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 😊

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:

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.

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 #115 24.12.17

Hello there and happy Christmas! We’ve finally reached Christmas Eve and whether you’re ready or not there’s no escaping the fact that the big day day’s tomorrow. I think I may finally be ready, but there’s always something I forget to do…. what will it be this year?!

Here’s this week’s edition of Sunday Sevens:

It’s Christmas!!!!

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Gibraltar is looking as festive as ever, the town centre looks lovely all lit up. I haven’t taken too many photos of the lights this year, but you can see last year’s light show here.

If in doubt stick a sunset picture in!

We had a lot of cloudy evenings of late and although we have had a few glimpses of the sun going down between the clouds, a proper sunset as it were has been pretty rare lately. This lovely one was last Sunday night.

Favourite church ceiling

Oh how I love the interior of Sacred Hearth Church here in Gibraltar. It has got to be one of the prettiest church ceilings around. I was lucky enough to be able to attend a service here this week and had loads of time to admire the stars and stained glass windows as beautiful Christmas carols were sung.

Wintery watercolour

At my last watercolour lesson of 2017, we painted some suitably wintery pictures. I love how the snow just ‘appeared’ after sprinkling some salt onto the wet painting – just magic!

Southwold comes to Gibraltar

As I walked along Main Street this week with Eldest, he spotted something I’d walked past several times without noticing (in fact it could have been there for months). Our favourite place for holidays (Southwold, in Suffolk) is featured on the side of Marks and Spencer in Gibraltar! The pictures in the photo shoot must have been taken on Southwold Pier and on the beach near by. You can read all about Southwold Pier here.

Star Wars

We had a trip to the cinema this week as schools closed for Christmas, to see the new Star Wars film. I really enjoyed it, not as much as Force Awakens, but it was still really good in my opinion and a great start to our Christmas holiday as a family.

Beautiful day at Catalan Bay

Yesterday, the last Saturday before Christmas, we decided to avoid the shops at all costs. We figured that if we didn’t have all we need by now, it was probably too late anyway (time will tell if I did forget anything after all). We headed round to the eastern side of the Rock and had a wander about in Catalan Bay. It was beautiful there – not a queue or harassed shopper in sight.

I have decide to include a couple of extra Catalan Bay pictures as it was just so beautiful there and there may be some people reading this who are in need of a dose of blue sky…

That’s all from me for Sunday Sevens this week. Where ever you are reading this, I hope you have a lovely Christmas with plenty to eat and surrounded by your loved ones. To those of you who find this time of year difficult, I hope you find peace and know that you are in my thoughts.

Happy Christmas! x

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