Christmas in Vancouver: Part II

Hello folks! I hope your new year is getting off to a good start. I’m sharing the second part of my Christmas in Vancouver postcards today. You can read Part I here if you missed it and fancy a nose!

Just after Christmas we took a trip to Stanley Park which is full of wildlife and scenery during the day, and Christmas lights and cheesy ornaments by night! For the holiday season the park is filled with two million twinkling lights, a train, fresh organic popcorn, roasted nuts and candy canes.

Bright Lights in Stanley Park Vancouver

Stanley Park also houses the Vancouver Aquarium. We spent an entire day marvelling over the wonderful sea creatures and fishes and being seduced by the cutest otter in the world. I was so super chuffed to get this shot of a Beluga Whale.

Vancouver Aquarium

Vancouver Aquarium Jelly Fish and Dolphin

On our final day in Canada, the SUN CAME OUT! I shout because it rained every single day and taking photos was hard. Our hosts had a lovely sky light in their apartment and seeing the blue sky through it in the morning made me yey for my photo album. Low cloud still covered the mountains across Coal Harbour, but it was fresh and beautiful out.

Downtown Vancouver and Coal Harbour

How cute is this little hut?! Although I did wonder how one would get up to it…..

The boat houses on the harbour were just lovely. It was like a home from home, as our close neighbours in Cambridge are long boat owners on the river. I spied a lovely blue bicycle on the left hand house too.

Coal Harbour boats Vancouver

Plenty of walking balanced out the indulgent poutine (topped with pulled pork anyone?!). On the way home we passed houses with cute porches and a fun yellow cab.

Downtown Vancouver

Before we left for the airport, we found the darling little tea shop Soirette, full of loose tea, macarons, snowflakes and grinch tree decorations. It was so so so pretty. The boys just didn’t get why I was so excited hehe! I could spend hours in places like this with a book and a hook.

Soirette Macarons and Tea

Naturally, Lauren and I bought a box of the most wonderful macarons to share. Maple and gingerbread flavours for the holidays of course. The sun beamed on the tea shop as we left to collect our cases and head home.

Soirette Macarons and Tea Shop

I’m now getting the case ready for another break to Center Parcs next week. We didn’t get a chance to take any long holidays in the summer last year, so we are making up for it now!

There will be a guest post on Monday on the theme of crochet, so all you hooky types be sure to stop by. Oh and one last thing, I did plenty of craft shopping and a shed load of crochet whilst away, so will do a ta-dah post soon!

Thanks for reading!


Christmas in Vancouver: Part I

Happy New Year all! I hope you enjoyed a peaceful and happy holiday season. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know I was lucky enough to spend Christmas in Vancouver!

Some of you have asked me to share some photos of my holiday. We stayed with family and met friends and had a wonderful time. G and I have a passion for Canada and couldn’t have asked for a better trip.

We spent our first full day learning how to snowboard on the slopes of Whistler. They had 80cms of snow in total and it was pure powder! The locals said we were very lucky to have such great conditions and the soft snow made for a very nice blanket to fall on to (and I fell alot).

We also took a verrrry steep gondola to Grouse Mountain which was full of Christmas cheer and magical snow scenes at the top. I was amazed that you can take a bus 15 minutes out of the city and be in a Narnia like wonderland.

Snow in Vancouver

The mountains are visible on every edge of the city; the beach, the streets downtown and even the roof top of the condo we stayed in. The blue sky was rare as it rained every day, but we didn’t mind!

Mountains in Vancouver

We took a lovely little ride with Lauren on the False Creek Ferry to Granville Island. We found a fantastic market awaiting us, with food and craft treats galore. My idea of heaven and a photographers dream!Granville Island Trip Vancouver

Our trusty map and hosts showed us all the best spots in the city. One of my favourites was a stationery shop named Paper Ya in which I could have spent a fortune. It was featured in the latest issue of Mollie Makes in the round up of craft spots to visit in the city. Walking around it made me think of so many of you who would have loved the paper goodness. Still kicking myself for leaving the map print washi tape behind…..

Look at all those wonderful Listography journals!!

Maps & Coffee Vancouver

The fresh produce at the market was delicious. If you know me at all, you will know I cannot stop in any city without hunting down macarons. I found a tower of them, natch.

