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

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Valentine's Day - Pinup Style

Oh, Valentine's Day. One of the most commercialised holidays known to the west. And yet, we can't resist you!

My husband and I have a routine when we go out on dates - we get delicious noms at Grill'd, we see a movie, and then we go home. We love that routine, and it works perfectly for us. However, Valentine's Day is normally the day we break out of our mould and do something different. It gives me the chance to don my sexiest dress and be properly wined and dined and romanced, and it gives him a chance to, well, enjoy the fabulous lingerie I pick out to wear for him. Boom. Win win. So, even though we try our best to fight normalcy, Valentine's Day is a holiday that we wholeheartedly embrace.

I managed to get my outfit sorted nice and early this year. I scored an amazing deal on two Wheels and Dollbaby dresses, which has excited me to no end. I can't find this one on their website anymore, but swap and sell groups and ebay always have past collections floating around.






I don't know about you, but wholehearted embrace calls for some fabulous outfits, so here are the brands that I am lusting after at the moment:
  
There is so much from Micheline Pitt's Vixen line that would go well for Valentine's Day, but if I had to choose just one, it would be the Troublemaker Dress in red. Don't take my word for it though - have a browse yourself! Check it out here. 


What Katie Did is already dedicated to pretty, classic lingerie, so what better place to look for a Valentine's Day after outfit than here? The Ruby set is my favourite, but you can browse several other options. Check it out here.




Pinup Girl Clothing has a whole "Oh La La" section up at the moment, dedicated to naughty things for Valentines Day. The pearl handcuffs are particularly adorable. Check it out here.


They also have a whole range of Valentine's Day inspired outfits in their Coming Soon section, with my personal favourite being the Cherie Dress. So be sure to keep an eye on their Coming Soon section. Check it out here.


If you are in Australia, Bras n Things has whipped up some very sexy lingerie options. I'm actually just going to put a picture of the back of the one I favour (and maybe bought, haha), because I am well aware my parents read my blog from time to time. Just keeping it respectful like only a southern girl can. There's matching panties too, and they are even better. There's a whole section dedicated to Valentine's Day lingerie. Check it out here.


Even naughtier is Honey Birdette - but they always have a vast array of things to spice up. This gorgeous red "dress" is my favourite, but their whole website is full of pretty temptations. Check it out here.

Doll Deluxe has several pretty options for Valentine's Day, including this "Lover" Top that they designed just for the day. Other options include their wiggle dresses in everything from leopard print to black satin. Check it out here. 

 If you had to choose one stop for Valentine's Day accessories, I would make it Unique Vintage. They have a whole section for Valentine's Day outfits too. Check it out here. 


 Whatever your plans are - going all out or keeping it low key at home - make sure you pick something to wear that will astound your partner. And if you're single? For heaven's sake, put on something sexy anyway! Go out with your girlfriends for a Galentine's day or night, and have some champagne. 

 

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Vixen Swing Dress by Vixen by Micheline Pitt

The Powderpuff Tops from Micheline Pitt's Vixen brand were my first loves from her line. The pretty puff sleeve's and princess vibes are basically everything a pinup would need in life. Or at least in her wardrobe. The Vixen Swing Dress is like a structured, dress version of the Powderpuff Tops. The bustline (save for the tie detail) sleeves and darting details are all the same, but are delivered in a super high quality, thick cotton sateen.

The bust detail is both demure and sexy. When you pop the dress on without the tie done, and then do the tie, you get insta-cleavage. I don't know about you, but insta-cleavage makes me happy. That alone should be enough to tempt you to get this dress. And fret not, bigger-busted ladies - just don't tie it as tightly if you don't want as much va-va-voom!

Now, the size chart states that the bust is 32-34 and waist is 24-25 on the size extra small. I would say they actually run bigger than that, because I am wearing a small here and I feel I could have actually fit into an extra small. Had I worn a belt, however, the waist would have been just fine. There is a facebook group caled The Vixen's Salon, and if you join it, the beautiful ladies there would be happy to help with sizing!
 



