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We couldn’t resist this story - a chance to look at the Queen’s wardrobe, especially the costumes made for her when she took part in amateur dramatics at Windsor Palace as a teenager. The exhibition is on at Buckingham Palace and shows just how differently the royals do things. The then Princess Elizabeth had an Aladdin based costume, for example, that probably cost as much to design and make as the average wedding dress!

Freaky Friday back to school party


Just as many parents (or at least many of the honest ones) are sighing with relief as school beings again and the kids are off their hands for most of the day at last, those same kids are about to have September meltdowns. The first week back is usually okay - new school books and stationery, the chance to catch up with friends not seen much over the summer, and school uniforms feel almost like fancy dress for those first few days.


Then homework arrives and children realise that this is it - this is reality. Misery all round.  So what can you do for your kiddie-winks to make this transition easier?


We enjoy the old Freaky Friday or Vice Versa party as a way of helping children over the back to school hump. Just pick a Friday after the school day is done and let your children dress as adults, while you put on school uniform and act like a brat!


Kids love dressing up, as opposed to getting dressed, and organising an outdoor fancy dress party is the best way we know to bring a little happiness to your kidlets on a day when they are bored and listless.  Here are the top tips for a stellar summer fancy dress party:


Fancy dress theme for kids - we favour either ‘animal antics’ or ‘summer fun’ as themes, because they both allow you to set up some fun games to keep the children happy. For animal antics you can organise races … with the key feature being that the child has to complete the race in the style of their animal, so rabbits must hop, those in cat costume must arch their backs and dogs have to chase a ball, etc! Great fun to take part in and wonderful to video for happy memories in the year’s ahead.


Who can forget the amazing moment when James Bond met the Queen, was walked through Buckingham Palace and then jumped out of a helicopter to support her Maj! The 2012 London Olympic ceremony was notable for many things but the parachuting Queen was almost certainly the most unforgettable.


Right now, the dress that the Queen wore for the opening ceremony is on display at Buckingham Palace. What isn’t so well known is that the beautiful dress, created from salmon pink silk, lace and beads, also had its own fancy dress version. The second dress was created - with equal care - by Angela Kelly, the Queen’s PA and adviser, for her majesty’s stunt double, Gary Connery, who was the person who actually jumped from the helicopter.  The fancy dress version was kept such a secret that Ms Kelly’s seamstresses didn’t even know that two outfits were being made, but the fancy dress costume version had to be strong enough to cope with a genuine parachute jump whilst looking identical to the beautiful gown that the monarch wore to enter the arena.


Summer is here and it’s a change to get the BBQ out and get grilling. But don’t just settle for charred chops and burnt burgers, we’ve got tips and hints to make your barbie brilliant.


Fancy up your BBQ


Set a theme. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Some of our favourite fancy dress summer themes are Hawaiian Dream, Hot and Bothered and Summer Holidays - here’s our breakdown of each one


Hawaiian Dream - you can go for a full on Luau costume with grass skirt and all the accessories or keep it simple with a flowery garland. Guys love this one because it simply requires a Hawaiian shirt, shorts and flip-flops. Catering is a doddle too, simply lay on some pineapple chunks, coconut themed drinks and a lot of pork to grill and you’ve got a great theme for virtually no effort.


Hot and Bothered - this is a real adult barbie winner. People just need to come as their favourite celebrity in a hot and bothered state! There will be quite a few schoolgirl Britney’s and several Oliver Reeds (British men love to ‘dress up’ as Oliver Reed, I wonder why?) but more up-to-date celeb exposure can be fun too. We saw a wonderful Justin Bieber costume being created for one of these themed barbecues!


So who’s partying today? We’ve got Independence Day all sewn up in our office with at least two Elvis lookalikes, an Abraham Lincoln and several stars and stripes costumes being paraded - well, every day is a fancy dress day for the team!


If you’re not American and not sure what to wear, we’d always go with the traditional themes for 4th of July - you can’t go wrong with a big old stars and stripes flag - you can tie it around you, safety pin it to your shoulders like a cape - useful, practical, and can be recycled as a tablecloth or beach towel.


Want to go the whole hog? Then get some fireworks (who needs an excuse for fireworks? We don’t! But we do let our neighbours know that we’re going to be letting them off so they can get the dogs and cats in) and some root beer, turn up the Bruce Springsteen and Tina Turner and get your rock on! We also favour a crispy fried chicken dinner and for a grown up party, why not make some hard slush puppies? They take 30 minutes and you get a dozen from our recipe.


So … the 2016 FA Cup Final will take place on 21 May in London between Manchester United and Crystal Palace.


Ready to party?


Of course you are.


Regardless of whether you’re a fan of either club, you can still enjoy the big day with a Cup Final party - and you’ve got plenty of time to plan a great evening. Here are our tips for a great Cup Final:


  • Make sure your guests know that you’re having a Big Match Special at your place - if necessary, beg, borrow or rent a big screen to show the game on.
  • Offer prizes for the best fancy football themed fancy dress - that should create some great costumes (if you’re attending a Cup Final party at somebody else’s house, we think our Subbuteo fancy dress is going to win you some prizes)
  • Work on some great football snacks to hand around - sliced oranges (popped into in colour themed cocktails of course), chips in take-out boxes etc. Try out any unfamiliar ideas on your family so you know if they are a success - football pizza for example is brilliant but takes a bit of planning
  • Hire in some glasses and buy paper plates and plastic cutlery - it’s only footie after all
  • Striped cups like referee jerseys, food labels in the form of fan rosettes and so on
  • Make sure you’ve got lots of flags to wave - no rattles though, they get very anti-social very quickly!
  • Place a bet … what have you got to lose?



Yes, it’s upon us. The (un)official Star Wars day has caused much costuming to happen around the world. Chewbaccas have turned up to work,  Princess Leias have attended school and Yodas have spoken badly in call centres. The day - a pun on the Star Wars franchise theme ‘May the Force be with you’ grows exponentially every year and this year with the new Star Wars film, it’s going to be bigger than ever.


As the Star Wars celebration grows, it becomes more and more fun. Families take part as a whole with little toddler Darth Vaders being led around the supermarket by mothers in Darth Maul costumes and many many stormtroopers doing all kinds of things in quite unlikely places. Flickr and Instagram will be full of the most peculiar pictures of stormtroopers taking showers or tap dancing - it’s all quite hilarious.

The answers are various: Easter (some years), snow (some years), April Fool’s Day (every year) and since the 1980s, the London Marathon. This year it takes place on 24 April, the day after St George’s Day.


This 26.2 mile extravaganza has always been as much about the city as about the race - it’s an astonishing charity fund-raising event, a fancy dress extravaganza and increasingly a party for those who love the event - whether you choose to compete, watch it on the streets of London or throw a TV watching party for family and friends.




If you’re going to support somebody who’s running in the marathon, make sure you read one of the many guides to where to watch the marathon and take note of the instructions about when to be in the location, what to pack and what to expect of the race marshals who are around to help you have a fun and safe marathon watching experience.

When it’s in Birmingham, apparently. And, no it’s not a late April Fool’s Day prank by the AbFab team - it’s a true story about a drunken naked reveller running through the streets of Birmingham only to get pursued by a person dressed as Bananaman! As we said, the pictures are definitely Not Safe For Work, but if you’ve ever wondered about the value of fancy dress, then this should help you make up your mind for good. Not only would the drunk have been so much better off if he’d had a silly costume, but the story is made 100% more attractive by the Bananaman to the rescue chase sequence!

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