Bike Spotting In Amsterdam

Back in May, (how is it mid July already?!) G and I ventured to Amsterdam with some friends for a 2 day mini break. The reason for the trip was to surprise the boys with a trip to a computer game music concert, but we decided to add some sight seeing in their too. AKA BIKE SPOTTING IN AMSTERDAM 🙂

Bikes-and-canals-Amsterdam

Firstly, I love that you can fly to Amsterdam in just 35 minutes from Stansted airport – that’s quicker than getting to London on the train! We flew with Easy Jet and stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel at Amsterdam Airport. I can’t rate it highly enough (thanks Laura for finding a fab place!). Our room was delayed and we ended up with the entire mini bar for free. The boys were celebrating their birthdays and the staff went above and beyond for our stay. With shuttle buses to the airport for train connections, it was a great find.

Disclaimer – this is a photo heavy post! As we only had hand luggage I didn’t take my DSLR camera. I also couldn’t find my charger for my point and shoot, so this post is a mixture of phone photos and some great ones that Laura and Scott managed to snap on their camera. Laura has recently started her vintage blog/Instagram Lula Prima so do go and check it out!

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We spent a lot of time walking around the beautiful canals taking in the city scenery and spotting bikes. You know true friends when they point out the best bikes for you and wait patiently whilst you take photos. Laura had learnt lots about the construction of all the skinny houses in Amsterdam and told us that people paid tax based on the width of their homes. I think this was once the widest house in the city.

Widest-House-AmsterdamCanals-of-Amsterdam Canal-Houses-AmsterdamTall-Houses-AmsterdamOne of the beautiful things about visiting during May was that the blossom had fallen like a carpet across all of the canal streets. It felt a little magical and when I turned the corner to discover Wisteria too it was the icing on the cake.

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We enjoyed pancakes (an absolute must when you are in the city), had hipster coffee shop breaks and found sweet shops full of liquorice and chocolate. We spotted the Cheese Museum, some fantastic shops full of designer maker goods and bike shops on every corner.

The-Pancake-Bakery

Our concert was out at the formerly named Heineken Music Hall which was easily accessible by train. In fact, all of Amsterdam has brilliant public transport with affordable double decker trains (novelty!) and trams galore. We didn’t have time to explore on two wheels, but I definitely would if we went back. I did notice that whilst everyone cycles there, not one person wore a helmet.

Bikespotting-Amsterdam

At my request we wandered through the red light district briefly during one afternoon – I was genuinely just curious as to what it was like. A surreal experience to say the least and one I shall not forget. This was the one area of the city that did smell of pot, but we otherwise didn’t smell it that much.

Claireabellemakes-Tulips-of-Amsterdam Keukenhof-Tulip-Fields-Amsterdam

On our second day in Amsterdam, we took a bus 35 minutes out of the city to Keukenhof tulip fields. I was thrilled to be their during the season (late March – mid May) as I had seen and heard so much about it. It was BEAUTIFUL. The pictures probably can’t capture how vast and colourful it was. It even contained a petting zoo and more types of tulips than I ever knew existed. The bus and entry was about 25 Euros for a combo ticket which I thought was excellent value. You could spend an entire day there just enjoying the blooms and soaking in all the floral delights. Laura sat in a giant wooden clog, we saw a windmill or two and did some tourist shopping too.

Keukenhof-Tulips-2017 Tulips-Keukenhof-Amsterdam Windmills-and-Tulips-Amsterdam Tulip-Fields-AmsterdamWe were in Amsterdam during Rememberance day (occurs every 5 years), so there were lots of free music festivals around the city, which made for a great vibe. I wish we had more time as I really wanted to explore the museums – so I think we will go back next year at some point. I definitely need to stock up on Tony’s Chocolonely which is bloody amazing Dutch chocolate.

Tony's-Chocolonely

We ended our trip with more canal walking and bike spotting before catching the train back to the airport. One of the things I noticed most, is that Dutch people are so happy and friendly! I really enjoyed our brief visit to Holland and would love to explore more.

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I-Amsterdam-Sign

Have you ever been to Amsterdam?

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April Favourites 2017

Wow April was full of colour! I usually start my monthly favourites post by sharing the best experience of the month. April was filled with some craft parties (possibly the final ones!) and the Cambridge Creatives Photowalk. Both amazing opportunities to connect with creative people!

