Sunday sevens #8 29.11.15

 1 Europa Point


On Monday morning it was such a crisp clear day, that I took a rather scenic detour home from the school run to see the sea off Europa Point. The Trinity Lighthouse is the only lighthouse outside the UK which is controlled by Trinity House in England and looks out over the Straits of Gibraltar towards Morocco in the distance. It was so clear that you could actually make out buildings and cranes in the port across the water in North Africa.

2 Festive Watercolour 


I quite fancy having a go at printing my own Christmas cards this year for a change and have been experimenting with designs, I’m liking this holly but this photo was taken after the first layer of paint – it’s not finished yet. I’ll share the finished article with you when I’m happy with it.

3 Dressmaking class

Uninspiring photo I’m afraid, but this week’s dressmaking class was all about gathers and pockets.

4 November sunshine  

Wednesday was another glorious day, Main Street was chockablock with shoppers at lunchtime. There was a big cruise ship in and the place was bustling, there was a really positive atmosphere no doubt brought on by the beautiful weather.

5 Christmas purchases 

A couple of absolutely essential pre-Christmas purchases. I feel a granny square hot water bottle cover and some snowflake gift tags coming on!

6 Christmas makery has begun…  


My present production line has begun, a little later than I’d hoped for, but I’m on my way. You’ve got to love granny squares 🙂 well, I do!

7 Thursday flashback 


I’m sorry to be repeating a photo from a previous post, but I REALLY enjoyed the Convent Christmas Fair this year. What’s more, my blog post about it got SO MANY views. Far more than I’ve ever experienced before. Thank you to everyone who’s taken the time to have a look at my little blog and for your comments here, on Twitter and Instagram. It’s so nice to hear from you and hear that you’ve enjoyed what I’ve written – it gives me a warm glow just thinking about it 🙂
Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series featuring seven photos from the last seven days. It was created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins. Take a look at her blog for more information on the series. Have a great week!


Convent Christmas Fair 2015

Today marks the pinnacle of the crafting year in Gibraltar, the Convent Christmas Fair. The fair is such a great event on the Gibraltar social calendar. The venue is magnificent for a start, the Convent is the home of the Governor of Gibraltar, the Queen’s representative here in Gib. It’s a beautiful place to visit, see this post for more about the Convent and it’s stunning garden. However, this beautiful building is just a backdrop to the wonderful things which are offered for sale there at the fair.


Stall holders are made up of local charities, artists and crafters, you can easily make a considerable dent in your Christmas present list in a visit here. From handmade and charity cards to hand painted baubles, fused glass, toiletries, crochet, découpage, needlework and jewelry, there are goods to suit all tastes and budgets.


I have held a stall at the fair in the past a couple of times and they were both great days. The camaraderie between the stall holders is great and it’s such an honour to be able to spend so many happy hours in such beautiful surroundings (can you tell I like it there?). It’s also a great place to see friends; Gibraltar is so small that you are bound to bump into loads of people you know!


My pal Louise hand-sews these cute sock monkeys. Aren’t they adorable? She also sells her makes in the Gibraltar cruise terminal and the Arts & Craft store in town. 


One stall I made a bee-line for was Kate Davies’ beautiful fused glass creations. They are a real favourite of mine – I have bought some of her things before at previous fairs.


One or two of her lovely things may have made their way into my shopping bag – I’ve not decided yet whether I’m prepared to part with them as presents for other people yet!

For more info on Kate’s work you can contact her by email on: you can also find her on Instagram.

Another favourite regular stall of mine is shared by two talented ladies; Debbie & Sylvie. Debbie’s crocheted and sewn items have made ended up under the Christmas trees belonging to members of my family on previous Christmas mornings and her hand-painted glass, candles and baubles are a big hit, as are Sylvie’s beautiful cards. 


Debbie’s lovely crafty makes are also available for sale at the Gibraltar Arts & Crafts shop in Casemates Square. You can see some of Sylvie’s beautiful cards on her blog GIBMISS.


As I mentioned before, many local and international charities are represented at the fair as well. The ladies of the Cancer Relief Centre in Gibraltar had a great stall filled with crafts and edible gifts made by their volunteers.


Another local charity, Childline, had sweeties as prizes in their tombola. A lucky ticket made my boys very happy when I went to collect them from school!


