Friday 18/12/2015

Posh Spice and The Phantom of the Opera                                                           (B'day Boy)

Fun, food and fizz fueled the festivities. The fancy-dress infused much frivolity and guessing conversation into the party. It can be easier to 'let your hair down' in an alternative persona and there were lots of those including a postbox, a pint of beer and a plug with a socket. Even being a suspect parrot is weirdly liberating.The majority of the costumes were ready made and therefore instantly recognisable. I'm assuming  it is a great feeling on hearing something like  'ah nice, a pope'. I wouldn't know. I was asked numerous times 'so what are you?' and I answered by showing my back and saying lamely 'a parrot, see the parrot tail?' The host slurred 'great peacock' as we left. I was happy, thinking 'Still Peacock. Parrot. Both birds. Great Party'.

The F words keep flowing.


This weeks F word has provided a mixture of fun, family, creative imagination and a really steep learning curve.

We were invited to a 40th birthday party on my husband's side of the family. He has a big family and each year there are excuses for a variety of  celebrations that enable us to get together, catch up with the wider family news and allow each generation some special time to bond.

Of course, I was very excited about this invite, 'A Fancy-Dress Party'. Great, fancy-dress, would fit the remit for my F word blog. Unfortunately the chosen theme was a 'P' word, but you can't have everything.

​My imagination kicked in. I would make my own costume and even make one for my husband. We would be complimentry p's. The whole fancy-dress process from ordering materials, making the costume and party time itself would produce an abundance of blogging material. Clearly, it would be a very short entry if I just ordered a costume, so I got to work. 

​I have this crazy personality trait that once my imagination and enthusiasm run wild I fail to see the bigger picture. For some reason, I was determined to make a parrot costume and my husband would be a pirate. A parrot and pirate pair. Simple. Decision made. In my mind I was a beautiful, colourful bird with amazing feathers, a long brightly coloured tail and stunning wings. I was going to make a splendid parrot beak too.  In my head, I was the perfect parrot .
I had glossed over the fact that I am not really artistic,  get bored easily and then soon start to cut corners. I busily watched an abundance of  YouTube 'How to make...' videos. Those crafters made it look so easy. I then went 'off piste' and came up with my own mash up of a minimal sew costume. I'm not sure if I mentioned that I don't really sew. I ordered 2 meters each of yellow, red and blue tulle and a cheap green dress. I have no idea where the 2 meters came from, it just seemed like a good number. I cut the tulle into uneven strips and attached it in layers to some elastic to make the colourful parrot tail. I then folded and pinned on the shiny yellow wings.



The parrot making process

A Happy Pirate

Week 37

Prince, Pocahontas, Power Ranger, Parrot

 I had given several people a sneak preview of my fancy-dress parrot. Each viewing needed a little too-much explanation of my vision. It was a bad sign having to recount 'the blue is the long tail feather, the yellow is the wings'.  Eventually I included 'I know there are no feathers, it is a representation. I am not expecting anyone to think I had just fallen out of a tree'. My daughter, noting my pain, kindly prepped her friend who had turned up the house when I was trying on my parrot. She exclaimed 'Wow Louise, great parrot' a little too quickly and with a little too much enthusiasm. However, I'm happy to take  compliments where I can.

The day of the party arrived. I started to get cold feet but had to go through with it as I had no back up P to wear. I hadn't quite got around to making the beak and still had to attach the wings properly ( I even found a needle embedded in my cuff whilst on the dance floor!)  As a non-finisher and 'runner out of steam' type I think my  husband was actually grateful that my creativity had run dry. Whilst he was getting a little concerned at his lack of costume I had reassured him that 'it would be sorted' and he is very trusting. With two days to go I realised the pirate wasn't going to happen and so ordered him a "proper" pirate costume from Amazon prime. I don't think he was at all disappointed that I had put his costume last in my creative process. He actually looked like a  pirate.

My Leaning Curve Lessons


  • It is ok to buy a ready made costume.
  • A costume should be more obvious from the front than the back- especially for the photos.
  • My ideas are better in my head than in reality.
  • I should follow instructions properly.
  • ​Finishing the task is preferable (definitely remove all the needles and pins.)
  • My world view is often tinted by my enthusiasm and therefore can be flawed.
  • My husband is very kind and patient (already new that one!)
  • Don't take it all too seriously.

Pope, Pirate, Power Rangers, Punk, Pimp

Fancy Dress Facts: The eighteenth-century masquerade balls are the forerunners of the fancy dress parties of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 


In 1749, there was a great scandal at the Ranelagh May Ball. Elizabeth Chudleigh, who later became the Duchess of Kingston, went as the Iphigenia, from ancient Greek mythology. She appeared almost naked as her costume was so transparent.


I wouldn't have inflicted that on anyone!