World Book Day 10 Easy Costumes Vicky Powell-Carden February 22 2018, 0 Comments

t's World Book Day in less than a week... are you sorted? Has your child decided what they want to wear as dress up? 

Do not panic, you still have time... and even better, we have £5 off orders over £25 until 26th February.

If you want an amazing, easy fancy dress outfit for your child to wear at school on World Book Day, then look no further than our huge range of capes, tabards and zip-top costumes.  

World Book Day - Love it or Loathe it- How do YOU feel? Sue Gerrard February 12 2018, 0 Comments

World Book Day - How do you feel about it?

OK we’ll take the £1 book thank you very much, after all we all love a bargain.  But as a busy, yet loving parent how do YOU feel about the whole thing?  Do you love to join in with all the activities at school or nursery, or is it all a bit too much? Love it or loathe it? 

Read on for some fun ideas and easy to adapt ideas for costumes & dress up for world book day....

World Book Day - What is it? Vicky Powell-Carden February 06 2018, 0 Comments

World Book Day

What is World Book Day? 

If you are a new parent, or your little people are only just attending pre school, nursery or playgroups, then you will be asking yourself this question!

World Book Day is an annual event with the ultimate goal of encouraging children to pick up a book and read. Run by a charity UNESCO  to promote reading and education to children of all ages.

This year (2018) will be the 21st World Book Day event and in the Uk is on 1st March.

Winter and Keeping Cosy - Fascinated by Dinosaurs? - Take our fun quiz and see how much you know. Sue Gerrard January 23 2018, 0 Comments

Keeping cosy in Winter

Well school is well and truly back in full swing now and mums and dads are back at work.  With the wintry weather and the sun refusing to shine we can sometimes feel a little low on energy at this time of year, even a little sad. No wonder it's called the winter blues.

On the other hand if we embrace the positive aspects of Winter it can actually be a wonderful time of the year. Now is the time to sit around the fire with family and friends and enjoy great conversation, watch a movie or just curl up on the sofa with a good book and a warm drink. Lovely!

Maybe the Danish have it about right with their idea of hygge (pronounce hooguh). This beautiful concept is not just about fluffy cushions and woolly sweaters and Scandinavian style home décor.  It is essentially about

-time with family and friends

-nostalgia and gratitude

-enjoyment of the everyday

-the comfort of a warm hug

-embracing the peace of a moment of solitude

-living in the here and now

After the hustle and bustle (and yes even stress) of the Christmas and Holiday season hygge is the enjoyment of nothing much really happening…and that just about sums January up.  We seem to be just waiting for the longer days and warmer days of Spring or Easter when instead we could just enjoy and be thankful for the small things each day.

Dinosaurs- we are all fascinated!

It seems that nothing captures the imagination quite like Dinosaurs. It doesn’t matter if you are a boy or a girl, young or a little older we all seem to share the same fascination with dinosaurs.

Years ago we had the Jurassic Park movies- still great fun to entertain the whole family on a Sunday afternoon. For a more accurate take on these incredible creatures we have the brilliant Chris Packham and his “The Real T Rex” showing on BBC2.

There is so much we can learn about dinosaurs and we are lucky that there are lots of places to visit where we can learn and discover and be amazed.Here are some of our favourites;

The Natural History Museum, London

Here is the T-Rex exhibit from the Dinosaurs Gallery. Check out more here 

The National Museum of Scotland

If you are near to Edinburgh how about checking out The National Museum of Scotland where there are workshops for children of Nursery age  and Primary KS1. Find out more here.

The Dinosaur Museum of Dorchester

Only 7 miles from the famous World Heritage Site Jurassic Coast this is the place to learn about dinosaurs and go outdoors on the hunt for prehistoric fossils. Join the expedition and dig for fossils in the excavation pit.

Plan a visit here.

Here at Time to Dress Up HQ we are proud to be stockists of The Natural History Museum Dinosaur Costumes from Pretend to Bee. Choose from Tyranosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus and Triceratops costumes. Each is available in sizes 3-5 years, 5-7 years or 7-9 years. Check out the collection here.

Here is a fun dinosaur quiz- see how many answers you can get.

  1. The longest dinosaur was ARGENTINOSAURUS. Its remains were found in Argentina. It was also the heaviest dinosaur at 77 tones making him the biggest animal ever to have lived on earth. Wow.

 How long was he-  10 metres, 20 meters or 40 metres?

  1. At 13 metres tall what is the name of the TALLEST dinosaur?

Clue- fill in the gaps- B__CH__SA_R_S.

  1. Oh dear, one of our favourite dinosaurs is also the dumbest with a brain the size of a walnut and a body about 9 meters long. Who is he?


  1. What is the FIERCEST dinosaur called? No clues here, he is very famous!

One more thing. We love to hear from you so please join in the conversation, send us a comment or a photo for our site.

Till the next time,

Vicky and Sue 

Is 2018 a year of milestones for your little one? Vicky Powell-Carden January 07 2018, 0 Comments

What sort of new milestones will your little one reach this year? Starting nursery, school or moving from infants to juniors? Reaching an important birthday?

New Owners, New Challenges Vicky Powell-Carden November 20 2017, 0 Comments

Hello, We wanted to say hello and write a short blog post to introduce ourselves. We are Vicky & Sue, and we have known each other for a number of year (ahem, more that we like to admit!). We met while both working as retail buyers at Matalan, Sue was Vicky's boss! We had an amazing time there, the company was growing fast and we were sourcing lots of fab products for lovely shop customers (the internet wasn't really a big thing back then!)


So fast forward 20 odd years and we are now business partners, we both live in the North West of England, and are so excited about growing and developing Time to Dress Up. Ayshea has handed over this lovely business, a great facebook community and some gorgeous products that we can't help fall in love with! 

So we have lots and lots of plans for this business, new suppliers, new products, special offers and making sure we communicate to our fab customers and hear your views, feedback and comments.

We would love to hear from you, email us at


We both have our favourite costumes, and Vicky aspires to be a we are searching for an adult version of this! Watch out in the next post for Sue's favourite dress up costumes. 


Have a great week and look out on facebook for our offers - it's Black Friday this weekend and we have some fab offers for you! 


Vicky & Sue




Which World Book Day Mum Are You? Ayshea Elliott February 11 2016, 8 Comments

It’s that time of year again, the dreaded letter will be in school bags anytime soon, yes, it’s World Book Day on Thursday 3rd March.

I don’t know what it is about World Book Day, but it brings out the worst in us all… I have a theory that there are 6 types of World Book Day mums.  What do you reckon, do you agree and which one are you?

The ‘Oh Balls, I Forgot' Mum

We all know the one, she posts on Facebook asking when the money for the trip needs to be in (last week), she always has to pop home after the school run for the PE kit and she definitely can’t be expected to remember bloody World Book Day!  She will order something on next day delivery and just hope she hasn’t missed the cut off, next year she will definitely be more organised… DEFINITELY!

The Competitive Super-Mum

This Mum is probably on the PTA.  She always looks pristine and her little darlings are always winning awards.  She came up with a completely original idea for World Book Day and of course it was hand sewn weeks ago.  Whether the child can see/walk is of secondary importance to how impressive the costume is.  Her child will definitely win first prize and you’ll grudgingly know that the costume deserves it, but seriously, where does she find the time and how can she be bothered?!

Typical Competitive Super-Mum behaviour…

 homemade gruffalo costume

"Don't worry that she can't see, it's HAND SEWN!"

Malificient Homemade costume
"It was actually really easy to make, I just needed a couple of unicorn horns and some onyx and I was done!"

The ‘I’m Too Busy For This' Mum

This Mum is probably juggling a full time job and two kids, she isn’t often seen at school but when she’s there she’s probably doing a half-run and checking her watch.  She seriously HAS NOT GOT TIME FOR THIS SHIT and World Book Day is way down her priority list.  She will definitely either order a ready made costume or maybe re-use one that is already in the dressing up box.  Superman was in a book right?!

Superman and supergirl costumes

The 'Saw it on Pinterest, Nailed It' Mum

This Mum has all the best intentions.  In fact, she’s been doing some serious research and has found an amazing post on Pinterest by a blogger in Idaho who loves to create.  OK, so maybe she’s left it a bit late to get started, but come on, how hard can it be to sew a tiger costume from scratch?  At 3am the morning before World Book Day, the costume looks frankly, shite.  It is nothing like the pinterest post… but it looked so easy!!!  It will just have to do now, she’s already shattered and the kids have swimming tomorrow.  She will just have to deal with the tantrum in the morning when it becomes clear that the tiger is more of a ginger rabbit type thing.  It will have to do!

The ‘I’ve Done it All Before' Mum

This Mum has 2, 3, maybe even 4 kids of school age.  World Book Day?  It takes a lot more than that to phase her.  Sure, years ago she might have stayed up late sewing a costume, but now?  Get real!  All kids have picked their own costumes and she really isn’t going to argue about something this trivial.  The youngest has come as Elsa and the oldest is wearing something torn and dirty which is hopefully supposed to be a character.  It will do!

 The ‘Let’s Wing It' Mum

This Mum definitely isn’t a planner, things will just work out for her one way or another and she’ll wing her way through it.  A few days before World Book Day she’ll have a look through the kids’ wardrobe and throw something together… a stripy jumper?  You can be Where’s Wally… a scruffy shirt and pants, throw them on and you’re Charlie Bucket.  It’s easy when you wing it and worst case scenario they can go in their own clothes and be from Diary of a Wimpy Kid… easy!

"We've got a gilet and a Granny wig, you can go as Jeremy Clarkson"
(Picture sourced from Daily Mail

So come on, admit it, you know at least one of these mums?  Comment below with any I've missed or any you agree with!

Of course, you can always order a ready-made costume from our World Book Day range at Time to Dress Up.


Ayshea xxx


Is Celebrating Halloween With a Baby Totally Pointless? Stephanie Watson August 24 2015, 3 Comments

Halloween is such a big deal for kids, but until the allure of trick or treating comes into play, is there much point marking the day with a baby? Okay, so they're not going to be tucking into a basket full of treats just yet, but there are some great ways to mark the day and capture some wonderful memories.

Monster's Ball

I've always loved any excuse to throw a party and invite friends and family over, and when you've got a new baby it's quite often the easier option. A Halloween party is the perfect way to show off your baby's cute first Halloween dress up for everyone to see. Be mindful of the decorations you choose to dress up the house though as you'll most likely have other little kids round so don't go for anything too scary. You don't have to spend a fortune either...cotton wool makes great cob webs and black bin bags covering the walls make it dark and spooky.

Trick or Treat?

