A cosy blanket story

Back in the autumn of 2014 I embarked on my latest blanket, an Attic24 Cosy Stripe Blanket blanket to be precise. I ordered my wool pack in time to join in with the online crochet-along or CAL. The plan was to keep up with crocheters around the world as they hooked up the cosy lines of triples and be part of something ‘bigger’.

I did really well for that first week! Then the rot set in. The plan had been to complete the blanket by the end of 2014 that meant we’d having a snuggly warm blanket to cosy up with as we faced a nippy Gibraltarian winter. Yes, I know I sound soft but it does get cold here in winter and we don’t have central heating or double glazing. The cold Atlantic breezes get through the cracks in our old wooden sash windows you know… I’m not getting any sympathy here am I?!


Back to the crochet… so the thing is, quite early into the CAL I fell off the wagon and failed to keep up. I think my problem is that I like so many different crafts that I don’t like to keep on at the one thing all the time. In other words I’m easily distracted… Holiday times meant that I had more time to sit and hook up a few rows and it meant I was more focused on the job. So it came on holiday with us, a few times…

 …. to Marbella…


….out for a drink at the poolside bar….


…and to Puerto Banús.

It’s been a regular companion through two series of Downton Abbey! Both on Sunday nights and on catch-up sessions.


 It’s grown bigger.

And bigger.

It’s done a spot of sunbathing on our balcony back at home…

And entertained me at coffee break time as I worked (very slowly) through all those colourful rows.

And then the end was in sight, it was time to darn in all those fiddly endy bits. 

I shared that photo on Instagram and you’ll never guess who ‘liked’ it? Only Lucy at Attic24! STARSTRUCK!!!


Phew, that was exciting!

And so, the time had come to begin the border…

But I must have got my tension wrong… I didn’t have enough wool – noooo! So I unpicked it and chose an alternative colour and started again:

Not again… just 25 cm short this time! So I had to do half of the original colour and half of the second colour – sorry Lucy, I went a bit off piste! It’s a multicoloured border.

I’m on the home straight at last, it’s the Easter holidays 2016, 17 months after I started my Cosy Stripe CAL, time for a final push at the park.

And it’s finished…. Drum roll please!

Ta-dah!! Looking glorious on a sunny, blustery day with Gibraltar’s Trinity lighthouse as a backdrop. 

Thank you Lucy for sharing this brilliant pattern, I have really enjoyed working on it and love the end result. I shall miss snuggling up under it’s colourful rows as it grew slowly on my lap. 

What next? Another blanket perhaps, but don’t expect to see it finished for a very long time!


Sunday sevens #24 27.3.16

Happy Easter!


I’m starting this week’s Sunday Sevens with the cutest shop window display in Gibraltar. It belongs to the Originata shop & gallery on Governor’s Street. The shop is run by a lovely lady called Sue, who makes all the pretty things she sells and she offers craft classes as well. Sue cteates a lot of her products from recycled materials and tiles, shells and sea glass she finds on Gibraltar’s beaches. 

My first attempt at a lined curtain
Well I’ve done it, I have completed the curtain section of my home furnishings course. I’ve made samples of a rod pocket, a tab-top, a standard tape top, a small pair with a valance attached and now a fully lined curtain. I’m chuffed with what I’ve learned and been able to achieve over the 10 lessons. I’m particularly pleased with the neat hand stitched corners on the bottom right above. We have just 2 more lessons on the course and it’s cushion time when we return after Easter.

Now you see it, now you don’t…  

This week in my dressmaking class I had a couple of practice attempts at invisible zips as I’ll be using one for my next skirt. After quite a few deeps breaths (I’m being polite here!) and fair amount of unpicking I managed to pull it off reasonably well. Apparently they aren’t quite 100% according to my teacher but I’m pretty pleased with them. Whether I’ll be able to replicate it when the pressure’s on and I’m doing my skirt… time will tell!

Wierd weather 


This may not seem a big deal to UK visitors to the blog, but on Tuesday I witnessed a rare weather phenomenon for Gibraltar… hail stones. Can you see one in the centre of the photo on my windscreen? Soon after hitting the car, they melted but crikey, after 6 years of living here I have never seen hailstones here before! They were followed by very heavy rain and a thunderstorm, perhaps winter hasn’t let go just yet! 

