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27 March 2017

Five minutes with designer/maker, PatternPiper


Over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog I'm finding out about the creative world of the maker behind creative brand, PatternPiper. Pop on over here to read all about it!

25 March 2017

New Pet Accessory Range

Yay, the day has arrived when I finally get to reveal my brand new product range! Being a pet lover and knowing loads of you wonderful crazy cat ladies and dog lovers out there, I thought it was about time some new colours, patterns and designs were brought into the pet accessory world and ta-da, here they are!

Adventures & Tea Parties pet accessories

I've designed four pet accessories in three different colour combinations.  Included are pet bow ties, bandanas / neckerchiefs, storage baskets and pet flag banners. All of these can be personalised with the exception of the bow tie. They're available in bright yellow and magenta pink, black and white houndstooth and light turquoise and classic red and black. All come wrapped in Adventures & Tea Parties' branded boxes so that they're ready for you to add your own gift wrap touch. 

Adventures & Tea Parties pet accessories

AND if  you haven't already seen, I'm running a huge giveaway over on my Instagram page for two lucky people to win an item each of their choice. The giveaway closes at 8pm on Sunday 26th March when I will announce the winner.  It's really easy to take part, so if you're a crazy cat lady or dog owner, head on over here to enter. Good luck!

Adventures & Tea Parties pet accessories

22 March 2017

Alternative Mother's Day Gifts

Alternative Mother's Day Gifts

What do you have planned for Mother's Day? Are you making a gift for your lovely Mum? Over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog I'm sharing some great, alternative Mother's Day Gifts to help inspire you. Pop on over to discover some unique ideas!

21 March 2017

The ancient royal town of Wessex, Somerton


I've been exploring again and this time I'm sharing my discoveries of the ancient royal town of Wessex, Somerton. Head over to This Is Your Kingdom to find out all about this darling little place.

17 March 2017

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

Adventures & Tea Parties

Ok, so that week was a crazy rollercoaster! So much happening on a personal and business front. Chapters ending and lovely chapters beginning. New people and new places. New views and new plans. And lots of lovely things that I can't share just yet but as I now seem to be writing a list of happy things that happened each week, here are some that I can share :)

- I finished my new accessory range and photographed them all, ready for uploading - I'm so going to have a lovely giveaway as part of this, so, if you're not already, come and follow me on Instagram where I'll be announcing what and how you can win! 

- Received some ace feedback from customers :)

- I'm learning that I can totally switch a standard working week day for a weekend day. This means taking a day off in the week and working a weekend day instead. Just need to convince myself that this isn't naughty, ha-ha!

- That day this week was Thursday and I had the BESEST day discovering a beautiful new area of Somerset and spending it with very lovely people. It included eating a cake I actually made from scratch; I know, shocker! ;)

- I was asked, and have accepted, to be the new Etsy Somerset Team leader, woohoo! If you're an Etsy seller based in Somerset and would like to join the group, send me a link to your shop and we'll welcome you with open arms and plenty of tea!

How was your week? What were the best bits?

And now for a few songs as is tradition here on a Friday. Pop your Friday feeling dance shoes (slippers) on and wrap your ears around these!

Common People by Pulp
Let the Good Times Roll by JD McPherson
Happiness by The Pointer Sisters
He's The Greatest Dancer by Sister Sledge
Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Have a fab weekend everyone!

14 March 2017

Five minutes with jewellery designer, Kate Harvey

Kate Harvey

Over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog I'm finding out about the creative world of jewellery designer, Kate Harvey, a.k.a Grace and Flora. Pop on over to find out what inspires her to create!

10 March 2017

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

Oh this week has been the loveliest of loveliest weeks!!! The sun has been shining and spring is definitely here, hurrah! I even had my lunch outside today, yay! How was your week? Did you enjoy the spring air? Here are some other happy things that happened this week:

- Met up with lovely friends for very sugary non-alcoholic cocktails. I actually had a sugar handover the next day, ha-ha!

