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!

Summer Craft Challenge (Week 4)

Things have been a little bit manic since we returned from our holiday, so a little bit later than expected, here’s week 4 of my Summer Craft Challenge, if you’re interested!

Day 22 (Saturday 28th July)

This My Picot pattern for the leaf scarf I’m working on at the minute can be a little trying at times – well only if I don’t concentrate. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have had to unravel a few rows to get the stitches right! Never mind, even if Saturday evening did end with me frogging crochet, at least I was able to pick up this lovely hand dyed yarn skein from Worstead Festival during the day! I can’t wait to make something with it, it feels lovely. (Hopefully a post all about our trip to Worstead will appear before too long).

Day 23 (Sunday 29th July )

Crochet wise, things worked a lot smoother on Sunday. I just love the colour changes in this Scheepjes Whirl. It makes me smile as each new colour variation appears on my hook as I make progress through it.

Day 24 (Monday 30th July)

We had a busy day planned a the shops on Monday buying school uniform to take home to Gibraltar, so I had to plan my crochet time a bit better. I got up before the rest of the family and sat happily with a mug of coffee as everyone else woke up and got busy.

Day 25 (Tuesday 31st July)

You can’t beat a crochet session with a lovely view! An evening pub meal on the Norfolk Broads with crochet for dessert as the sun went down – just the ticket!

Day 26 (Wednesday 1st August)

Yay! The first strand of yellow appeared in my work! It feels almost like I’m on the home straight!

Day 27 (Thursday 2nd August)

On our last full day on holiday, we made one last trip to Southwold Pier for a beer and an alfresco crochet session as the waves did their thing beneath our feet. Sadly the tranquil moment was cut short due to an invasion of wasps, but it was nice while it lasted!

Friday

So Friday was Day 28 of my Summer Craft Challenge and it was a day of traveling, about 11 hours door-to-door. Although I had my crochet in my bag with me on the plane, I wasn’t feeling it, so it stayed in my bag. Therefore no Craft was done at all. However, just before we left on our epic trip, I called into the pottery painting shop to collect our works of art. The Little Postcards painted Pokémon characters, I opted for rainbow dots. Here’s mine, all finished and it survived the trip back to Gibraltar.

That’s me officially half way through the long 8 week school holiday, and I have had my craft challenge to keep me going. I can’t believe we’re halfway through already!!

Sunday Sevens #148 5.8.18

Well, this week we spent most of our time with family in the UK before heading back home to Gibraltar. I have to say that although the temperature at times in England was warmer than on the Rock, the humidity since getting back home has totally wiped me out. On the positive side, we had a wonderful fortnight in leafy Suffolk and Norfolk and we all made it safely back home. Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens (or Sunday Nines, as they should be this week!):

Stormy weather

Last Sunday we were treated to some rather inclement (though warm) weather in Suffolk. To look at that photo, you would think it was taken in January, not July! Can you believe that someone was actually kite surfing in those rough waves?! We could barely stand upright in the wind and horizontal rain!!

A shopping trip to Norwich

We made the most of the shops on Monday and hid in shopping centres from the monsoon rain we were experiencing. Thankfully by lunchtime the weather cleared up and we were free to wander at will in the sunshine. I just love the art nouveau architecture of the Royal Arcade. Everything about it is delightful right down to it’s resident hare!

Europa’s trip to the races

Do you remember Europa the Unicorn, who came with us on our summer adventures last year? Well she came with us on holiday again. This time though, she only made it to one day out… the horse racing at Great Yarmouth. We had a great day at the races, and she was my lucky charm, I won £46 from a £4 stake on the race going past her in this photo.

The winning horse was Final Rock, who’s father is Rock of Gibraltar, which is owned by Sir Alex Ferguson. I know nothing about racing, I just go off the name, and this one stood out to me with the Gibraltar connection, and it paid off! (I won’t mention the races I lost money on… let’s just say I broke even on the day after buying ice creams and juice!).

Burgh Castle

While we were in Norfolk one day, we took a trip to Burgh Castle. The ruins there were once a Roman castle and stand proud overlooking the Broads close to Great Yarmouth. We have visited many times over the years and this walk across the fields to see the ruins brought back many memories. After the walk, we met some family for a lovely dinner at a nearby pub as the sun went down…

An evening stroll on the dunes

On Wednesday evening we took a walk across town to have a lovely meal at another pub, this time, on the southern side of Southwold. The meal was lovely, and was followed by a fun walk back to our accommodation across the dunes. The Little Postcards scrambled about and played catch as we made our way back home following the light from the Southwold lighthouse.

