How it all began…

As with many people, my love of all things crafty began as a child and was fostered by my Mum and Gran. Every summer, from the age of about 8, I would spend two weeks on holiday at my grandparent’s house. As my grandparents lived over 200 miles from my home, this time was very precious as we didn’t see a lot of them. My trip to visit them was a highlight in my year as I got thoroughly spoiled! Each year, shortly after arriving at their place, my Gran would take me shopping to buy something to do whilst staying there. The first year it was a kit of a set of coasters which I painted and gave to my Mum as a present on my return. Gran taught me to knit and crochet, but most of all to embroider. The little duckling shown above was one such summer holiday production completed from a kit when I was around 13 years old. It hangs now in my Mum and Dad’s spare room where my two eldest sleep when we come to visit. I have to say, if I attempted such a piece of work nowadays I doubt I’d be able to improve on it. I don’t think it’s too bad for a young teenager!  

My parents’ home is scattered with bits and bobs I’ve produced over the years. No matter what’s been going on in my life, school, university, work, marriage and being a parent,  I have always had a desire to create things. At times it’s had to take a back seat for a while, but invariably when I’m in the right mind set my creative juices start flowing again!

That’s almost all for now, sadly this is the last evening of our English adventure as it’s time to head home to Gibraltar tomorrow. We’ve had a fantastic time and packed an awful lot in. I’ll leave you with a few postcards from England….

Above & below, a pond a short walk from my parents’ home.

A few pictures from our trip south (including gorgeous home made hummus made by the children!)


Above & below; Manchester Museum including Stan the T-Rex skeleton.  

And finally, the wrens have all fledged and this is the empty nest they left behind in my Dad’s nesting box.   

Thanks for stopping by.

Raindrops on roses & whiskers on kittens 

It wouldn’t be a traditional English summer without some rain, right? Well we’ve certainly had plenty in the last few days. I’m not complaining though, we were blessed with beautiful sunny, dry days at the start of our English summer holiday allowing picnics and trips out to the countryside, meanwhile back at home in Gibraltar it’s been sizzling hot. We have been so lucky to escape the heat for a few weeks. We took a train trip down South for a few days to catch up with old friends, and it was delightful. We met this gorgeous little kitten, who’s a recent addition to one of the families we visited.

This was him recovering after being chased around the house by five overexcited children! The rain didn’t dampen our trip at all though. We still got out for a short, wet, woodland walk.

Did I mention I love trees??!

One glorious side effect of rain is lush plants, so it’s not all bad!

The local wildlife enjoyed the wet weather too – much to the enjoyment of the youngest members of the party.

We had five train trips in total on our journey south a rare treat for one member of the family who loves trains but doesn’t get the chance to ride them often. I loved watching the English countryside whizzing by.

In amongst our days away I have managed to fit in a couple of trips to craft shops (hurrah!) and have some new supplies to take back to Gibraltar with me. I’m brimming with ideas, I just need to find the time to get busy!

I hope your summer plans aren’t being spoiled by the rain. Thanks for stopping by!

Birthday cakes, bubbles & baby birds

A special young man had a birthday recently, and as we are on holiday, I took the easy option and ordered some special cupcakes rather than baking myself. Aren’t they wonderful? On seeing them for the first time as we sang ‘Happy birthday to you’, his first word was ‘Wow!’

They tasted as good as they looked, with vanilla sponge and buttercream underneath the superhero icing toppers. They were made by a very talented lady who runs the Yummy Mummy Cake Company in Manchester. Check out the Yummy Mummy Cake Co webpage to see more of her amazing creations.

The weather hasn’t been quite as glorious this week, but that has not stopped us getting out into the garden. No matter what your age, you can’t beat blowing bubbles!

Another family making use of my parents’ back garden at the moment is a new family of wrens. We’ve been catching glimpses of Mummy and Daddy wren shooting in and out of the nesting box at great speed feeding the chicks over the last couple of weeks. We were lucky enough to get a brief look at the busy new parents at quite close quarters one evening. Please excuse the grainy pictures, but it was the best I could manage, as they don’t hang about for long!

I’ll leave you with a few photos of my Mum’s stunning hydrangeas, the colours just looked fantastic in the evening light.

