Sunday Sevens #127 18.3.18

Blimey we had a wild night of weather last night. I know there’s a mini-beast from the East hitting the British Isles at the minute, but we also had tales and heavy rain overnight. Gusts in the Port of Gibraltar reached 100km per hour overnight and our poor balcony took a bit of a battering as we faced much of the wind head-on.

Anyway, weather aside, I hope this edition of Sunday Sevens finds you well and that you’ve had a good week.

Mother’s Day

Last Sunday was of course Mother’s Day. I was very lucky and was given this beautiful bouquet of roses by the Little Postcards along with a box of chocolates (they know me well). I was a very kind Mummy and shared them (as much for my benefit as their’s though – my figure is looking decidedly rounded these days…).

A blessing of unicorns

Way back last summer when I set off on my Summer Craft Challenge, the first thing I made was Europa the Unicorn. She came as a kit with Simply Crochet Magazine issue 54 and was designed by Ilaria Caliri. Europa came with us on all of our European adventures last summer (some of which I have still to tell you about when I get the chance!).

Anyway, back then I was asked by a couple of friends to make them a unicorn. That number of requests grew to four and I thought I had better pull my finger out and get on with it, so a unicorn production line began. And here they are in all their rainbow glory along with Europa – the girl who started it all (with the golden horn).

I do enjoy making amigurumi creatures but the counting and careful noting of rows and increases / decreases means that I need to concentrate – something I’m no good at in a house full of boys! So at last, only 7 months after making the requests, my little blessing of unicorns (yes that’s what Google says the collective noun of unicorns is) are heading off to their new homes and this unicorn factory is closing.

Another WIP completed!

Work in progress number 6 of 2018 completed (if you include the unicorns a number 5). This ripple scarf was actually finished a while ago, but this week I blocked it to make the pointy edges sit nicely ready to give it to my Mum. It was a late Christmas present (I just didn’t get it done in time to post it to England in time for Christmas) and I was able to give it to her when she arrived in Gibraltar this week. It’s made using a Scheepjes Whirl in Red Velvet Sunrise. I’m very pleased to say she was very happy with it, even though it was a bit late.

Boat spotting

We get to see all sorts of different boats and ships coming past out window on a regular basis, but a couple of times this week we saw a small cruise ship park up (I know that’s not the correct terminology) outside our home and it looked like it was bunkering (taking on supplies). It was an unusual sight as normally a cruise ship would anchor in port. But we couldn’t see any passengers on board so we presumed it was perhaps a new ship on it’s sea trials. We found I interesting anyway!

Lunchtime treat

As I mentioned before, my parents arrived in Gibraltar this week and we went out for a sneaky lunch while the Little Postcards were at school. I’m salivating just looking at this photo, I could go another plate of fish and chips now!! It was utterly delicious and far nicer than the tin of soup I would normally, have for lunch on my own!

Coastal Crochet CAL update

I am bang up to date on the Seaside Stashbusting Blanket CAL organised by Eleanora at Coastal Crochet. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, I’m really enjoying the slow gentle nature of this crochet along. Just four rows are released each week and that’s a rate I can keep up with! I have a feeling I may be making a colour change soon though and give the aqua blues a rest for a while…

Stormy Saturday

Blimey we had a heck of a storm yesterday. This winter seems to have brought us more than our usual number of storms here in Gibraltar – I know you may think we have got off lightly as we didn’t have the snow and ice that many have suffered further north but we have had an awful lot of wind and rain! This is what our balcony looked like first thing this morning. Our poor pots have seen better days – they seem to spend more time on their sides these days!

Thanks for popping over to see what I’ve been up to this week. I hope whatever you have in store next week, it’s a good one for you. I’m linking with Natalie from Threads & Bobbins for Sunday Sevens.

Review of 2017

Crumbs, it’s looking awfully like we are on the cusp of another New Year, it surely can’t be a whole year since the last one, it’s gone far too fast. I guess now’s as good a time as any to have a look back at some of my Postcard from Gibraltar highlights from the past 12 months….

