Mi casa bonita

I am trying to use as much Spanish as I can every day, as well as using my Duolingo app and watching You Tube videos for grammar information, hence the title of my post, as my house is looking very pretty now. I have not had a huge amount to do to it, as I did a major declutter at Christmas, but I have got some new white goods which makes the living area look much more spacious and tidier than before.

The previous layout had a large and very old fridge freezer with a microwave on top, at the end of the lounge units, and the lounge storage was scattered around the room. This really made the place look more cluttered and I was determined to try and get a more streamlined space.

I also had an old bulky TV there which I only ever used for the occasional DVD. Now I have lovely Spanish internet I am back to using my laptop for Amazon and Netflix so have done away with that.

I moved all of the units together onto the one wall and replaced the old fridge with a smaller fridge freezer where the washing machine was. I now have a top loader near the entrance to the bathroom, which works brilliantly. I also found some lovely stickers to go on the kitchen tiles which go perfectly with the new storage jars I have.

The coffee table was from my Mum. She and my aunt often give me furniture and it is great space for crafting as I have my WIP projects and sewing box on the lower shelf.

I was looking for something to go on the wall above the new washing machine, as I have picture hooks in the wall there, and came across this gorgeous door picture at one of the local home stores.

It is the perfect colour and you know how much I love beautiful doors! I am not sure where it was taken but would guess Morocco, although it could be Southern Spain, as it is very similar to many in the cities there.

I got some new serving dishes from the ceramica at Purellana so they are displayed in the cabinet at the end, and I have brought some of my lounge decorations from the UK as well, so it is all looking very much like home now.

In my bedroom I brought over a new duvet for the bed, which matches the craft room things that I brought from the UK as well.

I had to choose only a small selection from the whole of my old craft room to bring, so the whole stash now fits into one wardrobe, in these three drawer units, two wardrobe drawers below those, and the hanging storage.

The Barbie crew are making themselves at home here, eagerly awaiting some proper storage units so that they can come out of the wardrobe!

We have been to the garden centre twice this week so the terrace is looking very lovely and colourful.

I bought 5 new pots when I was in Purellana, the three fully glazed ones that you can see in the pictures above, and two more of the decorated terracotta ones. I have a lovely selection of my favourite geraniums, some cyclamen, gerbera, kalanchoe, coleus and petunias, and some others that I don’t know the name of.

It is all looking very lovely now, just a few more pots and a firepit/bbq to add to it, and maybe some more solar lights. I do love to sit out in the evenings reading surrounded by solar lights and candles. The above picture also shows the new candle holder that I bought in Purellana, on the right here, which goes beautifully with one that my aunt bought me many years ago for Christmas.

It is very hot again today, it has gone back up to the high 20s and after a very busy few days I am having a day at home, as we will be busy all weekend with my cousin. The knitting group on Tuesday was very lovely, a really nice group of very welcoming people, as knitters so tend to be. There is also a sewing group that meets on Wednesdays that I am going to as well next week. It is lovely to meet people here who share my interests and I am looking forward to getting to know them better over the next couple of months.

I am planning to do some more making up of the latest Little Cotton Rabbits elephant this afternoon, and maybe a bike ride if it cools down this evening. I have Spanish conversation group again tomorrow so that will be a good opportunity to see if I can remember how to say the new things I have learned. Still I am having fun doing it and it is making sure that my brain is not turning to mush in retirement 😉

I hope that you enjoyed the little look at my new things, I am slowly getting the house sorted and getting into a nice routine with lots of fun things to do. I think the whole thing is becoming a little more real to me now, it feels less like a holiday and more like real life now. Especially when I consider that this would have been the start of the really busy marking period at work. To know that I never again have to read any 6,000 word essays is wonderful!

Have a good weekend ahead, hope you have something nice planned. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Life in rural Spain, swimming with fishes and a community pig!

On the Sunday we were with Ben and Amanda, they took us to the nearby village of Orce, about 15 minutes from Galera. They often go to the market there, as it is a source of the material for their cave house curtains and furnishings, as well as being a beautiful little place to wander round and have coffee.

