Chunky Crochet Rainbow Blanket

Time to make has been hard to find lately, but I finally finished a craft project! Today I wanted to share this Chunky Crochet Rainbow Blanket I made for my pals Ali and Jam who run super colourful brand Hello Dodo.

The original idea for this yarn (Bernat Softee Chunky) was to make rainbow cardigans for myself and Ali. However, once I started working it up, I knew it would just be brilliant to make into a large colourful crochet blanket for their whole family, pooches included!

The chunky yarn was quick to work up with an 8mm hook. I just used half treble stitches (hdc in US terms) and made rows of 9 in each colour. Each row took up 2 balls of yarn.

Total time to make was probably around 20 hours, but it was a great make to finish as Autumn began – it kept me warm on my lap as it got bigger!

After blocking, the blanket easily covers a double bed (here it is on mine) and it is super snuggly to wrap around yourself too. I hope Ali, Jam. Hero and Pepper will love it and use it for years to come! They live in a super colourful house in worthing so I think it will compliment their home style pretty well.

I’m definitely thinking of making another chunky blanket in this yarn, perhaps in a ripple pattern or with some pom poms on the corners…..maybe in the grey and more subtle colours for me.

Like the quilt I made a couple of years ago, this one was hard to gift actually. I kind of wanted to keep it for myself!

I’ll be working on a few baby blankets for my next crochet projects to gift to friends for their new arrivals. Taking my crochet back to simple patterns has been refreshing as I’m using my brain power to tackle dress making instead lately.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my latest project. Let me know what you think and what craft projects you are working on!

Year of Claire – August & September Update

It’s a bumper post for Year of Claire this month as I haven’t posted an update since July. Summer felt short lived in Cambridge, but I guess that was a side effect of being quite busy and filling my time up with lots of things.

In August I was house and dog sitting for a colleague, which was a welcome break from the house share. Cleo the Labradooodle was the perfect company for making sure I got outside every day and cuddled up a lot. We even had a pooch play date with Hannah and Ian’s Cockapoo Leo. Such a good week for clearing my head – doggy therapy was just what I needed. Just look at that face!

I also spent a lot of time with friends in August, making sure to enjoy as much of summer as I could. Georgina came to Cambridge for the day and we found the latest yarn bombs in the city.

I ventured to London for the day to catch up with a friend and enjoy the Greatest Showman sing-a-long at the cinema. We had a great time!

The Festival of Cycling started in Cambridge with lots of bike events popping up around Cambridge. BrewDog also opened in the city and I enjoyed an evening out with workmates to sample the beers and food.

Continuing the food and drink theme, I spent time enjoying many a sunset and gin at Othersyde along the river, frequented Jack’s Gelato and indulged in meze from Wandering Yak.

On the bank holiday weekend, we were lucky enough to enjoy a heatwave! I took the opportunity to join what felt like the whole of Cambridge at the Lido. Plenty of hammock and ice cream time too. It was scorching!

September brought some beautiful evenings to venture out and meet friends for Columbian food on a bus and pub quizzes with burgers.

The Lush Halloween collections launched and I spent the evening sniffing pumpkin stuff and making bath bombs. So much fun!

I enjoyed paddleboarding with some blogger pals at Milton Country Park – possibly the last warm paddle of the year…..

The lovely folk at Enchanted Cinema invited me back again for the closing weekend at the Gonville Hotel gardens (gifted). We saw Bohemian Rhapsody and got excited about the Christmas season they have planned!

More doggy fun in September when I stayed with Hannah, Ian and Leo the cockapoo. Of course there was more hammock time too when the sun came out.

The month ended on a high with Jo and I enjoying a Saturday cheese toastie and drinks tour of Cambridge. Honestly one of the best weekend days I have had in a while. Watch this space for a food review of all the cheesy fun we had.

Writing all this down made me realise how much I have eaten and drunk these last two months, oops! On a health note, I have struggled with migraines as usual, BUT I have managed to keep exercising as consistently as I possibly can. I take a weekly spin class and have started weight training workouts too. Taking the time for fitness has been challenging with my head, but the trainer at my gym is so encouraging and just keeps me feeling positive about it all.  I feel way stronger, even if I can’t quite do a pull up just yet!

I’m still working on my anxiety and have seen an improvement there which I’m not sure is down to the therapy or because I  finally found a new flat. My home life was getting a little stressful with people in my house share changing a lot, but I’m starting to pack for a move in a month’s time. I won’t go on about how expensive it is to rent in Cambridge, but I’m grateful to be sharing the flat with my friend Emily who wants a nice quiet tidy home too.

I have also been working on some creative projects in my spare time. I finished a big one last week, so I’ll be sharing that here soon as well as my attempts to sew some new clothes instead of buying new.

Thanks for sticking with me for this bumper post for Year of Claire!

September SUP Fun

Have you ever taken up a new hobby and wondered why you hadn’t done it sooner? Stand up paddleboarding is that hobby for me. In February I took a couple of private lessons (in the cold and wind) and since then I’ve enjoyed getting out in the warmer weather to enjoy the river in Cambridge. It’s been a really sociable sport for me, and something which has pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped my mental health too.

One of the places to SUP in Cambridge is Milton Country Park located to the north of the city. Even though they run a SUP course, I hadn’t ever ventured to the lake to paddle before. I sometimes take lunchtime walks in the park as it is near my office and often see people enjoying open water swimming, fishing and SUP.

I met up with a few local blogger friends to have a quick start session as none of the girls had tried SUP before. The weather was a little windy and chilly, but we popped on our layers and headed to the lakeside. I always say Cambridge is a small city and as soon as I saw the instructor was an old colleague of mine, I knew we would be in great hands!