And if you were in need of refreshment after a busy time shopping upstairs, where better to enjoy a cuppa and a slice of cake than the Convent’s lovely courtyard with its orange laden trees. As I took this photo, I could hear Santa’s bell ringing out from his nearby grotto as he raised money for local charities too. 

As you can see, it was reasonably quiet when I was there, after the initial opening rush and before school pick up time. Later on the volunteers were serving wine and mince pies accompanied by carols sung by a local school choir. I think you’ll agree this Christmas fair is a really great one, just what you need to get you in the spirit!  

A walk around the historical corridors of the Convent reinforces not only how many talented people live within this community of 30,000 but also gives you such a warm glow to realise it really is a community in the true sense of the word. So many people have worked so hard to make today a success, and the hard work showed – well done everyone!
Oh and there was something else happening in Gibraltar today – a General Election. The Christmas fair’s far more interesting though, don’t you think? 😉

Sunday Sevens #7 22.11.15

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Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads and Bobbins blog. It features seven photos from the last seven days.

1 Watercolour class

This week at watercolour class, we worked on poppies again. This time we were were inspired by a beautiful photograph of poppies which my teacher has. Unfortunately she doesn’t know who took the photo so I can’t credit him/her but I’m rather pleased with the result.

2 Dressmaking class

Ta-dah! I have completed my first ever wearable skirt! I’m rather chuffed with it. It’s ready just in time for Christmas party season and will go nicely with a sparkly top I think. Next project: a gathered skirt.

3 The Rock!

One late afternoon this week, I found myself on Eastern beach looking up. It’s really quite imposing that rock of ours and because it’s always there I sometimes forget about it. Do you know what I mean? Anyway, it’s still here…

4 Sunshine!

On a different afternoon this week I ended up at Camp Bay (also known locally as El Quarry, as once upon a time it was one), on the South-western side of Gibraltar. It was a really glorious day, the sun was bouncing off the sea and was really quite dazzling. On days like this it feels like an English summer’s day when you are in the sun, but if you head into the shade it’s starting to get a little bit chilly. I know that for those of you experiencing frost and snow at the moment, my concept of ‘chilly’ differs from yours, so please excuse me :-).

5 Greenery

This little green oasis is one of my favourite spots here in Gibraltar. It’s called South Bastion and is a regular stop off on the tourist trail as visitors stop to take photos of the statue of Nelson which is close by and it’s directly opposite the Trafalgar Cemetery. I love it here as it’s always lush and green and I’m a greenery loving kinda gal. Sadly, it’s not quite as tranquil as perhaps the photo suggests as it’s right next to a busy road junction, but it’s still lovely.

6 Christmas projects 

It’s officially started, I have begun my Christmas makes. Here are a few snowflakes I’ve had a go at, hopefully they will be a little less curly when I’ve had a chance to block them. Just over a month to go!

7 Christmas lights, again….  

Please indulge me just one more photo of the amazing light show we witnessed at the Gibraltar Festival of Light Christmas light switch-on ceremony on Friday evening. It was a really lovely event and featured, along with performances by local children of singing and dancing, a great light show beamed onto the City Hall. If you missed my last post about the evening, you can find it here.

That’s all from me for this week, I hope you are having a great weekend. Thank you for stopping by.


It’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas…


This evening, hundreds of people took to the streets of Gibraltar to see the Christmas lights get switched on. The Festival of Light officially kicks off the festive season in this part of the world and did it in style.

Children from local dance schools, the Gibraltar Academy of Music and a school choir took to the stage to entertain the crowds ahead of the main event. 

New for this year, a light show was beamed onto the façade of the City Hall, which brought a snow flurry to the Piazza.

The show brought oohs and gasps from the crowd.

There was even a sneaky peak at Santa and his elves’ workshop which delighted the smaller members of the crowd.


The British and Gibraltar national anthems featured in the
soundtrack accompanying the film and drew applause from those watching.
  In thought the show was a really lovely touch. It was paid for by three local firms and was a fantastic production.

After a countdown, the lights came on kicking off the festive season here. They will stay lit until after the Cavalcade on 5th January.


Well done Gibraltar, our family had a really lovely evening. I guess I’d better start getting organised now, Christmas is coming!



