Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

Posts Tagged ‘World Book Day

World Book Day number eleventy-million

leave a comment »

Hi all. Remember me? (waves madly). I know, I know. I’ve been absent for a while. But there was something about World Book Day that made me want to put fingers to keyboard. Maybe it was all those pictures on my social media feeds of mums with littluns dressed up as Thing 1 and Thing 2. It stirred the memory banks of all those desperate World Book Days past.

My kids are older now. DD is practically an adult and DS is deep enough into secondary school for me to be able to relax my hold a little. Suffice to say, World Book Day didn’t even cross my radar this year.

And then we got an email from DS’s school: the entire school – from kids still in nappies to 18-year-olds – was to dress up.

I can only deduce that the schoolteachers hate us. Really hate us.

I have a theory about dress-up days. I think mums come preloaded with only so many they can do before they give up. Ten years’ worth, maybe. And my bank is exhausted (not just my bank that’s exhausted, but that’s another blog). I just don’t have it in me anymore. I also think that, at 12 years old, DS needs to take some responsibility for this type of thing himself because, let’s face it, if it was up to me I’d dress him up as Angelina Ballerina and be done with it (I’ve just realised that was 10 years ago – see? It’s 10 years, I’m telling you).

So I asked DS who he wanted to go as and he said it was next week not this week, and disappeared back upstairs to play Fortnite.

            Last night I realised from the flurry of #worldbookday posts by better-organised mothers who’d already produced brilliant costumes (where do you find the enthusiasm, ladies? Is it HRT?) that it was in fact this week. DS was duly summoned.

            ‘I’ll go as myself, from the school yearbook,’ he said with a shrug. ‘I love that book.’

And I sat there thinking: why the hell didn’t I think of that all those years ago?

DS starring as himself in his favourite book.
Pic for illustrative purposes only. If only DS ever looked this tidy.

Written by mrsdubai

March 4, 2022 at 12:55 pm

What are you reading?

leave a comment »

I thought, rather than dress up as my favourite book character (Darrell Rivers from Malory Towers, natch), I’d celebrate World Book Day today by sharing with you some of the best fiction I’ve read in recent weeks.

My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young
Touted as “the new Birdsong” this is a love story set against the backdrop of World War II – you know, man meets unsuitable girl, man falls in love with girl, man goes off to war, blah-blah. While I don’t feel that comparing it to the marvellous Birdsong does it any favours, it was still a compelling read with engaging characters, and it kept me hooked while I floated around the pool in the Seychelles.

Pear-Shaped by Stella Newman
I have to admit I chose this primarily for its delicious duck-egg blue cover. For chick-lit, it’s not bad. It’s about the deteriorating relationship between Sophie, a 30-something pudding-developer, and her Maserati-driving 45-year-old boyfriend, who has a thing for lingerie models.  Well observed and amusing, but – well, it is what it is: An easy read.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
This is a fictional story based on Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage, set while Hemingway’s still a struggling writer in the 1920s. He and his wife move to Paris, where they hang out with characters such as Scott Fitzgerald and other luminaries of the time, drinking absinthe and soaking up the Parisian atmosphere, but things become complicated. Because I’m drawn to struggling writers, expat life and the jazz age, I loved it.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I don’t usually read Young Adult fiction but this has been recommended by so many friends that I picked it up last night at book club and started on it at once. I’m only a couple of chapters in and already it’s captured my imagination in a way that rarely happens. I know I’ll have read not only this, but the entire trilogy, by the time book club rolls around again next month.
Set in the near-future, it’s a science fiction tale about a game show for children with only one rule: Kill or be killed. Goosebumps already.



World Book Day – aka mummy’s nervous breakdown

with one comment

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

with 5 comments

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?