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Secret life

“My craft desk is my happy place”

Optometrist and AOP interim clinical adviser, Roshni Kanabar, on helping people to preserve special memories through her bespoke scrapbooks

book cover
Roshni Kanabar

When my sister was 21, I made her a scrapbook for her birthday. I thought it was so nice to put your memories all into one book and show someone how much you care for them. That was the first scrapbook I ever made.

My mum, who is a dispensing optician, has a cooking blog. She often gets press tickets to events and I ended up going to a craft show with her in London. I was absolutely fascinated. I bought all my supplies and since then I have been making things.

It’s really important that each scrapbook is perfect. This is a sentimental gift for someone


When I was a locum, I made a travel scrapbook for one of the ladies I was working with. My other colleagues started saying they wanted one too, so I started making more scrapbooks and it just grew.

A lot of the orders are through Etsy. There are also orders through family and friends as well as word of mouth. I would say in total, I have made around 50 scrapbooks. I have had quite a few orders from the US and an order from Germany.

Roshni Kanabar
Optometrist and AOP interim clinical adviser Roshni Kanabar’s craft desk

It doesn’t feel like work. I find it really relaxing – it is like mindfulness. Over the years, I have learned what techniques to use and what materials work well. My craft desk is my happy place.

It’s really important that each scrapbook is perfect. This is a sentimental gift for someone. They are supporting my small business and when you do a good job they recommend it to someone else.

I am always thinking of new designs. Let’s say I am in the supermarket and I see a nice pattern – I will think, ‘Oh maybe I could create a scrapbook with a similar design.’ I have a list on my phone of around 20 different scrapbooks that I want to make. I had an idea in the middle of the night recently and I thought I had better write it down or else I would forget it.

During lockdown, I have been filming myself crafting and putting it on YouTube. My YouTube channel has travel videos but there are also craft and cooking videos. People ask me how I have the time for it all. I am a very active person. I don’t really sit watching TV for a long period of time – I would prefer to be crafting.

To view more of Roshni Kanabar’s work, visit her Instagram @roshnikanabar or her Etsy page.

  • As told to Selina Powell.