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 #135 6.5.18

Hello, and welcome to this week’s Sunday Sevens, a little later than usual, but I still made it on Sunday! It’s been a busy day with lots of boring jobs to do. You don’t want to hear about that, so without further ado, here’s this week’s series of seven (or perhaps slightly more) photos from the last seven days.

Bank holiday getaway

Last weekend was a bumper long weekend for us here in Gibraltar. We had Monday off work and school for Worker’s Memorial Day and then Tuesday too for May Day (as it was 1st of May). We have the first of May off here rather than waiting for the first Monday in May as is the tradition in the UK. To all of my readers in the UK, I hope you are being blessed with some of the gorgeous Bank Holiday weather I have seen on the telly over these past couple of days.

We headed out of Gibraltar for a few days and went along the coast to Estepona. The above picture was of the queue of traffic trying to leave Gibraltar last Sunday, the photo below was taken on a tranquil evening stroll at the end of the day, along the coast in Spain.

A hole in one!

This mini golf course was the site of the greatest golfing moment ever seen in Andalucia. Forget Valderrama and the European Open, this is where I scored a hole in one! It took hours of practice too ;-).

Heading home

Our long weekend came to an end on Tuesday and it was time to head home and back to reality, but not before another round of crazy golf and the chance to admire some of the beautiful blooms on show in the hotel gardens. Isn’t this one a beauty?

Seaside blanket makes it to the beach!

I took my hook and yarn away with me on our short break and managed to catch up on the rows I had fallen behind on with the Coastal Crochet Seaside Stash-busting Crochet Along. I really enjoyed working on it while I was away from all the usual distractions of being at home. I even took it down onto the beach at Estepona with me for a photo shoot. And that shot made it into Eleonora’s weekly round-up of the CAL on Instagram. It’s slap bang in the middle – that made my day!

May Day Celebrations

We headed back into Gibraltar in time to catch the end of the May Day celebrations in Casemates Square. There was a political rally (which we missed) followed by a number of local bands and dance schools performing on the stage for the crowds. As you can see, we were blessed with some beautiful weather.

Say what you see…

Apologies in advance for the toilet humour, but one day this week I found myself sitting at the bus stop (our car is rather unwell and has been into the garage this week) and I spotted a sign for parking which I have passed countless times and not really looked at before. It’s funny that you can suddenly see something for the first time, years after looking at it. It made me chuckle anyway…

Gibraltar International Comic Con

The second Gibraltar International Comic Con came to the Rock this weekend. We went along yesterday and hung out with stars of Star Wars (there was a real life Ewok there), three Game of Thrones actors (yes, I know – how cool is that??) and Star Trek amongst other shows. One of the things which I really enjoyed seeing was the art work. These amazing comic-style illustrations were drawn by a local artist  (@liam_p_art on Instagram).

And that brings this week’s Sunday Sevens to a close. Thanks very much for stopping by! I’m linking with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for this weekly blog series. I’ll leave you with a few photos from April including Gibraltar and our trip to London & the Jurassic Coast.

2018 Friday Photo Challenge (Week 9) Cosy & February round up

Nothing says ‘cosy’ like a crocheted blanket. Here are some of the blankets I have worked on in the last few years including my two current blanket WIPs (work in progress); my rainbow ripple and the Seaside stash busting CAL from Coastal Crochet.

I can’t forget my Attic 24 Cosy Stripe blanket today either – it even has ‘cosy’ in the name!!

February round up

Here’s a round up of some of the other blog posts joining in with the Postcard from Gibraltar Friday Photo Challenge. If you have joined in this month and I have missed you out, please let me know and I will add your link to this monthly round up for February.

Also don’t forget to check out the Instagram hashtag #postcardfromgibfridayphoto to see all the other weekly entries for the challenge.

Week 5 – Green: 

Crafty Creek has the sort of garden I aspire to have one day…

I love how everyone has a different take on the prompts each week, ‘green’ gave us all the chance to go off on all sorts of tangents, from gin to tiles to motorbikes, lots of beautiful nature and greenery featured too. We filled each other’s Instagram feeds with green and Eleonora from Coastal Crochet joined in this week too for the first time and shared some of her beautiful crochet covered green sea glass finds.

Week 6 – Wall Art:

Anne Marie spotted some beautiful ornamental tiles in Spain

What a fine collection of photographs and pictures Crafty Creek has!

The tiles of the Boston subway featured as ‘wall art’ on Instagram, along with beautiful embroidery, mosaics, tiles, graffiti, and paintings. Do check out the hashtag and see all of the amazing photos included in this week’s collection.

Week 7 – Hearts:

Sandra at Wild Daffodil had a fabulous selection of hearts.

Crafty Creek’s embroidery is just beautiful!

