Burns Night traditions for January 25th

clock Monday, January 21, 2013 at 04:50PM
Burns Night mealAs a commemoration for the life and works of Robert Burns, Scotland’s most celebrated poet, January 25th holds a special place in the hearts of Scots across the globe. For over two centuries patriotic friends and family have enjoyed informal and formal gatherings for a night of Celtic tradition.

A keen social commentator, Robert Burns was unprecedented in his approach to poetry, writing with outstanding verve and passion about many heartfelt topics such as universal brotherhood, love and the human condition. To this day, Burns’ words are still world-renowned as timeless classics.

So how did Burns Night begin as a tradition? Five years after his death, a group of Burns’ friends got together to reminisce about his life and his works. The tradition became established year-on-year and on January 25th, Burns’ birthday, Scottish people around the world toast the man that many suggest put Scotland on the map.

A traditional Burns Night supper is as follows:

1. A piper will welcome guests with traditional Scottish music until all are seated, at which point applause is due for the piper.
2. At formal celebrations a short but important prayer is read before eating. The Selkirk Grace, known as Burns’s Grace, is usually recited in Scots.
3. The meal’s star attraction is usually the Haggis, which is delivered into the room on a silver platter to the sound of another bagpipe procession.
4. The nominated reader then addresses the haggis with a fiery rendition of ‘To a Haggis’ before cutting open the haggis along its length, ensuring some of the tasty entrails spill out for full effect!
5. The audience then toasts the haggis and enjoys the Scottish fare with some suitable background music.

A typical Burns Night meal


Starter
Traditional cock-a-leekie soup

Main course
Haggis, neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes)

Dessert
Clootie Dumpling (traditional pudding prepared in a linen cloth or cloot) or Typsy Laird (a typically Scottish sherry trifle)

Entertainment usually follows immediately after the meal with singers and musicians stepping forward to perform some of Burns’ many songs and poems. The festivities are then closed with guests invited to belt out a heart-warming rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

If you are thinking of planning a rather less formal family gathering on Burns Night then there are plenty of ideas to entertain both young and old.

There are printable Robert Burns worksheets for kids to decorate the man himself, as well as patriotic Scottish flags, quotes and printable poems for friends and family to read at the table.

You could even go the whole hog and dress up in typically Scottish fancy dress. Our own range of patriotic outfits includes a Scots kilt and hat and an authentic tartan Tam ‘O’ Shanter, perfect for a themed Burns Night.

January 25th is one of the most important nights of the Scottish calendar. As J.S. Blackie once said; "When Scotland forgets Burns, then history will forget Scotland."


Cirque du Soleil returns to the UK with its electrifying show 'Kooza'

clock Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 09:48AM
At www.allfancydress.com HQ we are, by nature, great fans of entertainment and theatre and the news of Cirque du Soleil’s return to the British Isles has certainly set the pulses racing throughout the team!

The electrifying new show, ‘Kooza’ is coming to London’s Royal Albert Hall for the very first time and reports indicate the production is a return to Cirque du Soleil’s origins of combining the two primary circus traditions of acrobatics and clowning in their own unique style.

This new production encompasses the story of a loner searching high and low for his place in the world, infused with a sumptuous array of aerial, trapeze and high wire stunts including the breath-taking ‘Wheel of Death’!

Founded in 1984, Cirque du Soleil’s popularity expanded rapidly over the 1990s and at the turn of the Millennium, performing 19 shows in over 271 cities in almost every corner of the globe.

Famed for its dramatic blend of circus arts and old-fashioned street entertainment, not only has it provided a new line of theatrical entertainment for the public, it has dragged the circus out of the doldrums, making it fashionable once again. If you are thinking of taking in the show whilst it is in town then you can get tickets from the official Cirque du Soleil site.

‘Kooza’ has been touring across the globe for almost six years having first launched in Canada back in April 2007. The show’s musical scores are partly influenced by the sounds of India, while the biggest on-stage feature is the traveling tower called a ‘bataclan’ which moves during the course of the show.

