Life Lately #18: Autumn Days

As I write this post, the sun is shining in Cambridge and it’s currently 25 degrees – in October! To say we’ve had a good start to Autumn is an understatement. There have been beautiful long days, pink and purple sunrises and colourful leaves everywhere.

Today I thought I’d share a little of what I have been up to as the season begins. I love this time of year just before the clocks change and when the light is somehow a little magical.

River-Cam-Autumn-CambridgeSadly I was poorly for most of September with labrynthitis and a virus, so I was too dizzy to get out on my bike. Luckily it has eased these last couple of weeks so I have been cycling along the river and dodging cows.Cambridge-Cows The city has been looking as pretty as ever in the Autumn sunshine.
Cambridge-UniversityPerfect weather to take myself on a solo trip to the market for Halloumi fries!Halloumi-Fries-Cambridge-Market

I sat in a tourist hot spot at Kings College, but sometimes it’s the best place to just watch the world go by and to take a minute.
Kings-College-CambridgeI also got to spend lots of time with my pal Jo this month and meet her new camper van Buddy! He’s the perfect shade of sunshine yellow.
Hello-Sunshine-Buddy-The-CampervanWe also spent the day with Zabby when we visited the Zoology museum, ate burgers and mac n cheese, and had hot chocolates at Jack’s Gelato. Days like those are good for the soul!
Jo&Zabby-Jacks-Gelato The museum collection has really grown since I last visited. It was a super rainy day so perfect for a mooch around pointing at all the weird and wonderful creatures. Museum-of-Zoology-CambridgeI had a lovely Sunday last week exploring the village of Bourn before heading to the Afternoon Tease Brunch Club event with Jo. Just look at this amazing thatched cottage!
Thatched-Cottage-Bourn-CambridgeshireThe Brunch Club was held at Manor Farm Barns – such a dreamy venue! We ate the most wonderful 3 course brunch, drank prosecco, listened to live music and chatted to lots of familiar faces. Manor-Farm-Bourn-Brunch-ClubThere was also an Autumn Wreath making workshop which made me feel very festive and warm!Autumn-ForagingAll the items we used were foraged from around the barns – it was such a beautiful setting to create something seasonal.
Autumn-Wreath-Cambridge-SatchelThe final part of the day was filled with cake. I left feeling full, relaxed and very happy!
Afternoon-Tease-Brunch-ClubI hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my Autumn days and a little of what I’ve been up to.
Bicycles-and-Autumn-Leaves

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Caboodle Magazine Cambridge Guide

After a quiet summer for business stuff, I’m getting back into the swing of things and today I want to share one of the projects I worked on.

You guys know how much I love Cambridge so I was thrilled to see my piece printed in Caboodle Magazine this month! I wrote a Cambridge Guide sharing all my favourite places to explore. You can read it and see all my photos in the AW18 issue which is available to buy on the website hereCaboodle Mag Cover How cool is that cover?! I loved collecting all my photographs together for this piece, it reminds me that I really have appreciated being here over the last 12 years! And the eagle eyed amongst you might spot the illustrated map Jo created for our Cambridge Creatives Photowalk was included too.Caboodle Mag Cambridge Guide

Time for a cuppa and to read the rest of the magazine now! It’s a great title packed with creative projects, handmade finds, fashion, recipes and lots more.
CaboodleHave you read Caboodle? I’d love to know what you think!

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Tourist In Cambridge #10 – Wisteria Hysteria

It’s time for another post in the long running series – Tourist in Cambridge. This week the weather has been glorious in between storms, so I got out on my bicycle Florence to get in on the wisteria hysteria!

