Trick or treat? Hallowe’en – bah humbug!

This post was first published in the e-magazine Mum on the Rock, and I’m afraid it reveals my true inner grumpiness, read on at your own risk!

I’m afraid I’m a bit of a misery when it comes to Trick or Treating and all that Hallowe’en has to offer. As a child I was never encouraged to embrace the whole spooky prospect, maybe that’s because it wasn’t quite such a big deal back then. As a child, I remember us hiding in the back of the house and not answering the door when Trick or Treaters came round knocking for sweets and money. I used to be scared of the witch masks and thought the threats of having eggs and flour thrown at the house were horrendous. Eventually the persistent door knockers would give up and move onto one of our neighbours who may have been more accommodating.

My Mum often spoke of growing up in Scotland where Trick or Treating was a completely different set up. A gang of kids would knock on neighbour’s doors and be invited in. There, they would have to perform a song or play a musical instrument, or even try to trick the inhabitants into giving them an apple, a toffee or a coin. Therefore the cheek of turning up in fancy dress costume and demanding sweets didn’t go down too well to someone who’d had to earn their reward in childhood!

I guess this sentiment has been passed on down to me over the years and even now I find the whole prospect of knocking on somebody’s door and asking for sweets a bit out of my comfort zone and therefore I have never encouraged my own children to take part in the practice. I can remember just once going on a Hallowe’en Trick or Treating expedition as a child. I had been press-ganged into joining a friend from the next road along and in the company of several other witches and ghouls I rather awkwardly headed off into the night, shrouded in the obligatory white sheet with eye holes cut out. I remember that on the whole, our presence on peoples’ doorsteps was not welcomed. I guess our neighbourhood back in the 1980s hadn’t fully embraced the wonder of Trick or Treating kids.

The act of ignoring door knockers on Hallowe’en night continued into my own adult life. When we were still living in England, I was once told off by a friend for leaving her and her children out in the cold who, unbeknownst to me, had walked the length of the estate to knock on our front door. They knew that we would be in and wrongly assumed that we would have some booty for them as a reward for the their long trek in spooky get-up. I didn’t make the same mistake the following year, they had an allotted time slot when I would answer the door and dish out the specially bought Hallowe’en themed sweets.

As far as my family’s concerned now, maybe it’s because I have only sons, but we don’t really do a lot of dressing up in our house. In fact, I would go so far as to say that certain members of my family positively detest it. I am the Mum who looks like she’s made the least amount of effort when the kids turn up to school on a special themed dressing up day. I am the parent you see dragging a sobbing child to school because they didn’t want to wear a costume or the one who’s kid looks like his parent either didn’t get the email about the required costume or just couldn’t be bothered. It’s just not something we embrace in our house, and as Hallowe’en is optional, we tend to opt out. I completely get the whole idea of Hallowe’en parties though, in fact, last year we went to one as I thought it would be a bit of mid-term holiday fun. It was great, there was face-painting, hallowe’en crafts, spooky food and themed games, it was great fun and most of our family really enjoyed it. However, I was the only parent who arrived with children not in the appropriate vampire/skeleton/wizard/ghost/werewolf fancy dress costume (their choice, it wasn’t because we didn’t have the costumes at home). Being the only children at the party wearing ‘normal’ clothes they won awards ironically for the most imaginative Hallowe’en costumes!

Now that I have a child in middle school, I’ve been reminded of the slightly more sinister and mischievous side to Hallowe’en night. Each year, shortly before the end of October the pupils get a visit from the Police advising them to be careful and not engage in illegal activity, namely vandalising people’s property, playing with Agua Fuerte and letting off fireworks. I find it quite shocking that middle school aged children have to be spoken to about these issues, might they even consider getting involved in such things?  As a child, I remember being warned at school about the dangers of fireworks, so I guess it’s on a similar level, but it just reinforces the idea that the whole mischievousness of the Hallowe’en tradition isn’t to be encouraged as it can easily get out of hand, or so it would seem.

