Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Maternity Pinup Style - Hardley Dangerous Couture - Cherrybomb Dress!

I know I'm not alone here when I admit that I have moments where I suddenly realise I must have something in my wardrobe, and then spend an ungodly amount of hours searching for the exact item that I've made up in my head.

A plain, pretty, white dress was one such item that magicked itself onto my never-ending wishlist a year ago, and I hunted for one for days. I wanted it to be super comfortable and have no patterns or prints on it whatsoever.

Hardley Dangerous Couture by Moonboot Studios ended up being the provider of such a dress. I was so excited when I stumbled across their Etsy site, as I found that their dresses and tops were beautifully customizable and available in a wide variety of colours - many of which came in their signature ponte de roma stretch knit! 

I was tempted, let me tell you, to order every shade available and fill my wardrobe with all the pretty things, but I held fast and purchased just the one, white dress that I was after. I ended up going with The Cherrybomb Dress in White. Most of their dresses, mine included, are made to order, so I settled in for the 4-6 week waiting time (plus shipping time) quoted on their site. 

Mine arrived within 6 weeks, so they completed it within about 4 weeks and shipping to Australia took an additional 2. Not bad, and one the shorter side of the time promised!

The dress, whilst unlined, honestly doesn't need it. It is made from a thick, high quality knit that conforms to every curve in a forgiving way. As you can see, even at 6.5 months pregnant it still gives me a waist! 

I ordered a size small, which fit perfectly before baby bump and still fits super comfortably now! I suggest just ordering your regular size and tossing any fit worries away. This fabric is genius and it'll mould to where you want it to. I've seen it on plus size, skinny minnies and everything in between. It does every figure justice - including my current round belly!

I have worn and washed this dress several times since its initial purchase and find it is still in as new condition, so it is definitely well constructed and holds its own.

I've seen this dress used for holiday photos and as a bridesmaid dress, so it's perfect for where a certain color is required. They give discounts for bridesmaids dress orders when 6 or more are purchased at once.

They also hold fairly regular sales. For instance, the Cheri Dress is currently on sale for $59 USD, so now is the perfect time to grab one if you're curious!

I highly recommend this dress for anything. Seriously. Casual weddings, a pretty spring dress, maternity photos, holiday photos, prom (check out the velvet dresses!). It's perfect with a baby bump or without, and I honestly can't wait to do a shoot in this one once this bun is out of the oven so I can showcase it without a belly! It's gorgeous.

Photography: Tina Ramos Photography
Hair Flowers: Lila Jo
Dress: Hardley Dangerous Couture

What has popped up on your must have list? What's the longest you've spent looking for a must have item? xo, Miss Betty Doll

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Christmas Baking With a Toddler!

With the holidays just around the corner (quite literally as it's Christmas Eve tomorrow!) I wanted to share some recipes for those of us domestics that can't get enough of baking indulgence at this time of year.

Thanks to the Pinterest craze, I feel like we have a tendancy to see all the pretty things and want to outdo ourselves in the most fabulous fashion possible, but this year I have forced myself to slow down and really take a look at what people enjoy eating instead of what might dazzle a crowd if I manage to get it right.

Having a toddler in tow also means that baking needs to be organised and as quick as possible, whilst still being an enjoyable affair. This year I managed to get everything done in record time and thoroughly enjoyed it in the process, so I thought I'd share in case there's any mamas out there struggling like I did last year!

I make cookie plates for Christmas guests every year. Part of an adapted tradition in my husband's culture is to visit everyone from the village they came from in Europe, and give them chocolates to thank them for the visit and wish them a Merry Christmas. We did this for a few years before I decided to bring my own tradition into the mix and give out cookie platters instead. It felt more sincere and I knew (...hoped?) that they were more likely to get eaten over a box of chocolates.

This year I went with four very basic recipes.

After popping Selene down for a nap, I made up what I would call The World's Softest Sugar Cookies dough, as I knew it would need an hour or two to chill (especially during summer. Still getting used to hot Christmases!). Recipe here. I make these every year and they turn out perfect each time! I do add half a cup of flour extra as I find they will still stay super soft but become much easier to work with.

