Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Rose Wide Leg Pants by Bonsai Kitten Review

I stopped using creative titles last year, and with University back in full swing, I am so glad that I did. I just don't have the mental capacity to thank about titles!

I do have the capacity, however, to tell you all about these super cute pants by Bonsai Kitten. This is from the same brand that brings us the gorgeous, oh-so-comfortable Pussybow Tops, as reviewed here. The gorgeous Rhea, founder of Bonsai Kitten, contacted me earlier in the year and asked if I would like to choose an item to honestly review. Of course, my answer was yes!

Wide leg trousers are increasing in popularity in the retro community. It's funny how such a timeless fashion can bring about trends in and of itself. I haven't been the biggest fan of wide leg pants, as it is rare I wear pants at all. I suppose this is why I chose this item in particular - I knew I would have no choice but to give my honest thoughts about it!

The fabric has a decent amount of stretch to it. It is very comfortable without being clingy, and there is ample room in the rise of the pants to make it comfortably high-waisted without, well, digging anywhere you don't want it digging in.

Despite the  gorgeous floral pattern, which will obviously grab lots of attention, these are actually a good pair of trousers to test out wide-leg pants with if you are nervous about trying something new. They are wide without taking over your form, and are less flowy than other retro reproduction pants on the market at the moment. If you are nervous about taking the plunge with wide-leg pants, these may be the way to go to ease you into it - and to help you figure out if you like them or not!

I am wearing a size 8UK/AU. I have recently lost a little weight, so my current measurements are 35-24-35. The pants are a tiny bit loose in the waist, but the equal parts of stiffness and stretch in the material means that this isn't obvious or uncomfortable in any way. It is actually difficult for my to find pants to fit my specific waist-to-hip ratio, so the fit of these pants has me over the moon! I would say they are true to size.


The thighs of the pants are a little tighter than most wide-leg pants out there, but they are still obviously much looser than a normal pair of pants. I sometimes struggle to find pants to fit my thighs (again, waist-to-hip ratio problems), but had no such problem at all with these.

To conclude, I do love these. They are something very different on me, and they tick all the right boxes and even make my booty look good!


This top, by the way, is the Cherrybomb Top from Hardley Dangerous Couture. Whilst the fit is similar to the Cherrybomb Dress by the same brand, and therefore a full review isn't needed, I will give it a quick note. The top can be worn either criss-cross or halter style, and is super long - making it perfect for outfits like this where you need your top to stay firmly tucked into your pants! It's also appropriately clingy in the right places, and I can't stress enough how much I love the material Hardley Dangerous Couture uses. It is available in an endless supply of colours and can be purchased here.







Tiny personal update: After a few weeks break, University is back in full swing. I think I needed a longer break, as I am having trouble focussing this term. I may want to do an Honours year, and am taking some second level subjects this term. This means I need to get a HD (the highest grade available, for my Americans) in order to undertake an Honours year. I think between two big birthdays within a month of each other, Aurora turning one and becoming a walker, and the million things I have to catch up on in between work, I'm still recovering. I'm not quite ready to give up my bubble baths and Netfix binges just yet, but come next week I am giving myself a kick in the booty and doing it anyway.

Thank you so much for reading! This little blog is actually steadily growing, and I am beyond thankful that you take the time out of your day to read my reviews and ramblings :)

xo, Miss Betty Doll

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Cherrybomb Bows Dress from Hardley Dangerous Couture

I am so excited to partner up with Hardley Dangerous Couture to announce this gorgeous dress - The Cherrybomb Bows Dress. Hardley Dangerous Couture is no stranger to my blog, as I wore their gorgeous dresses often throughout pregnancy. The variety of colours, ease of wear, and custom options keep me coming back time and time again. Claire, the lovely lady behind the brand, has outdone herself with this one.

The bows are huge! The brand's strappier styles have been moving towards thicker straps, for thicker bows, and I'm loving it. The straps can either be tied into large bows at both shoulders, or tied in knots for a pretty ribbon effect. I actually prefer the latter, for ease of wear, but both are so pretty.

The neckline that takes shape due to the thick straps is also pretty, My favourite neckline in Hardley Dangerous styles (as there are many options) is the sweetheart neckline, but this dress takes it to another level by allowing the thick straps to really frame the neck and bustline.