Later this year Cirque du Soleil is planning to unveil a residency show as a tribute to the music of the late Michael Jackson as an offshoot of the currently touring ‘Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour’ production. This is expected to be premiered in Las Vegas this summer.

Whether it is entertaining at a children’s party or playing the jester for a night on the tiles, the awe-inspiring Cirque du Soleil has undoubtedly helped breathe new life into the artistry of circus acts.

Similarly, if you are planning a party in the New Year and are struggling to choose a theme to put smiles upon the faces of friends and family then take advantage of our great range of circus themed outfits designed to help you own the ring like the best in showbiz!


Texas Chainsaw 3D hits the nation’s cinema screens

clock Monday, January 7, 2013 at 02:04PM

Originally one of the most controversial and thought-provoking additions to the horror genre, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has had a lasting impact on the film industry. With three sequels following the original – the latest coming back in 2006 – Tobe Hooper’s cult-classic has been revisited once again as a 3D version of the franchise hit the nation’s cinema screens earlier this month.

Directed by John Lussenhop and written by Debra Sullivan and Adam Marcus, Texas Chainsaw 3D is the seventh film in the entire franchise and was created as a direct follow up to the original.

Storyline


The plot focuses on Heather, who finds out that she was adopted after being notified of an inheritance from a long-lost grandparent. Whilst en-route to retrieving her inheritance with friends, Heather and co. encounter Leatherface who is later revealed as Heather’s cousin and protects Heather as the only family she has left.

Film fanatics of the franchise predicted that the 3D version would flop at the Box Office, but it transpired that people were yearning for a new Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie after all, with sales of $23 million from US and Canadian audiences, slaying rival films such as The Hobbit and Django Unchained.

In the US alone The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise has grossed around $416 million and the success of this latest release has been attributed to a successful social media promotional campaign from Lionsgate, targeting the world’s ever-growing horror fan base.

The horror genre is still one of the most talked about movie genres of all time, with so many truly terrifying bad guys to rival Leatherface. From Freddy Krueger and Jason to Scream and Pinhead, these characters are ingrained in horror culture and are the most common faces we see at Halloween and other spooky occasions.

Hooper's seal of approval


Texas Chainsaw 3D also appears to have the approval of Tobe Hooper, writer and director of the original back in 1974, who recently spoke of his delight that the latest release stayed true to the film’s initial origins.

"They studied why the original film works, by breaking conventions, not doing it as the Hollywood version," he said.

"Also, the 3D is really good. I’m turning into a fan of 3D. It’s so different than the 1950s kind of 3D. This has such depth."

Hooper also spoke of Leatherface and how his character continues to haunt nearly 40 years later.

"There’s just something about him. Leatherface has family problems. There’s dysfunction in that family."

Let’s be honest; everyone enjoys being scared to their wits end now and again. Check out our own terrifying assortment of horror outfits for men and women alike, perfect for sending chills down the spines of friends and family.


5 fun New Year’s Eve party theme ideas to welcome in 2013

clock Friday, December 21, 2012 at 03:58PM
champagne bottleNo sooner will Christmas come and go then we will all be frantically focusing on last-minute preparations for New Year’s Eve. 2013 is almost upon us and if you are planning on hosting a New Year’s Eve party for your friends and family then you will want to make sure it is one to remember – for all the right reasons!

Here are five creative party ideas that you could implement quickly and effectively, whether you are looking for something a little sophisticated, a kids-friendly theme or something to bring out the party animals within you!

Night at the Oscars


Roll out the red carpet and host your very own Oscars-themed night, encouraging friends and family to get dressed up as their favourite Hollywood film stars. There are plenty of outfits for men and women alike to choose from, whether it’s Tom Cruise’s Top Gun outfit, Harry Potter, Princess Leia or Minnie Mouse herself! Even the kids can dress up as their favourite superheroes and cartoon characters to have hit our cinema screens.

