Saturday, 30 July 2016

Ava Swing Dress Review and Aurora's Christening Details

We had my darling Aurora’s christening last week, and whilst I don’t want to do a full post dedicated to a more private family event, after receiving some questions I did want to share a few photos, a review of the dresses we wore, and some information on the cake and candles we used!

So for starters, Aurora’s beautiful christening gown was already chosen, as we had decided to use Selene’s christening gown for her as well for sentimental purposes. It’s a stunning dress, so for anyone with a christening coming up, Caremore has beautiful handmade gowns for amazing prices. The thick satin and beautiful lace overlay meant both Aurora and Selene were princesses for the day on both their christening days. There are simple gowns you can grab from your local store, or gowns worth hundreds and hundreds of dollars made of the finest silks. We wanted something in the middle, so that it would be a valuable keepsake without costing money better spent towards the girls other needs. This one was perfect!

(Selene in her Christening gown when she was 6 months)
For myself, I wanted something pink and pretty to go with the lilac and pink theme we had for the cake, so I chose the Pink Ava Swing Dress from Pinup Girl Clothing. I got my usual size small, and because it is made from a stretch taffeta I assumed it would fit without a problem. It ended up being a touch snug, especially in the arms, which is a rare thing for me. 

For Selene I wanted to get her a dress similar to my own without being an exact match, as I wanted the attention to be on Aurora for her day. I wanted something pretty but simple, as we all wore matching fur shawls that I knew would cover some of our dresses anyway! I contacted Little Butterfly Creations on instagram and showed her the Ava Swing to see what she could do. She modified an existing design to have sleeves and sourced a matching fabric for me the very next day! Her response times and enthusiasm were second to none, and she got the dress finished well before the timeframe I gave. She’s absolutely lovely and Selene’s dress turned out beautifully!

The cake we bought was from Barbara of B-Licious Cakes. For Selene's christening, we did a super simple pink cake with white roses. I wanted Aurora to have an equally beautiful but simple cake with floral detail. I found B-Licious Cakes on Instagram and fell in love. I've never seen a cake artist get such smooth and crisp edges on a cake before! As someone who does ameteur cake baking herself, I can tell you it's not easy. She used ganache for the filling and it was delicious. I may have even thought of the cake all throughout lunch. It was perfect. This is a mama owned and run business, which is my favourite kind.
And last but not least, the Christening candles were from Sim's Keepsake Creations. Selene's christening candles were with pearls and pink lace, so for Aurora's I wanted something similar but in lilac with diamantes. She delivered on exactly what I asked for, and even fixed Selene's christening candle and repackaged it free of charge (I touched her candle with wet hands right after her christening two years ago and ruined the photo!). 

So, for anyone who lives in Melbourne and is in need of a cake or candles, be sure to hit these two ladies up :) 

I hope this answers your questions about the fit of the Ava and, for you Aussies, where we got what we used! Thanks for reading.

xo, Miss Betty Doll


Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Baking With Littles - Polenta Muffins

The past couple of Baking with Little Ones posts have been fun, but not the easiest to pull off if you are a busy mama (or auntie, or person without children who loves to bake). I wanted to give you all a tried and true recipe that you can whip together before guests arrive AND keep your child(ren) entertained with.

A dear girlfriend of mine first introduced me to polenta muffins when she brought them for Selene's first birthday. She poured the whole batch on a cookie sheet and cut them out into little hearts, which is something I love doing as well. Selene loves to choose which shape to use and help me cut the muffins out once it's all cooled. But for today, I had a band of toddlers coming over so I wanted something we could all just grab with the wrapper and munch without a plate.

I combined her recipe and several others until I found one I was happy with. Because I knew I would have Selene's ballet first thing in the morning and no time in between to clean or prepare much, I threw all the ingredients in a bowl the night before. For Selene's part, I let her mix everything up and pour it into the cupcake liners.

 (My dress is from Hardley Dangerous Couture, review here )

 Here's the recipe:

Polenta Muffins
2 cups low fat milk
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large eggs
1/2 red onion
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup bulgarian feta
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
1 medium red capsicum, chopped

Making it is as simple as the ingredients. Mix everything together, pour them into a cupcake tray lined with cupcake liners and bake at 200*C for 15 minutes. 

You can use all cheddar instead of feta. You can top with cheddar cheese for a crispy top like I did. You can add ham. You can add spinach. The possibilities are endless, really. And if you're a party thrower like me, you can cut them into shapes according to the theme. The best thing about these is the batter is quite thick, so even a two year old can spoon them into the cupcake liners without a problem. 

So, yay! Winning from all angles. 

On a side note, those of you who follow me on instagram may notice that I have a pattern. Hair down, hair down, hair up. I wash my hair every 3 days, so the last day always requires an updo. I've been doing a lot of my rolled bang and ponytail hairstyle lately, but I wanted to try something different. I can't just do a plain ponytail at the moment because, well... during pregnancy your hair doesn't shed at all, but after birth it sheds all at once. 9 months of shedding, all in one go. It's awful and annoying and if you're like me, you end up with a receeding hairline for a few months. I know, it's almost too sexy to even mention. So that's why I end up with so many rolled bang and side bang updos.

Anyway, I've done this 60's style ponytail a couple of times and I love it. Any of you girls that lack length in your high ponytails can try it this way instead. I've had a few girls ask me if I do hair tutorials. The answer is no, but I'm happy to share where I get my hairstyles from! Here's the one I used today :)

So there you have it! This blog series is pretty new, so let me know here or on instagram or facebook if they are actually interesting/useful at all!