On the way we stopped off at the local open-air pool, fed by the mountain springs. I was all for a little dip at some point in the future until I realised it was full of fish!

There are over a hundred bream of all sizes in the pool and you just swim amongst them. I am not a very confident swimmer, although I love it, and would not cope with having fish anywhere near me, but it is a lovely place in the summer with picnic areas and a playground.

The village of Orce has so many beautiful houses of all ages so there were lots of balconies and doors to look at, as well as the beautiful square with its ornate lamps.

There is also a large castle with seven towers, again part of the defences from when Moors controlled this part of Spain.

I really loved this window display, the profusion of pots and the beautiful flowers was stunning. I am planning to get some more plant holders for my terrace, not on the windows, but will do something similar there with pots that are all the same colour as I think that looks really good.

The church was stunning, with a lovely bell tower, with very loud bells. We were there during one of the services so just had a quick peek inside, another magnificent altar as always.

Outside the church we came across a little pig, with a ribbon and bell round its neck. It was licking the door of an old microwave that someone had left near the bins. A passing resident told us that this is the community pig, it wanders around the village and everyone leaves food out for it and they later share in the meat from the pig. It was a very cute little thing so I hope it has a happy life.

The centre of the village had a palace which is also a museum. It was closed, but we did get a peek inside and of course there were some stunning doors! The narrow streets and decoration on the houses was lovely, again so different to here where everything is so much newer.

We ended the morning with a drink in a cave house restaurant which was really lovely, and we had some excellent paella as a tapas there. That, and the very large quantities of lunch, a three course menu del dia with wine and coffee for 16 euros, meant that a little siesta was needed before joining Ben and Amanda in the village for our final evening.

A brilliant trip and I can’t wait to go back. I have had a very busy weekend, more house sorting and some entertaining, and a very good night out at a local tapas bar. My cousin arrives with her daughter for a few days this weekend so we will spend time with them and probably visit the market on Saturday.

I have joined a Spanish conversation group that meet on Fridays, so enjoyed that last week, and have found a knitting group, which I am going to go to tomorrow. It is lovely to be making new friends here and I am making the most of my 90 days before I will have to leave!

I have done a little bit of knitting, dungarees for the elephant I have been working on, but not much else. I have made some more masks, we are still wearing them here inside, and when you go into restaurant seating areas, even if they are outside, so needed a few more colours and some slightly lighter weight ones. There is no need to use them to keep your face warm as I was doing this time last year in the UK 😉

I hope that you all had a good weekend. I will be back next week with some more pictures from the UK tour, I think I just have the final part of my time in Wales, and all the museum things to show you. Until the have a good week, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A walk around Galera

Although we were only there for two full days Ben and Amanda took us around Galera, so that we could see the views, and more of the gorgeous cave houses. It is a stunning village, and I can see why they fell in love with it. It is surrounded by hills, where the cave houses are, with some really steep roads up to them. Amanda is an excellent driver but her nervous passengers had to close their eyes at some points.

We first of all went up to the hills behind their house, they are building a mirador, or viewpoint, that will extend out from this hill so they have created a footpath to it.

Their house is in this valley so you can’t see it from here. It was amazing looking down at all of the other cave houses here, there are beautiful roofs on many of them.

The other walk was down from the hills opposite the hotel. I had been looking up at these views every morning from my hotel room and it was fascinating to go and see these houses closer up. We went up to the hermitage that you can see on top of the hill in the left of this picture.

This is the oldest part of Galera and there is a historic trail with information boards about the citadel that was here, and the history of the village during the re-conquest, when this area was taken back from the Moors.

Some of these houses in the street in the photo above are rented out so Ellen and I are hoping to go and stay in one next autumn as she would love to visit the area. I would love to see inside this one, it looks so cute!

The village is very tightly packed in the centre, which makes for an amazing view over the roofs. Like many Spanish villages there are beautiful town houses with ornate doors and balconies.