Full Moon party


It might be too cold to head to the beach and have a real Full Moon party, but you could always host your own Hawaiian-themed Full Moon party at home. If you are a fan of those garish, brightly coloured shirts or you’d love to dance the night away in a sassy grass skirt then get out those cocktail bowls, set up the hulas and have a whale of a time!

Best of British


2012 has been a year to savour for everyone in the United Kingdom. Not only have we experienced a stunning Royal Wedding, London also played host to the Olympic Games in typically British fashion. We have plenty to be proud about little old Blighty so why not celebrate our nation with a Best of British New Year’s Eve party – with patriotic outfits from Beefeater outfits and Queen Elizabeth costumes to Spice Girl outfits and Royal face masks!

Rave-themed party


If you are looking to party on New Year’s Eve until the sun comes up then why not host a rave-themed fancy dress party. Very popular last year, brightly coloured rave-style costumes are the best way to dance your way into 2013. Morph suits prove very popular for dance and rave themed parties as they are not only really cool to look at, they create an air of mystery that is perfect for counting down the minutes.

Mexican mayhem


For a theme idea that can incorporate fantastic party food, music and dancing with verve and passion, look no further than a Mexican themed bash. Whether you opt to look like something out of a spaghetti western or you want to go the whole hog and rock up as a Tequila-popping gringo there are plenty of outfits out there – just don’t forget your sombrero! Mexican food and drink is also perfect for sharing with friends and family so you will be well set to party into the early hours.

What are you waiting for? Select your party theme now and get the party started!


2012 allfancydress.com Christmas Questionnaire

clock Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 11:45AM
christmas tree

It’s nearly here, Lapland is readying its reindeer to ferry Santa’s sack loads of presents across the world and at www.allfancydress.com HQ we are certainly getting into the festive spirit!

Earlier this month we created a cool Christmas questionnaire for our customers to complete to be in with a chance of winning one of two £25 www.allfancydress.com costume vouchers.

The questionnaire focused on your festive rituals, from gift buying to what you’ll be having on your lunch plate on Christmas Day!

SHOPPING HABITS


The days of trawling the High Streets for Christmas presents appear to be numbered according to our survey, with only four per cent of respondents revealing they would do all of their Christmas shopping offline. Over half (55 per cent) of respondents will be doing more than half of their Christmas shopping online. One-in-four shoppers will in fact do nearly their entire gift buying on the internet.

Interestingly, our male respondents appeared more likely to buy presents for their loved ones from the comfort of their own laptop or desktop. Our results indicate men are twice as likely as women to do all of their Christmas shopping online. This may be due to the fact women appear more considered in the present buying approach, putting more time and effort into the process than men.

The increasing ease with which users can purchase goods online and via smartphone devices means that consumers no longer need to brave the cold and the High Street crowds; they can simply wait for the postman to bring all their presents right to the front door.

There does still appear to be a generation gap regarding online buying trends however. Respondents in their 40’s are three times less likely to shop online at all for their Christmas presents compared to those in their 20’s, preferring the traditional High Street plan of attack.

RECESSION? WHAT RECESSION?


Despite the economic downturn and talk of a double-dip recession there appears to be no letting up in the spending on Christmas gifts. Almost half (43 per cent) of those surveyed will be spending over £250 on presents this year.

Less than a quarter of respondents (24 per cent) without children revealed they would be spending upwards of £250 on Christmas presents. Meanwhile busy parents with three or more children were increasingly spending £250+ with 62 per cent splashing the cash.

In a statistic that will infuriate many women (!), it is the men who appear to spend less on Christmas presents. 25 per cent of men surveyed revealed they spend less than £60 on gifts, compared to the 19 per cent of women surveyed who also said they spend less than £60 at the tills.

CHRISTMAS DAY LUNCHTIME FAVOURITES


Tradition certainly seems alive and well among most UK households with 72 per cent of www.allfancydress.com customers surveyed revealing they will be having turkey for lunch on Christmas Day.