Among our Instagram Friday photos this week, a cute patchwork table runner, beautiful buttons, the gorgeous county of Derbyshire under snow, Janet Bryden’s 94 year old Mum, heart shaped sweets in the form of chocolates AND Love Hearts, and a heart shaped leaf. Not forgetting of course the amazing 7000 hearts for Yarndale appeal run by Bonnies Little Crafts and remembered by Pinklady558.

Week 8 – Movement:

Wild Daffodil’s post about Maggie dancing is wonderful

Crafty Creek also joined in, with great shots of penguins at the zoo

On Instagram we had photos from the ski slopes, a ferris wheel at the Princes Street Christmas Market in Edinburgh, motorbike racing, sifting flour during baking, a blurred wildlife photograph, tectonic plate movement, the Falkirk wheel and even some in-car knitting.

If you fancy joining in with the challenge, here are the up coming weekly prompts.

Sunday Sevens #124 25.2.18

Hello there, I hope you’re having a nice weekend. We have been blessed with some lovely weather this week (I wore a T-shirt to do the afternoon school run on Friday), but – and it’s a big but, I have it on good authority that we are in for some very wet weather over the next seven days.

It’s funny you know, whenever there are severe weather warnings for the British Isles, that often means that for us down here on the southern most tip of the Iberian Peninsular get pretty rubbish weather too – admittedly not as cold as ooop north, but, still bad. So, as the UK grabs it’s thermals and digs out the shovels and grit to cope with a big freeze and snowy weather, we are digging out our wellies and rather fetching waterproof trousers to cope with an impending monsoon.

Anyway, weather talk aside, here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens…

Sunset across the Bay

Clearly last Sunday nothing of note occurred as I didn’t take any photos. This lovely sunset happened on Monday though. All of a sudden the apartment was bathed in the most beautiful orange glow and I looked out of the window to see that the sun was just about to set behind the hills directly opposite our apartment windows. Each day the sun is setting further to the right (north west) as we get closer to spring and it was a beautiful beam of orange which signalled the end of Monday’s daylight.

Seaside blanket silliness

I’m really enjoying the twice weekly instalments of the Coastal Crochet Seaside stash busting blanket Crochet Along. Last week, one of my fellow CAL-ers uploaded a cute photo to Instagram with a Lego diver, seaweed and fish on her blanket and I thought I’d join in with the silliness. I spent rather longer than I should have digging about in search of a Playmobil diver and his gear, but only managed to locate his breathing apparatus. I gave up and raided the bath toy box for this pair. I have a horrible feeling our diver has met a sticky end somewhere. (Note to self : I really must grow up).

Dressmaking class

At my dressmaking class this week I finished my slice and slide frill around the top of my toile dress. It was removed from the mannequin and converted from lots of jigsaw pieces of fabric to just two to check I had the correct drape for the frill. It’s not looking too bad. I’m awaiting instruction on what to do next….

Crochet confusion

I have been attempting to start a rainbow crochet blanket (requested by a Little Postcard) for a few weeks now, but I have really struggled with it. First of all, I tried a new ripple pattern, which required a lot of concentration by me. I really wanted something I could do without too much thought in front of the telly, but I kept getting so far and having to frog it because I’d made a mistake way back at the start of the row.

On top of this I wasn’t completely happy with the colours I had chosen. I picked them online and got them sent to Gib, but when they sat next to each other, they were a bit harsh. I finally relented and went to the wool shop here in Gibraltar and bought three complimentary shades which evened out the rainbow effect I wanted. I also found a new ripple pattern which worked better for me. Back to the drawing board, but I had a plan!

Blue skies

I mentioned a the start of this post that we have had some beautiful weather this week. This was the gorgeous blue sky on Wednesday lunchtime. I was supposed to meet a friend for lunch but she got a call from school to say one of her little ones was ill, so lunch was postponed and I got the bus home. This was the view from the bus stop over the top of the park and Trinity Cathedral to the top of the Rock in the distance.

Watercolour daffs

I managed to finish my latest watercolour painting at my watercolour class this week. I’m rather pleased with these daffodils. They go well alongside my iris painting from a couple of weeks ago. I have decided to have a go at another painting in this same style with pen and watercolour, and after a bit of a poll on Instagram, it’s been decided that tulips should be my next subject!

I love it when a plan comes together…

My persistence paid off I think, the rainbow blanket is coming along well (although not fast enough for the Little Postcard who wants it for his bed…. “When will it be finished Mummy??” “Errr, don’t hold your breath son.”) I’m finding these ripples so relaxing to make, with not too much counting required by me. I have enjoyed a couple of episodes of Wallander on Netflix as I hooked these rows during a few quiet moments. I have been wanting to work on this all the time and it has come with me to football training and a football match just in case I get the chance to hook a few extra rows! My kids are seriously considering disowning me….

