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!

Sunday Sevens #122 11.2.18

This week, Gibraltar was paid a visit by a very esteemed visitor; the new Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. She called in at the Rock on her first overseas visit on her maiden voyage. Also this week, I’m very pleased to say that I’m well on the road to recovery after a nasty bout of bronchitis. I’m still coughing but slowly day by day I’m getting a bit more energy – hallelujah for that. Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens.

Storm damage

In last week’s Sunday Sevens I mentioned the stormy weather we experienced at the start of the week. On Sunday, while I was tucked up in bed Mr Postcard headed out for a walk and took this photo of some of the damage caused at Camp Bay. The force of the waves must have been immense to send those rocks and chunks of concrete so far!

Happy mail

My Instagram feed has been filled with beautiful rainbow crochet projects of late and luck would have it that a certain Little Postcard has requested a rainbow blanket after his brother received his green granny square one a few weeks ago. That gave me the perfect excuse to order some new brightly coloured yarn! It arrived on Monday – just right kind of pick me up after a weekend of feeling pretty rough. I just have to resist the temptation to rush headlong into another project without finishing some of my half done ones first!

Another project completed!

My New Year’s resolution to complete all of my on going craft projects is continuing apace. Work-in-progress number 3 is complete! This started life in the summer of 2016 when I had been planning to make a blanket to match the new colour of our bedroom walls (mint green in case you were wondering). Inspired by the colours of the beach huts at Southwold I started hooking up these solid circle in a square granny squares.

It soon became apparent that you need an awful lot of these to cover a king size bed, so I ran out of steam and enjoyment for the project. Recently I heard about a children’s hospital in Romania which a friend of mine regularly visits. She volunteers over there and cuddles babies who are in need of some love and affection. This blanket will be joining her on her next trip.

Sunset after a very grey day

Mid week was a rather grey affair. We did get a nice fleeting sunset on Wednesday evening though.

Watercolour class

I felt well enough to return to my watercolour class on Thursday. I finished the painting I started a couple of weeks ago. I’m pleased with the finished result and think I’d like to try this technique again.

Welcome to Gibraltar Queen Elizabeth!

On Friday morning HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Navy’s new aircraft carrier arrived in Gibraltar. It’s the first overseas visit on her maiden voyage. She’ll head off on more sea trials when she leaves here. It was quite a majestic sight to see as she cruised into the Bay.

I tweeted the photo in the bottom left hand corner (above) of the ship coming into view around the Rock . I may have gone viral (well viral for my usual standards) as I type, it’s been viewed over 12,000 times – crikey!

An early start to the weekend

We were up bright and early yesterday dropping someone off to catch an early coach to Malaga airport. Where we live, facing west we only get to see the sun setting. Yesterday we were lucky to be able to see this lovely sunrise. Even better, we went back home and got back into bed for a bit! 6:30 is too early to get up on a Saturday!!

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you have a good week.

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

2018 Friday Photo Challenge (Week 4) Hobby

It couldn’t just be one photo for this week, I guess I have too many hobbies…

Since putting my career on hold to start a family, and then moving to Gibraltar, I have been lucky enough to be able to carve out a bit of free time to do fun stuff as the children have got older. I was always quite crafty as a young girl and enjoyed sewing and creating things, these days I love to crochet and do some embroidery in my spare time. I also attend watercolour and dressmaking classes during school term times (following the path of creative study I would have liked to do in my youth but opted for the ‘sensible’ academic option which came up trumps and got me a job to pay the for mortgage).

But that’s not all, my other hobby is wandering round Gibraltar taking loads of photos and then turning those into blog posts about where we live. It is that hobby which has broadened my horizons as a stay-at-home Mum and reconnected me to the outside world after over a decade out of the workplace. It also gave me the confidence to go back to work on a part-time basis, something which I am really enjoying.

If you fancy joining in with the Postcard from Gibraltar Friday Photo Challenge, you can do that on your blog or via Instagram. Just tag me in your post or post your blog link into the comments below, or use the tag #postcardfromgibfridayphoto on Instagram so we can all see each other’s photos.