The architecture is quite different to that here in La Marina in many ways, for a start the place is much older so the roofs have a very weathered look, this area was only built about 35 years ago. Also there are very different types of trees, very few palms and a lot of cypresses and mountain ash trees which give it a very Tuscan feel.

It was also fascinating to see all of the peppers hanging from people’s balconies to dry, most of the houses have them and they look beautiful.

It is still very warm here, but has cooled down a little to the low 20s so I am enjoying riding my bike in the evenings. I am still busy sorting things at the house, a trip to the garden centre is planned for next week so that I can fill all of my beautiful pots and I am hopefully going to buy a new sewing machine as well so that will be very exciting! I can’t wait to make some more Luna rabbits.

I hope that you have a nice weekend ahead, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Glorious goldwork of Guadix

It never ceases to amaze me what you find in the very small village and town churches in Spain, the altars, the icons and the sheer scale of things just leave me in awe, but even I was not expecting to find such exquisite and detailed goldwork in the Guadix pueblo.

The cave house area, although now a very popular tourist destination and with houses selling for well above average prices for Spain, was originally the area where the very poorest lived. Those who could not afford building material literally dug their own houses out of the hills. There is a short article here on more of the history of the area if you would like to read more, we visited Jose’s cave while we were there and it is a fascinating look at how people live. He just asks for a donation for your visit and has a very welcome fridge full of cold drinks for sale and also sells local honey.

Around the area there were various references to a priest, San Pedro Poveda, and I looked him up. He worked in the area providing education and set up teacher training to combat illiteracy in the area. His organisation was named after St Teresa of Avila, who is related to the order that I portray as a re-enactment character. Sadly he was executed for his beliefs at the start of the civil war in Spain. It is lovely to see his name and work remembered here.

We visited the church before the cave houses, I really loved the simple iron cross outside and the shadows that it made against the while walls.

Inside it was amazing, many of the icons that are used in the religious festivals were on display, and as always the costumes were stunning.

Further into the church there is a cave area and a cave house linked to that. They also had a little display of belen, nativities, from around the world. I loved their belen which is all set around cave houses.

Just around the corner from the cave house, in a little hidden room we came across the most amazing piece of goldwork that I have ever seen, even accounting for the marvellous work in Lorca.

I think what made it most amazing was its location. Not only was it so unexpected, whereas Lorca has many organisations creating the beautiful costumes for their Easter parades, but I have no idea why such a piece had been created for this small church. It looked to be very recent, and too large to be worn, though there was what looked like a priest’s cope and mantle beside it in the case.

The amount of work that has gone into this piece is amazing, many of the motifs are lilies, the symbol of the Virgin Mary, and have silverwork and shading, as well as goldwork.

I could not find any further information on its origin, only a small sign that I couldn’t translate so have no idea if it was made locally. A truly stunning piece of work and a testament to the skills of the makers.

I was sorting out my patterns yesterday and I have about 5 other goldwork pieces that I am intending make during retirement. I have only done a few, some as gifts, but one has come with me to Spain, my Tudor Rose.

This was made many years ago, in 2009 according to the blog post, and was based on one in the Elizabeth Hoare collection at Liverpool Cathedral that I blogged about here. This took me about 50 hours so I have no idea how long the goldwork in the church would have taken.

I mean to make a companion piece based on a pomegranate, which was the symbol of Catherine of Aragon, as well as being the symbol of Granada. Happy times with lots of lovely craft things planned! Today is a public holiday here so I am having a quiet day in, going to do my usual Spanish language practice, some knitting and then a bike ride later.

I hope that you are enjoying whatever you are doing this week, I will be back later on with more pictures from the Galera trip. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Cave house inspiration

So where do you go when you are trying to decide how to refurbish your own cave house? The local IKEA, while great for other furniture, may look a little out of place in something that dates back so many years, so Ben and Amanda have spent many happy hours in the cave house museums and open houses in Purellana and Guadix, about an hour from where they have their house.

