Sunday Sevens #214 29.12.19

Hello and welcome to the final Sunday Sevens of 2019. (Sunday Sevens for those who haven’t visited Postcard from Gibraltar before is a selection of photos – usually seven, from the past seven days).

We were traveling yesterday so this is more of a Monday Sevens this week! I hope you have had a good week and a fun Christmas. Here goes…

Sunday lunch in the sun

Last Sunday we had a lovely family meal at Queensway Quay. After lunch we went for a bit of a walk to look at the fish and the boats.

Monday morning run

I managed to motivate myself enough on Monday morning to go out for a run (it took quite a bit of will power!). As I ran past the beach at Camp Bay, I couldn’t help but notice that there was rather a lot of plastic washed up on the sand. As I took a breather I thought I’d pick up some rubbish. I was rather shocked with what I gathered in just a couple of minutes (below).

Sunny Christmas Eve

We had a lovely Christmas Eve lunch at one of our favourite Gibraltar restaurants. It was a beautiful day and I managed to order the biggest lamb dish I have ever seen. Thankfully, I had help to finish it!

Christmas Day walk

On Christmas late afternoon, I went out for a walk with Eldest to burn off a few of the calories I’d consumed. We walked south to the lighthouse at Europa Point and then back up north towards town and home again. As we walked along we met the Governor of Gibraltar who was also out for a Christmas Day stroll!

Boxing Day Polar Bear Swim

On Boxing Day I managed to get out for another run – I was doing so well last week (not doing so well of late though). Whilst I ran past Camp Bay, a group of brave souls were taking part in the Polar Bear swim in aid of Cancer Relief Gibraltar.

Wander with the Little Postcards

Later on on Boxing Day as Mr Postcard had to work, I headed into Spain with the Little Postcards and we had a lovely walk by the seaside. We spotted a few four legged friends on our travels.

Will I or won’t I finish this by the end of the year?

So on Friday I was determined to have a good go at finishing my changing tides blanket (pattern from Eleonora at Coastal Crochet) but unfortunately I have been beaten in my quest. I tried and failed to get it done before the end of the year – I can say that because we have now left Gibraltar for a New Year stay in England and I have left the blanket behind – there wasn’t room for it in my case.

I have, however made a lot of progress and the end is in sight, so it won’t be too long I hope. I have also brought a WIP with me to try and finish that instead while I’m away.

Grey day

That lovely sunshine we had over Christmas was long gone by Saturday. The sky was the same colour as the Rock! Never mind, we had a very good spell of weather over Christmas so I’m not complaining.

And that brings Sunday Sevens to an end for another week. I do hope that you enjoyed this week if you celebrate Christmas.

Thanks very much for sticking with me this year, it’s been a bit of a quiet one for Postcard from Gibraltar as I’ve been rather busy doing other things this year. I hope to be around a bit more in 2020.

The Sunday Sevens blog series was first created by Natalie from Threads and Bobbins.

Sunday Sevens #208 3/11/19

Hello there, thanks for stopping by. We’ve just got to the end of a lovely midterm holiday here. We ran away up the coast and had a few days away, it was fabulous. Here’s this week’s midterm Sunday Sevens…

Pink Hibiscus Gin

And relax…. mid term holidays began in earnest with a trip along the coast to our favourite hotel. A session of Aquafit & Zumba meant that this gorgeous concoction was imbibed totally guilt free!

Pink skies

Mr Postcard spotted this view just after the sun had disappeared behind the horizon on Monday evening. I managed to miss the beautiful skies completely!

Pink flowers

This beautiful tree was blooming outside our hotel window. What a stunner it is against the bright blue Andalucian sky!

A sunset stroll

One evening I popped onto the beach nearby just as the sun was going down. The epitome of tranquility.

Outdoor cinema

Now this is a cinema with a difference. This huge screen was erected by the side of the hotel pool once the swimmers and sunbathers had departed for the day and Littlest and I snuggled on a sun lounger to watch Hotel Transylvania 3. What a lovely evening it was!

