Adam, Sue stopped working but continued her creativity by returning to drawing, something she hadn’t done much of since childhood. As Adam got older, Sue went into partnership with another girl in the early 1990s and and opened ‘Suzie Willow’, a shop selling dried flower arrangements. In 2000 Sue left the shop but she continued drawing and making things for herself in the meantime.


Then, ten years later, the time was right for Sue to open another shop and OriginArta was born. It’s first location was on Governor’s Street, just a short distance from it’s current spot and was “a great little shop, but when it rained it leaked like a sieve” reminisces Sue. When her current shop became available she was really happy “I got a window to dress!”


Sue’s shop window is an absolute delight (regular readers of the Postcard from Gibraltar blog may remember seeing it featured before in Sunday Sevens). Following the same principles of form and depth as in flower arranging, Sue takes great care in dressing her shop window to reflect the seasons.


As well as selling items she has made and upcycled, Sue offers a range of craft classes from flower arranging and ‘stencil and stitch’ to decoupage and still life drawing. “I don’t want to influence my students” says Sue, “I want them to find their own style”.

Daffodil Teapot, painted with enamels “In celebration of Spring”
In her stencil and stitch classes, students make their own design and cut out the negative before painting it onto fabric to creative a positive image. They then use embroidery to embellish it further. The designs can be used to make cushions and soft furnishings like trims for curtains.

Stencil & stitch sunflowers
Another passion for Sue is upcycling things which are no longer wanted, from picture frames to pieces of furniture.  She says “I like to take a photo before and after the process”. Using things like tissue, paint or wrapping paper and pieces of tile or pottery found on the beach.

Stencil & Stitch upcycled footstool
Beach walks are a regular feature of Sue’s routine. During the summer months she takes morning walks from her home in town round to Catalan Bay and forages along the beach for anything interesting the sea has washed up. “I love it in summer, I get everything from Catalan Bay – I’ve got bags of stuff” says Sue, although she just collects man-made items leaving the shells and pebbles behind.

Gibraltar National Day window display
Having her own workspace and shop means that Sue is free to please herself about what she creates, “inspiration can come from anywhere, it might result in a painting, up cycled piece or a new stencil design. What’s brilliant is if someone likes it enough to buy it, that’s a real buzz”. Sue also takes commissions.

Upcycled LP storage case
For more information about OriginArta and the lessons Sue offers, please check out her  OriginArta Facebook page

Also in the Postcard from Gibraltar series:

Creative Gibraltar : Paper crafts with Sarah Devincenzi

Creative Gibraltar : Fashion Design & Dressmaking with Dorcas Hammond

The Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast Episode 004: Rebecca Faller 

Creative Gibraltar : Watercolour painting with Deborah M Lawson

The Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast Episode 004: Rebecca Faller 

Gibraltar may be small, but it is such a creative place. This month on Postcard from Gibraltar, I’m casting the spotlight onto some of the very talented people who call the Rock their home. Throughout February, in my ‘Creative Gibraltar’ series I’ll be talking to people from all sorts of creative backgrounds.

Rebecca Faller

In this episode of the Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast, I hear from  writer and poet, Rebecca Faller about her latest book Renault Five. The story is an autobiographical account of a road trip across Europe with her two closest friends which brought her to Gibraltar for the first time.

To hear the podcast, please click here.

Rebecca’s book; Renault Five is available for sale in Gibraltar’s bookshops it is also available on Amazon & Kindle.

Also in the Creative Gibraltar series : Creative Gibraltar : Watercolour painting with Deborah M Lawson

Sunday Sevens #68 29.1.17

Hello there! Welcome to Sunday Sevens number 68… here’s a round up of what I’ve been up to this week 😊.

Sunday beach walk

If you saw my post midweek, you will know that last Sunday afternoon, we made the most of the lovely weather and went for a lovely walk along Catalan Bay beach. The beach in winter is a really special place I think, all that wonderful nature and no one else there to spoil it for you! Here’s my post in case you missed it.

Med Steps


I made it up the Med Steps this week at long last. There has been talk that our Med Steps 5 team from last year may have another attempt at 5 times round in one day again this year…. if that’s the case, we need to get an awful lot of practice in!

Little Box of Crochet


I have long been an admirer of Little Box of Crochet from afar. The monthly subscription box looks like a fab idea, but my experience of monthly magazine subscriptions coming out to Gibraltar put me off (like issues going missing or several all arriving at the same time). I recently saw that there were some one off purchases available on Etsy so I bought a box. 

This week I got the card in my letter box to tell me a parcel had arrived for me at the post office- it was my Little Box of Crochet. I’m thrilled with it, but am saving it until I have some free time to enjoy it properly :-).

On the subject of Crochet…


There’s a new crochet group starting in Gibraltar. Remember Gib the crochet ape from last week’s Sunday Sevens? Well he’s now the mascot of the Gibraltar Crochet Collective. If you are in Gib and want to join in, please have a look at the Facebook page to find out more.

Watercolour lesson


I have really missed my watercolour lessons. I hadn’t been able to make it to one since before Christmas as I was poorly one week, then I had a poorly Little Postcard off school the next. This week I managed to get there at last! I really enjoyed having a go at painting these primulas.

A Saturday staple


Every Saturday lunchtime something happens here in Gibraltar… we almost always seem to be on Main Street or in Casemates  and we get to see the historical reenactment of the Ceremony of the Keys. Former service men parade down Main Street in historical uniforms and the tourists love it. Here they are in action.

Sunset from my window


We had a lovely sunset last night, and this is the view I had looking at it from our dining room window. Isn’t it lovely? Sometimes I have to pinch myself about how lucky we are to have this magnificent view.

Looking ahead…


This is something for next week, well next month actually. There is so much wonderful creativity going on in Gibraltar that I have decided to dedicate a whole month of posts on my blog to creativity here on the Rock… I can’t wait to get started – February I’m ready for you!

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