last weekend was one for the memory books. my friend MARTA and i had been trying to get our families together for a cozy brunch or lunch since a few months, but our calendars never seemed to line up. we finally booked a date several weeks in advance – a saturday in october it would be. as the weather stayed nice for so long, we decided it would be the perfect time to do a joint photo session, too. there are never enough opportunities to get some beautiful family portraits, right?

so last saturday we were en route to our lunch and shoot location in the gorgeous countryside close to geneva, when i started smelling trouble from the back seat about twenty minutes into the drive. we figured we’d wait to change eloise’s diaper until we arrived at the restaurant, thinking nothing much more of it. but when another twenty minutes later i opened the car door and lifted eloise out of her car seat, a million thoughts started running through my head – the loudest one being ‘why for the love of god do i never pack a change of clothes for this baby?’ i’ll spare you my other thoughts. her diaper’s contents had exploded all over her beautiful onesie, pants and socks, and i had brought absolutely nothing else for her to wear. we panicked and almost turned the car straight around to head back home and cancel all plans, until we realized that shit indeed does happen in life and it’s way better to just roll with the punches.

so instead of having our lovely photo shoot i packed eloise into her super warm sleeping bag and tucked her under a blanket in the stroller, and we all enjoyed a little walk before enjoying a lovely lunch together. eloise slept through the entire thing. i guess marta and i had also romanticized the idea of being able to carry an actual conversation with so many kids at the table, but hey – it still counts as spending quality time together. afterwards we all drove back to our place in begnins to change eloise into a new outfit and have some coffee and cake, and then we went out for another little walk in our neighborhood. not even five minutes from our home, and of course we ended up taking the most gorgeous photos there. that’s #reallife for you.

the kids had fun picking some of the last left over grapes from the vines, while marta and i got completely snap happy and freaked out about the perfect light and the gorgeous fall colors. our husbands must have rolled their eyes a few times but they were polite enough to let us carry on, even posing for some family photos. keep the momtographers happy, and everyone gets to be happy, right? also – can we talk about these beautiful fall outfits? i am practically living in that red dress i found at MARGARETA, and all the kids are dressed (nearly head to toe) in things we found at STADTLANDKIND, both marta’s and my favorite swiss children’s web shop.

photos by stephanie duval and marta villacampa • my dress is from MARGARETA, all the kids are dressed in STADTLANDKIND outfits • théo’s SWEATER, inès’ DRESS and T-SHIRT, eloise’s CARDIGAN, ROMPER and PANTS, juliet’s DRESS, SNEAKERS, SCARF and POM POM SWEATER

Dressing The Part

August 20, 2018 • Style

shopping and fashion – two things i rarely talk about on here, but admittedly they are rather important to me. also, i really wanted to ask for your advice and share a little tip myself. first a question for all the moms out there – what do you wear? i mean, i can’t be the only one who doesn’t want to sacrifice style for comfort, only to be reminded of their incompatibility on a daily basis? the other day i ripped a brand new silk dress because i was reaching for eloise’s pacifier in the backseat while i was in the front seat. if you’ve spent 2 minutes with a crying baby, you’ll know i would have gladly set my dress on fire in order to soothe her, but i was still pretty annoyed and sad about the little accident. i love all these pretty, flowing dresses (and let’s be honest, their shapeless cut is great to hide post-pregnancy baby bumps), but i am constantly ripping them, stepping on them, getting them caught in sleeping bag and diaper bag zippers, and obviously i am not even talking about all of the vomit, spit and other liquids that get spilled on them daily. i have five dresses hanging in our bathroom waiting to be washed by hand, but that’s the other thing about motherhood – WHO HAS THE TIME?

so, i am calling on all stylish moms out there, those who haven’t given in to all-jersey-everything (and if you have, know that i understand and respect that) and who have somehow cracked the code. what is your secret? how do you look stylin’ every day and look after babies and toddlers without destroying your clothes? i definitely don’t want to become one of ‘those moms’ who chastise their kids for even looking their way when they are dressed nicely – what’s the point in having children if you aren’t constantly smothering them with kisses and cuddles anyway? (i swear it’s like crack to me). anyhow, i look forward to hearing about your experiences with this – thoroughly first world – problem.

secondly, one thing i have successfully figured out, is how to support small entrepreneurs and retailers without giving up on my freedom to shop wherever and whenever i want. i know this is an issue many of you deal with – after all the family get togethers, driving kids to parties and hobbies, and drinking all the wine with your friends if you all find yourself sans kids for an hour by some crazy coincidence; there is virtually no time left to go shopping. but i also know many of you, myself included, favor a personal service and supporting small business owners over shopping at anonymous and giant-scale web shops. so when i was introduced to the shopping platform STORESQUARE, i was not only pleasantly surprised, i did an actual happy dance.

STORESQUARE offers belgian retailers a digital place to put up (part of) their merchandise for sale. local retailers can thus reach a much more widely spread audience, without having to invest in their own web shop and all the marketing they’d need to make it known. as a customer, you get to browse hundreds of stores on one site, and thanks to the easy searching tools you’ll find what you’re looking for much sooner than you think. i bought this blue ganni dress on there (and because i know you’re gonna ask – yes, i ripped this dress, too, and if you look at the pictures you’ll see exactly how it happened). i found it at a retailer in leuven – a place i would probably never have ended up otherwise. the process was fast and easy, the dress was personally wrapped by the store owner and sent to me with a handwritten card, and i experienced all the confidence and comfort from shopping online, without any of the ‘supporting-big-business-over-small-business’ guilt.

i then experienced the advantages of the platform for a second time when i was looking high and low for a toy i wanted to give my god child for his sixth birthday. it was sold out everywhere and the company didn’t make it anymore, and i was about to give up all hope for finding my nephew’s desired police boat, when i thought to search for it on storesquare. lo and behold – a retailer in faraway (for me) limburg still had one, and it was on sale. a few days later the toy arrived in a cardboard amazon box that the store owner had recycled – another thing i appreciate about shopping small.

yes, this post was created in collaboration with the storesquare platform. even from just browsing the platform when they introduced themselves to me, i was enthusiastic. but after my own experiences with it, i can honestly say i love what it stands for and how you can use it to support belgian retailers all over the place. give it a go, check it out – maybe your favorite store is on there, too, or perhaps you’ll find a business you can support instead of giving your money to the internet giants out there.

photos by matthias rabaey • this post is a collaboration with STORESQUARE, but of course all opinions are my own


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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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