Today’s blog post is also known as “Wisteria hysteria and the day of bike spotting”. Spring in Cambridge is the perfect excuse for me to take a cycle around the city with my camera for another post in my Tourist In Cambridge series.
The wisteria around Cambridge is abundant this year – it covers the pretty cottages and terraced houses, and even appears on some student accommodation. This post took quite a while to shoot as there were so many people stopping to take photographs of this mound of wisteria!
The sunny skies made for a beautiful backdrop and of course there were lots of bikes around as well as Florence who is still modelling her basket tassels.
Cambridge has so many green spaces and the cows are back on the common! They are so friendly and often create traffic by wandering across the cycle paths. It’s a sign that summer is on the way in the city.
There’s always a good door or two to enjoy as well.
My favourite bikes to spot are Pashley and Bobbin. They have so many beautiful colours and styles. The new range of University of Cambridge Bobbin bikes are so classy, especially the 3 speed chrome paint ladies bike.
It’s been a great couple of months for press for Claireabellemakes. I’m so grateful to all the publications that get in touch – it’s still so exciting to see my work in print!
This month I was featured in Handmade Magazine which is one of Australia’s most popular craft titles. Yay! Oh and my face was on the front cover eek!
It wasn’t until I received my copy last week that I realised I had a two page spread all about Claireabellemakes. The team at Handmade were so lovely and asked me lots about my inspirations and creative journey.
One of the pictures they used in the feature is a little hint about an upcoming blog post….let’s just say Cambridge is in bloom!
Thanks for letting me share today! I also wanted to update with you guys on new products. Despite my intention to release something every month this year, May has been crazy busy with a lot of behind the scenes freelance work and it hasn’t quite happened. BUUUUT, I have restocked some wall art pieces and June has some exciting new releases to come. Watch this space!
At the weekend I was lucky enough to join a group of local bloggers for a wonderful brunch and event at Catesby’s Home Store and Cafe in Cambridge. Situated in an old town house on Green Street, Catesby’s offers beautiful architectural features and is filled to the brim with classy interiors. The store is curated by a couple of passionate, well dressed gentlemen who are ready to share their story.
Jonathon and Neil relocated to Cambridge with their beloved brand back in 2014. Originally based in Norfolk, they were enticed by this beautiful space and its potential for bringing interiors and a welcoming cafe to our city.
On entering the shop, you are greeted by a panelled oak room, with gorgeous fireplaces and an amazing selection of home accessories and fragranced products. On the selection of ladder shelves I spotted a stunning alpaca throw I shall be hinting to the bf about. The whole feel of the shop is classy, but welcoming and not at all pretentious.
These Astier de Villatte candles were lusted after by many of us and of course we all had our eye on the Cambridge one. Neil explained to me the process Francoise Caron uses to create the luxury scents, reminding us of the care and passion that goes into selecting each product they sell in the store.
Continuing to the back of the store, we found another room filled to the brim with yet more home accessories and even stationery which pleased me very much. There were some really affordable pieces in this room (I picked up an ombre vase on sale for £4!) as well as displaying some higher end items such as this amazing drinks trolley (oh how I wish I drank alcohol!).
Each item Catesby’s stocks speaks to their philosophy to enjoy ‘the art of living’. They encourage their customers to buy pieces that will last a lifetime in their homes, rather than following interior trends. Following our snoop around the store and a fabulous introduction on the brand’s beginnings, we made our way upstairs for the most delicious brunch in the cafe. There was much excitement over Jonathon’s gluten free lemon and blueberry friands. I must ask him if the recipe is top secret….
Over brunch we all introduced ourselves and had a chance to chat to Julie Deane, the founder of Cambridge Satchel Company. If you’ve been here a while, you know I’ve been a long time fan of the brand so I was very interested to talk to her about her inspirations and lifestyle now the company is such a global success.
Julie is completely down to earth and joined in our interiors chats even showing us snaps of her newly decorated bathroom and pooches. I loved hearing her story about how the brand has grown too. Meeting Julie, Jonathon and Neil really inspired me and only solidifed my wish to support brands that really have a story to tell.