I have briefly visited the cave house museum in Purellana, as we stopped there on the way to Seville when we did our coach trip. The picture above shows the view from one of the upper terraces of the museum. It is so stunning, you would never get bored of all the changes in the way the light hits the mountains.

It was lovely to go back for a more detailed look, especially as Amanda and the guide were able to discuss specifics, which was really interesting. They are trying to make their house as authentic as they can and so we spent a lot of time looking at the decor.

Although the ground floor of the museum is the house that the family live in, (you enter the museum though their kitchen!), the upper floors are a fascinating museum of artefacts from the 6 generations that have lived in the house. I loved the vintage sewing machine as a roof decoration!

We also enjoyed a visit to the two ceramicas in Purellana, we bought Ben and Amanda some beautiful reproduction storage jars, a little like these below, for their kitchen as a housewarming gift.

I came back with a suitcase full of garden pots and storage jars as I mentioned in the last post. I will show you those later in a separate post once the pots have been planted up. I have been doing a little refurbishment of my own house so will take some pictures once that is finished.

After a delicious lunch in the nearby town of Guadix we went up to the cave house area for a quick look round. This was the free tapas we had and my starter portion of tuna salad, you definitely will never go hungry here in Spain.

There was an open house to tour as well as the most beautiful church with some very unexpected goldwork, that will have a post of of its own as well later.

The views from the mirador, or viewing point, were amazing. As well as all the houses we could see the corral where they would have kept the horses and the wonderful rock formations that give this area such as distinctive look.

A truly wonderful day out, Guadix is definitely on my list to go back to for longer as the cathedral looked amazing, and it is accessible by train so I can go there by myself one day.

I have joined the gym and spa this week, they have the most wonderful array of jacuzzi pools and jets so we are off there again this afternoon, picture below is from their website.

I now have a monthly membership so will be going twice a week. I also got to take my bike out last night as it has cooled down a bit, it is only 22 degrees today which is lovely.

So I am finding lots of things to keep me busy, I don’t think I will at all bored for a very long time! Hope you are going to have a nice weekend and week ahead, I will be back early next week with more Guadix pictures. Until then have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Una habitat troglodita

The title of this post comes from the sign for the the cave house museum which we visited while we were staying in Galera, where Ben and Amanda have their cave house. We went there by coach, from the nearest large town of Elche, a lovely 4 hour journey to their nearest large town of Baza, so we got to see a lot more of my lovely Spain.

Galera is absolutely stunning, I will post more about the village in another post but it is so gorgeous, there are lots of cave house here, and the views from the top of the village over the mountains are amazing. You know how I love a good mountain!

It is situated 140 km from Granada, surrounded by mountain ranges and other gorgeous little towns. It is a very well supplied village with local shops and lovely bars, as well as a beautiful hotel, which we stayed at.

They have owned the house for nearly 4 years, and spent the previous 3 years searching all around the area for a house to buy. The one they chose was previously lived in by an older man who lived alone, but it had been in the family for years. This meant that many of the rooms had been blocked off, so they are slowly re-opening them and refurbishing the rest of the house. It looks amazing and they have spent so much time researching and visiting other houses and museums to get inspiration.

They often get asked if it has a door, which it does, and electric. All of the plumbing is located in the front of the house, in an extension, which is where the kitchen and bathroom are. This is on the right of the photo above, and everything else is built into the mountain. They have a little map on the wall in their front room showing its location.

They have 5 rooms open at the moment, plus the kitchen and bathroom, and have plans for many more as there is an upstairs as well. You can just see the only upstairs window in the picture of the front of the house, and they have two chimneys, for the fireplace in the snug, and the wood burner in the kitchen that they also use for cooking.

They have worked so hard on it, they are very practical people and are really good at woodwork and building. At their house in Huddersfield they have an outdoor eating area complete with bbq and pizza oven, and they are keen gardeners and wood turners. All of these skills have been really useful in this house. They plan to move here full time in about 4 years.