Just chillin’

On the last full day of our holiday, we did a lot of nothing really, and it was lovely! I did manage a bit of poolside bobbling though on my Changing Tides blanket designed by Eleonora of Coastal Crochet. The last bobble has been created (at last! Sorry Eleonora 🙊) and I’m on the last-ish leg!

Still in the EU

I don’t know whether you can make out those flags on the Gibraltar side of the border, but one of them in theory shouldn’t have been flying there on Friday 1st November when we came home from our trip to Spain. We have had a stay of execution and we remain as members of the EU family for a bit longer – a fact I’m truly happy about.

Here comes the rain…

After a wonderful sunny week on the Costa del Sol, autumnal wet and windy weather came to this part of the world… can’t complain though after the week we’ve had!

And that brings this week’s Sunday Sevens Nines to an end for another week. I hope it’s been a good week for you!

Until next time, bye for now!

Sunday Sevens was first created by Natalie from Threads and Bobbins.

Sunday Sevens #207 27.10.19

Hello there welcome to this week’s Sunday Sevens. You find us on midterm here in Gibraltar – and we are enjoying the prospect of not having an early alarm tomorrow morning!

Trafalgar Memorial

It was the 214th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar on Tuesday. Every year, on a Sunday near to the anniversary, a special ceremony takes place at Trafalgar Cemetery in Gibraltar. This year’s remembrance happened last Sunday.

The men who lost their lives in the battle are remembered and wreaths are laid on the graves of two men who came to Gibraltar immediately afterwards for treatment, but who died from their wounds.

There is always a Royal Navy vessel in port for this ceremony and the sailors attend in their uniforms. It’s a really special time.

Med Steps on a Monday

It was a beautifully clear, sunny morning on Monday and I headed off up the Med Steps. I spied these two big black birds overhead which were circling above the Rock and causing a great deal of excitement amongst the seagull population. I spoke to one of the wardens about them, and I’m reliably told they are a pair of ravens, and it’s hoped that they will breed next year.

Dressmaking class

So my second pair of trial run trousers were sewn this week and although my problematic large calves were adequately accommodated, elsewhere they were a bit on the large side this week! Darts are the order of the day in my next class!

Sunset alert

Sunday sevens wouldn’t be Sunday sevens without a sunset pic would it? Here’s this week’s one.

Framing my paintings

I finally got round to framing a few of my watercolour paintings this week. I bought some frames a few weeks back and wanted to hang them in the hall. My seashells from two years ago we’re just the right size.

A catch-up with a lovely friend

A lovely friend of mine came round for a visit this week – the first time I’ve seen her in months – and she brought these beautiful flowers. They look glorious in their vase and are a lovely reminder of a fab chat over lunch.

A prickly situation

This little chap/lady got him/herself into a bit of a tangle this week in my parents’ garden in Manchester. (So this isn’t one of my photos – thanks Dad). The last time I remember seeing a hedgehog in their garden I was about 10 – so it’s not a common occurrence, or if it is, they are very stealthy!

He/she had a rest in a box in their porch before heading off for a wander…

And that brings this week’s Sunday Sevens to a close for another week. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday Sevens was first created by Natalie from Threads and Bobbins.

A postcard from Cornwall

Over Easter, we were lucky enough to have some time off together as a family and hopped on a flight to the UK headed for Cornwall. We stayed in the beautiful seaside town of Padstow, where Mr Postcard and I last stayed the summer before we were married. I wonder what our much younger, unmarried selves would make of us, a family of five turning up all these years later…. Mr P reckons he would probably have broken off the engagement – the cheek!

Here’s a little postcard from Cornwall!

Our first full day was a rather damp and grey affair, but that didn’t put us off exploring Padstow’s quaint alleyways and streets.

Our second day, however, was beautiful. The sun came out, and so did hoards of visitors…

So we headed up and out of town…

…past the beautiful war memorial…

… and along the coastal path along the Camel Estuary where the open space and fresh air was so welcome.

There were people there, but it wasn’t quite so densely populated. Some were having sailing lessons, and these three little sail boats being towed behind a rhib made me chuckle. I thought they looked like three little ducklings following their mum!

We clambered down onto the beach and skimmed stones. It was lovely.

We headed back towards town and realised we were running out of beach we had to get a wriggle on and clamber over some rocks before the tide came back in forcing us to walk the long way round. We made it!

