The Little Black Book for a last-minute Halloween

Once upon a time we were not bothered in the slightest about Halloween. But since our eldest has been in school and American friends of ours got us to do pumpkin carving, house decorating, party hosting and trick-or-treating in our neighbourhood (where, I must say, the vibe is brilliant!), we are hooked, especially the kids who know what happens at trick-or-treat …

But if you have had a last couple of weeks like mine, where not only have I been mega busy but also the entire family has fallen sick, one by one, Halloween has not been high on the agenda and we have nothing ready!

No need to panic though! I have been keeping an eye out and this is my LBB (Little Black Book) for a last-minute Halloween that I am happy to share with you:

PARTY DECORATIONS:

Party Camel

Always creative, on trend and just too happy to help. From wall decorations, to tableware, to one of Aisha's, Party Camel owner, favourites: Photo Booth props! Thank you Aisha for always being there! xx

COSTUMES:

Mystique Costumes

They have stores in Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim Street with rows and rows of costumes for grown-ups. Their sister store, Creative Minds, just a block away from the grown-up store in Al Barsha, has a good selection for children.

Mr Ben's Costume Closet

This is a great option if you prefer to rent although they also sell costumes. 

Superherokids Dubai

For the little people, I personally love these adorable superhero capes and masks that my kids were gifted by a close friend. 

 

PARTY FOOD - HOMEMADE:

The Party

If you are the type that can bake things that do not only taste good but also look pretty, then The Party have these gorge engraved rolling pins to make your own butter cookies with a choice of 4 different designs. Check out their neon orange and black Halloween cupcake toppers too!

Their website is still being built but you can find them on Instagram and Facebook, or contact them on hello@theparty.ae.

Lidija's Kitchen

If you already have the themed cookie cutters that usually are available at the likes of Spinneys, Tavola and Lakeland, why not give Lidija Abu Ghazaleh's recipe for double chocolate bat shaped sandwich cookies a try. Dare ... I think even I might ...

 

PARTY FOOD - ORDERED/BOUGHT:

And if you do not dare, all of these stores and cafes have a lovely selection of themed and artistic cookies and cupcakes:

The Lime Tree Cafe

If you are expecting a large party, The Lime Tree Cafe make freshly prepared, delish party food in general. But their hand-iced Halloween cookies are ultra cute and cover pretty much all elements of Halloween: bats, ghosts, pumpkins, skulls & bones. Oh and there is also a witch hat chocolate cupcake!

Freedom Pizza

Get the littles busy decorating their own Halloween cookies or buy ready decorated if you don't fancy cleaning up the mess afterwards!

Magnolia Bakery

With stores in 3 different locations across Dubai, temptation is always around the corner ... Their Halloween cupcakes come in a choice of either chocolate or vanilla.

Hummingbird Bakery

Their Halloween cupcakes are hilarious and added bonus: there is a choice of 3 flavours with either vanilla, chocolate or the very indulgent red velvet.

Yamanote Atelier

Like good Japanese, Yamanote Atelier are the kings of all things mini and have designed the cutest Halloween pastries. Recommended for those who do not wish to load themselves up with sugar ... that won't be my kids, I think! 

Photography credit, as relevant, to: Party Camel, Superherokids Dubai, The Party, Lidija's Kitchen and Freedom Pizza.

How the guru's throw a 'little party' - Party Camel's Third Birthday

When Aisha Leitner, founder of Party Camel, asked me to stop over at their studio if I was free for a little coffee celebration on the third birthday of the brand, I knew it was not going to be just that. 

Being one of Dubai's party guru's she is incredibly stylish and is hugely creative too. You only need to look through her online store and her blog - it oozes cuteness and edge! So I made sure I got our errands over and done with very quickly that morning so that I could join, even if only for a short while. What I did miss though, was taking my camera with me! So a big Thank You to Aisha for sharing the pictures taken by The Studio.

And isn't a Photo Booth a brilliant way to add a bit of silliness and fun to a party? Scroll through the arrows below for the fun Chez Party Camel:

Would you like to get this look? Here is how:

- Party supplies: Party Camel. Head over to their website here for the Happy Birthday Mini Party Hats, the Be Happy Bird toppers, the Photo Booth Props or backdrop, the Happy Birthday Plates or the adorable Happy Birthday Bags.

- Pallets for the food display: Cheeky Little Events. Check their website here for the contact details to rent more equipment, arrange entertainment or just organise the entire party for you.

- Photography: The Studio. Do check their website here for their different options on the Photo Booth, including the cool Selfie Box.

- Catering: The Lime Tree Cafe. My 2-year old daughter was very quick to decide the mini carrot cakes were going to be her lunch! Have a look at their samples menus for Party Food & Canapés, or Kids Party Food.

- Cake: Rasha Rmeily. Sugar perfection! If in doubt, scroll through her Instagram.

- Illustrations: Samar Sadik Fashion & Lifestyle Illustrator. Nothing like one of a kind invites or customised favours to add a touch of class to a celebration. Have a look at Samar's work here.

 

Now: Party Camel has a celebratory competition at the moment for a very special give-away: YOUR DREAM PARTY PACK! Click here to find out more - still a couple more days left to enter!

