Think Happy Thoughts

I consider myself a positive person. To a certain extent it comes naturally, but I often think about positivity and gratitude and what they mean to me.

G sometimes laughs at me for my love of motivational quotes (he’s very practical and scientific, rather than a dreamer), but I wholeheartedly believe a little reminder can make a big difference. My current planner dashboard has given me a productivity boost with a (curse) word or two!

I know that a positive mindset doesn’t always come easy for some people, so I want to share with you a few techniques I practice to keep my positive focus.


Practice Gratitude

Being a planner geek and Project Lifer, I like to organise and document my life before, during and after events take place. The after is most important as it allows me to reflect on the positive moments and to remind myself of the good things I have. Although not consistently, I take time each week to note a few things that I am grateful for (perhaps on a journalling card in my planner).

Enjoy The Simple Things

When I am at the day job and a migraine starts, working close to home has a great advantage. G looks after me when this happens. I get home to a cup of herbal tea, my cold migra-cap, and my pjs and slippers heated up on the radiator. He covers me in a blanket and checks on me regularly. We make sure the cat is within snuggling distance. It helps SO much and I am really grateful.

Someone else makes you a cup of tea, or offers to do the dishes or just tells you to look outside because it is snowing. In the winter our electric blanket brings us a lot of joy and we don’t care if that makes us boring. In the summer I revel in being able to cycle through my historic city in the sunshine. I literally grin like the Cheshire Cat.

I find that appreciating thoughtful and simple moments helps to boost my mood.

Let Things Go

In general, I am not one to hold a grudge. Over the last year, a couple of (not dramatic) things happened to me that bothered me more than they should have. I felt all knotted up inside at not being able to immediately let any anger/betrayal/frustration go.

Eventually those negative feelings did go and I began to see the positive aspects of the tricky or upsetting situation. I’ve always been someone who just gets on with things and I believe that you are the only person who has the ability to really change your life. So I never understood the purpose of moaning and not taking action.

OK, I do love a little moan every now and again (I think it’s good to rant to clear your mind), but I don’t want to hold those negative thoughts and I try to see what I can do to move forward and change focus. I turn the negative into a challenge for improving myself.


Celebrate Success

Shameless self promotion? Oh go on then! It is SO important to reflect and share. This year, I have started to record my achievements. Both personally via my Project Life scrapbook, but also professionally. Each month I am tracking my productivity for Claireabellemakes by logging what I have achieved and celebrating success by sharing with others.

Being able to reflect on my month/year has been instrumental to motivating me in all aspects of my life. I have let the not so great things go (bereavements, rejection, poor health) and made a conscious decision to focus on the positive events and memories. I am celebrating when I have a week without a migraine and when I get an exciting sale in my store.

Have a glass of wine (or apple juice in my case) and toast your hard work. Life isn’t easy and people should know how ace you are.

Spread Positivity

Ring someone you love and tell them you miss them. Give a homeless person a hot drink on a windy day. Make your friend aware that you are proud of her achievements and tell her that she inspires you. Tell your Dad that you finally watched that movie he lent you months ago that he really wanted your opinion on. Send a letter, snail mail is so thoughtful.

And no word of a lie, at the same time as writing the paragraph above (after a few horrid migraine days), a message from my sister popped up with the subject “to cheer you up”. Attached was a photo of my niece and nephew holding up big moustache pillows to their faces. It made my day.

How do you think happy thoughts? Fellow blogger Lisa has a great series on Positivity – definitely worth checking out! Come share your positivity with me on social media using the hashtag #thinkhappy.




A Postcard from Cyprus

We took our summer holidays late this year (due to work commitments) and chose to revisit Cyprus as we always enjoy our time there.

A week in the sun was just what G and I needed. Here are a few snaps and thoughts on our trip.

Our home for the week…the flowers were incredible and the smell hit you as you walked around the resort.

Paphos Cyprus

Pafos Cyprus

Grapes in Cyprus

I tried scuba diving in a swimming pool because I am a massive wimp in the sea.

Scuba Diving Practice

A trip into the mountains…..with some stunning views.

Cyprus mountains

Cypriot Views


Cypriot Church

Cyprus Sunset Sunset on Paphos Beach Cyprus

I took some crafts with me and made progress on my crochet jumper from Simply Crochet issue 9.

Simply Crochet Cream Jumper

And I had to get some traditional lace which is “made by old ladies in the mountains” as the seller informed me. If I had more luggage allowance, I would have packed my case full of linens and embroidery, it was so pretty.

Cypriot Lace

I am relaxed and full of energy, let’s hope it lasts.