Our walk had made us hungry, so we stopped off at Rick Stein’s chippy for a portion of chips and sat on the quayside to eat them under the watchful eyes of these two….

Padstow is home to a lobster hatchery and we popped in to see it.

This chap is known as ‘Captain Barnacles’ and is thought to be between 40 and 50 years old. These lobsters though, are a tad younger and were swimming around in the lobster nursery.

We took a drive out of Padstow and to the bay of Trevone. What a beautiful spot.

We weren’t the only people to have that idea, but it was gorgeous!

The next day, we took a trip north to Tintagel, the home of Merlin’s cave and Arthurian legend. We were blessed with another beautiful day…

There was a lot of maintenance work being carried out on the ruins of Tintagel Castle so it wasn’t open to the public unfortunately, but we could still view it from afar.

It’s a very pretty place on a sunny day, but it must have been a bit bleak to live there on stormy days… very Game of Thrones.

Our walk back up into town was rewarded with a lovely lunch and then an espresso ice cream – it was amazing!

Littlest Postcard was incredulous when he saw this…

“I didn’t think King Arthur had a car!” No son, neither did I.

The drive back to Padstow took us through beautiful countryside and quaint villages and hamlets. This church looked so lovely.

We headed to Padstow’s stately home, Prideaux Place..

Used as a filming location for a number of films, including Twelfth Night starring Helena Bonham Carter and Richard E Grant. It’s a family home still and sits in beautiful grounds.

We were very lucky to see it on such a beautifully sunny day and with many of the spring flowers at their best.

Living where we do and not having easy access to cycle trails etc, we aren’t much of a cycling family. But I have always wanted to go cycling as a family and we did it here in Cornwall. There are several bike hire places in Padstow and a fantastic cycle trail (The Camel Trail) along the Camel Estuary to Wadebridge (and on to Bodmin). So we hired bikes…

…and set off. It was hard work but lots of fun once we got into the swing of it. The views were fab too, when I was brave enough to look up from the road!!

We managed to cycle 11 miles in total – so that means we earned a reward don’t you think? 😉

Our last day in Padstow saw us hop onto the little ferry which takes passengers across the River Camel from Padstow to Rock.

We waited on the jetty by the harbour wall for it to arrive and for the passengers to disembark.

Once aboard, we headed across the River to the sand flats left by the low tide.

The Little Postcards loved the quick-sand and pools left by the low tide. They got a bit wet… so our trip to Rock itself was a little curtailed. It was fun though, nonetheless.

After a walk and a coffee, we headed back down the beach to wait for the ferry back home and some dry clothes for the Little Postcards!

Within moments we were approaching Padstow again, but to the beach this time as the tide was too low to reach the harbour.

We had such a lovely time in Padstow and the surrounding area. It’s s truly beautiful part of the world.

Full of quaint little streets and alleyways…

Thank you for having us to stay Padstow!

A Postcard from Stockholm (Part 2 – The Museums)

Hello again! As promised, here is part 2 of my Postcard from Stockholm…

As I mentioned in the first part of my Postcard from Stockholm last week, we visited a few museums and tourist sites while we were visiting the beautiful capital city of Sweden. Our first museum visit was to the ABBA Museum in Djurgårdsvägen. It’s an amazing place, which charts the lives of the four band members from their childhoods, to their first meetings and the relationships which developed.

Their Eurovision Song Contest winning medal was on display with many pieces of memorabilia from their time at the top of the charts. There were mock ups of recording studios they used…

…and even their costume making department, which I particularly enjoyed being a dressmaking student myself.

Many of their stage costumes were there for you to admire up close too…

I couldn’t get over how slim they all were!

The work which must have gone into their costumes was incredible.

They even had the Spitting Image puppets which featured in this video

The museum was such fun, there were Karaoke booths for you to sing along, mixing desks for you to have a go at recreating the ‘ABBA sound’, a stage where you could dance and sing along with holograms of the band and I even got to sit in a helicopter just like the one which featured on the album cover ‘Arrival’.

I had a whale of a time and on a couple of occasions was disowned by my teenaged travelling companion. But it would have been rude not to have completely got involved in everything – don’t you think?!