Granville Island Market Food Vancouver

G and I goofed around snapping our reflection in a Christmas bauble and admired the differences in simple things like the brightly coloured mailboxes.Christmas in Vancouver

I will post Part II of my Vancouver adventures at the weekend, so keep an eye on the blog. I hope you all enjoyed my guest bloggers in my absence. I thought they were pretty awesome!

Now I’m signing off to kick the jet lag’s butt!


Ask Me Anything – The Answers (Part I)


Earlier this week, I gave my followers the opportunity to Ask Me Anything. Thank you for not leaving me here talking to myself and for asking super questions! I am posting Part I of the answers today, with Part II coming next week!

What do you actually like about living in the UK? Everyone always moans about it…but what do you like/love?! (Carla)

I’m lucky enough to live in the perfect place for me – Cambridge. As a city it offers me everything I could ever wish for; it’s small enough to get to know people and cycle around, and has a vibrancy like no other place. The river, the architecture, the creativity – all things I adore about living here. I wrote a post about Cambridge a while back where I gush even more hehe!


I also have dreams about living back in Canada. I did live there for 4 years and loved it (was in Calgary/Canmore)! What is your connection to it? (Fiona)

I was given a Canadian penpal in Brownies when I was 7 and we have written ever since.   We spend time with each other every couple of years and my first visit to Canada (Ontario) had me falling completely in love with the country. There is something about the positivity in people there and the way of life that entices me.

I spent Christmas in Vancouver last year which was awesome. Now some of my family members are located there and a whole heap of our friends have emigrated. I know we will always have an excuse to visit. That and my need to stock up on David’s Tea!

Downtown Vancouver and Coal Harbour

I recently opened an etsy shop. Have you got any top tips for marketing and making it a success? (Kat Got The Cream)

Network as much as possible! Most small businesses just starting our wont have a big marketing budget to play with, so write a strategy that suits you and is realistic. Most of my promotion revolves around social media which can be so powerful for getting your work seen.

Join Twitter chats (#cbuk / #HandmadeHour) to find other shops/blogs and promote your work. Don’t be afraid to tell people about your creations.  Good luck with the store!

claireabellemakes on Etsy

How do you keep track of all the ideas and projects you have? (Miss Dotty)

I have notebooks a plenty – I’m a big list maker. If I spot a project I want to try I will write it down. I brainstorm regularly and return to these notes on a regular basis.

In my lounge are two big picnic hampers of my WIP projects. I try to visit the baskets at least once a week to work on them. However, I can’t help but start new things all the time. Mostly the baskets contain longer running projects like knitting and crochet. The dreaded Granny Square blanket is coming together sloooowly.

Granny Square Blanket planning by claireabellemakes

Is the crafting/blog side of you fairly well-known or secret? Does everyone in your home/work life know about this side of you? (Craft My Escape)

Ooh good question! All my friends and family are aware of my blog and creative side, although some of the closest people to me don’t read my posts (G and my parents!). In fact, most of my friends are crafters and bloggers too which is great because we share so much.

My work colleagues are aware of my creative side and know that I sell accessories, but they do not know about my blog. I prefer to keep it that way as it is quite personal to me.

Where do you get all your amazing ideas from e.g. this post. So original and different? (KnitnRun4Sanity)

I’m not sure I’m an amazing ideas person, but thank you! I think this post came from my nosey side. A lot of the time when I’m reading other people’s blogs I wonder things about them…..I thought this would be a chance for people to be curious in case they were feeling the same.

If I do have an idea I like – I’ll jot it down. Much of inspiration comes from the online world, other makers, pinterest, books, my environment.

Oooooh, what is your favourite home cooked (by yourself!) meal? (Onetenzeroseven)

This is a hard question, but I think it is Sausage and Butternut Squash Stew. It’s one of those meals where I just chuck everything in (with lots of sage) and hope it turns out right. I serve with fresh crusty bread. If we are talking about desserts, I always make this marshmallow cheesecake!

Easy Marshmallow Cheesecake by claireabellemakes

Thanks to everyone who asked a question and shared a fact about themselves, it was really fun. Do be sure to visit everyone I’ve linked to and share the blogger love!

Keep an eye out next week for Part II.

Happy weekends!