Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Lindy Bop Ophelia Dress Review

I feel my blog post titles show how exhausted I am as a mother - there is nothing creative about them. No clever quips to be had here. This is a review of the Lindy Bop dress called the Ophelia. Full stop.

You love me anyway, right?

Moving on - I have been lusting after dresses of this style for years. The sweetheart crossover bust encased in a swooping fabric. I knew it would be flattering on, but somehow I never got around to getting one. Then a couple of months ago, I was browsing Lindy Bop's childrenswear and decided I had to grab an Ophelia dress while I was at it.

I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived. For the price ( £35 or around $50 USD) I expected some flimsy thing with minimal lining. Instead I received a dress made of a thick and sturdy stretch cotton, with a fabric weighty enough to not fly up at a passing breeze.


Getting it on was easy with the hidden zip that goes all the way up the back to the high neckline. My heart sank a little when I moved my arms, however, as I found the armholes uncomfortably tight around the bottom. I've experienced this before, and knew that if I wore it for more than an hour or so, it would rub my underarms raw. I don't have big arms by any means, so I'm guessing this has more to do with how high the underarm area comes.

In any case, I gave it to my seamstress (AKA mother-in-law) who simply removed the thick band that encased the armhole from inside the dress. It took her all of 15 minutes, and all she did was unpick it and cut it off. The second I zipped the dress up again, I could feel the difference. I have now worn it out several times without any bit of discomfort.

You can see in this photo where the double layer ends. Basically there were two layers of fabric to give the arm hole structure, but they were making it too tight so we cut one layer off. Because this is a hidden part of the dress and not visible from the outside, it's something you can do yourself. If that makes you too nervous, I would still definitely get this dress and take it to a seamstress if you have the same issue as I did. It's a cheap fix and easily justified given how little the dress costs!

In all other areas, the dress was a perfect fit and super comfortable. I ordered a size 8, which is the same as a US size 4 or a standard size small (though it is listed as an XS on the Lindy Bop USA website, so bear this in mind when ordering. Be sure to check out the size chart). The shoulders, the waist, the bust - all of it fits as it should. For reference I am currently 37-26-37 (normally 35-25-35 without this baby weight that I am slowly getting off). I am currently 64 kilos at 5'6" and I can tell it would fit me at my normal measurements of 35-25-35 as well.

The crossover bust means it is breastfeeding friendly, for all you mamas out there who require such a thing. Also, it is gathered, which means it can stretch to accommodate a range of bust sizes.

This is an a-line dress and not a full circle skirt, but you can still fit a petticoat under there without a problem. I am wearing one here of medium fluff.

I am really, really excited that we found a fix for the fit of the dress, because it's gorgeous and super inexpensive, and comes in a wide range of prints and colors! I am already planning my next order. I'm loving the navy version, and am very keen to try their other offerings.

I'll be reviewing their children and babywear soon!

Until next time,
xo, Miss Betty Doll


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Baking with Littles - Princess Cupcakes

Growing up, we didn't have all that much money. Everything, and I mean everything, was made from scratch by my beautiful homemaker mother (even the Windex, people. She's amazing). She spent a lot of time in the kitchen, and some of my favourite memories with her are when she would bake with me.

She always made an effort to include me, and later on, during those angsty teenage years, we would always connect while she cooked and baked. I would wander in, sit at the kitchen table, and chat to her for hours, hopping up here and there to help her.

Now, I love being in the kitchen. There is something magical about knowing just how long to heat something, what spices to add to a meal, and how long to bake a cupcake to make it soft inside. I'm so thankful to my mother for giving me all that insight, and I am so excited to have not one, but two little girls to share that knowledge with!

I've been bringing Selene into the kitchen with me since she was a tiny baby. My husband once came home to find me breastfeeding her whilst stirring the ingredients for a chocolate cake for him (too much information? Too bad, my loves, too bad). I always had her on my hip whilst cooking dinner, and had her start stirring sauces for me the second she was able. But a few days ago was the first time I really let her take control. I put Aurora down for a nap upstairs so that there was no chance of her being woken by Selene's excited squeals (she loves to bake), and settled in for what ended up being a relaxing afternoon that was actually just as pleasant as the photos depict. That doesn't actually happen often, with two young children this close in age.

I pre-measured the ingredients to add to a store bought Disney Princess cake mix (because I knew I needed to take blog photos whilst we did this and I did not want to stress about reading a recipe). I pointed to each bowl of ingredients and told her to add them to the big bowl, and had her stir everything pretty much on her own. I also let her spoon the mix into the cupcake liners, which resulted in some of the most uneven cupcakes you will ever see. Some of them ended up being a quarter of an inch high once they were done baking! But they were adorable, and we enjoyed ourselves so much.

