Sunday Sevens #92 16.7.17

This week’s Sunday Sevens sees our summer break beginning in earnest…

So long Gibraltar 

Last Sunday, myself and the three Little Postcards boarded a plane bound for Manchester. The summer holidays got off to a flying start in every sense of the word. As we left, we got this great view of the Rock and the Spanish Mediterranean coast before taking an unusual flight path along the Strait of Gibraltar hugging the Moroccan coastline before heading north. I have never flown that way before and it was interesting to see the Moroccan mountains complete with lakes and winding roads so closely.

Looking for colour on a grey day


I am a great lover of Manchester, having been born and brought up there. Marrying a southerner, I had to put up with years of abuse about it raining constantly in Manchester (it doesn’t by the way). Anyway, just to prove me wrong we have had a bit of iffy weather at the start and end of the week. To divert my attention away from the grey skies, I found tons of beautiful colour in the front gardens close to my parents’ house.

Cinema time


Another sketchy weather day on Tuesday saw us head to the cinema in the Trafford Centre to see Despicable Me 3. We try to go to the multiplex most summers when we visit. Being used to just 2 small screens at the cinema in Gibraltar, it’s a rather grand affair here in comparison. 

A trip to the country


Wednesday, and we took a trip to a very familiar place for me, Dunham Massey. This National Trust property featured heavily on my childhood Sunday afternoons. It’s beautiful deer are always a treat to see.

Harvest time

Back in June, I made a quick trip home to visit my parents and we stopped for a pub lunch on the outskirts of Warrington. At the time, I posted a photo of the beautiful field next door in my Sunday Sevens. We revisited the pub with the Little Postcards on Thursday as it was a warm and dry day and the pub had a great kids play area and football nets too. As we ate our lunch, we spotted some activity in the next door field – it was harvest time. That’s something we don’t get to see in Gibraltar!



Old and new

On Friday I took the Little Postcards into town to visit the fantastic Museum of Science and  Industry. We have been before, but not for a few years and felt it was due at return visit. The boys loved all the hands-on experiments. After the museum, we took a walk into the centre of Manchester. It has changed so much in recent years, but amongst all the new modern developments there are still some reach architectural jewels.

An astronomical trip


Yesterday we took a drive out to the Cheshire Plain to see the Jodrell Bank radio telescope and visitor centre. The venue for stargazing tv extravaganzas with the likes of Dr Brian Cox and Dara O’Brien, it’s certainly undergone a bit of a transformation since our last visit around 8 years ago. It was another hit with the Little Postcards for the hands-on exhibits. 


Thanks for joining me for this week’s Sunday Sevens. Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins blog.

Sunday Sevens #90 2.7.17

Sunday Sevens number 90?? Crumbs have I really been doing it that long? I hope I’m not boring you! Thanks for coming along for the ride! 😊

So here’s this week’s installment of Sunday Sevens…

Another beautiful evening sky

I thought the clouds looked particularly pretty on Sunday evening last week. Unfortunately the camera on my phone didn’t quite do them justice. We are being really spoiled with gorgeous sunsets this summer.

End of term for dressmaking class

I can hardly believe that I have reached the end of my second year of dressmaking classes with the immensely clever Dorcas Hammond (you can read all about Dorcas in this post). It may seem a silly thing to do to end the year with the beginnings of a new project, but for various reasons I got a bit behind with my work this year.

I am now all ready to get cracking in September stitching this gorgeous Kafe Fassett fabric into a blouse.

Last watercolour lesson of the term

Similar to dressmaking I had my last watercolour lesson this week and again I spent my lesson working on a new project. I am attempting to paint a sunset I photographed a couple of weeks ago. I enjoyed playing with the colours to find the right tones for the sky and sea. I do fear that the trial run may turn out better than the real thing though!! You can also see my post about my hugely talented watercolour teacher Deborah M Lawson here.

Crochet therapy

Life seems to be very hectic at the moment, it shouldn’t surprise me but it always is at this time of year. As the school year draws to a close and we are inundated with notes and emails detailing special days and meetings and a flurry of birthday party invitations for children whose birthdays fall during the long summer break. 

There have been days when I am sure I have had steam coming out of my ears and I’ve been contemplating running away and locking myself in a darkened room until September. However, I did make it to the weekend and next week is the last week of term for the Little Postcards. I did realise this week that I need to keep crafting to retain my sanity, so whenever I could, I grabbed a crochet hook and got busy on the border for this blanket. 

