A few weeks ago, I saw the lovely Catherine from Mummy Lion blogging about a fabulous Tequila Shooter fancy dress costume that she had received from Jokers' Masquerade to review and asking if anyone else would like to get involved. Well, that sounded right up our street !
As most of you know, we live in Dunkirk, Northern France, which has an annual carnival every February/March in the run up to Mardi Gras. The "carnaval" originally started because the Dunkirk fishermen were about to head off on the extremely harsh annual cod-fishing campaign off Iceland where many of them knew they would lose their lives so they had a big blow-out before they went. Traditionally, the men dress up as (very ugly) women but these days anything goes. Every weekend for a couple of months, there are "bandes" in the streets and "bals" in big concert halls, where the atmosphere is absolutely electric. You can never get an idea of the sheer scale in a photo but the photo above may give you some small idea.
Kids start from a really early age, learning the songs and enjoying their own kids' "bals" and "bandes" until they're big enough to do the grown-up ones, as you can see here, when Pierre did his first carnival aged just a few months old ! The very tired-looking Snow White next to me is Juliette !
Well, I sat down to have a look through the huge range of costumes available and asked Sophie if she'd like to choose a new costume, as hers was getting a bit small. She absolutely fell in love with this Sparkling Union Jack dress so that was what we ordered. As I wasn't sure it was fancy dress enough, we added in a Union Jack Mini Top Hat to make it look a bit quirkier.
It was waiting for us on our arrival in Hastings today and Sophie was as impressed by the real thing as by the picture on the website. It is a really beautiful shimmery design with hundreds of silver, black and grey sequins. The back of the dress is plain black, which tones it down and prevents it from going into overkill, making it look more like a party dress than fancy dress.
I'd warned Sophie that as this was fancy dress, not "real" day-to-day clothing, it probably wouldn't be very solidly made and may feel quite scratchy and uncomfortable to wear for long periods. However, she put it straight on and wore it for the rest of the day, telling me that it was really comfortable. It certainly put up with a lot of playing and jumping about, which I was impressed with. I thought she'd need a pair of leggings underneath but it's actually long enough to be worn as a dress without it looking too tarty or revealing. I'm a bit worried about how it will cope with being washed - definitely a delicate hand wash - but time will tell for that one.
The dress is available in three sizes - small (size 8-10), medium (12-14) and large (16-18) - and all measurements are available on the website. As much of the Dunkirk carnival is done outdoors in February, the girls often put their costume on over the top of their coat or, at least, a thick jumper so I went for a "medium". It's actually the perfect fit for Sophie so I would say the sizes are a bit on the small size compared to normal clothing sizes. (Sophie has just turned 11 but is tall for her age - and has size 8 feet already ! - so she usually wears age 16 clothing.)
There are costumes available for every occasion you can think of - Halloween, Christmas, World Book Day, Stag & Hen Do's and many more - and many that you would never have thought of, so I thoroughly recommend you go through and have a look at some of the weird and wacky outfits they have available !
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £24.99
for more information : http://www.joke.co.uk/sparkling-union-jack-dress~69202/
Disclosure : I received a Union Jack dress and Mini Union Jack Top Hat in return for an honest review.
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