Welcome to Just For You Stories: the place where you can commission an award winning Poem/Story/Audio CD as unique as the little ones that love them
10 hours left to get 15% off the following: Can also buy as Gift Vouchers...
All prices inclusive of postage to UK Mainland. Contact justforyoustories@gmail.com or comment on the post to get discount.

Bespoke Name Poem - Emailed to print and frame yourself £10
                               - Printed and frame yourself £15
                               - Framed with mount and black frame £20
                               - Framed with mount and white frame £23

Bespoke Audio CD     - Fully personalised label and cover £25

Bespoke Children's Story:

                              - Emailed to print and frame yourself £20
                              - Printed, un-illustrated to frame yourself £25
                              - Un- illustrated, framed with mount and black
                                frame £34. 50
                              - Letter Design B&W, Framed with mount and
                                black frame £ 36.95
                              - Letter Design B&W, Framed with mount and
                                white frame £ 39.95
                              - Letter Design Colour Font, framed with
                                mount and black frame £37.50
                              - Letter Design Colour Font, framed with
                                mount and white frame £40.50
                              - Letter Design Colour background,
                                framed with mount and black frame £37.95
                              - Letter Design Colour background,
                                framed with mount and white frame £40.95
                              - Fully illustrated and framed with mount and
                                black frame £45.00
                              - Fully illustrated and framed with mount and
                                white frame £48.00

Imagination BOx

This one is so much fun and can be changed each time you play it. It can become a bit of a game in itself!

My grandmother used to do a similar kind of thing at Halloween and our imagination ran wild with what was inside! As a child I really believed that she had eyeballs hidden in the box ... alas as an adult you realise, they were just grapes ...

Anyway, this is the idea of the Imagination Box: it can be played in all weathers with a variety of ages. Right, so, are you sitting comfortably?!

STEP 1: Find a box, any box (or a tray, or well anything you could hide things in a little bit)....

STEP 2: If you want to make it a game you play again and again, you could always decorate it first (another fun activity to do)

STEP 3: Find different items to put in the box. Have at least 5 items to get you started. They can be anything you like....but remember we will be using them to get our imaginations going and  making up a story....

STEP 4: Get your child to pick an item from the box. A fun way of doing it (if they are up for it.....younger children may not like it), is to feel it without looking. 

STEP 5: Ask them what it feels like, what they think it could be etc....You could always write it down so that you remember. Get them to describe the item, by the feel, the texture, the smell (if any), and the colour (when they see it).

STEP 6: Get a bit more in-depth.....Get them to think (you can always do it together if they'll let you :) ) about where it could have come from, what or where it could be going or doing....make up it's life story :)

STEP 7: Play around with the different ideas that come about, see if there is a fun story idea that comes forward.....and then go for it....write it and have fun.

ITEM IDEAS: feathers, soil in a pot, a hat, corrugated cardboard, cuddly toys, plastic toys, cars, dolls, various food, flowers (real or fake), bouncy balls, stress pump, leaves, conkers, squidgy putty, Plasticine, rolling pin, spoons, instruments.....the list is endless to be honest. Anything and everything.....

VARIATIONS: use one item at a time or choose a few items to link together to make the story. For example: 

Miss feather is floating along, dancing through the sky when a big gust of wind pulls her down into a pot of soil. It spoils her dress and makes a mess and she doesn't feel like prancing about any more. She tries to get out but no one hears her shout, so she just sits there and pouts.....but then, she hears a little cry, coming from further up in the sky, she hears a delightful voice, tinkling hi from up somewhere up high. She looks around, she stops, her heart pounds as she hears the hi again....and then, she spies Mr Cap, climbing down a sunflower strand, holding out his hand. She was saved! She smiled and waved and shouted yay! And that was how they met on that fateful day... Miss feather and Mr Cap, they did indeed make a very special hat. 

Have fun! If you like you share your ideas here, I would love to hear some of your stories......


Spider Word Play

Right, this one can be made as fun or educational as you like. As silly or rational as the mood may take you....I verge on the silly and fun in my ones....

STEP 1: Get a piece of paper and a pen or pencil :) and maybe even a seat or space on the floor while you're at it....

STEP 2: Pick a word...any word... (maybe even start with their favourite word - if they have one). Mine is 'Hullabaloo'...though you may want to start with smaller word depending on how old they are.

STEP 3: Make a spider diagram (spider web, list of words, free form it!) of all the words/themes/ideas/colours/things that connect with your chosen word. Be as imaginative as you  (or they) like....