January 2017

A new year meant a new challenge for me this year, a photo challenge. Last year I read Nana Cathy’s blog and was intrigued by her weekly photo challenge. When January came around I thought I’d join in myself. It’s been such fun and quite inspiring throughout the year to have weekly prompts to find pictures for. If you fancy joining in check out Wild Daffodil’s blog for more information.

Also in January I joined forces with my friend Kate of H and FlossieDoodle to start the Gibraltar Crochet Collective. We did meet weekly to crochet and chat over coffee although our meetings have got less and less frequent due to other commitments lately. Our mascots Gib and Rocksy went for a bit of an adventure.

Another new project for me this month was my podcast, you can find my blogposts and the related podcasts here.

February 2017

In February I ran my Creative Gibraltar series looking at some of the very talented craftspeople who live in Gibraltar. I began with my lovely watercolour teacher Deborah M Lawson and ended with local craftswoman and up-cycling guru Sue Orfila. February also brought us the 2017 installment of Gib Talks. I was also fortunate to be able to speak to Gib Talks organiser Julian Felice before the event for one of my podcasts.

March 2017

March was a month for Lenten crochet (far easier than giving up chocolate) which helped support the Sixty Million Trebles effort, a beautiful Suffolk family wedding and a sad goodbye to our rescue bunny Snowflake.

April 2017

April began for us in Southwold in Suffolk, one of our favourite places and involved a lot of Med Steps training, which was very handy for burning off those seaside fish and chips! I was also able to finish another Sixty Million Trebles blanket – this one from the Gibraltar Crochet Collective.

May 2017

May meant Med Steps 5 Challenge again this year and I even managed to beat my time from last year! You can hear my podcast about it here. We also flew back to the UK for our second family wedding of the year.

June 2017

June started for us in Wigan in Lancashire, the location of our latest wedding and the perfect setting for a lovely walk. It was also the Calentita! food festival in Gibraltar. (For some reason the same aerial photo of Gibraltar appeared in May and June’s collages – not sure why that was. It is a good photo though don’t you think?).

July 2017

In July our big summer of travel began with a trip up to the North West of England and a flying visit to North Wales. We also drove to Portugal.

August 2017

This has got to be my most cosmopolitan of all months, featuring travel in Portugal, Rome, France and of course good old Gibraltar. Which reminds me, I have loads of holiday photos on my phone and camera SD card which are crying out to become blog posts – watch this space in the New Year.

September 2017

September is a big month on the Rock, this year more than most as Gibraltarians celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum when they voted overwhelmingly to remain British. Gibraltar National Day on 10th September coincidentally happened to be the day of my 100th Sunday Sevens. We also had a fabulous music festival.

October 2017

October brought with it some interesting weather, beautiful sunshine, murky mists and exciting lightning storms.

November 2017

November was a good crochet month for me as I finally got around to making last year’s Little Box of Crochet autumn wreath. I also greatly enjoyed this year’s Gibraltar Literary Festival with talks by Nicholas Parsons, Patrick Gale and local photographers and naturalists Clive, Geraldine and Stewart Finlayson.

December 2017

December seems to have rushed by in a flurry of end of term carol concerts and panicked making of Christmas presents (some of which failed to get finished in time). There have been some opportunities for peace and quiet though, namely the last Saturday before Christmas when we avoided the shops and headed for the beach for peace and tranquility.

Summer craft challenge

For the second year running, during the long summer holiday we get in Gibraltar, I decided to set aside a little time each day to do something crafty and I documented this with my Summer Craft Challenge. Each day I featured a photo on Instagram and each week I wrote a blog post on my progress.

