There are people in this world who know how to throw a birthday party for their children with panache (Esther being the prime example). Then there are people like me, who draw a blank when it comes to entertaining 10 kids in my house for a few hours! (I am really good at entertaining adults, by the way: I can mix up a mean cocktail and know how to put together a great playlist to get the party going. I don’t understand why I am so intimidated by kids parties!)
Anyway, help is at hand as my absolute favourite birthday supply shop My Little Day finally came out with their very own book about birthday parties. You can find inspiration for party themes, recipes and a whole list of games divided up by ages, which is super practical.
The little hitch is that the book only exists in French, but even if you only understand a little bit, it is totally worth it. I actually think it is really interested to see what games children play in France (I did not know half of them)!
P.S. My Little Day also does amazing party kits.
It was Ivy’s birthday yesterday and she had a few friends over after school to help her celebrate. I have decided to embrace the girly princess stage she’s in right now, and so we had a proper Fairy Princess Party complete with lots of princess dresses, pink balloons… and fairy wings!
I didn’t plan any games for them to play — I simply let them dress up and run around the garden. It’s amazing what fun they can have with some simple balloons and some imaginative play. (And it helps that the weather was nice enough for them to be outside.)
The fairy wings were a big success! The girls loved ‘flying’ around the garden with them, and it was a special thing for them to take home from the party (rather than a goodie bag or party favours).
You can buy the fairy wings from Belle Enfant — they are handmade in metallic gold fabric and have soft elastic straps to keep them in place. So cute and really such a big hit with the 4-year-old girls!
La Coqueta is a new London-based boutique with a gorgeous collection of clothing and shoes from Spain. I stopped into the boutique last week and was blown away by all the lovely details of the shop (see the clever window display below!) and of course the beautiful, timeless pieces in the collection. From the sweet cotton knitwear collection for babies to the adorable smock dresses for girls, and the smart shirts for boys to the colourful range of shoes.
I picked up the most gorgeous little outfit for Marlow (see below) as well as this sweet dress for Ivy. What struck me most was the price point – quite reasonable considering how elegant everything is. I suppose, in that regard, it’s in keeping with traditional Spanish clothing: it is affordable, timeless clothing kids can wear to a party as well as to the playground. Because, from what I know from my travels to Spain, there is no distinction between playground and party wear. Spanish children are always well dressed.
This craft idea is so simple I almost did not write about it, but I quite liked the result, so I wanted to share it anyway. Last weekend was Violette’s birthday and she had gotten it into her head that it was going to have a bunny rabbit theme and that we were going to have carrot cake cupcakes (we used Courtney’s amazing carrot cake recipe). I, on the other hand had gotten it into my head that it would be cool to have some rabbit cupcake toppers (I just need to point out that rabbit cupcake toppers are pretty much the only impossible thing to find in Paris!)
So Coco and I made some, and we had a great afternoon of painting, cutting and glueing. First Coco painted a picture of a rabbit. We then scanned it in, scaled it down and multiplied it. We printed it out and cut the little rabbits out in circles. Then we glued 2 together and sandwiched a tooth pick between the 2 pieces of paper.
Voila, the party can begin!
2cute2betrue is a small Dutch label set up by Judith de Ruyter when she was pregnant with her 6th (!) baby. The label offers a collection of crochet toys and accessories which are designed by Judith here in the Netherlands and are handmade in Thailand as part of a Thai government project to support local communities.
The crochet collections include darling party accessories (I really love the cake toppers!), cute dolls and darling BFFs that come with their own mini house. I just know my girls would love to play with these! Another favourite is the cloud mobile — we have one hanging above Ava’s bed and it looks so sweet in her room.
All the crochet 2cute collections are available from the website (go to ‘collections’ and move your mouse over the photos to discover the different products for sale).
I had so much fun decorating this party for a newborn. I always thought of white and craft for the occassion and sweet details for a baby girl. It was all made by hand, so it is really a handmade and natural party!
If you want to see more pictures you can see more here and here. Hope you like it and it gives you some ideas for spring parties! It seems like spring has finally arrived after a long long rainy winter!
Yesterday was my son Quin’s 6th birthday and we had a little party for him after school. I followed Esther’s idea and told him he could invite six friends because he is 6 years old. I picked the kids up from school, brought them back home, and we played a few games in the garden, played pass-the-parcel, had a little dance party, and then they ate dinner and made ice cream ‘mondays’ (since it was not a Sunday – it was a Monday!). It was good old-fashioned simple fun. And I was really so unorganised, that all of the party prep happened in the two hours before I picked them up from school!
