Instalife January 2017

I’m not gonna lie guys. January was tough. I had at least 2-3 migraine days a week  (sometimes more!) and the world news got me down. My usually positive mindset was certainly challenged. But, as usual, creativity kept me going as well as lots of time with friends and some quiet days at home with G. Here’s what I got up to via my Instagram photos. Claireabellemakes-Creative-Projects-Instalife-Jan-2017

A fun scissor shot – one of these is chocolate! / Working on a new hat for fun

DIY Copper Foil Planter / A jewellery DIY for We Make Collective
Claireabellemakes-Customer-Photos-Instalife-Jan-2017

Awesome customer photos of the bicycle pins and phrase necklaces!

See more customer photos in my Facebook album hereClaireabellemakes-Shop-Instalife-Jan-2017

I spent a lot of time working on the Glitter Heart Pins – more colours coming!

Valentines cards are in the shop for the romantics out thereClaireabellemakes-Planners-Instalife-Jan-2017

I shared lots of planner updates including my choices for 2017 & a dashboard

The Peony Planner launched and I started Bullet Journalling
Claireabellemakes-Cambridge-Bikes-Instalife-Jan-2017

As usual, lots of bike spotting happened around Cambridge

….and Tammy kept me company in the studio

Thanks for letting me share an update today. I hope February will be better for my health so I can get back to regular blogging again. I miss it! Do let me know if there is anything you would like to see or any projects I should try.

Claireabellemakes-PinterestClaireabellemakes-TwitterClaireabellemakes-FacebookClaireabellemakes-YouTubeClaireabellemakes-InstagramClaireabellemakes-Google+Claireabellemakes-BlogLovin

Claireabellemakes-Signature

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

October Favourites 2016

I usually always start my favourites post with the best experience from the month. Even though I didn’t take many photos, I had a month of time with friends and family and it was really great. Mostly because it was time where I didn’t feel guilty about not working and it allowed me to really enjoy the moment!

Now onto the ‘things’. The first item I have been loving is the new Paintbox Yarns selection. The wonderful people at Love Knitting sent me the cotton dk to work with and I started a crochet star shaped rainbow baby blanket. I better hurry up and finish it though as said baby is due very soon (not mine)! It’s been a really lovely pattern to work on because it’s a good one to memorise and do infront of the TV or on the train.

baby-star-blanket-wip

Before I quit my day job, I treated myself to a new fitness tracker after I had accidentally washed my Fit Bit in the machine oops! I decided to go for something that looked a bit nicer and was recommended the Bella Beat. The Urban Leaf in Rose Gold is a new release and can be worn on the bracelet, as a necklace or clipped onto your clothing.

It tracks sleep, steps, activity, stress levels, menstrual cycles and even has meditation programmes built into the app. So far I really like it and it’s certainly making me get out and walk more. bella-beat-urban-leaf

My beauty favourite this month was a treat that I got with a voucher because I wouldn’t usually spend almost £25 on a face mask. This Origins Active Charcoal Clay Mask is probably the best clay mask I’ve tried and it has really helped my oily skin. Highly recommended!

I’m also loving the little posy vase in the background which I got from Dot Com Gift Shop. It’s the perfect place for some eucalyptus sprigs which I’ve been enjoying lots throughout October too.origins-clay-mask

It’s safe to say that I am one of those people for whom Christmas begins early! Mostly because I make Christmas products for the shop and need to think ahead, but also because I LOVE the festive season! I want to decorate now! G tells me I shouldn’t until my birthday is over (25 November in case you are wondering) and I know he is right.

It doesn’t mean I can’t get festive with photo shoot props though! This bauble set has been my little Christmas injection to keep me going until 1 December 🙂christmas-baubles

Continuing the Christmas theme, my friends at Bluebird Tea Co sent me a box full of their festive blends to share with you because they know so many of you love them too! Look at these flavours, the Tea Christmas Crackers and Mulled Wine Tea Candle too!!