Batman update….

Did you see Batman in my last Sunday Sevens? He’s still up there bless him – I took this photo at 10:30 last night. They must have good helium in Gibraltar!!!

That’s all for this week’s Sunday Sevens, I hope you have a good week. If you are in the snow, keep warm, if you are in the wet, keep dry and I’ll see you next week, same time, same place. Toodleooo!

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

2018 Friday Photo Challenge (Week 5) Green & January round up

Green is the theme of this week’s Postcard from Gibraltar Friday Photo Challenge. I am a huge fan of green when it comes to the great outdoors.

I like nothing more than a woodland walk in the summertime – it’s always a highlight of my trips back home to England.

These photos (above) were taken on a walk in Wigan, in Lancashire last spring.

Just look at that patchwork of green fields in Cheshire as we took off from Manchester airport.

Gibraltar does have. Bit of green too though, these two photos were taken on a walk up the Med Steps, in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve.

Now, here’s a round up of some of the other entries to the Friday Photo Challenge during January:

Week 1 New Beginnings 

This photo challenge got off to a great start on Instagram with Sandra Capano (@capanosandra) featuring the first Gibraltarian sunrise of the New Year and others marking the beginning of a new chapter in their lives with retirement (@janetbryden) and a house move (@rainbowsnmore)!

In blogland Sandra at Wild Daffodil joined it too with her new Attic 24 blanket along with Anne Marie Hearinga  who featured New Year fireworks as her new beginning in Instagram.

2018 Friday Photo Challenge (Week 1) New Beginnings

Home

On Instagram there were some lovely photos of people’s homes, from a beautiful cross-stitch embroidery of houses by @hookstitchsew and views of Lincoln (@pinklady558), the Black Isle in the Highlands of Scotland (@bluejake235), Swanpool beach in Cornwall (@dwphotography63), a cottage in Oxforshire (@isisgem) along with a front door to die for from (@kathycobrey). Not forgetting @alisoninadalucia who featured a lovely mosaic of the Legs of Man, from her home the Isle of Man.

Anne Marie Hearinga originally from the Netherlands, but now residing in Gibraltar, also joined in posting photos of her two cats on Instagram and writing about her many house moves on her blog.

2018 Friday Photo Challenge (Week 2) Home

Me, Myself & I

I was a little bit silly putting this as one of the prompts for the photo challenge seeing as I’m a bit camera shy online. It’s something I have thought about a lot, especially as I was recently approached by someone who wanted to feature me in his work. It was a huge honour to be asked, but for reasons of privacy, I declined as it would have meant me having my face and name all over the shop. I fear that once it’s out, there’s no getting it back and I like the shroud of anonymity, especially living in Gibraltar (which has a population of just 30,000). As it is, I have been rumbled by several people already.

I guess I’m a bit chicken about ‘coming out’ as a blogger, I don’t want people to think I’m silly and frivolous. This is just a hobby of mine, which I love and I don’t want people judging me for it. There, I’ve said it. Perhaps one day you’ll see more than just my shadow, but for now, that’s all you’re getting!

On Instagram, it was lovely to see so many of your faces, some of whom are new to me since beginning this challenge, others, I have followed and have followed me for a while. Again, Anne Marie Heeringa joined in with another blog post and a photo on Istagram. I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t the only shadowy figure to feature in this challenge check out @familyfaulds for a lovely snowy shadow.

2018 Friday Photo Challenge (Week 3) Me, Myself & I

Hobby

My word, you are a talented an interesting lot! So many brilliant hobbies were on show on Instagram for this photo challenge, crochet (@tsdailytreasures), baking (@janetbryden), painting, knitting (@capanosandra), photography, reading, gardening (@alisoninadalucia), film watching, patchwork, embroidery, birdwatching (@isisgem), MotoGP (@mrsscjohnson) and even anti-gravity fitness!! Sandra at Wild Daffodil joined in too with her fast growing Attic24 blanket!

I have been truly overwhelmed by all of the people who have decided to join in on this weekly photo challenge so far. I have done my best to mention most of them in this blog post, however I do apologise profusely if I have missed anyone out. If you want to see the Instagram photos for yourself, just search the #postcardfromgibfridayphoto hashtag to see them all there (over 50 were there at the last count). Thank you so much for all joining in!

If you haven’t yet had a go, and would like to, please feel free to dip in and out as you like, there’s no obligation to stick with it for every week of 2018, just as and when you fancy it. You can join in on your blog (if you have one) just leave a link in the comments below and I can find you that way. Alternatively join in on Instagram using the #postcardfromgibfridayphoto hashtag and you can join the gang!

Have a lovely weekend and a great February everyone!