At the beginning of the challenge I made a little amigurumi unicorn which I got the kit for in an edition of Simply Crochet magazine. I christened her Europa and she became my Summer Craft Challenge mascot and came on our travels with us. There were several occasions when the Little Postcards thought Mummy had lost her marbles posing a crocheted unicorn in various European locations for photographs…

This year, I returned to work part-time after 13 years as a full-time, stay at home Mum. I have to admit that during the last few months I have found it hard to make time for Postcard from Gibraltar alongside my new commitments and at times I’ve wondered whether I can actually keep it up. I have had some really lovely comments and support from my online friends and that’s kept me going. Thank goodness I have Sunday Sevens and the weekly photo challenge to keep me ticking over during ‘dry’ spells.

I think I would really miss the community I have ‘met’ through Postcard from Gibraltar, and if I’m honest, it’s you and the support you’ve given me which gave me the confidence to apply for the job in the first place. Thank you very much to everyone who’s taken the time to read my posts over the past 2 and a half years, and for the virtual friendship you have given me too – it’s not taken for granted. Every comment and like is very much appreciated.

Here’s to 2018 and all the wonderful challenges it may bring!

Best wishes to you and yours for the New Year x

Sunday Sevens #100 10.9.17

Welcome to the 100th Postcard from Gibraltar Sunday Sevens! I can’t quite believe this little weekly Sunday post has reached such a big milestone, and it couldn’t have landed on a more appropriate day than Gibraltar National Day could it? What’s more, this isn’t any ordinary Gibraltar National Day, it’s the 50th Anniversary of the Referendum in 1967 in which almost 100% of the Gibraltarian population voted to remain British. (I didn’t plan this by the way, I’m not that clever, it’s just a happy coincidence).

This week’s Sunday Sevens is rather neatly bookended by two amazing musical events…

End of the party…

Bearing in mind this is such a milestone, you would have thought I would have packed it full of gorgeous photos wouldn’t you? Sadly, this week hasn’t been the most photogenic one for me! I begin this post with the last photo from my previous post taken in the early hours of Monday morning (thankfully it was a Bank Holiday here in Gibraltar!). 

This year’s Gibraltar Music Festival (known as MTV Presents Gibraltar Calling) came to a climax in the early hours of Monday morning. I took this photo as we were leaving in the middle of Fat Boy Slim’s set (we were being sort of responsible and getting Eldest back home before he or we turned into a pumpkin). For more on the festival, you can find yesterday’s post all about it here.

Moody skies

Things got back to normal again on Tuesday, children went back to school, and a bit of a routine developed again. This long summer break has been lovely but it is nice to have some structure back in our lives again after so long without it! I spotted this cruise ship coming into Gibraltar on Tuesday morning as the Little Postcards were getting ready to head out to school. The tourists on board didn’t get the best of Gibraltar’s weather that day sadly.

Almost missed it!

We had a couple of nice sunsets midweek, I was sitting out on the balcony after dinner and found myself gazing off into the distance in a world of my own when I suddenly realised the sky was looking pretty. I hadn’t even noticed the sun was setting until the last moment. I grabbed my camera quickly before the sun slipped down behind the hills.

Happy post! 

Oh I do love it when I get my monthly subscription from Little Box of Crochet. This lovely little box contained not just a crochet kit, but a cross stitch kit too curtesy of the Geeky Stitching Club! Oh dear, looks like my To-make List is getting longer and longer…

More crochet…

Talking of crochet, I’ve kind of lost my crochet mojo this week. After over 60 days of Crochet during my Summer Craft Challenge, I lost my momentum this week. I’ve only picked up my hook once. I’m hoping this little cactus kit from Simply Crochet Magazine will work its magic and get me back into my rhythm. 

A hole with personality 😉

Please tell me I’m not going mad and this hole has a face… it caught my eye as I walked past and I had to go back and look at it again. From a different angle it looks nothing like a face but straight on it has a pair of shades, a nose and a mouth!! 

It’s on a wall close to The Mount on Europa Road if you fancy having a look yourself. I reckon he has a look of Elvis don’t you?! 

