Sunday Sevens #102 24.9.17

This week feels like a return to normality after a very long summer of excitement. We had a full week of school, no special events and a routine seems to be developing. There is a lot to be said for a routine, and I’m quite happy that we are settling back into one again after almost 4 months!

Sunday lunch

White Chocolate and Vanilla Creme Brûlée-mmmm! It was as tasty as it looks, in fact I wouldn’t mind another one now!!! 😉

Last Sunday was our last Sunday with my Mum and Dad. They had been over for almost 3 weeks and were able to help us with childcare so we could attend the Music Festival without the two youngest Little Postcards who weren’t over keen to attend. They also enjoyed the National Day classical concert (with the Royal Philharmonic Concert orchestra) along with National Day the following day. 

As it was our last Sunday together, we all went out for a lovely Sunday lunch. We waved them goodbye midweek. It’s been strange without them around…

Life’s a beach


Now that’s what I call a Monday morning. After making beds, doing the school run and finishing my errands in town, I treated myself to an hour of Crochet on the beach! Shh, don’t tell the Little Postcards I went without them 😉

Back to dressmaking class


Talking of routine, it was so nice to return to my dressmaking class this week on Tuesday. I ended the last academic year by cutting out my fabric for a blouse all ready for my September return. Princess line seams are now done!

Breakfast by the boats


On Wednesday morning I was invited to join some lovely friends to celebrate the safe arrival of a lovely little baby. We had a celebration breakfast down by the marina at Queensway Quay and it was a beautiful morning as you can see.

Crochet mojo relocated!


I haven’t got round to doing much Crochet since my summer craft challenge finished at the end of August, but my Monday morning beach Crochet and a tight deadline worked wonders for relocating my crochet mojo! This little chap hopped off to join the new baby who the breakfast was for.

Med Steps magic 


It’s been literally months since my last trip up the Med Steps (May I think) so I hauled myself back up them on Thursday morning. By heck, it was hard work – it took about as long to get to the top as it did to go up and come back down when I was at my fittest in May. I won’t leave it so long before my next trip up there. It was worth the effort though, autumn crocus were dotted around and only the very tops of the boats out in the Med were visible above the sea mist.

Interesting Levante

We have enjoyed some time without the Levante cloud recently but it didn’t stay away for long. It was creating an interesting swooping effect on Friday morning!

That’s all for this week’s Sunday Sevens. I’m aware that lately my only posts have predominantly been my weekly ones; Sunday Sevens, photo challenge and my craft challenge in the summer. Things have been a bit hectic of late, and they don’t show any signs of calming down (all good things though thankfully). I have a mountain of photos from our summertime travels and other posts up my sleeves but time has not allowed me to sit down and write them, I have also been pretty crumby at keeping up with everyone else’s blogs too, for that I apologise. 

Fingers crossed things will calm down and I get can get busy blogging again properly before too long…

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

Sunday Sevens #101 17.9.17

Good morning! Welcome to this week’s edition of Sunday Sevens, a look at the past seven days with seven photos…

National Day 

Last Sunday was National Day here in Gibraltar. 10th September 1967 was a very special day in Gibraltar’s recent history as it was the day that the Gibraltarian people voted overwhelmingly to remain British in a sovereignty referendum. For that reason, National Day is celebrated on 10th September.

As usual, there was a political rally, concerts and lots of celebrations and partying while everyone is dressed in the national colours of red and white. We headed into town to soak up the atmosphere and then headed home to have a family barbecue. It was a lovely day.

More summery weather

Full days restarted at Gibraltar’s schools after National Day but the weather still thought it was the height of summer this week! It was the perfect opportunity to hit the beach and take the advantage of it being so quiet! Sadly I just had time to admire it from above before heading off.
Levanter

The Levanter was back this week too. Despite the cloud and wind it was pretty muggy and warm. It does cast a moody atmosphere over the Rock at times. 
Whoops!


You know those moments when you want the ground to open up?? One morning I was on my way into the multistory car park in town (if you have a Gibraltar ID card you can park there for free during the day time). So I was sitting at the carpark barrier waving my ID card in front of the card reader attempting to make he barrier lift and let me in. It wasn’t budging.

