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

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

Djeco Stupix

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.

– Emilie

Mini candy bars

Today I am so happy to write about Terron de Azucar, a lovely spanish brand, run by Rebeca, which makes the most beautiful mini candy bars!!! All in them are so full of details, and all of that in a mini size.

Aren’t they lovely? All made by hand by her and personalized with the theme you want. It makes a wonderful present for the kids. I have tried them myself and I can say they are just wonderful.

Great job Terron de Azucar!


Beat the January (and February) blues!

Last Monday was apparently ‘Blue Monday’ — the most depressing day of the whole year! Courtney and I are always complaining about January and February months here in Northern Europe — it’s dark, cold, wet, the kids are sick and there is not a lot to look out to. Well, on Blue Monday, I put up a few pompoms in front of our living room window to brighten things up a bit, and it had an instant happyfying result. The pompoms are available from Visje bij de Thee — along with many more gorgeous products that would make my January/February blues melt in an instant. I also made this quick Lemon Poppyseed Drizzle cake, and treated myself to some some new Marimekko coffee cups. We’ve got to do what we can, don’t we?!
What’s the weather like where you are??

xxx Esther

Linen Party Hats from Colette Bream

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!).

x Courtney

Cake Pops

Some gadgets are essential in life, like a can opener and, for me, an espresso maker. Others are not essential at all, but really fun to have.

Take the cake pops maker, which my girls were given for Christmas. It will definitely not be used daily, but it is great to have for rainy afternoons and birthday parties. It’s actually a great alternative to cupcakes.

I know cake pops have been around a while now in the US and the UK, but they have not arrived in Paris yet, so I am looking forward to introducing them to Paris, one cake pops at a time!

– Emilie

Imaginative party selections at Carousel

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.

xxx Esther

Sewing Christmas Cards

Today I would like to share the Christmas Cards we made at home this year which I posted in eb&m this week. With craft paper and a sewing machine we made the envelopes, and the cards.

With a snowflake punch I  garnished the cards a little bit.

And then Nico painted them!! Now we have to do some more, and we are waiting for the day to send them. I love receiving Christmas Cards in the mailbox. Don’t  you?

Many people asked me about sewing paper. If  the paper has enough weight you have no problem and it sews just perfectly!

– Maria Cañal

The Kid Who — for great gift giving!

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!

xxx Esther

Last Minute Halloween Costumes

This year for Halloween Henrik is going as a bat and Maja will be Red Riding Hood.  I like to keep Halloween costumes simple, something we have at home or they can wear over and over again as dress up.

Henrik has been talking about being a bat for Halloween for a long time now and I was happy to oblige (some of his other ideas sounded very complicated and involved).  His costume was so easy to make, for the bat body I bought a black long sleeve shirt and leggings in the girl’s section of the department store. To make the wings I cut two pieces of felt, black and gray, in the shape of bat wings.  I cut the black felt smaller and sewed it onto the gray felt.  I then sewed thick elastic at the ends of the wings as armbands for Henrik to slide his arms through.  I also tacked the top of the wings to his shirt in a few places like the neck and shoulders.  To make the mask I cut a thick band of black felt, cut out two eye holes, and attached the back onto a piece of thick black elastic.  I then cut the ears out of black and gray felt, sewed them together and attached them to the mask.

I used black washi tape to make the Haunted Castle and Henrik made the grave yard out of silver washi tape.  This was so easy to make, It only took about five minutes and Henrik and I had so much fun doing it.

Little Miss Red Riding Hood’s costume was even easier than the bat costume.  Luckily I had this darling red cape (One of the first things I bought after I found out I was having a girl!).  The rest of the outfit came from Maja’s wardrobe as well.  The wolf toy you can get here and the large log pouf here.  I bought most of my washi tape from Darly Bird, she has an amazing selection.

I hope you enjoy and have a happy Halloween!


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