 

Something different: Picture People

Have you heard of the Picture People? It is a family photography studio already operating very successfully in the USA, and launched in the UAE (first franchise outside the USA) by Emirati entrepreneur brothers Abdulla and Hamad Al Shirawi.  

Why are they different? Because they are as creative as it gets, and you get to take your final images with you on the day of the photoshoot! Personally, I find that after the build up of all that excitement leading to a photoshoot, I get very impatient during a post-event wait. Of course, I do love to get to see the sneak previews but I really want to see it all straight away! So this is exactly what Picture People do, they produce the digitals and prints on the day.

Recently they hosted an adorable event at their studio in Wasl Vita Mall on Al Wasl Road to officially launch the brand in the UAE although they had opened in September. Themed as a Garden Picnic, thought was given to every little detail - from fabulous hairstylists from eideal, to absolute deliciousness from The White Boutique, and none other than Magic Phil to keep the littlies entertained. And you will probably notice the garden too, just like I did. Would you like to know who did it? The highly talented and creative team at Picture People themselves!

And you will probably notice the garden too, just like I did. Would you like to know who did it? The highly talented and creative team at Picture People themselves!

With the UAE Mothers Day approaching, they also gave us the opportunity to have a mini ‘Mummy and Me’ photoshoot and this is the outcome: fresh and fun! My little Missie knows how to put up a challenge and did her very best to test the patience and humour of the ever so charming photographer who just knew how to motivate her!

This is the proposal from the Picture People for this Easter: do something different and have an ‘Egg Smash’, inspired by the ‘Cake Smash’! Priced at AED 495, the package includes a studio session using a chocolate egg filled with colourful smarties which your child or children can proceed to smash, shatter, break, demolish and destroy as they wish whilst the photographer captures all the fun and the huge smiles. With it, you then get to choose one image to be printed and framed on 4x6 format, and one ‘View & Share’ image. Additional to the package, you can also have the Egg Smash video filmed or you can choose further images for extra prints and canvases.

Offer is valid until 29 March, so hurry!

For more details on other packages and options, contact:

Picture People - Wasl Vita Mall - Al Wasl Road - Jumeirah 1 - Tel +971 4 343 4413

Ideas for a Ballerina Birthday Party

After having taken my daughter to the most beautiful Ballerina Tea Party my very talented friend Lisa threw for her little girl's birthday last weekend, I came back so inspired seeing all the gorgeousness that I could not resist getting onto the Internet and look for further ideas as soon as I got home!

Unfortunately Lisa's party photos are not yet ready but I thought I would share some of the very dainty and pretty ideas I found - stuff little girls dreams are made of ...

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Some of the essentials for a ballerina party:

  • Be prepared to dress your home in an all-pink theme (!)
  • Pink popcorn
  • Pink lemonade
  • Super pretty cupcakes
  • Yards and yards of pink tulle!
  • A bit of OTT-ness

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Recipe for Pink Popcorn

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt

Boil ingredients together for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Then add 1 tsp Vanilla and any food colouring of your choice. Remove from heat, pour over 2-3 batches of air-popped popcorn and stir until completely coated. Spread popcorn out on counter top to cool completely.

Source

 

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Part of the beauty of this theme (apart from the theme itself) is that you can pick one of the many adaptations: vintage, pink and gold, pink and silver, French, Nutcracker, Angelina Ballerina etc

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And so ... voila! That's how you do it. That simple! ;)

5 Out-of-the-box Venue Ideas for Kids Birthday Parties in Dubai

Emma Riedel, Managing Director of me&riley contemporary events runs one of the most seasoned kids party organisers in Dubai. We adore their set-ups and her concepts: always contemporary, super classy and a lot of fun! Emma has shared with me their current top venues for kids birthday parties - something us mums always struggle with when it comes to doing something different every year; and according to Emma, it's the hardest part of their job too!

 

Black Palace Beach

A.K.A. the 'Secret Beach' (not such a well-kept secret after all!). This beach is super popular with photographers for their family and maternity photo shoots for a reason: clean, always uncrowded and gorgeous views. Tick, tick, tick: birthday party venue. Plus it has tons (!) of parking space.

Zaabeel Park

A lot of us are familiar with the park from the Friday Ripe Markets in the winter months, so we know it is a fabulous spot with lots of areas to organise games and for the kids to run wild. Why not use it for a birthday party too?

Apple Seeds Play Centre

If your child's birthday is in the summer (my son is an April baby, so borderline summer), you might feel like you are always limited for options but this bright and airy centre had been specifically designed for kids and quite naturally, they just love it.

Al Wasl Park

Al Wasl Park is a small park and might be less known amongst the families not living in the area - it's off Al Wasl Road, behind the Iranian Hospital. It is pretty and cosy and has plenty of shaded seating areas. Weekdays (Saturday to Wednesday) it is ladies and kids only.

Cartoon Art Gallery

Uber-cool venue at the address of the moment - everybody seems to be wanting to move to or open their business in Al Quoz! And quite frankly, we do not mind that at all - quite the opposite!

Images source: me&riley

Note: For parties in the parks, permission needs to be sought from the management companies a while in advance. 

So there you have it, half the job done. All you need to do now is pick a theme and/or give the team at me&riley a call and they will help you plan and hold the best celebration for your kids!

The me&riley team can be contacted on: 

me&riley T. +971 55 285 1861 info@meandriley.com www.meandriley.com