All set for National Day

Gibraltar is resplendent in red and white all ready for this weekend’s celebrations. On Friday I took a walk into town for the first time in ages and ages and got to see all the decorations up close rather than from a car window. Gibraltar really does go to town each September and this year more than most.

Classical celebrations 

Last night I was lucky enough to return to Victoria Stadium, the scene of the first of this week’s photos for another musical concert. This one was by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. It was amazing. Titled ‘A celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum’ it had the feel of Last Night at the Proms. There was a mix of well known classical pieces such as Pomp & Circumstance and Nimrod from the Enigma Variations and movie soundtracks including Star Wars and Harry Potter. 

In addition to the orchestra, we were entertained by the Gibraltar Regimental Band and a local choir. The solo singers were amazing too – they performed a few opera pieces and rousing renditions of Rule Brittania, Jerusalem etc. The female soloist, Laura Wright is a regular at major sporting events singing anthems, the male soloist is perhaps one of the best known opera singers in Britain today; Wynne Evans of the Go Compare adverts. What an amazing night and wonderful atmosphere, and a world away from what we experienced a week before. At just £5 for a ticket it was a fab opportunity to hear some first class musicians.

And that brings this week’s Sunday Sevens to a close. (I know it should be seven photos from the past seven days and not nine, but it’s a special edition!)

I’m linking with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for this post, as Sunday Sevens was  first created by her. Thanks Natalie for such a great idea – who would have thought I’d get to 100!

Summer Craft Challenge (week 8)

I am almost at the end of this year’s summer craft challenge and I can’t believe how quickly it has flown by. We have been so lucky to be able to travel so much and visit such beautiful places this year. Among our destinations have been English & Welsh countryside, the sunny Algarve, Rome, and southern France.

Last year, in order to save my sanity during the long 8 week school holidays I set myself a craft challenge to do something crafty (even just for 5 minutes). I had such fun doing it and recording it last year that I’ve done it again this year. Here’s this summer’s latest installment:

Day 50 : Saturday 19th August

Another week, another flight! Europa the Unicorn and my crochet hook hopped onto another plane on Saturday and we headed up north to France. Toulouse to be precise. She is one jet set Unicorn!

Day 51 : Sunday 20th August

Exactly one week on from posting an almost identical photograph taken in the shade under some trees in a park in Rome, I was doing the same thing in one of Toulouse’s beautiful parks. My word, the French authorities know how to maintain a public park – they are so beautiful. 

Day 52 : Monday 21st August

Europa had a trip on a Toulouse tram today to the Airbus museum Aeroscopia. It was loads of fun, we got to go on Concorde and a Super Guppy! (For the uninitiated, Super Guppies were used to transport parts of Airbus airplanes to the assembly point in Toulouse). 

Oh and I finished this scarf which was started in Manchester at the beginning of our summer adventures. I now have one happy Little Postcard who’s chuffed with his new scarf.

Day 53 : Tuesday 22nd August

“Oh dear, Mummy’s got her Unicorn out again!” was the cry that went up at the Cité de L’Espace on Tuesday. Not only has Europa been on several flights this summer, she has now also been on a MIR space station. Not many unicorns can say that can they?

We enjoyed a leisurely evening on the bank of the Garonne on the Toulouse Plage (Toulouse beach). It’s a wonderful area with games, yoga, dancing, Paddle tennis, table tennis and all sorts going on. They also serve rather nice beer in plastic cups, which goes excellently with crochet as the water skiers and kayakers go past!

Day 54 : Wednesday 23rd August

Wednesday was a washout as far as craftiness is concerned – a morning tour around the Airbus factory to see where the giant A380 double decker planes are made (for the benefit of a Little Postcard with a fascination for all things transport) and then the highlight of my trip, a drive to the medieval Cité of Carcassonne. 

Day 55 : Thursday 24th August

We loved Carcassonne so much that we decided to stay for a few days… how lucky. At last Europa has the fairy tale backdrop to her photograph that she deserves!

