Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

Posts Tagged ‘World Book Day costumes

World Book Day – aka mummy’s nervous breakdown

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Okay, I started this whole World Book Day (WBD) thing with a measure of reluctant enthusiasm. I love books and I love reading and, while I’m desperate to foster that love in DD and DS, I don’t truly feel a costume is necessary.

Far better, in my mind, to take in their favourite book and prepare a two-minute talk about why they like it. But I’m not a teacher so what would I know.

Anyway, as the days have passed, I’m now viewing WBD with about as much enthusiasm as I would an invitation to a cockroach convention. In my bathroom.

Since jettisoning the idea of the nylon Dorothy costume five days ago, we’ve been through Lola (too young), Daisy from the Kes Gray books (this is actually DD’s favourite character), Horrid Henry (she was worried she’d be laughed at for going as a boy), Little Red Riding Hood, the Sleepover girls (she doesn’t want to wear pyjamas), Pippi Longstocking (she’s never read it), Milly Molly Mandy (I haven’t found a red-and-white stripy dress and she hasn’t read it) and Darrell from Malory Towers.

The wonderful, loyal, adventurous Darrell Rivers of Malory Towers


So the entire family spent Saturday afternoon trawling Outlet Mall for a Daisy outfit. The orange t-shirt was easy enough, but nowhere I looked had pink dungarees, at least for a child over the age of 12 months. In desperation, I bought a sparkly red skirt and a pair of red sparkly shoes and said she could add a white t-shirt and a red cardigan and go as Little Red Riding Hood. I’d even make her some little cupcakes to put in her basket.

Hallelujah – all settled, I poured a glass of wine and put my feet up.

“Mummeee?” came the whiny voice the next day. “I don’t want to go as Little Red Riding Hood. She actually wears a blue dress and a red coat with a hood and I don’t have either of those…”

Fair point.

Then came the Horrid Henry hour, quickly followed by Darrell from Malory Towers. While in my day Darrell (my childhood heroine!) wore a brown school frock and cream blouse, the new 21st century Darrell wears a white shirt and red tie and, presumably, a grey or navy school skirt.

Easy, I thought.

But no. Today – on a beautiful sunny afternoon of 25˚C when my children should have been playing out in the fresh air – I learned that nowhere in Dubai can you buy plain school uniform. DD, DS and I trawled Mall of the Emirates looking for a ubiquitous white blouse and a plain grey school skirt. M&S, Debenhams, BHS, Next, Mothercare and, finally, Benetton.

Nada. Rien. Niets. Nothing.

“We only stock school uniform in September,” said the lady in M&S helpfully, “because we only carry seasonal clothes.” (Don’t other children go to school all year round?)

“Sold out,” said the lady in Debenhams.

“Huh-huh,” sniggered the lady in Benetton, as if I’d asked for clothes for my cat.

“Darling, we’re going to have to re-think Darrell,” I told DD as she wept quietly in the back of the car. “Little Red Riding Hood. Angelina Ballerina. Cinderella. Clarice Bean. Lola.”

“Darrell,” she said. “Or nothing.”

I’m beginning to think World Book Day spent reading a book on the sofa at home mightn’t be such a bad idea after all.

The joys of World Book Day

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Just as I feel I’m getting into a nice school routine with DD, knowing which homework to do on what day, for example, packing her off with the right kit and picking her up at the right time, the school throws a curve ball that knocks me right off track.

It came this week in the form of an email from our class rep stating that the children must attend school on World Book Day next week dressed as their favourite book character. Furthermore, the character couldn’t be from a TV or film that had spun off into a book; it had to have originated as a book.

Of course I’d heard of the horrors of Book Day from parents of older children but I’d somehow hoped that, like sending kids up chimneys, it would be abolished before my turn came to create a fancy-dress costume from two tissues, an old roller blind and a Cornflakes packet.

Lola - cute, wholesome and free.


Sadly not. And let’s face it, when it comes to anything that involves creativity of the arts and crafts variety, I’m as useful as a juniper berry in a French vineyard. Still, procrastinating does not a Little Red Riding Hood costume make, so I started by trawling the internet for ideas.

I presented DD with the following list, all of which I thought I could achieve with minimal effort and a stiff g&t: Little Red Riding Hood, the cat in the hat, Daisy from the Kes Gray books, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella (rags or riches), the ugly sisters, Rapunzel (I even offered to buy a Rapunzel wig!), Milly Molly Mandy, Darrell from Malory Towers, a pirate from Peter Pan (given she already has a pirate costume), Burglar Bill, Mr Strong, Little Miss Sunshine, Angelina Ballerina, Judy Moody, Lola from Charlie & Lola, and, finally, Little Princess.

DD was unimpressed.

“Hannah Montana?” she asked. Banned: Television before book.

“A Teletubby?” Ditto.

“Barney?” Ditto.

“Oh alright,” she sighed. “I’ll go as the Little Princess.” (I just know she was thinking about the red shoes from “I Want New Shoes”.)

But Little Princess is really aimed at three-year-olds. I realised DD would be a laughing stock among the girls of her class who, being 7 going on 17, will no doubt be coming as something from Sweet Valley High or, worse, The Vampire Diaries.

In desperation, I presented her with the iPad and let her trawl Amazon for ideas. After much deliberation she chose a flammable, nylon Dorothy costume from The Wizard of Oz (it’s the ruby slippers, I’m telling you) that would cost £20 to buy, plus the hire of a private jet to ship it over in time.  

£20's worth of flammable Dorothy costume


Maybe we’ll discover tonight that Dorothy’s “out of stock”. I still have high hopes for Lola (bunches, hair clips, pinafore – cute, wholesome, free). How about you?