So you have probably guessed that this October 31st, our household will not be running around the neighbourhood in witch hats and ghostly costumes, we won’t come knocking on your door expecting to be given handfuls of sweets, nor will we threaten to egg or flour your door for failing to answer when we know you are at home. We’ll be sitting tight indoors ourselves with the lights off, the tv turned down and the doorbell disconnected. Happy Hallowe’en everyone!

Knitting project: completed!

You may have noticed that over the past few weeks I’ve ditched my crochet hook and picked up some knitting needles for a change. It’s been good fun actually, I don’t always get on too well with knitting as I can come unstuck with tension and I find it difficult to maintain a smooth end result when I keep stopping and starting (usually because I have to do it in short snatches between interruptions). One of the reasons I love crochet so much is that you can stop mid row, chuck on a stitch marker and you can restart days, weeks or months later and it all remains looking lovely.

Last Christmas, I was given a knitting book by my brother. He often buys me craft books, and I love using them to inspire my future projects. This book, as I’ve mentioned, was knitting rather than my usual crochet, and rather than teaching new techniques or containing projects for the home (as is my usual fodder) it was purely hats, animal hats no less!

Last year, when there was a dressing-up day at school I used the book to knit a rabbit hat for one of my boys as part of a costume. I found the pattern really easy to follow and quick to work up as they are all worked in chunky wool. There’s nothing more satisfying than having something to show for your efforts in a relatively short period of time.

I decided right back on Christmas Day last year, that I’d have a go at making one of the hats as a gift for my brother (he loves hanging about on mountains in inclement weather taking gorgeous photographs so he needs a hat 😉 ). Then when he got engaged recently to his lovely girlfriend, I thought I’d better make one for her too, so she wouldn’t feel left out!

And so it began… Before long I was staring at a rather boss-eyed frog!

I’ve never attempted that twisty rope effect before – it was fun to have a go at.

Then for hat number 2…

Can you guess what it is?

A fox!

It was great fun revisiting pompoms – it’s years since I’ve had a go at making them.

Let’s have a look at them both together, his & hers… Mr Frog & Ms Fox.

Aw I think they’re rather cute! I’m very pleased to say they were well received…and the engagement’s still on despite the fact his weird sister knitted fox & frog hats for them! Whether they’ll get an outing up a mountain in the near future or not, I’m not sure!

Sunday Sevens #3

Hello there, I hope you have had a great week. It’s been a fab one for me as I have had all my nearest and dearest close by. My parents flew over at the start of the week followed by my brother and his lovely fiancée. It’s been wonderful. So here goes, here’s my Sunday Sevens for this week:

1 The wet stuff

Blimey, we haven’t half seen some rain here in Gibraltar this week. The start of the week brought with it autumnal deluges. I rather stupidly stopped to take this photo of a normally busy Main Street on Monday morning en-route to my art class, I thought it quite entertaining that the gardener who’d been giving the trees a haircut had just downed tools and scarpered as soon as the rain came. I should have done the same, as moments later, it got really heavy and I ended up looking like I’d been for a swim fully clothed! The raincoat which stands up to English & Scottish rain was no good – full plastic wet weather gear is the only option I’m afraid!

2 Watercolour class


I’m rather pleased with this one. It was kind of copied from an illustration in one of my teacher’s art books but I’m pretty sure it’s not an anatomically correct poppy. I don’t think the leaves are quite right but I like it none the less.

3 Collecting visitors


I can’t tell you how much I look forward to my parents arriving for a visit. When we lived in the UK, although we were living in different counties, we saw each other most weeks. The biggest draw back about living here in Gibraltar is being so far away from family. It was so exciting to watch their plane land and meet them at the airport this week. 

