Here is a million-dollar question for you. Is it possible to throw a stylish birthday party for a toddler, that doesn't involve a noisy soft play, the entire Frozen sound track played at deafening volume levels and kids running around like they are possessed due to the levels of sugar they've just wolfed down from their goodie bag? Hint from the title of this blog post. YES IT IS! Exhibit A below...
As you have probably gathered, design is something I live and breathe, and for weeks, I looked for a design-friendly venue to celebrate Stella's fourth birthday back in October that wouldn't make me weep. Well, I found the absolute perfect solution, my friends, it's called thejamjar.
Located in Dubai's arts hub Alserkal Avenue, thejamjar is literally the most stunning space. It includes two studios: one that offers DIY painting sessions (not only for little people but also for adults by the way!) and the other available to hire for shoots, events and parties like Stella's birthday.
If you're a design freak with high expectations like me and are the proud owner of one or more little people in need of a cool birthday party venue, I think the below should make you save a bit of time and energy... Here is the full report on how it all went down and who I chose to make the day as fabulous and stress-free as possible.
We had one of thejamjar studios for ourselves on a Friday afternoon for 2h30. The venue can be hired for a fee that varies depending on the size of the party, every Friday and Saturday. We had access to the studio 30 mins before to set up and the team cleared out all our mess afterwards. (sorry jamjar!). The studio was all set up with 20 easels and the kids could choose between two small blank canvases or one large one. All paint supplies, brushes, aprons, tables, stools, chairs, pretty much everything you see in the photo below is included in the venue hire. And there was no limit on how long they could paint for within the 2h timeframe...
The lovely team at the venue gave us free rein to get the space party-ready. It's such a fabulous studio, I didn't really want or need to do much in terms of decorating so the only bits we added were multicoloured balloons to add a bit of fun and colour, and metallic letters and number helium balloons for personalisation. I enlisted the services of the lovely ladies at Balloons Atelier who hand delivered all the balloons directly at the venue.
Total cost including delivery: AED230.
I happened to be in London the week before the party and managed to get organised enough to pre-order some stuff on Amazon and have it delivered there. Stella is obsessed with My Little Pony so I just searched 'My Little Pony party supplies' and bought pretty much everything I could get my paws on... Pinkie Pie paper plates, Fluttershy napkins, Rarity party hats... You name it, I had it in my suitcase on the way back to Dubai...
Total cost: AED250.
I had a few quotes for hundreds and hundreds of dirhams for personalised cakes and just couldn't justify the price tag for something that was going to be demolished within 3 seconds... At that point unfortunately Stella had requested one thing and one thing only... A My Little Pony cake. Since I have never baked anything in my life, I had to be clever and find a solution and fast. On a friend's recommendation, I contacted Jackielicious who instantly got what I needed and made the perfect cake for a really reasonable price. She even supplied the pony figurines to put on top. It fed 20 kids and their parents. Not a crumb left...
Total cost including delivery: AED250.
The large industrial style space with stunning double height ceilings is flooded with natural light and obviously the perfect backdrop for insta-worthy arty shots, and to be fair most of my basic iPhone photos look pretty stunning with zero editing. I didn't want to have to miss anything on the day though and wanted to get some lovely images without having to worry about running after everyone like a mad woman with my camera so I asked my favourite paparazzo in town (and the most gorgeous lady inside and out) Karen from Design K to work her magic. She didn't disappoint...
Stella was kitted out in So Chic Kids. I mean where else?! I managed to bag this gorgeous red tulle dress by Bonpoint for a steal at their last sample sale...
Nada, rien, niente, nothing! Who needs kids party bags when you can take home your own artwork on canvas?!
So there you go, not your usual Stella + the Stars post on how to kit out your pad in style but I hope this might be useful if like me you have a toddler, and are after something a little different for your little one's birthday party venue ... ;-)
Massive thanks to thejamjar for having us, and to all the suppliers for making the day absolutely brilliant. I am not sure she's ever had so much fun in her life...
thejamjar - Community Arts Space
Kids parties at thejamjar start at AED 125 per child including canvases and materials.
Unit H74, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 3, Dubai
Tel: + (971) 04 341 73 03
Disclosure: This post was written in collaboration with thejamjar who gave us a generous discount on the venue hire. However, all words, opinions and sarcasms are entirely my own. I only work with companies and brands I genuinely think are fab and that I hope you will love too. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support Stella + the Stars...