Elsa and Anna: Why I'll be Frozen getting my daughter's fave Christmas present
It's that time of year when parents all over the world start to think, and panic, about Christmas shopping. If you're the mum of a little girl like me, your head will probably be spinning with the dizzying array of Frozen merchandise there is on offer.
Released in the cinemas last Christmas, the Disney feature film has gone on to be a colossal success. Nearly a year later, it has won two Oscars, is the highest grossing animation of all time, the fifth highest grossing movie of all time, and there's not a child (or parent) in the land who doesn't know the words to Let It Go.
With such a hit in its mittens, Disney would be mad not to capitalise by pumping the market with snow-dusted Frozen merchandise this Christmas? Correct, the only problem is that they perhaps underestimated just how crazy the demand would be among little girls wanting to dress up as their new heroines, Elsa and Anna.
There's no shortage of Frozen items on the market – think about whether something can be merchandised and you bet there's one with a character's face on it.
There's the obvious – the DVD and CD soundtrack, dolls, cuddly toys, puzzles and games, books, pyjamas, schoolbags and art sets. Then there's bed sets, posters, clocks, cutlery, cups , plates, a tutu set, wellies, umbrellas and edible cake toppers. There's even a 'Keep Calm and Let it Go' bag.
And there isn't just one type of doll of the two sisters at the heart of the Frozen storyline.
There are several different versions portraying different ages, activities and outfits. I've merely scratched the surface in telling you what's available. To give you an idea, if you put the word Frozen in the Amazon search box, you get 20 pages of various products. But what the movie's tiny fans really want most is to dress up like Queen Elsa and pretend to have her icy powers. And this is where Disney has run into serious problems keeping up with demand. As far back as July, panic was setting in among parents who were bidding hundreds of pounds on-line to get their hands on the scarce children's dress-up version of Elsa's beautiful ice blue gown. And it's not just the frock. Dressing up as Elsa isn't complete without the tiara, shoes, wand and a blonde wig too. But good luck to you getting your hands on all five.
The online Disney store this week announced a flurry of new stock – but still no Elsa dress.
So I phoned Belfast's Disney store to be triumphantly told by the friendliest woman in the world: "Yes, we have them in stock!" But only in the sizes for over sevens, she added, before advising me that new stock of the smaller sizes arrives on Thursday mornings and desperate mums usually begin queuing at about 7.30am to avoid disappointment.
"You need to be in early to get one," she chirped.
Will it be that way until Christmas, I asked?
"Yes, I expect so!" she enthused.
So the pressure's on, because every little girl knows that Santa's elves make his presents and there's no such thing as demand outstripping supply in the North Pole.
By the way, in my online search for an Elsa dress I came across a website specialising in "sexy Frozen-inspired costumes" selling adult versions of the ice gown, presumably not endorsed in anyway by Disney. They have Elsa available – and Olaf. Which makes me think if dad is turned on by mum dressing up as a cute singing snowman, there may be bigger problems than product availability.
No more tragedy for Us, please ...
It's been five years since David Nicholls broke many of our hearts with the tear-jerker ending to his novel, One Day. The 2009 book hoovered up awards, millions of fans and a movie starring Anne Hathaway.
Despite this success, Nicholls has found it hard to put pen to paper since because of a bad case of writer's block which felt like "having a gun" put to his head.
But the good news for fellow fans is that he's finally penned a follow-up called Us, a European family adventure.
Here's hoping it's every bit as good, just less tragedy this time please!
The week of many happy returns
Welcome to Throwback Thursday. It's been a week of the cultural weird and wonderful making an unexpected return to our lives. First, there was news that Twin Peaks is picking up where it left us all bewildered 25 years ago.
Next, JK Rowling hinted at a Harry Potter return or spin-off with a mind boggling riddle on Twitter.
And then the ultimate happened – Alfonso Ribeiro, aka Carlton, brought back his iconic Tom Jones/Fresh Prince of Bel Air dance in the American version of Strictly – and earned 10s all round.
Swing your arms wildly in celebration ...