4 Tropical blooms


I always smile when these gorgeous frangipani flowers appear each year on Queensway, here in Gibraltar. They remind me of a trip we took to Thailand a few years ago. It was a great trip and I remember seeing these ‘in the flesh’ back then and thinking they looked so perfect. I’ve seen many artificial versions since then, but you can’t beat the real thing.

5 Grab the chance when you can!

I’ve been frantically busy this week and have been working towards a deadline for what I’ve been knitting. It’s going to be a gift and needed to be ready by today. That meant that in any spare moments between appointments and commitments, I had to shoehorn in a bit of knitting time. I succeeded in getting a few rows in during a football training session this week. I got a few odd looks from a couple of the Dads there along the lines of “who’s the weirdo with the knitting?” but I don’t care!

6 Super sunset

If you follow me on Twitter (@postcardfromgib) or Instagram (@postcardfromgibraltar), you might be aware of my fixation of taking photos of sunsets. We experienced an absolutely stunning sunset on Thursday evening and just wanted to share it with you, even though it’s a bit grainy.

7 Saturday night out 

Having visitors gave me the perfect excuse to have a lovely evening out. I had a great meal in Queensway Quay with my Mum & Dad last night. Mr Postcard stayed home with the boys which meant we were able to have a good chat without interruptions! Lovely food and lovely company, a perfect Saturday night out!

Rain, rain go away!

It’s been a bit wet here in Gibraltar this week. Autumn has well and truly arrived! We’ve had some major deluges and thunder storms which have caused chaos for many.

There have been floods AND a landslide!

This photo is courtesy the Government of Gibraltar and shows how the retaining wall below the Rock Hotel collapsed and sent a huge amount of earth and trees across one of Gibraltar’s major routes, Europa Road (read more about it on  Your Gibraltar TV). 


This was the scene this morning. It’s big job, the authorities are hoping to have the road reopened to two-way traffic by Monday.


Elsewhere in Gibraltar there was severe flooding on Queensway which also made travel by car or bus erm, rather interesting. 


We had a rather gloomy start to the week all round. Soggy school runs (you just know the really heavy showers always coincide with a lunchtime or afternoon pick-up), wet washing you just can’t dry (central heating is non-existent in Gibraltar therefore there are no radiators to toast your damp socks on!) and interesting fashion choices (waterproof trousers & coat worn with flip flops).

I know that a couple of weeks ago I was waxing lyrical about the rain and how refreshing it was after a long, hot summer but I’m kind of over that fascination!

Blue sky, come back please!




Oh that’s better, thank you! It’s so lovely to see you again.


And of course blue sky and sunshine = sunsets….


What a corker we had last night, I think you’ll agree that it was stunning. 

Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a great weekend!

Sunday Sevens #2

Apologies if this is a little samey as last week’s post but I fear, dear reader, that my love of routine will be a theme with my Sunday Sevens posts. My weeks are a little predictable with kids and school and everything that goes on around here. Predictability is good though in my opinion, as without routine, I may lose my marbles!

1 Watercolour class


This week we continued our theme of practicing painting flowers, I only finished a couple of small pictures this week and both were of alliums. I normally like to paint more precisely when doing flowers but was persuaded to be a bit more experimental this week letting the colours run and leaving negative space for the stems rather than painting them in. I’m not sure about the background colour on this one, and the flower heads aren’t exactly spherical as they should be but it was fun to be a bit freer and experiment a bit.

2 Dressmaking class


Do you see that? It’s a zip and I inserted it! I’m so chuffed with it. It almost looks professional. I have now officially finished my sample top of a skirt with darts, facing and a hook and eye. I also did this sample zip, which means…. I have now got to start on the real thing and in theory make a proper skirt that I could wear (chews fingernails in nervous anticipation). It was so straight forward cutting and making up the samples, but when my teacher told me to go ahead and cut the material for my skirt I lost all my confidence. I’ll keep you posted on my progress…