- Finished experimenting with my new design range. Just need to prepare a few more samples, then I'm ready to photograph and launch it in my Etsy shop, yay! 

- Explored the town of Wellington, which is so pretty! Had the BEST day there and plan to go back.

- Went to the post office with shop orders and returned with a cute stripey bag from the local charity shop. This is now becoming a habit. I'll just nip over to the charity shop while I'm here...

- Had some fab customer feedback :)

- There's been so much love being shown on Instagram this week as part of the #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge that it's made my little heart glow.

And now for a few songs as is tradition here on a Friday. Pop your Friday feeling dance shoes (slippers) on and wrap your ears around these!

Root Down (Taggy Matcher Mix) by Beastie Boys
Hit or Miss by Odetta
Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll) by George Harrison
Take The Long Road And Walk It by The Music
That's What You Get For Gettin' Outta Bed by Grandaddy

What lovely things do you have planned this weekend? I'm going exploring, seeing family and friends, heading to an antique fair and if time allows, getting out into the garden.

Have a super weekend whatever you have planned!

8 March 2017

Five minutes with designer/maker, Charlie Mankin


I'm delighted to be able to share with you on International Women's Day, my latest chat with multi-talented woman super star, Charlie Mankin. Rather than spoil all the fun about who she is and what she does, head over to the Simple Stylish Makes blog to read the full interview and then when you're done and in awe of her, go check out her shop. No, this isn't a sponsored post, Charlie and her shop are simply awesome and you should just totally go buy one of her kits, hurrah!

Happy international women's day to all you girls out there, you rock!

5 March 2017

A day in the life of a Creative Business Owner

Woohoo, it's time for another 'Day in the life' post where we all get to find out what an average day at work is like for a job that folk are less familiar with. This month I am so flipping excited to share with you about the day in the life of someone I greatly admire and who I've been following for a long time. This person is one of the hardest working people I know and I'm over the moon to share what a day in the life is like for ...


I’m Claire and I work from my home city of Cambridge. I describe Claireabellemakes as a creative lifestyle brand because it encompasses my shop, blog, craft parties and freelance work as a stylist and contributor. The product side of my business offers scrabble inspired prints, cards and gifts and I also incorporate bicycle accessory designs.

I’ve been up and running since 2012 when I finished a masters in Arts Management. For the first few years I built the business whilst I worked full-time which enabled me to let it evolve organically. 


Each day can be really different for Claireabellemakes, depending on the projects I’m working on at the time. I usually get up about 7.30am and grab some porridge and fruit for breakfast. I work from my home studio so I start about 9.00am by answering emails and scheduling social media for around 30 minutes. My studio is usually a complete mess and it’s currently a big task of mine to get it in order so I can work more productively. If I have time, I’ll have a little tidy up, but usually I’m rushing to get going with product designs, packing up orders and working on freelance projects. 

The morning is also the time I like to work on any photo shoots because it is when the light is best in my studio space. I like to shoot in batches because I find it more efficient, so I might be working on a DIY commission for a freelance client, or setting up some product shots to include in my shop or on social media. I keep on track with a Bullet Journal, so this is usually out on the desk as I work and reminds me of any deadlines or plans.


Working from home has some nice perks for lunch in that I often cook a hot meal. I love a jacket potato or soup, but I also walk along the river a couple of times a week to meet my other half G for a sandwich and coffee. If I have orders to post, I usually pack and do these at lunch time. I’m lucky as I live so centrally in Cambridge, that I have about 5 post offices within walking distance and all the staff are lovely at each one. I sometimes use Drop and Go for busy times of the year too.

Throughout the day I’m usually chatting online with my creative friends in Cambridge as we share what we are working on and give each other feedback on new designs. Afternoons are when I mostly do my computer based work such as writing product descriptions, blog posts and editing images for freelance work. I’ll usually have a pot of tea on the go - at the moment I’m still loving a rooibos candy cane one I found at Christmas! Sometimes I pop out to work in a local coffee shop for a change of scenery.