I didn't bother with trick or treating on my baby's first Halloween as I didn't see the point, but if you've got older kids as well they'll definitely want to get out and fill their treat pots with sweets and chocolate. You may as well take your baby with you, even if you stand at the end of driveways with them in a pram. Just make sure you head out early enough so they're not getting tired and cranky.  An early start also means there's no danger of the treats running out for the older kids - bonus! Your baby doesn't have to go treatless either, books make good gifts for babies and Halloween is no exception.  I did this at Easter when my daughter was too young for chocolate and this year I plan to buy her a Halloween themed book.  Meg and Mog is top of my list because I remember it from when I was a kid, but Room on the Broom or other witch or Monsters based stories will do the trick.

Get Crafty

Halloween is a great excuse to do some crafts and make keepsakes.  At Christmas I made baubles with Rudolph handprints on them and Halloween is the time to make footprint ghosts! Use black paper and baby-safe white paint, paint your baby's feet and mark their footprint on the paper, toes down, then add black marks at the top heel end for eyes and a mouth...there you have it, a ghost!

Dress the part

I love an excuse to dress my baby up and thankfully she loves wearing stuff on her head and checking herself out in the mirror! Even if elf dress up at Christmas and bunny ears at Easter isn't your thing, Halloween is all about the costumes and you have to get a photo of baby's first Halloween outfit. Make sure you pick a memorable but practical costume that's soft and cosy, it is October after all! You'll need snap fasteners for nappy changes and if baby is on the move, consider getting a costume with skid resistant feet. Most of all it needs to be scary, but cute and Time to Dress Up has just the thing with a huge range from bats and spiders to vampires!

Take a look at our full range of Halloween costumes for babies and toddlers, available in sizes from 6 to 24 months.

Win a Bestselling Costume Ayshea Elliott June 29 2015, 19 Comments

We are offering one lucky winner the chance to win one of the bestselling costumes from our range at Time to Dress Up:  

Blue Triceratops, Baby Teddy Bear, Caterpillar, Baby Shark, Baby Dragon, Autumn Fairy, Disney Baby Belle, Cowboy Accessory Set.

You can enter in five different ways, and each way counts as an additional entry:

  1. Like and comment on the Facebook competition post telling us which costume you'd like to win.
  2. Follow us and RT the Twitter competition post telling us which costume you'd like to win.
  3. Like and comment on the Google+ competition post telling us which costume you'd like to win.
  4. Comment on this blog post telling us which costume you'd like to win.
  5. Email us at telling us which costume you'd like to win.

The winner will be drawn at 10am Thursday 2nd July 2015 and will be announced across all of the above channels.

Good luck!

Terms & Conditions:

  1. Each completed action from the above list counts as one entry into the prize draw.
  2. Entrants may enter once per channel with a maximum of five entries in total.
  3. Prize is a costume from the range displayed on the image subject to stock and availability.  If the costume selected by the winner is unavailable in the size requested, a replacement of equivalent value will be sent.
  4. The winner will be randomly drawn from all entries at 10am BST Thursday 2nd July 2015.  Winner will be notified on the channel they enter on and the winner will be announced across all channels.
  5. This prize draw is not endorsed by or affiliated with Facebook, Twitter or Google +.
  6. The promoter is A J E-Commerce Ltd. T/A Time to Dress Up.

Top 5 Happy Mum, Healthy Tum Party Foods Stephanie Watson June 10 2015, 0 Comments

It’s easy to please children when it comes to party food…cakes, sweets and crisps all go down a treat, but no parent will thank you if they’re bouncing off the walls at home time.  Of course you have to include some treat foods, it is a party after all!  But you can please parents with some healthy options, and we’ll tell you how to make healthy fun in our favourite top 5 happy mum, healthy tum party foods…

5. Rainbow Fruit Kebabs

Stack fruits with all the colours of the rainbow onto a wooden skewer for a bright  and healthy party snack:

Violet - Red
Indigo - Black grapes
Blue - Blueberries
Green - Green grapes or honeydew melon
Yellow - Mango or pineapple
Orange - Tangerine segment or cantaloupe melon
Red - Strawberry, raspberry

Add a pot of natural yoghurt to the side for dipping.

4. Roasted sweet potato wedges

These make a great healthy alternative to chips and sweet potato is a big hit with children.  Simply peel some sweet potatoes and chop into wedges before roasting in the oven with garlic and a little thyme and olive oil.  These will be an even bigger hit if you serve them up in a traditional fries box!

3. Sandwiches

Create a more interesting sandwich platter by cutting them into shapes with cookie cutters and use healthy fillings like ham salad or cheese and tomato.  If you’ve got the time, try traffic light sandwiches - I remember making these in school and thinking they were really fun.  You fill the sandwich with tomato at the top, grated carrot in the middle and cucumber or lettuce at the bottom, using hummus as a spread. Create circular holes in the top slice of bread with a corer so the colour of the fillings show through - and you have your traffic light sandwich!

2. Chocolate coated strawberries

Let them enjoy some chocolate indulgence whilst getting one of their five a day!  Strawberries coated in chocolate are a great sweet snack for children and will go down a treat so make sure you put plenty out for them.

Pitta bread pizzas

Pizza is a great party food and can be made in a healthy way that the kids will still enjoy. Spread some tomato puree on wholemeal pitta breads then add some child friendly toppings like ham and pineapple, top with grated cheese and bake in the oven for around 10 mins - delicious!


Have you got any kids party food ideas that are a good healthy option?  Let us know in the comments section below.

Forget the BBQ, it’s Fairy Weather! Stephanie Watson June 08 2015, 0 Comments

Outdoors play benefits children’s physical and emotional well-being and feeds their imagination from the sensory diversity surrounding them. But, with lots of tech and typical British weather, it can be hard to encourage your child to get outdoors and play.

So with the weather taking a turn for the better (finally!), it’s time to start thinking about ways to get the kids of the sofa and out in the garden or down to the local park.  Why not get them to start using their imagination with the help of some dress-up?


We have a wide range of beautiful fairy costumes that are perfect for exploring the outdoor world of an enchanted garden in the warm weather.

With such a beautiful range on offer, we’ve put together tour top 5 fairy dress-up to help you encourage some outdoor play in the sunshine!

1. Peach Melba Fairy Dress Up

Available for babies and older children in a range of sizes aged 18 months to 8 years, this beautiful velour and organza dress in pastel colours is perfect for summer and come complete with a yellow wand and pretty flowers.

2. Strawberry Fairy Dress Up

Perfect for going strawberry picking and super sweet, our Strawberry Fairy dress up comes in beautiful shades of red and comes with a pretty green headband…the topping on the strawberry! This costumes comes in a range of sizes from 18 months to 5 years.

3. Fuchsia Fairy Dress Up

In bright tones of purple and fuchsia, this magical floral dress up comes complete with fairy wings and floral headband, perfect for the boldest of fairies.  This fairy costume is available in a range of sizes for 3-11 year olds.

4. Apple Blossom Fairy Dress Up

This detailed adorable fairy dress in apple green, features pink petals within the layers of the skirt. Available for fairies aged 3-8 years, it’s perfect for some sunshine fun in the garden.

5. Fairy Baby Fancy Dress Costume

Even the youngest of children can benefit from some imaginative play outside, and our baby fairy costume is just the thing.  Available for babies aged just 3 months, up to 3 years, this cute pink costume comes complete with soft butterfly wings.

You never know when we’ll get more sunshine, so make the most of it and get your little fairies out to play.

Go Wild at Family Friendly Festivals this Summer Stephanie Watson April 27 2015, 3 Comments

Festivals for me were always about enjoying a few drinks from the cider bus whilst watching bands at Glastonbury.  Now I'm a mum, I'm look for a whole different festival experience.  Luckily, Camp Bestival is a perfect mix of family friendly fun as well as live music. 

The event that takes place at Lulworth Castle in Dorset from the 30th July to 2nd August 2015 and features some great acts for a mixture of tastes, from the Kaiser Chiefs to Professor Green to Ella Henderson, you're sure to find someone playing that takes your fancy.

What appeals to me most about Camp Bestival is that it's mostly aimed at families, where 'kids are king' with a vast range of activities, entertainment, and of course, an annual fancy dress theme! This year, the Camp Bestival fancy dress theme is Go Wild!

Make sure the kids get involved in the theme and are dressed the part as they head to the Upper Kids Garden where they can learn bushcraft, climb trees, build dens and go on butterfly hunts. At Time to Dress Up we’ve got a wide range of animal costumes for children and babies, everything from lions and tigers to monkeys and elephants and even butterflies and caterpillars! So unleash their wild side and really Go Wild at Camp Bestival this year.

There are plenty of other family friendly festivals to consider, and whilst not all go the whole hog and have a fancy dress theme like Camp Bestival, dressing up is still very much a great way to add a little more fun to the festival experience.

Glastonbury has the Kidz Field, dedicated to entertaining your little ones, with creative activities, puppet shows, stories and even the chance to learn a circus skill! Doris the dragon is on guard, so why not join her with one of our detailed dragon dress up? Or fit in with the special mystical feel that’s unique to Glastonbury and dress up as a fairy!

Green Man is a lovely family friendly festival and a must for real music fan mums and dads with Super Furry Animals, Hot Chip and Father John Misty taking to the stage this year.  The festival takes place in the Brecon Beacons, Wales on the 20th - 23rd August and has a Little Folk area that has plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained.  Why not embrace the Welsh location and dress up as a red dragon?!

Latitude celebrates it’s 10th year in 2015 and takes place in Suffolk 16th - 19th July. Their kids area  has loads of fun activities for the kids to do throughout the day.  Learn bush-craft skills one day, make pizzas the next and then round off the weekend with a fossil hunt! Certainly no room for boredom for the kids or for you, with acts like Alt-J, Catfish and the Bottlemen and The Vaccines playing live. Bring the fossil hunt to life with our Triceratops dress up!

Have you ever been to a family friendly festival?  If you have we’d love to hear all about your experience in our comments section below.

We're Now on Alltop Ayshea Elliott April 22 2015, 0 Comments

I'm delighted that our blog has been accepted onto, you can find our feed on, please add us to your feed if you're on there.


Alltop, all the top stories

Top 10 Princess Dresses with a real WOW factor Stephanie Watson April 03 2015, 1 Comment

If your little girl loves dressing up as a princess, then step away from the racks of Disney dresses and give them something really special and unique to dress up in.  Here's our top 10 princess dresses that offer quality and style you won't find on the high street.

10. Ballerina Princess Dress Up

Glitter, sequins and a tutu, what more could they want?! This is the perfect dress up for the girliest of girls and comes in a range of sizes from 18 months to 8 years.