3 Powercut


Wednesday morning meant most of Gibraltar woke to a very gloomy wet day and no electricity. Power cuts seem to be a regular fixture these days unfortunately. Gibraltar generates all its own power by burning oil at a handful of power stations. Over the past few years old age and a large fire in one have restricted the capacity the electricity board has for generating electricity. Political wrangling has delayed the building of a new gas-powered power station. Gibraltar is in the Med, it has a lot of sunshine, it is surrounded on almost all sides by the sea, it is also close to the Atlantic Ocean and all the wind that it cares to send this way. Why then, do we not harness these amazing natural resources and generate our electricity this way? Surely Gibraltar could be a world leader in green energy with all these resources, but instead we burn oil and are planning to burn gas as our next method of generating power. But what do I know?

In the meantime we are left with rather annoying and at times, rather long power cuts. This one lasted five hours. Thank goodness Marks & Spencer had a back-up generator so my morning coffee could be replaced with a croissant and fizzy energy drink. Walking along Main Street that morning was like being on the set of a zombie movie as people trudged slowly and miserably to work and school with bleary eyes. Obviously it wasn’t just me suffering from a lack of caffeine!

4 A sunny autumn walk up the Rock


If you have seen my last post you will know that I had a rather lovely walk up the Mediterranean Steps this week. It was stunning, hot and I’m still aching a bit but I really enjoyed having a bit of time to myself and being able to take in all the tranquility and beauty the Upper Rock Nature Reserve has to offer.

5 Knitting


My knitting has continued and developed from last week, from green to rust and cream intarsia. This was my first attempt at the method. For those of you who have no idea what I’m on about, it’s a method you can use when changing colours several times in the one row. Instead of stretching the yarn you are not using across the back of the work and reintroducing it later (which can make your finished piece look bumpy and out of shape) you use several smaller balls of wool with a separate length of yarn for each part of the pattern. Have I lost you yet?! Anyway, it means lots of little bits of dangly wool which can get very easily tangled, especially when you are interrupted many times in the process. Not sure it’s something I’ll attempt again in a hurry, but it’s a lot neater than the alternative.

6 New School


Back in September two new schools opened their doors to pupils for the first time in Gibraltar, St Bernard’s First & Middle Schools. Yesterday they had an open day when the public was able to go in and have a snoop about. They are really amazing. This photo is of the atrium of the Middle School, the class rooms lead off each floor to the sides and to the front the library and art room have the most amazing views out across town and into the bay. The glass roof above opens and closes to allow for natural ventilation. The schools have been built in the old St Bernard’s Hospital building which has lain empty for several years since it moved to new premises down beside Morrisons. I was pleased to see that some of the original features were kept during the renovation work like archways, the staircases and a lot of the facade of the building. What an inspiring place to be able to go to school!

7 Sunday morning relaxation


Mr Postcard has gone on football duty this morning so I have a few minutes peace and quiet to myself. Happy Sunday everyone!


The Med Steps: a sunny autumn walk


It’s been a good few months since my trainers saw the light of day and my lax attitude to exercise has resulted in a few extra pounds being gained, so I decided that today was the day I’d set about doing something to rectify the situation. After a few grey and damp starts lately, we woke up to a beautiful day and there’s nothing like a bit of sunshine to lift the spirits and get you moving. This morning, once the rest of the family was ensconced in work and school I headed off on a walk up our lovely Rock of Gibraltar. There are a number of ways to travel to the top (most people opt for car, taxi, bus and cable car) but on two feet you can head up several different routes using paths, roads and steps. My favourite, and definitely the most scenic route I’ve tried, is the footpath known as the ‘Med Steps’. It’s a bit of a misleading name as it isn’t just made up of steps, although there are many, much of the route is over rough ground and rocky paths.


The start of the route is close to Jews Gate at the entrance to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve where a rather unassuming shady wooded path leads upwards and south around the edge of the Rock. This (apart from the summit) is my favourite part of the walk as it feels so cool and secluded there and you could almost be on a woodland walk in the British Isles (I do still get homesick sometimes). As you continue, you come out of the trees and you’re greeted by this fab view –  the Straits of Gibraltar in all it’s glory with Morocco in the distance. See I told you it was a beautiful morning!


