A postcard from Lagos

We’ve just had the midterm holidays and last week, we packed up the car and headed off to Portugal, Lagos to be precise. We’ve been to this part of the world a couple of times before but stayed closer to Portimão, this time we fancied a change of scenery and headed further west to Lagos.

We stayed in a lovely apartment on the western edge of Lagos. Sadly it was too nippy to make use of the outdoor pool (well for the softy grown-ups at least!). Can you see the Atlantic Ocean in the distance? It was a lovely spot.

Lagos has a rather pretty old town which is surrounded by city walls.

The archetypal Portuguese tiles are in abundance here.

Even the pavements are artistic…

And there are some gorgeous front doors too…

At the start of our visit to the city there was a craft fair going on in town. Housed in an old building which used to be a munitions store, it was the home for stalls selling needlework, jewelry, fused glass and cork items.

I was in my element and bought a few bits and bobs which will come in handy for Christmas presents.

Among the stalls was a marvelous collection of yarns and woven items.

The lady who runs this stall hand dyes all her yarns and weaves them into beautiful scarves and bags. She also sold balls of yarn…

She dyes the yarn using seeds, vegetables, bark (for the deep purple) and insects for the pink and red tones. I bought this gorgeous yarn which was coloured using tree roots.

If you would like to see more of her work, you can check out her Facebook page.

Another craft emporium had this fabulous window display;

It was run by a German couple who between them wrote books and poetry and whittled beautiful wooden jewelry. They had been living in Lagos for 20+ years and raised their children here. I bought some earrings made by the wife and a book of folk lore stories written and illustrated by the husband.

Zoo Lagos

One morning we took a drive out to Lagos Zoo. I’m uncomfortable with the whole ‘zoo’ thing but at this one, the animals seemed well cared for.

It was a perfect small zoo for young children. In some areas there were no fences at all, and some of the creatures just wandered around at will.

These pelicans caused quite a stir as they just ambled along the path amongst the visitors. We even got to see them being fed a little while later…

There were plenty of primates, many of whom lived on this primate island. The noise of the calls and booming cries could be heard a good distance away in the car park!

This bird had a really funky hairdo…

I’m told that this Pygmy hippo bore a more than passing resemblance to me…

I loved the flying foxes, they were fascinating to see up close.

My absolute favorites had to be the rainbow coloured parrots (macaws to be precise) and this angora nanny goat!

Lagos fort

At the western edge of Lagos seafront/riverfront stands an old fort-like building. Rectangular in shape, with lookout towers at each corner and with a drawbridge on the land side, it caught my eye the first time I saw it.

On our first trip into Lagos, we had tried to get in, but it was closed for lunch sadly. I made it my mission to be back in town one day while it was open to have a mosey inside.

Over the drawbridge and through the old wooden doors we went to buy our entrance tickets.

The Forte da Ponta da Bandeira is a restored 17th Century maritime fortress. On the ground floor are a series of small rooms which were being used as galleries displaying a photographic exhibition.

There was also a very small chapel, dedicated to Santa Barbara. It may be small, but there was such a calming, yet powerful atmosphere in there, and as you can see it was totally covered with traditional Portuguese tiles.

Up the ramp, to the upper floor…

… and the many wind sculptures…

They were so striking.

In each corner of the fort, as I mentioned, there is a little lookout turret, and we were able to go into three of them.

The narrow slit windows perfectly framed the views they looked out on…

…. both inland….

….and out to sea.

It was such a lovely spot.

Back downstairs, we found another small gallery featuring more work from the artist who had created the sculptures on the roof…

José Maria Silva Pereira is the artist who created these installations and the sculptures on the roof are called Caminhos do Vento (which I think translates of Paths of Wind). They were specially designed to be moved by the north wind which is common in Lagos during the summer months.

And that, is just about it for this postcard from the Algarve. We had a lovely few days, and mainly good weather, if you’re ever in this neck of the woods I’d definitely recommend a visit.

Sunday Sevens #161 4.11.18

Well it’s been a lovely half term week, we escaped to Portugal for a few days, and it was fab. Here’s this week’s Portuguese Sunday Sevens (well actually it’s Sunday Eights this week):

Hello Lagos

We woke up on Sunday morning to bright blue skies in Lagos, in the eastern Algarve. It’s a lovely seaside town which we visited for the day on our Portuguese holiday in summer 2017 and fancied seeing a bit more. There are a few pictures here in Sunday Sevens but a longer post will be coming your way soon…

And relax…

We did a few things while we were away, but it was overwhelmingly a holiday for doing nothing and it was delightful. I felt so relaxed and recharged, just what the doctor ordered!