9. Candy Princess Dress Up

With glamorous  jewels on the bodice, this beautiful pink princess costume with silver trim is just £24 and is available in a range of sizes from 18 months to 8 years.

8. Reversible Princess/Bride Dress Up

With this reversible costume you get 2 princess styles for the price of one! This dress is blue and silver on one side, perfect for that Cinderella look and can then be reversed to wear a white princess bride costume. Available in a range of sizes from 3-11 years.

7. Tropical Princess Dress Up

This dress is lovely and bright with a bustle finish to the layered skirt, perfect for the summer months.  Available in a range of sizes for 3-8 years and priced at just £22.50.

6. Arabian Princess Dress Up

This fancy dress outfit is a must for the dress up box of any Princess Jasmine fan.  Made from luxurious turquoise satin with organza layers, your little one will truly feel like an Arabian princess. Available in a range of sizes from 3-11 years.

5. Cupcake Princess Dress Up

What a beautiful princess outfit, with everything any little girl could want from a princess dress up including lace, sequins and flowers. The roses add a lovely finishing touch, positioned over the top skirt and bodice. This premium outfit is a available in a range of sizes from 3-11 years and comes with free delivery.

4. Starcatcher Princess Dress Up

This isn't your usual princess dress up outfit, for starters, where's the pink?! Be sure to stand out at a princess party in the glittering blue dress, complete with velvet gloves and tiara. Available in a range of sizes from 3-8 years, with completely free delivery.

3. Oriental Princess Dress Up

This premium dress is really detailed and looks absolutely stunning - a great alternative to your usual Disney princess dresses. Available in a range of sizes from 3-11 years, with completely free delivery.

2. Damson Princess Dress Up

This fabulous stand-out dress has a beautifully detailed bodice and elegant flowers on the ruched satin skirt. Available in a range of sizes from 3-11 years, with completely free delivery.

Our number 1 princess fancy dress outfit is...

1. Floral Princess Dress Up

Our number 1 princess dress is a beautiful floral gown and will make your little girl feel like true royalty. The floral skirt is hooped so feels great to wear as your little princess swishes and swooshes around. Available in a range of sizes from 3-10 years, with completely free delivery.



A Party Fit For a Princess Stephanie Watson April 03 2015, 0 Comments

Frozen was so 2014, it’s all about Cinderella in 2015 with the release of the latest adaptation directed by Kenneth Branagh so there’s no better time to throw a princess party.

 A princess party is a delightful theme for your little girl’s birthday and whilst it seems very gender-specific, don’t forget, every princess wants her prince, so boys are allowed!

The enchanted castle


To decorate for a princess party I think anything girly works.  So think pom poms, balloons, feathers etc in pinks and lilacs.  A nice touch, is to get a balloon arch made for the princesses to walk through on arrival.

Feel adventurous? Try your hand at balloon swords and tiaras!  There are lots of how to guides on the web and kids are always super impressed with these.

You will go to the ball

Party games and activities are a must to keep the kids entertained and stop them running wild. Here are our top 5 princess themed games…

Princess says - this is a princess adaptation of simon says.  Gather the children round and start asking them to do things by saying”princess says”, for example “princess says touch your elbow”, all the children then have to do the action.  Keep saying different actions, but catch them out by  not starting with “princess says” - anyone who does the action when you’ve not said “princess says” is out.

Sleeping beauty - Have all the children lie down and pretend to be a sleeping beauty.  Explain that if they ‘wake up’ they’ll be out of the game. Try to wake them up by making them laugh or pretending there’s something interesting to look at. The last sleeping beauty is the winner.

Crown decorating - Gather the kids round a table with some plain crowns and lots of sequins and jewels  so they can make their own crown to wear during the party and take home.

Jewel hunt – Hide Jewels and gems around the party venue and task the children to go and hunt them out within a set time limit.  The child with the most jewels at the end wins!

Kiss the frog – This is a princess party version of pin the tail on the donkey.  Print a picture of a frog and some separate lips from the internet.  Give the lips to each child with some blu-tack attached, blindfold them, point them at the frog and let them attach their lips.

The banquet

Get creative and turn your standard children’s party buffet into a banquet fit for a king princess with these tips…

1. Use a crown shaped cutter for your sandwiches

2. Top a fruit kebab with a star shaped piece of watermelon to create a wand

3. Think pink - pink party rings, pink marshmallows, pink macaroons, pink lemonade

A parting gift

At the end of the party, you’ll probably want to send your guests home with a party bag. I think a little satin pouch is a cute alternative to a more standard party bag.  You can fill this with some costume jewellery other princess related trinkets.

Take a look at our princess fancy dress top 10 to choose the perfect party outfit or browse the full range, we also have a great range of costumes for boys including medieval princes and knights.

Be sure to share your photos of your princess party, we’d love to see how it all goes!

Hop, Skip and Jump into Easter! Stephanie Watson March 16 2015, 11 Comments

Make your Easter egg-stra special by dressing up your little one in a fabulous high quality Easter bunny, chick or lamb fancy dress costume.  Your baby may be too little to take part in an Easter egg hunt, so dressing them up is a cracking way for them to be involved in the they'll look super cute!

Deluxe Easter Bunny Fancy Dress

This is our most detailed Easter bunny outfit, supersoft with stick up bunny ears and a bunny tail. Available in a range of sizes from 6-24 months, this costume is also practical with snap fasteners for a quick nappy change and skid resistant feet and totally adorable! Buy now for £38

Grey Easter Bunny Fancy Dress

A perfect unisex Easter bunny costume, available in a range of sizes 6-24 months.  This costume has adorable long big floppy bunny ears and is a zip up jumpsuit with snap fasteners for nappy changes so easy for your little bunny to wear. Buy now for £22

Lamb Fancy Dress Costume

With a fluffy tutu and pretty pink bows, this lamb fancy dress outfit is a very cute alternative to a bunny this Easter. Complete with soft tights and booties, it will keep your little one warm and snug if the weather is still catching up to Spring! Buy now for £20 in size 6-12 months

Baby Chicken Fancy Dress

Nothing quite says Spring than a baby chick and this super soft baby chicken costume will put the chirp into any baby's Easter.  Available in a range of sizes from 3-18 months, you can buy this costume for just £19.

Pink Easter Bunny Baby Fancy Dress

This super soft Easter bunny fancy dress outfit is available in sizes from 0-18 months and features a pom pom tail, a bow and floppy bunny ears making it unbelievably cute! For full Easter bunny effect, the costume comes with a carrot rattle, to keep your baby entertained, especially if they're too little for chocolate! Available to buy now for £18.

Blue Easter Bunny Baby Fancy Dress

Our blue chenille bodysuit Easter bunny outfit has it's own bow tie and super cute gingham floppy ears and tummy. Suitable for even the youngest of babies in a range of sizes from 0-18 months, this is a lovely fancy dress outfit for Easter and even includes a carrot shaped rattle! Available to buy now for £18.

World Book Day Top 10 Easy to Wear Options Stephanie Watson February 26 2015, 0 Comments

If you want a fabulous fancy dress outfit for your child to wear at school on World Book Day, look no further than our huge range of capes, tabards and zip-top costumes.  All are of the great quality you've come to expect from Time to Dress Up, but easy for kids to get on and off themselves - perfect for when you're not there to give them a helping hand.

We've picked out our top 10, but be sure to check out our full range...

10. Ladybird Fancy Dress Tabard

Supersoft and available in a size for 3-7 years, this tabard is the perfect fancy dress for fans of What the Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson.

9. Monkey Fancy Dress Cape

For little monkeys that love The Monkey Puzzle, Night Monkey, Day Monkey, complete with soft padded nose and a sweet smile, this cape is just £13 and available in one size for 3-7 years.

8. Owl Fancy Dress Cape

This owl cape has fantastic detail and ideal on World Book Day if your wise young owl is a fan of Owl Babies, The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark or Wow Said the Owl

7. Fox Fancy Dress Cape

I was a big Roald Dahl fan as a child, and if your son or daughter love the Dahl classic Fantastic Mr Fox then look no further than this super soft Fox Fancy Dress cape, available for age 3-7 for £13.

6. Pig Fancy Dress Cape

Three Little Pigs is an absolute classic tale, if your little one's a fan of this or Hide-and-Seek Pig they'll love this soft pink pig cape complete with snout - oink oink!

5. Spider Fancy Dress Tabard

Kid's love this spider tabard with it's 8 dangly legs! So if Charlotte's Web or The Very Busy Spider are firm favourite's in your house, this is an ideal fancy dress option for World Book Day.

4. Tiger Fancy Dress Cape


The perfect fancy dress cape for fans of The Tiger Who Came to Tea on World Book Day, come on, let's hear your loudest ROAR!

3. Giraffe Fancy Dress Zip Top

So, Giraffe's Can't Dance hey?  That may be so, but the kids will still be able to bust some moves in this easy to wear giraffe zip top, complete with a tail to wiggle!

2. Crocodile Fancy Dress Cape


For fans of Roald Dahl's Enormous Crocodile or Judith Kerr's The Crocodile Under the Bed this cape fastens at the neck so is super easy to get on and off and features pointy teeth, SNAP!

1. Caterpillar Fancy Dress Tabard


The Very Hungry Caterpillar is such a classic children's book, this caterpillar fancy dress tabard had to be our number one.  You could even take it to the next level on World Book Day and turn into a beautiful butterfly by the end of the day!


How far can you push the boundaries of a literary character on World Book Day? Stephanie Watson February 18 2015, 2 Comments

It’s World Book Day again and you need to send your child off to school in fancy dress.  It supposed to be their favourite literary character, so you raid their dressing up box and pull out various superhero or Disney princess outfits you’ve gathered over the years.  You question yourself…they were once books/comics right?!

Time is of the essence so you convince yourself this is true and pack your little Cinderella and Superman off to school. The Cinderella story stems from a folk tale, a version of which was included in Grimms’ Fairy Tales, so you can totally get away with this as a literary character.  The same goes for a number of the classic Disney princesses.   What about Elsa from Frozen though?  Well, it can be said that the Frozen story is based on  Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, The Snow Queen, so at a total push, Elsa is a literary    character, but you really are pushing it to the boundaries now!

What about Spiderman, Superman, Batman and the like? If you class comics as literature then sure, superheroes are literary characters.  But what about characters like Buzz Lightyear and Woody from Toy Story?  I’m sorry, but this would be a total cheat on World Book Day! They are most definitely film characters.  Sure, you can get books about Toy Story, but literary character?  Come off it!