I’m super excited about another product they have released too, but that deserves a whole other post next week…..watch this space!

bluebird-tea-co-christmas-blends

Finally, I can’t write a favourites post without mentioning pins! You all know my pin obsession is going strong so I’ve continued to swap with fellow makers to grow my collection. I may also be designing some more pins for the shop too, but I want to get them just right, so I am taking my time!new-pins-claireabellemakes-october

Hello Sunshine / Nikki McWilliams / Daphne Rosa / Heidi Henry Shop

Thanks for letting me share my favourites today! Do let me know what you’ve been loving in the comments below.

I’ve also been busy planning lots of content for the blog and YouTube channel right up until the end of the year. There will be festive posts, gift guides and DIYs to see you through as I really want to get back into the swing of blogging regularly. Wish me luck!

Claireabellemakes-PinterestClaireabellemakes-TwitterClaireabellemakes-FacebookClaireabellemakes-YouTubeClaireabellemakes-InstagramClaireabellemakes-Google+Claireabellemakes-BlogLovin

Claireabellemakes-Signature

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

Instalife September 2016

OK, so September was pretty awesome. It was filled with fun things and lots of emotion, as it was the month I left my day job to make my creative career the only career! Here’s a look at what I got up to via my Instagram feed.claireabellemakes-instalife-shop-september-2016

The new phrase necklaces were released in the shop

A feature in Caboodle Magazine / Sew Crafty print collection

Makers Gonna Make Notebooks / Updated Pins / New prints for planners!claireabellemakes-instalife-planner-september-2016

Sharing planner spreads each week in the kikki.K Lavender Pink Plannerclaireabellemakes-instalife-blog-september-2016New pin from Zeena Shah / Visiting The Handmade Fair / Hole punch review

Learning to brush letter / Celebratory cards from friends / DIY Colour Block Tray
claireabellemakes-instalife-cambridge-september-2016The Cambridge Creatives Photowalk

Bike spotting in the city

Enjoying the Autumn sunshine / Decorating for Autumn / Cow photobombs
claireabellemakes-instalife-tammy-september-2016And Tammy has been SO cuddly lately, I think the change in temperature really affects cats – she wont leave us alone at the moment. I’m not compaining, look how cute she is!

I hope you had a great September. I’m looking ahead now to Christmas – I know it’s early, but you’d be suprised how many buy my cards in October! I’ll also be taking some time to adjust to my new working life and to enjoy some ‘time off’ at weekends which I haven’t had in years.

Claireabellemakes-PinterestClaireabellemakes-TwitterClaireabellemakes-FacebookClaireabellemakes-YouTubeClaireabellemakes-InstagramClaireabellemakes-Google+Claireabellemakes-BlogLovin

Claireabellemakes-Signature

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

September Favourites 2016

I LOVE September because Autumn arrives and I can’t tell you how excited I am to have all the pumpkin things and make our home all cosy. It’s definitely my favourite time of the year!

I usually start these posts with a favourite experience from the month past and this month there were so many things to choose from – including leaving my day job! But the day I had the most fun was probably our Cambridge Creatives Photowalk day. Being able to work with The Cambridge Satchel Company was really great too.

cambridge-satchel-company

I’ve been wearing my Periwinkle Blue Large Traveller Bag so much since, it has definitely become a firm favourite in my collection of satchels and especially as it can be used as a camera bag.

periwinkle-blue-traveller-bag-cambridge-satchel-companyAs always, I’ve been enjoying the new autumn range from Bluebird Tea Co and I’m thrilled the Spiced Pumpkin Pie tea is back. It’s soooo good.
autumn-teas-bluebird-tea-co

Of course I added to my pin collection last month with some swaps, gifts and a purchase. Bit of a mint theme with these ones!claireabellemakes-enamel-pin-purchases-september

I also got the chance to try out some of the new colours from Paintbox Yarns which is an exclusive brand from Love Knitting. There are 60 shades to choose from and I’m loving this rainbow palette which I made into a short video. I was thinking about making a baby blanket like this with it. What do you think?

Sticking with the autumn themes, I’ve been loving the new collections at Lush – it all smells SO festive!

autumn-lush-collections

I’ve shared a closer look at these bath bombs and melts in the Autumn shopping haul video on my You Tube channel, as well as some home decor items I picked up in Homesense.

So there you have it, lots of seasonal favourites this time! What have you been loving?