If I am developing new products, I’ll also use the afternoons to work on sketches and ideas. When G gets home from work he usually helps by giving me feedback and making suggestions. I really value his input as he isn’t immersed in the creative world like me so I get a fresh point of view.

At the end of the ‘working day’ (around 6pm) I like to round things up by checking my Bullet Journal for tasks and to plan the next day. It’s such a good system for making sure you are progressing for all your goals. I have pages for tracking social media stats, planning big projects and working on designs. I take a break from 6-8pm to eat a meal with G and to watch some TV (at the moment we’re watching Black Mirror on Netflix). If I am feeling poorly (I suffer with frequent migraines) I end my day here and get an early night.


If my evening is free of social plans and I’m feeling well, I usually work a bit more until around 10 or 11pm writing blog posts and editing YouTube videos. Lately I’ve also been working on some crochet patterns for a magazine, so I like doing these commissions in the evening under a blanket. If I decide to have a night off, I usually work on personal crochet or knitting projects. I’m also trying to complete a cross stitch I have had on the go for years…..


I’m trying really hard to have one day off each weekend. I used to be terrible at this and have guilt if I wasn’t working, especially as I often lose days to migraines, so I used the weekends to get ahead. Now, I work one day and this is usually when I create my blog and YouTube content. I design DIY projects, write about my favourite handmade picks or film planner videos to share with my stationery audience. On my weekend day off I usually go for brunch and catch up with friends and family. If I haven’t cycled much during the week I tend to hop on my bike for some fresh air and exercise.

I always take some time on Sundays to plan and empty my mind onto paper for the week ahead. I find planning to be such a great tool for helping to achieve my goals and to create focus in my business. I also see it as a creative practice as I enjoy making my planners look nice - it definitely keeps me motivated to look at it. If it’s the end of a month I have a lengthier planning session where I review my goals and input my financial information. It’s also the time I send out my invoices for sponsored blog posts and freelance work. 


I am sure my days will change depending on how my business grows. This year a focus for me is to get my work into shops and to increase my income on the product side of things. I’m looking forward to writing more DIY content and creating videos too. I'm also planning lots of meet ups with my creative friends!

Thank you so much, Claire! It's been fascinating hearing all about what your day is like and blimey, I knew you worked hard but working at the weekend too, I'm impressed! I can't wait to see how your business continues to change and develop, exciting times!

I hope you've all enjoyed reading about Claire's average day at work as a creative business owner . Here are some handy links to her website and social media pages too:


If you missed the last few 'Day in the life' posts, you can catch up on them here and do get in touch if you'd like to share your day.

3 March 2017

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

This week has been completely dog themed; not a bad focus to have really. I've been making lots of lovely personalised dog bandanas, drawing dogs (that's a massive hint about some new designs I'm working on!), working with beautiful houndstooth fabric and even going on a walk with two border terriers, who have now officially stolen my heart. Other positive stuff that happened this week:

- A new bit of machinery arrived for the studio, which has transformed one of the new designs I'm working on. I'm such a tease ;) 

- I discovered, via the fabulous Blogtacular, The Boy Who Bakes and his AWESOME podcast, which I've been listening to non-stop.

- Started Joanne Hawker's #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge on Wednesday and I'm loving it! Already met loads more of my maker tribe, yay!

- I had the best and biggest fish finger sandwich in a pub, followed by the most heavenly walk (with the border terriers) on Thursday when Spring was very much in the air :)

- A got to try some delicious homemade whiskey marmalade before 8am on a work day. 

So, that's some good stuff, now time for a few songs as is tradition here on a Friday. Pop your Friday feeling dance shoes (slippers) on and wrap your ears around these!

Aggrophobe (feat. Iggy Pop) by PINS
New Slang by The Shins
Amputation by The Jesus and Mary Chain
Risk to Exist by Maximo Park
Sabotage by The Beastie Boys

What positive stuff happened to you this week? Did you listen to some good music too? 

1 March 2017

Five organisation tips

Five organisational tips by Adventures and Tea Parties

Over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog I'm sharing five organisation tips. Pop on over and get your self organised, yeah! 


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