Of course, we understand that sometimes the easy option of what’s already in your child’s dressing up box is the way you need to go when it comes to World Book Day fancy dress costume, or it may be that your child absolutely insists on being dressed as a movie character.  But what we love about dressing up, is the imaginative play that it encourages, and World Book Day is the perfect time to encourage this in your child. 

On the run up to World Book Day, try and prise your little one away from the DVD player and start reading them a new story with a character you think they’ll connect with.  Maybe, just maybe, come March 5th, you won’t have to listen to a rendition of ‘Let it Go’ for the 450th time and your child can leave their Elsa dress at home and try out something new.  Let them stand out from the crowd this year!

Check out our range of World Book Day fancy dress costumes for some inspiration.


Too cool for World Book Day fancy dress? Just raid your wardrobe... Stephanie Watson February 06 2015, 0 Comments

Little kids love to dress up and many adults enjoy a good fancy dress party too, but there is a sticky area somewhere in the middle.  Some older kids have closed the lid on their dressing up box and feel they're just too cool for childish dressing up anymore.

So when World Book Day comes around and their school instructs them to dress up as their favourite literary character, there may be some grumbles and stomping about. Fear not!  There are alternatives, and the variety of literary characters to choose from means dress up can be minimal to still get the effect. The best option in this scenario is to look at characters who wear 'normal' clothes.  That way, they're still taking part but don't have to stray too far from their comfort zone.

To dress up as Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, all it takes is a dark top, some cargo pants and a lightweight jacket - great if you can get a bow and arrow accessory and braid your hair to the side too.

Alex Rider is a spy character from books by Anthony Horowitz and a perfect character for any surly teenager this World Book Day.  All you need is black jeans, black jacket, black converse, a white or black tshirt/shirt and some spy gadgets

To go as Horrid Henry you will need to find a blue top with yellow stripe, but once that's sorted it's simply a case of wearing this with jeans and trainers.  Be sure to mess up their hair, or for even less effort, just let them get out of bed without brushing/combing it before they set off!

Possibly our simplest World Book Day dress up for kids who don't really want to be involved, is to go as the Whimpy Kid.  For this costume, team a pair of black shorts with a white t-shirt and a black backpack and you're done!  You could always try and convince them to print off a cartoon head mask, but that's probably pushing it.

Of course, we believe you're never too old for dress up, but if they even refuse the go as any of the above ideas, they can always just turn up and be Mr Grumpy!

The best fancy dress to be seen in this World Book Day Stephanie Watson January 22 2015, 0 Comments

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With World Book Day just around the corner (5th March), it’s time to start thinking fancy dress costumes, what’s practical for your child and what literary character they’ll want to dress up as.  At Time to Dress Up we have a wide range of options for babies and toddlers and for school age children so we’ve rounded up our top 10 to make your decision a little bit easier…

10. Tiger Costume

Perfect for fans of Dear Zoo or The Tiger Who Came to Tea we have a lovely soft and comfy dress up complete with whiskers, tail and (soft) claws for that full on Tiger effect. Pictured here is the costume available in a range of sizes from 18 months to 8 years, but we also have a version for babies too – tiger’s have never been so cuddly!

9. Captain Pirate Costume

If you’ve got your own little Captain Flinn at home, you’ll not find a more detailed costume for them than this. Featuring a grey jacket with gold trim and mock black boots complete with gold buckles, this outfit is suitable for children aged 3-8 years. You can rock up to school and say ‘Ahoy me hearties!’ with pride.

8. Triceratops Dinosaur Costume


Dinosaur fancy dress is always popular and kids will love this horned green triceratops outfit.  Available from 18 months + this is perfect for fans of Astrosaurs or The Dinosaur That Pooped series, this World Book Day.  For smaller dinosaur fans, be sure to check out our baby dinosaur dress up.

7. Monkey Costume

This super soft monkey dress up is perfect for little ones that love Monkey Puzzle!  Fully lined and complete with curly tail that will fascinate your babies friends, this monkey fancy dress is guaranteed to get a few ‘aaahhs’ at nursery. 

6. Disney Winnie the Pooh Costume


A.A. Milne’s characters are always a firm favourite for child and parent and this official Disney tabard style costume with hat is perfect for World Book Day.  If your child prefers a different Winnie the Pooh character, check out our costumes for Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger too!

5. Owl Costume

A favourite all year round, this owl dress up has outstanding detail you don’t find on the high street.  Featuring a feathered chest and wings, this beautiful costume will give you an adorable dress up to represent The Owl and the Pussycat this World Book Day.


4. Tabby Cat Costume

For fans of Tabby McTat and Mog our plush, easy to wear costume is adorable and snug.  Available in a range of sizes from 1 - 8 years, this cat fancy dress is the puuur-fect solution to your World Book Day fancy dress dilemma.

3. Rabbit Costume


There are so many rabbits featured in children’s books: Rabbit’s Nap, Velveteen Rabbit, Peter Rabbit, Guess How Much I Love You….the list goes on.  This gorgeous outfit will make your little one look super cute and comes with poppers for a quick and easy nappy change so it’s practical too! Plus, you can reuse the outfit at Easter, for an egg-stra special egg hunt!

2. Caterpillar Costume


What child doesn’t love The Very Hungry Caterpillar, or a onesie for that matter?! This all in one costume is a comfortable all day wear so ideal for a day of dress up on a long school day.  

And now to reveal our top World Book Day fancy dress costume…

1. Brown Monster Costume

The Gruffalo is so popular with all children, and our brown hooded cape with horns perfectly recreates that Gruffalo look.  Easy to wear, this costume is available in sizes 18 months – 8 years.


World Book Day - Living in Fear of the Playground Death Stare Ayshea Elliott January 16 2015, 6 Comments

World Book Day is looming. A day to celebrate a child’s love of books and the opportunity to raise money for worthy causes…yeah right!

At my son’s school, World Book Day can be an incredibly competitive affair, not just in the playground but across social media as parents post pictures of their creative efforts for everyone else to look on with envy.  Who has the fancy dress costume that is the most unique? Most expensive? Most laboured over? I am ashamed to say I’ve spent sleepless nights (ok, maybe a sleepless 15 minutes) worrying that I will have failed as a parent if my son’s costume isn’t the winner in at least one of these categories – after all, I run a kids fancy dress business for a living!

Let’s face it, I’ll be facing the death stare from parents either way, through resentment of the fact I can choose any outfit I like or pity at my lack of creative flair, so I’ve decided this year not to stress it and to give you some advice and how you can avoid doing so too.

Let’s look at some problems your little darlings could throw at you when it comes to deciding on an outfit and how you might best tackle it…

Problem: Child has a favourite book but refuses to be that character
Solution:  Agree on a second favourite alternative, source/create the secondary costume and then enjoy your child throwing a tantrum at 7.45am when they realise they actually want to be their favourite character after all.  Force them into second outfit, take them to school in tears and stride away, feeling the death stare at your back.

Problem: You have seen the perfect outfit on Pinterest but aren’t an experienced sewer/have no crafting skills.
Solution: Give it a go anyway, how hard can it be to follow those simple step-by-step instructions?! First you just need to buy 3 different types of fabric, a glue gun and some sequins…  After 3 days of sewing and gluing you end up creating what can only be described as an embarrassment and have to a) ask your mum to sort it, b) buy a costume or c) send them as a Disney Princess/Superhero – they have books about them right?!

Problem: Child insists on being a character which is really difficult to recreate - Elmer anyone?
Solution: Work on convincing said child that all the cool kids will be going as characters that dress in normal clothes (e.g. Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).  If that doesn’t work, suggest they create their own Elmer costume, after 10 minutes of struggle, gently re-suggest the normal clothes idea and a bag of sweets if they agree.  Wait for the death stare from the mums who actually did create Elmer and then found their child couldn’t walk/sit/use the toilet in the costume.

So, you see, World Book Day doesn’t have to be hard or stressful! Seriously though, it’s amazing how well you can recreate some characters just with clever clothing choices – like my nephew’s ensemble last year as the boy from Lost and Found.

Buying a fancy dress costume is by far the easiest option, our suggestion is that if you’re going to buy, then go for something that can be used again.  Costumes of specific characters will probably only be worn that one day, whereas an animal costume can be worn time and time again.


If you do fancy buying this year and saving the stress, that’s Time to Dress Up was set up - we pride ourselves on offering quality costumes you won’t find on the high street, perfect for parents that don’t have the needlework skills or time to make a costume from scratch.  So grab a coffee and relax whilst you browse through our World Book Day dress up collection for children and for babies.  We’re sure you’ll find the perfect costume for your child’s favourite literary character.




Make Your Kids Party a ROARing Success! Stephanie Watson January 14 2015, 6 Comments

I think it’s always best to have a theme for a kid’s party, it ties everything together and is more exciting for the kids if they can dress up and feel part of the adventure. Some party themes can be tricky if they’re a little grown up for smaller guests or quite gender specific like a Princess party. An animal themed party is all encompassing, great for any age of child, any gender and can run across all aspects of a children’s party.

You can define an animal party in the broadest sense, or be more specific with a jungle, zoo or pet theme for example. For the purpose of this article, any animal goes.

Welcome to the Jungle

To decorate for an animal party, streamers in green and brown can be made from crepe paper and hung from the ceiling to transform your room into a jungle or forest. Think about adding paw prints to the floor or outside leading to the door using (removable!) stickers or painting some on in washable paint. If your animal party is of the farmyard variety scatter some hay around the party room. Balloons can be bought in a variety of animal prints, or you could bunch a load of green ones together to create a treetop effect

Feel adventurous? Try your hand at balloon animals!  There are lots of how to guides on the web and kids are always super impressed with the magic of a balloon animal!

Party Animals

Party games are a must to keep the kids entertained and stop them running wild. Here are our top 5 animal themed activitys…

Sleeping lions - Have all the children lie down and pretend to be a sleeping lion.  Explain that if they ‘wake up’ they’ll be out of the game. Try to wake them up by making them laugh or pretending there’s something interesting to look at. The last sleeping lion is the winner.

Safari hunt – Hide small plastic animal figures around the party venue and equip the children with toy binoculars to go and hunt them out within a set time limit.  The child with the most figures at the end wins! 

Pin the tail on the donkey – Of course a donkey is the traditional animal used in this game, but feel free to change this if another animal suits your theme better. Print a picture of a tailless animal and some separate tails from the internet.  Give a tail to each child with some blu-tack attached, blindfold them, point them at the ‘donkey’ and let them attach their tail.

Flamingos - Have all the children stand on one leg and pretend to be a flamingo.  Try to unbalance them by making them laugh or dashing around them. The last flamingo standing is the winner.