The photo walk was overwhelming in an amazing way. I felt on a high for a week after and so so grateful that people believed in our event again. I’ll write a separate post soon, in the meantime, enjoy this wisteria shot as a taster….

Wisteria-Photowalk

I decided to wear pink for the photowalk (we all dressed colourfully) and purchased a new phone case just for the occasion. Just a bit of fun!

Strawberry-Phone-CasePlanning the walk with Jo was just brilliant. A couple of weeks ago she gifted me this adorable illustration which I need to frame. I love it.  You can order your own custom ‘sunshine’ on Jo’s website.

Sunshine-Jo-PortraitThis month I was thrilled to be included in Caboodle magazine again for their Spring/Summer edition. Caboodle Magazine Cover I had some fun with a Christmas present this month – Scrabble cookie cutters! What shall I spell out next?Scrabble-Cookie-Cutters

I chatted to Imogen Owen on the photo walk who has just released her Modern Calligraphy Workshop book. It’s BEAUTIFUL with practical tips for lettering with a nib, as well as brush and chalk lettering skills. I took one of Immie’s classes last year and loved it.Modern-Calligraphy-Book-Imogen-Owen As most of you know by now, this year I’m enjoying bullet journalling and have been testing out some different pens for doodling and note taking. Uniball contacted me to share their new sparkling gel ink rollerball pens with you. I was not disappointed – they are the sparkliest gel pens I’ve come across yet!

I have also discovered some awesome new pen storage, but I’m planning on making a separate video for my You Tube channel about it, so stay tuned.Uniball-Signo-Glitter-Gel-Pens Since I quit my full-time job last year, I’ve been trying to spend less money. It was pretty tricky at a car boot this weekend when I saw a mint green typewriter for ÂŁ15 let me tell you! However, I managed to resist and have been enjoying swaps with fellow creatives as a way to mix up my pin and patch collections without spending money.

This little haul is from a Lucky Dip Club swap event I participated in on Facebook. It was so much fun. Keep an eye on their website for a relaunch of the Lucky Dip Club boxes soon!

Oh and the patches I got have been ironed or stitched onto something which I’m planning to share soon 🙂LDC Swap

Some new pins this month include Ip Dip Designs (got these for a few pounds in the seconds sale!), Corazon Pom Pom and Elhorno who has just released his first pin. I couldn’t resist taking a snap of the pins I wore for the photowalk too, all designed by makers in the East of England! (Hello Sunshine, Daphne Rosa, HAH).Enamel-Pins-Claireabellemakes-Collection

And the final thing I was completely blown away with this month was a kind gift from Doodle Bug and Co. Lou used to live in Cambridge and said she has enjoyed following my Instagram for a little reminder of ‘home’. I can’t believe how beautiful this embroidery of Florence is. Just finding a frame for it now, but I was so touched.

Florence-Bike-Embroidery

So lots of lovely things to appreciate this month as well as time with friends and family and some sofa/TV sessions when I’ve been poorly. As always, I have Jimmy Fallon on repeat, but I’ve also been watching Girl Boss on Netflix. What do you guys think? I’m unsure so far – her business story just seems so cut throat and not how our creative community really works, so it’s hard to relate. Maybe things were different 10 years ago and more competitive/less supportive?!

What have you been loving in April?

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*Some pages on this site may contain links to outside sites, including paid affiliates. Read more about my disclosure policy here.

Instalife March 2017

HOW THE FLIP IS IT APRIL ALREADY?! March was a fun but transitional month for me, as some projects came to an end and I started working on new things. One thing I loved participating in throughout the month was the March Meet The Maker challenge on Instagram. We posted one photo a day based on the prompts set by Joanne Hawker.

You can see all the original posts in my Instagram here or in this Facebook album where I have collated my 2016 and 2017 Meet The Maker posts!

It was a great challenge to share more of my story for Claireabellemakes and some of the posts were personal as well as a bit of fun. Looking at all the posts on the tag was really fun too – the creative community on Instagram is brilliant.

March-Meet-The-Maker-2017 Meet-The-Maker-2017

Towards the end of the month I realised that this blog passed 1 MILLION VIEWS. Kind of blown away by that and still thinking how to say thank you to you all! I’m thinking of doing a giveaway so stay tuned and give me a shout if you have any ideas.