So, with all that in mind, I wanted to share some tips for baking with a toddler!
  • Wear an apron (I only managed not to here because we were wearing white and the cupcakes were white too)
  • It's going to get messy, and you just need to let it happen
  • Pre-measure ingredients into separate bowls to make the process smoother
  • Let them watch children's cooking youtube videos on your phone or tablet to peak their interest if they have no interest already (unlikely!)
  • By all means, use pre-made mixes to make your life easier
  • Let them do the easy stuff as above and then say "thank you, all done!" and finish the rest off yourself if you are baking for other people and need them to look decent
  • And if not, prepare for treats so funny looking, only a parent could love them

I am going to start adding more baking posts to the blog, maybe once a month, as baking is a big passion of mine, and therefore a big part of motherhood with my girls. I can't wait to test out some toddler friendly recipes for any of you that have littles to bake with, be it nieces and nephews or kiddos of your own.

xo, Miss Betty Doll

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Moth Print Jenny Review

The Jenny Skirt is basically Pinup Girl Clothing's most well known design. It doesn't need a review. It's just amazing. Go buy all the Jennys, seriously. End of story.

However, I was so excited when they came out with some of their latest prints that I just had to do a photoshoot. It's Autumn here in Australia. Colder months can be a bit awkward for retro lovers like me who's entire closet is basically floral print. But with the release of the Moth Print Jenny (and the Leaves Jenny ) I feel like my closet is officially winter ready!

The fabric is stunning. It's covered in a cool tone rainbow of death head moths, giving it the darker flair that I was looking for. The background color is a deep, rich purple that compliments a myriad of peasant top colors, but I went with a simple black.

This one is a little tighter than the old run of Jenny skirts, and just fits my currently 27" waist (which is finally shrinking by the way! Weight loss ahoy, whoo!). Be careful you don't order too small or the waistband will fold over. This has happened to me in the past when I didn't pay attention to the size chart. If you do happen to get one on the tighter side, adding a wide belt like I did here will eliminate the tight appearance.

It also has pockets, which does nothing for a mother like me who has to carry around enough diapers for two little humans, plus drinks and snacks etc (I won't be going purse-less any time soon basically) but I know is super exciting for everyone else on the planet! Toss a credit card in one side, a lipstick in the other and go!

This shoot was super efficient, as it was done with my littlest princess in tow. Tina Ramos is the most patient woman I know, and was very chill whilst I stopped twice to feed Aurora. She has the best system, wherein she will let me pop out a few poses and then tell me to hold for two shots when she sees one that really works. It gets things done quickly and gives me consistent feedback at the same time. So, if you are new to the modelling scene or simply want some family photos, be sure to hit her up here .

Thanks for reading! xo, Miss Betty Doll

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Matching Mother Daughter Outfits - Pigtails and Pirates Bottlecap Skirts

So my last matching outfit post was in honor of Mother's Day, but I took those photos a few days prior. Here is what I actually wore for Mother's Day - Pigtails and Pirates!

I wore Pigtails and Pirates last year , and had several ladies that work at the shopping centre we went to on Mother's Day last year ask what we were wearing this year. Yeah, their pretty frocks are that memorable :) So of course I had to make it Pigtails and Pirates again this year, only this time I had two little princesses to match with instead of one!

After browsing through their available fabrics, I chose this cute bottlecap print. I knew I wanted to go to Misty's Diner (an all-American eatery run from the gorgeous Misty who comes from my birthplace), and I wanted to wear something in honor of all the soda-pop and American-style goodness we would be consuming.

Of course, everything was a perfect fit when it arrived. Selene's skirt has an elasticized waist band, and Aurora's came with an attached diaper cover. This is the first time I've seen a retro brand do this for a children's piece of clothing, and it's such a nice touch. Anyone with a baby knows that any dress or skirt you put on them is apt to ride up their little waists every time you pick them up. The attached diaper cover prevents this from happening, and is much cuter than just their little diaper showing.

My skirt was also a perfect fit, with a nice thick waistband to prevent fold-over, and a perfectly concealed zip up the back for ease of wear. It also has some gathering under the waistband, which means the skirt is nice and full and can fit any petticoat you desire underneath.

As you can see from the different ways I accessorised these outfits both on Mother's Day and on the days I took photos for the blog, there are so many colors in this skirts that there are lots of ways to accessorise them!

I've had a few ladies comment that matching mother daughter outfits can be difficult to afford. I agree! For that reason, I suggest grabbing skirts where possible, like I did here, which almost halves the cost compared to getting dresses. I also suggest getting either very colorful skirts like this one, or solids, so that you have many outfit options when you wear them. Getting custom skirts from brands like Pigtails and Pirates means you know the quality will be top notch, so you're putting your money where it belongs - towards lovingly made garments that won't fall apart after the first wash.

Also, don't be afraid to approach the lovely Laura of Pigtails and Pirates via Facebook or her website and ask what fabrics she has available that aren't on the website. She's very accommodating and can always whip up something special just for you!

Till next time.

xo, Miss Betty Doll


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

The Circle Skirt by Miss Hellpixie Review

I saw the creative mind behind Miss Hellpixie, and she saw me, several times before I even realised she had her own clothing line. We were both standing in line at one of our local shopping centres when I noticed another petticoat wearer with a daughter in tow. As we live in an area where pinups aren't as frequent as they are in the heart of Melbourne, it was a little too exciting for me. I think I blurted out something about how exciting it was to see someone besides me wearing red lipstick in our area, but I can't be sure.