Oh and I found time today for a bit of this…

Day 56 : Friday 25th August

Time for a spot of crochet in our holiday home before heading off up to the Cité of Carcassonne for our guided tour.

And a quick row under the gargoyles outside the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire within the city walls. The building in the background is the 5 star Hotel de la Cité, former guests have included the Queen Mother, Michael Jackson and Johnny Depp. We have been so lucky to be able to spend a few days in this very beautiful part of the world.

Thanks for joining me for this weekly craft round up, next week will be my last one this year as school starts again in Gibraltar on Friday. It’s been such fun to have you along.

Summer Craft Challenge 2017 (week 7)

Throughout this summer I have set myself a craft challenge to help keep myself sane during the long school summer holidays we have in Gibraltar. Normally we have a couple of weeks visiting family in England and the rest of the 8-week-long vacation is spent trying to get myself and the 3 Little Postcards through to September alive and fairly well entertained. In previous years my sanity has been in tatters once the schools went back. 

This year though, we have been incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to travel a fair bit, to England, Wales, Spain, Portugal and, most recently Italy. Here’s what I got up to this week…

Day 43 : Saturday 12th August

So this crafty week began for us in Rome. Saturday saw us take a wonderful guided tour of the Colliseum and Pallatine Hill – what an amazing place… Europa came along for the ride too. 

Back at our holiday apartment, things were moving very slowly. My tired brain couldn’t cope too well with this relatively simple pattern after a day absorbing fascinating facts about Ancient Rome. By the way, please don’t expect me to be able to remember all these facts at a later date – these days information seems to go in and get lost!!

Day 44 : Sunday 13th August

I took a different approach today – I brought my hook, yarn and pattern out with me. As we were having a less busy day just wandering around seeing sights we wanted to visit, we had a bit more flexibility to sit down and enjoy the lovely surroundings a bit more. 

After breakfast and a trip up the Spanish Steps, we visited the beautiful Villa Borghese park. Wide avenues of shade giving trees were just the place to sit and enjoy some cooler conditions and get to grips with this pattern once and for all.

I was finally bitten by this pattern and eager to carry on once we were back at our holiday apartment. A bit of time for an aperitif (beer) and crochet meant progress was finally made!

Day 45 : Monday 14th August

Back home before sunset and my shawl is finally growing thanks to a couple of hours last night and a few a more rows on the flight back to Malaga. 

Day 46 : Tuesday 15th August

Returning home meant being reunited with this beauty! I did miss working on my Jenny’s Mandala by Little Box of Crochet while I was away. I have to admit that this row was the first I struggled with – turned out I’d misread the pattern and I was doing double trebles instead of triple trebles. So glad I got to the bottom of it before I gave up in despair! 

Day 47 : Wednesday 16th August

It’s taking a bit of brain power to do this mandala (i.e. I need to concentrate!!) but it is still so addictive!

Day 48 : Thursday 17th August 

Please excuse the lighting on this photo, I didn’t get the chance to crochet in daylight. I did eventually get the chance to add a couple of rows to this lovey mandala though – so it was worth the wait! 

Day 49 : Friday 18th August

We spent a few hours at the beach today and I took this almost completed project (started in England) with me. 

I have had enquiries as to the whereabouts of Europa the Unicorn, who hasn’t been seen on Instagram since Rome. She did indeed make the trip back to the Rock and didn’t elope in Rome. She even had a trip to the beach today…

It’s not too late to join in with your own summer craft challenge, just tag your crafty photos #summercraftchallenge2017 on Instagram.

Summer Craft Challenge 2017 (week 6)

Greetings from Rome! I can’t believe I am actually writing this! Rome is a place I have wanted to visit for so long and in fact Italy itself has been on my must visit list of countries for as long as I can remember.

Last year I set myself a challenge of doing something crafty every day during the 8 week long summer holiday from school in a bid to maintain my sanity. This year I decided to do the same, although I am actually doing it theoughout the whole of July and August. Here’s the sixth installment of my summer craft challenge for 2017.