Claireabellemakes-PinterestClaireabellemakes-TwitterClaireabellemakes-FacebookClaireabellemakes-YouTubeClaireabellemakes-InstagramClaireabellemakes-Google+Claireabellemakes-BlogLovin

Claireabellemakes-Signature

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

Migraine Awareness Week 2016 – Your Questions

Some of you may have seen my post earlier in the week where I posted an update on my migraine condition. I choose this week to talk about it because it is Migraine Awareness Week in the UK and I feel it is important to share my experiences. Every time I do, it is followed by lots of messages and emails from strangers, and texts from real life friends and family. Everyone can relate to migraine because there are around 190,000 attacks every day in the UK (more stats here). You’re bound to know someone who suffers, or you may even suffer yourself.

Cambridge-Landmarks-Claireabellemakes

This week I took to Twitter to see if there were any questions about how I manage my condition. I had some really good responses, as well as people reaching out to share their stories and experiences with migraine.

Disclaimer – My responses are not medical advice, but purely my experience of managing migraine. What works for one person, does not necessarily work for all, so please do your research and seek support from healthcare professionals.

I have been very lucky with all my employers that they make an effort to understand the condition and to support my health issues. One of the things I found useful for me was to educate myself, and ensuring your employer is also educated is very important. The Migraine Trust have a fantastic Employment Advocacy Toolkit available for free on their website to help you manage migraine in the workplace. 

My advice would be to tell your employer what you need. I had an office job so had my workstation assessed, got a special chair with neck support and a screen cover to stop glare from the monitor. I was also able to get some adjustable lights in the office and was pleased they were able to make the changes for me. It really helped in managing my condition.

However, it’s not always simple to get what you need. Despite having those adjustments, the temperature of my office was very uncomfortable (consistently 30 degrees all summer with no air flow), and this contributed to how frequent my attacks were. It was very hard to get any help with this due to the organisations policy on air conditioning. So, it can be a frustrating process at times.

I know a lot of people have food triggers for attacks and I sympathise. Especially as it is often so difficult to pinpoint the exact things! Everyone is very different and for some people they might find that chocolate cravings are a symptom of an impending attack! This is certainly the case for me. I would recommend avoiding artificial sweeteners and alcohol and monitoring your attacks with a diary (this one is great). Identifying patterns and regular triggers will be useful for working out if certain foods affect your head.

I know that my migraines are very sensitive to blood sugar levels, so I make sure to eat little and often (every 3-4 hours). Slow release carbs are good for migraine sufferers and often a small healthy snack before bed can keep attacks away. It’s important to drink plenty of water too.

Anna’s question is similar to Em’s above, but I think there is more to say on this matter. In my experience, eating healthily is always useful for managing conditions. I also suffer with IBS and anxiety, and I know that too much caffeine can affect those, as well as migraine. I do see the difference in my energy levels when eating well and this in turn helps me to keep on top of my migraine condition.

I have never discovered that particular foods trigger my migraines, but I know many that do. It’s a case of keeping records each time you have attack (including what you ate) so that you can identify any patterns around particular food. You can also explore exclusion diets when you have more of an idea of food groups that can contribute to attacks.

For a long while I used paper diaries (linked above) to track migraines, especially as I am keen on planning and having all my health records in one place. However, the Migraine Buddy app was recommended to me and I haven’t recorded on paper since. It’s all very well having a calendar with attacks on them, but it’s useless unless you analyse patterns and triggers. The app does this for you and identifies possible triggers and even pulls in the weather for that day by using your location.

I find the app to be very useful when I have appointments with the GP and Neuro as they can see your calendar and reports straight from the app. There is also the option to track your sleep to see if this is affecting the regularity of attacks (mine are so often due to lack of or broken sleep!

There are a few apps out there so you should search to find the one that works for you. However, I have found Migraine Buddy to be the most user friendly and couldn’t be without it now!

Please ask more questions in the comments below if you have them! I hope this has been interesting and useful for some of you. Thanks to everyone who tweeted a question.

Claireabellemakes-PinterestClaireabellemakes-TwitterClaireabellemakes-FacebookClaireabellemakes-YouTubeClaireabellemakes-InstagramClaireabellemakes-Google+Claireabellemakes-BlogLovin

Claireabellemakes-Signature