Her name is Skye, and she's lovely and makes some fabulous clothing. She also doesn't take herself too seriously and does some hilarious posts via her facebook page and instagram.

Originally I was going to order a pink circle skirt from her, but when I saw this (sold out) kisses print, I knew I had to give that a try instead.

She had it made within a couple of weeks and shipped it out promptly. I opted to get it made without pockets (I know, I'm strange, as most girls would die for pockets in everything), and with lining as the fabric itself of this particular print is fairly transparent. 

I was so excited by the quality of the skirt when it arrived!

The waistband is not only nice and thick length-wise, but the fabric itself is sturdy, so it won't do that annoying fold-over that many circle skirts can do. It's nice and full, so you can fit extra fluffy petticoats underneath without an issue. 

Skye works hard to ensure her customers needs are met, and has been known to source requested fabrics and squeeze in last minute orders to accommodate her clients needs. She is super flexible and very quick, which adds to the custom experience. She also ships internationally.

Circle skirts start in the $90s, and there are also reversible wrap skirts and even dresses available. The Adrian is my personal favourite style, as I adore anything with shoulder ties.

Shoot her a quick message to see what she can create for you - you won't regret it!

xo, Miss Betty Doll

Saturday, 7 May 2016

In Honor of Mother's Day - Matching Sunshine Daisy Outfits from Heart of Haute!

It's no secret that I am in love with Heart of Haute, and after receiving a much anticipated package from them, I knew that blogging their outfits would be a perfect fit for Mothers Day.

I contacted the ladies at Heart of Haute not too long ago to discuss the possibility of having outfits for the girls and I made in a matching fabric. After choosing the Twirl Skirt in Sunshine Daisy, the ladies matched up an Enchanted Child dress for Selene and custom made a baby dress for Aurora in the same fabric. Her size (000 or 0-3 months) is not currently available on the website, so I was super greatful that they were able to rustle something up!

My outfit - Peasant Top by Pinup Girl Clothing, Twirl Skirt in Sunshine Daisy by Heart of Haute
Selene's Outfit - Custom Enchanted Child Dress in Sunshine Daisy by Heart of Haute
Aurora's Outfit - Custom Baby Dress in Sunshine Daisy c/o Heart of Haute

I love matching with the girls in my day to day color palette. If I wear pink, they wear pink, and so on. Don't ask me why, it just helps me feel a little more organised and makes getting dressed simpler for me. It helps me get creative with color combinations for my own outfits and means I know exactly what they will wear in the morning, instead of having to rummage through our wardrobes.

Actual matching outfits in the same fabric is a magical way of feeling closer to them that I don't get to do too often. It's head-turning, for sure, as we were stopped by several people the day we wore these out. It's such a special experience to match with my daughters, as it's kind of my way of saying "Yes, there's no mistaking that one is mine. I made her!"

Selene is wearing a size 2T, which fits true to size. For reference, she is a little tall for her age and is of average weight for a two year old. The Enchanted Child Dress ties in the back and features a semi wrap style back so it slips easily over head. I love this feature as dressing a toddler can be a challenge, so not having to fumble with buttons is a huge bonus.

I wanted to take this opportunity to gush a little about my experience with motherhood thus far! I was always one of those little girls to want to be a mother before I even understood how babies were made. I've lived and breathed babies since I can remember. Having my own, however, is such a vastly different experience. You hear everyone say it, but it doesn't seem real until you actually have your first child - it's a love unlike any other. My beautiful girls' scent is intoxicating, their smiles overwhelming, their hurts all consuming. I believe a child's personality has a lot to do with how they are raised after a certain point, but some of it is luck of the draw. Aurora is still becoming a little person, but I can already see and feel how sweet she is. And Selene, whom I have had longer to get to know, is an angel. She is dainty but fierce, and so intelligent. I feel so lucky to call them mine. If the world were to end tomorrow I would always be grateful for the time I have spent thus far, getting to know these magical beings I have been blessed with.

My motherhood experience so far wouldn't be what it is without my mother. She is miles away, across the ocean, in Texas where I grew up. She cooked my meals from scratch, let me have a voice where other adults may have stifled it, trusted me, helped me grow, and provided a solid foundation that I could always run to. It's been two years since I have been able to so much as hug her, but I love her as much as I ever have. Now that I have my own children I know how she has felt all of my hurts and happinesses, and it makes me appreciate her that much more. I love you, mama.

I also wanted to take a moment to acknowledge those lovely ladies that have lost. Who are trying and not falling pregnant, who have miscarried... You're amazing and your time will come, one way or another. In my eyes, to want a child with such fierceness and to fight for their existence is to already be a mother <3 And to those who have lost their mothers, my heart goes out to you, and use this day to celebrate everything she was to you.

May you have the Mother's Day you deserve, ladies!

xo, Miss Betty Doll
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