Animal cookie decorating – Bake some cookies the night before the party cut in the shape of animals.  Put them out on a table with icing pens, sprinkles etc and let the kids decorate their own cookie.

Feeding Time at the Zoo

You can turn normal party food to animal feed with a bit of imagination.  For example; Popcorn can be chicken feed, banana chips are monkey treats, Sausage rolls are pigs in blankets and raisins? Why they’re ants of course! Plan your party food and get creative with the naming, and your party buffet will soon become feeding time at the zoo.  You can also use animal shaped cookie cutters to turn pizza and sandwiches into a more interesting animal themed snack.

Be sure to add a ‘Feed the Animals’ sign to your buffet table!

See You Later Alligator

At the end of the party, you’ll probably want to send your guests home with a party bag. A lovely alternative to this for an animal theme party, is to have the kids all adopt an animal.  To do this, buy some small cuddly animal toys and put them in ‘pen’, then as the children are leaving they can choose an animal to name and take home with them.

Take a look at our huge range of quality animal fancy dress costumes for babies and older children, perfect for any animal theme party.  Be sure to share your pics of your little party animals, we’d love to see how it all goes!

What were the cool kids wearing in 2014? Stephanie Watson December 31 2014, 3 Comments

2014.  What a whirlwind of a year!  Time to Dress Up launched in June and we’ve seen amazing growth for the business and really appreciate the love our customers have for our quality dress up costumes.  With the start of a new year just around the corner, we thought we’d take a look back and round up our best sellers throughout the year to see what your kids were wearing in 2014…

10. Baby Cowboy

Rated 5 stars from our reviews, one customer said “Gorgeous costume my wee boy got so many compliments” This cute cowboy costume is bound to be a hit at any Wild West or Toy Story party and comes complete with cowboy hat – yeehaw!

9. Oriental Princess

It’s no wonder this beautifully detailed dress is one of our bestsellers, and perfect for children who want to be a princess, but not wear girly pink. Your child will look stunning in this oriental gown, perfect for parties or just for feeling majestic at home.

8. Peach Melba Fairy

Made from organza, satin and velour with beautiful rich colours, this gorgeous dress up creates a super sweet look that has your little one away with the fairies in a magical land of make believe.  This outfit comes with matching wand sprinkled with flowers to complete the magic.

7. Cowboy Accessory Set

With this set of cowboy essentials you’ll be fully prepared to hit the wild west with everything any self-respecting cowboy needs.  The set includes; Waistcoat with belt and holster, hat, star sheriff's badge and gingham neckerchief – an absolute must for any dressing up box.

6. Children’s Tiger

This costume is so plush it’s no wonder it’s been a hit. The hood of the costume features whiskers and a padded nose, and the costume also has a tail and claws for full on GRRR effect!

5. Baby Teddy Bear

Another 5 star rated costume and that comes as no surprise.  This costume is so soft and cuddly, you’ll find it even harder than usual to resist giving your baby cuddles all day long! As one customer confirms; “Teddy bear costume is lovely. Perfect fit and so soft for my little one”.

4. T-Rex


Available for 3 years+ this detailed T-Rex costume comes complete with spikes, tail and teeth, just what a dinosaur on the prowl needs. We’re expecting this to be a big hit next year too with the release of Jurassic World – a costume any dinosaur fan will love.

3. Baby Lion

With a beautiful ruffled mane, this lion costume is perfect for your little one to practice their ROAR! If your baby is taking their first steps, this outfit has skid resistant feet so they can pad around being King or Queen of the jungle!

2. Triceratops

Available in a range of sizes from just 18 months old this is another of our brilliant dinosaur costumes for even the littlest of dinosaur fans.  With horns, spikes, tail and claws, your little one can love pretending they’re roaming the land eating plants during the late Cretaceous period, just like a real triceratops!

Our number 1 bestseller of 2014 is….

Ride on Pony

There must be a lot of horse lovers out there as this Ride on Pony costume has being flying out all year! Whether you’re a budding cowgirl or cowboy or just love the idea of riding a horse, this soft corduroy costume will feed your imagination. Complete with mock saddle and stirrups, this can transform any outfit so you’re ready to ride – giddy up!



5 Films guaranteed to make you feel festive Stephanie Watson December 24 2014, 0 Comments

There are so many Christmas films and their sequels to watch over the festive period, perfect for when you just want to lie on the sofa and indulge in chocolates.  However, this is my first Christmas with a baby, so time to chill out on the sofa is pretty rare! I wanted to make sure I could squeeze in a few Christmas films though, so I put together my top 5 -  the one’s guaranteed to make me feel festive.

5. The Polar Express

I saw this film when it first came out at the cinema in IMAX 3D on Christmas Eve so it’s always guaranteed to take me back to that lovely memory.  It’s got everything a film needs at Christmas including snowy scenes, Father Christmas and the joy and excitement of Christmas morning. A really lovely live action animation film, even if it is a little eerie at times.

4. Home Alone

This is a classic from my childhood and I always remember how amazing the Home Alone house looks all lit up for Christmas.  Obviously the story isn’t incredibly festive – a boy gets left behind from a family holiday and has to deal with attempted burglary of his house!  Still, it’s a slapstick comedy, an absolute classic and set during the Christmas holidays so it gets my vote.

3. Miracle on 34th Street

I was a fan on the 1994 version starring Richard Attenborough and bought the DVD of the 1947 black and white version last year, which I loved just as much. It’s quite a typical tale of a child that questions her belief in Santa Claus, only to find that she should believe in the miracle of Christmas after all.

2.  It’s a Wonderful Life

I was quite surprised when I first saw this film a few years ago at how depressing it is, I suppose it is about a suicidal banker on the edge of ruin though so what did I expect?!  Despite that, this classic Christmas film set in 1940s America shows how everyone should value their worth as we see lead character George Bailey shown exactly what life would be like had he not been around to positively help the lives of many. 


Hands down my most favourite Christmas film EVER! Will Ferrell plays the character of a human raised as a Christmas Elf absolutely brilliantly.  He’s incredibly funny and you feel such warmth for Buddy the elf throughout the story of his trip to New York to meet his real father.  Remember, the best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear!

Have a wonderful Christmas!


Top 10 Christmas Table Must-Haves Stephanie Watson December 21 2014, 0 Comments

This week we take a look at dress up of a different kind, and switch our focus to the big day, the big meal and how to dress up your Christmas table. 

There are two big parts to Christmas Day for me; the morning where we all gather round the tree to unwrap all the presents and then around 3pm where we all take to the table, complete with wonky spare chair, and tuck into a 4 course Christmas feast.

If you’re anything like my family, you spend a lot of time sat round the table on Christmas Day, so just like the tree, it should be decorated and feel festive. You don’t have to go all out with a lot of expense trying to recreate a scene from Ideal Home magazine, but put a bit of effort in and it’ll make your Christmas meal feel all the more special.

We’ve put together ten key things we think every table should have this Christmas, and the good thing is, you can decorate the table on Christmas Eve to give you more time to play with the kids and get the roast spuds nice and crispy on the big day.

The Centrepiece

Think about any event or restaurant you go to and there’s usually a centrepiece, even if it’s just a tealight holder. You can go all out here with a big centrepiece down the length of the table, but thinking practically, we prefer something either smaller, or tall with a narrow base like a candelabra – more room on the table for those potatoes! A favourite of mine is some traditional greenery like a circular holly wreath with red berries and a church candle in the centre.


A Christmas classic.  No table can be without crackers at Christmas, after all, they provide you with a lovely hat to wear throughout dinner! Crackers these days can be handmade using bought kits, or you can buy super luxurious crackers containing impressive gifts, and of course a hilarious joke.  I love the old fashioned crackers we used to have in the 80s as kids, but they’re  a rare find these days. You know the ones, with the plastic fish you put on your hand on it tells you your emotional state from a flick of its tail. Ah, those were the days!

Place settings

Instead of your usual placemats and plates, use charger plates in your chosen colour scheme for your dining plates to sit on. Roll your napkins into a tube shape and tie some festive string round them and attach a candy cane or cinnamon stick, depending on your theme, to sit in the centre of the plate.

Bell jars with baubles

Making use of tree decorations like baubles is a cheap and easy way to dress up your table.  A glass vase or bell jar filled with baubles add a great touch of festivity and easily match your Christmas colour scheme.

Table Presents

This is something we introduced to our Christmas table about 5 years ago.  After all the earlier excitement of present opening is done with, there’s always one more gift for everyone on the table.  This should be something small, that can sit at each person’s place setting and inexpensive - a bit like a favour at a wedding.  You can open your gifts as you sit down, but we tend to wait until after Christmas dinner and before dessert. It’s good to have a break from eating at this point and the table presents provide a good opportunity for that. 

Place cards

These are a great thing to get the kids to make for a more personal touch.  If they’re too young to write names yet, have them decorate the edges of the cards and they’ll be beaming with pride when they see them on the table.  Alternatively, you can write a place card and attach it with string to a few sticks of cinnamon.

Chair bows

This is really inexpensive to do and really does add something extra to the whole Christmas table scene.  Buy some long lengths of ribbon or fabric in a colour that matches your Christmas theme from your local haberdashery and  wrap them around the centre of your dining chairs and tie a bow. Easy!

Table confetti

This is readily available in a variety of designs and colours and a scattering of this can add a splash of extra colour, particularly if you’re using a white table cloth.  Just be willing to still be finding pieces of it around the house in summer!

Christmas trees

I’m obviously not talking about proper trees here, this is another craft activity you can get the kids involved with once they’ve finished school for the festivities.  Buy some sheets of card and bend them into a cone shape, sticking the sides together with glue.  Sit the kids round the table with some paints in festive colours and have them decorate the trees with their own designs.

Chalkboard tablets

Some families choose to have a separate table for the children to sit at, but I’m all for getting the kids fully involved and like to have them sat amongst the adults, after all they can be pretty hilarious conversationalists!  I absolutely love the traditional look of chalkboard tablets (basically a small section of chalkboard set in a wooden frame)  and they’re  good way to give the kids something to do at the table.These chalkboards can be made festive by wrapping the back in Christmas wrapping paper.

We hope we’ve given you some new ideas of how to dress up your Christmas table and wish you all a very merry Christmas! 


Last Christmas Order Dates Ayshea Elliott December 14 2014, 0 Comments

If you have left your Christmas shopping late, don't panic quite yet, Time to Dress Up is still open for delivery.

Having said that, please, please order as early as you can. The dates below are those supplied by our couriers but the earlier you get your order in, the safer you are. As always, we will do everything within our power to get your delivery to you by Christmas day.  