I paddled off ahead to get a feel for the lake and board, whilst the girls got to grips with paddling on their knees and then confidently standing up in no time at all.  We played games of world domination (a tag based game), learned some turning techniques and even tried a few yoga poses on our boards.

It was awesome to see how quickly everyone picked it up and how the smiles came out in an instant. Seeing others enjoy SUP never fails to make me happy because it has been such a revelation for me too. I took my waterproof phone case and managed to get lots of snaps of the fun.

Lauren / Rachael

Jen / Kelly / Jess

Towards the end of the session, I encouraged the girls to lay back on their boards and take a minute. I had been experiencing anxiety all week and being there with them in that moment just made me feel so content and calm I wanted to share it with them!

I was really psyched to be able to try out some different boards during the session too, firstly a Jobe…..

… then a Red which I loved! Hopefully at some point I’ll have my own board and paddle and will be able to get out in my own time.

Our Cambridge blogger scene is so encouraging and supportive, it felt like such a positive morning and a great activity to do together!

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I’m a bit sad the warm weather SUP season is coming to an end, but maybe I’ll get out with a wet suit and tackle the autumn winds soon!

Lush Halloween Launch

Like many, I was kind of excited when the temperature dropped in the UK this week and the weather hinted that Autumn was on the way. It was short lived and followed by a warm few days, but then Lush appeared with their Halloween collections and the Autumn excitement returned!

The team at Lush Cambridge were kind enough to invite me to the Halloween bath and shower collections launch a day before they were available in store and it did not disappoint.

For starters the Punkin Pumpkin bath bomb smelled amazing and a big pile of the cheery pumpkin faces greeted us as soon as we arrived.

The in store team were so welcoming and put on some tasty mocktails and vegan treats from Wagamama for us all. The mocktail glasses were rimmed with the Pumpkin Spice Lip Scrub!

The Monster’s Ball bath bomb is another one I’m adding to my wish list for when I get a new flat with a bath!

I always love a little press event because it’s usually a chance to catch up with other bloggers and Instagrammers too. Cambridge is pretty small even though it is a city, so there are often familiar faces! This time I met Daniel who runs an awesome Lush Insta account and I caught up with Lucy and Mollie too whilst we all made bath bombs.

It was so fun making our own versions of the Groovy Kind of Love bath bomb. The colours are just so vibrant and it smells of rosewood, bergamot (my fave) and ylang ylang oil.

Lush-Halloween-Collections

Photo by Lucy

My absolute favourite scent of the night had to be the new Mercury Retrograde bath bomb though. Ginger and cinnamon make this one a proper autumn cosy night in treat!

A big thanks to Lush Cambridge for the sneak peek! Let me know if you grab any of the collection – I’ve got my eye on the Boo Shower Slime too….

I have lots of posts lined up for the next few weeks and an update on the Year of Claire too. I’ll be combining August and September for that so expect a bumper post at the end of the month!

As it is now 6 months since I closed the shop I’ve been enjoying lots of new things. I have plans to incorporate some more lifestyle content going forward, but there will still be some creative posts from time to time too. Hopefully you will all stick around 🙂

Year Of Claire – July Update

July was a bit of a rollercoaster. I had some new experiences, and I had some familiar experiences. Keeping positive for the ‘Year of Claire’ project was a bit tough at times, but I know things could have been a lot worse! So what have I been up to?

I started the month with a fun work trip to Duxford Imperial War Museum to fly over Cambridge in a 1930s Rapide. So random! Flying in a plane that was so vintage was actually a little scary and noisy, but it was awesome to see the city from up high and to look over my office too.

Even though I haven’t been blogging as much as the good old days(!) I was invited to an event at Molton Brown Cambridge to enjoy a little pamper and to catch up with other local bloggers. It was a super event trying out all their fragrances (Rhubarb and Rose was a favourite) and to catch up with Lizzie from Farm Flowers too.

I also had a chance to try out Flit which is a new folding e-bike from a Cambridge start up. They have smashed their Kickstarter already!

July was the month where things came to an end with Jack which I felt super sad about. Seeing as I had shared a little about him here it feels right to mention it briefly. That familiar feeling of a relationship ending has been hard, but we had a lot of great memories and it was a whirlwind 4 months, so I’m grateful for the time I had with him.

Spending time outside has been really therapeutic for me, so I have made the most of Cambridge summer. I didn’t feel like eating much for a while, but the cliche of ice cream during a break up actually really helped.

Keeping as busy as possible has been my strategy this month, so I’ve spent time with family, work mates and friends enjoying drinks, cinema and evenings out. We saw the new Lion King film which I loved, and my work colleagues formed a band and performed at our annual BBQ. I also had lunch at Parker’s Tavern in Cambridge which was delicious, Definitely want to go back again soon!

The heatwave hit and Cambridge was the hottest place in the UK at 38.7 degrees. Of course, that was the day I had planned an after work paddle on the river with some friends! We sweated it out for a few miles up to the riverside pub and enjoyed a storm and some welcome rain at the end.

I spent 2 days in London for a work project visiting furniture showrooms to select pieces for our new office which our company is moving to later this year. Swooning over interiors was really good, although it was pretty exhausting to travel in and have a jam packed schedule. Reminded me that I don’t ever want to go back to commuting like I did almost 10 years ago!

So a mixed bag for the month and a bit of a struggle as ever with the migraines and anxiety. I try my very hardest to enjoy the well days and not dwell or write about the difficult times too much. I also started flat hunting again as I am growing tired of living in a houseshare with 8 other people. It has become quite stressful at times, but I now have some horror stories of places I’ve viewed which keeps me laughing about it.

How we are already into August I do not know! I will be spending more time with friends and doing some house/dog sitting this month so there might be some cute content coming this way.