It also has amazing views, as the house next door, and all of the ones across the road, have also been restored. We spent two very lovely evenings sitting on their terrace looking out at the other houses, which are also stunning. The first picture below is their next- door neighbour’s house, and the others are the houses across the road and further up the street.

The front door leads into a lounge/reception area and then they have a bedroom and a room they have recently finished restoring, behind two curtains as those, rather than doors, help with the air flow. This new room has beautiful wooden beams in it, and the plan is for that to be a study.

Going right from the reception you have a snug, which has the original fireplace and built in alcove shelves. They are having the chimney altered this week, and then they will be able to use the fireplace, rather than the gas heater.

The snug is a really cosy room and leads on to the kitchen and bathroom. They have built the kitchen shelves themselves with reclaimed tiles and have a very cute sink with very unusual taps, which is due to be tiled soon.

Leading back from the snug is another room that is nearly finished, which will become a dining room, and then some work in progress rooms behind there. They are having to use lots of different building methods, depending on the condition of the rooms and the original material, as there are lots of different layers in the rock. It is very much like their own geological museum as they have mica and silica growths coming out of the walls and an amazing layer of mini stalactites in the upper rooms.

I particularly loved their damp meters in the rooms that they are working on at the moment, this t-shirt has been hung to check how the rooms are drying out. There is so much that they have had to understand about the physics of all the materials that they are working with.

They have already redone one set of stairs, but the additional ones to the upper floor are still in their original state. The upper rooms are also in their original state and will need complete refurbishment, a job I am hoping to go and help with in future years!

There is access on to the roof, where there is a small terrace. A couple of years ago they were able to buy the adjoining garage, and their plan is to make the top of that into a roof terrace, with the lower area becoming a workshop, outdoor kitchen and garden area.

The whole place is amazing, they are so enthusiastic about excited about their plans and it was so lovely to see it after hearing so much about what they were doing. We had the most brilliant time visiting other cave house places and eating delicious food so I will be back later in the week to tell you about that.

I have a busy week planned, like most recently retired people I don’t know where I found the time to work! I am practising my Spanish everyday, both out and about, and through You Tube lessons and the Duolingo app.

I have some more practical things to do this week as I am having some small alterations done to my house. I also bought some more pots at the ceramica when we were away, so a trip to the garden centre is planned, and there are also a couple of nights out with friends. I have done a little bit of crafting, mainly knitting so must make up the animals that are finished and then get on with the rest of the craft supply purchases.

I hope that you have had a good weekend and have a nice week ahead. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A Christmas Miracle

Well dear reader, you may have realised from the lack of recent posts that I made it to Spain! It was indeed a Christmas miracle as I landed, with my lovely negative test certificate, the day before Spain stopped letting people from the UK in, and came back just before the UK started asking for the same tests on return. Phew! I am now safely ensconced in a snowy Marsden, self-isolating for the next two weeks.

As we are now online only at work and likely to be so for the foreseeable future I may not leave the house again for many months! Although I am determined to try and get out and do some exercise once the weather improves (and the pavements are less slippery) as I have had a very lovely time in Spain walking and even doing some cycling 🙂

I have not used my bike in Spain for about 4 years, since I started having more joint and back problems. My fitness has declined so badly during last year due to lockdown and working from home that I really wanted to do something to try and improve things. I started doing an online fitness programme a few weeks before I left, based on Salsa dancing, and really enjoyed it. So I got Rosie Raleigh out of my Mum’s basement and we had some fun adventures together.

I was determined to do as much walking as I could while I was in Spain as it is one of my favourite things to do. I started off with just an hour an evening to go and watch the amazing sunsets. I was later able to take the bike out a few times, culminating in cycling all the way to the beach, about 6km in total, there and back.

I was so pleased. Not only was it really lovely to be out in the sunshine and have the freedom to roam around some of my favourite cycle paths but it also gives me the independence that I need for when I move there full time. My relatives are very helpful with driving me places but I want to be able to travel myself as well and my plans for passing my driving test have been on hold since May and are no nearer completion.