The material, like my other Cherrybomb Dresses, is beautifully soft and stretchy. I can attest to it's longevity, as I have owned several of these dresses for years now with no visible pillage - as long as they are washed properly, they last!

For reference, I am wearing a size small. My measurements are 35-25-35, and the small is perfectly comfortably. There is no need to worry about squishing the bust in these dresses, as the breathable fabric allows plenty of room. Now that I am finished breastfeeding Aurora, bust room isn't really an issue for me - but as someone who sports very full DD's when breastfeeding bubbas, it's important to know!



 



The length is knee length, which I think gives this particular style of Cherrybomb Dress a more formal feel. I can definitely see this being a date night dress, complete with a strand of pearls. However, in a mini length, this dress would be so cute for day to day errands running!

The Cherrybomb Bows Dress drops for pre-order shortly, so keep checking back on their website. In the mean time, the standard Cherrybombs are available here.


Thanks for reading!

xo Miss Betty Doll

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Matching Mother Daughter Outfits - Gingham and Plaid

I promised another mother-daughter post soon, and here it is!

Today I wanted to showcase one of my favourite ways to match the girls when I haven't custom-ordered something for us - pattern matching. Finding similar patterns and colours is a great way to give a nod towards matching outfits, without being too upfront about it.

For these outfits, I chose matching dresses for the girls from Ollie's Place, an Australian retailer. It is actually much harder to find certain prints in Australia than it is in the US where the bulk of my readers are from - so fear not my Americans! Kohls or any other department store should have plaid dresses.

For myself, I chose the Trashy Diva Honey Sun Dress in Gingham. The Honey Sun Dress is the sister dress to the Honey Dress from Trashy Diva. It is different in that it has elastic in the waist to allow for stretch, and that the collar continues along the back into collared straps, instead of a full back like the Honey Dress has. The fit of both is similar. I find both of them a little too busty for me (I know! Shocker!) and I sewed a tiny stitch in the middle of the bust of my dress for that reason. Other than that, the dress is perfect. If you are curious, I wear a size small/8 in both the Honey Sun Dress and the Honey Dress. A full review of the Honey Dress can be found here.






Gingham and plaid are similar patterns, with gingham having smaller squares and one colour, and plaid often sporting an accent colour throughout. As my gingham was all black and white, and the girl's had some pink in their dresses, I paired my dress with pink accessories. The result was outfits that match in a subtle way, and a very happy Selene, who is now obsessed with matching.

I often get asked the question "How do you choose matching outfits?". Basically, I generally find a dress from a retro reproduction company that I just have to get, and eventually, if I love that dress, I find a dress for the girls to match it. Sometimes it's before the dress even arrives, other times I just wear that dress without matching them unless I find something for them that suits it. In this case, I've had and worn this dress for months and found these outfits for the girls a couple of weeks ago. They were on sale, their sizes were in stock and I loved them, so I got them!

We only match once a week or so now. I so enjoyed matching with my girls nearly every day. It was a beautiful period in our lives, and matching helps me feel connected to them, to women of the past who used to do the same, and to their future, in a funny way. There is only so long they will enjoy matching with me, so doing so now reminds me of how precious and fleeting time is.

Thank you for reading!

xo, Miss Betty Doll

Monday, 27 February 2017

The Glamour Swimsuit Review - Post Baby and Beyond

 I went through a phase from the time Aurora was born, to the time when she turned 9 months old, where I HAD to have the perfect swimsuit. The reason was that, try as I might, I just couldn't get the baby weight off, and I was feeling rather body conscious. Bodies are beautiful at every single size, and mothers who just popped out tiny humans should, under no circumstances, feel like they need to just snap back into shape. Most of the time, the human body just doesn't work like that.

Nonetheless, I wanted to confidently go to the beach and have things tucked in and up where I wanted them to be. My per-requisites for the perfect, post-baby body swimsuit were:
  • Not too tight in the legs, so as to not create an awkward crease
  • Bust support
  • Tummy support
  • Skirted across the tummy so that, if the support was not enough, nothing showed that I didn't want to show
  • Padding in the bust
I searched high and low, but almost every swimsuit I found was clearly too tight in the legs, or didn't have any padding in the bust, or just didn't offer the tummy control I was after - until I found the Glamour Swimsuit. The Glamour Swimsuit is like wearing shapewear and a bra, all tucked away neatly into a pretty piece of swimwear. It supports you from every single angle, and makes you look like a bombshell while it does.