Poniente breezes

Something which has gone in our favour this week is is the fact that the wind direction changed. Of late we have ‘enjoyed’ a Levante (easterly) wind which has brought with it hot and humid weather, this week we received a welcome break with Poniente (westerly) breezes bringing much cooler weather. 

You could see the North Moroccan coast really clearly on Friday but blimey the water in the Strait was choppy. I don’t fancy being on that little boat! 

Another blanket finished

TA-dah! The latest Sixty Million Trebles blanket is completed. This one is the result of a collaboration and was created by the Gibraltar Crochet Collective, I just joined it and added the border. This is a slightly smaller baby blanket and will go with two others to a drop off point in England when I am over visiting family this summer. For more on Sixty Million Trebles, you can see their website here

Yesterday the organisation revealed the big news that they have reached the 3/4 point in their goal of reaching 60 million treble stitches. Hopefully they will hit 60 by the time the blankets are shipped to help Syrian refugee children in September.

Summer craft challenge 2017

Last year during the school summer holidays I challenged myself to do a little bit of craft every day in order to maintain my sanity. I amazed myself at managing to fulfill the challenge on all bar one day over the eight week long school break. 

This year, I have decided to do the same thing. I began my challenge yesterday seeing as it was the first of July and it felt like the start of summer proper. I wonder whether I’ll be able to maintain my challenge again this year?  Fancy joining in? If you do, you can follow my progress on Instagram, just use the tag #summercraftchallenge2017 with your creations.

Thanks for joining me this week. Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie from Threads & Bobbins

Sunday Sevens #82 7.5.17


Hello there, I hope you’ve had a good week. All these bank holidays of late have confused me no end, I keep losing track of what day we’re on! 

I know this is definitely Sunday, so here goes for this week’s Sunday Sevens…

Med Steps training : three times round!

We are now just six days away from the Med Steps 5 Challenge. If you listened to my latest podcast, published on Monday, you will know that I managed 3 times round on Sunday last week for the first time this year. 

I’m a bit behind on my training this year, so hopefully adrenaline will give me energy and determination to get round 5 times again next Saturday!

May Day


May Day was beautiful. We had a truly gorgeous day of sunshine, which was very welcome after two days of very heavy rain at the start of the long weekend. As we drove down towards Europa Point the view across to Morocco was so clear I had to stop and take a few pictures.

King of all he surveys 


Mr Postcard went for a midweek walk up the Rock and took this fab picture of an ape perched on the end of a cannon. You can’t blame him really it was a top vantage point. I believe it was International Macaque week or something similar this week, so here’s your topical Barbary Macaque picture!

Watercolour poppies


My current watercolour project at my watercolour class is a painting of the Med Steps. I want to include some of the beautiful spring flowers you can see in the Upper Rock so I’ve been practicing my poppies. The trial runs worked out rather better than the real thing sadly, so I’m going to have to do a bit of fixing at my next lesson.

Touch line Crochet


I’m still working on a corner to corner blanket for the Sixty Million Trebles project. It’s a great one to have in a bag when you are out and about as it’s easy to pick up and do just a bit during a quiet moment. I had a bit of time at football training for the Little Postcards this week so got a couple of rows added.

A quick escape 


I don’t normally go into Spain on a weekday but on Friday I bit the bullet and headed across the border to do a bit of shopping with Mr Postcard. We have been meaning to pop across for ages to get boring stuff for the house and we took the opportunity to go while the Little Postcards were at school. 

It felt a bit adventurous to leave the country while your kids are at school but we didn’t stray far and were back in plenty of time for school pick up! It was a bit wet by the time we were crossing the runway back into town.

Another lovely Saturday sunset


Last Saturday evening we had a lovely sunset, and last night we had another. I’ve noticed, since we moved to this west facing apartment, that we get lots of lovely sunsets in Spring and Autumn, I wonder why that is?

Also this week my crochet buddy Marisa Boselli aka Mariwish on Instagram has launched her first blog. Marisa is a crochet and music teacher, originally from Gibraltar, she now lives with her family in London. Why not pop over and check it out, if you get the chance?

What ever you get up to this week, I hope it’s a good one for you!

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

A stroll through the clouds… 

I wasn’t planning on going for a walk up the Med Steps this morning, but I’m so glad I did. It was beautiful and I also got the chance to climb up through the clouds again. You may remember I took a similar walk like this just under a year ago… A mini stroll in the mist.

The sun was shining as we set off from the western side of the rock but as we walked around to the eastern side it was a bit cloudy. You could still feel the  sunshine beating down through the clouds though.