I have a cousin who can practically make stained glass windows out of icing decor. What she does is beautiful. But with a toddler, it's not gonna happen without either you or your child in tears. So instead, I have been doing a quick drizzle of different colored icings, and then sprinkling with shimmer dust, edible pearls or sprinkles. Much quicker but still more elegant than covering the whole cookie in one color.

Next, I baked some brownies. These are totally from a box. I have tried and failed several times to make my own brownies, and Betty Crocker knows what she's doing. I always have a box of brownie mix on hand, and adding a few green and red M&M's gives it a festive and thoughtful touch to show I cared... even if not enough to do them homemade ;)

Whilst the brownies were baking, I whipped up these Peppermint Oreo Cookie Pops. They are so pretty and so quick, it's ridiculous.
  1. Dip lollipop sticks in melted white chocolate
  2. Untwist a double-stuffed oreo (you'll need the extra stuffing to keep it level), slip in the stick and close the oreo again
  3. Give it a few minutes to set and then dip the whole oreo in white chocolate
  4. Sprinkle with crushed candy cane
  5. Done!
They are the prettiest element of the cookie plates and take maybe a minute each to complete. They were done before the brownies even cooled.

Around this time Selene woke up from her two hour long nap. I had her "help" me make the dough for the next and final recipe - Eggnog Logs.

My mom has made these every year for as long as I can remember, and they are everyone's favourite Christmas Cookie. The shortbread is still super soft and flaky, and the icing on top tastes exactly like eggnog, but better. Mmm.

My husband is on Christmas leave at the moment, so I went ahead and had him take over with Selene from there so I could shape the log cookies and get them baking. If he had been at work, I would have set Selene up with a snack and probably a tablet for the half an hour it took me to finish those up.

Finally, I baked the sugar cookies. I was smart this year and placed them on parchment paper, that way there was one ready to go in the oven by the time the last one had finished baking. I worked with two baking sheets and had these finished in less than an hour due to their quick cooking time. They are so soft!

Once Selene was asleep I quickly drizzled the sugar cookies with a basic, thinned buttercream icing.

And done! All of my Christmas baking done in 4 hours altogether, with enough for 6 cookie plates and a whole tray of leftovers.

One recipe I have used in the past that is also super quick is Thin Mint Truffles. They take maybe half an hour from start to finish and, like the Oreo Pops, look super pretty with minimal effort.

I am loving seeing everyone's baking posts on social media!

Anyway, from my family to yours I wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and can't wait to share my next review post next week!


What are your favourite Christmas recipes? xo, Miss Betty Doll

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Goddess of Hair Flowers: Lila Jo!

My style before I fully indulged in the world of pinup was a dark, romantic mish-mash of things. Dark lipsticks, long red hair and lots of hair flowers. I remember feeling like half the reason retro was a natural transition for me was the frequent use of hair accessories that I already couldn't live without.

Thus, it was with devestation that I received my husband's sound advice one day: "I don't like the hair flowers... they are pretty but they stick out awkwardly from the side of your head".

My heart broke. I was angry at him for weeks. Weeks, I tell you. What right had he to tell me how to dress? Surely I knew better than him, a man with little fashion sense (sorry baby, it's true). But one day I looked in the mirror and realised he was right. The hair flowers I was wearing just didn't do themselves any justice.

So, with a heavy heart, I tossed what I had and viewed any images of inspirational, hair-flower-sporting pinup girls with contempt. Why were theirs sticking so prettily in their hair?

Cue: Lila Jo Accessories! I don't even know how I found the fabulous Shana's Etsy site. I just know that the phrase that struck me time and time again was "flat-fit". Phrases that can be seen on her site over and over again are "light weight, will lay flat and hold tight!", "hand assembled to give the rose its flat fit" etc.

I saved up enough money to place a decent first order without delay. I wanted the flat-fit roses, in particular, in every single colour of the rainbow. I started with a pale pink, amoungst others.The pink is still my favourite to this day, as can be seen up close from the slightly frayed ends from constant wear!

I showed my darling husband the second my order arrived, and he got excited right along with me. He loves them, and can't imagine my style without them now. Other hair accessories have come and gone, but I honestly feel like I'm cheating on a lover when I wear anything else. I'm a Lila girl, through and through.