Lagos Zoo

We took the Little Postcards to Lagos Zoo and were very surprised to see this pair of pelicans waddling towards us down the footpath! Where possible, there were no railings or fences, and it was great to see the animals up close.

Bad weather

While Gibraltar was being drenched with very heavy rainstorms midweek, we had bad weather too, but thankfully not quite as much rain as Gib.

Homeward bound

Our lovely time away came to an end and we hit the highway to head home. It’s always lovely to see the Rock come into view, so we know we’re nearly there.

Med steps and blue skies

It was gloriously beautiful day yesterday, I simply had to make the most of it and head up the Med Steps. It was like spring, and there were even narcissi out in bloom..

Instead of heading straight home as I usually do, I took a detour towards the Skywalk as it was such a beautiful day. I happened across a levitating ape!

That’s it for this week’s Sunday Sevens, back to normal from tomorrow as school restarts and we get back into a routine again. As always I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Summer Craft Challenge 2017 (week 9)

Welcome to the slightly late final edition of my Summer Craft Challenge 2017. A return to school for the Little Postcards and the wonderful MTV Gibraltar Calling music festival this weekend slightly threw me off track… here goes!

Day 57 : Saturday 26th August

Saturday was our last night in beautiful Carcassonne.  I will always remember Carcassonne when I wear this shawl once it’s finished.

Day 58 : Sunday 27th August

Back in Toulouse on Sunday the colour blue began to emerge in the yarn. I’m really enjoying the colours of this Scheepjes Whirl yarn.

Day 59 : Monday 28th August

With a few hours to kill between checking out and heading to the airport it meant a little while in one of Toulouse’s gorgeous public parks crocheting on a bench…

….and then more time for hooky on the plane. I ended up sitting next to a lovely Spanish lady who loves to crochet too. She showed me her bag which she had made herself.

Day 60 : Tuesday 29th August

Back at home in Gibraltar now, with just the chance for a couple of rows between the multiple loads of post holiday laundry!

Day 61 : Wednesday 30th August


Time for a change today and a return to this lovely ‘Jenny’s Mandala’ from Little Box of Crochet. I know I have said it before but I just love how the pattern and look of the mandala changes with each new row.

Day 63 : Thursday 31st August

More mandala time, and as the sun went down on Thursday, it went down on the school summer holidays and indeed my summer craft challenge for this year. I felt a glass of wine was in order to celebrate over 60 days of craftiness (I missed just 2 days this year) and to spare a thought for all the wonderful teachers who will be nurturing all our kiddiwinks over the next academic year.

My Summer Craft Challenge this year has been such fun and has come with us all over the place on a mini European tour. Europa the Unicorn, who I made on the very first day of the challenge back on 1st July has been to the U.K., France, Portugal, Spain and Italy. I have been getting weird glances from not just my children, but passers-by as I have been attempting to take photos of her in various locations, I have been disowned on more than one occasion.

Thanks so much for joining me! 

Sunday Sevens #95 6.8.17

Hello there, please excuse the brevity of this week’s Sunday Sevens. I had loads to tell you about our trip to Portugal but the slowest wifi known to man meant I couldn’t write it on holiday (think 12 hours to upload a single photo) and sadly, since we returned yesterday, I have been rather poorly with a very unpleasant bug. I’m starting to feel a little more human this evening so here goes…

Holidays start here!

Last Saturday we arrived on the beautiful Algarve coast near to Alvor. After a five and a half hour drive from Gibraltar it was great to be back in the same place where we holidayed two years ago. It’s still as picturesque as I remembered.

Lovely Lagos

Just a 20 minute drive from our resort is the town of Lagos, we didn’t visit it last time, so paid it a visit to see what was there. With heaps of character and narrow streets, along with moorish architecture it reminded me a lot of Tarifa, which is close to Gibraltar on the Atlantic coast.

Cheers!


Dinner at a beachside restaurant, or chiringuito as they are known close to us in Spain, meant a chance to sample some beautiful food and a gorgeous Algarvian rosé as the sun went down.

Back to Alvor

Our favourite destination on our last visit to this part of the world is the fishing village of Alvor. So quaint and characterful, and home to lots of lovely places to eat!

Taberna 

Talking of eating… While we were in Portugal, we timed our visit to coincide with friends who were visiting from England. One of our friends is Portuguese and has been visiting this part of the world for her family summer holidays for 40+ years. She took us back to her favourite restaurant, ‘Taberna’ in Portimão for a beautiful meal in a truly atmospheric place.

