Picked With Love

March 24, 2017 • Kids

juliet’s second birthday is coming up, and as the meme goes… it’s making me feel all the feels. has it really been two years since we left for the hospital nervous and scared but also full of excitement and anxious to meet our little girl? 24 months have passed and every single day i have felt my love for this tiny person grow. before i start sounding like a diaper commercial, let me translate this to real life real quick – i can’t. stop. buying. stuff.

you know how people-before-they-become-parents go like ‘oh i’m not going to spoil my children with toys they don’t need’. yeah, i call bullshit. and even marie kondo is with me on this one, because everything i buy for juliet just gives me SO MUCH happiness. seeing her face light up when she opens a ‘dadootsj’ (her translation of cadeautje) makes my heart jump and smile. and don’t get me started on seeing her discover new things and loving them so badly she carries them with her everywhere she goes (the truth is this is becoming a little bit inconvenient as her collection of ‘unmissables’ grows).

i’m trying to reign in my capitalist, consumerist, materialistic tendencies as much as i can, by sticking to toys and objects of real value. i’d much rather buy her one thing that is perfect, than 10 fast-fun goodies she’d get sick of in five minutes. so i turn to shops and brands that have a heart and a soul, who put love in the development and production of their things – because you can simply feel the difference in every aspect.

belgian web shop ZOEN VOOR GUST shares the same philosophy. owners ingeborg and carol look for small, independent brands who produce small quantities of great products, and they gather their favorite selection in their beautifully curated boutique. the offer is not enormous, but that only emphasizes the fact that these ladies handpick every item and want only the best for their customers (and their littles).

when they asked me to share my personal ‘picked with love’ list, the only hard thing was narrowing it down to a top three. the GATHRE leather playmat had to be in there. ever since i encountered their account on instagram, it’s been on my wish list. the mat is beautiful, but it’s also surprisingly practical, and has already moved around our entire apartment. underneath juliet’s high chair to prevent damage to our wood floors from her enthusiastic eating ritual (stuff gets thrown around, y’all); inside of her teepee in our living room, because blankets and textile playmats gather a lot more dust and are a lot harder to keep clean on the floor; and underneath her new playing table in her room, because crayons and paint you guys. it gets everywhere VERY quickly.

also in my top three is the wood toy camera from FANNY & ALEXANDER – another instagram darling. again it is just such a beautiful object – i keep stealing it from juliet’s room to put it on display in our living room. but mostly juliet loves mimicking me in photographer mode. it took her a little while to figure out the right direction to hold the camera, but she’s now playing with the intractable lens like a pro. it’s the cutest. thing. ever.

the necklace from MISHONE is perhaps the riskiest little gift for a two-year-old, as it’s perhaps not entirely grabbing-and-pulling-hands-proof. but though i don’t dress her girly and her lack of hair generally makes people decide to address her as a boy, she’s definitely a girl’s girl. she loves to do all the things mama does – applying cream to her face, brushing her (little tufts of) hair, getting dressed and changing outfits multiple times a day (i wonder if i have somehow gravely affected her personality with my blogging antics), and last but not least – accessorizing. so even though it’s currently only being used under parental supervision, i’m pretty sure this necklace will get a lot of love from her.

as the pictures obviously show, i wasn’t able to keep these lovely things a surprise until her second birthday, and yes, i do have one more little gift all wrapped up for her to open on sunday. but i kinda like the fact that her birthday party will be less about opening gifts and more about sharing this celebratory moment with her (we’ve got balloons, chocolate cake, party costumes – THE WORKS). make sure to check in on my INSTAGRAM stories this weekend, as i’ll probably overshare the hell out of all of it.

FANNY AND ALEXANDER camera + MISHONE necklace + GATHRE playmat all via ZOEN VOOR GUST • juliet’s sweater came from STADTLANDKIND • her leopard leggings are from MARMAR • all photos by stephanie duval


Filter through posts by category.

The Road Less Taken

Travel through posts by city.


my name is stephanie duval, and i am a storyteller. this blog is where i share my favorite stories about design, travel, fashion and the nice things in life.


site by —
matthias deckx