The shipping times are always quite quick. Processing can take up to a week, but this is a small business so I never mind. The flowers always arrive packaged up nicely, complete with a business card and tissue paper to keep everything fresh and perdy.

Whilst the Flat Fit Roses are my favourite, I also have a small but growing collection of beautiful butterflies! These babies make little girls gasp with delight and point excitedly. They're very unique and very magical. Whilst I have been able to find similar clips elsewear, nothing sits quite as well in my hair as Lila Jo's. She's phased them out in favour of some gorgeous Fruit Hair Clips, but I'd be sure to stock up if ever they return.

My third favourite would have to be the Dahlia flowers, which feature the same fit as the roses.

Shana's stuff has been sold through Pinup Girl Clothing themselves, amongst other retailers, so it's safe to say the quality is perfect.

When girlfriend's that like certain aspects of the retro style have asked me where to get the best hair flowers, Lila Jo is always my one and only recommendation. Basically if you see me with flowers in my hair, you know what I'm wearing.

Shana herself is very approchable and sweet, as she's proven time and time again through our facebook messages. Since hair accessories are the cherry on the sundae of pinup outfits, it's only fitting that the maker of the best accessories of all is equally sweet. Hers is a business I would never hesitate to support.

Flowers and more can be purchased through Shana's Etsy, Facebook or Website!

Tina Ramos of Tina Ramos Photography and I hiked our way through Melbourne's gorgeous Botanical Gardens to find the perfect floral background for part of my hair flower collection. She's always such a joy to work with due to her laid back approach, and I highly recommend her for anything from boudoir to family shots :)

Who makes your favourite hair accessories? Have you tried Lila Jo? xo, Miss Betty Doll

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Maternity Pinup Style - Holiday Dresses For Bump!

I realize this post may be coming too late for some of my Australian readers, as getting dresses shipped in time can be difficult all the way out here! But Americans will find it pretty easy to get their hands on those mentioned below.

Dressing a baby belly for the holidays isn't always easy. For instance, I decided back in November that I suddenly had to have a gold dress for Christmas, and searched for hours for something suitable that wouldn't break the bank and would fit over my ever expanding tummy. I found a few (with the help of the amazing PUG facebook group!) but nothing that quite worked.

Cue the Masuimi Dress by Pinup Girl Clothing. This is not currently available on the main PUG site, but I grabbed mine from Retro Glam and experienced super quick shipping and a smooth process all the way around.

I wore this in lavender for my anniversary two years ago when I was pregnant with Selene. I loved it then too, although I have to admit I am not super comfortable in wiggle dresses when pregnant. As you can probably tell, I get pretty body-conscious during pregnancy and having my bump out for all to see is something I both take pride in doing and feel nervous about!

Nonetheless, the super flattering laced bust cups, high back and thick straps make the construction of this dress second to none.

I am wearing my usual size small and find it comfortable everywhere except the arms. The famous stretch bengaline material stretches over every curve in every place except the armpits, where it is sturdy and doesn't give. I have this issue in this dress whether I am pregnant or not, and it was reconstructed fairly recently without this issue being addressed, which says to me it's probably, well, just me.

Given that it is an evening dress, it really doesn't bother me as it's only ever worn for a few hours at a time. The dress is a real show stopper so I would never give it up for the sake of saving myself from some oh-so-attractive arm chafing. It's a widely loved ensemble so rest assured - it'll take care of you and then some.

Given the little arm issue, you can certainly size up during pregnancy without it swimming on you. Bengaline conforms to curves with no restraint, so you won't feel frumpy in a size bigger than your norm. It does not stay stretched out at all (such is the quality of Pinup Couture) so you can safely wear it for a holiday event and then sell it on ebay or Facebook Swap/Sell pages without fear of selling a damaged item. It'll hold its own just fine.

I recommend some good, old fashioned, chicken-fillet style stick-ons with this dress. The bust is quite open and having something to give your girls some lift will not only give you fabulous cleavage but also hold the dress in better in the bust area. The cups mould very well to your chest, so in my opinion even bustier ladies can get away with a strapless or stick on bra and maintain a fabulous, er, rack (running out of boob words here).