Beach life

I have never visited tropical beaches, but I can’t imagine they are any more beautiful than the beaches of the Algarve, with dramatic cliffs, clean sand and crystal clear turquoise water. We spent many happy hours jumping Atlantic waves and building sand castles.

Heading home

If you have seen the news lately about the heatwave in Central Europe, you will know things have been pretty warm in these parts of late. We set off at 8:15am in an attempt to beat some of the heat, but it wasn’t early enough. The sun was beating down on us just over an hour later as we crossed the bridge from Portugal back into Spain. The highest temperature I read on the car dashboard thermometer was 41.5 C as we crossed the hills south of Jerez. It isn’t a patch on the record highs elsewhere in Europe, but it was rather toasty.

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series for bloggers which was created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins. It features seven (or perhaps more) photos from the last seven days of your week. If you are a blogger and would like to join in with the Sunday Sevens community, then pop over to Natalie’s blog to find out how you can get involved.

Summer Craft Challenge 2017 (week 5)

Another week done, I really can’t believe how quickly this summer is whizzing by! I set myself a summer craft challenge to do something crafty throughout July and August in order to save my sanity throughout the long school summer holidays; here’s installment number 5 of my weekly updates for my summer craft challenge this year.

Day 29 : Saturday 29th July

We had a bit of a road trip last Saturday, 5 and a half hours to be precise, from Gibraltar to Southern Portugal. We packed up the car and headed off for a wonderful week in the Algarve. A bit of passenger seat hooky helped pass the time as we traveled across Andalusia. This photo was taken as we were crossing the Reina Sofia bridge in Seville.

Day 30 : Sunday 30th July

At last my holiday meant there was time for me to be able to concentrate on one of my medium term WIPs (works in progress), my Blue Sky Hug scarf from Little Box of Crochet. I have been working in this off and on for a couple of months now, but the pattern requires a decent amount of concentration and I have had to rip a good few mistakes out and start large sections again several times. It was put back in its little box until I was in the right frame of mind.

Peace on holiday (well briefly 😉), meant I had the brain capacity to have another go at unraveling mistakes and figuring out where I was up to with the pattern.

Day 31 : Monday 31st July

Clear blue skies overhead were the perfect conditions to push on with my Blue Skies Hug scarf!

Day 32 : Tuesday 1st August

Arghhh, oh no! I’ve done it again… another mistake! It looks ok, but I’ve actually got an extra two stitches on two rows. Time to out it away again after giving it a stern talking to.

Day 33 : Wednesday 2nd August

I’m in a huff with the blue scarf, so enjoyed a few rows of mindless trebles between a trip to the beach and dinner… Oh I do like holidays!

Day 34 : Thursday 3rd August

Alfresco coffee and crochet by the River estuary in pretty Alvor… A perfect morning break.

Day 35 : Friday 4th August

You’ll never believe it, but I actually finished my Blue Sky Hug Scarf! It hasn’t been blocked yet (as you can probably tell) but in my eagerness to photograph it against the backdrop of the brilliant blue skies we were enjoying yesterday I am sharing it with you already..

It just goes so well with the colours of the sea and sky don’t you think?

I’m really pleased with it now it’s finished.. I’m not ashamed to admit that I fell out with it a few times while I was in the process of making it though!

That’s all for this week’s Summer Craft Challenge, I was supposed to post this yesterday, but painfully slow internet and then none at all meant I decided to wait until we were back in Gibraltar, which we are now. It’s bright and sunny and thankfully not as hot here as the 41.5 C temperatures we ‘enjoyed’ on the drive back!

Do you fancy joining in with your own summer craft challenge? Just tag your photos #summercraftchallenge2017 on Instagram and we can all craft together!

Sunday Sevens #94 30.7.17

This week’s Sunday Sevens features several locations in 4 different countries believe it or not! Here goes…

Sunny English summer skies


This time last week we were in Reading enjoying the last full day with our old friends who once lived in Gibraltar. They have a lovely big back garden and the weather conspired to allow the Little Postcards and their friends to play outdoors for ages on the trampoline and running about on the grass. Meanwhile my friend and I looked on, coffee, and then gin in hand, and enjoyed a jolly good catch up. We had such a lovely time, thank you so much x

Ride a cock horse… our Banbury detour


So our return trip up North managed to coincide with some rather annoying (for us) railway engineering works. We ended up killing an hour in Banbury between connections. My only prior knowledge of the place was a bloke at University called ‘Pete from Banbury’ and the nursery rhyme. I can now add to that extensive catalogue of knowledge by contributing the fact that Banbury Debenhams do a damn fine chocolate brownie.