The vegetarian option appears to be more attractive to women than men, with females more than twice as likely to be eating a vegetarian meal on Christmas Day (3 per cent male to 8 per cent female).

THE QUEEN’S SPEECH


However, less than half of respondents (44 per cent) said they would be watching The Queen’s speech mid-afternoon. The speech appears to resonate most with people in their 60’s and 20’s, with half of respondents in their 20’s thinking of watching on the box after their Christmas lunch.

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS


Many of you still enjoy transforming your homes into Christmas grottos with a very eager 10 per cent of people admitting they had their Christmas decorations up at home in November. The younger demographic are the keenest festive decorators with those in their 20’s or younger twice as likely to put up their Christmas clobber in November as any other age group.

Christmas decorations appear to be less important to those without children. Our survey found that those without kids were three times more likely not to put up festive decorations at home at all as a result. The questionnaire revealed nine per cent of adults without children will not be putting up any Christmas decorations at all.

CHRISTMAS TREES


One of the most surprising statistics to come from the survey was that almost two-thirds (59 per cent) of respondents revealed they preferred fake Christmas trees to real ones. Many people will no doubt cite the practicality of a plastic tree, particularly for those with young children. Only a third of respondents (38 per cent) with two or more children revealed they would be buying a real tree this Christmas.

ANYONE FOR PANTO?


The questionnaire also served to reinforce the view that Christmas pantomimes are a very popular tradition for families over the festive season. 62 per cent of respondents with three or more children revealed they would be going to at least one Christmas production as opposed to the 43 per cent of people without kids who will partake in the festivities.

What our 2012 Christmas Questionnaire does show is that our customers love to celebrate Christmas in so many different ways. Statistics show that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have fun at Christmas, while Christmas Day lunch will taste just as good whether it’s turkey, chicken or even duck!

Whatever your plans are at Christmas, on behalf of everyone at www.allfancydress.com we wish you all a wonderful festive season.


The Anatomy of Christmas - Infographic

clock Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 05:05PM

We are huge fans of Christmas here at www.allfancydress.com so we thought we would get together some of our favourite Christmas facts into an infographic!! Have a look below and get back to us with your thoughts.

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The Most Popular Christmas Presents of 2012

clock Monday, December 17, 2012 at 02:58PM

Are you stuck for what to buy your loved ones this Christmas? Don't have the heart to traipse up and down the High Street in search of the perfect gift? At www.allfancydress.com we have done all the leg work for you, with a simple infographic highlighting the most popular Christmas presents of 2012. If you are looking for the latest computer game craze and the best-selling electronic gadgets then read on below:



Whatever you decide to pop into your festive shopping basket make sure this Christmas is one to remember for the ones you love. We wish you all a Merry Christmas here at www.allfancydress.com HQ!


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10 festive Christmas food and drink recipes for you and your family

clock Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 09:52AM
roast turkeyIt’s that time of the year again. The dining table gets extended, the extra chairs are brought in and dusted off from the garage and the food is piled up lovingly for friends and family to enjoy; it can only be Christmas.

With just a couple of weeks until Santa’s arrival now is the ideal time to start preparing your festive menu to keep your loved ones full to the brim with Christmas cheer.

If you are looking for some creative seasonal inspiration in the kitchen then worry not – take a look at our top 10 Christmas food and drink recipes to add a little something extra to your celebrations.

Turkey and Cranberry sandwich


This is one of our most popular Boxing Day sandwiches here at www.allfancydress.com and we’ve taken inspiration from food blogger, Alice Currah with her very own Turkey Cranberry sandwich recipe with a twist. Alice suggests adding cream cheese, mayonnaise and even leftover sprouts to the mix!

Roasted carrots with a twist


Fed up with boring lifeless carrots with your Christmas turkey? Have you ever considered roasting your carrots to bring out their natural sweetness? That’s what The Creative Pot recommends, drizzled in balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with chopped chillies and crumbled with feta over the finished product – a very unique flavour!