STEP 4: Have a giggle at all the funny things you may have come up with. Creative writing isn't about being right or wrong or coming up with the most intelligent idea or word....it's about having fun....from fun something wonderful can be done!

STEP 5: Use the ideas you come up with to either make a picture or write a story. You do not necessarily need to use all the ideas you come up with. You may just use one or two main ones and adapt from there. 

The idea is that it gets your creative juices flowing and you have fun playing about with words and ideas. 

STEP 6: Enjoy reading your story to whoever will listen! :)

P.S. you can always review it afterwards and make changes or do another 'spider-word' if you get stuck on something.
P.P.S here: yours and theirs is really the same thing as is you and them :)

Mr Moo caused a huge Hullabaloo when he went to the Zoo: he wreaked havoc in the paddocks when he mooed his way through. He made the animals club together and sing a song or two, but all they did was prattle about and eat a few of the others too. So Mr Moo confessed it was such a mess and flew off out the zoo. 

Creative Writing with Children: Tip of the Week

Due to popular demand I have decided to blog about different ideas for creative word play and ways of fostering imagination in your children. Some ideas you may have heard of before, others may be new, but hopefully you will give them a go and have lots of fun along the way.......

Split the story: Secret Writing

So....as a kid do you remember each drawing a different body part on a folded over bit of paper? You know....where Sam drew the head, Tommy drew the body, Sally drew the legs and you drew the feet. After each bit had been drawn, each person would fold over that bit of the paper so no-one could see, and then it would be passed on to the next person, and so on and so forth. This is an adaptation of this game. The results can be hilarious and bizarre.

STEP 1: Get a piece of paper

STEP 2: Pre-fold into sections, you can have as many as you like. It does need to be into at least 3 parts though, for beginning, middle and end.

STEP 3: The first person starts the story...."Once upon a time....there was a man named Fred" ...and then folds their bit over so the next person can't see.

STEP 4: The next person does the next line or section of the story...."he always went around on his head"... and again folds the bit of paper. Remember to use joining words. I.e. then, after, while etc to link the different parts together.

STEP 5: And the next person continues... Do this until everyone has had a go or a couple of goes depending on how many children you are doing it with.

STEP 6: Unfold the paper and read the story out loud. 

STEP 7: Once you have finished giggling, you could always work together to make into a story that makes a bit more sense....

ADAPTATIONS: If you are doing this game with a child or children who can't write, they can always whisper their idea to you and you write it down. Alternatively, you can work together on just making a bizarre story....see how funny and random you can make it.

"Once upon a time there was a man named Fred, he liked to jaunt about on his Head. One day he played a game of hide and seek, but people kept on finding him because of his feet. The search was over way too quickly, he felt so angry he felt all prickly. No -one thought to tell him that instead of hiding on his head he should have sat, so that was that."
It's so tricky knowing what to call what you make isn't it? There is so much terminology out there: but for once I'm not appreciating the depth of the English language. When i'm trying to determine and explain to people what I do, I would like a succinct explanation so people can go, aah OK. I would also like it for ease of SEO purposes. Thoughts anyone? 

Here is my new Portrait in words; bespoke story; personalised story or personalized story; original story; unique story .....whatever you want to call it! :) Answers on the back of a postcard please....

This is a story about a brother dreaming of the little sister he will have soon and her dreaming of him. Hopefully it will help the transition into sibling-hood :)

It's funny, when I was asked to do an interview, the last thing I expected to feel was emotional and inspired. The questions really tapped into my thoughts and my memories. I loved answering the questions. Here is the interview: http://www.girlstalktoboys.com/2013/05/chit-chat-friday-with-just-for-you.html

Chit Chat Friday with Just For You Stories!

I just love Chit Chat Fridays! It's my favourite day of the week on the blog. I love getting to know creative individuals a bit more and finding out how they got to where they are now. It's very encouraging for me and I hope it is for you too! And I just love promoting new brands, ideas, etc. 

Last Month Edith turned 1 years old and I was looking for a special gift for her first birthday. I came across Just For You Stories and thought this is it, this is the special gift for my special Edith. Just For You Stories is exactly that, a special story written for your special little one. Elestren the owner and writer of Just For You Stories writes the cutest story for your little one based on a questionnaire you fill out. After recieving Edith's, I went home and read it out loud to my family and we all just fell in love with the story and the story describe Edith so well! It was fun, cute, silly, and made you want to dance. It is Edith's own special story that she will keep forever and ever and one day share it with her kids and there kids, etc. It's also a great capturing of what they were like at that time in their life. It's like capturing a beautiful picture but in words. 
Check out Just For You Stories and have Elestren write on for your special one!

