Blog Gem - Hello! Hooray!

Yay, it's Blog Gem time and this month I'm super excited to be sharing the fabulous face behind Hello! Hooray! So, lets dive on in and discover who the blogger is and what inspires her to blog!

Clare Albans | Hello! Hooray!.jpg

Hello there, can you tell all of the Adventures & Tea Parties readers a little bit about yourself?

Hello! My name is Clare and I live in Newcastle upon Tyne with my husband Tom and our daughter (known as ‘Little One’ in the online world) who is almost 18 months old. I have always been a very creative person, and moved to this beautiful city when I came to study Music here back in 2004. A lot has happened since then and music isn’t where my career path has taken me, but I did discover a passion for crafting along the way! My current day job involves teaching international students, but my dream is to make a living from making. After a long period of experimenting with all kinds of crafts, I decided to focus specifically on hand embroidery and opened up my Etsy shop earlier this year.

Crafternooning | Hello! Hooray!.jpg

Where do you blog? What is that space like?

My current set up is a bit nomadic, which basically means that I end up taking over most of the downstairs of our house! My Mac and most of my craft supplies are in the living room, so I spend most of my time working there. I generally work on my projects curled up on the sofa (which I must admit is an advantage to embroidery!). I take all of my photos on the kitchen table, so when I’m taking product photos or a series of snaps for a DIY post, that’s where I’ll be. The rest of my craft supplies are dotted around the kitchen too. But this is all about to change, as we’re currently working on turning the spare room into a more permanent craft space and I am so excited!

Sunbeams Banner | Hello! Hooray!.jpg

If you had to take only one tool to a desert island, what would you choose and why?

This is a really tough question…but I think it would have to be my seam ripper, as I hardly ever complete a project without one! I am the queen of trying to get things finished when I’m tired, which usually ends in me reaching for the seam ripper. I kept losing my first one, so I bought a couple more so that I can always find one! And surely it would come in handy on a desert island?!

Crafty Colour Palette #1 | Hello! Hooray!.jpg

How do you get inspired to blog?

I just love to share what I’ve been making, and I love that people enjoy reading about it. I always try to be really honest about how things have turned out. We get so used to seeing everything being perfect, and I find that this can actually be really uninspiring sometimes. It’s easy to end up thinking that you’re doing something wrong because it doesn’t look quite like something you’ve seen on Instagram. So, I like to show the good bits and the bad, and give any handy tips that I’ve learnt from my mistakes on the way! I’m also really inspired by colour, and this features in all of my craft projects. I’ve recently started a little series on my blog called Crafty Colour Palettes, where I share my colour inspiration and DIY ideas that use the palette that I’m sharing.

Breakfast bars | Hello! Hooray!.jpg

What top tips would you give to anyone starting a blog?

Write about what you know and love, and people will be inspired by that and want to read more. Well, that always makes me want to read more, anyway! Also, try not to compare yourself or your blog to anyone else’s – this is absolutely key if you’re going to keep blogging. Be positive about what you do and stick to your own style. I saw a quote from David Lynch that someone had shared on Instagram a while back which said: ‘Negativity is the enemy of creativity’. This can be negativity from others but also the pressure you put on yourself, so try to avoid doing this. Blogging is fun, so just enjoy where it takes you.

Spring flowers and Breton stripes | Hello! Hooray!.jpg

Is there a story behind the name, 'Hello! Hooray!'?

I rebranded my blog in 2014, as my previous name (So Many Crafts, So Little Time!) just wasn’t really suitable anymore. I went part-time in the day job at this point, so I did actually have more time for the things I loved to do! But I also wasn’t sure whether I just wanted to be a craft blog or head in a new direction. I also share recipes, days out, and lots of other things too. So the old name just felt a little bit restrictive (and I later realised another lady in America had a blog of the same name – further to the previous question, always do your research!). For my new name, I really wanted something open, friendly and welcoming. It was very difficult to think of something that hasn’t already been taken! I had just written these words as part of the brainstorming process, and kept coming back to them. They seemed to compliment the idea of celebrating the things I love to make and do, and so Hello! Hooray! was born.

Lemon Victoria Sponge Mary Berry.JPG

If you could go to a Blog Award dinner with any 5 people (dead or alive, real or fictional) who would you choose?

I would love to meet Mary Berry – I was featured on her Radio 4 takeover of Woman’s Hour last year, but all of her bits were pre-recorded so I didn’t get to chat to her. From the blogging world, I’d choose Pip Lincolne from Meet Me at Mikes as she’s so honest and authentic on her blog. Also Grace Bonney from *DesignSponge who I heard speak at Blogtacular in 2015. The poet Holly McNish is really inspiring, so it would be great to chat to her (I read her book Nobody Told Me: Poetry and Parenthood when I was pregnant, and it’s honest, thought-provoking and very funny!). Finally, Stevie Wonder because he’s an inspiration to us all and could provide a cracking soundtrack to the evening!

YAY mini hoop | Hello! Hooray!.jpg

And finally...if you had to choose one song to represent 'Hello! Hooray!', what would it be and why?

I feel like I should pick a Stevie Wonder song now…it’s so hard to choose! I absolutely love soul, Motown and disco, so that’s generally the soundtrack to my world. Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) by Frank Wilson is probably a contender. Or anything by John Legend!

Thank you so much, Clare! It's been truly wonderful hearing all about your blogging world. I am so excited that you're creating a dedicated space to blog and craft in - can't wait to see it! And ooh that David Lynch quote is spot on! Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

Isn't Clare great?! You can discover more about Clare on her websiteTwitter, Facebook, PinterestInstagram and you can find her super colourful designs in her Etsy shop, so go give her a hello, a hooray and a wave!