Looking up the sky immediately above us was so clear and bright!


  

As we climbed and looked out to sea it became obvious the clouds were actually forming a low blanket which the top of Gibraltar was just poking up out of.

From the summit you could just spy the northern tip poking out above the clouds.

Looking north

Looking south towards Morocco, the clouds were creeping around from the Mediterranean and into the Strait of Gibraltar.

Looking south
To the north, on the western side, the airport runway and part of town had been hidden from view as the misty cloud swept around and into the Bay.

Looking north west
We headed back down the Rock after our exertions in the cool shade feeling proud of ourselves for having achieved our goal. Within an hour the two cloudy arms had joined across the Bay and were encircling us in a giant cloudy hug. 

I drove into town to find myself severely underdressed (the T shirt was a bad idea!) and shrouded in cloud…. Can you believe these two photos (above and below) were taken just 10 minutes apart?!

Looking up the Rock from town
I’m pleased to report that the cloud has now burned off and we are basking in bright sunshine and blue skies!

Ahhh that’s better!

Main Street
How many seasons in one morning?! The weather and the micro climates around the Rock are part of the fun of living here.  It’s not just the apes, British Bobbies and red phone boxes that make Gibraltar unique.

Sunday Sevens #52 9.10.16

 

Despite the fact we are well into October now, it’s been very warm again here in Gibraltar. As I sit at the dining table writing this, I have steam coming out of my collar!!

This week has been a rather busy one for me, there’s been nothing in particular, just lots of different stuff going on, so there was no midweek post from me this week. I hope you’ve had a good week, whatever you’ve been up to. Without further ado, here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens:

Across the Strait

This photo kind of sums up the weather we’ve been having for about half of this last week. I took the photo on Sunday afternoon when we took the Little Postcards to Europa Point park to let off a bit of steam on their scooters. You know when they are bouncing off the walls that you need to get out and exercise them like dogs!! The sky was crystal clear overhead but in the distance across at Morrocco there was a hazy mist which looked like someone had taken an eraser to the bit where the mountains touch the sea!

So for most of this week, in the afternoons  it has been clear, bright and hot (especially when standing outside the school gates waiting for the bell to go!) but the mornings have been misty and town was sitting under a heavy Levanter cloud with gusty winds whipping up the dust.

Dressmaking class


Sewing continued on the sample top I’m working on in my dressmaking class. The photo doesn’t show it to advantage as the back is still unfinished and open. Part of the exercise for this sample is to make up the front, then remodel the arm holes and neckline. This is before the remodelling takes place.

In addition to working on my sample top, I have also been making a skirt for my Mum who has been over visiting at the moment. A straight skirt with a small slit at the back and in a colour to compliment her new winter coat is underway. After several fittings and alterations, I am now about to machine stitch the side seams and hand sew the hem. Hopefully it will be ready for her when she returns before Christmas.

Watercolour class

After two weeks of pencil sketches, I finally got around to mixing some paint colours and worked my current project at my watercolour class this week. I just love the brightly coloured beach huts at Southwold, and wanted to work on a painting to reflect that. I’m working from a photograph taken by Mr Postcard of a stretch of predominantly blue and white ones, but have used a little artistic licence and injected more colour based on photos I took on our visit in the summer. I’m really enjoying painting this one. 🙂

Sea mist


We had everything crossed on Friday evening. After dropping my parents off at the airport to fly home, we returned to find our home had been engulfed by a real pea-souper of a sea mist. Just as their plane was due to land it got thicker and thicker.

Miraculously the plane landed. The two photos above were taken 30 minutes apart. The first one is of a tree about 100 metres from our apartment – there was no point taking one of the sea, it would have just been grey!

I’m very pleased to say that Mum and Dad made it back home safely and we look forward to seeing them again just before Christmas.

Autumn leaves


It’s October, and of course that means autumn. I do love autumn in the UK in a kind of bitter sweet way. It’s such a beautiful season with the colours of the leaves on woodland walks but it also spells the end of summer and all the fun which that season promises. Back when we lived in England, I kind of dreaded winter with the grey damp urgh kind of weather it could spell for weeks between the odd beautiful crispy frosty day.

One benefit of living here in Gibraltar is that although we do have seasons, they aren’t quite as noticeable as in England. Summer is undboubtedly hot and sunny and winter is often damp and grey but not quite as cold and depressing as I remember English winter days to be. That does mean though that spring and autumn aren’t quite as obvious as what’s experienced in the UK.