So many books, so little time… Gibraltar Literary Festival 2015

 The past four days has seen Gibraltar at the centre of the literary universe (well sort of) as it hosted the 3rd Gibraltar International Literary Festival. This was only my second experience of the event as, I’m ashamed to admit, the first one passed me by. Last year though, I was determined to get a bit of the action and I was lucky enough to meet two of my literary heroines, Kate Mosse and Joanne Harris. I am still star-struck to this day. Kate Mosse borrowed a pen from Joanne Harris to sign my copy of The Taxidermist’s Daughter at the end of a very long queue! (It’s a great atmospheric read by the way).

The Festival brings with it a real buzz to the town and there’s always the chance you may bump into someone famous in the street, on Thursday while waiting to meet my son from school, Maureen Lipman walked past and Nicholas Parsons got out of a car in front of us.

I think the reason why I find the Literary Festival so energising and magical is that not only does it all take place within the small sphere that makes up my day-to-day life here in Gibraltar, but these clever individuals come all this way to speak to us about their work and do it in our everyday venues which my sons have done school plays and sung concerts in! Imagine if a big literary name came and gave a talk in your local village hall or church, it just doesn’t happen – except for here that is.

My first talk this year was at the Garrison Library and was given by William Chislett. Entitled ‘The Curiosos Impertinentes: 19th and 20th-century British Travellers in Spain’ Chislett looked back at accounts by eight British writers who travelled at length in Spain and documented their experiences. The term ‘curiosos impertinentes’ translates in this instance to mean the ‘annoyingly curious’ and comes from Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote. The writers in question ranged from Richard Ford who travelled across the country in the 1830s on horseback wearing a lambskin coat and with two layers of brown paper lining his hat during the summer (presumably to protect it from his sweat) to Michael Jacobs, who died last year, and relied on public transport to traverse the nation as he couldn’t drive and felt it was a better way of meeting real Spaniards than travelling everywhere by car.

The well received talk covered Spain’s clichéd representation as a land of conquistadors, flamenco, and bull fights before touching on more subtle aspects of the Spanish character like the sense of belonging to one’s village, town or city of birth, ahead of a sense of national identity and the national obsession with food, which according to one author was beyond that of the French or Italians. It was interesting to note that in some cases the observations and paintings recorded by the early British travel writers are the earliest documents available on certain parts of Spain, particularly within the rural centre.

(Photo courtesy of

Friday morning saw the launch of  a commemorative set of stamps to mark the 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta. Minister for Business and Employment, Neil Costa officially launched the stamps as an introduction to Dr Dan Jones’ talk on Magna Carta – The Making and Legacy of the Great Charter.

With a backdrop of the beautiful King’s Chapel, Dr Dan Jones’ conversation with Paul Blezard was highly entertaining and really brought to life what happened 800 years ago. His insight into the character of the “warlord and despot” King John was at times highly amusing and put a human narrative into the story rather just being a staid history lesson. He told how the Magna Carta was created in an attempt to halt a civil war (which it did, but only for two months) and that the King made promises ‘to his faithful subjects and free men’ which are still of legal importance today. Dr Jones spoke of how the ideas within the Magna Carta have “transcended the Middle Ages” and are believed to have formed the thinking behind the United States’ Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence.

In February this year, all four known remaining 13th Century copies of the Magna Carta were brought together for the first time, and Dan Jones was invited to see them. He explained how each one was very different as they were written on vellum (animal skin) and as animals come in different shapes it leads to different sized and shaped pieces of vellum. Also the styles of writing differ due to the use of different scribes and some are in much better condition than others. There could though, still be more copies out there just waiting to be discovered in library archives.

Dan Jones also discussed his newest book; Realm Divided – A Year in the Life of Plantagenet England which looks at what was going on six months before and after the Magna Carta was drawn up at Runnymede. Among the events he mentioned was the siege of Rochester Castle when King John broke through the castle walls by having his soldiers mine underground and fill the tunnel with wooden struts smeared with pig fat before setting fire to it and collapsing the walls above. He asked us to imagine what it must have been like for the desperately hungry people stuck inside, who had been without fresh food or water for weeks, to smell the roasting pig fat burning below them!

