Happily ever after

“Kiss me and I’ll turn into a prince. Then we can get married and you can be a princess,” said the toad.

“I don’t want to be a princess and I don’t want to marry a prince!” exclaimed Hope. ” But I do need a horse… ”

With a swish of her wand, the Frog Prince grew tall and sleek, with a flowing black mane and jet black skin.

 “You make a pretty pony!” Hope beamed. The frog prince snorted and stamped his foot. “Oh, shush,’ replied Hope. “I’ll restore you to your princely glory. But first I need you to take me somewhere.” She waved her wand above her head. Her body grew and her wings disappeared. She climbed onto the Frog prince and whispered into his ear, “Where we’re going, I need to be human, and I need your speed.”

A lot of traditional children’s stories end with a ‘happily ever after’, which is often the main female lead marry a prince of some sort.

While this was the only aspiration offered to girls in centuries gone by, it is now outdated and patronising.

The stories that we read with our very young children help shape their brains, beliefs and values. With these traditional stories, are we subtly programming our little girls to believe that happiness lies in marrying their prince?

I don’t mind reading them, I think they are part of our historic culture. My daughter loves these stories and already aspires to get married!😱 🤪However, these stories need to be counter balanced with stories of strong female characters who’s happily ever afters don’t involve being rescued or getting married. I struggle to find a huge variety of such stories.

If you have any story book recommendations to inspire little girls, please leave them in the comments!

Fairy stories

I loved fairy stories when I was a child: Enchanted worlds filled with magic; the battle between good and evil; places where anything was possible and my imagination could run free.

I read every fairy story ever written – quite a claim I know – but I’m sure I did.

I went through phase of being obsessed with actual fairies. I loved their miniature worlds, where ordinary objects and places became things of awe and wonder. A walk in the woods or the bottom of my garden became filled with fairy possibilities of how they lived, what they did, who they spent their time with.

When lockdown began, I was seriously ill and just out of hospital. It took a month to be strong enough to venture out for a walk in local woodland. And when I did I was greeted with a sea of bluebells. It was beautiful and enchanting. I was transported back to my childhood, back to fairy stories and fairy gardens, to a place where magical things happened.

These woods inspired me. I was giddy with excitement as I waded through bluebells and foliage, looking for tiny places where fairies might be. There, I was transported back to my childhood, creating miniature worlds with my imagination, surrounded by nature, which was so soothing during such a difficult time.

Being unable to go anywhere beside the woods over the past few months, I have focused on creating these fairy pictures. From capturing the pictures to editing the details, the creative process is always cathartic.

I’ve also learnt new editing skills along the way. Trying a different type of image requires a different creative process and I love learning new tricks.

More to come on editing soon.

The Art of Story Telling

I love books: old ones; new ones; fact; fiction. I love the smell of books and the way they feel. My shelves are full of books. Some I’ve read many times, some I’m waiting to read, some books I may never read, but I want to have them anyway.

We are surrounded by narratives. Stories from our past, unfolding in our present and projected into our futures. Stories of people we know. Stories of people we follow. Stories on TV. Stories seen from our windows.

As Humans, we have been telling stories for millennia. They exist in our DNA, past down from our ancestors.

The Art of Storytelling is the images created by the narratives we hold. Narratives buried deep and often long forgotten, but for an image, or a feeling, which remains.

The stories that touch my soul are the stories of my childhood. Children’s stories. They are pure escapism. A place of solace where my shy, socially anxious inner child can be whoever, and do whatever, she can imagine.

What are the stories that touch your soul and why?