The temperature rose dramatically once I reached the eastern side of the Rock, the sun was belting down and it’s light was reflected off the Mediterranean below. Perhaps I should have waited to clear the breakfast things and make the beds after the walk rather than before, I don’t think I’ll leave it so late in future to set off on such a trip!


One of the slightly disheartening things about this route, is that a little way into the walk, once you have climbed to quite a height, you are faced with some downward steps. The thing is, you know that you need to climb to the very top of the Rock, so it seems such a shame to be heading downhill at this point knowing you’ll have to regain the height a little bit further along.


Quick stop for a sip of water and to take in the view…


There are plenty of things to see when you are on this walk, there are even caves to explore. Well they don’t got very far back, but a cave’s a cave isn’t it?


Onwards and upwards, these steps look very steep from down here don’t they?


One big highlight for me this late morning was this short tunnel, I was beginning to regret setting off just before 11am by this point and my water bottle was already nearly half empty, knowing I had a good bit further to walk, I took sanctuary for a few moments in the gorgeous, cool shade of this tunnel. Thank you, who ever built it, it was most welcome today!




It’s the military who we have to thank for creating this lovely footpath. Much of it is cut out of the side of the Rock itself and dotted along the route are a few little plaques like this one reminding us of it’s history.


Another reminder of days gone by and the Rock’s role as a fortress are the various military look out points built along the side of the path.

IMG_0049 IMG_0050

Isn’t this a stunning view (below)? From this part of the walk, you are facing north and can see the beaches along Gibraltar’s eastern side (Sandy Bay in the forground, Catalan Bay and Eastern Beach), beyond these you can see Spain and the Costa del Sol stretching out into the distance.


I saw a bit of wildlife on my walk, bugs, birds and a good few lizards making the most of the warm sunshine. All bar one were too fast for me to photograph, but I caught a snap of this little chap before he skittered away into the cover of the plants.


More steps…


Nearly there, I’ve just climbed up all of those!


The final push.


Made it!


Now for the descent. With the road underfoot, it’s a lot less arduous on this side of the Rock which is just as well, as the views of the town below can sometimes be a bit of a distraction. No accidents allowed!

IMG_0068 IMG_0070

On the descent, I passed through the tourist hotspot of St Michael’s Cave, there were literally dozens of taxis and tour buses parked there bringing tourists up the Rock to take in the view and of course pay a visit to Gibraltar’s most famous, hairy inhabitants.

IMG_0077 IMG_0076

As you can see the apes obliged and came out in in large numbers to greet their visitors.

IMG_0074 IMG_0075

It’s on mornings like today I feel very lucky to be living in such an interesting and beautiful place as Gibraltar. Less than an hour’s walk from my front door and I’m up the Rock and in amongst the wildlife. As you have seen, the views from the top and on the way up and down are amazing. Add to that the gorgeous weather we have had today – hotter than an English summer’s day I reckon, and it’s easy to get over the twinges of homesickness I get from time to time.

Thank you for stopping by, I do hope you have enjoyed this little walk with me from the comfort of your armchair or wherever in the world you may be!

Sunday Sevens #1


Over the past few weeks I have noticed a few of the blogs I follow are taking part in a series called Sunday Sevens. It’s a perfect medium to give a brief round up of your week in the form of seven photos and a few words about each of them. The idea was first devised by Natalie at What a good idea – I have been inspired!  So here goes with my very first Sunday Sevens…

1 Watercolour class


As, I imagine, is the case with many craft loving folk, my desire to make stuff on a day to day basis is usually thwarted by everyday life and even when I have a quiet few minutes to myself there’s always that nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that I really should put the washing out or get the dinner on. However, since my boys started back on full-days at school in mid September a rather lovely routine has developed for me on my early weekday mornings. Mondays mean watercolour class, this week we did a workshop on flowers one of which is above. I painted a butterfly a couple of weeks ago but didn’t know what it should sit on, perhaps a daisy-like bloom like the one above?