I would highly recommend a visit to any ABBA fan, whether you remember the music the first time round or whether only came to know them recently through the Mama Mia films. ABBA, thank you for the music!

Nordiska Museet

The imposing building of the Nordiska Museet is just one tram stop along from the ABBA Museum in Djurgårdsvägen. Initially built to house exhibits from all the Nordic countries, it now only houses items from Sweden.

Inside it was equally beautiful…

And this rather portly regal gentleman welcomed us in…

King Gustav Vasa

The museum itself is dedicated to the cultural history of Sweden as well as its ethnography. Our first port of call was the exhibition detailing how Swedish homes have evolved over the years beginning with a typical farmer’s dwelling, which would have been shared with workers and livestock – especially in the cold winter months.

Right through to a 1960s style government built apartment, then a modern home decked out for a mid-summer celebration.

There was also an extensive collection of Swedish furniture over the years.

The exhibits which resonated with me most of all were the ones featuring arts and crafts. From the beautifully decorated clothes worn by the native Sami people..

To the folk art and traditional dowry gifts made ahead of weddings.

The embroidery was just beautiful…

Sweden is famous for its woven fabrics and literally thousands of examples of weaving were on display.

There was even a woven pictorial bible…

One exhibition which was right up my street was one dedicated to women’s fashion in the 1950s & 1960s and particularly home sewing.

Oh, to have a nipped-in waist to be able to carry one of those dresses off!!

City Hall (Stadshuset)

Another interesting place we visited while on our Stockholm adventure was the City Hall (pictured below in the view from our hotel room) on the island of Kungsholmen.

This beautiful red brick building is less than 100 years old and was built as a home for the local city council.

As it’s a functioning building and home to the City Council of Stockholm known as Stadshuset, tourists aren’t allowed to wander around at will. We signed up for one of the English speaking tours and were taken around by a lovely guide called Christopher.

The Blue Hall (above) was originally going to be plastered and painted blue but we were told that the architect liked the look of the traditional red bricks so left it like that – but the name stayed! Christopher led us up from the ‘Blue Hall’ and along a corridor which offered views to the internal courtyard below.

We were led into the council chambers which are used on a regular basis for political meetings and debates which can be viewed by the public from the public gallery (see auditorium at the rear of the chamber in photo below).

The ceiling in the chamber was beautiful. It was made to resemble the open roof of a traditional Viking longhouse.

As was the ceiling in one of the stairwells…

Above this ceiling stands the tower which has on its summit the three golden crowns, the crest of Stockholm. Our tour guide told us that as the tower was being built, a civic building in Copenhagen was also being built at the same time. As the Danish tower was taller than this one, the plans were altered to extend the original tower height, so that this one would stand 1 metre taller!

On from the stair well and into this beautiful hall, known as the Princes’ Gallery…

….where the walls were covered by murals painted by royalty – Prince Eugen.

Our next room was a true show stopper- the Golden Hall…

At the far end, the image shows the Queen of Lake Mälaren who sits on a throne and has the city of Stockholm on her lap. To her left is the western world, complete with the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower and the Tower of London among other images of the ‘West’.

And to her right lie images of the East including an elephant, tiger and camel.

Stockholm’s industry and important Swedish historical figures as well as other significant chapters in the city’s past were depicted in the stunning mosaics.

It’s an absolutely mind blowing place – and to think all this mosaic work was completed in just 2 years!

We left the Golden Hall to return to the Blue Hall again, where we learned about its role in important celebrations. It is here where Nobel Prize winners are entertained with a banquet after the prize giving ceremony.

And those stairs down below were specially designed to assist the prize winners and other dignitaries (especially the ladies in their long dresses and high heels) navigate the stairs on their way down to the banquet while all eyes are upon them.

The stairs are apparently shallower in depth but are longer in length than ‘normal’ stairs to allow for a graceful descent and a special star (below) carved in the wall ahead is the point at which you should look to prevent you from falling or from looking down so the press photographers can get a decent photo of you!

Our tour was finished as we left the Blue Hall and said our thanks and goodbyes to Christopher, then we went outside to cross the courtyard and see the gardens and waterfront on the other side of the Stadshuset.