Thanks for stopping by.

A history lesson

We have been lucky enough to visit two National Trust properties this week; Quarry Bank Mill and Dunham Massey. They are both in Cheshire and less than an hours’ drive from Manchester. We were blessed with good English summer weather with just a few light showers of rain. 

At Quarry Bank Mill, we learned about how cotton production moved from a domestic setting to an industrial one. We also learned the origins of several common English words and phrases; ‘spinster’ – an unmarried woman would spin cotton into thread in order to make a living; ‘spinning a yarn’ – the practice of gossiping while spinning cotton; ‘ heirloom’ – a manual loom for weaving cotton (and the knowledge of how to use it), which would passed down from generation to generation, thereby guaranteeing an income in lean times.

The spinning wheel and hand loom would have been a common sight in homes at around the time Gibraltar was ceded to Britain (1713).

Quarry Bank Mill was built in 1784 when water power became widely used to run machinery. It uses the water of the River Bollin to run it’s machinery.

The machines were so noisy! Not all of them were running – it must have been deafening to work there.

  This giant waterwheel powers the machinery upstairs.

Quarry Bank Mill was built by Samuel Greg, a Unitarian, who along with his wife, Hannah, believed in providing a better standard of living for their indentured workers. Conditions at Quarry Bank were tough by today’s standards, although vastly better than in some of Manchester’s inner city mills.

A short walk from the mill is the Apprentice House (above). In this three storey building, sixty indentured children would live while working at the mill – yes sixty. They would come to Quarry Bank from workhouses (mainly in Liverpool) at the age of nine and sign up to spend the next nine years of their lives working six days a week in the mill.

This picture (above) is of the girls’ dormitory, forty girls would be locked in here at night, two to a bed. The children would rise at 5:30am and have a quick breakfast of porridge before beginning work at 6am. A thirteen hour working day would follow, with a 30 minute break for lunch (porridge again, with added vegetables). A great guide took us around the house, beginning with the school room, where children would learn the basics of reading and writing and on to the treatment room, where a doctor would use leeches and other delightful remedies to keep the workers healthy and productive.

The kitchen made use of the nearby allotment garden, where the boys would help grow crops to eat.

It was a great day out for the whole family, and helped my boys realise just how lucky they are to be born nowadays.

  The River Bollin  

Quarry Bank Mill is a beautiful and fascinating place to visit, I would highly recommend it.  
As I mentioned before, we also visited Dunham Massey. The property is a finalist in the Museum of the Year 2015 for it’s recreation of a World War One military hospital. The Stamford Military Hospital is re-enacted inside the main house with actors, the property also has beautiful gardens. We, however just took advantage of the beautiful estate parkland to give the children a chance to ‘run wild’ for a bit. In more than thirty years of visiting the park at Dunham, I can never remember being so up close and personal with the resident fallow deer. They are beautiful creatures and seemed incredibly tame this time.

Another treat for the boys was a great den built with storm fallen branches! You can’t beat a bit of stick collecting and tree climbing to while away an afternoon.

For more information on Quarry Bank Mill and Dunham Massey, please click on these links: Quarry Bank MillDunham Massey

Daisy chains, buttercups & damsel flies



We’ve had a great time today doing something I like to do every summer. We drove out into the stunning Cheshire countryside and visited the lovely Marbury Park. There’s wide open green spaces for a picnic and a kick about with a football and a beautiful woodland walk.

It’s so nice to be able to share some of the things I previously took for granted with my boys. We don’t get daisies in Gibraltar, nor do we get buttercups. They had never heard of a daisy chain before today – let alone seen one, and as for shining a buttercup under your chin to check whether you like butter? They had no idea such scientific tests were possible!


I have to warn you that I adore trees, and green leaves…. There are quite a few photos of trees coming up!

Our woodland walk took us through the mature Northwich Woodlands to the edge of Budworth Mere (below).


It was quite a nature trail we were on, seeing rabbits and squirrels (including a fast-moving white squirrel which I was too slow to get a photo of). By the water’s edge, on a stretch of greenery was a mass of damsel flies. Their blue bodies stood out brightly against the green leaves.