Happy shopping everyone :)


Penguins - What's all the fuss about? Stephanie Watson December 12 2014, 5 Comments

With the release of the Penguins of Madagascar last weekend, I’m taking a look at this winter’s penguin craze and asking, where did it come from?

I’m a child of the 70’s and the earliest famous penguin I can recall is Pingu, which was a stop-motion animated programme, first aired in the 1980’s. 
Then there was Wheezy from Toy Story 2 in 1999 followed by Mumble in the 2006 film Happy Feet. Of course, not all penguins were cute and cuddly, there are also the various portrayals of the evil penguin character from Batman.

Can you think of any others? Please let me know in the comments below if you think I’m missing any!

The latest penguin craze this winter stems, not from the film, but from retailer John Lewis and their Christmas TV ad featuring lonely penguin Monty. You’d have to have been living in Antarctica over the past month not to have heard about it. What an amazing money spinner that ad campaign has been – not just from the usual brand awareness and incremental sales point of view you get from any TV ad, but from all of the merchandise that’s being sold of the back of it.  

Think about what you want for Christmas… a new handbag? A jumper? Whatever it is you’re after, you’ll be sure to find it with a penguin emblazoned across it – all wrapped up in Monty paper too!

And why not?! Waddling penguins have always been popular with kids and how can they not be? Check out these penguin fails, so adorable!

So whilst, we’re all in a spin over Monty and Mabel, what perfect timing for the release of Penguins of Madagascar in the UK! And if you’re planning a trip to the cinema, why not take your own little penguin with our Baby Penguin Dress Up?

Available in 3 sizes for ages 6-24 months, this is a truly premium costume and comes complete with adorable top hat and a red bow tie, just like Wheezy!  I’ve dressed my daughter in this and can vouch for its adorability factor, I just wish she was old enough to master a cute little waddle to go with it!

Quick and Easy Face Paints for Busy Parents Ayshea Elliott December 10 2014, 8 Comments

What is it about kids and face paint? Honestly, I can’t think of anything that is so universally liked by every child I know, I mean, I can even think of a couple of children that don’t like chocolate, but face paints? Not one!


I must admit to being a fan of the old face paints myself. If only the little blighters would sit still a bit longer, I think I would be even be pretty good. In case you’re looking for a few face paint ideas, here are some I have done in my time.


Comment below if any of them are of particular interest and I’d be happy to do a step by step guide.


Pirate Facepaints


Ahoy me hearties, let’s sail the seven seas and all that! Here are some of my best pirate facepaints:




Tiger Facepaints


Love these ones because the kids can’t help but roar at themselves in the mirror when they have them on!



Spiderman Facepaints

Every kid I know love Spiderman facepaints and it’s pretty easy to do too.




Lion Facepaints

I’m not going to try and take credit for this one, this was done while we were at Disney’s Hollywood Studios so it’s a little more professional than my ones!



Skeleton/Skeleton Pirate Facepaints


Actually quite terrifying! We did these for Halloween this year but the kids loved it so much we have done it a few times since too.



Cat Facepaints


This is a pretty popular choice too, quite easier than it looks and quick to do for fidgets!


We have a range of face paints available to buy here if you are running short.

If you'd like a step by step guide to any of the face paint looks, please leave a comment below.

Ayshea xxx

Win a Costume For You and a Friend Ayshea Elliott December 08 2014, 0 Comments

Christmas is all about giving so we're running a competition through our social media channels where both you and a friend can win one of our costumes in time for Christmas.

All you need to do to win is to comment which friend you think deserves to win before 9pm Wednesday 10th December when we'll draw the winner.  You can enter on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (or all three for extra entries!).

Good luck

Ayshea x



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The Tales and Traumas of a Modern School Nativity Ayshea Elliott December 06 2014, 7 Comments

So, as in so many British households, we’re in the run up to the Christmas nativity. Jimmy is in reception and this year they’re performing Whoops a Daisy Angel. It’s a modern spin on the nativity with the main character ‘Whoops a Daisy’ experiencing calamities throughout her journey to Bethlehem where she eventually oversees the birth of Jesus to Mary and Joseph (mere bit parts in Whoops a Daisy…).

Jimmy has been given the role of one of the three Kings, which I must admit that in competitive Mummy mode (I try not to, but who can help it?!), I was rather chuffed with. I mean, King, that’s a good part surely? Especially when you hear that the Kings have a helper each. A helper! I just knew that it was one of the main parts, because the teachers could obviously see his star potential, right?

Wrong. The evening following the first rehearsal, we had tears at home. Jimmy was horrified that his part only consisted of walking around in a circle, bowing, then placing down a present. (Can you tell he has inherited Mummy’s diva characteristics?) Through sobs he explained that he didn’t even have a line to say and that worst of all, the school provided the costumes so he couldn’t even have one of Mummy’s King costumes to wear!

 So I decided to take the Phoebe from Friends approach when she is given the job of cups and ice at Rachel’s party (sorry to any non-Friends fans), if Jimmy was going to be the King, he’d be the best King there could ever be. I pictured Daniel Day Lewis with his method acting. Jimmy would have to live, breathe and become a King. So we have so far practiced how a King would eat his Weetabix, play football, brush his teeth, get ready for school and on and on. Jimmy’s embraced the technique and I hear him talking to his teddies in a Kingly voice when he’s going to sleep at night. Good boy!

Rehearsals are really getting going and every night Jimmy comes home singing another song from the show. He loves a bit of music and drama so this is definitely a good time of year for him.

The one sour note about the Christmas nativity for me is that it’s always such a shame that grandparents don’t get to go. My mother-in-law is really close to Jimmy and actually lives with us at the moment, so she gets to hear all the songs, see all the method acting, but won’t get to see the show itself as we’re limited to two tickets per family. I totally understand why, health and safety and all that, but it’s one of those times where I just think wouldn’t it be nice to throw caution to the win and let the Grandparents squeeze in if they are really keen to see the show. I’d love to hear the teacher’s perspective on this one.

The other awful one is when parents themselves are unable to get the time off work, I mean, what kind of boss would be unsympathetic to letting a parent see their child’s nativity? You’d have to have a heart of stone. One Mum at Jimmy’s school was telling me that her boss has refused her time off unless she can find someone to stand in which she hasn’t been able to. How heart-wrenching. These are the times that don’t last for long and we should be able to enjoy them… I might start an online petition to force all workplaces to allow time off for the nativity, oh and sportsday! Who’s with me?!

Enjoy your Christmas plays whatever they may be and whatever part your child has been given. These are the times we’ll never forget.


Ayshea xxx

Pimp My Nativity? No Thanks! Stephanie Watson December 02 2014, 1 Comment

The Nativity was created by St. Francis of Assisi in 1223, recreating the scene of Jesus' birth, set in a stable with Mary and Joseph who are visited by shepherds and 3 Wise Men. For one of the nativity plays I remember fondly, I was dressed as an angel in a white cloak (probably a sheet) with a halo made of silver tinsel.

It saddens me a little to read reports out this week that state the traditional nativity is to be performed in only a third of schools this year, with some opting for modern pimped up versions of the story and others scraping any religious reference in their ‘winter play’ altogether.

I like the idea of a traditional nativity, it helps children understand where the celebration of Christmas comes from, whether you believe the story or not. It’s also a lovely start to the Christmas season, seeing little ones dressed up in costumes as shepherds, angels and sheep, sneaking a wave to mum and dad in the audience. Ah it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

If your child’s school is sticking with tradition this year and staging a nativity play, then ditch the sheets, tea towels and tinsel and check out our fabulous range of nativity costumes

Children’s King Nativity Dress Up Costume

For such an important part of the nativity story, we have 3 different king costumes, all come with cloak and crown, priced £15 and for ages 3-7.

Children's Star Nativity Dress Up Costume

We have the perfect sparkly star costume for your child's Nativity, available for ages 3-7 years, priced £16

Children’s Shepherd Nativity Dress Up Costume

Think beyond tea towels, for your little shepherd! We have 2 wonderful shepherd costumes available, both priced £16 and available for ages 3-5 and 5-7 years.

Children’s Joseph Nativity Dress Up Costume

Joseph is one of the lead roles in a school nativity, so make sure they look the part in this suedette tunic and headscarf priced £16 and available for ages 3-5 and 5-7 years.

Children’s Mary Nativity Dress Up Costume

Mary is the main role of the nativity play and they’ll look every bit the star in this suedette tunic and headscarf priced £16 and available for ages 3-5 and 5-7 years.

Give the Gift of Imagination this Christmas Stephanie Watson November 27 2014, 0 Comments

Giving gifts to children at Christmas is a truly magical feeling as you watch them rip off the paper with so much excitement and joy.

You may buy children Christmas gifts they’ve specifically asked for on their list to Santa, but it’s always good to have a few surprises in their stocking. And what could be better than seeing your children taking on a character as their imagination runs away with them?

At Time to Dress Up you’ll find a vast range of high quality children’s dress up costumes, the kind you don’t find on the high street.  Read on and find the perfect Christmas gift to match your little one’s personality, then watch them dress up and play make believe time and again.


Under the sea, it’s wetter and it’s better for a water baby

Baby Octopus Dress Up

Anyone with a baby will be familiar with attempting to get them dressed with arms and legs moving everywhere, just like a slippery octopus! Now they can live up to their reputation with our fabulously detailed costume, complete with tentacles. Available in 3 sizes ranging from 6-18 months and priced at £38

Sometimes, not always, a little monster!

Baby Monster Dress Up

This premium costume features stripy horns, a spotty belly, monster eyes and big fluffy patches of hair.  Your little monster will easily get their way in this super cute dress up! Available in 3 sizes ranging from 6-18 months and priced at £38

Children’s Big Blue Monster Dress Up

Super furry with big claws and horns, your little one with love running around causing monster chaos! Available in 3 sizes ranging from 18 months to 5 years and priced at £30

Got yourself a cheeky monkey?

Baby Cheeky Monkey Dress Up

An extra special treat for your cheeky little monkey, this fully lined quality dress up comes complete with tail, and how can you resist those ridiculously cute ears! Available in 3 sizes ranging from 6-18 months and priced at £38

Ride ‘Em Cowboy

Baby Cowboy Dress Up

There must be a lot of little boys out there that love to play at being a cowboy as this is one of our most popular costumes, yee-haw! Available in 3 sizes ranging from 6-24 months and priced at £22 Why not complete the look with our ride on pony dress up for the ultimate Christmas gift for your little cowboy or girl?

