For me, one of the best parts of being a mum is passing down treasured family fairy tales and traditions.

I remember going out walking with my Mum – I must have been younger than my girls are now – when she spotted some of these pretty purple flowers peeping out from the plants on the side of the footpath (it took me nearly 40 years to discover these are actually periwinkles!).

I remember her picking one, and holding it out to me.

‘Did you know these flowers are where the fairies keep their toothbrushes?’ she asked me, and my mouth dropped open. ‘Where?’ I asked, peering under the star-shaped petals.

I watched, enthralled, as Mum broke open the flower, and carefully peeled back the petals…

Right in the very centre was a teensy stick, with a furry white crown. ‘See?’ Mum asked, ‘there’s the fairy’s toothbrush.’

I could actually picture the fairies wrapping their tiny hands around the handle, and polishing their itty-bitty teeth with the soft pillow-like tip. Can’t you?


For years – well into adulthood – I’d pick these flowers when I saw them, and peel them open to reveal the fairy toothbrush inside.

A few months ago I was walking with my girls when I spotted a cluster of periwinkles. I plucked three, and handed the girls one each, keeping one for myself. ‘When I was your age my Mummy showed me something very special about these flowers,’ I told them. ‘And before that her Daddy – your great-Grandad – told it to her.’

They watched curiously as I peeled open the bloom, just as my Mum had done for me nearly 40 years before: ‘Can you see that?’ I asked, and they crowded around, staring down into my cupped hand.

‘That’s a fairy toothbrush,’ I told them, and they both gasped.

I helped them both to open their flowers and find the toothbrush buried inside. ‘Are they really for fairies?’ they asked, and I shrugged. ‘Well, I don’t know for sure as I haven’t actually seen a fairy,’ I replied, ‘but I don’t know what else could be small enough to use them… ‘

One day they’ll realise the ‘toothbrushes’ are more a curious design of nature, rather than dental essentials for a mythical flying creature, but until that moment I plan to keep the botanical magic alive.

And one day I hope to see them plucking the purple blooms for their own children, and hear the words: ‘Did you know these flowers are where the fairies keep their toothbrushes..?’

Do you have any favourite family fairy tales or traditions? I’d love to hear them. 


  1. Oh that’s lovely, I need to hunt out some periwinkles to show my children! When I was little our bathroom was quite old and there was a hole in the wall, my Mum used to say that the Fraggles lived down there. I believed her completely!

    • So cute isn’t it? Love your Fraggle hole too! I used to LOVE Fraggle Rock, and it still makes me laugh to remember the time my mum woke me up to tell me ‘Froggle Town’ was on *eye roll*. x

  2. I LOVE that story. We can conjure magical worlds for our children if we just slow down and observe around us.

    • So true! Very easy to get caught up in the daily rush – so much more fun to stop and smell the roses (or pull apart the periwinkles…) 😉 x

  3. That’s lovely I must sow that to my daughters as they will be really exited as they are losing teeth at the moment. We quite enjoy most fairytales.

    • It really is such a cute idea – if I’m honest, there’s a tiny part of me that still believes they’re real fairy toothbrushes… 😉 x

  4. This is so lovely. I used to be told things like this. My kids make wishes on the dandelions and we do lots of different fairy stories. We make perfume from the fallen cherry blossoms x

    • Stories like these make the best childhood memories, don’t they? Love your cherry blossom perfume too – will have to remember that one for next spring! xx

  5. Awww Jax that’s such a lovely story. I love stories that pass down through the family like this, so special xx

    • It’s one of my all-time favourite memories of my mum – I really hope the girls remember it when just as well when they grow up. xx

  6. Awww that is lovely, Eliza is obsessed with fairies and she would love this

    • You definitely need to show her this! I still love finding them, and I’m 44… 😉 x

  7. That is such a sweet fairy tale! I don’t really have anything that I can pass on to my kids. We do have family history of some cool things that we will share as our kids get older.

    • You’ll just have to make your own traditions, that your kids can pass down! 😉 x

  8. What a lovely, magical story! I can totally see why you’d believe they were fairy tooth brushes hehe! My mum and dad used to make up all kinds of things like this, we loved it x

  9. This is SO sweet!! I am so going to show my little ones this. I’m sure I do have have some fairy tales like this, but I can’t think on the spot. :/ I’ll let you know if I remember!!

    • It really is one of my favourite memories from childhood – so magical! x

  10. These are really lovely, I honestly can’t remember any family fairy tales from when I was young.

  11. Popping over from #TriumphantTales to say Hi.
    That’s lovely and such a great story to share with your children and pass down to further generations.

    • So cute, isn’t it? I still love the story, and I’m 44! 😉 x

  12. How adorable is this story? I love traditions being passed down from generations! My step mum used to feel our tummys when we said we were full and told us she could feel space for a few more mouthfuls getting us to eat more. I plan on doing that as it’s definitely a better way to get it done then getting annoyed at them!
    Thank you for sharing this cute tradition with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

    • Haha – that’s a good one! I love family sayings too: whenever I’d say ‘I’m hungry’ my Dad would reply: ‘Hi hungry, I’m pleased to meet you!’ Used to drive me NUTS, but I say it to my girls all the time now. 😉 x

  13. Rebecca Smith - May 17, 2017 reply

    Oh that is such a lovely tradition! We’ve got a couple of things that we tell Jack that we were told by our parents

  14. We have a few cooking traditions like our Special Apple Pie baked for every family gathering 🙂

  15. This is adorable, we had a fair move in with us a few weeks ago – her door is outside the little man’s bedroom – I need to find me some Periwinkles! Thank you for linking up to #TriumphantTales, hope to see you again on Tuesday 🙂

    • Nice! We found a fairy circle in our back garden the other day too – it was a perfect ring of daisies. We suspect it’s where they hold their moonlight fairy meetings. 😉 x

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