This is your life book ideas


There are a number of different books and methods you can use to create a This is Your Life book or a Memory book, so here are some of them. 

Use a photo album

You could use a photo album where you use photo corners to stick your photos in.  They can be a bit fiddly, but I've found you can usually swap photos of the same size around afterwards if you choose to do so.

You could also use a photo album which has slip in pages - that is to say you slip your photo into the page. 

Use a scrapbook

I think of these as being more informal.   When we used to go on holiday as kids, we'd do a mini project about the country we were going to - we'd find a map and draw it (no computers in those days), write a bit about the geography and history, things to do, animals to see, famous people who lived there, facts about it (language spoken, national dress, the national flag and so on).   It was a great way to develop a natural curiosity about different countries and people and to learn more about geography.  (And it kept us wonderfully quiet on those rainy days in the holidays.)

Create a photo book

You could also create a photo book which is then printed off and sent to you. You usually do this by uploading your photos onto a website which gives you the facility to create a book of the size you need.  

One of the great things about these is that you can usually order more than one copy, so that you give one to the recipeint and perhaps one for yourself or yourself and your siblings and their family so you all have something to cherish your loved one's life with.  Do plan this out well - you can't add extra pages to the finished version, so you need to be particularly attentive to what you intend to put into your book and what order you'll put it in.  

Whatever you do, get somebody else who is good at spelling, grammar and punctuation to check your work - it's vital as it's easy to get your fingers in a muddle when typing in all the excitement!    

When we did my mother's 70th birthday album, which took ages but was very well worth the effort, we used a photo album with corners.   They were much like the ones she used to do of family holidays in the days when you took photos, then took the film into the developer when you got back before you could lose it, and then went to pick them up several days later to find you'd had your finger over the lense in half of them.  Mum used to create a photo album of all our family holidays and they have given us lots of pleasure looking back over them.   She used to write short titles and notes by some of the photos.  

And of course you can have a think about what you want your creation - in whatever form it comes - to cover.  Do you want it to show the events of the celebrations of a special birthday e.g. a 70th birthday party, or do you want it to cover all the recipient's life, or both the life and party?  You can find a list of things you could include here

Don't get too hung up on having a Red Book

The This is Your Life Red book idea follows the "This is your life" series with Michael Aspel, in which he surprised famous people, armed with a red book going back through the history of their life.  The programme followed the book through from the start of their lives with photos of them as babies, children, teenagers, growing up into adults and then the people in their lives as well. And many of these people came onto the programme and said a few good words about the famous person the programme was about.   It was a great format, which enabled everyone to learn a lot about the person on the show.  And one of the most well known aspects of it was the red book Aspel carried with him and referred to throughout the programe.

When we started to plan my mother's 70th birthday book, we tried and tried to find a red photo album to do it in, but actually, red isn't really her colour and in the end we plumped for a very nice photo album which was an ivory pinky colour from Boots.  It was absolutely the right thing to do.  So don't get too caught up on the "it must be red" theme.   


Snapfish has a range of photobooks of all sizes, themes and layouts to choose from!


How about a canvas print from Snapfish?
How about a canvas print from Snapfish?

Plan it out!

What do you want your book to cover?  What sort of time scale?  Do you want more emphasis to go on one aspect or time of the recipient's life than the rest?

If you're buying an album or scrapbook and sticking things in, place everything as you think it might go before and then give yourself a day or so to review what you've put where.   Does it flow naturally?  Have you added words or comments?  Do you need to?   

Work out what you're going to put where with a photo book as well.  You could work on what will go on which page by planning with a pen and paper first.  

Different formats may suit different occasions and people.   For my folks 25th wedding anniversary, I did an ABC of love - A is for adoration, B is for besotted, C is for caring etc.  So there were 26 photos and captions, one for each letter of the alphabet in an A4 photo book.  It worked well and they were delighted with it.  I spaced the photos out so they started with pictures from their wedding day and went right up to the present day, covering parenthood, family (including pets, of course), adventures, travel, friends, homes etc etc.   

My mother's 70th had more pages - far more - and I wanted her to be able to keep adding so a phtoo album you stick things into was the perfect solution, leaving blank pages at the end for her to add to.