We step into the Hobbycraft store in Stevenage and are inundated by hundreds of craft products and colourful kits displayed around the entrance and reaching all the way down the length of the store. Every craft you can think of is carefully laid out from clay modelling to metal stamping, from mosaic kits to paper crafts.

“So this is how we spent our time before the age of computers and social media!’ I say to my husband.

I’m pleased that there are over 90 stores across the UK and the sales assistant tells me that they’re expanding at an average rate of about three shops a year. That can only mean that there are thousands of hobbyists out there and that learning new creative skills is on the rise.

My husband goes off, methodically weaving through each aisle while I’m immediately lured by festive wooden stamps and kits to make your own advent stocking. As I slowly make my way down the store, I’m drawn to fluffy pom pom craft packs and shimmering Christmas paper sets. My daughter isn’t sure who to follow, then decides to accompany me as she knows that eventually she’ll be directing me to things I’ll have missed.

I spot a sequin art kit that transports me back to childhood and see myself sitting at a large dining table on a Saturday morning with many coloured sequins in carefully colour coded piles, my little fingertips covered in glue as I placed each pink or purple sequin as closely as I could to the other.

My teenage daughter points out a painting by numbers kit and smiles at the Play-doh hair studio that both take her back a decade. I remember her delight when carefully removing the two halves of a latex mould to discover that we’d made a perfect plaster of Paris model of Peter Rabbit ready to paint and varnish.

Towards the back of the store are regimentally assembled tiny pots of Humbrol enamel paints, transporting me back to our living room in the late 1970s, watching my brother treating the coffee table like a work bench filled with small components from his Airfix kit, while painstakingly applying fine brush strokes to his model Spitfire.

It’s a spacious store with a children’s craft zone on the mezzanine floor. As it’s half term there’s a workshop going on this morning and it’s unexpectedly quiet as the children are being given direction and concentrating. I eventually find my husband with a basket. He has reached new heights of geekdom with a small collection of tray sorters for his 500 jigsaw puzzle pieces! I love his enthusiasm as he explains how he’ll start by putting the edge pieces in one tray then separate off specific colours.

I’d love to find a small sequin art kit in my stocking this year and spend some time on Boxing Day making something sparkly. I think I might revisit my enjoyment of calligraphy too, as I used to attend a class on Fridays while on maternity leave all those years ago. I’ve spotted a ‘Manuscript Master class’, a 21-piece set that claims to ‘take your calligraphy skills to the next level’.

I’ve enjoyed this retail experience and would encourage anybody to consider taking up a new craft, to get away from their smartphones and computers and spend a mere fifteen minutes a day nurturing the right hemisphere of their brains, however alien that may feel!