Julie enthused about the new ‘Poppy‘ bag which I feel it might be necessary to own one day. It’s the first bag they have ever named and it was my Nan’s name too. Meant to be?!
After brunch we were treated to an exclusive sneak peek of Catesby’s new venture – the Deco Box. The idea is unique in that they curate a themed box of interiors products for you to add to your home when redecorating. A great idea for people who are not necessarily visual or confident at picking out a cohesive collection for their home. I definitely have my eye on the Sol Table Lamp in copper as well as the geometric stationery.
I picked up some letterpress cards from their modest range, each with a little inspiration to pass on to my snail mail friends.
No doubt you will see this little vase as a prop in photos to come – it was too much of a steal to leave behind and is the perfect home for some Bloom and Wild posies.
I also purchased an Apple and Elderflower candle which has been filling our home with summery scents this week.
A big thanks to Catesby’s for having us and to Pippa for inviting me along. I had such a wonderful morning exploring this hidden gem in Cambridge which was followed by an afternoon of brunch (yes, I had two brunches!) and cycling around the city for another Tourist In Cambridge post which is coming soon.
Oh and be sure to check out the Catesby’s blog which has just begun and will be full of interiors inspiration I’m sure!
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Despite this year feeling like it is already passing by in a blur, some exciting things have been happening for Claireabellemakes. This month it was a TV appearance!
My lovely pal Hannah from Crafternoon Cabaret Club got in touch a while back to let me know she had passed my information to the TV show Crafty Beggars In The House! How amazing is our community? I then exchanged emails with the lovely team working on the show and booked in a date for filming.
I have been on TV twice before. Once when my wind band at school was on the local news (yes I was a band geek – I play flute) and then as an audience member on TGI Friday back in the days of Chris Evans (it was underwhelming). My SEW pin also appeared on TV once when Tamara modelled it on the Great British Sewing Bee.
Crafty Beggars in the House is a great show where creative ladies Julie Peasgood and Wendy Turner-Webster invite guests on to talk about their makes and designs. I was featured in the Passion to Profit segment where I got to show my new pin designs and talk about running a creative business. The set was in Wendy’s beautiful house in Richmond and the crew and other guests were so welcoming and lovely! I had the best day learning how a craft TV show works and it was brilliant to be able to talk about our community. I had a 10 minute interview slot which was filmed in one take so I was pretty nervous! It was great to be able to talk about my freelance projects and blog too as this is where it all started and I feel like it is the core of everything I do.
I didn’t know what questions they were going to ask me so it was pretty off the cuff and a relaxed format (well inside I wasn’t relaxed!) but I feel really pleased with what I said and hope that I represented creative business women in a good light eek!
The show was aired on the Community Channel but it is also available on demand and on You Tube. I felt so nervous to watch it, but G said he was proud and I’ve had lots of supportive messages from friends and followers who said they enjoyed the show. I’ve even had a lovely local shop order as a result of my appearance too. Yay!
You can watch my segment at 8:34. I am so grateful for the opportunity so a big thanks to Hannah (who is on season 1) and Julie and Wendy for having me! It was also wonderful to meet the other guests who have now got me wanting to make soap and more candles!
Just popping in with a quick post today to let you know about a new album on my Facebook page which shares all my customer photos! It’s by far my favourite album as I absolutely LOVE seeing how you guys use your pencils, display your prints or wear your bike pins. Click through to see some awesome snaps and some pin collections that have made me super jealous!
This year I am trying hard to release new products in the shop every single month. It’s definitely been a big challenge and I’m slightly behind my planned schedule, but I am having a blast designing and collaborating.
If you have any requests at all just send me a message on my social links below and I will see what I can come up with! Still to come – more stationery of course and some exclusive designs where I’ve worked with some of my favourite creatives in our community.
And I want to say a big thank you to my repeat customers. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the same names pop up in my order list. Emma and Ilaria are two that I really appreciate as returning to buy gifts for their loved ones time and time again. Thanks so much guys!