A very helpful young security guard made his way over to the car ‘what’s the problem madam?’ he asked. ‘The machine won’t let me in!’ I explained. ‘That’s your driving license madam!’ was his reply…. whoops! That’ll be why it wasn’t working. (Hangs head in embarrassment and hurrily digs out ID card) thank goodness there wasn’t a big queue behind me at the time!


Sunset on the East side 

One evening this week I was over on the east side of the Rock as the sun was going down behind me. The pretty colour of the sky behind the flowers from the aloes (I think) just looked so lovely.

Birthday party fun

We had a birthday party here yesterday. The birthday boy asked to decorate his own cake (using sweets and in the design of a Pokeball). I can’t tell you how pleased I was to hand over the cake decoration responsibility to him. No stress for me and he loved doing it – win, win!

Sunday morning 


This Sunday Sevens I only had six suitable photos to include, so here’s my view just now. I love Sunday mornings like this, there’s no rush to get people ready for school, it’s bright and sunny and I have the time to sit for longer than necessary to digest my toast! I opened the window and there is just that distant hint of autumn on the breeze, that clean, damp smell. 

Regular readers to the blog and those of you familiar with Gibraltar will know that the seasons we enjoy here are not at all like those you get in Britain. I really miss that. So these fleeting moments when you get a hint of a season (other than pouring rain and lashing wind in winter and hot, hot sun in summer) are very precious. 

When I caught scent of it this morning I was immediately transported to the National Trust properties I visited in my childhood and with my boys before coming to Gib. Brown damp leaves, conker and acorn hunting and raindrops on cobwebs. Ahhh….

I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for Sunday Sevens.

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!

MTV Gibraltar Calling 2017

Last weekend Gibraltar welcomed MTV and a host of stars for the MTV Presents Gibraltar Calling music festival. Now in it’s 6th year, this is the first time the music festival has been organised by an external company. Back in 2012, Jesse J headlined a much smaller day-long event. Last year it was spread over 2 days and had four musical stages. This time beginning later in the day and over just two stages, we were interested to see what MTV would bring to what already seemed to be a rather eclectic but winning formula.

Day 1 : Saturday 2nd September 

Our first band of the day (the festival was opened by local band Afterhours) was The Amazons from Reading. They were amazing, very reminiscent of the grungy Indy bands of the early/mid 90s a bit Madder Rose/ Buffalo Tom/ Afghan Whigs and right up my street. 

Next up on the Main Stage was Spanish all-girl rock band Hinds, who did a fab job warming up a slightly reluctant crowd I thought. I hope the small numbers who went to see them were just because they were unfamiliar to the Gibraltar crowd and not because of where they come from. They were full of energy and put on a very enthusiastic show.

Hoards of folk streamed into the stadium in time for current pop artist Charli XCX. 

Charli XCX

At this point, it was my cue to head to the Classic Stage (I guess it comes to us all sooner or later) to see a couple of artists who formed part of the soundtrack to my late teens : Rozalla and Black Box. I had a great sing-along to Everybody’s Free and Ride on Time! (Just as well the rest of the family were enjoying Jonas Blue and couldn’t be embarrassed by my Mum dancing).

I caught the end of Jonas Blue and a bit of Years & Years before heading back to the Classic Stage for my headliners of the day.

Years & Years
The Village People
Saturday’s Classic Stage headliners were The Village People. Never in my wildest dreams did I think one day I would see them perform live! After all those years growing up in the 70s and 80s with them as the soundtrack to my childhood on the radio and in my Dad’s car… They didn’t disappoint playing so many hits.

The Village People know how to please the home crowd – while performing ‘In the Navy’ they whipped out some Gibraltar flags to do their semaphore with. As you can imagine, that got a great reaction from the crowd.

Rounding off their set with, you guessed it, YMCA, they led the crowd in a dance lesson. Apparently we’ve all been doing it wrong all these years! 

For me, Village People and The Amazons were the highlight of day one of the festival. We did stay to hear the start of Saturday’s headline act; Ricky Martin, but he’s not really our cup of tea. We heard ‘Shake your Bon Bon’, and ‘Livin’ la Vida Loca’ and headed home to miss the crowds.