Thanks to all of you for following along with my Instagram posts, it’s still my favourite platform to get creative with 🙂

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Photoshoot Fun In Cambridge

I’ve been feeling pretty low this winter. For the second year in a row, the S.A.D has kicked in and it’s been hard to find the energy to stay motivated and cheery. So, when Lucy got in touch about a photoshoot day in Cambridge, I knew it would be just what I needed to bring me some positivity! It was also a chance for me to do something outside of my comfort zone – I’m not one of those people who can relax when having my photo taken. Warning – this post contains a lot of my face!

Lucy (who’s business is Lucinda Price Photography) invited Jo and I to have a portrait photoshoot as besties on the route she takes clients in Cambridge city centre. We started at the historic Senate House and had a relaxed stroll along the back streets and cobbled walls.

I took my new Pup Tart glitter bag to wear because you know I love a bit of sparkle.
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I’m so glad Jo and I did the shoot together because it definitely helped me feel more relaxed. She’s one of the best people to spend the day with and having known Lucy for about 10 years, it felt just like a day hanging with friends.
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We got the giggles at one point……Cambridge-Portrait-Photoshoot

…and of course I did some bike spotting and wore my Traveller Bag from Cambridge Satchel Company.
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Lucy’s route took us to some of my favourite spots in Cambridge, we rode our bikes down Portugal Place and had our portraits taken with the famous Kings College in the background. At one point we even bumped into my Auntie who has visiting the city as a tourist for the day.Claireabellemakes-Kings-College-Cambridge

I think this photo is my favourite one from the whole shoot. It just sums up how much fun we had.
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I forgot to decorate Florence’s basket for the occasion. It’s on my to do list now! Any ideas for what to decorate with?Bike-Rides-In-Cambridge

Not only did Lucy take pictures of our faces, but she also asked us if there were particular shots we wanted to get as part of the shoot. Jo and I took our pins along and Lucy suggested these fun close ups.
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I had the best day and I’m super excited to share a fab deal below to get a huge discount on Lucy’s photographic services. I’ve also linked to all the items I wore for the shoot in case you are interested!

Claireabellemakes-Pins

Lucy is offering 25% off all her services with the code CLAIREABELLE2017 at her newly launched website here!

Hustle Sweater – Letter Clothing
Black Skinny Jeans – Primark
Clogs – Swedish Hasbeens
Traveller Bag – Cambridge Satchel Company
Glitter Bag – Pup Tart
YAY Necklace, Glitter Pin, Bicycle Pin – Claireabellemakes
Cat Pin – Hello Sunshine
Oversized Pink Coat – Debenhams
Icon Sweater – H&M

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*Some pages on this site may contain links to outside sites, including paid affiliates. Read more about my disclosure policy here.
**This photoshoot was provided to me free of charge by Lucinda Price Photography for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

Instalife February 2017

Oof February whizzed by didn’t it? It’s only a few days shorter, but it always feels like we loose a whole week or something. I had a tough one for migraines and S.A.D, but I managed to stay productive and share some of my creative endeavours when I could. Here’s what I got up to via my Instagram feed. Claireabellemakes-Instalife-Studio-Behind-The-Scenes-Feb-2017

Packing up custom pencil orders and restocking / Print inspiration

Glitter pins in progress / Desk space / Local press featureClaireabellemakes-Instalife-Shop-Feb-2017

Shooting new images for the bike pins and Valentines cards in the shop

Launching new colours of the Glitter Heart Pins and sharing pencils

Updating product photos for my new shop on Look Lane
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Using my Hello Day Planner and enjoying coffee in the studio

Sharing my pin collection / DIY Tassel Wall Hanging / Winter FavouritesClaireabellemakes-Instalife-Bikes-and-Cats-Feb-2017

Obviously I did some bike spotting / Tammy keeping me company in the studio

I also shared this awesome illustration Jo from Hello Sunshine did of me! I love her new watercolour style doodles.Claireabellemakes-Portrait-by-Hello-Sunshine

Throughout March I’ll be taking part in the #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge again. It is so much fun to share a bit more about my business through this Instagram challenge so be sure to follow along! You can see my posts from last year all together here.

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