It was rather nippy outside for us Southern softies from the Med! We don’t see ice on the water where live!

Our trip to Stockholm was truly lovely, and if you ever get the chance to visit it for yourself, I’d highly recommend it. We were made to feel so welcome, and we hope one day, that we will be able to return.

A postcard from Stockholm (Part 1)

Recently I went on an adventure to Stockholm. It was a short city break but we packed a lot in!

I was traveling with Eldest, a Mum and son adventure. Our first taste of Sweden was at Stockholm Arlanda airport. The quietest, and most pleasant airport I’ve ever visited. People spoke in hushed tones – even the children in the play area sat quietly reading!

There was seating for so many people… no need to sit on the floor here! How civilized!

There was no problem finding out where to go to get the train into the City Centre! What a stunning station…

And here comes the train…

Our first impression of Sweden was incredibly positive….

…if a little bit colder than what we had left behind at home!

The view from our hotel room (above) was amazing – look at the frozen waterways below! The building with the golden tipped tower is Stockholm City Hall – where the Nobel Prize celebrations take place. There will be more on that later on…

On our first evening we headed out for a stroll to get our bearings. It was really rather chilly, but incredibly beautiful.

This building (above & below) belongs to the Swedish parliament.

And this square looked like something out of Bladerunner when it was lit up at night!

Back at our hotel our view came alive at night.

On the first full day of our trip we headed by tram through the City Centre to get to somewhere I just had to visit…

….the ABBA Museum!!

It was amazing and told the story of all four band members from their childhoods to their 1974 win at the Eurovision Song Contest and beyond…

I will be writing another post about all the museums and buildings we visited because there is too much to put into just one post!

Suffice to say, it was magnificent and a must-visit for any fan of ABBA!

Lunch had to be at Starbucks – I was traveling with a fan of the place and as we don’t have one in Gibraltar it’s a novelty. We did have a taste of Sweden though – this Cardamom Bolle was utterly delicious.

Talking of edibles. We had no end of giggles at the name of the chocolate (which is very nice by the way!)

I couldn’t visit a new country without going into a crafty shop could I? I was very restrained though and only bought one ball of yarn… but I could’ve got so much more if I had a bigger case!

Late afternoon/early evening we headed out to a dinner date which had been planned for us by Mr Postcard in advance. I think he wanted to make sure we tried some proper Swedish food, so he booked us a table at an award winning restaurant.

The atmosphere was cozy and welcoming, and the food very interesting…

We had crispy pork rinds with smoked mayo & dill flower as an appetizer. Then pork & chicken skewers, with baked cabbage with buttermilk & lovage. And for dessert, Petrus Bun bread pudding with Swedish punsch crème. The flavor combinations were completely new to me but very tasty.

Then it was back on the train to the hotel for the night…

On day 2 we crossed over from our hotel to visit the City Hall.

It’s a magestic building and only around 100 years old. This amazing golden hall took just 2 years to complete the mosaics! It was stunning to see.

It’s also the home of the Stockholm City Council….

… the council chamber has the most amazing ceiling.

After the City Hall, we took a tram to visit the Nordiska Museet (Nordic Museum).

Another imposing building…

With a rather regal gentleman to greet you as you enter!

It documented all kinds of Swedish life, from homes & furniture to celebrations and death. More will follow in part 2 of my Stockholm postcard.

On our wanderings we passed the Royal Palace (above) and had a mooch around the old town on the island of Gamla Stan…

…which is charming and full of character.

As night began to fall, we headed back out again in search of something we couldn’t come to Sweden without tasting….

….meatballs!

They were a bit special! And washed down perfectly with some Swedish beer! And that lovely meal brought our fabulous few days in Stockholm to an end, this was our last sunrise before heading back to the airport and flying home.

Thank you Stockholm for having us to stay and making us feel so welcome, we had a wonderful time and hope to return one day!

Remember that chocolate with the funny name? Well being the mature individual that I am, I had lots of fun with some other words I spotted on my travels…. (I will never truly grow up!).

Next week, I will share more about the museums we visited and the City Hall. Look out for part 2!

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!