Whenever I walk through dunes and marram grass I’m reminded of a story book I had as a child called Hannibal the Hamster, about a hamster who escaped from his home to run free in the marram grass! It’s funny how some small things can bring back such vivid memories of childhood…

Under the pier

So on Thursday we said our last goodbyes to Southwold, it was a marvelous host for us for two weeks as we travelled about the place visiting our relatives in this part of the world. So long Southwold, until next time…

Homeward bound

I usually try to take a photo out of the plane window as I head back to Gibraltar. Normally it’s of a patchwork of green fields, this time, though, I looked a tad more golden than green. This was just after take off from Stansted Airport, in normally green Essex. You can clearly see the toll the long spell of dry and hot weather has taken on the countryside.

So there you have it, Sunday Sevens done for another week, I doubt next week’s will be as varied as this one, sadly! Until next time, bye for now, and thanks for stopping by!

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

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.

A Postcard from springtime Suffolk

Two weeks ago, we all hopped on a plane, said goodbye to Gibraltar and headed off to England for a few days.

Our destination…. Suffolk. Southwold to be precise, but also Beccles too for the special day that was to be a Postcard family wedding. More on that later…

It’s eight months since we were last in Southwold. It’s a special place for us which we have visited many times over the years. Regular visitors to this blog may remember my posts from here last summer… A postcard from Southwold & A postcard from Southwold Pier

It was so nice to be back on the pier admiring the view into town and towards the beautifully painted beach huts.

There weren’t as many visitors in town as we’d experienced last August, but there were still some folk around doing the touristy things. Oh, and maybe eating a portion or two of fish & chips…

Southwold is such a pretty place.

There are cute little cottages around every corner.

Oh, and did I mention I have a thing about beach huts?! 

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…

We went crazy and had a go at the two pence penny pushers in the pier amusement arcade.

We swerved the Punch & Judy show, although it did have a decent audience who persisted through the show while being blown by strong sea winds.

It may have been a bit grey at times, but that didn’t spoil our fun.

The roadside verges and people’s gardens were bursting forth with the most beautiful spring displays. Excuse me this indulgence please, I miss seeing spring flowers like this!

Oh the blossom!

And just look at this quaint architect’s office, complete with coordinating car!

I do like a colourfully painted front door…

One evening we set off across the fields behind the town and leaving the grand Victorian homes behind us, headed into the fenland towards the harbour.

Within a short walk we were by the river and tucking into a delicious pub meal. The gorse flowers glowed in the setting sunshine.


So, the reason for this jaunt to England during school termtime? We had a wedding to attend. 

Tucked away in the lush green countryside near Beccles is White Dove Barns. Surrounded by fields of crops and cattle and looking glorious was the venue for the nuptials.

The converted farm buildings were just so English and so, so picturesque.

As the registrar got everything ready for the ceremony I sneaked in to take a peak before the guests arrived.

And after the ceremony, this is the room where the reception took place.

The renovated old barn was so pretty, and the table settings, just gorgeous.

The beautiful flowers on the top table were stunning and so springlike. 

Even the wedding cake was covered in flowers. 

It was a really beautiful venue and the perfect backdrop for a very happy day.

With the happy couple successfully hitched, we had time for one more delicious breakfast at the Adnam’s brewery and another wander around Southwold before heading home.

There she is, our Rock. Thank you, Suffolk, it was lovely to see you again! Until next time…

Sunday Sevens #77 2.4.17

I’ve just about managed to publish this in time to still count as Sunday Sevens, after 9 and a half hours traveling back home to Gibraltar today from beautifully sunny and springlike Suffolk.

So, this time last week it was Mother’s Day… feels like a very long time ago now!

Wisteria


I do love wisteria, such a gorgeous flower! I spotted a bumble bee climbing into this bloom as I walked past last Sunday morning. Despite weather forecasts suggesting dodgy weather for the weekend we were blessed with sunshine and, at times, clear blue skies – how lovely! Just perfect for Mother’s Day.

Scummy Mummies


I treated myself to a Mother’s Day gift this year and it arrived just in time. I listen to the Scummy Mummies podcast when I’m out walking, and can often be spotted howling with laughter like a mad woman as they regale tales of hilarious parenting fails and make their Scummy Mummy confessions of when things go awry… The book didn’t disappoint, I giggled away to myself as we flew out to England later in the week.

Ready for the off!