Ricky Martin


Day 2 : Sunday 3rd September 


At last year’s GMF I heard Layla Bugeja play for the first time, tucked away on a tiny stage behind the boathouse. The acoustic set she played with her Dad then blew me away. Since then, she has performed at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. This year, she played with her band on the Main Stage opening Sunday’s lineup. 

With a decent crowd of family, friends and well-wishers she kicked Sunday’s day of music off in great fashion.

The Vaccines
Next up was The Vaccines, who in true rock ‘n’ roll fashion joked that Gibraltar was in Spain. The crowd took it in far better humour than when Paloma Faith made similar comments a couple of years ago.

The Kaiser Chiefs were the next to grace the main stage, and for their second appearance here in Gibraltar. Back in 2015 they supported the headliners, Kings of Leon. Despite playing a long set the night before at the Bingley Festival in Yorkshire, they were brilliant. Front man, Ricky Wilson wowed the crowd with his energy, running back and forth across the stage, hitching a ride one the tv cameras and generally singing his heart out. I’m so glad they came back to see us again!

The soundtrack artists to countless M&S Food adverts, Clean Bandit took to the stage next, after pulling out of the 2014 GMF at the 11th hour. They put on a very good show and had the crowd singing along to their hits. 

Clean Bandit

As the sun went down, Bastille took to the main stage and thoroughly entertained the crowd.

Bastille

Their backing videos really added to their set, no prizes for guessing where their political tendencies lie…

Then it was time for some more Mum dancing with Bananarama. What fun it was. The duo, of Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin (who are about to be reunited with former member Siobhan Fahey) belted out hit after hit; Robert De Niro’s waiting, Love in the First Degree, Venus etc. They didn’t take themselves too seriously and appeared to be having as much fun as the fans even getting a bunch of them on stage to dance and sing along with them.

Bananarama


What can I say about Craig David? Well, he was brilliant. I didn’t know what to expect in the run up to the festival, so guided by Mr Postcard, I watched some YouTube videos of his most recent performances and was very impressed. Singing his oldest hits and then rapping and DJing during the TS5 section of his set he had the Gibraltar crowd hanging off his very word- what a performer!

Last of all, Fat Boy Slim….

We ducked out of staying super late on Saturday night as Steve Aoki came on after Ricky Martin, but we decided to try and catch the beginning of Fat Boy Slim. His music and stage show were mesmeric although incredibly loud (or perhaps I’m just getting old).

We wimped out after about half an hour and headed off to get the night bus home (yes we are definitely getting old!).

Our verdict on the new MTV takeover of the old Gibraltar Music Festival? There were definitely some improvements this year, the improved access to the classic stage and food court area and the large shaded areas provided much needed respite, and the standard of the artists was very high. Starting later in the day was positive for dodging the sun at its hottest but the knock on effect was that acts went on until well beyond midnight (not so good if you have any kids or young people in your party).

A couple of things we did miss though was the extra stages we had last year, that meant there was always something to see or listen to and this year we had periods when there was no one playing. Also, the sets seemed a bit short for some artists (30 mins) when you know they could go on a lot longer.

All in all it was a good weekend’s entertainment and good value for money. Thank you MTV!

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 #99 3.9.17

Last Sunday we woke up in Carcassonne and packed up and headed back to Toulouse for our final day and night in France. One week on, we are back at home in Gibraltar and school has restarted, the events of a week ago, almost feel like a dream already! 

Back in Toulouse

On our final afternoon in Toulouse we went out for a walking tour once we had returned the hire car and done our packing. We headed past the museum (above) and into the beautiful cathedral of St Sernin. I haven’t had the chance to download any photos off my camera yet, so sadly this is the only one I snapped on my phone. You can just about spot the spire of St Sernin poking up on the left.

One last trip to the park

Between checking out and going to the airport, we had a few hours to kill on Monday morning, so we headed back to the beautiful parks. I can’t get enough of these floral bridges linking them together. The play park was beautifully equipped for the youngest Postcards, what a wonderful place to end our holiday, there was even a coffee bar and cafe under the shady trees.