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

Sunday Sevens #111 26.11.17

Hello there, I hope you have had a good week. It’s been as busy as always Chez Postcard and I’m staring down the barrel of a frantic few weeks with all the pre-Christmas antics there are are for the Little Postcards. There’s actually one day next week where I need to be in 4 different places at the same time…. I may be calling on the services of Dr Who and his Tardis to get everything done!

Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens…

A sunny start to the week

There was an in-service day for some of the Little Postcards on Monday. I haven’t been feeling too great for the last couple of weeks and they behaved so well for me letting me have an easy day, that we did a late afternoon trip to the park at Europa Point for ice cream as a reward. (My fluey cold from the other week turned into bronchitis 😕). The weather was glorious, as you can see, with just the hint of a Levanter cloud forming on the top of the Rock.

It’s finished #1><

Ta-dah! It’s finished at last! I have actually completed a blouse in my Dressmaking class, with a collar, cuffs and buttons (although I was tempted with velcro when the button holes weren’t behaving as I wanted them to). It’s a bit ‘loud’ colourwise so I’m not sure when I’ll wear it… perhaps under a cardigan!

Cloud free skies!><

We had more beautiful cloud-free skies mid-week. We have been so lucky to have a warm, dry autumn here in Gibraltar so far. I’m dreading having to dig the waterproofs out when the rains come….

It’s finished #2><

It’s been quite the week for finishing things, I managed to finish my autumn crochet wreath – before the end of autumn (a miracle!). I’m thrilled with how it turned out, it looked great in the autumnal sunshine on our front door. The kit came in a Little Box of Crochet and the designer was Kate Eastwood of Just Pootling.

Not much watercolour progress…><

I guess I can’t finish everything at once, so I’m still working on my watercolour painting of town. I’m getting there slowly but surely.

A new project><<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Yesterday I treated myself to starting a new crochet project. I was very disciplined and waited until I’d finished my wreath before cracking open another little box of crochet…

Christmas is coming>

<<

The Gibraltar Christmas lights were turned on on Friday night and yesterday we took a trip into town to visit Gibraltar’s first ever Christmas market. There are artisan stalls set up in little wooden huts, you can even get mulled wine – it smelled lovely (I shall have to go back once I finish my antibiotics!).

I’m linking with Natalie (the proud Mummy of a beautiful new baby girl) from Threads & Bobbins for this weekly Sunday Sevens blog series.

Sunday Sevens #105 15.10.17

Another week has flown by and it’s already Sunday afternoon – do you ever want a pause button just to stop the world for a moment or two? We’ve had such a busy week in our household this week and I could do with another weekend to catch my breath and take stock (you can probably appreciate the state of mild chaos I find myself in if you noticed that my previous post was published almost a month early by accident – so far, last week’s photo challenge photo is as yet untaken!).

Anyway without further ado, here’s this week’s edition of Sunday Sevens….

Another Sunday, another beachy crochet pic…

Last Sunday was another glorious autumnal day, perfect for heading down to the beach again, crochet hook in hand. I’m busy working on a Christmas gift, but time’s running away with me already and I’m really not as far along as I would’ve liked to be by this point….

Monday morning Med Steps

The lovely weather continued into the start of the week and I had a lovely trip up the Med Steps again on Monday. I glanced up at one point and saw the Europa Point Lighthouse framed beautifully by the branches of a tree.

Technicolor Tuesday sewing

In my Dressmaking class on Tuesday I started working on the sleeves of my blouse. The photo shows the slit at the cuff of my sleeve which is just waiting for a cuff to be added.

Misty Med Steps 

Wednesday began rather murky and misty. I really enjoyed my walk back down the Rock from the summit of the Med Steps. Looking out to sea from the road, there was nothing but mist and cloud, it was as if I was on the edge of an abyss. I love it when it’s like this, it’s so atmospheric and magical looking.

Light show

After the mist cleared on Wednesday, we had a scorching hot afternoon. Standing outside school waiting for the Little Postcards, I could feel the sun burning my back through my shirt. By dinner time however, the clouds had rolled in and we were treated to a fab lightning storm and then rain shower. Talk about four seasons in one day.