Family times


On Tuesday we went out for a lovely meal with my parents, brother and sister-in-law. My brother gave us a lift in his van and opened the sunroof, much to the delight of the Little Postcards! Check out that blue sky!

Oh, and there was an octopus at the table too…


Heading home – very slowly!


Wednesday meant time to leave England and a long wait for our plane home. A medical emergency on the plane we should have caught made our departure time 2 hours later than it should be. I hope the patient is ok.

We took off in the end though… good bye for now England!



Blue skies above


Back in Gibraltar, and boy it’s been very warm! Not a cloud in the sky…



Hot, hot, hot!


I know I’ve just spent 2 and a half weeks in England and I’m out of practice, but it really has been hot – 32.4 degrees on Friday.

Off on holiday again


I’ve had a very quick turnaround this week, unpacking our suitcases, washing and refilling them in time for our road trip to Portugal. We are staying in the same place as we did on our last visit two years ago, not far from Alvor. This is the Queen Sofia Bridge in Seville, it’s a huge structure which sea-going tankers can travel beneath. You get a great view of the city from it too. Oh, and it was 38.5 degrees there – phew!

After a five hour drive from Gibraltar and a welcome drop in temperature by a couple of degrees, we arrived at our destination. We’ve been hanging out with the locals…

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series for bloggers which was created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins. It features seven (or perhaps more) photos from the last seven days of your week. If you are a blogger and would like to join in with the Sunday Sevens community, then pop over to Natalie’s blog to find out how you can get involved.

Review of 2015 … well half of it!

 

2015 was the year I took the plunge and decided to have a go at blogging. For several years I have followed blogs including Attic24, The Patchwork Heart, Bunny Mummy and  Just Pootling and I have admired the beautiful photography, their ways with words and their beautiful crafts. A couple of years ago I decided I had a long way to go before attempting my own blog but set myself the challenge of taking a photo each day and writing a bit about it. Obviously on some days (like holidays, trips out & special occasions) it’s incredibly easy to snap away and you’re spoiled for choice, on others you are forced to think hard and be a bit creative about what the daily photo might be. This turned out to be good practice for  my blog posts, especially Sunday Sevens.

  Convent Garden, Gibraltar June 2015

Since I gave up (paid) work on the arrival of my first child, I have struggled to find something to entertain my brain, I’ve dabbled in crafts & craft fairs, done a bit of voluntary work and tried and failed to get a job which can work around my main job as a Mum.   

July 2015 (Manchester, Cheshire, Berkshire)

Recently, I guess my friends have picked up on my need to stimulate my brain and a few have independently suggested I try blogging (I hadn’t told them that I had previously considered and discounted it). I guess the planets came into alignment as when the most recent suggestion was made, I thought ‘why not?’ and set off on my Postcard from Gibraltar journey. In order to protect my boys from future ridicule, I decided to keep my blog anonymous for now.

August 2015 (Algarve & Gibraltar)

And so my Postcard from Gibraltar adventure began in June, hence the review of only half a year! We are very fortunate to live in a vibrant and interesting place, so there is never a shortage of things for me to write about, I also now have an outlet to talk about my various crafty fascinations of crochet, watercolour and sewing (friends and family heave a huge sigh of relief).

  September 2015 (Gibraltar)

I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far, I am thrilled when I look back at my old posts and see photos of things we have done and seen as a family, it’s almost like an online journal or photo album (both are things I have started many times but failed to complete).

  October 2015 (Gibraltar)

I have met some really supportive and kind people through the magic of the blogosphere and found inspiration for future projects and positive criticism for my own crafty endeavours. I used to think I was just a frustrated crafter who never had the time to create the things I want. While I admit I still get a bit frustrated at times as there are so many ideas in my head of what I want to do, but looking back at the makes I have documented I can see that I do churn out quite a bit as it is!

  November 2015 (crafts) 

Away from the world of the internet, blogging has also helped me build some networks in real life here in Gibraltar. There are some very talented people residing on this great Rock and I am pleased to have met some more of them during the past six months.

  November 2015 (Gibraltar & Marbella)

I won’t ramble on any more, but will leave you with my thanks for taking the time to stop by and read my blog, I’ve had a great time with it so far and very much look forward to what 2016 holds. Happy New Year!

  December 2015 (Gibraltar)