Scrapbooking and New Discoveries

Deepest Darkest Suburbia takes her girls on a scrapbooking workshop and discovers LALALAB.

I ADORE stationery! I could rummage around a stationery shop and trawl through websites like or even for hours on end – I don’t even have to buy anything. I just love stationery! Strangely though, I am always short on pens, staplers, pencils and erasers at home. Weirdly, my favourite ruler is actually a very old sewing ruler (it’s see through and has inches and cms marked ever so clearly on it). Scrapbooking is another thing though.

Hot date night and stationery heaven

One day, whilst waiting for The Man at Fitzrovia (Hot date night), I happened to chance upon the behemoth Paperchase store on Tottenham Court Rd, all three levels of it. Oh my! I had completely forgotten this existed, so deeply entrenched have I been in Deepest Darkest Suburbia. Goodness me, I remember wandering through this store in the age, B.C. (i.e. Before Children). I was in pen, paper and bits and pieces of stationery heaven.

I saw these people in a craft workshop on the top floor. I’ve forgotten what they were working on, but the little idea-dingers in my head went off and a fortnight later, I was back, kids trailing. We’d researched their craft classes online and selected, signed-up and paid-up for a scrapbooking class. Well, I signed the kids up, they were super keen and enthusiastic for it.


A scrapbooking workshop

I’m, strangely, NOT a scrapbooking fan, despite my love of stationery – I mean, l love gorgeous paper, markers, pens (glittery, metallic, chalky, you name it, I love it), and washi tapes. Scrapbooking has never appealed to my OCD symmetry required – grey / monotone colour, neat lines – little brain. I’ve seen a load of images on Pinterest and Instagram, but it just looks very messy and too over the top for me. But the kids wanted to do a class and I didn’t mind leaving them to it whilst I got lost in the store. Always an ulterior motive with me….

However, I found myself sitting for nearly 2 hours in the workshop anyway. The temptation of pretty papers, washi tapes, glue, cutting boards, scissors all laid out neatly in boxes and tubs just called out to me. For £15, the girls received a scrapbook and the usage of unlimited amounts of washi tape, glue and paper. Miss 12 was in eclectic paper and scissor heaven!


The girls and I learnt how to make pretty washi tape flags and decorative inserts in envelopes. Who knew! I always thought they just came from a shop! They’re super simple to create too. Not that I’d have a need to make decorative envelopes and washi flags. However, I do like to store useless information in my head (like exactly where each member of the household of Caecilius and Metella are in Pompeii – Unit 1 of the Cambridge Latin Course).


Ok I digress, I chatted the entire duration of the workshop with the course leader and another mum – who’d bravely signed her two boys up for the course, and unbelievably, they sat in peace throughout, carefully and happily cutting and sticking! A very useful gem of information I picked up from the course leader – aside from washi flags and decorative envelopes – was this handy little app, called LALALAB, for printing photos from your iPhone!


How often, I ask you, do you print out your holiday and other fabulous day-to-day snaps from your iPhone? If you’re like me, I don’t print them at all, nor do I delete them. I rarely even upload them onto my PC. Do you do photo books of your holiday snapshots? I used to and it takes a huge amount of effort selecting and laying out, but my goodness me, the enjoyment we, as a family, get from sitting down and looking through these memories are the best!


I have taken many holidays over the years, and I have exactly 3 photo books in my cabinet! So how fabulous would it be if it was super easy to just upload photos on an app while you’re sitting down waiting for your kids to finish at school or at an extracurricular club, then have those photos physically printed and sent to you a few days later?

Now I want to absolutely stress, I did NOT get paid, unfortunately, to write about this! I just love the app so much, I’ve raved to all asunder about it. LALALAB sends photos worldwide from their labs in France and Germany. This App, as per their information page says, “transforms your phone, Facebook, and Instagram photos into prints, magnets, posters and more…”


Our summer project this year was to make some sort of memento or photo book of our trip to Puglia, Italy. It was going to be super simple, just going to simply stick (with glue, not any fancy photo corners – ugh – or glue dots) these photos onto an inexpensive scrapbook/sketchbook. However, with our new found scrapbooking skills and the fantastic print quality of our photos from LALALAB, our project is now going to look way better than anticipated. We can now include perhaps a small blurb about each place and maybe include some bits and pieces of memorabilia that we picked up along the way, like restaurant business cards, brochures and maps. I am super excited about this!

Now I just need to find the time… as the kids have gone back to school and I’m back on #deepestdarkestsuburbia schedule! Oh , and to find those business cards, brochures and maps….

Read more from Sabina Spiteri about her life in #deepestdarkestsuburbia and settling into life in Surrey after being an expat in Singapore.

Sabina, originally from Australia, has lived in London, NYC, Singapore and now resides in Surrey, deepest darkest surburbia, UK. She packed her entire belongings up in a ski bag nearly twenty years ago to do the “backpacking thing” in London and never went back home. She is now chasing the dream as a wannabe writer in the deepest of deep, Surrey. Sabina is passionate about coffee, food, exploring cities and skiing.

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