So Tuesday saw us swerving the school run and heading to the airport instead. The Little Postcards’ only cousin was due to get married this week and we couldn’t miss that! We left the cloudless skies of Gibraltar for the slightly cloudier skies of….

Southwold!

It was so lovely to be back in Southwold on the Suffolk coast again so soon after we our lovely holiday there last summer. If you missed my posts all about the beautiful seaside town and pier, you can find them here for Southwold and here for the pier.

Love is in the air…

We were blessed with the most beautiful weather and venue for the special family wedding we attended. I will share a few more photos of the day in a future post. It was perfect in every way, and the happy couple enjoyed themselves immensely, as did we.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside 


Oh I do love it in Southwold. It feels like coming home to be able to walk along the prom here. We have been visiting since long before the Little Postcards were born and it is just so familiar, like putting an old jumper on! It hasn’t changed that much in the years we’ve been visiting and it’s reassuring to repeat our ritual walks here again and again (they usually involve, chips, ice cream and a visit to the pier!).

Spring has sprung!

It seems appropriate to book end this post with pretty flowers, Gibraltar wisteria at the beginning and some Suffolk blossom at the end. Spring has certainly sprung in the corner of England that we visited, the hedgerows were greening up, there were daffodils by the roadsides and blossom trees galore. I don’t usually visit the U.K. at this time of year and I feel privileged to have been able to witness Spring in all it’s glory on our trip.

And now we’re into April already, the year is just whizzing by so fast! Here are a few pictures from last month, which included a trip to Spain, last week’s to Suffolk and the sad loss of our rescue bunny Snowflake.

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

Review of the year : 2016

As the clock ticks inexorably towards midnight on 31st December and we close the door on 2016, I thought it was time to take a look back at the year we have just had. Most of the newspaper reviews I’ve read so far have focussed on the negative aspects, celebrity deaths, the seismic political changes afoot both in Europe, America and the rest of the world, and general doom and gloom.

I am very fortunate in that for us, in our little corner of the world, apart from the uncertainties of Brexit and what that could mean for us in the years to come, we’ve had a pretty good year. Looking back at all the interesting things we’ve done makes me think about how fortunate we are. If your 2016 has been a difficult one, I sincerely hope that 2017 will be better for you and your loved ones.

January 2016

The New Year saw us spending a few days up the coast from Gibraltar on the Costa del Sol, but we were back on the Rock in plenty of time to see the Three Kings Cavalcade. It was also back in January when I went for the first of my strolls around Gibraltar the first one was an homage to the many beautiful balconies, the second one paid tribute to the many steps we ‘enjoy’ here!

February 2016

February brought us some misty and stormy weather, but there was plenty of indoors activities to keep us busy here in Gibraltar. The second annual Gib Talks event saw speakers from all walks of life take to the stage for short talks on a huge range of subjects. Later in the month, the extraordinary Gibraltar Womens Association celebrated their 50th Anniversary, I found  their story fascinating.

March 2016

In March, we were blessed with some beautiful sunny days with bright blue skies. Along with completing a tin man outfit for World Book Day, I finally managed to finish my Attic 24 Cosy Stripe Blanket after a year of hooking! We made the most of the lovely spring weather and took a dolphin trip out into the Bay of Gibraltar. There was also a beautiful exhibition in Gib celebrating  women’s creativity.

April 2016

During April we made another short trip up the coast and headed inland to Ronda a beautiful Andalucian town. I was very productive at my dressmaking and home furnishing courses inserting my first invisible zip and producing curtain tie-backs for the public transport fan in my life. A tall ship called into port at Gibraltar and members of the public had the chance to go on board and have a snoop around.

May 2016

May meant Med Steps for me big time as I completed my final training sessions for, and then finished, the Med Steps 5 Challenge with my two stepping buddies. It was a rather intense day but we were so proud of ourselves for climbing to the top of the Rock five times in quick succession. We also managed to raise a fair amount of sponsorship money for the brilliant Cancer Relief Gibraltar. Some of my sponsors are readers of this blog and I am so touched that you took the time and effort to support our fundraising efforts – thank you.

As I spent so long prattling on about the Med Steps during my training, I figured I should tell you all about it:  The Med Steps: a few facts & figures . May also meant saying goodbye to a good friend to me and my blogging adventures. One of the sad things about living an expat life is that many of the friends you make are in the same boat as you and therefore may not be around for long Saying goodbye…

June 2016

June was a very eventful month not only for me but for Gibraltar and the rest of the UK as a whole as BREXIT loomed large (this post was my most read of all time and by a very long way). Six months on, we are still no further forward knowing what it all means.