Easter holiday time!


Thursday meant the first day of the school holidays here in Gibraltar. We had a couple of friends over to play and a trip to the park at Europa Point to get buffeted by the winds. Hide and seek was played and ice cream was dribbled down chins. It was a really sunny day but a little cold out in exposed areas – which is exactly what Europa Point is! The kids didn’t notice, they were too busy running around having fun. Gibraltar’s lighthouse is right next to the park – I couldn’t resist taking a photo; red, white and blue are a great colour combination.

 Easter bunny


It is the season for bunnies, so I couldn’t leave our very own Easter bunny out of this week’s Sunday Sevens. He’s growing a very funky hairdo, if it gets much longer it’ll flop into his eyes and I’ll need to give him a hair clip or a trim! He is such a monkey, his days of hopping about on my bed are numbered – he had a good old  chew on my duvet this week. 

 Bank holiday painting

I’ve been very good and had a go at a spot of painting this weekend even though there was no class. I was inspired by some beautiful ‘Bird of Paradise’ flowers (I think they may be called Strelitzia or something like that). I’m not sure what my art teacher will make of them but I had fun painting them. I even managed to do it with my three amigos in tow. They came along every now and then to see the progress and then went back to their business. It’s the first time I’ve attempted painting while they’re not at school – so far, so good.

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series which features seven photos from the past seven days. Sunday Sevens was devised by Nat at Threads & Bobbins blog. Pop over to her blog to find out more, then you can join in too!

Celebrating women’s creativity


Gibraltar’s thriving art scene is being showcased again with a pioneering women only exhibition at the Rock’s newest gallery. The Face Frames Gallery launched the show on 8th March to mark International Women’s  Day. 


The small but perfectly formed art gallery is crammed with beautiful works in a variety of media including traditional oils and watercolours, but also fused glass, photography, collage and sculpture.


Female artists were invited to send in work to be exhibited and the show was chosen from the many entries.


Exhibiting artists include some of the Rock’s well-known established artists as well as some younger and new talent. A competition was held for GCSE and A-Level Art students at Westside (the Gibraltar Girls’ Secondary School). The winners’ pieces hang alongside the other pieces by adult artists.


Views of Gibraltar feature within the show (above & 2 below are just a selection) but many other images feature in the diverse exhibition.


As well as raising the profile of local female artists, the event’s opening night raised funds and awareness for the local Women in Need charity. The shelter which offers a safe haven for victims of domestic abuse received more than £200 of donations on the night.


It really is worth a visit of you are nearby, it never ceases to amaze me the amount of talent such a small place can inspire. The number of artists and crafts people per capita in Gibraltar must be far higher than normal surely?

Th exhibition will run for two months and many of the paintings are available to buy.


The Face Frames Gallery officially opened it’s doors in December with it’s inaugural exhibition of local artist Leslie Gaduzo’s work, this is it’s second exhibition.


For more information on the gallery and the exhibition, take a look at the Face Frames Facebook page or email faceframesgallery@hotmail.com.


Sunday Sevens #23 20.3.16

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins. If you fancy joining in, pop along to her blog to find out more.

This week began in a blaze of spring glory with blue skies and sunshine, we ended it though, with a rather damp and soggy weekend! Welcome to spring in Gibraltar…


First trip to the beach of 2016  

After a glorious weekend with a dolphin boat trip, a trip up the Rock in the cable car and another visit to the beautiful Alameda Gardens, we made the most of the extra time off school afforded us by Commonwealth Day and an in-service day for teachers. We had our first trip to the beach this year, a picnic on a bench nearby, then football, basketball, and a feat of civil engineering in the sand. Apart from one other small group, we had the beach to ourselves. It was great, and a fantastic chance for the little postcards to get some fresh air! I do love the beach out of season. This photo shows Catalan Bay, our base for an afternoon and several hours squabble-free play time. 