2 Dressmaking class


Tuesday mornings now mean dressmaking class. Apologies for the uninspiring picture to illustrate it, but I am just practicing the waist band of a skirt before making it up for real. I learned a bit of dressmaking at school and have had a few botched attempts since but I’m very pleased to be taught by a very talented lady with years of teaching and dressmaking behind her. I’ll tell you more about her when I have a bit more to show for my efforts! I’m pleased with my neat seams though.

3 After-school activity bustle


Wednesday was busy and not at all creative, but my youngest and I stopped to have a laugh at our long legged shadows while rushing to collect one of his siblings from an after-school activity!

4 Knitting


Despite learning knitting before crochet, I’m not much of a knitter. I find it much harder to follow knitting patterns and drop stitches from needles in between knitting sessions. Tension is also a problem for me, so all in all it’s not usually my craft of choice. I dusted off my needles on Thursday though as I have a fab pattern I want to make up for a gift for someone special. Depending on how much like the pattern it is, I may or may not share my finished item with you ;-).

5 Leisurely breakfast


On Friday I had a rare day free of any appointments or obligations – it was lovely! Time for a breakfast of Pan Tumaca (crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and salt & pepper on a toasted roll) alongside a large cappuccino – bliss!

6 A cosy Saturday night in


It rained yesterday evening, which was really great for the plants and for us as we were all indoors (less so for those braving the elements). It made for a lovely autumnal atmosphere as we settled down to watch Strictly. I snuggled under my cosy stripe blanket (using the wool pack and pattern from Attic 24), Mr Postcard cooked up his speciality chilli using his homegrown chilli peppers and red peppers. It was just perfect!

7 Feeling Misty


Today we woke up to mist and rain, it was lovely! I’m saying that because we’ve not seen weather like this for such a long time and when we were out in it, we caught the dry gap between showers. With a bit of imagination, we could almost have been in the Lake District or the Scottish Highlands (I did say almost). After a very hot summer and autumn so far, I’m embracing the cooler weather, it reminds me so much of home. Perhaps I won’t be so up beat if it continues for several weeks/months, but for now I’m enjoying it. I’m off now to dig out the wellies and waterproofs ready for tomorrow morning’s school run. Have a great week and thanks for stopping by!

Wow… An award nomination!

Something quite unexpected happened to me this week – I was nominated for a Blogger Recognition Award. The nomination came from Mrs P at the Craft Odyssey blog. Thank you so much for such encouragement so early in my blogging journey Mrs P. It’s greatly satisfying to know that there is someone out there in cyberspace actually reading my ramblings let alone feeling it worthy of an award!

I am now supposed to mention why I started blogging:

I have been an admirer of several very talented craft bloggers for a few years now and although I liked the idea of having a go myself I never thought I’d be capable of writing something people would be interested in reading. Over the past  couple of years, as my boys are growing up a bit, I’ve been thinking a lot about my previous career in journalism which I gave up on the arrival of our first baby. I used to really enjoy writing pieces and loved the process of being able to tell a story, however I’ve not done it for over a decade. When a few people recently suggested to me that I actually start a blog I gave it serious consideration as a way to get back into writing.

After a couple of false starts I took the plunge early this summer and haven’t looked back. It has given me an outlet for my photo taking addiction and for my need to chat to somebody! We live in a rather amazing place too, Gibraltar is a hive of activity and we’re often involved in great events here as a family so there’s never a shortage of things to write about. My blog is a way for me to be creative which fits in perfectly around my life as a Mum but gives me a chance to be ME again! Hopefully, if it continues, it’ll be something that we can look back on as a family to remember all the little things which are so easily forgotten in the passage of time.