 The inside bust of the dress is satin lined. Micheline Pitt has always been amazing at quality control, and evidence of this is seen in all of her products. This dress will be in my wardrobe for years.. and years... and years. And I know that the quality will remain in tact.
I seriously did not understand the pocket obsession until I actually popped my phone in a dress pocket last week. It was so handy to have there that I started putting a card and lipstick in my pockets and found that, when going out without kids in tow, I can actually do without a purse. It's amazing. WHERE was my head at before with not appreciating the glory of the pocket? I now get sad when I can't find any in a dress.

Micheline has promised deep pockets in several instagram posts, and she delivers. Oh, does she deliver. LOOK at them. They are huge, and the thick nature of the dress fabric means that putting heavy objects in those big pockets does little to affect the silhouette. I have a compact and my large smartphone in the pockets.

  


 
(and for those who ask how I do blog photos - this is how. lol. With children in tow)

I will definitely be adding the leopard and makeup  print to my wardrobe soon. Micheline's customer service skills alone are enough to make me go back for more, but she backs it up with the most stunning pieces. She puts her heart and soul into her line and you can feel it in the details. I am actually returning to work next month, and can't wait to add some of Micheline's pencil skirts to my collection. I hear they are to die for.

Thanks for reading!
xo, Miss Betty Doll

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Lindy Bop Corinna Review

Happy New Year all! I hope everyone had a lovely break over the holidays. We had a beautiful new year, with a garden stroll, rides and fun for the kiddos at the local park, and then my husband and I ended the night with lots of champagne and quality time together. Hopefully we set the pace for what this new year has in store.

I'd like to start off by saying I like Lindy Bop. They offer many unique designs, comfortable options, and ridiculously affordable prices. I've been a customer since last year and I have loved most purchases.

The Corrina Dress is one such purchase - to a degree.








First off, the design is completely adorable. The lace-topped pockets (which are deep enough to fit my large smart phone), the gingham print and the pretty buttons make this dress one that I keep reaching for.

There is smocking along the back of the dress to make it a more comfortable fit, and the rest of the dress is non- to minimal stretch. The straps are thick and comfortable.

The fabric is fairly light weight, in a way that is ideal for summer and does not feel cheap. I find myself reaching for dresses from places like Le Bomb Shop and Lindy Bop often during hot weather, because the lightweight fabrics and stretchy materials that they tend to make their clothing from just feels better in summer than more expensive brands.

I did not wear a petticoat for these photos so that you could see the level of puff - and there's a decent amount of it. I have year to wear this with a petticoat and feel that it holds its own without one.

After all of those positives, we come to the one negative of the dress - the bust. I wear a size D, but I have a small-ish frame, so my D is not as full as other size D's may be. In any case, I barely fit in the bust of this dress. At first I thought that it was my bra, so I tried wearing a thinner one - to no avail. I can barely do up the buttons, and when I can, I find that they pop loose during the day (you can actually see that this happened during the shoot haha!). This is not at all ideal when toting a baby on your hips, let me tell you. The fabric is just thin enough that you can't quite go braless, even though I feel it is supportive enough to do so. The only option that I have found is wearing nipple covers, and it does work and helps quite a bit. However, if you are bigger busted than myself, I would suggest either sizing up or perhaps giving this one a miss. I am 36-26-36 and am wearing a size 8 UK.

If you are my size or smaller, this should work for you. It's a gorgeous dress than whispers of picnics and summer breezes, and a worthwhile purchase if it works for you! It comes in several colours, and all but the yellow is currently on sale! Get yours here.

Thank you so much for reading.

xo, Miss Betty Doll

Monday, 26 December 2016

Confidence and Style

I hope those that celebrated the recent holidays have some beautiful memories to take with them into the new year, and I would like to wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas!



With 2016 coming to an end, I wanted to end the year with a reflective post, on a topic that is very close to my heart. Character and confidence.

Body confidence is a beautiful thing, and I love seeing how many lovely pinups advocate for it. I support them whole-heartedly, but it's never been something I myself can speak out for as it is an area I still struggle with sometimes. There is an area of confidence, however, that I can speak out for with all of my being. Character.