Cockerel on the loose  

Now to non Gibraltar residents to sight of a loose cockerel on a wander may not seem out of the ordinary. There aren’t many ‘farm’ animals on the Rock so this majestic bird took us quite by surprise on our walk through the Alameda Botanical Gardens this week! He was a very impressive looking chap, I only managed to grab this photo as he was disappearing off into the bushes. 


There are so many seagulls knocking about in Gibraltar at the moment, I think it may be mating season. These little chaps may look delicate and light on their feet but when they land on our roof they sound like they’re wearing clogs and doing a spot of Morris dancing! They are so noisy, especially in the early hours of the morning.

 Model Soldiers 

We stumbled across a model soldier exhibition in the Gustavo Bacarisas Gallery during a wander in town. I had no idea it was on, and it’s not necessarily something I’d actively seek out but the workmanship which had gone into putting on the various exhibits was very impressive.

Watercolour class 

I’ve missed my watercolour lessons for the last couple of weeks and it was great to get back to it again. This week I spent my lesson doing a study of freesias, they were a beautiful colour and the scent was amazing!

Earth Hour  

We did our bit for the environment last night and celebrated Earth Hour with our lights off. Scrabble (not real Scrabble as you can see – Scrabble Twists & Turns) with 3 children in the dark/candlelight adds a new dimension to proceedings. Tiles were lost off the table and cheating went on undetected. Thank goodness it was just an hour!!

Palm Sunday  

As a child at Sunday School I remember the excitement of being given a palm cross on Palm Sunday. For us children, it meant that Easter was around the corner and it’s guarantee of a school holiday and a few chocolate eggs. 

They had an air of exotic mystery about them though. Where did these palm crosses come from? The ones which arrived at our church were made by a charity in a third world country and always seemed so exotic to me growing up in the north of England. Here in Gibraltar, where palm trees are ten a penny, churches are actually decorated with real palm branches on Palm Sunday, I wonder what my 10 year old self would have made of that?

Whether or not you celebrate Easter, I hope you have a peaceful and happy time with your loved ones. Until next week, bye for now. 

A stroll around Gibraltar No 8: Dolphins

This week’s stroll was less of a walk and more of a voyage. We took full advantage of the luxury of a long bank holiday weekend (it was Commonwealth Day on Monday) and the great warm spring weather and took to the high seas (well the Bay & Straits of Gibraltar) in search of dolphins. 

We are surrounded here on three sides by water; the Mediterranean to the East, the Straits of Gibraltar to the South and the Bay of Gibraltar to the West (and the Atlantic Ocean a bit further West!). This means that our local waters are frequented by several varieties of dolphins and occasionally Orcas. A couple of local companies offer boat trips out into the Bay and beyond with the 99% promise that you will see dolphins. 

As we had visitors over who’d never had a go on one of these trips, we thought we’d give it a try. We took our seats on our dolphin boat at Marina Bay in the March sunshine not sure of what we’d see.

The water was as calm as you could hope for and we waited excitedly to set off.

Before long, the Rock of Gibraltar was far behind us. There she is, in all her glory. 

On our way out into the Bay, we had planes overhead coming in to land at Gibraltar Airport.

  Photo credit: my Dad 🙂 


We also saw a large group of yachts making the most of the sunshine and spring breezes.  

 Looking towards Campamento

Once we were properly out into the Bay we were called to the front of the boat and it was time to scan the waves looking for dolphins. We have been on these trips several times as a family since we came to Gibraltar to live and every time we have been lucky enough to see some dolphins. However, they are wild animals and particularly at this time of year, they aren’t as common in the Straits and the Bay as they usually are. After quite a while searching the waves for a dorsal fin breaking the surface, the boat’s skipper announced that he was going to take us to another part of the Bay and try our luck there.

 Algeciras Docks

In his photo you can see tankers traveling through the Straits of Gibraltar, the Spanish mainland on the right, and the mountains straight ahead are Morocco.


It was the right decision to move on elsewhere because we soon saw a pod of common dolphins, several mothers with their babies along side.


Aren’t they just beautiful?


We were so lucky because after a while of watching them a short distance away, they came closer to the boat and we got a great view of them.


After several minutes, the pod took their leave from us and headed off. At this point the skipper and his crew announced that they’d take us further south into the Straits as Orcas had been spotted there recently – how amazing would that be to see whales?? We headed to a spot about half a mile off Europa Point lighthouse (the most southerly point of Gibraltar) and soon literally hundreds of dolpins could be seen arcing out of the water to dive for fish. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a clear photo of them as they were too far away and too quick for me to snap in time, but I did get to see the Rock from a totally new angle. I’ve never been this far south of Gibraltar in a boat before, so it was great to see where we live from a different perspective.


A few of the mature common dolphins who had been diving for fish came closer to the boat and raced along with us. It was so exhilarating to see these wild creatures at such close quarters and swimming around beneath our boat right where we were standing!


We didn’t see any Orcas but that didn’t matter at all as we saw so many dolphins!


After about two hours out in the boat it was time to turn around and head back home to Gibraltar. The crew said it had been the best trip of the year so far and it was definitely our best dolphin trip to date (we have seen dolphins before but not so many). It was magical; sunshine, calm seas and plenty of dolphins who came out to play for us. We won’t leave it so long before doing it again!


Our trip was with Dolphin Adventure this time. If you would like to find out more, check out their website. (I haven’t been paid to advertise this by the way, I just wanted to share a great afternoon’s trip out!). 

Thanks for visiting. Until next time, bye for now!



Sunday Sevens #22 13.3.16

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series inspired by Natalie at  Threads & Bobbins blog. If you fancy joining in pop over to her blog to find out more. 

This week, we’ve had company…


 Remember that lemon curd I made a couple of weeks ago? Well the last of it was used to fill this sponge to celebrate a visit by my Mum & Dad this week. Mmmm it was yummy and it was so lovely to have a visit from these very special people. The little Postcards do miss out on ‘grandparent time’ by living so far away from them, but we have absolutely made the most of our time together. 

Pattern creation for a new skirt.

There wasn’t any sewing to show for my dressmaking class this week. After last week’s triumph of completing my full circle skirt, it was time to embark on the latest adventure and that is a panelled skirt which will flare out from the hip. I have still got a bit of cutting and sticking to do for my homework adding my seam allowances etc, but I’m looking forward to doing some fabric shopping soon and getting cracking at my next lesson. (My home furnishing class didn’t yield anything exciting either this week but hopefully I’ll be ready to reveal my current curtain soon!)


 One evening this week, I attended a function at the Rock Hotel. When I was walking up the path to the front door I was struck by the strong scent of freesias. I love freesias – both my Mum and myself had them in our wedding bouquets. I couldn’t understand why I was smelling them though as I was walking along outside until I spotted these unassuming white blooms. If only I could convey the gorgeous smell that was in the evening air at that moment – it was so lovely!

A sunset swimming lesson  Normally my mid week early evening routine involves taking children to after school activities. This week however, as my parents were over visiting I didn’t need to drag the non-participating children to their sibling’s activities. This meant that I was able to spend that time appreciating  the surroundings and having a few moments to myself. While watching a little postcard having his swimming lesson, I spotted this fab view and sunset.

The blanket border has begun: After 15 months of making my cosy stripe Attic 24 blanket I’m on the border… The end is nigh…

 Bunny update Bunny was a bit off colour last weekend but he’s back in the pink and eating his way through his fair share of carrots and red peppers! He’s really enjoyed watching a bit of late night TV and having evening cuddles this week.

Boat trip  We had a beautiful day yesterday. It’s a long weekend in Gibraltar this weekend as it’s Commonwealth Day tomorrow. We thought we’d make the most of our time off and decided to hop on a boat and take a trip out into the Bay. It was glorious and I promise I will tell you all about it soon…

Thanks so much for stopping by! Until next time, bye for now.

A stroll around Gibraltar No 7: The Alameda Gardens Part 1

The Alameda Botanic Gardens sits snugly between the town centre of Gibraltar and the South District. A calm, quiet, green oasis amongst the busy and densely populated streets, the Alameda Gardens are the lungs of Gibraltar. When we first moved to the Rock after leaving our ‘average’ three bedroomed semi-detached house with a front and back garden,  moving into an apartment with small children was a shock to the system. Very fortunately for us we lived very close to the gardens and they were a real life-saver and sanity restorer for me. We had lost our garden (which we rarely used because of the inclement British weather) but we had the most gorgeous park a short stroll from our new home.