If you are in the US and attending a party of the fancier sort, I suggest throwing on a fur stole with this baby for warmth.

If you are after some similar sillouettes and prefer to order straight from PUG themselves, I suggest the following:

Made of the same stretch bengaline material - feel free to order your normal size!

As above - stretch bengaline and safe to order in your normal size!

For something different, try the Ava! You will need to size up with this one - something that isn't mentioned on the maternity friendly section of the PUG site. The material is none stretch but empire-waisted, thus able to accomodate a belly.

Wanna stay warm and glamorous? Check out the Monica! Very stretchy and many women report needing to size down when not pregnant, so you're definitely safe to order your normal size and not any bigger.

It'll be a little too late to get this one in time for Christmas, but when rush ordered you can get it for New Year's! It comes in red, gold, royal blue and more! Currently on sale. I have a full review of Hardley Dangerous Clothing coming soon, but in the mean time rest assured that they are lovely quality, very stretchy, and your normal size will fit a baby bump no problem.

This one has been pinned to the "wants" section of my Pinterest for ages, and I finally ordered it for my baby sprinkle next year. The subtle puffed sleeves, the ruching along the bodice, the clingy-yet-forgiving strech of the material... It's to die for. I suggest sizing up at least once as the waist, whilst stretchy, has a little less give than the rest of the outfit due to where the seem of the bodice and skirt meet. It is very flattering on a bump! Also comes in seafoam green ,  red dotsgold and several other colours! I nearly got the gold but fell in love with the crisp yet delicate ambience of the white. I'll be sporting this one for some maternity photos as well!

There you have it. Several dresses fit for the holidays, where to get them, and what size to order. I hope this helps any current bump rockers!

What are you wearing for the holidays? xo, Miss Betty Doll

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Mother Daughter Outfits - Leopard Ladies in Pinup Girl Clothing

It's been ages since I've done a mother daughter post. I post our outfits on instagram (we really do match almost every day) but haven't had the energy lately to round her up for a little shoot!

For years, half my wardrobe has been leopard print. Thus, the adorable matching outfit search for Selene began the second she was born. It's not easy to find cute leopard print stuff for kiddos. When she was a baby, it was nearly impossible. But sometimes I manage to snag one up in real life instead of spending forever searching the net for it.

This was one of those times! Browsing through Big W (Aussie Wal-mart equivilent, minus the gun section and terrifying outfits) not to long ago, I found this adorable leopard print onesie for $12! It came with a hat with kitty ears, and given that this was back in October I can only assume it was meant for Halloween.

Leopard print maternity outfits are equally difficult to come by, but just as my pregnancy with Selene was coming to an end, Pinup Girl Clothing announced that it was releasing a maternity line! I immediately pinned what I knew I wanted to save for future purchase - the Preggers Scrumptious Dress in Leopard Print.

I ordered my usual size small. With most actual maternity clothing, you can safely order your normal size, as they are designed for your normal body plus a bump! The arm holes are a little tight however, so if you are like me and go up several sizes during pregnancy, feel free to order up. The fabric is made in such a way that it will still fit well and not sag.

Bonus - it's breast feeding friendly!

It comes in olive, pink and black as well. The black is a perfect maternity basic for work that will leave you feeling pretty instead of frumpy, and the simple design of the Scrumptious means you can pair it with layers for cooler weather and wear them on their own in summer.

Regardless of what color or print you get this in, the fabric is a thick cotton-poly blend that conforms to your body and makes for super comfortable wear. It's a little on the thicker side for ridiculously hot weather, but today it was 26C (78F) and I was perfectly comfy in it.

We received a ton of compliments on our outfits whilst out and about today, and several woman were shocked that I am six months pregnant. So yes, this has a brilliant flatter factor! It gives your bump room to breath whilst giving you a svelte figure appearance that we all know is probably not actually there... at least mine isn't. I'm a marshmallow under the dress. But you'd never know ;) Thank you, Laura Byrnes.
 (see that little bit of extra chin and thigh dimpling? Thanks, hormones. I needed those real bad.)