I had great fun exploring some of the areas of the urbanisation that I have not visited before, including some of the smaller squares of older properties. They have lovely little green areas in the middle with palms and bougainvillea decorating the houses. There are also quite a few more refurbishments, and makeovers of the older properties into the newer white modern style are in evidence all over the area.

On one of my rides I went out towards the mountains. There are a number of paths alongside the irrigation canals that have been designated as cycle paths and the views were beautiful as always, especially with the sun shining through the rushes that grow at the sides of the water.

I also spent a lot of time on my terrace. Mum gave me some more money for plants for Christmas so I redid all the pots which gave me something pretty to look at while I was admiring the blue sky and the lovely sunrises. I also added a couple of beautiful ceramics to the wall. I am looking forward to having more tiling done when I am there full-time as I love Spanish tiles.

I also spent quite a few evenings sitting on the terrace reading as well, wrapped up in a fleecy blanket with all of my candles lit and solar lights. It was so peaceful and relaxing.

My Mum had her little candle tree up with all of the ornaments I have made over the years, all but the green tree at the top and the cross stitch to the left of that are ones that I have made for her. This is also useful for checking what I have already made for her for planning future creations.

The flight back was lovely though I was very sad to be leaving. It was raining when we left Spain but we flew over the Pyrenees in sunshine so I was able to get some shots of the mountains in the snow, I do love mountains!

So it is back to life in lockdown for the next few weeks, however I have plenty to keep me occupied. I am not working many weekends this term (hurrah) so am planning some more Barbie couture as my younger relatives loved their Christmas gifts and still have bunny knitting to finish. I have also been watching the wonderful Bridgerton and am taking inspiration from the amazing costumes there for more Steampunk plans for the future.

I hope that life is ok for you all at the moment, it does seem like a long time until brighter days, as it often does in January, but hopefully things will get better very soon and we can have some return to that wonderful weather we had last Spring. I have been so lucky to be able to enjoy the sun in Spain and will stay warm and await it’s return here. At least Marsden looks very pretty in the snow.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

La Marina sunsets and other Spanish delights

Happy 2020 everyone! I know I am a little late with my greetings but have only just got back from my very lovely and much needed break in Spain. I had a horrible bug before I left which lasted well into the holiday so have spent much time coughing and feeling rough but have come back feeling much better.

It was brilliant weather all the time I was there, much warmer than usual with temperatures of 27 degrees just before Christmas so I was able to go for lots of lovely walks in the sun and had a couple of very warm beach picnics on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. I love the fact that it looks like this in January! Look at all blues in this picture.

Spain beach

We also visited the local spa a couple of times which was heaven and I spent lots of time sorting out at the house and sitting on my terrace enjoying the sun.

One of the best things about La Marina are the amazing sunsets over the mountains, I know I have mentioned them before but the sheer beauty every night never ceases to amaze me and I try and go for walks at dusk to see them.

Spain Sunset 7

There are such amazing colours of purple, pink and orange in the sky as the sun sinks behind the mountains.This is one of my favourite areas to view the sunsets and I love the contrast of the cacti against the sky.

There are equally lovely sunrises over the sea but due to me getting up very late whilst on holiday I rarely see those, this picture was taken on my last morning when I had to get up early for my flight home.

Spain sunrise

I love finding new areas to explore on my walks and last visit went over the other side of the urbanisation and found a new verde, or green area, so went there again this trip. I will go back again as I was not wearing proper shoes to enable me to explore fully but I found another one of the cultivated garden areas that people make in these wild spaces.

Spain planting 5

This one was not so much a secret garden as it is beside the road but was still a wonderful collaboration of planting and seating areas by the owners of the neighbouring houses.There was a fir tree in the middle that had been decorated for Christmas as well which was very lovely.

Spain planting 3

I also found a couple more areas where people had converted the verde in the middle of a block of houses into a communal pool area and they looked equally gorgeous with the back gardens of all of the houses looking onto this beautiful shared space.