Last year, a number of my friends (who are also Mums) spoke very highly of Christopher Lloyd and his What on Earth? wallbooks. This year was his third visit to the Gibraltar Literary Festival and this time he brought his newest books The What on Earth? Wallbook Timeline of Shakespeare and The Magna Carta Chronicle. The presentation I went to, along with my offspring, was The Complete Plays of William Shakespeare in 60 minutes… at the John Mackintosh Hall. The festival shows which are directed at children are offered free of charge and I can certainly say that the one we experienced was fantastic.

Presented by a man who is clearly passionate about his work and in front of the colourful backdrop of his Shakespeare wallbook, the audience of reception aged children through to grandparents were enthralled.

From early in his presentation, Christopher Lloyd had the audience participation cracked, picking out children (and amazingly remembering their names) to help illustrate his points and bring the stories of Shakespeare’s 38 plays to life. He talked about themes which run through the stories they tell like ghosts and death, love, doubt and fear.

When he donned his trademark ‘coat of many pockets’ he engaged the young members of the audience by getting them to guess the emotions connected to the colours and find out what symbolic item lay inside; a rose to symbolise love (pink pocket), a magician’s wand to symbolise magic (black pocket) and confetti to symbolise happiness (yellow pocket).

After collecting an ensemble cast of willing actors (adults and children) he put on a couple of performances, a potted version of Macbeth and another of Much Ado about Nothing. A rather stunned couple of middle school-aged pupils got married in Much Ado and a suitably attired trio of witches in pointy hats got to cast the famous spell of “Double, double, toil and trouble/ Fire burn and cauldron bubble” from the Scottish play.

I can now see what my friends were talking about when they raved about Christopher Lloyd’s previous performances at the festival. He was funny, engaging and brought the things he was talking about to life, whether it was the Big Bang, the extinction of the dinosaurs or Bottom in Midsummer Night’s Dream being turned into a donkey. I do hope he returns to next year’s festival as personally I’d like to see him again, never mind the kids!

The climax of my Gibraltar Literary Festival experience was a special edition of the BBC Radio 4 panel show ‘Just a minute’. It was held at lunchtime today (Sunday) onboard the Sunborn Yacht Hotel in Ocean Village. Despite being the ripe old age of 92 years old, the show’s chair for the past 48 years, Nicholas Parsons, held court brilliantly and was ably assisted with the stopwatch and whistle by his wife Annie.

The panel of Dame Esther Rantzen, novelist Felix Francis (son of the late Dick Francis) and comedians Marcus Brigstocke and Miles Jupp (who’s best known in our house as Archie the Inventor on Balamory) were welcomed by a sell-out audience packed into the Aurora Ballroom on the yacht. (Many apologies for the grainy quality of these photos but the lighting wasn’t particularly conducive for a phone camera!).

The show was kicked off by Marcus Brigstocke who was given 60 seconds to talk about the subject of Gibraltar without hesitation, repetition or deviation. He began a humourous monologue about being able to buy a bottle Advocaat on Main Street for £8 before being interrupted by Miles Jupp. During the performance, which lasted for well over an hour, the starting subjects were diverse (cricketing phrases in everyday use, Hallowe’en and conkers) although somehow the topic of Gibraltar, and it’s resident barbary apes made frequent appearances, much to the delight of the crowd.

On the subject of  Literary Festivals, Brigstocke commented that “they are ten a penny” and allowed “bookworms to come together and pretend they’re ok with social interaction” which was much appreciated by the audience.

Felix Francis’s background was obviously taken into consideration when he was asked to speak about the subject of Thoroughbreds. This was hilariously turned around by Marcus Brigstocke who changed the meaning completely to ‘thorough breads’ and talked about toasted Hovis rather than racehorses. Also Miles Jupp’s account of school conker matches brought howls of laughter from the crowd.

Esther Rantzen won over the audience with her witty and very sharp knowledge of grammar and found every excuse to interrupt the other contestants on account of their misuse of the English language.

During the second half of the performance (it was separated into 2 ‘shows’) Marcus Brigstocke took a slightly more risqué approach on the subject of Getting up in the morning, much to the delight of the sell-out crowd. The topic in question was touched on again several times by other panellists and each time brought titters and howls of laughter. Nicholas Parsons described the comments as “suggestive naughtiness” and was grateful for the fact this edition of the show wasn’t being recorded to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

On the subject of the ‘real’ Just a Minute shows, Parsons said it was probably the least edited show on radio, as you can’t edit something that’s timed and commented that he’s “incredibly proud of the fact he’s part of such a show”. Today’s performance was testament to the fact it’s a great format and with such witty contestants it’s no wonder it’s clocked up 1,200 recorded shows over 48 years.