Claireabellemakes in Cyprus

Things I learned from this holiday:

  • Sea sickness is horrendous, even if you do see Dolphins
  • It’s a small world – seeing a friend from Cambridge City WI was brilliant
  • All you can eat Cypriot food is dangerously amazing
  • Scuba diving is much less frightening in a swimming pool
  • Aqua aerobics is a whole lot of fun
  • Migraine meds help me sleep through turbulence on a plane
  • Crochet creates a talking point and you never know who you will meet (Canadian upcycling hippie who told us tales of her life)
  • A Shirley Temple is my new favourite virgin cocktail
  • Cats are amazing in any country
  • I love Baklava

I hope you enjoyed my lovely guest bloggers in the meantime! If you missed them you can check out Miss Jojangles and Erica from Caught on a Whim via these links.



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Migraine Awareness Week 2013

Today marks the start of Migraine Awareness Week (MAW). Every year The Migraine Trust promotes Migraine Awareness Week (1-7 September 2013) to raise general awareness of migraine as a serious public health issue.

As you may know, I have suffered from migraine attacks for around 15 or so years with the latter two years as a chronic migraine sufferer. I occasionally blog about my migraine experiences in the hope it will help others. The Migraine Trust are campaigning to encourage understanding that migraine is ‘more than just a headache’.

Migraine Awareness Week 2013 poster


I have found that my online migraine friends have offered a great deal of support, advice and understanding. In particular, Victoria of the Migraine Monologues is an advocate for migraine sufferers and I always learn something new from her posts.

So, whether you are a migraine sufferer or not, I urge you to take a look at the Migraine Monologues blog during MAW 2013 to learn something about the condition. Victoria will be posting each day throughout the week.

So far in 2013, I have lost 70 days to migraine. Knowing that others understand what I am going through is a great comfort.

You can find links to blogs and articles by using the hashtag #MigraineAW2013.



Beach Holiday Essentials

Happy Friday peeps!

I’m off on my long awaited holidays tomorrow, so I am sharing my beach holiday essentials in case you’re interested. I’m a bit nosey, so I love to see what people pack in their bags!

We are spending a week in sunny Cyprus, so I definitely want my nails painted lovely bright summery colours.

Barry M Gelly Nail Polish

I’m absolutely loving Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint by Barry M in Greenberry and Papaya and Essie Bikini So Teeny this summer.

Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover

I’m definitely packing the Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover. I’ve stupidly photographed the French side of the bottle, but this claims instant removal of polish. I have to say I’m impressed – you push your finger into the bottle, twist through the sponge and ta-da polish free!

Cream Crochet TOMS Shoes

Cream Crochet TOMS had been on my wish list for a while, but nowhere had my size. Then last week ASOS came to the rescue and I found them on sale. Woop!

TOMS One for One Campaign

I love the One for One movement TOMS promote via each sale of their shoes. They give a new pair of shoes to a child in need when each purchase is made.

TOMS Ditsy Floral Wedges

I also got these TOMS Ditsy Floral Berry Strappy Wedges in the sale – perfect to wear with dresses and shorts.

TOMS Shoe Bag

Each pair of TOMS shoes comes with a nifty cotton bag to keep them in.

Simply Crochet Jumper WIP

I have to take a lightweight crochet project on my holidays too! I’ve started the Cream Jumper project from Simply Crochet Magazine (issue 9), but opted for a grey yarn. I hope to get it largely finished throughout the week we are away.

Red Polka Dot Beach Bag

I also picked up this red polka dot oil cloth beach bag which is nice and big for a beach towel and lotions, snacks, books etc.

Handmade Eye Mask

I always take an eye mask with me when flying and find it comes in especially handy when a migraine strikes. This lovely handmade eye mask was gifted to me by a Twitter friend. I really like the ribbon tie.

So, there you have it! My holiday packing essentials. I’m hoping for a relaxing week with plenty of sun and good food. I’ll be sure to share a postcard from Cyprus on my return.

Be sure to check back next week as I’ve got some fab guests lined up to share some crafty DIYs with you guys. I promise you are in for a treat!



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Join the Claireabellemakes Tea Party

It’s been really fabulous lately to welcome a bunch of new followers, so today I thought I’d host a virtual tea party to get to know you all a little more!

Tea Cup and Doily

Join me wont you? Sugar cookie?

Cat Sugar Cookies

I think you know enough about me now (about page here / Ask Me Anything series here), so I want to ask you a few questions so I can find out a little more about you all!

Feel free to answer my nosey questions and tell me more in the comments!! Even if you have been a follower for a while, do share so we can all get to know one another.

1) What’s your name and where do you come from?

2) Tell me your craft of choice or favourite hobby….

3) If you could do your dream job, what would it be?

4) Please share with us your favourite blog so we can add some new ones to our readers!

Thanks for joining my tea party today. I hope you liked that sugar cookie.

Don’t forget you can follow me on all.the.places using the icons in the right hand column under my face.



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