While I was still about 4 kilos heavier, this swimsuit completely did the trick. It hid all the little things I was feeling insecure about while making me feel oh-so-pretty in red. Now, whilst I don't need as much support since losing all the baby weight (although, for those who follow me on snapchat, you will have seen me lament on about my downing of an entire bag of chips prior to taking photos, so today it was needed!), it makes me feel glamorous and gives that total 50's vibe at the beach.I love all the support, as I have found that when swimming with kiddos, there is little time to readjust anything you are wearing. Nip slips and tummy rolls caused by awkwardly placed swimsuit bottoms are things you just come to accept when swimming with littles. Except in this swimsuit.

As far as sizing goes, I wore a size small both at 62 kilos and at my current 58. I have also worn it while breastfeeding 8+ times a day (read, big boobs) and now at just once at night (read, normal boobs). It fits very well at either weight, so the stretch in the mesh paneling and in the silky overlay allows it to accommodate a range of sizes. 


Getting into this suit is a little different! The mesh support starts around the bum, and then goes up to just below the bust. So, when you are putting it on, you have to reach your hands underneath the swimsuit and sort of pull the "underwear" portion of the mesh up in the back, and then shimmy into the rest of it. I have heard some ladies say that this shimmying process was vigorous and caused them to work up a sweat (which is totally understandable), but I found mine pretty quick and painless. It just takes some adjusting when you first put it on, and then nothing moves. Nothing.

Another plus for this swimsuit is that it looks like a top when worn with a skirt. Last time I went to the beach, I wore this with a pair of jean shorts and it looked like a complete outfit. There's no fussing about with putting a top on over your bikini and finding matching bottoms etc etc. You just pop on the swimsuit, find a pair of bottoms and go!




The Glamour Swimsuit comes in black, leopard print and a couple of other shades, and is definitely one to add to your swimsuit collection if you are after a touch of glamour.


By the way - there are so many littleblog projects that I am trying to catch up on, like my old Retro Workwear series, and getting back into Matching Mother Daughter outfit posts. I will get to those soon, I promise!

Thank you for reading!

xo, Miss Betty Doll

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Peasant Swing Dress / Kirstie Dress by Le Bomb Shop

Peasant tops are currently all the rage in the retro community, with this one providing a fantastic budget alternative to more expensive ones in the market.The Kirstie Dress is my favourite dress version of that top.   It's sister dress is the Picture Perfect Peasant Sun Dress, and between the two of them you can get a peasant dress in almost any colour and print imaginable.

The fit of the Kirstie Dress is universally flattering. with a smocked back to comfortably nip in the waist, and a free flow circle skirt. I purchased a size small, and it fit very well. The length is perfect for my average height of 5'6", falling just below the knee. The sleeves are tight enough to easily stay up or down without cutting into your arms. If you are between sizes, you should be able to size down comfortably.






The fabric is of a medium weight, and I would say this is a spring and summer dress. Having said that, we all know pinups like to stretch their wardrobe to all year round when possible, and layering this up for winter is definitely possible.

There is something about the cut of this dress that gives it the appearance of something more expensive than the mere $45.99 USD that it costs. The skirt is so full, and the smocking is so cleverly integrated that it fits and looks more like the more expensive retro brands out there.


 With having returned to work recently, I'll drop anything to play or cuddle my littles - even during a blog shoot.


Other prints of this dress are available from Unique Vintage, so be sure to keep an eye!

As for a personal update:
Many of you have asked me about my return to work. I am working for days per week, but 10:45am - 5:15pm in display homes. The hours are comfortable, and I am lucky enough to love the consultant I work with. We have a mutual respect and have been friends since the last job we worked at together.