Brussel sprouts tossed with bacon


If you have never had brussels sprouts or you have and they simply weren’t your cup of tea then this could be an attractive recipe for you. After cooking your sprouts, toss them in with fried cubes of bacon and onions for a crunchy, sweet concoction. The saltiness of the bacon combines wonderfully with the sprouts; give it a try!

winter soup

Roast Turkey 101


For the ultimate crash course in perfecting your roast turkey at Christmas, Simple Bites provides a simple tutorial for roasting your bird for your family meal. If you have struggled with cooking a bird in the past this step-by-step guide will help ensure your meat is moist and cooked to perfection.

English nut roast for a vegetarian alternative


Stumped what to cook for your vegetarian guests at Christmas? How about this traditional English nut roast from vegetarian foodies, www.happycow.net? Not only will you get some great brownie points from your friends and family you may find you actually enjoy it too!

Typically English winter soup


Thanks to i2cook for this wonderfully traditional winter soup, ideal for a festive family starter at Christmas. With potato, peas, garlic, nutmeg and short-grain rice it is a hearty, homely broth that will certainly leave their bowls empty!

Breakfast muffins for Christmas morning


If you have only got time for a coffee and a cake while your kids are ripping open their presents on Christmas morning you will love this muffin recipe from Katie Goodman of GoodLife Eats. Dipped in butter and covered in cinnamon sugar, these delectable cakes taste so much like doughnuts you’ll never want the real thing again!

Cranberry and pomegranate sorbet


A wonderfully appropriate seasonal party dessert, this colourful cranberry and pomegranate sorbet not only cleanses the pallet superbly it tastes super sweet and is ideal with a few glugs of champagne! Or for the non-alcoholics consider serving with sparkling water or white grape juice. Thanks again to Katie Goodman for another clever creation.

sorbet

Traditional mince pies


Have you always opted for the swift and simple cop-out of buying readymade mince pies at Christmas? Now is your chance to have a go in the kitchen yourself with this easy-to-follow mince pie tutorial from food blogger, Under the High Chair. Fanatical foodie, Aimee discusses her traditional Canadian version of this holiday pie filling in her cooking demo.

Snow Margaritas


A great time to drink Margaritas is during the winter when it is icy cold. Chef, Rose Levy Beranbaum recommends frozen Margaritas all round as a topical twist to your standard alcoholic beverage! If the kids and non-alcoholics are jealous you can always make icy lemonade to ensure they aren’t left out!

Christmas is the greatest time of the year to be creative in the kitchen and sample some wonderful delicacies in the comfort of your own home. We hope you’ll be inspired to cook up a storm!


5 imaginative office Christmas party ideas

clock Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 11:18AM

white wineStill haven’t planned your office Christmas party? If you are just looking for an excuse to have a night out and let your hair down then there are some really fun party ideas to reward your employees at the end of a long year.

With so many fantastic landmark events in 2012, with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Royal Wedding and the 2012 London Olympic Games it has been a vintage year for the country – and hopefully for your business too!

So what better way to impress your colleagues and send them on their festive holidays with a smile on their face than with a fun, imaginative office party?

Here are five different office Christmas party ideas that would definitely leave a lasting impression for years to come.

"Shaken... not stirred"


After 12 months of toil and hard work a glamorous party may be just what you and your staff need! Why not ‘dress to kill’ for a Casino Royale James Bond themed Christmas party. With a Martini cocktail available on arrival, including three-course meal, casino table games and disco there’s something for everyone. You don’t need to hit the Las Vegas strip to strike it lucky on the roulette tables!

"Lights, cameras… action!"


If your team fancy themselves as television and film buffs then why not treat your staff to a private cinema screening in one of many sumptuous state-of-the-art screens across London. They offer a great viewing experience with the latest sound and projection technology. You can also combine a screening with a team meal afterwards for a totally unique cinema experience.