Your Pretty Little Princess

Children’s Floral Princess Dress Up

Little girls love to dress up and feel like a princess so we have a range of princess dresses available.  My personal favourite is this stunning floral dress with beautiful lace detail which will make any little girl feel like royalty. Like nothing they’ll have ever seen before, this dress up is available in 3 sizes ranging from 3-10 years and priced at £45.  I only wish this was available in adult sizes so I could feel like a royal princess too!

Away with the Fairies

Children’s Peach Melba Fairy Dress Up

If your little one loves the magical land of make believe, then they’ll love our range of colourful fairy dresses. The peach Melba Fairy is one of my favourites, with a beautiful mix of colours and fabrics and completed, of course, with a special magic wand. Available in 4 sizes ranging from just 18 months to 8 years and priced at £20



The top 5 games to make your kid's party go off with a bang Stephanie Watson November 19 2014, 0 Comments

So, you’re planning a children’s party.  How on earth do you keep all the children entertained for hours?  Cue the party games!  I’ve been to some parties with some really original games for the children to play based around the theme of the party, but if your party isn't following a particular theme, the traditional party games are still a firm favourite for children of a variety of ages.

When planning your party games, consider the age range of the children attending so that games aren’t to complicated or babyish for them.  Include some games that can help the children expel all that energy as well as some quieter games for when things start getting a bit crazy, and believe me they will! 

If you’re playing a game with one final winner, it’s worth having some consolation prizes for children as they go out of a game. Little ones can be sore losers when it comes to party games!  I’ve found a big bowl full of individually wrapped chocolates for them to take one does the trick.

We’ve rounded up the best party games for a wide age range of children and come up with our top 5 - sure winners at any children’s party.

1. Musical Bumps/Statues

Have the children dance to music and when the music stops they all sit down as fast as they can. The last one to sit down is out of the game. Keep going until there’s one child left to win the prize. 

Musical statues works in the same way, except the children all stand as still as possible when the music stops and if they move they’re out.

This is an example of where it’s worth having some chocolates to give each child as they go out.

2. Pass the Parcel

Choose a prize appropriate for any child at the party to win and wrap it in several layers of wrapping paper.  Sit the children in a circle, start some music and give the parcel to one of the children, get them to pass it to the child next to them and it carries on passing round the circle. As the music stops, the child who is holding the parcel opens a layer. The music starts again and the parcel continues passing round the circle. Repeat this until the final layer of wrapping is opened and the prize is revealed.

It’s worth considering adding a small prize at each layer so the children aren’t too disappointed to be revealing nothing. A small cheap toy like the ones you can buy to fill party bags or bag of sweets will do. Lolly pops work well here too.

If you’re having a small party, it might be worth having a main prize for each child so they all win, but this could get expensive and lengthy for a larger party!


3. A Treasure Hunt

You can split the children into teams to see who can find the final reward first, or have all the children do the treasure hunt together.

Write down some easy clues on cards to guide the children to various places around the house and  garden to find more clues and eventually a main prize.  The main prize should be something all of the  children can share as a reward for working together.You can split the children into teams to see who  can find the final reward first, or have all the children do the treasure hunt together.

This requires a bit more effort and planning, but is well worth it, particularly for slightly older children.  It’s wonderful to see them run around with excitement, solving clues!

 4. Pin the Tail on the Donkey


Another classic game and one that can be adapted to a party theme if you wish.

You don’t need to buy a kit for this game, you can print a picture of a tailless animal and some separate tails from the internet.  Give a tail to each child with some blu-tack attached, blindfold them, point them at the ‘donkey’ and let them attach their tail. 

The child who gets their tail closest to where the tail should be wins the game.

5. Sleeping Lions

This is a great game to quieten things down if they start getting a little crazy!

Have all the children lie down and pretend to be a sleeping lion.  Explain that if they wake up by moving or laughing etc, that they’ll be out of the game. Then, walk around the children trying to wake them up by making them laugh or pretending there’s something interesting to look at. The last sleeping lion is the winner.


Children’s party games are so much fun, we hope you enjoy playing our top 5 games at your next party, and that they bring back some good memories from your own parties as a child!  One last tip - have lots of non-decorative balloons lying around too - they’re great for the children to entertain themselves with as they go out of a game.


Time to Dress Up – Our Bestsellers Ayshea Elliott July 02 2014, 0 Comments

Well, what an incredible few months it has been here at Time to Dress Up.  Sales have grown much quicker than our wildest dreams and it seems that my instincts were right, you all really do want to dress your babies and children in something different that the usual children’s fancy dress costumes you see on the high street.

So what have you all been buying?  Here’s a rundown of our most popular lines so far.

Lion Baby Fancy Dress Costume - £22

  Our most popular baby fancy dress costume by far is the Baby Lion Dress Up Costume. It is easy to see why, how cute is this little lion costume?! It is also a great price at just £22. The baby lion costume is available in sizes 6-12 months, 12-18 months and 18-24 months. We have big demand for this one from parents of little boys called Leo and from many little girls too.


Cowboy Baby Fancy Dress Costume - £22

This little baby cowboy dress up outfit is flying off the shelves faster than we could have imagined.  It has had some great reviews from everyone who has received it.  It has been really popular with mums who want to dress two brothers the same, they have bought the Children’s Cowboy Accessory Set for big brother and little brother has been dressed in the Baby Cowboy Fancy Dress Costume.  We even had one mummy who was planning dress big brother in our Indian Dress Up Costume with little baby brother as the cowboy.  Sweet or what?! 


Children’s Triceratops Dinosaur Fancy Dress - £30 

We absolutely adore this super high-quality dinosaur fancy dress costume and he has been just as big a hit with you all too. We have received some hilarious photographs of your children roaring with delight when they put this one on! It’s available from 18 months to 8 years but the most popular size has been 3-5 years. That must be the age children start to love dinosaurs?!We absolutely adore this super high-quality dinosaur fancy dress costume and he has been just as big a hit with you all too. We have received some hilarious photographs of your children roaring with delight when they put this one on! It’s available from 18 months to 8 years but the most popular size has been 3-5 years. That must be the age children start to love dinosaurs?!


Children’s Peach Melba Fairy Fancy Dress - £20

  Our most popular fairy costume is the lovely Peach Melba fairy Dress.  It is just as sweet and detailed in real life as it is on our gorgeous model.  We have seen lots of orders in size 3-5 years for little girls who like to look as pretty as a picture.


Owl Baby Fancy Dress Costume - £38

  The owl baby dress up costume was always one of our very favourites and it turns out it’s one of yours too.  The detail on this beautiful baby fancy dress costume is just stunning and like nothing you will have seen on the high street.  This costume has been popular with discerning parents looking for something extra special for their baby.


Autumn Fairy Fancy Dress Costume - £25

Our lovely Autumn Fairy costume has hit the mark with you as something totally different than you see on the high street. Customers have been amazed by the detail and love the floral headband. Available in 3 sizes from 3-11 years.


Cowboy Accessory Set Fancy Dress - £20

Totally cool, totally popular. Our cowboy accessory set is a big hit and it's easy to see why. Available in 3-5 years, 6-8 years, £20. Stick em up!


Baby Fairy Fancy Dress Costume - £20

This pretty little fairy has been a great hit with all of you with tiny babies, available in 3-18 months and 18-36 months, this is a lovely little set that will grow as your baby does.


Elephant Baby Fancy Dress Costume


How could this little elephant not be popular with what is possibly the cutest photo ever?! £22 available in 3 sizes from 6-24 months


Frog Baby Fancy Dress Costume - £38

  We loved this little froggy from the first time we saw it but we weren't sure if it would be a hit with you all too, but I'm delighted to say you seem to love him as much as we do! One of our premium costumes he's £38 and available in sizes 6-12 months and 12-18 months with stock of 18-24 months available from 1st week September.


Ayshea x

A Quick Guide to the Perfect Kids Fancy Dress Costumes for Busy Mums By Ayshea Elliott Ayshea Elliott April 07 2014, 0 Comments

Kids love to dress up, whether it’s in imaginative play or for a fancy dress party, put a child in a dress up costume and they’re happy.

Here’s a quick guide to the important things to consider when choosing a dress up costume for your child:

  1. Comfort

I once went to a Halloween party and saw a 2 year old red-faced and grumpy as she scratched and tugged at a witches dress up outfit. The poor little girl looked so uncomfortable and unhappy, I vowed never to dress my child in anything that was less comfortable than their day-to-day clothes. Key things to check to make sure your little one is comfortable in their fancy dress costume are:

-          Fabric thickness (i.e. don’t dress them in fur on a summer’s day!).

-          Scratchy seams/fabric labels

-          Fabric comfort


  1. Their Interests

I love seeing a child dressed in a fancy dress costume they really love, there’s nothing quite like seeing a Winnie the Pooh fan toddling around with a beaming smile dressed as the bear himself. Choose a kids dress up outfit your child will be proud to wear, make sure they have some say in what they dress up as… they can usually be guided back in the right direction if they decide on something ridiculous!


  1. Quality

Many parents don’t factor in quality when choosing a kids fancy dress costume, but I’ve found cheap dress up outfits to be a real false economy. After just one wear, a cheap outfit can be torn, stained and unusable. I’ve found that the better-quality kids fancy dress costumes I’ve had have literally lasted for years and have been used time and time again for imaginative play and repeated fancy dress parties, especially when I’ve sized up and bought outfits on the larger side.


  1. Ease of dressing/removal

Kids fancy dress costumes should be as easy to put on and off as humanly possible. For baby dress up outfits, poppers to allow nappy changes are an absolute essential. For older children, something they can slip on and off themselves when dressing up at home will save you precious time when they change their minds after 2 minutes of playing and want to wear something else (!!).

So, take all these into account when choosing a kids fancy dress costume and I promise you’ll be onto a winner. For great ideas and costumes that meet all of the above, take a look at our range at

Ayshea x


Plan the Ultimate Children’s Fancy Dress Party in 11 Easy Steps By Ayshea Elliott Ayshea Elliott February 12 2014, 0 Comments

  1. Choose a Theme (or no theme!)
  2. Write a Guest List
  3. Set a Budget
  4. Select a Venue
  5. Decide on Entertainment
  6. Decide on Games
  7. Create the Invites
  8. Decide on Food
  9. Decorate the Venue
  10. Come up with your WOW moment
  11. Don’t forget the party bags
  1. Choose a Theme (or no theme!)

A few things to consider when deciding on the fancy dress theme:

  • What is your child into?
  • How easy would the theme be for the guests you invite to achieve? You don’t want people to be having to spend a fortune if they can’t afford to do so.
  • Is the theme suitable for the age group that will be attending the party?
  • How easy will it be to extend the theme to decorating the party?

If you’re short of ideas, Pinterest is a fantastic place to start. Set up a board and add in inspirational photos to get your creative juices flowing.

