Anne Laggard Murat, Event Planner and Founder of Clafoutis Creation, Mother of Muguet and Marguerite

We would love to hear a bit more about you, and what brought you to NY in the first place!

I am Anne – a dreamer trapped in a cartesian mind who decided to transform herself into a party fairy a few years ago! Love brought me to NYC. I was fresh out of college and came here with my “chéri” who later became my husband. I told my parents that I would only be gone for a year but I ended up making a life for myself here that I had not planned or even dreamt of. I was energised by the street life; inspired by some incredible opportunities and became addicted to the daily adventures of the City. Despite my French accent, I really feel like a New Yorker!

You have two daughters, Muget and Marguerite, what do you love the most about bringing them up in NY?

Firstly, I love that they won’t have to go through life speaking English with a terrible French accent! It brings me a lot of joy that they are not only raised bilingual, but more importantly bicultural. I love the fact that they are exposed to so many activities and have such a fun social life. Although I had a very happy childhood in the French countryside, I think I was always drawn to things more urban. I like things to be a bit more exciting. The girls are always excited. I think it is what NY does to a person!

What are your favorite things to do together with your girls?

We love to live in Carnegie Hill and enjoy the little cafés in our neighborhood. Central Park is nearby and living on Museum Mile means we really take the opportunity to go to exhibitions as often as we can. The Met has such wonderful programs for families. On Fridays we often go to Drop-In Drawings where the girls sketch in different galleries on given themes. We also love to escape to Brooklyn for the day. The girls love to go to DUMBO to enjoy the playground by the river, Jane’s Carousel, the bookstore at The Playhouse arena, the French pastries at Almondine’s… They have their favorite route.

Where are your favorite places to shop for the girls?

I LOVE to shop for my girls, especially for clothes! I really enjoy children’s fashion.
Like every French maman I love Bonpoint – living close to their store is very tempting! The clothes are so pretty and timeless. I love to see Marguerite in pieces that her big sister once wore as they bring back such happy memories. I have a very soft spot for the English style of Caramel Baby & Child. I love their color palette. For fun pieces we go to Crewcuts; the girls love their jewelry and accessories. For other brands that are harder to find in my neighborhood like Leoca, Wolf & Rita… I shop online. A website like Ladida has absolutely everything and their sale section is amazing!
For books we go to The Corner Bookstore on Madison. It has a quaint charm that I love. I like to see my girls sitting on their bench reading their newest finds while I browse their interesting selection for adults. We also go to Albertine, the French library on Fifth Avenue. They have fun workshops for children on Saturdays and the space is gorgeous!
Finally for sweets the girls have their favorites on the Upper East Side – William Greenberg for their famous black and white cookies and Curious Candy on the second floor of Cynthia Rowley’s shop.

How do you maintain a bit of french lifestyle in your everyday New Yorker life?

Since both my husband and I are French I feel it is La Petite France inside our home. You can constantly here the refrain, “en français, s’il te plaît !” when the girls talk to us. We keep a strict bedtime schedule for the girls during the school week – is that French or just couple survival? We still enjoy those dinner parties at home or at friends’ houses sitting for hours eating, drinking wine and discussing politics – so French, isn’t it? Except it’s New York so no one smokes or eats carbs any more

You have lived in Tokyo with your family for a few years, what do you miss the most about it?

My husband and I arrived there as a couple and we left a family as it is where we had our first daughter. Japan is where I became a maman so it will always be dear to me. I miss so many things – the food and how easy it is to eat a well-balanced and delicious meal. I miss the the kindness of Japanese people, the level of service, the refinement of packaging and presentation in general. I miss our ski weekends – snow powder in Japan is amazing! I miss seeing Mount Fuji from Muguet’s bedroom window. I miss being amused, intrigued, questioned on a daily basis. What I really don’t miss is the stress of the almost daily earthquake. Japanese people are so courageous, so resilient towards all of it. Just talking about it makes me homesick in fact!

You have your own brand and kids event planning business, Clafoutis. Can you tell a bit more about it and how you started it

I realized that organizing an event in a big city like Manhattan can be a challenge. I felt that people around me were more stressed about organizing a party for their child than being excited about it! It is NYC: everybody has different party needs and I wanted to bring the option of having something tailor-made for the family and the child. Knowing that parties can be costly I also wanted to provide attractive and imaginative options for every budget through our e-Petite Boutique. It offers a beautifully-curated selection of party products – to give any party prepared at home a little je ne sais quoi ! I like to think that our e-Petite Boutique is a one-stop shop for busy moms to survive the festival of school parties, friends parties, Valentine’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, Easter, Greek Easter… Because the States is so cosmopolitan and multi-cultural, every day somebody is celebrating something! I find it fascinating.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I’m like Peter Pan – I never age! I get to see the world through the eyes of the sweetest children. We help create magical memories and I love to see the joy of not only the children but also the adults.

What is the most difficult?

To make sure that everything looks effortless – it’s exhausting backstage! 😉

Tell us a bit about a regular day in your life. How do you manage work and motherhood all at once?

The day starts early preparing my daughters to go to school. Muguet, who is 9, is a dreamer (I can’t imagine who she takes after!) She is the kind of child that reads the cereal box instead of eating. Then I have Marguerite – 5! She has an opinion on everything from the crust on her bread to the softness of her tights! Anyway when everybody is ready I drop them at school and go to the Clafoutis studio.
I manage it all by living on no sleep!! I know it’s bad but I haven’t found any other way – it will be better when the girls go to college! Joking aside, I try to remember that these years are going to fly by so quickly and I try not to complain too much about it. Hopefully they will remember how fun it was to go to school with maman.

Find more about Clafoutis here

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