Sunset skies in watercolour 

I’ve been working on sunset skies at watercolour class… this is about the third attempt. Mixing that correct shade of orange has proved tricky…

Mini Olympiad 

Yesterday, hundreds of middle school children from across Gibraltar came together to participate in the annual Mini Olympiad. Organised by the Royal Gibraltar Police, the event is aimed at introducing young people to the joys of sport as a way of avoiding bad life choices later on (ie drugs).

The Olympiad began with a congregation in the Piazza with an address from the Head of Police, Mayor and a priest’s blessing before a parade through town to the Victoria Stadium. The Parade was led by the drums and bagpipes of the Sea Scout band and the members of the historical re-enactment society and their very loud cannon. 

After an opening ceremony and the firing of the cannon, the sports began. It was a great event and was enjoyed by us, although a certain young man was feeling rather achey and tired today after his exertions yesterday!

(Thank you to my friend Sarah for taking this photo for me – I managed to leave home without my phone, but she saved the day!)

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

Sunday Sevens #104 8.10.17

Good morning, I hope you are having a good weekend. This week has seen a return to my watercolour class after a very long summer haiatus. It was so nice to be back…

Sunday afternoon on the beach

Sandy Bay

Last Sunday we did something rather out of character — we went to the beach. We aren’t huge beach goers normally as we don’t enjoy the crowds or the heat at the height of summer. We do, though, rather like sneaking down there out of season.

As you can see from the photo above, we weren’t alone, but there was loads of open space where we could sit, chat, splash and dig without upsetting anyone else. 

My neighbours may not agree with me but I really do try to keep a lid on the level of noise coming from our apartment (I don’t think I’ll ever get used to living so close to other people). Being somewhere where the Little Postcards can scream and shout without upsetting anyone is a very valuable space for me.

Oh, and I got a bit of crochet done too…

Monday Med Steps

Last week on one of my Med Steps trips I was surrounded by a pack (troop?) of apes, on Monday it was Barbary Partridge bingo! There were loads about. This pair were very tame and I got very close before they scarpered.

Dressmaking whoops

Don’t you just hate it when that happens? I was making great strides with attaching my collar to my blouse at Dressmaking class when I managed to accidentally sew my underarm seam to the collar by accident – whoops!

Med stepping into the Levanter 


These two photos were taken about 20 minutes apart. One below the cloud in bright (and rather hot) sunshine. The other at the top of the Rock and slap bang in the middle of the Levanter cloud.

I started Wednesday morning’s walk in hot sun but was relieved to hit the cool, damp Levanter near the top. I almost took an amazing photo at the top… as I gazed up at the misty summit, on that low bit of wall to the right of the fence was the silhouette of a mother ape with a baby on her back. By the time I’d got my phone camera on, they’d vanished into the mist. Never mind…

Watercolour refresher

Thursday morning saw my return to watercolour class.  I didn’t realise how much I’d missed it over the summer. Our teacher began the new term with a refresher lesson on washes. It came just in time for me to get back to a picture I was working on before summer which had a very dodgy wash for the sky. My new aim for this term is to be less wishy washy with my colours – I need to embrace BOLD!

Beautiful Botanic Gardens 

You may have noticed that my excercise levels have gone up in recent weeks. After a rather sedentary summer I have a good few kilos which I need to shed. On Friday I took a trip into town and on the way home I opted to walk rather than catching the bus. I was rewarded by with a walk through the beautiful Alameda Botanical Gardens.

Autumnal WIP-along

On Instagram recently I have noticed lots of  crafty people publishing photos of the WIPs (work in progress) they have completed as part of a WIP-along with Gosling & Plumb. Check out the blog post in the link above  to find out more about it.

When I finished my last crochet project (Jenny’s Mandala from Little Box of Crochet) I almost started something new but I could hear some of my many WIPs calling me from carrier bags hidden in my secret hidey hole. So far I have worked on three; circles in granny squares (see beach crochet photo), a green granny square blanket and a cute crochet cactus pin cushion from a Simply Crochet Magazine kit.

Thanks so much for stopping by for a read about my week. It’s been lovely to have your company.

I’m linking with Natalie of Threads & Bobbins for the Weekly Sunday Sevens series.