In my very short time blogging I have been bowled over with the support I have received not just from friends and family but also from people I have never and most probably will never meet – my very generous fellow bloggers, Facebook page likers, Twitter folk and Instagrammers who I have come into contact with so far. Thank you all very much for the warm welcome you have given me.

Now I  have to nominate the next Blogger Recognition Award recipients:

Mariana at The Copper Kettle Blog thank you for all your advice and for inspiring my cooking! 

Sharon at Creativity and Family, one of my first followers. Thank you also for your encouragement especially early on!

My fellow Gibraltar based bloggers:

Brit on the Rock

Gastro Rob
Nadia’s Cupcakes
Polly Mixtures
Rough seas in the Med

Doodle Mum for her witty cartoons about life with kids

 Zeens and Roger for giving me a green garden to look at and admire from afar

Ambosia Stitches a fellow expat with a passion for crafty things 

Nana Cathy a great blog about life and crafting
For inspiring me with beautiful crocheted creations and making me wish for more hours in the day to make beautiful things:

The little room of Rachell
The Twisted Yarn 


Off the hook for you

The original idea for this award came from the Edge of Night blog you can read about it’s creation here

1. Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to. Do some digging if you must! Find those blogs. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you.

2. Write a post to show off your award! Give a brief story of how your blog got started, and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers. Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog. List who you’ve nominated in the post. Make sure to also attach the award itself! (You can do this by right-clicking, saving, and uploading the image above).

3. Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them. Provide a link to the award post you created.

4. Provide a link to the original post on Edge of Night . That way, anyone can find the original guidelines and post if needed, and we can keep it from mutating and becoming confusing!

A tale of two weekends

We’ve had quite a busy time of it lately. I thought that the transition from half to full school days would bring with it an element of routine. I was half right – it’s been routinely chaotic. Over the long summer holiday I forgot about the after school activities which go hand in hand will full days restarting. It’s been a merry-go-round of football training, cubs, piano lessons, football matches, scouts and school choir. Swimming lessons haven’t even started yet! I’ve been rushing around, chasing my tail to keep up with all of our commitments. 

For most of the past two weeks we have had visitors over from the UK (my husband’s parents) which has been a blessing, as they’ve been around to help and I didn’t have to drag all the children out with me to all the activities. It’s a real shame that our boys miss out on regular family time with their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousin. It is of course an unfortunate consequence of us upping sticks and moving to a different country. We have to make the most of the short time we do get to have together, so they were very much immersed in our busy and at times chaotic family life (I think they were glad to go home for a rest though!). It was a much needed chance for us to catch up on all the news from back home and also meant we had the perfect excuse to head over the border at the weekend and broaden our horizons a bit. 

Unfortunately a football training session and pre-season friendly match cut short the amount of time we could spend away from Gibraltar, so last Saturday we took a short walk across the border to our nearest neighbour La Linea. We had a short mooch around the market (which sells gorgeous olives and has the most amazing fresh fish stalls) and stopped for a lunch of bocadillos in Café Modelo. I’m afraid I forgot to take any pictures of La Linea to show you where we went, I’ll do that next time!
I can only offer you a view of Gibraltar from the Spanish side of the frontier for now….

A late afternoon pre-season friendly meant that we couldn’t stray too far on Sunday so we headed west to the picturesque town of Tarifa. Being mainland Europe’s most southerly point and what seems like the windiest place in the world it’s a haven for tourists and fans of wind dependent sports like kite-surfing. The outer town which comprises of concrete apartment blocks belies the fact that further into town is an exquisite gem of Moorish architecture. We approached it via the Puerta de Jerez, the old town’s traditional entrance.


 The old town is captivating – I always enjoy visiting and wandering it’s old cobbled streets.


Some are very narrow indeed!  
It pays to look upwards too, to appreciate the beautiful old architecture.