Sunday Sevens #119 21.1.18

After last week’s sad demise of my trusty iPhone after 3 years of loyal service, I was very fortunate to have Mr Postcard buy me a new one (hooray!). As a result, normal Sunday Sevens service is restored and I have lots of photos to celebrate. Here’s this week’s edition of Sunday Sevens…

Sunshine after the rain

Last Sunday was a rather damp, grey and dull affair but we were treated to a rather lovely sunset. It’s amazing how a little bit of sunshine, even if it’s fleeting, can lift the spirits.

Joining squares

One of my many New Years resolutions was to finish some of the many on-going WiPs (works in progress) I have going on. This blanket was begun back in the summer of 2016, when I undertook my first Summer Craft Challenge.

The plan had initially been to create a blanket for our bed, but it soon became apparent that that would require a gazillion squares and I kind of ran out of oomph. Recently, I became aware of a place which is in need of small blankets for needy children, so I decided to pick up where I left off and get cracking with this again. When it’s complete I’ll show you how it ends up.

Dressmaking class

Over Christmas I was supposed to go shopping for some new fabric for my next dressmaking project in class. Unfortunately I failed in that matter. The local fabric shop in Gibraltar is up for sale and their stock is quickly dwindling. I had hoped to pop over to Spain to buy some fabric from a shop in La Linea, but unfortunately didn’t reckon on the whole 3 Kings holidays so that rather scuppered my purchase too. So, when it came to my dressmaking class this week, I decided to take one of my WiPs out of storage and use my time fruitfully pushing that towards the final straight.

Those of you who have been following my Sunday Sevens for a while may remember this skirt which was supposed to be made for me to wear to two special family weddings last year. I ended up falling in love with a dress in a shop window and that ended up being my wedding outfit, while this skirt was rather, well, forgotten about. Now it’s back out of its bag and ironed, I think I rather like it again, so I got busy on the hems. We’re not finished yet, but I’m heading in the right direction.

Med Steps training

I have managed to get up the Med Steps a couple of times this week. The first trip was on Wednesday, when it was gloriously sunny. Although we did have a water feature to get our socks wet in. A fresh water pipe which was coming out of the Rock high up above our heads had burst and for part of the route, the path had effectively become a stream. It made conditions a bit slippy underfoot. We reported it to the wardens but they were waiting for the appropriate authorities to come out and fix it. As it was high up on the Rock, it wasn’t a straight forward job.

The next day, Thursday, we went back up and what a difference a day makes! The two photos below were taken 24 hours apart. It was very blustery and grey but on a positive note, the water leak had been fixed, so we didn’t get wet feet this time!

Fabric shopping

On Wednesday, after my trip up the Steps I happened upon a good idea. I had been racking my brains on when I would get the chance to get into Spain to buy my dressmaking fabric whilst the Little Postcards were at school, and in between all my other commitments, when I suddenly realised it was Wednesday and that’s market day in La Linea. The market stands just on the other side of the border between Gibraltar and Spain, and is easily walkable from Gib in just a few minutes.

I keep meaning to visit the market but there always seems to be something which I need to do on a Wednesday morning, and I always forget until it’s too late. This week, though, I remembered. I’m ashamed to say that after eight and a half years of living in Gibraltar, this week was only my second visit to the market. Thankfully, my memory served me well and they did have fabric stalls. After much mooching I found some black stretchy satin and black crepey fabric for my next project. Here’s hoping I bought the right thing or I’ll be going back again next week!

My Year of Colour

Over on Instagram this week, there has been a mini trend of creating your year of colour. I thought I would have a go myself and was rather pleased with this rainbow of bright dots. The idea is, that the year of colour website sifts through all your photographs from the past year and picks out the predominant colours and weighs up how popular certain photos were before generating your year of colour. It’s just a bit of fun, but I enjoyed playing with the site.

Watercolour production line

I was on a bit of a roll at my watercolour class this week, working on three paintings at once! I finished last week’s jam jar posy, did some cyclamen in a pot and had a go at some purple foliage in another jam jar.

Another crochet project

I know, I know I didn’t need another new crochet project when I have others on the go (2 x blankets, 2 Little Box of Crochet projects, 2 shawls & 2 unicorns waiting in the wings) but I just couldn’t resist. I’m joining along with Eleonora of Coastal Crochet and her Seaside Stash-busting blanket CAL (crochet-along) well, it is stash-busting so it’s got to be a good thing right? Each week Eleonora will publish four rows of her pattern for you to crochet along with. I think I can manage 4 rows a week… maybe. Check out her blog or Instagram (@coastalcrochet) for all the details.

So there you have it, a rather longer than usual Sunday Sevens, but then I did have a new camera phone to play with. I hope you have had a good week this week and that the next seven days are kind to you. Thanks for stopping by!

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

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.

IMG_7267

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 😊