South Ribble mum creates Magical Story Jars

Beth De Nobrega with one of her Magical Story Jars
Beth De Nobrega with one of her Magical Story Jars

If you look inside this special jar, you will find a forest of candy floss and a cheeky, ticklish tiger. For Beth De Nobrega, making up fun stories with her two children, Freya, six, and Max, two, is an important part of her life.

When she began creating written prompts for them, other parents became interested and she set up Magical Story Jars as a business.

Some of the props in the Magical Story Jars

Some of the props in the Magical Story Jars

The 36-year-old from Farington Moss, says: “Having children just takes over your life.

“I love watching my children playing and seeing how creative they are. I live for my children.

“I was on maternity leave with Max and I had more time and felt more relaxed.

“My daughter, Freya, loved making up silly stories at bedtime but I found that when her dad, Roger, was putting her to bed, they both struggled sometimes with developing them even further.

Beth De Nobrega with her husband Roger and two children Freya and Max

Beth De Nobrega with her husband Roger and two children Freya and Max

“That’s when I came up with the idea of the Magical Story Jars. They’re simple to use and so much fun. Children sprinkle magic dust in the jar to make the stories come alive and then take their pick from 45 different cards to form the basis of their tales. The story cards inside the jar comprise three sets of colour coded cards: character, setting and plot.

“It’s so fun listening to the stories that children and their parents come up with, no two are ever the same.

“I’ve also made sure that the story cards have an emphasis on important values, so I’ve included different characters such as Rodney the very shy robot who really wanted to win the golden trophy, to emphasise to children that it’s okay to be shy or not to win at everything all the time.

“I get a lot of my inspiration from my children. The stories Freya comes up with are great. She came up with a forest of candy floss and she added a chocolate river than runs through it, because it sounded fun.

“One of the characters in our Magical Story Jars is a fearless astronaut named Matilda.

“She came to be when my daughter and I were painting a space picture together using the back of an old roll of wallpaper. Freya was drawing aliens at one end of the big picture and I added an lady astronaut at the other end. Freya said to me, ‘but Mummy, astronauts are men aren’t they?’

“I felt really sad that this is how she thought things were, that’s how Matilda the fearless astronaut came about.

“I think having positive female role models is so important for kids.

“I also use a lot of ideas from things that have happened, such as a child losing his favourite toy, which happened to Max.”

Beth showed the jars to her friends, who took a real interest.

As she tried them out at schools and nurseries, she completed a course in writing children’s storybooks and began to set up an official business.

She adds: “I did a bit of trial trading and it took off really well.

“I carried on working at Lancashire Teaching Hospital as a membership engagement manager, three days a week and in the evenings I was working on my business.

“I was then offered a new role at work and it made me realise I was ready to pursue my dreams.

“The original ones were very home made but I began improving them and worked with a graphic designer to add images to the prompts.

“I took it to schools and nurseries in the local area and I got good feedback.

“These jars are not just for making up stories. They can be used as drawing prompts, used with Plasticine or Play-Doh or as improvisation in drama clubs.

“The whole idea of these jars is to be educational and help with language development. It also boosts creativity.”

Magical Story Jars are available to buy at and also in several local gift shops including The Harris Museum in Preston, Peppermint Cottage, in Leyland, and Stickyweeds, in New Longton.

Anyone interested in storytelling tips can search for Magical Story Jars on Facebook and Instagram.