An Ode to the Humble Duvet
Duvets are bedtime and bedtime is about putting the rest of our day behind us, remembering the good moments, maybe trying to talk through things that have been hard, but it’s always a time of love and closeness and a little bit of magic as I help my children gently travel into the world of sleep. I wanted to share why I find duvets such a special part of childhood and how that helped inspire the idea for Forivor right back in the beginning.
I’ll share a bit about my family’s bedtime routines below but I’m very aware that parenting and kids bedtimes is an endlessly talked about subject that can be really divisive so this is just in case it's of interest, not a prescriptive idea of what you should be doing.
In 2012, when I thought up Forivor, I didn’t have children of my own but fast forward 12 years and I have a 9 year old daughter Remie and a 5 year old son Taryn. We have been product testing Forivor since they were both tiny. Because I co-slept with both of my children until they were at least three years old (and still do for some of the night - we’re a musical beds kind of family) - I calculate roughly that is over 3000 bedtimes using our Forivor duvets to date.
It’s no exaggeration to say that every single night when I climb into bed with each of my kids to read their bedtime story, as we snuggle down, embark on a literary adventure, chat about our days, tell each other exactly how enormous our love for each other is - I almost always take a moment to enjoy the beauty of Alice’s illustrations that we are lucky enough to wrap ourselves up in.
I had the idea for Forivor in that strange semi-lucid moment between being asleep and being awake. It was back in 2012 and I had not long returned from an overland trip from London to Hong Kong. My first goddaughter Coco had recently turned four and I had taken a little monkey teddy on my trip with me and was planning to write a story about its adventure for her. I wrote plenty of drafts of that story which I never actually finished, sorry Coco, but in the process of writing the story I spent a lot of time thinking about bedtime and storytelling.
At the time I was also working at the Environmental Justice Foundation, a small charity campaigning on environmental security as a basic human right and the reason I ended up working there was because I was passionate (and still am) about sustainable fashion and in particular cotton production. I was having a whole load of thoughts about trying to increase the market share of organic cotton (and how bedding would be a great tool for that), reducing screen time, promoting storytelling, nurturing a passion for nature in children and encouraging creativity. Forivor was born out of a melding of all those thoughts in my sometimes pretty busy brain.
While I was thinking all these jumbled thoughts which eventually became the concept for Forivor, I was remembering my own childhood and how much I loved the slightly garish green and pink and yellow lion jungle themed bedding I had so carefully chosen. I grew up in a house without electricity under the Black Mountains in Herefordshire and although it was a small house without much personal space (inside at least) I remember how important my bed was as my own space. I remember vividly making an elaborate and not very practical canopy for my bed out of an old red velvet curtain. Suffice to say these memories made me think that our childhood beds, bedrooms and bedtimes leave a lasting impression on us as we turn into adults. What better time to gently stimulate a child’s imagination and curiosity with bedding that teaches them about our natural world and encourages them to imagine their own adventures to take with them as they sleep. I love to imagine that one day there may be adults out there in the world who will remember the magic of their childhood rooms and bedtimes, and in that memory, their bedding is Forivor. That’s why I often say, particularly to grandparents, what a wonderful gift our duvets are as they are a daily connection to a very special and memorable moment in a child’s life.
Our Bedtime Routine
Our Bedtime Routine
In the process of writing this blog, it somehow dawned on me how much my kids bedtime routine can really affect my bedtime routine and vice versa. I almost always need a bit of quiet alone time regardless of what time it is, so if they get to bed a bit too late I can also end up having a late night. This can sometimes result in me falling asleep with Taryn or Remie or both the next night which means once i’ve realised (usually an hour later) that i’ve fallen asleep i’m then too awake to sleep again for a while. If i’m tired at their bedtimes I also don’t enjoy their bedtimes as much which is frustrating as its actually one of my favourite parts of our family routine. So I suppose what i’m saying is that I know for my kids bedtimes to work well, I need to be well rested so taking care of my own sleep is very important!
- I try to think about what we are doing in the run up to bedtime if we can. Nothing too stimulating although sometimes after a long day of school I let them watch a bit of TV but in an ideal world I like to keep it to a minimum and keep it as a treat. Sometimes I fail miserably at this, sometimes I feel like I’m doing really well. I think that’s just life as a busy working parent.
- Its harder in winter but I really like to get the kids outside after school for a bit - a walk or a play in the garden. And writing this is a real reminder for me to try harder at that.
- I see dinnertime as a precursor to bedtime. No matter what, we almost always sit down as a family to eat dinner together. It’s sometimes hectic and I get fed up fairly regularly of people not coming to the dinner table but somehow we all do manage to sit down together and share a meal - I almost always get asked for pudding but I try to avoid anything too sweet before bed as I think that’s too stimulating so usually its a ‘no’ or a bowl of yoghurt with a little honey or a date for Taryn.
- After dinner a little playtime and then its bath time - ideally a few nights a week with some Epsom salts or magnesium flakes - the kids and I used to all be in the bath together but our bath got smaller and our children got bigger so I tend to get in first while its hottest and then they get in together and have a little play while I get dressed and get their toothbrushes and pyjamas ready. Bath salts - particularly magnesium are a great relaxant and can really promote good sleep for everyone - you need quite a lot which is why I tend to share the bath with my kids so we all get the benefit and it also saves water. Its also a great way for your body to absorb magnesium if you use magnesium flakes.
- Taryn (my 5 year old) is first to bed so we clamber in and sit in his bed together to read two or three bedtime stories, cuddled up in our Forivor bedding and maybe spotting a character or two as we settle into bed. We have a box of books by his bed but I try to refresh it and move books from other places in the house as otherwise he would ask for the same book for months on end! Our current favourites are ‘Where the Wild things Are’, a numbers book whose name i can’t remember but i’m currently very bored of and Oi Duck Billed Platypus.
- For the last few months after we’ve read a few books, it’s time for Daddy to come and ‘find’ Taryn in bed. I resisted this for ages as I thought it got him too excited but it’s become such a part of the routine now he won’t go to sleep without it so we both hide under the covers and wait to be found - in exactly the same place every night of course!
- Then it's time for a little chat and a sleep - it's the time when I want to tell my children exactly how much I love them, check they are happy little humans and for Taryn, cuddle him until he gently drifts off to sleep. He’s still in the phase where this is quite quick but I remember well when Remie started to take a little longer to go to sleep and I would find myself frustrated at how long it was taking so these days I read Remie some of her book and then I cuddle her until I can tell she is very nearly asleep, tell her she has one more minute of cuddle time and as long as she is happy I slip out the bed and let her finish drifting off. I stopped cuddling her all the way to sleep when I realised me moving once she was already asleep woke her up and then she struggled to get back to sleep. She’s a much lighter sleeper than Taryn who once he goes he’s pretty steadily asleep for a few hours.
- At the moment we are in a pattern of them both waking up at some point in the night and wanting to get into my bed - sometimes I resist this and sometimes I embrace it - I think that depends on just how rested I feel in myself. I know I need to be better at my own bedtimes and getting to bed earlier so that’s something I want to work on this year. I both love them being in my bed and being surrounded by all that cuddly love and crave sleeping on my own or even with my husband who tends to disappear off once the kids arrive to make room. Especially because there is usually a canine baby at the foot of the bed and sometimes a feline or two as well.