I took so many pictures of the beautiful things we saw, trying to store them away, so that I can remember them when we get back home to Gibraltar. The foxgloves were so pretty.

Now it’s time for my green tree appreciation bit… I just LOVE trees!

And I love ferns!


Get a load of those leaves with the sunlight shining through them!


On the edge of Marbury Park is the Trent and Mersey Canal. It was looking a little murky today but there were a couple of lovely narrow boats moored further along looking pretty.

Along with the delights of daisy chains and buttercups, my boys were introduced to the delights of ‘sticky willy’ on our woodland adventure today. I spent much of the walk adorned with bits of it stuck to my clothing – much to the delight of the smaller members of the party. I got a few weird looks from passers-by!

 After our walk, the best reward for small people with tired legs has to be ice cream. Where better to get one than an ice cream farm? 

A short drive from Marbury Park is the Great Budworth Ice Cream Farm. It tasted as good as it looks! We were even able to see the cows responsible for providing the cream and say thank you!
For more information about Marbury Country Park & the Great Budworth Ice Cream Farm, click on these links:

Northwich Woodlands
Great Budworth ice cream farm

The place where I grew up

There’s nothing quite like coming home to the place where you spent your childhood. I’m very lucky that I spent all my formative years in one house, the same house where my parents still live today, on the outskirts of Manchester. Every year I come back here with my children to my parents’ home to catch up with old friends and most importantly family. Here I can enjoy being not just a wife and mother, but a daughter again. 

This year, we have left Daddy at work in Gibraltar and escaped the heat for three whole weeks of fun with the ‘Grandparents’. We’ve had a few lovely English summer days interspersed with just a couple of showers since we arrived. Mum and Dad’s back garden is looking glorious!

Oh, how I love British gardens! They are so lush and green compared to what we have in Gibraltar – I really miss this when I’m away. 

I can vouch for the home grown strawberries and lettuce – they have gone down very well at dinner time!

One of the highlights of our holiday so far for both myself and the boys has  been a trip to one of our local parks to ride on the miniature railway. 

The miniature trains are built and maintained by local enthusiasts and are just beautiful. The Urmston & District Model Engineering Society have been on the go since 1948 and the following year got permission from the council to build a miniature railway track at Abbotsfield Park in Urmston. 

The original, small track was extended in the late 1970s and early 1980s to form the large loop which pretty much runs around the perimeter of the park today. It’s one of the largest tracks of it’s kind in the country, and for the princely sum of 30p, one of the volunteers will take you for a spin!

I remember riding around the park many times as a child with my parents and it’s so nice to be able to do the same with my children. Back then, the thrill of flying around the park holding tight round my Dad’s waist was the highlight of it all, but as an adult I can’t fail to be impressed with the workmanship which has gone into creating the engines. They are so small, yet perfectly formed. The drivers stoke the tiny engines with little chunks of coal using shovels the size of dessert spoons!

Close to the park is a real hidden gem. It’s up a lane, off the main thoroughfare. Isn’t this little row of terraced cottages just gorgeous?!

Well, I’ll leave it here for now. I’ll be back with more of our holiday adventures soon.
For more information on the miniature railway, here’s their website: Urmston Miniature Railway

School’s out for summer!


My word, it’s been quite a week; 2 birthday celebrations, a graduation and a flight in sole charge of 3 children. There were several other events in between as well. I’m well and truly in need of a holiday!

End of term craziness means end of term gifts for my kids’ teachers and as usual it was a last minute affair. I’m very conscious that after 7 years of buying teachers gifts it’s a tough one to decide what to get. Do you follow the crowd with mugs and pens or take the easy option and buy chocolate? This year, despite just giving myself a day, I chose the homemade option. I settled on personalised book bags – every teacher needs book bags surely?


My first dabble into the world of handicrafts as a child was embroidery, so it was nice to be able to dig out my embroidery cottons and get some chain stitch going!


I used some cotton bags I had in my crafty store cupboard, added a charm square to each one from the ‘Lucy’s Crab Shack’ collection by Moda fabrics and finished by an initial, crocheted using the Moogly Blog Crochet Alphabet.