Spain planting 6

Spain planting 4

I just love wandering around looking at all the houses and gardens and getting inspiration for mine. The plants are so beautiful against the blue sky and there are oranges everywhere on the trees lining the roads. They are too bitter to eat but I have plans to make marmalade and orange relishes when I am there permanently. The bottom two pictures are from one of my favourite gardens, it looks like a mini stately home and there are terraces and gorgeous tiles everywhere.

Spain planting 2

Spain planting 1

Spain planting 8

Spain planting 7

My own house needed some TLC as since I last visited there had been some severe storms so the rain had come in under the front door. My Mum had to treat some damp which meant the loss of a few items that had gone mouldy. I also had a water leak under the front terrace which meant that my beautiful bougainvillea had to be cut down leaving the garden looking very bare. The whole of that back wall used to be covered with flowers.

Spain terrace 7

My Mum gave me some money for Christmas and my Aunt Maureen took me to our favourite garden centre where I bought lots of new terracotta pots and pretty flowers so everything is looking much brighter now.I even have a tiny new bougainvillea.

Spain terrace 6

Spain terrace 5

Spain terrace 4

Spain terrace 2

Spain terrace 1

Spain terrace 8

I also bought a cute new lizard for my wall. My neighbours who live there permanently have offered to water the plants for me so hopefully some will survive until my next visit in June.

I have already taught the first session of the year and am looking forward to this term.Things are a lot less hectic than last term as I only have about half the teaching and am on the the last stage of the doctorate so am going to be planning lots of lovely sewing and knitting which I will post about next time. I have new fabric (some I bought and some given as presents) as I treated myself to some for Steampunk outfits so am going to spend some of next weekend sorting that out and will take pictures of all the gorgeousness for you.

Meanwhile hope you are all well and happy and enjoying the first bit of the new year, although it is miserable weather again here I am very much looking forward to the next couple of months as there will be lots more crafting time. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Take one little house…..

I had some lovely walks when I was in Spain, the sky was so blue and I spent many happy hours just wandering around, looking at the lovely plants and admiring all the creativity of the house owners who have modified their properties.

I wrote about some of the different styles of newer builds in this post last year but what I like doing the most is seeing how people have adapted the smaller, older houses. It is amazing walking down a street where no two houses are the same. I wonder what would happen in the UK if we did the same here to our rows of terraces? It helps that there has been very little in the way of planning laws here and it is only now that people have to get permission for modifications.

spain modified houses 2

These houses were built about 30 years ago and like mine started off as small terraces, single story with one or two bedrooms as in the picture above. I think part of the reason for all the creativity is that a lot of people who live there are retired and they have the time and energy to do a complete remodel.

My aunt and uncle bought a small house on a large plot and over the next 25 years extended it to over double its size, doing most of the work themselves.My aunt has just sold that house and is moving to a lovely new one just the other side of the secret garden that I posted about here.

These terraced houses are limited by plot size so most developments are upwards but what amazes me is all the different styles. A popular one is the traditional Spanish/Mexican adobe, there are quite a few of these and they look very different with their very ornate brickwork and lovely windows.

spain modified houses 1

The one above is just up the road from me and I have watched as over the years more and more has been added, they must have an amazing view from the roof terrace.This one below has gorgeous windows and iron work.

Or if that doesn’t appeal you could go for French chic, this lovely little pink house is just across the street from the last one and would not look out of place on the Riviera.

spain modified houses 7

Terraces are a big feature of most builds and these people clearly love their outdoor space.I can just see a barbecue on the roof and that must be lovely on summer evenings.

spain modified houses 8

The larger detached houses have a lot more scope for creativity as they have space for wall embellishments, terraces and even towers. You can go Tuscan if you wish as in this lovely example complete with vine covered terraces.

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Tiles are always a feature and I love this tiled mini tower on the house next door to the Tuscan one, reminiscent of the blue tiled roofs of the churches here.