Another unexpected thing to happen to me in June, was when I chose to go back up the Med Steps one foggy morning. I thought that the mist would make the climb cool as the summer heat had begun to build. I was wrong. As I climbed up the Rock, I climbed out of the mist and fog. I was nearly roasted alive, but I did manage to take a rather good photo of the Rock emerging out of the mist below (see second left image on the bottom row above). I got loads of likes and shares and retweets with that picture taken on  A mini stroll in the mist!

11th June 2016 marked International Yarnbombing Day 2016 and I had a little go myself with my first guerrilla crochet project as I attempted to Yarnbomb the Alameda Gardens to celebrate the park’s 200th anniversary.

July 2016

July equals the beginning of the very long school summer holiday in Gibraltar. As I stared down the barrel of 8 weeks of no school and the prospect of entertaining the three Little Postcards I felt a little overwhelmed. In an effort to find some way of surviving (with my marbles intact) I decided on day one that I would set myself the challenge of doing something crafty every single day of the holidays…. and the Summer Craft Challenge was born. One of our summer holiday outings took us up into the Upper Rock Nature Reserve to visit one of Gibraltar’s newest attractions, the  Windsor Suspension Bridge .

August 2016

August, for us, was mainly spent in England. I travelled back with the Little Postcards to spend two weeks based in the North West with my parents (with a lovely trip down to Berkshire to visit friends) and then two weeks with Mr Postcard visiting his family in East Anglia. We were blessed with the best of English summer weather. When the sun shines – there really is no better place to be. Our East Anglia holiday base was Southwold in Suffolk, it gave us the perfect opportunity for multiple visits to a special place for us Southwold Pier .

The end of the month brought the school summer holidays to an end. After eight weeks of full-time kiddiwinks and eight weeks of the summer craft challenge, I was very proud to still be in full possession of my marbles (I think) and I also managed to do something crafty on every day except for one (the day we travelled back to Gibraltar). The final instalment of my challenge is here.

September 2016

September is always a very busy month in Gibtraltar. Just after the children return to school, we all have a day off for Gibraltar National Day on 10th September. Around this time we now have the Gibraltar Music Festival to enjoy too. This year saw the Stereophonics headline and Europe played the air guitarist’s dream of The Final Countdown live on the Rock.

Towards the end of the month, I was able to fulfil an ambition of mine to visit the Yarn Festival of Yarndale. It was everything I had expected and more, with bells on. My absolute highlight was meeting my crochet hero Lucy from Attic 24 and being able to give her one of my Llanitas (Llanita, the Gibraltar Yarndale sheep that is). The sheep were made to raise funds to support a children’s hospice in North Yorkshire, I made two and they have both gone to live in Yorkshire!  My Yarndale 2016 (featuring Llanita’s Yorkshire adventures)

October 2016

In October I was still determined to keep up some of the crochet momentum I had achieved during the summertime and finished off my contribution to the Sixty Million Trebles project. I made a rainbow granny square blanket which will go towards the World Record breaking attempt to create a huge crochet blanket made up of sixty million treble stitches. Each treble stitch represents a displaced person or refugee. After the world record attempt the giant blanket will be made into smaller blankets and handed out to charities in the UK and those helping Syrian refugees. The organisers also hope to raise a considerable amount of funds too to help Syrian refugees.

A big event locally was the fourth annual Gibraltar Literary Festival 2016 I was lucky enough to be able to attend several events this year and really loved it.

November 2016

At the beginning of November we had just one Bunny in the Postcard household, then one Sunday afternoon during a walk through the Alameda Gardens, we found some abandoned rabbits. One of them, Blizzard, came home with us (Blizzard turned out to be a girl and she is now known as Snowflake). It was back in November when I had my first attempt at Podcasting I had such fun making it, and hope to be able to share another one with you soon.

December

In December we sadly said goodbye to Bunny Postcard. She had only been with us for 11 months but she’d quickly become a much loved member of the family.

This month I also headed out for my most recent stroll, to see some of the Christmas lights  we have on the Rock – amazingly it was the 16th stroll post I’ve written this year. I also took the plunge (literally) and joined with the annual Boxing Day Polar Bear Swim at Catalan Bay – I’m still feeling proud of myself for doing it!

 

Thank you so much for joining me this year, I have loved having your company and enjoy reading all the lovely comments. Here’s to next year, who knows what it will have in store for us all, here’s hoping it will be a good one.