We visited the Gardens again at the weekend as a family, it had been a few months since we’d been and we had such a great time, I thought I’d share this beautiful part of Gibraltar with you.

The Botanical Gardens were first established in 1816 and were funded in the beginning with a series of charitable donations. They fell into disrepair towards the end of the last century but for the past 20 years or so, they have been maintained by a team of horticulturalists and a band of volunteers.

It is such a beautiful, calm place to be. Full of mature trees and plants and brimming with history.

The main entrance to the Alameda Gardens is watched over by this bust of General George Eliott a former Governor of Gibraltar during the Great Siege of 1779 – 1782.

The beautiful surroundings are more than just a nice place to be, they offer a valuable educational resource to some of the school children of Gibraltar too. The Alameda Gardening Club gives kids, many of whom would otherwise grow up with no experience of gardening (because they live in apartments), the chance to get their hands dirty and have a go at growing things. How cute is the Bee Hotel and the flowery scarecrow?!

I think this little section of the gardens is the cheeriest place of all, as clearly the children have had a great time tending their little patch.

A stone’s throw away from the children’s garden is the beautiful Dell, the lush green sunken garden is the venue for many Gibraltar based wedding ceremonies and photo shoots.

The luscious planting is so well maintained and is picture perfect.

This beautiful section of the gardens isn’t open to the public but can be enjoyed from above from this stunning footbridge:

Are you beginning to understand why I loved this place so much when we first arrived in Gib? It’s stunning. We have had so many happy hours here, teaching small people to ride bikes on this pathway below, having picnics on a bench when apartment life became too stifling and collecting fallen leaves and bug hunting with my little botanist.

Every part of this place is just lovely, from the formal promenades to the meadow style sections. It’s just so green – which is so needed by a garden and plant lover like myself.

The Alameda Gardens even have a literary connection, this statue is of Molly Bloom, a character in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses, who spent her youth in Gibraltar. The novel makes mention of the Alameda Gardens and for that reason, the statue was placed here.

As you would expect from a botanical garden, there are a wide variety of plants on display with various flower beds and areas dedicated to plants from specific parts of the world or particular climates. A big favourite with the younger members of the Postcard family is this tropical section with the wooden walkway through the palms and banana leaves. Partly because it feels like you are walking through the jungle and partly because it’s right next door to the park!

Speaking of which – check it out! How cool is this park?? When we first arrived in Gibraltar seven years ago, it didn’t look like this. It had the feeling of a slightly neglected play park from the 1970s. I was right back to my childhood with the metal see-saw, roundabout and squeaking swings! However a few years back the park was shut down for several months and this great adventure playground sprung up in it’s place. It’s set out over 3 levels with activities for the smaller children at the bottom (shown here) and more adventurous things further up including a fab see-saw which several children can fit on at once, a great spinning tee-pee shaped climbing frame and a climbing wall.

Perhaps the best thing of all is that it’s set within the gardens and that means it benefits from the shade of the mature trees all around it so even in the heat of mid-summer you can use it and benefit from a bit of shady respite. It’s such a great park and one which my boys love. We’ve had such fun times here with friends over the years.

Oh Alameda – how we love you so! We really should visit more often!

I do hope that you have enjoyed this stroll round Gibraltar’s Botanic Gardens, I have called this Part 1 because I have only just scraped the surface of what this great place has to offer and I’m sure I’ll be back again soon to share a bit more of this gem with you.


This is by no means a comprehensive view of the gardens, just a collection of photos and ramblings. If you would like to find out more about this beautiful green oasis, please check out the official website.

Until the next time, thanks for stopping by and bye for now!

Sunday Sevens #21 6.3.16

Happy Mothering Sunday to you, I hope that if you are a mother or grandmother you are being well looked after and appreciated. 

Welcome to the latest edition of the Postcard from Gibraltar Sunday Sevens. Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Nat at the Threads & Bobbins blog. If you fancy joining in, pop over to Nat’s  blog to find out more. 