Looking back over the festival this year, it’s been great fun for me and I’ve only been to four events. There was such a diverse range of talks to chose from and I was spoiled for choice on what to attend, it was family commitments and timings which stopped me going to more. Well done to the organisers, the festival really does appear to be going from strength to strength and I can’t wait to see what the Gibraltar International Literary Festival 2016 has to offer. Thank you, it’s been a blast.

Sunday Sevens #6 15/11/15

This week’s Sunday Sevens started rather flowery, but ends sadly with Gibraltar’s tribute to those affected by the terrible events in Paris on Friday.

Sunday Sevens is a blog series created by Natalie at Threads and Bobbins. It features 7 photos from the past week.

1 Watercolour class

This week has been a little bit thin on the ground for inspiring photos, so I decided to have a theme, no prizes for guessing that it’s flowers. Monday, for me, meant a return to my watercolour class after the midterm break. We worked on a number of pieces but this is the only one which I managed to complete, a little anemone.

2 A surprise on the balcony

My dressmaking class on Tuesday didn’t yield anything in the photographic sense but I did make some progress, I am hoping to be able to reveal what I’ve been working on soon… Meanwhile, while hanging out the washing this afternoon I was surprised to find this beautiful hibiscus bloom. The plant hasn’t given us many flowers lately so I presumed it was having an autumn/winter rest but this beauty opened up without me noticing.

3 Armistice Day

My only crochet since our return from Spain last week has been this little poppy (pattern from Simply Crochet Issue 24). Being over the border last week I was unable to buy a poppy to mark Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday so I made this. I did manage to find a Poppy Appeal pot to make my donation though afterwards.

4 Gibraltar Literary Festival Day 1

Thursday saw the start of the 3rd Gibunco Gibraltar Literary Festival and I attended a talk at the Garrison Library. I am in the midst of writing about my experiences at the festival for a post coming soon, so in the meantime, here’s a lovely lantana flower from the Garrison Library garden.

5 Gibraltar Literary Festival Day 2

Friday was a history sort of a day for me at the Literary Festival, so here’s a Tudor Rose from the cover of Dan Jones’ book ‘The Hollow Crown’ (one of my purchases – shh it’s our little secret!).

6 Lilies 

I LOVE flowers and when we lived in the UK I had cut flowers in the house most weeks. When we moved to Gibraltar, I soon discovered that cut flowers don’t last five minutes before they droop and look a bit worse for wear. Now we’re in November though and the heat of the summer has subsided, I treated myself to some lilies and lisianthus this week and they look fab.

7 Tribute to Paris


Last night Gibraltar paid tribute to the victims of Friday’s dreadful events in Paris by lighting Moorish Castle with the French tricolore.

Gibraltar Garrison Library

The Gibraltar Garrison Library is an impressive colonial building in the centre of town opposite the Elliott Hotel. It’s a building I pass almost daily during the week and one I have been meaning to pay a visit to for years but just hadn’t got round to it. The Gibraltar Literary Festival begins tomorrow and the place to get tickets is here (if you don’t take the online option), so a couple of weeks back when I ventured in to make my ticket purchases it reminded me of my intention to visit it properly. So while my parents were over, before the midterm holiday, a tour around the Garrison Library was a lovely way to spend a morning.

The tour began in the ‘Gibraltar Room’ (above) which, as the name suggests, holds all the books pertaining to Gibraltar.

The Garrison Library is a beautiful building (as the photos illustrate) and steeped in history. It was founded in 1793 by Colonel Drinkwater after the Great Siege of Gibraltar. During  the siege it became obvious to him that there was a dearth of decent reading material. So in an attempt to keep officers attentions away from the unseemly pursuits of women and drink, the library was established.

Reading rooms were initially set up at a different location and work began on the construction of the current building in 1800. The materials used were locally sourced, exceptionally strong cork oak flooring was used which looks as good today as when it was laid and the fireplaces were designed to burn coke which could be found in the Campo area across the border in Spain.