It’s a picture heavy post today, but I couldn’t help myself. Cambridge in the sunshine is just too good.Wisteria-Covered-Houses Cambridge-Wisteria-Spotting Cambridge-Houses-With-Wisteria I think due to the long winter we had, the wisteria season has been much shorter and also less ‘full’. I tend to visit the same spots each year and there definitely wasn’t as much in bloom. Sidney-Sussex-College-Cambridge Christs-College-Cambridge Cottages-and-Bicycles-Cambridge Wisteria-Doorways-Cambridge I couldn’t help doing a little bike spotting too – especially as this one was wisteria coloured!Lilac-Bike-Spotting-Cambridge We visited this wisteria covered cottage for the Cambridge Creatives Photowalk last April and it looked so different! It’s much greener this year and definitely has less flowers. Bicycles-and-Wisteria-Cambridge Florence-Bicycle Spring-Time-In-Cambridge The meadows are also looking super pretty with lots of buttercups among the cows. The long evenings have been so nice, perfect weather for riverside walks and hanging out in the hammock.Buttercup-Meadows-Cambridge Bicycles-and-Meadows-CambridgeThis summer I’m planning to use this book to explore more of the city and to see if I can find some more gems I haven’t discovered yet! Even after 12 years here, I love playing tourist. Especially when it involves ice cream 🙂

Jacks-Gelato-Gin-Sorbet

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Cambridge Creatives Photowalk Spring

Back in April (how is it June already?!), Jo and I were wishing for sunshine for the second Cambridge Creatives Photowalk. The first walk took place in September 2016, when 15 of us splashed through puddles to explore the city a little more.

We created our Facebook event for the Spring walk, packed our goody bags and to our surprise around 80 people turned up from all over the country. There was even someone from Denmark! I was pretty overwhelmed to see all the colourful folk congregating on Parkers Piece at the beginning. Before organising these walks, I had always just mooched around the city on my bike taking photos of my own (see them in my Tourist in Cambridge blog series).

Cambridge Creatives Spring Photowalk The BacksJo created another amazing map for the day, which many people have since asked her for as a print following the event!

Cambridge Creatives Spring Photowalk Map

I do have a slight confession to make. I knew that the wisteria on the edge of Orchard Street would be in bloom and of course be the spectacle most would want to photograph. So, on the morning of the walk, I cycled there alone and took a moment to literally stop and smell the flowers and to talk to a passer by about how awesome Cambridge is in the Spring.

Wisteria&Bikes Wisteria-Hysteria Photowalk-Friends The next stop was to meet Jo and Kate to pick up some lovely bags from The Cambridge Satchel Company who have kindly supported each photowalk. Cambridge-Satchel-Company-ShopThe summer collections had just launched so we had neon bags aplenty to choose from. So much colour! Picking out the bags was not an easy task!Cambridge-Satchel-Company-Summer-Collection Claireabellemakes-SunshineJo

Photo by hahonlineCambridge-Creatives-Photowalk-Spring

We had colourful balloons for everyone to carry which was a great thing for keeping up with the group. With 80 people walking around the city it was quite hard to see the front and the back of the group at times. People chatted, made friends and some met in real life for the first time after being Instagram friends for a while. Bikes-and-wisteria-CambridgeObviously did some bike spotting. It’s only right! And we stopped in the market square to enjoy ice cream from the new Jack’s Gelato shop.Bikes-Spotting-CambridgeI was so grateful to be hanging out with so many wonderful creatives and to show my home city to people who hasn’t visited before. PhotowalkersWe ended the day with a picnic to chat and get to know everyone a bit more. There were some serious bakers in the group (brownie and tiffin!) and lots of pin swaps and chats taking place. Balloons-and-PhotowalksWisteria-and-doors-CambridgeOne of the best things for me aside from hanging out with so many cool people, was organising the event with my besties. Jo and Kate make my creative life in Cambridge so worthwhile and I honestly feel like I am better person for knowing them.
Yellow-Cambridge-SatchelI’m not going to lie though, it was a pretty exhausting day! I think I flopped on the sofa for at least 3 hours afterwards. The next day, Jo and I met up with Rosie and Anna from Independent Oxford for a chinwag and lunch. It’s always so great to chat with people that get what you do and understand a creative life. Go check out their website to learn about their new book which has just launched.Claireabellemakes-Cambridge-Photowalk

Photo by Wendy

We had an amazing time and it’s been busy ever since! Hence why it’s taken so long to write this post. You can check out all the images shared on the day by looking at #CambridgeCreativesPhotowalk on Instagram. Almost 500 of them and so many good ones! This group one is a brilliant moment in the day too!