I remember feeling a bit homesick that first autumn after we moved to Gibraltar and I just couldn’t put my finger on what the problem was. Suddenly it hit me, the vast majority of the trees here on the Rock are evergreen and that meant there are very few leaves to crunch through and collect with little people. Autumn always used to mean Sunday afternoons spent at one of our nearest National Trust sites or parks collecting sticks, conkers and brown, red and golden leaves of all shapes and sizes to bring home. That just isn’t an option here.

In recent years though, a few new trees have been planted here and some of the ones in Commonwealth Park (which was built a couple of years ago) are deciduous. It was so nice to sit under the browning leaves on a bench for a while yesterday as the Little Postcards played football. We were all in T-shirts and shorts so it’s not really like autumn, but it was nice to pretend.

A new crochet project


After finishing my sixty million trebles blanket last week, I was free to crack open some of the lovely new yarn I bought at Yarndale a fortnight ago with a clear conscience. The gorgeous mohair and bamboo Louisa Harding Yarn I bought from Esgair Fibres had been calling me from my stash and really needed to be worked on as soon as possible! I’m using it to make a shawl/scarf for when the weather here turns a little bit fresher. It’s so lovely to use, the constantly changing colours which change even within just one treble stitch are gorgeous and it feels so nice between my fingers as I hook up another row.

 
PS : just one more thing…

A couple of people asked to see the finished picture that I posted two weeks ago from my watercolour class, here it is, mounted and ready to go to its new home in England.

 

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

(Natalie, if you’re reading this I hope you’re ok! You’ve been very quiet lately.)

Sunday Sevens #47 4.9.16

An evening in Catalan Bay

On Sunday evening, it was still swelteringly hot around our side of the Rock, so we decamped to Catalan Bay for a lovely evening of calamares, pinchitos and Russian salad at one of our favourite eateries The Seawave. As it was the last Sunday of the school summer holidays and a bank holiday weekend to boot, you can see that we weren’t the only ones who fancied spending time by the seaside!

A walk at the Alameda Gardens

On the bank holiday weekend we took ourselves off to the Alameda Gardens in search of shade. As you can see from these photos – we almost had the place to ourselves, the rest of Gibraltar was probably on the beach! My word, it’s been swelteringly hot lately.

Cooling fog at sunset

The heat continued all week, but we had a great respite on Tuesday evening when the fog rolled in from the Strait of Gibraltar at sunset bringing with it a drop in temperature. By the time the sun had gone down we couldn’t even see the ships in the Bay of Gibraltar in front of our apartment. It was bliss to sit out on the balcony and feel the cool dampness on your skin.

One last trip to the beach

Wednesday was officially the last day of the school summer holidays so we had to have one last trip down to Sandy Bay. We met up with some friends from school and the Little Postcards had a great time in the sea and playing in the sand. The plan was to wear them out so that they’d go to bed nice and early ready for school the next day…. they were a little bit too excited for that!

It was a wonderful day though, and as you can see from the photo, for a long time, we had the beach almost to ourselves.

I learned a new skill this week!

If you saw my Summer Craft Challenge 2016 Part 8 on Friday, you’ll know that I have had a couple of crochet lessons with the very talented Marisa Boselli, known as @mariwish on Instagram. This week she taught me how to master the art of joining granny squares as you go along. For non-yarny appreciators this may not seem like a big deal, but believe me it’s a life changing moment… I will no longer have to sew my squares together.

Yarndale 2016

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 17.45.33.png

I’m so excited I could burst, I am going to be following Llanita the Gibraltar Yarndale Sheep and travelling to Yarndale later this month. I booked my flights and festival tickets this week. I promise that I will take loads of photos and tell you all about my own woolly Yarndale adventure!

#GMF16

 

It’s that time of the year again, the Gibraltar Music Festival weekend. We spent the day there yesterday and enjoyed music from Toploader, Travis, Paul Young, All Saints, and Foxes to name just a few. I will share some photos from the festival with you next week.

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins blog
Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Sunday Sevens #39 10.7.16

The chaos of the last week of term grew to a crescendo last week. I spent most of the week chasing my tail and despite copious lists of things which I needed to do I still managed to miss a meeting and missed a deadline for some forms to be handed in, which were sitting patiently waiting on the sideboard in plenty of time. 

You know that feeling when you are so full you can’t eat any more? My brain’s been a bit like that – there’s no room for anything else! Add to that three young voices all speaking to me at the same time and I’m afraid I’ve almost gone into involuntary shut down!!!