I think my favourite thing about these dresses is the resale value. Maternity clothing can often feel like a waste as it's worn for so little time and hard to sell for near equal value, even though it's normally in great condition afterwards. The fact that this has the Pinup Girl Clothing label means ladies will always want to get their hands on it, and you can therefore sell it when you're done with it without losing out on much money! What a great investment.

But Laura, oh Supreme Overlord - if ever you somehow find the time to read my itty bitty blog, please here my whine! I want more maternity pinup clothing from you! The Scrumptious Dress is beautifully made and makes me feel pretty every time, but it's one of your simplest designs! I want more of the good stuff! I want the Renee with a closed tummy and a bump friendly waistline! I want the Jayne! I want the Ava Swing! And if you could update the Maternity Friendly section to advise how much we should be sizing up in normal Pinup Girl Clothing to make it fit our growing bellies, that would be swell.

Having said all that, I've noticed the Preggers Scrumptious Dresses have remained in stock basically since they were made, so ladies - if you don't buy them, we will never get anything else that's specifically maternity out of Pinup Girl Clothing.

Seriously though, if you are pregnant - get this dress! And get it from day one. Don't wait till your third trimester when you don't have long to go and it feels like a waste. Get it during the first trimester when you feel bloated and crappy and are wondering if anyone else can see that little belly bulge forming before you want to make your big announcement. As I stated above, you really can't tell you're pregnant in it when your bump is small, so you can safely wear this early on without feeling pre-emptive.

 Dress - Preggers Scrumptious Dress in Leopard by Pinup Girl Clothing
Necklace - Gift from my Mama!
Shoes - London Rebel (similar here )

Onesie - Big W (similar here)
Do you own the Scrumptious Dress, Preggers or otherwise? How do you find the fit? - xo, Miss Betty Doll

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Maternity Pinup Style - Pretty in Pleats with Le Bomb Shop

I think every retro wardrobe needs a few solid pastel skirts, with pink being at the top of my own list. A year or two ago I remember looking for months on end for a pretty, plain pink skirt that would go with a variety of tops.

Hell Bunny had a couple, but reviews were mixed and left me unsure of whether or not to order one. Pinup Couture also came out with one earlier this year, but by the time it was ready to order I was already pregnant and knew it wouldn't fit.

Cue this beautiful Pretty in Pleats Skirt by Le Bomb Shop!

It features a stretchy, thick waistband that pulls in your figure nicely without the band folding over at all. I mean, look at my pregnant figure here - it still gives me a small waist! The entire skirt is very stretchy, making it ideal for quick, casual pinup outfits where a pull on and go skirt is necessary.

The length goes roughly to my knees, however pulling it up higher to make way for my bump compromises it a little.

I am wearing my standard size small and don't feel the least bit restricted. I recommend sticking with your usual size unless you feel you will end up sizing up overall during pregnancy.

I wore this today after swimming, and must say it is the easiest way to pull together a pretty outfit. It really doesn't wrinkle and there's no zipper involved, so ease of wear is absolutely top notch.

I have worn it with the Gia Top by Pinup Couture (sold out on the website but super comfy and maternity friendly, so it's worth keping an eye out on Ebay and Facebook Swap and Sell pages for you winter bumpers!), the Pussybow Top by Bonsai Kitten (also bump friendly!) and the Marty Maraschino Top by Le Bomb Shop. Needless to say, it goes with anything.

For starters, lets talk about quality. The nature of the fabric makes it prone to pilling and fabric pulls, so don't expect it to last you the next 10 years. Even then, treating it with respect means you will still get tons of wear out of this skirt, making it well worth the mere $30 it'll cost you. I've worn mine once a week since I got it and it's still in fab condition.

The pleats make for a bit of fullness without it being strictly a retro skirt. As it comes in more basic colors like black and navy (see all the colors here), I think this makes it an ideal skirt for a baby pinup just dipping her toe into the retro world. It's not intimidating like, say, the Jenny Skirt by Pinup Girl Clothing. It has bounce and flare. I wouldn't recommend wearing it with a petticoat as the stretchy fabric probably wouldn't sit right with anything underneath it.