In the retro community it is all too common to see women saying that they have been mocked and put down by strangers and even friends and family members. Sometimes these comments run along the lines of "nice costume" or "why are you so dressed up?" accompanied by a sneer. These comments are no doubt painful, and I am sorry to every lady out there who's experienced that nonsense. There are deeper comments that I've seen flung around though, and those are the ones I want to address today.

"Attention-seeking", "slutty", "showy" and "conceited" are all comments that are sometimes hurled your way when you truly make an effort with your appearance every day. It's funny, too, because to me, putting an effort into your appearance is actually a sign of respect. It says, you were worth the extra couple of minutes I took to do my hair and pick out my outfit.

I dress how I dress for me, and it's definitely not for random men or the cashier at the supermarket that I apply my daily swipe of red lipstick for. But I find that dressing well gives you an inner self confidence and is also pleasant to look at, no matter what your style may be, and is therefore respectful to those around you. It's the same reason why we don't show up to the office in flip-flops and why we dress up for special events - respect.

With the pinup style, you will probably find your character questioned often. Everyone takes selfies nowadays, but if you do it with a striking pose and some red lipstick, you must be conceited. If you post daily outfits for inspiration within the retro community, you must be up yourself. If you develop a love of baking and post photos of it, you must be seeking attention. When these comments are made, it is your character that others are calling into question, far beyond your appearance. And it hurts.

I've seen women say that their partners accuse them of trying too hard. That random men come up to them and ask them if they wore what they wore just for them. That women whisper they are trying to tempt their partners (what even is this line of thinking?!).That family members poke fun of them and accuse them of being "up themselves".

Gossip is something I've dealt with since my teenage years. I lacked confidence as a teenager but had a love for theatrical dress. I would dye my hair bright colours and apply deep lipsticks because I loved those things, but had trouble opening up at all with my peers. I also developed curves very early, and found I would end up with cleavage and a shapely rear in most things that I wore. Due to this combination of apparent stand-offishness and unique dress, "slut", "conceited" and other choice words were whispered behind my back and sometimes to my face. Teenagers can be awful. Hell, the parents of other teenagers can be awful too. This even continued into my adult years when I left my country for the man that I love and entered a completely foreign world with even less confidence than before.

You know what I held onto? My character. I aim to be loving, kind. and reliable. I will go out of my way for almost anyone. I love my children unconditionally and I strive to be humble. I put the needs of others before my own. I love science and philosophy. I try to learn something new every day. I question every one of my own actions and ask myself how I can improve and if I am being warm to others. I am the first shoulder to cry on and the last person to leave your side. And of course I mess up - oh do I mess up. Like we all do, because we are all human. But overall those are the characteristics I strive towards and constantly try to improve myself with. And that's something gossip can't touch, even when it tries to. 

I grew into myself, because moving away from my family at 18 was hard, and it is through hardship that you grow. I have several beautiful friends whom I can rely on and be myself with, I am confident more days than not, and I know who I am as a person - and I went through a lot of pain and worked damn hard to get here. I am pleased to say I now get gorgeous people coming up to me and kindly complimenting my style. I have an inkling it's because I have children now, and they are able to see me interact with them and are therefore able to see beneath the dressy, high-heeled surface that is my everyday style to the person beneath. I find it humbling when people take the time out of their day to comment on what I thoughtfully put on that morning, and I've always paid these compliments to woman as well. Because we all love a little pick-me-up and every single woman deserves to hear something good about her :)

The fact of the matter is, the style of dress is largely artificial. There is nothing natural about it, and anyone can slap on false eyelashes and fluffy dresses. And I think in the retro community, we are well aware of this.
So I urge you ladies, as we head into a fresh new year - be kind. Be loving. Be true to yourself and let your depth of character shine. Make that your focus and please, don't let others tear you down. Wear your red lipstick. Post photos of the outfits you work so hard on. Go all out with your style whenever you damn well please. And through it all, reach out to others even when they are unkind, because you are an important human being and you are more than a style.