You can check out Edith's story here, it's called Edie had red lipstick all through her hair:

Edie Bear had red lipstick all through her hair....
This is a story commissioned for a little girl's First Birthday. Her Mummy gave me a lot of information about this wonderful girl. I got a fantastic idea of who she is and this is what I came up with. Happy Birthday Edith!

Edie Bear didn't care that she had red lipstick all through her hair. It was far too splendid doing Olga's make-up, just like a grown-up, to have a scowl across her face, it was Ace!

Now, Olga on the other hand, didn't seem to understand, her smile went from up, to upside down. Edie Bear tried to cheer her up, despite still doing her make-up. First she tried to dance around to the sound of birds in the background. But still, Olga Owl had a scowl.

Edie Bear showed her a book, but it was no good, she wouldn't look! Not even the one about the Owl Moon! No hoot, twit twoo! Olga Owl still had a scowl.

Edie Bear sang a song, hoping Olga would sing along. She knew it well, so Edie Bear started to yell …If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. If you’re happy and you know it clap your …but her wings didn’t do a thing. Olga Owl still had a scowl.

Edie Bear then tried to sing a different one: Row, Row, Row your boat gently down the stream, if you see a crocodile, don’t forget to scream … But she didn’t hear a scream, not a hoot for her favourite nursery rhyme. Olga Owl still had a scowl.

Edie bear enlisted help; she got Louis off the shelf. Perhaps his monkey-ing around might do the trick …he swung from side to side and around her head, while Edie played her shaker and jumped on her bed. BOUNCE … SHOOKSHOOK … BOUNCE … SHOOKSHOOK …But still they couldn't make her turn that frown upside down. Olga still had a scowl.

Then … Louis had a good idea, he smudged lipstick on Edie from ear to ear!   As Edie Bear danced and pouted, smiled and sang and was happy about it,

Olga Owl 's frown turned upside down....they had stopped her scowl!!

Together they went, hand in hand and hand in wing, to make it down to the gathering. All could see the mess of red, but as it was her Birthday, nobody said, and just sang Happy Birthday to Edie instead! 


I had a lovely Chit Chat with Elestern and this is what she had to say:

Tell me about yourself, what is your background?

Hi, I'm Elestren (it's a Cornish name - it means Iris- as in the flower) and I'm the founder of Just for you Stories. I'm originally from Devon but now live in Muswell Hill. I live with my husband, my daughter Nora (who is snuggly but is becoming a menace :)) and our pet Rabbit, Archie (who has always been a menace! :))

I have written all my life, in various forms and have a background in English (literature and language) and have taught English. I love words and language and how you can play about with the feel, context and sound of words and their interplay and meaning. When my daughter was born I started making stories up for her and enjoyed doing it so much that I started writing them down and writing them for others.

How did Just for you Stories come about?

When Nora was first born, she would be awake from 1am to 5am, every night! She just wouldn't settle. So one night, to keep me sane, I made up a story for Nora, which I repeated and repeated. It did indeed keep me sane, and Nora learnt to sleep. This was my first story: Snuggly, Buggly, Ruggly Nora, goes to find a Polar Bear.

I made up many more. They were silly stories for my daughter, but I was enjoying it so much that I thought I would write one for a friend's baby's First Birthday. This was the first time I framed and illustrated a story. I did a few drawings of musical notes and swirls. I then decided to do some more ... a few of which can be found on my website. They were all 1st Birthday gifts. They loved them and I enjoyed writing the stories and illustrating them immensely! It struck me that other people would probably love them for their own children or would like to buy them as gifts for children they knew. And so, the idea of Just for you Stories was born. As a child I loved Rudyard Kipling's Just so Stories, so I decided to amalgamate this with, for you, as these stories are above all else, for you; whoever you may be and wherever you are. 

What is the creative process when writing a story?

First of all I read all the information from the questionnaire that has been filled in and then I make my own version of a spider-diagram with all the information and any ideas I get at that time. I then spend some time just thinking about this information, forming a picture in my mind of who this child is and what they are like. I constantly carry a notebook around with me with the info in, so that when inspiration strikes, I write! Sometimes I come up with a few different stories in rough and then tweak and finalise the one I think best suits the child and the information I've been given. The questionnaire makes all the difference: if someone has just put one word answers it makes it a lot harder to gain a snapshot of the child and to draw inspiration. I still do, but it's harder. I always do a lot of reading of it out loud, to my daughter and to my husband, to get a feel for the rhythm, the language and rhyme. I always think, a good story needs to read out loud well.

