My Heart

This picture book is a gentle journey with a little girl through different emotional states, honouring them all & highlighting how they come & go, just as day follows night. It is a poem on the heart, providing a multitude of metaphors to help explore our inner worlds. We navigate a path through light & shade, experiencing how it can feel when our hearts are open or closed, broken, or mending & growing. Here is an invitation to listen inward with kindness & to look outwards, with optimism & a sense of belonging.  

We learn that some days, the little girl’s heart is a fence between her & the world & she looks so small & alone. This image reminds me of many of the children that I have worked with in therapy, where the impact of trauma has confused their inner voice & shaken their belief in themselves & the caring adults around them. These are the children who, because they are hurting so much, have lost their capacity to experience comfort, curiosity & joy, as they are in defensive states so much of the time. They are terrified of listening to their minds or hearts, or of being open to the influence of relationships, as this would make them vulnerable to the pain of hurt & rejection again.

click here to read more

Moffle Story Mountain

Here is a Moffle Story Mountain to inspire you to create some stories together!

Start at the beginning – who is your main character & where are they?

Then comes the build-up – what is happening & why? What does the main character want? What are the problems or obstacles in the way?

Followed by the climax – what happens to make things get worse? How can your character be strong and steady like a mountain? How do they feel?

Then the resolution – What choices does your character make? How do they overcome the problem they faced?

Lastly, the ending – how does it end? What does your character learn?

You can add to the fun & creativity using story spoons. The Moffle story spoons are the characters from Tippy Moffle’s Mirror, but you can create any characters you want to. The only limits are you & your child’s imagination & concentration span. You can improvise & role play – ask questions about what the characters might be feeling or thinking & create dialogues between them.

We all have a story to tell & as Phillip Pullman says, ‘After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world’.

My Two Forever Dads

My Two Forever Dads

Bryony Irving (2019)

This story follows a little girl & her 2 dads through the first 2000 great days of their adoption.  Her new parents are there to comfort her through the sadness of leaving old carers; healing hurts; dealing with tricky behaviour & celebrating successes. The rhyming text creates a playfulness & delight in the journey, highlighting the joys & challenges of family life & the beautiful rainbow of feelings that go with it. Here is wonderful affirmation that parenthood is indeed in the love, not in the blood.

This is just one in Bryony’s series celebrating LGBTQ+ adoption, each written for one of the many children she has worked with over the past 20 years. It’s a sobering thought that this time span is longer than LGBTQ+ adoption has been enshrined in UK law, which only came into force in 2005.

click here to read more

BBC Newcastle Radio Interview

Listen to Mikenda & Sara chatting with Gilly Hope from BBC Radio Newcastle, about our work in mental health & Sara’s vision to open accessible mental health centres across the UK for children & adults. The Moffles are supporting Sara Young’s Community Interest Company, Changing Minds with Pick Up a Penny, helping to raise the profile through advertising & donating some proceeds from the sale of Tippy Moffle’s Mirror.

Grandpa’s Gift

A little boy mourns the old home he has left behind & the world seems very grey. But grandpa walks beside him & holds his hand. They enter a charity shop, with boxes full of old things waiting to be seen with new eyes. Grandpa shows him a dull looking rock, but inside it are crystals that shine with a thousand stars. Together they continue to explore the city & all the while, the boy can feel the rock, safe in his pocket. A reminder that magic can be found in the most ordinary of places, & that life feels lighter when we have hope.

Moving house, feeling sadness for what is left behind & adapting to new places can be hard for any child. How much more so, for a child with developmental trauma, who has had multiple losses in the past? Repeated exposure to trauma in early life can lead to hypersensitivity in the nervous system & brain for signs of danger & this can continue even when a child is safe in a new home. Learning to trust & to be open to relationships & the outside world, is a frightening prospect for a child who has been let down in the past, & who may have had repeated moves in the care system.

click here to read more

Mosaic Moffles

We found some patterned discs that we think are beautiful for creating mosaic Moffles & exploring emotions or feelings together. Here’s a Moffle stencil – if you don’t have mosaic tiles, fill it with anything shiny & bright – buttons, flowers, stones – or use colouring pens or paint. The invitation is to choose a colour for each emotion & think about where the Moffle might feel it in its body.

Children who have lived with neglect & trauma in their early lives have often missed out on good enough support to make sense of their thoughts & feelings. To learn the words for how they are feeling & to have the opportunity to talk about them. Emotional articulacy is not innate, it is a skill that needs to be practiced, within caring relationships.

Oh No, George!

George is a bouncy dog, full of good intentions but little self-control.  His owner, Harris, leaves him home alone & hopes for the best, with disastrous results! George encounters all the things that he loves – cake, dirt, & chasing the cat. Later, when George is full of remorse, Harris forgives him & suggests a nice walk together. The colours are bold & the illustrations are witty. Repeating phrases – ‘What will George do?’ & ‘Oh no, George!’ allow for discussion about motives & behaviour in a fun & safe way. A sweet story with themes of messing up, making amends & forgiveness. 

Babies & small children learn self-regulation & pro-social behaviours, through the nurturing & co-regulation provided by their parents & carers. The average toddler is corrected by their parent on average once every 7 minutes. The first socialisation emotion that children learn is guilt, by around 3 years old. We help toddlers with feelings of shame when they are disciplined by re-engaging with them quickly. A securely attached child is motivated to get back into good relationships & to think about how to make things better.

click here to read more

Moffle Sun Catchers

We love the spring sunshine & the lighter days so much, we decided to celebrate & make some colourful Moffle Sun Catchers! 

You can draw your own Moffle template for your suncatcher, or copy the ones shown here.

We printed the template onto black card & then cut round the Moffle with scissors. Then we cut out & stuck different pieces of coloured acetate to the back of our Moffle with craft glue. If you don’t have acetate, coloured tissue paper works just as well. When the glue is dry, you can make a small hole in the top of your sun catcher, to thread with string.  Hang your lovely Moffle in your favourite window spot to brighten your day!

Send us some pictures – we would love to see your beautiful Moffles.

Moffles Noughts and Crosses

Why not play Moffle’s emotions noughts & crosses?

You can find a range of Moffle emotions & feelings cards to use on the website, free to download, or get the pens out & create some Moffles of your own!

  1. Markers: Use the traditional O’s & X’s, or any other small markers of your choice (for example, Lego bricks, coloured paper counters, shells or pebbles)
  2. Each time you have a go & place your marker on a square, choose to talk about the feeling in the square; name a time you had that feeling, or act it out.
  3. You can add your own rules to make the game feel as safe & comfortable as your child needs.

For example, you might make some ‘pass’ cards, & let your child know that if they just want to place their marker & not explore the feeling, that’s fine. Or if they want to see or hear you talk about it first, that’s fine too. Your child might need lots of pass cards to start with & then see if they need less over time, or on different days.

Choose different feelings cards for different rounds – if there are feelings you know your child really finds difficult, you might want to limit those or not use them early on in the game.Remember the most important part of the game is for your child to experience enjoying playing it with you. Only keep it up as long as your child is engaged in it with you & having fun. For some little ones who struggle with feelings, this might not be for very long! Let them know that this is ok & you can play again if they want to another time. Your relationship & connection with them is always more important than the game.