Back to the queues

Once back home, we had to head into Spain to do a spot of back to school shopping. The long queue back into Gib reminded us why we don’t do it very often…


#InstagrammerOfGibraltar

This week, I was very honoured to be featured as Your Gibraltar TV’s Instagrammer of Gibraltar. It made my day! 

End of the summer…

Thursday’s sunset marked not just the end of  August, but also the end of the school summer holidays in Gibraltar. Rather annoyingly, the children returned to school on Friday for 3 or 3 and 3/4 hours depending on their ages, and they won’t return until Tuesday as we have a bank holiday this weekend. Doesn’t strike me as being the best planning, but what do I know?! 

Dinner out

Friday night meant a lovely dinner out for me with my Mum and Dad. They arrived in Gibraltar on Wednesday and are over for a few weeks. It was so nice to catch up with their news and fill them in on all our holiday adventures. 

Gibraltar calling …


It’s that time of the year again – Music Festival time. This year it’s been run by MTV, and is being broadcast all over the world. Yesterday was the first day and featured artists as diverse as The Amazons, Jonas Blue, the Village People And Ricky Martin. Doing the YMCA dance with the Village People has to be my highlight of the day!

It’s hard to believe that we are into September already, the long summer holiday has flown really quickly for me. Mind you, we have beeen incredibly lucky to be able to have several trips away to amazing places; Portugal, Rome, and France in just one month! Watch out for up coming posts with loads of photos of these beautiful places.

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

Sunday Sevens #98 27.8.17

Bonjour and welcome to this French edition of Sunday Sevens. We have been enjoying a week in the south of France, beginning in Toulouse…

Green Toulouse

I’m really impressed with Toulouse, it’s a beautiful city which is full of fantastic architecture, the public transport is clean, reliable and just great. Even the bridges are beautiful and floral in Toulouse… have you ever seen anything as lovely as this?? This was one of the bridges which link several parks together. What a great idea.

Don’t look down…


I’m not a fan of heights (staying in a holiday apartment on the 17th floor of a tower block meant issues for me) but I overcame my fears and went for a ride with the whole Postcard family on this lovely Ferris wheel. Situated on the bank of the River Garonne, it was a perfect vantage point to watch the sunset over Toulouse on Monday evening.

Astronaut toilets


On Tuesday we took a trip out to the Cité de l’Espace, a museum for the European Space Programme on the outskirts of Toulouse. There was a fascinating IMAX film about the international space station and another about the Aurora Borealis. We even got to see Venus through a huge telescope in the observatory. The highlight for the Little Postcards was most probably finding out about how astronauts go to the loo… 

Planes, planes, planes…


On Wednesday we paid a visit to the Airbus factory in Toulouse. They do guided tours and take you inside to see where the giant, double decker A380 planes are assembled. We have a huge transport fan in the factory, so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get up close to these amazing planes. 

For security and to prevent their trade secrets being leaked you aren’t allowed to take any photos on the tour. It was really interesting (even for someone like me who doesn’t really even like flying ). The photo here is of an A350 just after take off on a test flight.

Carcassonne 


Straight after our Airbus tour, we set off for Carcassonne, the highlight of the whole trip for me. After reading the Kate Mosse book, Labyrinth a few years ago, I have wanted to visit this medieval city which is one of the main venues in the story. It was a beautiful as I imagined. 

We loved it so much that we changed our plans and decided to stay for 4 nights. That way we had the chance to really explore properly.

A riverside walk


The Cité of Carcassonne sits on a hill beside the River Aude. We took a lovely wander down by the river and sat on the bank watching the ducks and a little terrier diving in to retrieve his ball!  It is such a lovely spot. 

Window shopping in Carcassonne 


Away from the medieval Cité, Carcassone has a lot to offer. We stayed on the same side of the River Aude as the Cité but across the river is a bustling modern city. Some of the shops were amazing. I love window shopping when I’m abroad, you see so many interesting things. This cheese shop really caught my eye, you’ve got to love a heart-shaped cheese!

Thanks for joining me again this week. I’m linking with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins who first created the Sunday Sevens weekly blog series.