Thank goodness for the My Little Day party kits. They seriously saved the day! I bought this kit and it had everything I needed to set up a perfect party table. In fact, it made me look deceivingly organised when in fact I was not! Here’s a picture of our kitchen table before the chaos ensued…
And you can also buy other matching party supplies like party hats, goody bags, and bunting. All from the new My Little Day collection.
Being unorganised has never paid off so well. Thank you My Little Day!
Spring flowers are finally in bloom in our garden — I saw daffodils this morning! This means that Spring is around the corner, with all its positiveness. A sweet smell in the air, gorgeous flowers sprucing up everywhere, fresh green leaves on the trees, the first picnics on freshly mown lawns, little boys in shorts and stripy jumpers, little girls in their new spring dresses… I can get pretty excited about it all. (I would be perfectly happy skipping the first three months of the year — cold, wet, boring and depressing as far as I’m concerned!)
I think the above dresses of the newly launched party collection by Millie Manu are just so, so perfect for any kind of celebration this coming season. I just couldn’t resist the mint green Flo Dress for Ava — so gorgeous! It’s entirely made out of silk — chiffon on the outside, and lined with silk as well. It has lovely little details and is made beautifully.
She’ll be the queen of the ball with Easter this year — and we’re all so excited because Courtney and her family will join us in Amsterdam to celebrate together!
Last night I attended the first of three fashion shows as part of the AlexandAlexa Global Kids Fashion Week. The show featured a selection of the AlexandAlexa designer looks for Autumn/Winter 2013, and was followed by a fun after-party for the guests. What a big night! I was so impressed with the scale and ‘coolness’ of the event. There were celebrities (of course I never know who anyone is so I can’t even share who was there!), and press, and photographers and fashionista mamas, and several other bloggers. Fun!
Here is a selection of my favourite looks from last night. I think my favourite was that pair of ultra skinny green jeans by Paul Smith Junior. And I loved all the Dr. Martens shoes (let’s hope those are making a come-back!). You can see all the looks here.
It’s hard to resist these insta-cute packaged Easter party decorations by Meri Meri. From paper plates to egg hunt bags to dressing up bunny ears! Everything you need for a festive Easter holiday! (Of course I had to pick up the bunny ears to bring with me when we visit Esther and family over Easter. Stay tuned for photos of all our kids dressed as bunnies!) And how fun are these cupcake kits?!
Meri Meri takes the hard work out of party prepping by offering coordinating themed party wear, all in the sweetest, most festive designs. Gotta love that. Available from Little Baby Company.
Mikodesign is a small Dutch label owned by the lovely Erika Harberts. Erika lives in Rotterdam with her husband and two darling daughters (who have inherited 100% of their mother’s good taste and creativity!), in a beautifully decorated flat with a little studio space in which she creates all of her amazing dolls, DIY kits, and other cute accessories.
Erika is one of the most creative women I have ever met. She designs and screen prints her own fabrics (look at this gorgeous onesie she made for Casper — it has an Amsterdam skyline on it; bakfiets included!), she keeps a beautiful and extremely inspiring blog, even designed and made an adorable play house in the garden a few years ago. The birthday parties she organises for her two girls are simply AMAZING — I think my favourite must be the Magritte detective party, but this Frida party is fantastic as well (and evolved in a line of beautiful Frida dolls and DIY kits). What an amazing, creative woman! (Who also happens to be super kind and sweet and pretty!)
These Glisten Up! glitter tattoos have been a huge success in our house lately. We got them for Pim’s recent disco party, and the entire family — grandmothers included! — now is adorned with these glitter designs. They work a bit different than the usual tattoos: first you transfer the sticky design on to the skin, then brush on the glitter (three colours are provided) with the brush that comes in the package. It’s very, very easy to do, and the results are super cool!
Available through Amazon (UK or US).
Our son Pim turned 6 years old last week. Six already! Time goes so fast… Wasn’t it only yesterday that he was a tiny little baby, the cutest little toddler…? Anyway (sigh), Pim loves everything to do with music and dance, so he requested for his birthday a ‘disco party’. Even though I wasn’t too inspired about the whole idea in the beginning, I think we managed to turn the party into something fun and special!
First, Pim and I stamped the invites with potato letter stamps using neon gouache. That was a nice activity for just the two of us. Then, I ordered sweatbands for all of the kids, a disco ball (the biggest expense!), and a moustache for my husband. I found glittery tattoos somewhere and bought some hairspray. The evening before the party we quickly sewed up 9 disco outfits out of cheap, glittery stretch spandex we got from the market. Spandex is easy to sew — it doesn’t frill, so no zigzagging or seams are required. You don’t even need to pin it! It was really super fast and easy.