Overall I love this skirt and want it in more colors. I can see myself wearing this in that awkward, in between stage after birth wear your normal wardrobe doesn't fit year but you're no longer sportng a beach ball for a belly. I'm so happy I grabbed it and think it's a wardrobe must have for easy outfit days.

As a side note, I noticed I am now 6 months pregnant and have very few maternity pinup blog posts to show for it. How slack of me! I have all of December off of work, so I plan to make outfit posts more regular. I truly hope these will come in handy for any current and future retro mamas. If you want more, please feel free to check out my instagram for more consistent outfit posts during pregnancy. Thank you so much for reading!!

Are pink skirts a must have for your pinup wardrobe? Which one do you favour? xo, Miss Betty Doll


Thursday, 3 December 2015

Maternity Pinup Style - Cherry Sundress by Le Bomb

Truth be told, it's really hard with a summer pregnancy to not just fill up my whole wardrobe with Le Bomb Shop dresses. They stretch makes most of them fit for all of pregnancy, and the variety of colors and patterns that each dress comes in makes it so easy!

For variety's sake, I'm trying to reign myself in and be good. But I could not resist this pretty Cherry Print Betty Sun Dress .

I have a few Betty Sun Dresses and they are one of the friendliest for a baby bump due to the combination of a decent length hemline and a higher waistline. The Miss Mabel Dresses, mentioned here, is definitely pregnancy friendly but features a longer waistline.

Like many halter top dresses, a strapless bra is not necessary if you are, well, small and perky enough. If you have large lovely jubblies, I would suggest a bra, but I go up to a DD during pregnancy and still can rock this bra-less. It's a savior in hot months when you are already uncomfortable and don't want anything else touching you that doesn't have to.  There is no padding in the bust, but the gathered fabric alleviates the need for it.

This one features the same shirring in the back like many of Le Bomb's summer dresses, and the fabric is super light weight so there's no pulling at your neck from the halter tie. This also can leave you prone to flashing others at  heavier gusts of winds, but honey - if you are afraid to show some cheek at the cost of your dresses, pinup ain't for you.

I delicate wash these in cold water and find they last ages. I have some sun dresses from Le Bomb from three years ago that are still in perfect condition, so quality wise, they will definitely last you.

Melbourne is full of city/country fringe fruit picking fields and orchards. It is a habit of mine to try to match the fruit with my dress. I honest to God have no idea where I got this matching obsession, and can only say that at least it goes along with the 1950's subculture. Thus, I can't wait to wear this one to a cherry tree picking extravaganza with my husband and little princess. The photos will be awesome. These things matter. I swear.

The Betty Sun Dress comes in everything from floral to polka dot, the latter of which is available in every color of the rainbow and then some. It is also petticoat friendly, for those of you not currently knocked up.

In terms of fit, you should be able to wear your regular size without a problem up to the very end of pregnancy, unless of course you have needed to size up due to overall weight change from pregnancy. I am wearing my standard size small here. The fabric itself doesn't stretch, but the smocking in the back allows for all the bump growth required.

Pregnancy update:

Little Miss Number 2 is kicking up a storm and seems to be just as active as Selene was in my tummy. It's cute and hardly uncomfortable - for now. We're almost to the third trimester though when her growth will accelerate, so it's not gonna last long!

Weight wise, I have gained more than I want to thus far! I went from a nice and steady weight gain to shooting up to 67 kilos. As my end goal is 70 kilos as I did healthfully and easily with Selene, I wasn't very happy when I stepped on the scale a few weeks ago. Having said that, I've eased up on the carbs and incorporated more salads into my meals, so my weight has stayed nice and steady. I've just been indulging in too many sweets. If I can keep it slower from now till birth, I'll be happy. Pregnancy weight can fall off you after birth if you don't overindulge, and I don't want to be heading to the gym to work it off later on if I can avoid it.

Hubby and I have been trying to pick out baby names, which is proving impossible. Selene is an elegant and feminine name, but not ridiculously girly like the other names I always loved, so finding a way to name her sister whilst keeping their names fairly similar and within the mythical theme we have going on (Selene means Goddess of the Moon) is tough. We'll get there.

What are your favourite sun dresses for fruit picking? xo, Miss Betty Doll
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