‘Out of the Blue’ birthday party

Quin turned seven this week and since his birthday fell during the school holidays, we were able to really make a day of it. We ate pancakes for breakfast, opened presents and enjoyed a slow and lazy morning. Emilie and her girls are in town, so it felt extra special to have friends to spend the day with. We took a double decker bus down to Camden, walked along the canal to Regent’s Park, had a picnic and spent the afternoon on the pedal boats in the ponds. We then came home in time for a little dinner/dance party followed by ice cream cake from Ruby Violet! It was such a fun day, and one that I think he will always remember.

Quin didn’t want a specific theme for his party, but he did request his favourite colour of blue. I spoke to Natalia from Little Lulubel and she helped me create the perfect decorations for a blue-themed party. She sent over the cutest party kit which included everything I needed (table settings, decorations, etc.), and Quin was SO excited to be surrounded by all the blue!

Little Lulubel specialises in party kits and decorations for all sorts of fun occassions. Beyond the simple colour themes, you can also find some really sweet and original ideas: a science party, a Snow White party, a pyjama party and many more fun ideas!

x Courtney

Easter decorations from Little Lulubel

We’re coming up on ‘birthday season’ in our house, where 5 out of the 6 of us have springtime birthdays! It’s always a busy time in our family, and this year I have vowed to be a bit more organised than I was last year. (Last year all of my children’s birthday parties were planned and organised the morning of!) This year, at the very least, I need to buy the party supplies and tableware ahead of time.

In my attempt to be organised, I started browsing the party kits section over at Little Lulubel (they have such cute party theme ideas!), and I stumbled upon their Spring Party Kit which is so perfect for Easter celebrations.

I also love this Bunny Ears dress-up kit for kids to make and wear on Easter day. So cute! (Last year, we got similar ones, and it made for a very festive looking Easter with loads of little bunnies sitting around the table.)

Anyway… I’ve gotten a bit distracted thinking about Easter when I have a birthday party to plan first!!  But just wanted to share these with you before I forgot. Easter is less than a month away now!

x Courtney

p.s. Little Lulubel is currently offering Babyccino readers a 15% discount. Details here.

Birthday party: Decorating cupcakes

One of my childhood friends always had the best cake at her birthday parties. Her mum would make (or buy?) the most ordinary cupcakes, and set the table with different sort of custards, frostings and toppings. I loved to pile up my plate with candy, and create the most enormous cupcake possible.

For Sara’s birthday party last year, I did a similar thing. I made cupcakes, and cream cheese frosting (simply mix cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar), and used my vintage fondue plates for the table setting. Chocolate sprinkles, heart sprinkles, mini m&m’s, candy… It was all there. And it was funny to see how the children enjoyed themselves (and how in the end, lots of the candy was left un-eaten on the plates, but all of the raspberries, blueberries and strawberries were gone)!

xxx Esther

An 8th birthday party with a cooking theme

It was Pim’s 7th birthday last Monday so I’m planning a little birthday party for him, and I realised that I never posted about the cooking party we had for Sara’s birthday last year!

Sara has enjoyed food since she was a baby, and she loves helping me in the kitchen. So it was no surprise when she asked for a cooking party for her 8th birthday! She invited 8 of her girl friends, and like always, party preparations took place the day before the party (let’s just say, I’m at my best the very last minute).

I bought a huge pile of cheap, unbleached cotton at the market, and together with my mother-in-law sewed 11 aprons out of it (of course Pim and Ava were invited too). I also bought cutting boards, knives, notebooks and pencils. I made a triangular stamp out of a simple eraser, and decorated everything with triangles. I also stamped the children’s names on all of the items.

We set the table with the different veggies and toppings needed for the healthy Vietnamese Style Rice Paper Rolls I blogged about earlier. The children loved cutting everything on their own cutting boards, and writing down the ingredients and recipe in their little notebook. And even very picky eaters found ingredients on the table that they loved!

Afterwards, the notebooks and pencils came in handy for the treasure hunt we had organised in the neighbourhood. And of course, they could all take home a little party bag with the items we had made for them. It was a really fun party!

xxx Esther

Sycamore Street Press birthday cards

Sycamore Street Press is a family run paper company that you might remember from the exquisite Baby Milestones Cards I reviewed a while ago. It is run by husband and wife team Eva and Kirk Jorgensen, who raise their two gorgeous kids together and come up with the most beautiful letter-pressed and printed designs. I love their original birthday card collection — so playful and fun!

Sycamore Street Press is giving away a $100 gift voucher to the winner of our second gigantic give-away. What a great prize to win, together with 15 other awesome prizes! You can enter this give-away HERE. (If I were the winner, I know what I would choose from Sycamore Street Press: the citron, poire and pomme letterpress art prints — so pretty!)
xxx Esther

Cute costumes from My Shiny Shop

This past weekend was finally dry and sunny so, despite still being cold, my kids asked to set up the teepee outside and play cowboys and indians! They looked so cute in their costumes from My Shiny Shop that I had to snap a few shots of them in their teepee. (Poor Ivy in her little indian dress must have been freezing cold, but she refused to wear a coat. I could only coax her into wearing leggings!)

The selection of dress-up costumes from My Shiny Shop is really great. I love the Indian Chief head dress – it makes such a statement with all the colourful feathers!

My kids are constantly playing dress-up. It must be one of the most common play themes in our house and always inspires the most creative kind of play. They’ll dress up as kings and queens and then build castles, they’ll be pirates and sailors and sail off in their ships, they’ll be baddies and goodies and cowboys and indians and everything in between. I hope this innocent dress-up phase never ends!

x Courtney

p.s. More info about our teepee here.

Marlow is one!

My baby girl is one today! One year old! I can’t believe it. I always find the first birthday to be the most emotional one — the birth still feels so fresh in my mind, the hormones still maybe not completely settled back to normal yet, and a baby who seems to be growing and changing by the day, walking and developing so quickly, those precious baby days slipping by. I’m fighting back tears as I write this — sad that time seems to be flying by, but also so thankful to celebrate such a wonderful, happy year.

I thought I would share a few photos from the little party we had in our kitchen this morning. We made waffles, lit a candle, sang happy birthday and threw confetti all over the place. It was perfect. I think she really knew it was her special day. Thank you for letting me share it with you.

xx Courtney

p.s. The confetti came from Knot & Bow, and I have previously blogged about the sweet little party hats here.

Jailhouse Rock Birthday Party

We have just celebrated Nico’s birthday. This year we made a Jailhouse Rock themed birthday party. It was so much fun! Both kids and adults really enjoyed it!

A little cell as a stage. And black, white and turqouise as star colours!

Very sponsorized food table!!!

And of course merchandising of the band!!!

It was so much fun, the kids were on stage singing all evening. By the way, the microphones are real ones, so you can imagine… they were amazed!!

Happy Birthday to Nico and hope you like it!

xo Maria

To read more from Maria and see more photos from this party, visit her lovely Spanish blog here.

Numero 74 — perfect for parties

This year we celebrated Ava’s birthday in Paris! We happened to have booked a trip there that weekend, so we invited our Parisian friends over to the apartment we were staying for a little party. Of course Emilie came with her girls, and we asked the local bakery to make a chocolate cake — Ava’s favourite! For decoration, I used a few party supplies from Numero 74, which I had brought over, and it worked out so well! The magnetic fish looked so pretty on the table (plus, they provided for some immediate entertainment). There were also little butterfly gift bags with little Numero 74 party favours, like cute crochet cherry necklaces and bracelets. They were so cute and the girls loved them.

Numero 74 is a French/Italian brand established by two cousins with the aim to create a selection of party kits that appeal to children as well as to parents. The collections are poetic and dreamy, with pretty muted colours. There are a variety of themes (like butterflies, pirates, and unicorns), in which you can find gift bags, invites, garlands and notebooks. There are tasteful party favours, like the adorable crochet details I mentioned before, so pretty! I’m really impressed with the sweet and simple, understated but tasteful styling of it all — such a far cry from the flashy commercial party merchandise one can get in the supermarket.

There is also a beautiful line of Numero 74 party clothes, which are rich in design and materials used (organza, velvet) and are of the sort of quality that they will be used for years and years, and will then be handed down to friends. Adorable!

All Numero 74 products are handcrafted by artisans and women co-operatives in Thailand, providing these women with a steady source of employment and income whilst being able to work from home and look after their family. All good!

xxx Esther

Happi Yumi cake toppers

Nash Alpine, a graphic designer by trade, started her small business Happi Yumi after becoming a mother. Unable to find lovely, personal pieces for the parties she was organising, she started creating her own customised partyware – et voila!

Nash made some darling Fairy Princess Cake Toppers for Ava, and they are so, so cute! She was so proud, taking them to her crèche today. It made the cupcakes look super special, and so very ‘Ava’!

Nash designs other personalised products too, like original invites, fun party bags, and cool balloon hangers. The ordering process is super easy — just send over two of your favourite photo, and Nash will create something wonderful and personal from it. Sweet!

xxx Esther

Easy DIY goodie bags

We just brought Ava to her creche with 14 of these cute bear goodie bags. I thought to share this with you, as they were totally easy to make! (We did it late night yesterday evening!)

Just cut the top part of a paper carrier bag, and cut out two ears from the left-over top part. Put some little presents in the bag, pin the ears to the top to help them stay in place and close the top on the sewing machine. (Or, just use glue if you don’t have a sewing machine — you can keep the ears in place with cloth pins when they’re drying.) Use white gouache to paint the eyes and snout, and when dry, use a permanent marker to add some details. Done!

xxx Esther

My Little Day: Un Super Anniversaire

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)!

- Emilie

P.S. My Little Day also does amazing party kits.

A Fairy Princess Party

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!

x Courtney

Homemade Cupcake Toppers

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!

- Emilie

Crochet creations at 2good2betrue

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).

xxx Esther

Decorating a baby’s christening party

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!

- Maria

Party kits from My Little Day

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!

xx Courtney

Pretty Spring party dresses by Millie Manu

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!

xxx Esther

Miko Design

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!)

You can buy Erika’s designs from the Mikodesign webshop or her Etsy shop, and follow her on Instagram here.
xxx Esther

A disco party!

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!

xxx Esther

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