We stumbled across a very inviting bakery and bought a few goodies to sustain us on our walk around town – the croissants and cinnamon buns were delicious!

The town was decked out with what looked like Christmas lights but they were actually up for the festival of the Virgin of Light (Virgen de la Luz) which had taken place the day before. Apparently just 24 hours earlier the streets had been thronged with thousands of on-lookers. Instead we were greeted with tranquil almost empty streets. 

Close to the church of St Matthew (in the photo above) I stumbled across this gorgeous shop Babachic Beads. It was right up my street!


As you can see it was a riot of colour and the stock was comprised of artisan crafts brought in from abroad and produced by the proprietors.


I treated myself to this lovely necklace made with hand painted beads, made on the premises.


Our time in Tarifa was limited as a football match awaited, so we wandered just a little bit longer.


I loved the colour of the bougainvillea here against the white of the church and the blue of the sky. Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the car and make our way back to Gibraltar.

We arrived in plenty of time for kick-off. There can’t be many football pitches in the world so close to an international airport!


This weekend, by comparison, was a far quieter affair. The boys still had two birthday parties to attend and another pre-season friendly football match but Mr Postcard decided I needed a rest, so he did the lion’s share of the ferrying children about. I found myself alone with our youngest for a couple of hours yesterday (a rare weekend occurrence) so we decided to use a gift left with us by his grandparents last week: ninja bread men pastry cutters!


We had fun rolling out the dough and cutting them out! 


They were then very artfully decorated by my little helper.


They tasted really good – there aren’t many left!


Had the ants which were bothering us a week or so ago still been resident, they would have had a field day with all that icing sugar and sprinkles (see this post for more on that). Thankfully a friend recommended a man who came and rather successfully sorted out our problem.

Today has been an equally relaxing day, although I did head out for a bit of a walk. It was my first attempt at ‘exercise’ since my little fall a couple of weeks ago (see here for more). I’m pleased to say that apart from a slightly achey ankle it went well.  Europa Road was eerily quiet because this huge crane had caused it to be closed:

Unfortunately, the people who closed the road didn’t offer motorists any kind of diversion signs which caused some confusion. This massive truck-cum-campervan found itself stuck when it took a detour down a road far too narrow to accommodate it. There was much shouting and honking of horns as it was forced to reverse back up a hill and round a bend while avoiding the many cars parked in the vacinity.

So, there you have it, we’ve reached the end of another week and we’re in October already – how did that happen?! In a bid to be more organised and to make the midweek after school activities/ mealtimes/ homework/ mummy meltdown  slightly easier I have cooked and frozen several meals for the week ahead. If it works by easing the carnage of early evenings in our house, I’ll let you know! Have a good week and thank you for stopping by. Please feel free to leave any comments, it’s great to hear from you. I’ll leave you with a picture of my September highlights.


Reading; the gift that keeps on giving! An appreciation of teachers.


I have been very fortunate and spent a wonderful morning immersed in books. It began with listening to children read at school, then continued with some time tidying the school library. It culminated with me finishing my current book, just in time for my book club meeting tonight. As the minutes ticked by I came to realise just how lucky I am…

When teachers begin the long road to reading, with letter sounds and phonics, then blending the sounds to make words, they give such power to those whom they teach. Without the ability to read, not only would life be so much more dull (as it offers a means to escape your current situation), but it’s also instrumental in laying the foundations of our modern society. Where would we be if our doctors, politicians, engineers, scientists and lawyers (to name just a few crucial professions), had never been taught to read? 

Perhaps I’m stating the blindingly obvious here but how much do we take the ability to read for granted? How powerful a tool it is to our social and mental wellbeing. So, thank you Mrs Foreman, Mr Dixon and all my other teachers who not only taught me to read and write, but also ignited my passion for reading. Without their help I wouldn’t have gone to university, had the career I did or been able to share books with my own children. In appreciation for teachers everywhere, thank you for your persistence, patience and for helping to set our imaginations free!