Some books were purchased when the library first opened but most of the collection of up to 50,000 volumes and artifacts were gifted to the library by officers from their own private collections as they headed home or onto their next posting. A considerable section though, was ‘acquired’ by the navy when they seized ships and passed on any books found onboard. For this reason there is a sizable Napoleonic Collection (all in French) taken from French ships.

These photos show the edition of the Gibraltar Chronicle (our local newspaper) reporting on  the Battle of Trafalgar and, as you can see (on the right hand side of the photos) shows the article in both English and French as the editor of the Chronicle was a Frenchman.

This impressive staircase leads upstairs to the upper reading room, which is now used for public events like Government press conferences and lectures by visiting academics. The portrait in this room is of Colonel Drinkwater the founder of the library.

Among the many volumes on its shelves are first editions of novels, major works of science and religion of the time and even Ghengis Khan’s Autobiography! There is every edition of the Gibraltar Chronicle since 1800 to the present day. Some of the books, due to their age, are in a pretty fragile condition. The library relies on a team of volunteers to support the staff in the care and recording of the books.

Also on the top floor of the building is a ballroom (a strange room to find in a library don’t you think?). The rules governing the library meant that only men were allowed in, so in order to get around this, and allow ladies to join the officers when they held balls and parties in the ballroom, they built a special stair and rear balcony so that the female guests could join, them avoiding the main entrance and staircase.

I’m not sure how easy it would have been to negotiate that metal spiral staircase in a big ballgown and dainty shoes, it was clearly designed by a man!

A telescope sits before a window at the front of the ballroom so that officers could keep an eye out at sea and make sure no funny business was going on in the bay while they were enjoying their R&R. It’s hard to imagine there used to be a sea view from the window as today the development of the town and harbour area (not to mention the trees) rather obscure any view of the sea from here today.

The flooring up here in the ballroom is particularly beautiful, especially in the window recesses and door thresholds.

To the rear of the library lies a tranquil garden.


It would be a lovely peaceful place to just come and sit. Unfortunately for us it was a little damp on the day we visited so it wasn’t quite the weather for such lazing about, but hopefully I’ll get the chance to take advantage of the garden at some point in the future.


If you ever find yourself in these parts I would highly recommend a visit to the Garrison Library, the guided tours are free and begin at 11am each Friday.

Sunday Sevens #5 8/11/15

Sunday Sevens is a blog series created by Natalie at Threads and Bobbins. It’s a weekly series featuring seven photos from the past week. Here’s mine for this week: 


Our midterm break in Marbella started with a cracker of a storm. Oblivious to what was approaching across the skies, we ventured out for an early evening drink in the nearby poolside bar, it looked a little grey overhead. As the minutes ticked by it got more and more sultry. The first few big spots of rain came down so we moved indoors to shelter. Then it really lashed down. After about an hour, as the iPad was running low on battery and we knew our time with the boys was limited, the decision was taken to pull up our hoods and make a run for it. We ran uphill against the current of the river running downhill towards us and made it to our apartment where we stood under the cover of our balcony roof and admired the lightning show overhead. It was exhilarating and just a little bit scary.

The following day was equally sultry and damp but not quite as theatrical. 


So if it’s wet, there’s nothing better to do than stay indoors and crochet, right? (My Attic 24 Cosy Stripe Blanket WIP has long needed some attention, so it got plenty!)


Then the sun came out again, so crochet on the balcony (while smaller members of the family were entertained at the kids’ club) was just the ticket.

As the weather improved, we decided to brave the poolside bar again one evening (no waterproofs this time), of course the crochet came too! G&T? Don’t mind if I do!

Then the weather really made a turn for the better. Check out this sunset…

Ahhh I love holidays 🙂 ❤️

If you’ve had a midterm break recently I hope it’s been a good one for you. Thanks for stopping by, and thank you to everyone who’s taken the time to like or comment on my posts, it’s really lovely to hear from you. 🙂


An outdoorsy sort of day

Hello! I hope this finds you well and happy. We’ve been treated to a beautiful day today, the weather has really made a huge improvement after a stormy start to the week. So far this midterm holiday has meant for us (well me) quite a lot of sleeping, in a big comfy bed without the sound of traffic (specifically scooters/mopeds) buzzing past the window, reading, crocheting, eating nice food, 5 exercise classes (I’ve not been totally lazy) and generally not moving very far. Today though, we decided to change our routine slightly and managed to leave the apartment by 10am and headed off up the A7 to Fuengirola to visit the BioParc Zoo.