Day 36 : Saturday 5th August

We arrived back at home in Gibraltar after our lovely holiday in Portugal today. After completing my Little Box of Crochet Blue Sky Hug scarf while away on holiday, I thought it appropriate to crack open another Little Box of Crochet and begin something new; Jenny’s Mandala, named after the daughter of Amanda Bloom (creator of Little Box of Crochet), who sadly passed away earlier this year. 

I have been itching to get started on this since it arrived!

Day 37 : Sunday 6th August

I’ve been laid low with a nasty bug overnight and I’m afraid that looking at crochet books in bed was as crafty as I could muster today!

Day 38 : Monday 7th August

I’m back in the land of the living again today thankfully and human enough to pick up my hook again. 

Day 39 : Tuesday 8th August

Ooh this is a fun project, considering how long I’ve spent doing it, it’s very small, but that doesn’t matter! 

Day 40 : Wednesday 9th August

I am totally addicted to this pattern, I just can’t put it down as I want to see what the next row brings. Sadly I have to as the Little Postcards need feeding and housework has to be done!

Day 41 : Thursday 10th August

No Mandala today I’m afraid, but Europa the Unicorn has come with me and my crochet hook on another flight…. to Rome! It’s a place I’ve wanted to visit for so long and I’m thrilled to be here 😊.

Day 42 : Friday 11th August

My Fitbit tells me I have walked over 20,000 steps around the streets of Rome and the Vatican City today. My word I’m worn out! Could only muster a solitary row of Crochet this evening on my Scheepjes Whirl shawl. Poor show, but I’m off to bed, night night! 

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

Summer Craft Challenge 2017 (week 4)

This week’s crafting took place in three different locations, beginning at our friends’ home in Reading, Berkshire, then returning to my parents’ home in Manchester and finally heading home to Gibraltar! 

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 week four’s installment:

Day 22 : Saturday 22nd July

There wasn’t much time for crafting today – a trip to Reading town centre to have a meal out and take the Little Postcards to the cinema and later a chance for my friend and I to pop out to the pub for a while on our own, meant this Crochet photo was taken at ten to midnight! Only just made it!

Day 23 : Sunday 23rd July 

Coffee and crochet in the garden, what could be better? Well a crochet lesson perhaps? I had a go at teaching my friend and her daughter some crochet…

The green chain belongs to my friend’s daughter, the pink to my friend and the grey on the red hook was mine…

Tadaaaah! That pink granny square is my friend’s first ever attempt at crochet, not at all bad I don’t think! However I did get theimpression that she was mightily pleased when she got to the end!! 

Day 24 : Monday 24th July

Back in Manchester this evening at my parents’ house and time for a little crochet before collapsing into bed… it was a long day of travelling back up thanks to rail engineering works!

Day 25 : Tuesday 25th July

You’ve got to love a municipal floral border haven’t you?! A trip to the park with the two youngest Postcards to make the most of a sunny spell in the afternoon – crochet and Europa the Unicorn came too…

Day 26 : Wednesday 26th July

Airport delays and a very late arrival meant that crochet was done in the hours of darkness again on Wednesday- I couldn’t face it while travelling this time. Back at home in Gibraltar after a wonderful, interesting and very enjoyable two and a half weeks in England (and briefly Wales). But blimey it’s very hot!!!

Day 27 : Thursday 27th July

I bought myself a present when we were in England – a yarn winder. My stash of left overs has been getting a bit unruly of late so fancied having a go at winding some nice neat balls… I need a bit of practice for that – my first attempt was a little loose!

I also returned home to two cards to collect goodies from the parcel post – my June edition of Little Box of Crochet and my latest subscription to Simply Crochet Magazine. Now I have loads of fab ideas to work on over the coming weeks!

Day 28 : Friday 28th July

Coffee and crochet, the perfect way to start the day. Don’t you agree? A moment of calm before the chaos of the day!

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