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We also saw some amazing large houses when we took our trip to the beach I showed you pictures of in the last post. It was this place, La Zenia, that changed my mind about Spain. Up until then I had not thought of it as a place to live but seeing beautiful houses like these just next to the beach really inspired  me.

spain large houses 1

Sadly I can’t afford anything like this and it would be far too big for me anyway but I am looking for inspiration for when I move to Spain full time as I will have a little bit of re-modelling done on the terrace with a new wall and built in barbecue and I love these tiled balustrades on the house next door to the one above.

spain large houses 2

I also really want one of these Poinsettia trees that I saw everywhere, I love these flowers and usually have them in the house at Christmas so would really like to plant some in place of my very overgrown cacti!

spain poinsettia tree 1

I have not been able to do much sewing this week as I have had a small operation which has meant that my left arm has been a bit painful. I am working on my blog giveaway gift and really enjoying stitching that, especially as one of my favourite Netflix programmes has just released a new season so I have been happily watching Grace and Frankie while I stitch. They have a beach house that is amazing so I have added this to my list of places in world that I want to visit, look at that for a location!

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grace-and-frankie-on-netflix-beach-house outside

I love the house interior as well, this is the stage set but it is modelled on the real house. That is the most gorgeous view.

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I am planning a quiet rest of the weekend, we have had a little snow here but no disruption thankfully, all the jobs are done for the weekend so I can just sit and sew 🙂

I hope you are having a nice time and are cosy and warm, or if you like somewhere hot as a few of my bloggy friends so keeping cool. I will be back soon and will hopefully be able to give you an update on the Steampunk outfit for Whitby as that is my next project after the giveaway gift.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Back to Blighty with a bump and the giveaway winner

I hope that you all had a great festive season, I got back yesterday in pretty rough weather, there was lots of turbulence and the plane was really rocking coming down but we were only slightly delayed.

I have had a fab time and have more pictures to show you later, I have put a few of my favourites below but have really just popped in to tell you that the winner of my 11th blogaversary giveaway is Kay. I have e-mailed her to let her know but thanks so much to everyone who has commented, liked and followed this blog and sorry that I can’t make you all winners!

The weather has been pretty dreadful today with howling gales and we are forecast snow at the end of the week, oh joy! I am consoling myself by looking at my lovely beach pictures. This one is on the first day when we went down to the beach for coffee and a walk and the sunlight was just so sparkly on the water.

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We had our usual picnic lunch on New Year’s Day and I even got a little sunburnt. This yacht was out again on a very calm sea.I am sure I took pictures of the same one last year.

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Later in the holiday we went down the coast a bit for lunch and a walk to one of the rocky beaches, we took the kids here when they were younger and Jacob loved playing on this little island. It was a cloudier day with a magnificent sky and the waves were crashing on the rocks.

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I just love the sea in all weathers and even had a little paddle on New Year’s Day, there were a few people in the sea swimming then as well and some surfers at the rocky beach.

I had a very relaxing time, doing lots of reading, very little cooking, mainly living on delicious cheeses and soup. They even had a little Christmas selection pack of some of my favourite ones in miniature which made a lovely cheeseboard.

spain cheese

I also did a couple of puzzles, this one I bought last time I went as it is of a view that Ellie and I saw when we went to the Lake District last June, a painting of Derwentwater. Lots of pieces of sky to fit in!

spain puzzle 1

There was very little crafting done so I have nothing to show you, I am starting to put together my latest Steampunk outfit for Whitby in a few weeks. I am doing a pirate outfit for one day with my purple hat from last year and a vampire hunter outfit for the other day as both seemed appropriate themes for the venue.

The vampire hunter outfit will be a modification of a beautiful red wool evening coat that I have had for years, bought originally for re-enactment. I am taking inspiration from one of my favourite films, Van Helsing with the gorgeous Kate Beckinsale and this jacket though my coat is a lot longer as this will be February in the UK so warmth will be a priority. There will also be a top hat of course so I have been searching for inspiration for that.

vampire hunter outfit

Back to work tomorrow so it will be next weekend before anything serious can be done on that but the top hat will be started tonight.

I hope that you all have a good week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.