I'm going to be very honest here, as I think this is something mothers are ashamed about feeling - I love going to work. Sometimes I count down the minutes to get there, like on the days when Aurora is mushing banana into the carpet and Selene has to use the toilet for the 10th time that morning. Work means I can finish my coffee before it gets cold, go to the restroom alone and have adult interaction. There is a part of me that feels guilty for feeling that way, but mostly I know that it's a feeling felt almost universally by many mothers. When I am with my princesses, I spend every second with them that I can. I smell their hair and kiss their cheeks and sing them lullabies, in between all of the beautiful and difficult moments that parenthood brings. Working makes me more thankful for the time that I do spend with my family, as I've had the drive to work and back to think and breath without anyone needing anything from me.

I suppose I say all of that to say this - if this resonates with you, good. Don't feel guilty, and know that you are still a wonderful mother. Motherhood when you have more than one child (and sometimes even with just one!) can be one giant fight or flight feeling all day long. If you aren't saving your child from leaping from dangerous heights, you are balancing between the urge to eat, use the restroom, and clean the millionth weird mess they have made that day. It's ok to want time to yourself, and you are not strange if being at work feels like a vacation. It just means that you are giving your all when you are with your children, and that makes you amazing, even when you don't feel like it.

It's also normal if going to work makes you feel awful and depressed. When it was just Selene and I, I would get sad every single day that I did go to work. I would spend the morning squeezing in time at the park, or cuddles on the sofa, just to be with her longer. Then I had my beautiful Aurora, and though they are both easy children, bouncing between the needs of two tiny humans is so much more work than it's possible to describe. The point is, I know what both feelings are like, and you are entitled to feel what you feel. Motherhood is a beautiful mess, and we are all just doing our best.

Thanks for reading!

xo, Miss Betty Doll

Monday, 13 February 2017

Baking With Littles: Mermaid Cake!

First of all, thank you for those of you who have been patient with me during this ridiculously busy time in my life! Selene's third birthday fell within two weeks of me starting a new job and on the same week of university exams. I can't remember the last time I sat and just relaxed. Feeling very blessed, but very tired, so thank you for bearing with me!

Alright, this month's Baking With Littles is completely on theme with my beautiful Selene's birthday party: mermaids! You may or may not want the kiddo(s) involved with the actual baking process. I like to bake cakes a day or two before an even, as by the time I am done cleaning up the mess, I have no energy left to actually decorate the cake.

Having said that, this cake was so simple to decorate, I could have just done it all in one go. That is how it made the Baking With Littles approval - simplicity. It looks beautifully intricate, but it is so easy to do.

The cake recipe is from How to Cake It, and it never fails. I have used this for every party since I found it last year, and I am told it's delicious every time. You can choose from either chocolate or vanilla. For reference, I did 2 1/2 pounds of vanilla cake and split it between 3 5" pans. For the icing, I made this classic buttercream recipe, dyed it lilac and added a little bit of bubblegum flavouring.






To make:
  • Prepare the cake as per instructions
  • Layer the cake with thick buttercream between the layers
  • Pop in the fridge for 30 minutes to let the buttercream set. This will prevent it from moving around or squishing down while you finish the cake.
  • Frost the outside of the cake with a moderate amount of buttercream. Back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Cover with a very thin layer of fondant. Be messy with it - it doesn't matter. I am not the best at covering cakes with fondant, and it's totally ok if it rips when you put it on. It's just there to help hold the buttercream together and help the mermaid "scales" stick!

Now you're ready to decorate! This is the fun part for the littles.

Take the back end of any large decorating tip, like the Wilton 1M.

Colour your fondant whatever mermaid-y colour you desire, and roll it out thinly. Show your little one how to cut out the circles with the back of the tip, and then let them go to town on it! I honestly let Selene cut them all out while I cleaned up the living room. I came back and they were done. It's like playing with playdoh to any child, and it's lots of fun for them :)

Another option is to do this next step while your little one cuts out the circles for you. To apply the scales, dip your finger in a tiny bit of water and dap it onto a circle. Apply it to the cake, working around in a circle, and then applying the next layer slightly overlapping the first. You can start from the top of the cake or the bottom, but I find starting from the top gives a better look.

Be sure to cover the fondant you aren't working with. It dries out very quickly, and gets funny little ruffled edges when it's too dry.

Another fun option for little ones is painting the scales. I placed a few yellow scales throughout the cake, and then painted them with edible gold paint (available via ebay) afterwards. I didn't ask Selene to help me with that part, but it's very easy and she would have enjoyed it.

If you want to add the exact details that I did - use a mermaid tail fondant mould (ebay), let it dry overnight and use a toothpick to hold it in place on top of the cake. To make the 3, just thinly roll out fondant and curl it in to make the 3.

The reason this recipe is perfect for baking with littles is, they can get hands on with no supervision for the circles, and the rest (which you would need to do yourself) is easy and not time consuming. If you are like me and like to bake the cakes for your little ones' birthdays instead of paying someone to do it, then this cake is for you!

I made this cake for family on the day of Selene's actual birthday, but here are a few snaps from her birthday party a few days later:
 
 

 





If you have any requests for how to make a recipe child friendly, or if you see me bake anything on snapchat that you'd like advice on, please let me know!

Thanks for reading.

xo, Miss Betty Doll.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Violetsinmay Divine Wiggle Dress

I will start out by saying that I love the Divine Wiggle Dress by Violetsinmay, and I cannot wait to place another order with this lovely seller! I've heard nothing but rave reviews about Violetsinmay since they opened up shop in 2013, and I already know what I want to order next.
 

Having said that, in the spirit of honesty, I wasn't happy with this dress due to fit. And it's completely my fault. I have learned a lot about custom ordering since I first started placing them. Leaving detailed measurements is one of them. So how I overlooked the note on this listing advising to size down due to stretch AND to leave measurements if unsure, I will never know! It says this on many of the pieces available from Violetsinmay, so again, I blame myself. I actually ordered this for an intended holiday outfit, so I'll put it down to the mad rush of the holiday season. As you can see in the second photo, the dress hangs awkwardly off of my tummy and does nothing for my figure. I have seen it do amazing things for the figure of literally every other woman I have seen it on though, so I don't doubt this dress one bit. Just my ability to thoroughly read things.

For reference, I ordered a UK size 8, which is my usual size. I did lose 3 kilos from a stomach virus right before I wore the dress to review, but even then I know it would have been very loose on me. The bust and hips were fine, but the waist was several inches too big. Due to my waist to hip ratio, I will leave my measurements next time instead of ordering straight off of the size chart.

Even with the ill fit of the dress, it is seriously stunning worksmanship. One of my favourite details is the double support of the halter neck. The halterneck portion that you see is meant to drape delicately, so there is a cleverly designed supportive halterneck strap underneath it that actually helps to hold the dress up.

It is also fully lined, with very supportive seaming throughout the top of the dress and no bra needed. I feel that it is better to wear a bra if you are wanting some oomph in the cleavage department, but as far as support goes - the Divine Wiggle has you covered. That support structure also means that it stays up easily, with little adjusting to do once it's on.  It also happens to give you a little bit of a bullet bra feel. The sexy kind, not the stab-you-in-the-eyes kind.

The Lurex is also so pretty! Very comfortable on, and oh so sparkly. It comes in a variety of colours, from turquoise to gold. The red is actually my personal favourite, and if I didn't already have my Valentine's Day outfit sorted, I would have bought that one.


My next order will be for a few Lola Tops. I first saw them on Amanda of Junebugs and Georgia Peaches and fell in love. I thought it was a dress she was wearing and got jittery with excitement, only to learn it was a top and have my excitement double. Triple. (Fashion is my passion, what can I say?). The violet colour Lola is perfect for my outfit for Selene's upcoming mermaid birthday party, and if I had thought of it in time I would have grabbed it! No matter, it'll be mind soon enough :)

A very special thanks to Brett Ferguson Photography for snapping these for me. He is one of the most professional photographers I have worked with. After shooting a project he is working on, he put up with an exhausted, babbly me to get these photos (I was up very late studying the night before, nothing new haha). He has a professional studio out the back of his home, and does some incredible creative work. He has also won many, many awards, and has a wall full of beautiful photos of his children that is to die for. Perks of being a photographer!

So, in conclusion on the Divine Wiggle by Violetsinmay - order DOWN or provide thorough measurements if you want a proper fit. And prepare to be stunned by the quality.

Thanks for reading!

xo,
Miss Betty Doll