Here are a few great fancy dress party themes I have seen executed well:

  • Pirate Party
  • Peppa Pig Party
  • Superhero Party
  • Disney Party
  • Army Party
  • Spy Party
  • Princess Party
  • Animal Party

I will write more blogs going through each of these in more detail but a quick Pinterest search will bring up loads of ideas to support each dress up theme.

Your fancy dress theme should be followed through to every aspect of the party for maximum impact so choose a theme that is flexible enough to do this.

  1. Write a Guest List

If your child is of school age, it’s easy to be tempted into inviting the whole class to your fancy dress party. I’ve been to those parties and hectic doesn’t even come close. Also, remember, the more children you invite, the less likely they are to win a game (cue tantrums) and the further your budget will have to stretch for food/party bags etc. My advice – keep it as small as you can. Don’t worry about inviting every child that has ever invited your child to a party, just invite those friends that your child is closest to.

If at all possible, also try and keep the age bracket as narrow as possible. The closer in age the children are, the more likely they are to enjoy the same type of games and food. If the age group is varied, the older children are likely to win lots of games and cause you headaches with the younger ones!

  1. Set a Budget

This is the part I’ve always struggled with, I always spend more than I mean to on parties, but you should definitely have a budget in mind and make sure you stick to it. A simple spreadsheet will help you keep track of your costs, make sure you record everything and you shouldn’t go far wrong. If money’s tight, always consider whether DIY is an option and hunt around pound shops for bargains.

  1. Select a Venue

Here are a few key points to consider when deciding on venue for your kids dress up party:

  • How many children are you inviting?
  • What is your budget? Will it stretch to a play area/hired venue?
  • How big is your house?
  • When is the party? This will determine whether you can extend the party into the garden and give you more space (but don’t forget to consider the ‘changeable’ British weather!).
  • How house proud are you? If sticky marks on your walls will cause you sleepless nights then don’t even consider hosting at home :-)

There are many great venues available now for parties if you do decide to host your dress up party away from home. At the top end of the market are specialist party venues that can provide fully-themed rooms to tie in with your fancy dress theme as well as entertainment. These often offer a fantastic service and make your day really easy but you do pay the price. Search on google for ‘hire party themed room in <town name>’ to see what’s available in your area.

Play areas are another easy choice offering active play to burn off the kids’ energy before feeding them and playing a few games. Again, this doesn’t come cheap but is usually a slightly more affordable option than the themed party rooms.

Other options include children’s farms, sports centres, sports clubs and function rooms. Costs will vary for each of these.

At the cheapest end of the scale try local church halls, scout huts, schools and other council buildings which are often available for hire for a low hourly rate and offer you kitchen facilities so you can prepare your own food and drinks.

For me, a party at home will always be my first choice, but I am lucky to have had my son in May and to have decent outdoor space to use to extend the house outwards a bit. Plus, I’m not fussed about a sticky finger here or there and choosing home over a venue means my ‘budget’ can stretch to a few more decorations/prizes.

  1. Decide on Entertainment

Are you going to run the party yourself or get someone else to entertain the kids for a bit? Kids entertainers can be worth their weight in gold but can also be an expensive, cringeworthy disaster so pick very carefully. My advice is to ask around at school, toddler groups, play areas etc and get recommendations, don’t just choose someone randomly online.

To tie in with a fancy dress theme, adults dressed up can add a real sense of excitement for the children, but beware that anything even remotely scary can be petrifying for a child. I saw children screaming in fear at one 4 year old’s party where a dad dressed as a baddie!!

  1. Plan the Games

Every fancy dress party needs a few party games. The old favourites always go down well.

Either buy unisex prizes or mark them up using a code to remind you what age/gender they’re most suitable for.

To fix or not to fix… I have always been an advocate of fixing party games like pass the parcel since very young children are unlikely to win a prize otherwise... anything for an easy life! Be careful not to get caught though, nothing upsets a child like a fixed party game (I speak from experience here!).

Here are a few of our old favourites.

  • Pass the Parcel
  • Musical Statues
  • Corners
  • Musical Bumps

Also use good old Pinterest to look for ideas for games to suit your theme, a pirate party might feature a ‘Walk the Plank’ themed game, a spy party would have to have a game that involved following clues… I’m sure you get the idea! Google’s also handy for ideas here.

  1. Create the Invites

If you’ve followed my advice and kept it small, then you can really get creative with the invites. If you’re hosting a Pirate fancy dress party, how about some hand written scrolls, dipped in tea and with scorched edges tied with ribbon? An invite to a Princess party could be created with beautiful stationery and made to look like it’s from a Prince inviting Princesses to a ball. Use your imagination, you’ll be amazed at how impressed a child is to receive a well-created invite personally addressed to them.

The information the invite should contain is:

  • Date
  • Start Time
  • End Time: really important for parents picking up children and to make sure people clear out and don’t hang around all day.
  • Address
  • Theme: make it clear if children should dress up or not.
  • Food: detail whether it will be provided and if you’re feeding adults or not.
  • A brief overview of the party
  • RSVP details
  1. Decide on Food

Even your food can be created to support the theme of your fancy dress party. At the Pirate Party I arranged for my son I served Dead Man’s Fingers (sausages), Cannonballs (blueberries), Gold Doubloons (Cheese Cut in Circles), Eyeballs (white grapes) and loads of other nonsense. The kids were literally shrieking with excitement as we dared them to try the food and couldn’t work out whether they had really just tried an eyeball or not!

The cake of course should follow the theme. Don’t underestimate the time/effort/cost involved in creating a themed cake and from personal experience I’ll be seeking the help of an expert from now on. Worth every penny in my opinion!!

If you are expecting some parents to stay at the party, please feed them. I’ve seen many awkward parents stood around watching their children eat and stealing a bite of their sandwich when they think no one is looking. Do everyone a favour and stick a few pizzas in the oven for the adults, they’ll love you for it!

  1. Decorate the Venue

To really make your children’s fancy dress party a WOW experience, carry the theme through to the party décor. For me, DIY decorations beat shop bought hands down and really do make the party look the part.

For example, for me, some cheap voile swags hung over the party table would make a much more impressive princess party theme than plastic banners stuck to the walls. I would rather use a pole with a sheet hung from it like a sail in the middle of the table to make a Pirate theme than buy pirate placemats and cups. These things do take a little time, but really make a party stand out in people’s minds.

  1. Come Up With Your WOW Moment

For me, it’s great if I can create a moment that the kids will be talking about the next day at school. It’s great if this can happen near the end of the party and should be something unexpected and exciting.

For example, at our pirate party we organised a treasure hunt with the children working together to find a treasure chest. My husband (dressed up in full pirate garb) then came along and pretended to steal the chest off the children. I let them get their revenge by allowing them to chase him outside and pelt him with black water bombs (cannonballs). The excitement was unbelievable, they couldn’t believe they were allowed to throw bombs at an adult and boy did they make the most of it, he was drenched!! It was all the children talked about for days afterwards and a real WOW moment for them.

  1. Don’t Forget the Party Bags

Kids love a party bag, it’s a fact. I love to make the party bags a little more personal than the plastic ones you can pick up. Again, run with your theme, make sure it is followed right through to the bag itself and the contents inside. Whatever you put in the bag doesn’t need to be expensive, let’s face it, it will probably be thrown away, but following your theme right through to the end is worthwhile after all your effort.

A final few pointers:

  • Create a vague timeline for the day so you know what time to feed the children and you can make sure the food will be ready on time.
  • Don’t forget the thank you notes. Very much appreciated by everyone who attends. I know they’re a pain, but definitely worthwhile.
  • Make sure you have wine in the fridge, you’ll deserve it after all this hardwork!
  • Enjoy it!

Good luck and please let me know how you get on.

Ayshea x



Starting Out in E-Commerce By Ayshea Elliott Ayshea Elliott February 01 2014, 2 Comments

Hi, I’m Ayshea and I can’t believe you’re actually taking the time to read this blog so thanks from me!

I wanted to take the chance to give you an insight into me and my business, why I’ve started and my road to getting started.

Making The Decision

I finally decided to take the leap and set up my new e-commerce site Time To Dress Up over Christmas 2013.  I had just struggled through a particularly stressful Christmas trading period in my job at Kitbag Ltd where I was Head of E-Commerce for 11 football and sports clubs online. 

Christmas was always busy at Kitbag as in any e-commerce business, but Christmas 2013 was particularly hard as I was under pressure both in and outside work.  My beloved Father-in-Law Peter had become increasingly poorly as he battled with Mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused by asbestos exposure.  He had been diagnosed 18 months before and had so far been incredibly strong and resilient to the disease, managing to enjoy lots of holidays and continuing to live life to the full.   A trip to Florida in September was a turning point for him though and he came back in pain and unwell and we realised that the Mesothelioma had finally started to get the better of him.

So, struggling with an incredibly busy job, a young family and a very ill family member, I felt it was time for a change.  My fantastic husband Elliott saw the toll it was taking on me and we had a frank heart to heart where we agreed that something needed to change.  I felt like I hardly saw him and my 3 year old son Jimmy and when I did, my head was stuck in my work emails or I was trying so hard to enjoy my time with them that we rushed around trying to do everything, all balance had gone from our lives and I felt unhappy and stretched.  The problem was, what to do next…

Coming Up With the ‘Big Idea’

Since leaving university I had dreamt of running my own business and being my own boss. I had been working online for my whole career so an online business was the obvious choice.  Being a Mum and being constantly surrounded by children, a kid’s e-commerce site felt like the way to go so I started to research the market and spot gaps that weren’t being well catered for online.

I came up with a list of ideas after researching online and asking every parent I know but then wasn’t sure how to choose which idea to pursue.  I decided to speak to a few other local small business owners for advice on how they came up with their ‘big idea’ and they pointed me in the direction of the Spring Fair at the NEC.  The Spring Fair is the biggest buying event of the year, over 300,000 products across 13 sectors are exhibited every year and it is a fantastic way to meet new suppliers.  Best of all it’s completely free, so anyone starting a new business should definitely make a visit.

It was at the Spring Fair that I started to get excited about selling high-quality kids dress up costumes.  I met up with some fantastic suppliers and was so impressed with the products they had on offer.  I remembered all the times I’d been disappointed and had to compromise when buying dress up costumes for my son in the past and realised I could make the company to fill that gap.

Coming away from the show I felt really inspired and excited to research the idea further.  All my research showed me that this was a great opportunity so I made a huge decision, I was going to hand in my notice at work and set up an online business selling kids dress up costumes.  GULP!!!

Ayshea xxx