My latest hobby is scrapbooking. I discovered it when I decided, after years of refusing to look at my wedding pictures, to do an album as a birthday present for V. I signed up for a scrapbooking class, which gave me a taste of the creative possibilities of doing more than just slipping photographs into plastic slots.

However, that was not so much a class as it advertised itself to be as a two-hour slot with access to materials, tools, a nice workspace and some very vague guidance. Recently, I took half day off and attended a session that proved to be a proper class – the lady running it had an end product in mind and gave us step by step instructions how to get there, with the freedom, of course, to vary where we would. Through the process, we learnt lots of techniques and got templates we could apply to other albums.

The class was in Sheung Wan, which is a quaint neighbourhood I love and haven’t been to for ages. I got there early and spent about half an hour wandering around, soaking the atmosphere of the old dried seafood shops which are now interspersed with small trendy cafes. It is an area I’ve always want to live in but I now realise would be a terrible idea with children – while the neighbourhood has a lot of character, the buildings are old and don’t have any of the play facilities our new estate in the boondocks does.

After the class, I had lunch in one of the little cafes I had scoped out before. A very yummy spaghetti in spicy clam sauce with lychee iced tea and friendly service. Having resolved not to go to Indiathis year, at least for a long trip, gives me the freedom to take these minibreaks and indulge my interests. I had been in a bit of a funk mentally for a couple of days before that class and it really helped put the brakes on the brooding.

When I went home, even V admitted my folder looked pretty nice. I’m not the neatest or most artistic person but I think with scrapbooking a rough-edged feel is okay. For the past year or so, I’ve been working rather ineptly on an album chronicling Benji’s first year, using cards, wrapping paper, ribbons, postcards etc. that people gave me when he was born in addition to photographs. I wish I had done this class before I had started that album, but I’m glad to be almost done with it and gearing up – to V’s chagrin (“are you ever going to finish this” he moans occasionally) – to starting a new one.

What’s your latest hobby? Does it help you destress?

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