Viva Las Vegas!


Get out your best Elvis Presley impersonation and be prepared for a night on the tiles Nevada style with a Las Vegas themed Christmas party. With a huge ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign, a life-size Elvis figure who presides over the festivities you will feel like a high roller on Las Vegas Boulevard! After a three course meal you can enjoy the casino table games with giant foam dice and playing cards to match.

 

There are Elvis impersonators everywhere in Las Vegas – even in Walgreens supermarket!

Cook up a storm


Why not combine your office Christmas meal with a team-building task that will capture the imagination of the biggest foodies. This particular hands-on team building Christmas cookery class includes private use of a professional kitchen to whip up a three-course gourmet meal. Not only does this provide plenty of laughter it also encourages employees to work and cook together under pressure, inspiring the best performance and results – just what you’d like to see in the office, right?!

All hands on deck!


It might be a little too cold for speed boats but you could always take to the rivers and lakes for a festive boat party for you and your team! Night cruises and pleasure boats are available for hire to let your hair down. Many packages include a buffet or three-course meal followed by a disco and other entertainment to put smiles on festive faces!

However you decide to spend your office Christmas party make sure it is one to remember and that your staff knows you appreciate all their hard work.

Happy holidays!


5 comedians to look out for in 2013

clock Monday, November 26, 2012 at 10:00AM
Are you looking for some Christmas cheer to help you battle the packed High Streets and laugh your way into 2013? If you are a fan of our fabulously fun fancy dress costumes then you are sure to enjoy a good laugh thanks to a stand-up comedian!

At www.allfancydress.com we like to think we’ve got a good eye for comedic talent and we have taken a keen interest in some of the up and coming laughter merchants to reach the nation’s stages in the New Year.

Here are our top five comedians to look out for in 2013 with some hilarious clips to whet your appetite!

Lucy Beaumont


Twitter: @lucybeaumontt

The winner of the BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award, Hull-born comedienne, Lucy Beaumont appears to have a very bright future having shot to fame in the last 12 months with her blunt, dry and refreshingly honest account of reality that has resonated so well with the nation’s listeners. Beaumont scooped the £1,000 first prize and will certainly be one to watch.




Tommy Rowson


Twitter: @ginriot

Quirky Welshman Tommy Rowson, who is part of comedic collaboration, Gin Riot, also shot to fame at the BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Awards. His hilarious set dabbled in a whole host of oddball subjects that most of us can certainly identify with. Be sure to take a look at Gin Riot which is led by Rowson and fellow comedian Sam Childs and has worked with the likes of BBC Three and BBC Wales.

View Rowson’s stand-up act at 3:51:




Tony Cowards


Twitter: @tonycowards

A man labelled ‘the best joke writer around’ by GQ Magazine, comedian and gagsmith, Tony Cowards has been performing stand-up across the country for a number of years but his quick wit is making him an increasingly sought-after act throughout the UK. An equally entertaining MC as he is a comedian, Cowards will almost certainly be coming to a town or city near you in 2013. Listen to Tony on the British Comedy Guide podcast with Al Murray and Dave Cohen:




Aisling Bea


Twitter: @WeeMissBea

Only the second female winner of the ‘So You Think You’re Funny’ competition in its 25 years of existence, Aisling Bea has taken the comedy circuit by storm with her hilarious hip-hop moves and wonderfully quirky stories that saw the Irish comedienne pip Jonathon Pelham into second place.

View Aisling discussing her breakthrough in England on the Saturday Night Show:




Jack Whitehall


Twitter: @jackwhitehall

24-year-old Jack Whitehall has been on the stand-up comedy circuit for a few years now and was awarded ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards back in 2009. Whitehall’s script writing skills have also been demonstrated this year when he starred in his successful self-penned comedy drama series, Bad Education on BBC Three. Following a string of sold-out solo shows to boot, Whitehall will certainly be a man in demand in 2013.

Here’s a clip of Whitehall in Bad Education: