Sunday, 16 April 2017

Baking With Littles: Peeps Sunflower Brownies

After making an emergency, week-long trip home to the US this week, this post is a little behind schedule! It was intended for Easter, but given that sunflowers work most any time, I give you : the Peeps Sunflower Brownie.

I saw this all over pinterest a few months ago and knew it was worth a try. Though Peeps have a very love-it-or-hate-it reputation, their decorative purposes know no bounds!

This recipe is perfect for little ones, and they can help with both the making and decoration of the brownies! To keep it simple, I suggest using a boxed brownie mix.




 (Baker privileges) 


 
Instructions:

Mix brownie mix according to the package instructions. Bake in a 6 inch round tin, again according to the instructions on the packet!

While the brownies are baking, make a dark chocolate ganache by boiling 1 cup of whipping cream. Once boiled, pour in 8 ounces of semisweet chocolate. Let stand for 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt, then stir.

Cover the brownie with the ganache on the top only. Then, arrange yellow chick peeps around the edges of the brownie to represent sunflower petals. Place mini chocolate chips or Maltesers in the middle of the "flower", and you're done!

 

Excluding baking time, the whole thing takes 10-15 minutes to pull together. It's fun, pretty, and according to Peeps-lovers, delicious!

I hope you and your family have a beautiful Easter surrounded by those that mean most.

Thanks for reading!

Kind Regards,
Bethany Nrekic

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Retro Workwear: Karlie Dress by Stop Staring

I've been hinting for months now that I will bring back my Retro Workwear series. I started one two years ago, but it slowly died out after falling too pregnant to be very creative with my workwear. Now that I am back in the office, I am excited to finally continue this series!

When I think of retro workwear, the first place that pops into mind for dresses is Stop Staring. I'm not one for wiggle dresses and skirts day to day, as I like to wear shapewear beneath tighter outfits, and I find that too fussy when chasing after my littles. Thus, I was excited when I returned to the workforce after Aurora was old enough to be without me, as I was able to place a good sized Stop Staring order!

One of my favourite things about Stop Staring is how comfortable their designs always are. I have worn dresses with a similar cut that pinched under the arms or chaffed in places it shouldn't - not what you want at the end of a long day. I've yet to wear a dress from Stop Staring that does any of this. Not only are they comfortable, but the attention to detail is obvious. Here, the gathers at the bottom of the bust and the details at the hips enhance both assets in a figure-flattering way. I am not wearing any shapewear in this shoot, and I don't feel I need it at all in this dress!

Their fabrics are from the heavens, I swear it. The fabric on the Karlie Dress, in particular, is amazing. Bengaline (also known as their millenium fabric) is one of my favourite fabrics due to it's ease of wear and flattering stretch, but the fabric on this one is even better. It's a little difficult to describe: it's slightly textured, which serves to better hide imperfections than bengaline, and a little less stretchy. It's still supremely comfortable, and zipping it up feels like everything just falls into place where it should.

The cut of the arms and bust is very dainty and flattering, with the neckline framing the bust without enhancing your cleavage too much for the office. The cut shows off your curves without being overly clingy, and the details are retro with a modern flair - again, contributing to it's fit for the office.

I am wearing a size small. My current measurements are 35-24-35, and I am 5'6" and 56 kilos, for reference. The size small fits perfectly - especially due to the stretch in the fabric, which helps each size accommodate a broad range.

I can't fault this dress, but if I had to point out one thing, it would be that I wish the bow at the bustline was sewn down. It tends to move sideways throughout the day. Honestly though, that's it! Everything else about this dress is dreamy and beautiful. 

So, if you are looking for retro workwear, I would start with Stop Staring. Their dresses are perfectly suited for both work and play, and are bound to leave you feeling sexy and sophisticated all at once.

Thank you so much for reading!

xo, Miss Betty Doll




Friday, 31 March 2017

Matching Mother Daughter Outfits - Hearts and Found Mitzi Dress and Children's Skirts!

I'd been waiting for several months to place a Hearts and Found order before finally getting to order the Mitzi Dress earlier this year. After having ordered matching red gingham skirts from them last year, I had complete trust in the customer service and quality of what I was ordering. Of course, I wasn't disappointed.

The Mitzi Dress has the most charming, classic 50's sillouette, which is what drew me to it in the first place. The sweetheart neckline and pretty gathers at the bust grabbed my attention first, and then the smocking at the sides sealed the deal - I knew this meant the dress would be comfortable. I chose Forget Me Not fabric in pink. This is no longer available, but the blue version can be found here. The Mitzi Dress runs at just $88USD. That's insane, honestly! Even with the conversion rate to AUD, I would pay more for a dress by any Australian retailer, and that's without the custom fit and quality.

There is plastic boning in the bodice that helps it to stay up, and the nice, full cups at the bust give you enough coverage to know nothing will peak out (as can happen in strapless dresses, trust me!) Unfortunately, I lost a couple of kilos before the dress arrived, so it doesn't stay up quite as well as I had hoped. This is becoming a common trend with my recent orders, unfortunately. The last of my baby weight came off all at once earlier in the year, and a few more kilos have come off on top of that. I don't really mind either way, but it makes it difficult to gauge what will fit when it arrives! To remedy this, I plan to add straps soon. I know it would have fit well and stayed up properly without the weight loss, so my love of the Mitzi Dress is still strong. I would suggest giving your measurements to Hearts and Found when ordering, and even asking them to make it a little tighter than usual just to be safe! The smocking will ensure that it doesn't feel too tight.

The skirt is nice and full and lined, and there are pockets! I know because I found $20 in them from the last time I wore this dress, and who doesn't love pockets and hidden money.

 (Those who follow me on Snapchat will have seen me talking about getting these photos. Poor Selene, who normally loves doing them, just wasn't having it that day. I bribed her with everything from playtime at the park to marshmallows. She gave in, in the end - and happily so, apparently, for all the kisses she showered me with. Toddlers.)

As with the gingham skirts I ordered last time, the girls matching skirts are of the utmost quality. They only charge $25 each for the girl's skirts. Given the quality and custom nature of them, I wouldn't be surprised if Hearts and Found end up charging more for them if ever they decide to do a children's line - it would be well within their right! Either way, low price or not, these skirts are just beautiful.

So, if you want a custom, well-designed dress for yourself, you know where to go! And if you want matching skirts for the littles in your life, you doubly know where to go. Happy shopping!




Thanks for reading!
xo Miss Betty Doll

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