In the meantime, my husband kept himself busy with a playlist for the party using youtube. We had Michael Jackson, Gangham style (plus a Gangham style instruction video — see the video below!), the famous chicken dance from the ’70’s (yeah!), the Macarena (yeah!), plus some more random songs that we knew the kids would love.
The party was a grand success! First, we played Pass the Parcel and each layer revealed a disco outfit for one of the kids. After, we gave them each a couple of glittery tattoos plus made their hair wild with the hairspray. The girls got side ponytails. We played musical chairs, and afterwards danced on all of the songs. The kids loved it!
We decorated cupcakes, Pim got tons of little presents, and at the end, we had a pretty exhausted bunch of children hanging on the couch, watching cartoons. Of course all the children could take their disco outfits home, and I’ve heard that they’ve been wearing their headbands to school every day. Fun!
Macarena Bilbao creates lovely lovely wooden toys. She started making kitchens, and they are my favourites. She also makes guitars, cameras, groceries stalls, and other fun stuff, all very stylish and different.
My girls do think they have the most hilarious sense of humor, but it reminds me of the kind of humour pre-pubescent boys might have: It’s just not really refined. (Their idea of a good joke is making fart noises.)
You can just imagine their joy when I took them to buy a present for their friend’s birthday party recently and they discovered a prank box by made by Djeco. It contains 6 prank items, from a whoopie cushion to a camera that squirts water.
It amused me slightly that this box had been sorted under the category “educational toys”. I don’t think it is very educational — but it is a lot of fun!
I got this from Enfant Lyre, our all time favorite children’s book shop in Paris, but you can also order it off Amazon France.
My daughter Coco, was born one cold night at the end of December. It was a cozy time — we stayed inside, everyone was in a festive mood as her birthday fell between Christmas and New Year, so just added in an extra celebration. But one thing that never occurred to me at the time, was the extra complexity of celebrating a party with energetic under 10-year-olds inside; it is either raining or snowing! I am really envious of Courtney, whose eldest son was born in June. She can just let the hoard loose in the garden.
Our birthday parties always need a bit of extra planning and a bit of an activity to keep everyone entertained… and this year the request by the birthday girl was a pony party. No more, no less. So after a bit of head scratching and internet research, we decided on the following: Stick horses made out of plywood to be decorated at the party (very much inspired by Esther’s stickhorses and knight parties).
It was a ton of fun and the bonus was all the games afterwards were naturally pony-themed. Musical horses (every time you remove a horse instead of a chair), the dancing statue game done while galloping on horses, carrot cake and apple tarte as birthday cakes (’cause ponies like apples and carrots).
It was such a success that Violette has already commissioned a puppy-themed party for her birthday party in April — so it is back to the drawing board!
For Christmas this year Esther sent my kids these adorable little party hats. It was one of the first things we opened on Christmas morning and so my kids spent the remainder of Christmas wearing them. It made for some super cute and festive photos (see here, here and here)! The handmade linen hats are so sweet and are such a fun little thing to wear for any celebration. I’m already excited to use them for upcoming birthday parties this year.
The hats are available from the ColetteBream Etsy shop along with so many other cute, cute things. (Seriously, this shop is one of my favourites on Etsy!).
I just received a little package with a selection of stocking fillers and toys from new shop on the block Carousel… and oh, how pretty it all is! Carousel recently launched with a beautifully designed webshop and a superb selection of children’s party products. Everything about Carousel is just so stylish — the website, the branding, the presentation of the products, the selection of products itself, the way orders are wrapped… Clearly a lot of thought and care went into every aspect of the design of this great shop.
You will find great decor, fun tableware, a great dress up selection, stylish stationery, and a wonderful selection of toys and sweets for stocking fillers and party bags. This is really the perfect place and one stop destination for everything you need for your kid’s next birthday party.
The holidays are around the corner, so time to get the party dresses sorted! I Love Gorgeous is a great place to find a wonderful collection of the best party dresses around. Sparkly, festive, romantic, rock — you will find all sorts of beautiful choices here! This year, I chose the Pippi dress for Ava. It’s absolutely adorable with the petticoat underskirt which makes it stand out extra wide. Sara, who is getting so tall and ‘tweeny’, will look great in the Vera dress. I love that lovely blue/green petrol colour that I Love Gorgeous does so well, but there are also great choices in pink, cream, red, grey — you name it.
The Kid Who is a freshly launched online store with a great collection of the coolest contemporary children’s products. Simply everything is want-able in this shop, for kids and for their parents alike. I love how fresh and fun the products are.
Besides the superb collection of gifts, the collection of wrapping paper, gift-tags and cards is also really great. So fun and so original. At The Kid Who, the whole act of shopping, wrapping and giving becomes a party by itself. I will definitely be shopping by this season!