And if you fancy coming along to one of our photowalks yourself, we have already released the date for the Autumn one here!

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Tourist In Cambridge #9 – A Photowalk With Olympus

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of joining a group of Cambridge bloggers for a photowalk around Cambridge to test out the new Olympus PEN E-PL8 camera. Today I’m sharing my images from the day as part of my Tourist In Cambridge series.

I’ve been thinking about getting a compact system camera for a while now, so I could take a lighter camera out and about to events instead of my DSLR. Having been a Canon fan girl for years, I wasn’t sure how I would like the Olympus PEN range, but we had tech support from David for the whole day to show us the settings.

Cambridge did the best job for us with beautiful sunshine and Spring flowers everywhere.

Cambridge-PuntingOlympus-Pen-EPL8-Review

The E-PL8 is pretty light in comparison to an SLR and looks fancy too with a nice leatherette finish. It has some cool features and filters built in and syncs with the Olympus app to transfer via a wireless connection to your phone. Great for instant sharing. In my opinon, the app and wireless transfer was quite a bit better than the Canon one.Polka-Dot-Vans-Sneakers Trinity-Lane-Cambridge

We took a stroll through the city with fashion bloggers taking outfit photos and me typically waiting for a quiet spot to capture bikes and flowers. The Backs were looking super pretty with all the Spring blooms.Spring-The-Backs-Cambridge

Spring-Tulips-Cambridge

We played around with depth of field and I definitely found the camera accessible in terms of point and shoot on Auto or P mode.  The-Backs-Cambridge

The colour select feature was a favourite but a bit tricky to find in all the many menus. It wasn’t that intuitive to use, but with a little help from David we used the smart control panel and selected some of our favourite colours. Danielle is a pro at  posing for fashion shots!Olympus-Pen-EPL8-Colour-Select-Feature Kings-College-Cambridge

I had a play around with the manual settings on the camera too, to try some long exposure shots. I found the menu less intuitive than Canon, but then that’s probably because I’ve been used to that for some time! Mill-Pond-Cambridge

Magnolia-Blossom-in Cambridge

The camera also has a flip out screen which confused me a little as there was a knack to opening it! Great for flat lays though and I loved the live update feature. Being able to see your exposure changes on the screen before snapping was great. I did miss the view finder, but you can buy one as an add-on.Magnolia-in Cambridge Bike-Spotting-Mint-BicycleBike-Spotting-and-Magnolia

There were definitely pros and cons for me for the Olympus PEN E-PL8. It’s a fun camera to use and is great for instant sharing and minimal editing. The menu for me seemed a little clunky – for example, finding the grid feature was embedded a few levels deep.

Magnolia-Blossom

The colour quality of the photos I took was pretty good and the touch focus feature was super easy to use. It’s a good camera if you don’t have a ton of photography skills already.

Olympus-Pen-EPL8-Camera-Review

I have been considering the Canon M range as I can use my existing DSLR lenses if I grab an adapter (around £90). After using the Olympus PEN range, I definitely want to do some more research about which one would work for me. I’m leaning slightly more toward the Canon range purely because it’s less of an outlay for lens costs.

I hope you enjoyed this little review today and some Spring photos of Cambridge. This photowalk made me really excited for our Cambridge Creatives one on 23 April! There are 60 people currently RSVP’d to come along, so it’s going to be a really fun, colourful day ending in a picnic on Jesus Green. I’m SO excited! More info here.

A big thanks to Olympus UK and Campkins for the day and to Ally for organising. It’s so great to have a group of bloggers in Cambridge to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon with every now and again.

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