Sunday sunset  I’m afraid I have nothing profound to say about this photo other than I spotted the sunset & clouds during a brief glimpse out of the window so I grabbed my phone and dashed outside to try and get a picture. The shafts of sunshine reminded me of those sunburst stained glass windows you get on houses of a certain age who have dodged the uPVC treatment. 

A postcard (& hearts) received from Gibraltar  
You may remember a few weeks ago, whilst housebound caring for poorly children I set about using my sofa cuddle time wisely (apart from just cuddling up with my little patients). I decided to help a very lovely lady on Instagram attempt to collect 7000 hearts to give to visitors to her hometown of Skipton for the Yarndale 2016 festival of all things wooly in September. About a fortnight ago, I finally got around to posting off my little hearts and I’m pleased to say they reached their destination (along with a postcard from Gibraltar- naturally). I received this lovely photo collage on Instagram as a thank you :-). It really was a fun distraction from my nursing duties and so easy to make as they are tiny and take very little time at all to make. The pattern I used was the  Attic 24 Teeny Tiny Hearts pattern. To find out more about Bonnie’s Little Crafts 7000 heart challenge, have a look at her page on Instagram. 

A finished pair of curtains & valance 

 Well it was a struggle to make this sample at my home furnishing class this week. I found out to my cost the the fabric I chose and the use of a hot iron don’t mix. Not only does it make it shrink, it also makes it stretch at times – very bizarre! Anyway, after much pinning and remeasuring and repinning and measuring again I finally got there! I think they’re rather cute 🙂

Full circle skirt – complete!  I’m really very pleased with this one. I’m sure I’ll get loads of wear out of it in the hotter weather (the winter boots don’t quite work with it!). This was the most complicated skirt to prepare for on my dressmaking course but by far the easiest to sew. I’m thrilled – it doesn’t look homemade!! I’m now on the lookout for some more special fabric to make another longer one.

World Book Day 

  Can you tell who he went as??! 

(Clue: It was on a Wizard of Oz theme!)

The silver material wasn’t the easiest thing to sew and the planning time taken up with this meant that my other little character ended up in an improved shop bought outfit (which I’m pleased to say he loved – he wore it until bedtime!). Thankfully my biggest character had chosen a book from the 21st Century so his clothing came directly from his own wardrobe – phew!! World Book Day really is a great event, and (most of) the children I saw arriving at school seemed to really enjoy it. That said I’m so glad it only comes around once a year!

 I haven’t shared any photos of Bunny for a while, so here he is. Somehow he gets  taken out of his run of an evening and I find him hopping about my bed (he’s always got a young/not-so-young man looking after him at the time). He seems to love having a wider space to explore. If he nibbles my blanket I won’t be happy though!

Mother’s Day  I am one lucky Mummy, I shall be taking full advantage of this special day and try to get a bit of crochet time fitted in between being looked after by my boys. The sun is shining and we’re off to the park!

Thanks for stopping by, and have a good week!

Thoughts of spring

 I’m afraid I haven’t had the time for a stroll this week. Family commitments and the production of World Book Day costumes have eaten into my time somewhat. Nevertheless I thought I’d share a few bright sunshiny photos with you as it’s been feeling rather springlike here of late.
  Commonwealth Park

Next weekend we are looking forward to welcoming some very special family visitors to Gibraltar and I do so hope this lovely spell of weather lasts for their arrival.   Commonwealth Park

It’s still long sleeve weather here in spite of the gorgeous blue skies, layers of clothing are the key – so you add or take them off depending on the time of day and the strength of the sun! 

    Main Street

That said, there are plenty of tourists ambling up and down Main Street in T-shirts and shorts but perhaps they are more used to colder temperatures than we are these days. I’ve clearly been here long enough to go soft and I head out in the morning with a vest, jumper and thick coat. You’d never think I’d grown up Up North.  

View of part of the harbour  

Thanks for stopping by, hopefully the normal service will have resumed next week and we can go for another stroll – there are so any interesting things here in Gibraltar to share with you all! Until next time, bye for now.