Our first and only previous visit to the zoo was about 5 years ago, back in the days when we were still a family of 4. It’s an unusual sort of a place, like a verdant oasis in the centre of a busy town. It has a relatively small footprint for what it manages to pack in, and although I’m not a huge fan of keeping animals in captivity, the organization does at least appear to look after the inmates well. 

We were amongst the first to arrive at our destination which meant we almost had the place to ourselves to start with. 

Apparently these birds look a lot like me?! I’ve been told my hair stands up like their feathers when I’m cross. 

I also bear a passing resemblance to this orangutan according to certain family members….  

Gee, thanks boys. 

The zoo has an erm ‘interesting’ history, it was once the site of a very poorly run establishment which kept it’s animals in small and cruel conditions. The BioParc now prides itself on being a much healthier place for the animals to live and teaching the public about preservation.

The highlight of the trip for all of us was seeing the gorilla. My, he was big, and he was sitting, almost waiting for for his visitors right by the window of his enclosure. He must have known we were there but he appeared to take great pleasure in not acknowledging our presence. 


Second favourite was probably the crocodiles, although one member of the family was convinced they weren’t real as they were as still as statues!

The trip was a really nice morning’s entertainment for us all, not too big but large enough to keep the boys engaged for a few hours. And I just loved the grounds, they are so lush and green!

After the zoo, it was high time to return to our holiday apartment, regroup and have lunch.  By the time all were fed and watered and number one son had completed his English Comprehension homework it was late afternoon, high time for a stroll along the beach…

So off we headed, with the plan of walking for one hour in one direction and then turning around and walking back for a hour…


Coooo-eeee, Gibraltar, we can seeeee youuuu!!!

Ahhhh, sunset!

I shall not tell you about the copious sibling arguments which erupted along our walk, nor shall I point out the fact that it took us 2 hours to cover the distance ‘normal folk’ without small people would cover in approximately a quarter of the time. I’ll just leave you with those idyllic images of a family stroll…  😉 


Midterm in Marbella 

This midterm holiday we decided to go away for a break and have a proper rest. Our summer holidays are generally full of visiting relatives and friends (which is great but at times exhausting) and trying to entertain three boys with very different interests in a very hot climate. As much as we look forward to the summer holidays, I am usually counting the minutes down to school starting again a week or so in. Since we moved to Gibraltar, we have regularly taken a few days to drive up the coast (the Costa del Sol) during midterm. This year we landed in a resort by the beach just outside Marbella. As you can see above, we haven’t exactly had beach weather, but we’ve still had a great time. 

 There’s been lots of sleeping, exercise (2 Zumba sessions and an Aquafit class so far – got to counteract the wine & chocolate somehow), eating, reading and crochet. It’s been bliss (between the sibling arguments which go hand in hand with family holidays).


This morning, while Mr Postcard played chess with our two eldest boys, I went for a walk on the beach with our youngest. It was beautiful although perhaps more North Sea or Irish Sea than Mediterranean Sea in appearance. 

We collected sticks and wrote in the sand…


Then something caught my eye – can you spot the green plastic in the sea in the photo above? ‘What a shame’ I thought at first, ‘it’s spoiled my photo’. But then I thought actually, that’s really bad it shouldn’t be in the sea in the first place. Then I took a closer look around, and there was loads more plastic. My son then found a stick for his collection and it had fishing line caught up around it.


Together, we managed to gather this pile of rubbish, including plastic bottle tops, lolly sticks, cellophane, netting, polystyrene and the plastic used to join drinks cans together.

This little lot was gathered from an area of approximately 1.5 square metres. 

Isn’t that sad? Appalling even? If we could gather that much rubbish in moments from a tiny part of the beach what else must be out there damaging the environment and killing the wildlife. I’m truly disgusted that my fellow human beings could be so careless with our environment. 

That walk on the beach this morning taught us more than just how good it is to stretch our legs and take in the sea air. It showed us just how fragile our environment is. The little pile of rubbish we collected and disposed of doesn’t even scratch the surface of the problem, but hopefully my boys will now appreciate how easy it is to damage our beautiful environment and will grow up doing their ‘bit’ to help.