"When you cuddle, you feel safe."*

*said Izzie, aged 7. 

For new readers, Izzie is my eldest niece.  She came out with this little gem, conversationally, as we snuggled under the covers last time she stayed over.  I think she was a bit scared, spending the night in a creeky old cottage, and these words of wisdom were casually imparted as she lined up a small army of cuddly toys, on the pillow next to her.

My husband had, kindly, moved into the spare room for the night so that Izzie and I could share a bed.  All I can say, after sharing a bed with Izzie for the night, is that I can understand why sleep deprivation is considered a form of torture. Several times, just as I was about to drop off, I had a sharp jab in the ribs or a stage-whispered "Auntie Nicki, are you asleep?".  Eventually, I was asked to make up a story.  I told her I would if she just closed her eyes.  

Making up a story sounded like a doddle to me.  I write short stories and make up little children's tales in my head all of the time.  But at 10pm after a day of intense activity with aforementioned 7 year old, my tired mind was blank.  I gingerly started the story of Princess Clara who lived with her mummy and daddy in a beautiful, crooked, stone castle... "What colour was Princess Clara's hair, Auntie Nicki?" My response - long dark hair - satisfied the brunette little girl next to me for a few seconds.  Until I mentioned Princess Clara's long pink gown and sparkly pink shoes.  "They sound lovely Auntie Nicki.... I have a pair of blue sparkly shoes you know.  They're my party shoes..." And on it went.  The story became a conversation with Izzie constantly interrupting to question a detail ("I thought you said his coat was blue?") change the name of a servant or the words of a spell.  Telling her to close her eyes as I recited the story only led to the pair of us trying to secretly peer at each other with one eye squinted open, quickly closing it as we spotted the other spying.  Iz fell into an exhausted slumber at 10:30pm and I slept fitfully for the rest of the night waking on the hour to check that she was still breathing.  This, I remind myself, is precisely why I would make a rubbish (and exhausted) mother.

Those words about cuddling have been playing on my mind ever since, though.  You really do feel safe when you cuddle.  Giving someone a long, tight, hug during their panic attack can be a real help (it is for me).  When I was ill with anxiety and depression last year, my counsellor recommended I bought a teddy bear, for cuddles when there was no one around to administer them.  On the basis that I have a very placid and tolerant dog at home, I didn't buy a bear but if I had, I'd have chosen one of the ones I now stock in the shop. 

Pop over and have a look - perfect for big or small children and uber-snuggly.  I have more Maileg toys coming soon, complete with pyjamas and other, fancier, outfits.  My nieces give me the best excuse to stock them.  Last weekend, when the Maileg order had just come in, Izzie (7) chose the large fluffy bunny and Ellie (20 months) chose the tiny mouse in knickers.  Truffle the pig is my favourite! 

Have a lovely weekend and thanks for popping by.