I’m quite proud I managed to complete 5 on the penultimate day of term! There was some pool-side embroidery undertaken. I just hope the teachers liked them!

That’s all for now, next time I’ll have a postcard from England for you…

Looking ahead

In just five days time I’m going on holiday. I’m so excited to be heading back to England to see my family and friends back at ‘home’. However, I have such A LOT TO DO before then, and I don’t just mean packing! There’s Mr Postcard’s birthday, an early birthday party for Mini Postcard as his big day’s when we’re in England, a nursery graduation, beach days with school, pyjama day at school, a night out with Mr P and a sad goodbye to a friend, who’s leaving Gibraltar for good. Wow – that’s quite a busy schedule – not sure when I’ll find the time to get packed!!

Fortunately, before our hectic time ahead we’ve had a great few days here. There have been several trips to the community pool to cool down and even a trip to a water park over the border in Algeciras, what a treat that was for the kids. Not sure I’ll be hopping onto an oversized tyre and throwing myself down a curly wurly chute again in a hurry though! I still feel dizzy thinking about it!  

Several weeks ago Mini Postcard came home from his school nursery with a beanstalk in a plastic cup complete with a beautifully coloured giant’s castle. They have spent much of the term studying Nursery Rhymes. 

Over the ensuing weeks, he’s taken great care to keep it watered and it’s repaid his hard work with some flowers!

It’s now Mr Postcard’s job to keep it going while me & the kids are away in Blighty – no pressure then Daddy! Will we get a crop of giant’s beans do you think?

Last night we decided to head out for dinner as a family for a treat, as it’s our last Saturday night together for a few weeks. After our meal we took a scenic walk home through the Alameda Botanical Gardens, and stumbled upon the start of the Miss Gibraltar 2015 beauty pageant. The crowds were gathering in the Open air theatre waiting for the show to start. We tried to sneak a peak but just saw some oversized glitter balls! 

We watched most of the show when we got home on GBC TV, the local TV channel. The glitter balls revolved later on to reveal the contestants! The outgoing Miss Gibraltar 2014 was actually one of my children’s former teachers, so we had an interest in seeing who would replace her and compete for the Miss World title.

I have to say, prior to living here I had a rather low opinion of beauty pageants, but I fear I’ve been caught up in the excitement over the years. After all, shortly after we arrived, Kaiane Aldorino won the Miss World contest for Gibraltar. The excitement and pride in Gibraltar at the time was incredible. As the result was announced, fireworks went off, the nearby City Fire Station let off it’s sirens and car drivers hooted their horns into the small hours of the morning. It was a real coup for Gibraltar on the world stage and Kaiane was a great ambassador. Good luck to Hannah Bado, who won the Miss Gibraltar 2015 title last night.

Our walk home through the Alameda Gardens coincided with a beautiful sunset. 

Well, that’s all from me for now, I hope you’ve had a good weekend. A big thank you to those of you who have liked my posts and are following my blog, it’s lovely to know there’s someone out there actually reading my ramblings! Goodbye for now!

WIP Mountain!

I have a confession to make. I have a bit of a WIP mountain thing going on. I’m really very good at starting new crafty projects when the creative mood takes me. I’m just not that fantastic at finishing them and my pile of ‘Works In Progress’ is rather large. There are a few others which didn’t make the above picture including a pirate themed quilt top which I started for Child No 2 several years ago – I’ll be lucky if it gets finished before Child No 3 grows out of his pirate penchant. Perhaps it’ll be ready in time for grandchildren?!

Usually my WIPs don’t have a deadline but one of them does. The blue and white blanket at the top of the picture – it’s a baby pram blanket for a special young man who’s due to put in an appearance any day now. In fact, he was due to make an appearance six days ago, but so far he’s happy to stay where he is. Anyway, for once I have decided it’s time  to pull my finger out and get cracking with it.   

So I have been unashamedly crocheting in public, on a park bench, at the hairdressers, by the pool, on the balcony, in fact when ever I get a spare moment and I am finally on the home straight! It’s looking like I might achieve my deadline. 


Well I’m pleased to say that after a concerted effort this evening…… it’s finished!!!

Now, which WIP should I target next I wonder? Until next time, thanks for reading!