One of the things I love most about travelling is the experiences you get to have and the memories you make.

It’s not lost on me how totally cheesy that all sounds but let’s be honest – that’s what makes travelling fun. It’s all about those feelings you leave with and those memories you make.

Over the last year, we’ve been pretty fortunate to have been on some amazing trips. Some, close by, to places like the Cotswolds and others, to further afield spots like Canada, Thailand and Hawaii.

It’s already been an epic year of adventures and we really wanted to find a way to document this in a fun and timeless way. You know, the kind you show off to every relative and guest that’ll visits.

(Trust me, after having broken a hard drive – the only one I had at the time, I’m only too wary/aware of how fragile electronic systems can get. Even Instagram stops working every so often!) 

Now, I’m well aware of photobooks (who isn’t, right?) but the thing that irks me is the quality. I’ve printed one for a friend (for her wedding) before and it was utter rubbish.

Not only had they stretched all the images (like how??? Did no one even check this before sending it out?), but the paper was also so thin and flimsy. It didn’t reflect on any of those memories that made the day so special. It was a total disaster and to be honest, it stopped me from getting photo books for the longest time. 

Then I heard about Ella (who has set up  Ella’s Books). Ella’s an illustrator and her stuff just struck a chord with me straight away! She’s gone ahead and taken things a bit further by creating some incredible (and incredibly person books) with beautiful illustrations that take your travel stories (and photos) that extra bit further.

Straight away, Ella made me fall back in love with photo albums and I knew I had to give it one more shot. I think it’s like one of those moments when you think you don’t want something and then you see it done perfectly and realise you do want it after all.

I felt like this with my first iPhone – I remember wondering why I needed a touchscreen to just call and text… “Absolutely unnecessary,” I thought. I’d had touchscreen phones in the past that didn’t allow me to do much else than call or text so the iPhone felt like an over-priced texting machine. Then I walked into the phone shop in St Andrews (I remember the exact moment) and tested the iPhone.

I found out it had apps and suddenly, that over-priced texting machine transformed into this “mini-computer’ you could do so much more with! Seeing the whole touchscreen phone done right (Apple was certainly not the first to make a touchscreen phone) suddenly made me realise how much I wanted this thing I thought I didn’t want. I left that day with a brand new iPhone and haven’t looked back since. 😀  Getting one of these photo books felt like that.

There was an initial point, of course, before seeing the final product where I still wasn’t 100% sure what it would end up like but once it arrived in the post, I was grinning from ear-to-ear at how amazing it was.

The pages are thick, rich in colour, showing off the photos we took exactly how I remember them and full of little personalisations that made me prouder than I thought I could be that we had taken these photos on our travels across the year.

Ella’s book, now MY book, sits pride of place on my coffee table… except when guests visit and whip it out to regale everyone with tales of our travels – which I’m sure they’ve probably heard multiple times by now. 😆)

Now, I don’t wanna harp on about my memories and all that cheese but I did wanna tell you why I think you take a peruse at Ella’s books yourself.

One of the things I love most about our book is that Ella does illustrations in it with influences from the destinations we’ve visit, the photos and experiences we’ve had.

Each illustration is totally unique and a work of art in itself. Typically, the front cover would be one of the photos from our travels but I loved her illustrations so much that I requested that Ella pop her illustration onto our book cover.

Her illustrations (inside and outside the book) are that extra quirk – that ‘Je ne sais quoi‘, that take it from being your average photo book and one that feels absolutely personal to you.

Oh, and Ella’s photo books aren’t mass produced – she lovingly makes each of them herself. That’s one of the biggest points that make her company so special. A lotta love, care and attention go into each book.

For me, this in itself is amazing as I feel like the problems with my first book would have been caught if it was created by a real person (rather than a mass-producing machine).

There’s also an option for hand-stitched books if you’re looking to play around with a different style, too.

I know I’m harping on now but I wanted to show you our lovely book. And just for full disclosure – I have no horse in this race. This is just something I personally used, liked and really wanted to share.

Especially so after speaking to Ella and finding out more about how she works and creates every single book. I love that she’s a small business owner and find her passion and skill so endearing. 

To find out all the options available to you (or even just to have a quick chat), check out here the official Ella’s Books website here – 😀

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