What did you enjoy doing as a child? This was one of the questions I asked myself a few years ago when I decided I needed a new hobby. I’ve been thinking about it again as I focus on prioritising creative play in 2024.

Playing with Paper

When it comes to my childhood hobbies and passions, a few things spring to mind, but the activities that really stick out are scrapbooking and journaling.

My mum always encouraged me to scrapbook our travels. She also kept everything I made. Tucked away in our attic, there’s a stack of notebooks like the one pictured above, stuffed with ephemera and filled with my wobbly handwriting. As well as documenting family holidays, I kept a diary from the age of nine and mum tells me I always enjoyed cutting and sticking.

Flicking through my old scrapbooks is like taking a ride in a time machine. The memories come flooding back. I’m so glad I documented life in this way and I’m grateful my parents always nurtured and encouraged my creativity as a child.

I’m currently scrapbooking our recent trip to New York. At 40-years-old, playing with paper, sticking down brochures, maps and tickets, still brings me masses of joy. I can imagine future me flicking through them in another 30 years, savouring the memories and feeling just as grateful for having given myself the opportunity to nurture my creativity.

Do It for Your Inner Child

I’m fascinated by the concept of the ‘inner child’ – a term used to describe the connection we have within ourselves to our child self and our childhood memories.

‘The theory goes that we all have an inner child, says Shari Botwin, a trauma therapist and author of Thriving After Trauma: Stories of Living and Healing. “We grow up, we get bigger, and our brains become more logical, but that doesn’t erase our thoughts, feelings, or memories from childhood.” Some people had happy and healthy childhoods with supportive caregivers who buffered them from stressors, and they’re naturally in tune with and accept their inner child. But others endured difficult experiences—abuse, neglect, losing a parent to illness, dealing with poverty or divorce—and lack the capacity to process those feelings and make sense of their pain and suffering. “Most people don’t realize that the effects of those memories from childhood are what drive us to make the choices that we make in adulthood,” Botwin says.’ – Why is Everyone Working on Their Inner Child?

I don’t want to trivialise this concept – healing your inner child is a huge undertaking. It’s definitely something I’d like to explore properly in therapy. In the meantime, thinking about my younger self, making time for the things that brought her joy, and using creative play as a form of self-care feels like a good place to start.

I’m In My Craft Era

Scrapbooking and crafting more generally have become such a big part of my life, it’s hard to believe they’re a relatively recent addition. This year, I want to continue mining my childhood for inspiration and keep trying {or re-trying} new things. Here’s some of my current creative, crafty to-do list…

  • Lino printing

I have a very clear memory of doing this with my dad at our dining table. I don’t know why he had all the tools and supplies – maybe they were left over from his art school days – but it was heaps of fun. I’m pretty sure we did some potato printing at the same time! This botanical linocut kit from Clever Hands looks like the perfect way for me to rediscover this craft.

  • Quilling

Quilling is an art form that involves rolling, shaping and gluing strips of paper together to create decorative designs. Having been exposed via a craft kit I was given for my birthday, I was crazy about quilling as a kid! It’s a very mindful activity and I can remember spending hours rolling and shaping my designs on my bedroom floor. I’ve currently got my eye on a kit from Tilly Viktor.

  • Painting

I’ve painted a lot of walls and furniture as an adult, but I don’t think I’ve made an actual painting since finishing my art GCSE a million years ago. I never felt I was a great painter, but I enjoyed dabbling with watercolours and acrylics. I’ve always kept the children well stocked with paint and other art supplies, so I’ve got no excuses for not giving this another go.

Love Audrey xxx

P.S. How I Re-Kindled My Love of Letter Writing

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