Meri Meri

my petite crevette is not so petite anymore… every year throwing her birthday party becomes more fun, because she’s really starting to enjoy it herself now. but it also makes me realize how fast time is flying by. somehow, my own birthdays don’t really have quite the same effect as seeing my little baby grow into this cute, stubborn, funny, smart little lady.

we celebrated her birthday in switzerland this year, making it the first big event for which we didn’t travel back to belgium to spend it with as many family members as possible. we realized that, if we kept celebrating all the milestones in belgium, we’d never make any significant memories like that in switzerland, which has been our home for over six years now. somehow it felt appropriate and good, now that juliet is getting a bit older and is getting more attached to her room, her home and her environment, to start celebrating her birthday right here. but of course it’s a mixed feeling, as we are simultaneously taking away the opportunity to spend this time with her grandparents and god parents.

this living abroad thing does not get any easier, does it? the longer we’re here, the more confused i get about what place to call home and where to feel best. when i’m in switzerland, i miss belgium, my friends and family. when i’m in belgium, i miss my home, my routines and our beautiful, beautiful surroundings. i don’t think i’ll ever get used to seeing the alps from our living room window, driving down to the supermarket via streets winding through vineyards, or living only twenty minutes away from gorgeous mountain tops or ten minutes from a beautiful lake. i miss good, affordable restaurants and i do get frustrated with having to shop for most things online because there are not that many great boutiques around – but in the end, are those the things that really matter? i once thought i was a city girl, not able to live more than five minutes away from a bustling metropole and hoping to one day live in the beating heart of the world (new york, duh). i am not so sure about that anymore today.

back to juliet’s birthday though! i still remember the first party we ever threw her – it was tasteful with white balloons and green eucalyptus, with stylish cakes and understated decorations… boy, did we come a long way since then! i was all set to throw her a super classy ‘moon and stars’ party, inspired by her gorgeous crown. but then i came across all those meri meri goodies and i imagined the look on juliet’s face if she were to discover a hot pink flamingo-themed birthday table. and i succumbed, of course. i would even say i went completely overboard (those who know me, know i only have two modes of existence – ‘not going for it at all’ or ‘going all the way and beyond’). we got a tower of donuts and decorated it with glittering stars and flamingo candles. she was happy as a clam eating the glaze off the donuts and opening her presents – maileg bunnies to play with and pink clothes to wear.

i had the best time setting up this table (with some nice ‘adult’ tableware accents, too) and seeing the joy it sparked in juliet, who wore the most glamorous outfit and sprinkled glitter all over our home in the process. but secretly i am already looking forward to throwing a certain baby her very classy, very understated and stylish first birthday party next year…

photos by stephanie duval and matthias rabaey • meri meri party supplies and maileg gifts via HET LAND VAN OOIT • outfit juliet by MARMAR • bow hair clip from BONBON BABY AND KIDS • bib elodie details via BABY MATTERS and crown meri meri via STADTLANDKIND • outfit stephanie by FRAGILE • high chair at the table from BUDTZBENDIX • high chair in the background from STOKKE • cutlery and tableware from POMAX


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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.


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