Have you had a request that really touched your heart?

This sounds soppy, but they all touch my heart to be honest. I honestly find it is a privilege writing these stories for people and knowing that they will be a keepsake. I think of them as portraits in words of children, so each one I write is special to me.

What has been the funniest story to write so far?

The funniest story I have written so far is probably one about a little girl who needs to go to the loo (she is potty training). I wrote about the bodily functions and feelings, but in a humorous and light hearted manner (no gross stuff I promise!). I called it, 'It wasn't Ants in her Pants that made her Dance'.

Do you have a favourite children's book?

I have loads! Both from when I was a child and now from reading with Nora. Mine and Nora's favourite is 'Rumble in the Jungle' - it has fantastic rhythm and rhyme (it feels like you are reading a song, almost. The pictures are Fab too! I love all of the 'Just So Stories' and I have a special place in my heart for Roald Dahl's 'Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts' and Michael Rosen's 'You Can't Catch Me'.

How would you describe your writing style?

There is somewhat of the nonsense rhyme (with a bit more story) feel to my writing style. I like to think I write in a similar way to Michael Rosen, Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl (but a bit less naughty :)). Rhythm and rhyme are what are important to me. And of course, having fun with the words.

Do you have a favourite cafe, bookstore etc?

I absolutely love working in libraries. There is something so inspirational and calming about being in a library for me. A little place of tranquillity in this hectic world. (Though maybe not in the children's bit :)!)

I also like sitting in my garden. Something about the fresh air and the birds singing makes me think creatively.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

I would love to collaborate with Quentin Blake. He is a personal hero of mine and I would love his input and his quirky drawings.

What is your favourite childhood memory?

My favourite childhood memory is listening to my mum or dad read the different rhymes from 'You can't catch me.' They used to fill me with an excited 'terror' that I enjoyed so much! It probably didn't lead to me going to bed nice and quietly (as both were quite animated readers), but I loved it! Stories have always been a very important part of my life, even from a very early age.

What is the best advice someone has given you?

The best bit of advice would actually be from my father (I can't remember where he heard it from): it is to 'Always keep the main thing, the main thing'. It has kept me focussed on what I want to do and kept me going in a direction (even if the main thing changes over time). For me at the moment, the main thing is for me to be able to look after Nora and to keep on writing stories for people, which I adore doing. So that is what I am working on....

Do you have any advice to give us?

To never give up on your dreams, because one day when you are encouraging your children to follow their dreams, they may well just ask you what yours were. What would you like to tell them? So give it a go, you can't climb a mountain without taking that first step. It's not always easy, but as Lynika Cruz wrote: 'Live from that place in you that knows where the light switch is, trust it. Dare to live out loud with what drives you and don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Being alive is the special occasion.'

Where would you like to see Just for you Stories go in the future?

I would love to see Just for you Stories expand and grow. At the moment it is fairly local trade so I would love to see it grow across the UK and then the world....Mwah ha ha ha! :)
I love how the world can work, and if we put our mind to it, we could all live much friendlier lives. A while ago I read a tweet about networking being about making connections and not just selling. How true this can be... Now, to the right is a story a lovely lady commissioned from me...turns out she is a blogger... a very good blogger. I wanted to share her work in return and keep the world a connected and friendly place. Here is a link to her Blog: http://www.girlstalktoboys.com/

It is witty and interesting, with good ideas and a great email update....so go ahead and have a read...see what new connection will you make?!

So overnight, my delightful little girl has become some what of a Jekyll and Hyde. She is cuddling me till my last gasp of breath has been expelled, stroking my hair and laughing; then moments later, her bottom lip protrudes and screaming ensues because I may have moved her, put her down, not put her down standing or sitting, hasn't been given the right toy or food.....any one off the above and probably much more! Do all children go through this angel/demon phase?! :) Answers on a post it below please?! :) But of course.....I still love her to bits, my grumpy Nubly Nora!
So I was reading this morning about how to make your own paint, glue and play dough (have shared on facebook by the way) and I thought BY GUM this is Genius!! It's my daughter's first birthday on Sunday, yes Easter Sunday. So I thought we could do an Easter egg hunt garden in the gand paint paper eggs and make things with a general eggy feel! Our House Rabbit must watch he doesn't get mixed in with the Easter theme! Anyway, my fear is now that I will mix up the home made paint with the cake mix and who knows what we will be eating?! Will keep you posted.....


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