So against the backdrop of all this busyness  (some of which is my own doing, although most has been foisted upon me) I have decided to look for the few calm positive moments which have happened to me this week. By next week, we will be in full school holiday mode and clock watching will be a thing of the past, not to be thought about again until September – how wonderful is that? 🙂

Teachers

What to do about teacher gifts? I really don’t remember giving teachers presents when I left school at the end of summer term. Maybe I’d produce a drawing on a spare piece of sugar paper from the scraps drawer, but we certainly didn’t go out and buy anything. It seems to be the done thing to buy gifts these days though. Last year I made book bags for the three form teachers in my boys lives, but this year, despite embarking on starting a similar project weeks ago, I failed to achieve finished gifts in time. I wimped out and bought sweets and had a go a making cards instead. 

Do you remember the frangipani flowers I featured in last week’s Sunday Sevens? I had a go at painting them and made it into a card for a special teacher who has taught not one but two little Postcards. Ms D is a very special lady who was my eldest’s first teacher when we arrived to live in Gibraltar and played a very important role in making both, our son’s and our job of settling in here, so much easier. This year she has been middle Postcard’s class teacher and has done a stirling job getting him ready for middle school. Thank you Ms D for all you have done xxx

More frangipanis 


Remember I mentioned the pink ones last week? Well they started blooming on a branch low enough to photograph this week. They’re gorgeous aren’t they? They’re so perfect looking that they almost don’t look real.

A lovely way to start the day

A few years ago, a group of mums from school used to regularly meet for coffee after the morning school run. It was such fun. We’d share news and help each other where we could. It was a great tonic at the end or the middle of a hectic school week. Slowly in the ensuing months and years, some of the mums got jobs, some moved away from Gibraltar and others saw their children move up to middle school so our coffee mornings became very occasional. 

I’ve missed my morning catch up with the girls (now when we do meet up it tends to be in the evening over a glass of wine – not an unattractive option granted). I’ve also missed my pan tumaca though too. I make it at home every now and then but it’s so much nicer eating it alongside a large cappuccino ;-). 

On Wednesday morning I had a little bit of time to kill in town before an appointment so took I myself out for breakfast. I sat and read Cider with Rosie on my own like Billy-no-mates and I didn’t care, it was delicious!

A last free morning for painting

On Thursday morning I had a whole hour to myself before an appointment to take littlest Postcard to look around his new school. I selfishly took that time to crack out my paints and have a go at a few little pictures which can be used to decorate the front of some more homemade cards. It was great fun and just what I needed.   🙂

The end of an era 


Friday was an emotional day for me as all three of the little postcards said goodbye to their lovely teachers and we said a final goodbye to the first school we have been attached to since our first arrival in Gibraltar. The two eldest are of an age to move onto their next schools and as we have since moved house from our original apartment and into a different catchment area, littlest Postcard moves this summer too. I underestimated how sad I would feel at the end of this chapter in our lives. We have enjoyed our time at the school so much.  

Summer holidays start here…


This weekend we have enjoyed the visit of an old friend of the family, a university friend of both Mr Postcard and myself. This is his fourth visit to Gibraltar to see us but until yesterday he’d never been out into the Bay to see the dolphins before. 

We all headed out on one of the dolphin trips which operate out of Marina Bay and had a great view of many dolphins. There was a huge pod of mothers and babies which came very close to the boat. Some of the babies were very small and just a few days old. It was a wonderful trip and the perfect way to start our long summer break.

If you would like to see more about the dolphins who visit the Bay and Straits of Gibraltar, you might like my post about our last dolphin trip.

Summer craft challenge


I have decided to set myself a challenge this summer holiday; to do something crafty every day. Often during the long 8-week-long summer break from school, my crafty pursuits are shelved in order to keep up with three children at home full time. That, I have learned from experience, has an impact on my mood and general ability to cope with the demands I face. For that reason I have decided to challenge myself to maintain my crafty endeavours throughout the summer, both for my benefit and the benefit of those around me.

Last night I started a new mini project while drinking fruit punch and waiting for Mr Postcard to cook a delicious barbecue for us all. I shall keep you posted on its progress. I will be posting daily photos on my Instagram account with the tag : #summercraftchallenge2016. Please tag me if you fancy joining in.

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog post created by Natalie from Threads & Bobbins. For more information, pop along to her blog. (Did you notice that this week it was Sunday eights? I couldn’t resist putting in two photos from our dolphin trip)

Until next Sunday, I hope you have a great week, thank you for stopping by 🙂