How to begin again

How to begin again

The passing of time. It still catches me by surprise, even though it's what makes us. Sometimes the rawness of life, the growing pains of my four-year-old's legs or the changes in my toddler as he is becoming such a little boy now, startles me to the point that I just need a second to take it all in. And now, just like that, it's my thirty-seventh birthday next week. Thirty-seven! So much has happened in the last twelve months, I have felt a need to catch my breath, slow down and take stock.

Since my last birthday, I had my third baby, who is now eight months, and I also created this little world that you're in right now, Our Story Time. I took it from an idea of a beautiful world full of imaginative creations, an idea floating in my head, and managed to make it real. Our Story Time is only six months old itself and is still just beginning but I'm quietly astonished at the way it is unfolding, at the promises it hides. Our Story Time is a place to come to to be inspired, to escape your every day, and this blog is a huge part of that. I never dreamt that I could be brave enough to start my own creative business. And so I thought I'd share my journey with you, a journey I am still on but am so excited about taking.

So settle in. Gather near. This is the story of how I began again, and how if you want to, you can too. 

The best calming music for children: five favourite singers for easier, calmer bedtimes

The best calming music for children: five favourite singers for easier, calmer bedtimes

Last year on holiday, my middle child, then the youngest, awoke frightened in the middle of an inky, dark hot night. Even the ocean was painfully still, barely audible though it was only yards from our windows. The air didn't move at all. It hung thick and heavy and stale over all of us. I was heavily pregnant at the time.

And then I heard him, my little one - not just a cry, but a long doleful wail, the kind that makes you instantly start, the kind that immediately brings forth panic to your throat, the urge to run to them. Unsettled, unsure of his new surroundings, my poor hot little boy howled like a lost lion cub. My husband went to him and scooped him up, brought him to our room, laid him in our bed. And so he lay there, soft limbs clammy and kicking, his golden sugar-spun hair sweaty, crying still. I remember opening the windows, the ocean lolling somewhere in the vast dark, but it made no difference.

After what felt like hours, though I'm sure now it wasn't so long, I scrambled for my phone. I scrolled, stopping and starting badly sung children's songs which didn't help the situation at all, but then stopped at what sounded like gentle soft whispering, which turned into an oddly beautiful version of Twinkle Twinkle.

His howls faded to whimpers, and finally, finally, he rolled over, curled into me and slept. We ended up doing this every night for a long time after, long after we returned home. He'd simply ask for his lullabies and then he'd finally - finally fall asleep.  

How to fall in love with your home (when it feels like it's not working for you)

How to fall in love with your home (when it feels like it's not working for you)

There was a moment earlier this week when the clouds shifted and dipped in the sky and all at once, sunlight broke through all of the windows, like a mermaid's dive piercing an endless ocean.

I was sat on my love seat sofa holding my baby at the time, my hair tickling his little face to make him laugh, and even though my gaze was lowered towards him, I felt something change. For a few moments, with the sun high in the sky, the walls and the floors glowed like honey and I looked up. All of a sudden, with my baby on my knee I felt something I hadn't felt in a long time. I felt overwhelmingly in love with our home. Sunlight slanting through the skylight, bouncing through the backdoors. The shadows of moving clouds gently passing over the walls like a soft hand brushing a forehead. The feeling of warmth.

It felt like, well, home. It felt so good to be here.

I hadn't felt this way for a long time

A mother's day message from our story time

 handmade dolls | curious gifts | gorgeous children's toys | ourstorytime.co.uk

SHOP DOLLS

This Mother's Day at Our Story Time, take a moment to remember and treasure the magic of motherhood. Because it is all too easy to forget.

Yes, it is all too easy to forget those treasured moments that make your heart full. When you are exhausted from the day-to-day, the to-do lists and the chores, you lose sight of all the things you promised yourself you'd never forget. Like how your baby's face lit up whenever you walked into a room, puddle-drop eyes following your every move and it made you feel golden. No one had ever looked at you like that before, you thought. Like how your baby began to chase shadows across the floor, earnestly perplexed and amazed by this wondrous thing called the sun, dropping its light through the windows. You forget how you watched, how you promised you'd remember this always. You forget what it felt like, when your baby used to stroke your face, reach up for your hair. You forget that you wanted it to last forever.

 handmade dolls | curious gifts | gorgeous children's toys | ourstorytime.co.uk

Shop dolls

When you take a moment to remember, then that's when you realise that these small people who once depended on you can teach you so much more than you could probably ever teach them in return. That they show you yourself. That they show you the wonder in all the little things that grown-ups don't notice anymore. And that's when you realise that motherhood hasn't broken you at all. It has filled your heart with love and life instead at a time when you probably needed it so much. And that's when you felt forever grateful to your children for simply being them. For simply showing you who you could be, when you least expected it.  

Happy Mother's Day to all of you.

Six inspiring cosy corners and little nooks

Six inspiring cosy corners and little nooks

story time with my little boys is my favourite part of the day. it's that quiet time just before bed when the children are warm and bathed and smell like clementines and sweet lavender and milk and all the tantrums and tensions of the day are forgotten as we lose ourselves in stories. they have their own little cosy corner, and it's as if they calm down whenever we snuggle up in there.

How to make perfect hot chocolate

How to make perfect hot chocolate

When I was a little girl, I used to have the strangest phobia of cold milk and breakfast. I never drank it, never ate it, much to my mother's despair. my late father found a way around it though: every morning he made me a cup of hot chocolate, milky and warm. the only thing i'd agree to, clever child that I was.

Every day he did this for me, mixing up my hot chocolate in my mug. every single day, until i was well into my teens.

now that i am a parent myself, i see that there was so much love and patience in that small act of parental kindness. he never once chided me for being picky or difficult. he never made out like he was giving in or fed up. he simply made the one thing he knew his daughter liked. he found a way to make those cold, dark mornings, when i had to travel an hour and a half one way just to get to school, a little easier.