Thanks for reading!

xo Miss Betty Doll

Friday, 22 July 2016

The Soubrette Brunette Dress by Le Bomb Shop

I wear a lot of Le Bomb Shop during summer. And I do mean a lot! Their range of halter top dresses are beautiful, with a variety of bust-line shapes and prints and colors. They start at just $38 USD, and are made of super light weight fabric that is just so perfect for summer. However, this means a lot of my Le Bomb Shop dresses sit atop my wardrobe shelf during winter months, just waiting for some sunshine to let me bust them out again.

I missed my Le Bomb pieces so much that I decided to have a browse the other day and ran across this pretty little thing, named for fellow (but much longer standing) blogger The Soubrette Brunette . I decided to grab one, as I have the same print in a halter dress that I just can't layer up for winter.

Whilst the fabric is still too thin to really be wearing during winter (it's freezing in Melbourne right now, so I do hope you northern hemisphere dwellers are enjoying the sunshine!) I think I'll layer it up with a petticoat and cardigan and a nice thick coat, because it's too pretty to put away right now.

The neckline is quite modest, and anyone with an average or smaller sized chest will end up with little cleavage. With the rise of more casual dress codes in the work place, this makes the Soubrette Brunette Dress a great option.

It comes with a smocked waist in the back, with the zipper ending right wear the elastic begins. This makes it very easy to get into (no ruining your hair, ladies, woo!) and sucks your waist right in. I added a belt from my own closet but it looks just lovely without one as well.

It comes in several colors in the polka dot print, as well as a couple of pretty florals.

I ordered my usual size small. My measurements are currently 37-27-37, and it fits with ease. Most anything with some smocking in the back will fit in your usual size, and this is no exception. I found it the tiniest bit tight around the back of the arms at first, but the fabric loosened in that area throughout the day and felt just fine by the afternoon.

It isn't exactly breastfeeding friendly for you breast-feeding mamas out there. I basically smuggle a breast out of anything so that I can wear what I want and still feed my child, but it's not exactly comfortable to do in this one. Nevertheless, you will still catch me in this one several times before Aurora is weaned. Call me the boob smuggler.

So, if you are after an inexpensive, just-enough-cleavage, retro dress in lots of pretty colors, go get this one. It's cute and it's comfy and oh-so-perdy!
And now for a little personal update. The moment I got engaged at such a young age (seven years ago, wow), I knew I would need to put my education aside for a while so my now husband and I could focus on purchasing a house and filling it with a little one (or two!). When we found out our second baby was another girl, one of the first things Martin said to me was "You have two little girls to inspire now. I can't wait until you earn a degree and for them to see they can do anything". And then I knew the time was right for me to start thinking about studying again.

I've gone back and forth between career choices for a long time, but Psychology was the only one that continuously came to the forefront of my passions. So, I began my online studies in the form of a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) at the start of the month.

It's not easy juggling a blog and daily outfit photos and cooking and home-making and motherhood and getting back into shape all at once. But better women than me have done far more than that at once, and I am blessed with a husband who works hard enough for me to have a long maternity leave and then return to work part time. So! I can't wait to keep on popping out blog reviews and recipes and motherhood tips, I just hope you will bear with me if my posts aren't always perfect. They never were before anyway, I just hope you'll love me anyway :)

Thanks for reading!

xo, Miss Betty Doll


Saturday, 16 July 2016

Erin Swing Dress by Pinup Girl Clothing Review

When Pinup Girl Clothing first announced a cool-weather friendly version of the Erin Dress, I was pretty happy. The original Erin is made of a beautiful bengaline that I love, and the addition of a swing skirt made it all the more tempting. And then they announced it in pink and I was completely sold. Now, I've heard many girls on Facebook groups mention (with passion) that they do not like pink, which is totally fair enough! It also comes in mint (drool), black, red and green.

I had this one pinned to my "wants" board on Pinterest for months, and constantly checked up on its status at the Pinup Girl Clothing Customer Lounge until the day it finally dropped.

I knew I didn't need to try it on the second I received it. Super supple and stretchy, with no non-stretch fabric seams anywhere, I knew it would fit easily. And it does!

I tossed it on this morning and ran about a million errands in it whilst wearing my four month old daughter Aurora and simultaneously breastfeeding her, so when I say it is comfortable, take my word for it. You can't do all that in just any dress. (And yes, for you mamas that breastfeed, that does mean it is breastfeeding friendly). (AND for you pregnant pinups, yes, it'll totally work with a bump!)

Now it's pretty revealing on the cleavage side of things, so if you prefer a more modest neckline then I suggest a pretty lacy cami, or adding a few stitches to close up the bust a bit. I'm happy with it as is :)

As far as fit goes, as mentioned above there isn't a single area of nonstretch material. Anyone who has worn the original Erin Wiggle Dress will know that the arm holes are non-stretch. I haven't worn one since the original release, so perhaps things have changed, but the point being this is not like the original and even the underarms are stretchy. I ordered my standard size small and love the fit. There's lots of room for stretch (I could gain a good 15 pounds and still fit comfortably in it) and yet it looks fitted and feels fitted. Thus is the beauty of Pinup Girl Clothing's high quality bengaline fabric. It sucks you in, but lets you breathe, and gives you room to eat a thousand tacos.

I was initially a little concerned about how the sleeves would be, as they looked a tiny bit bell shaped or flared at the bottom in the product photos. However, I've come to learn that generally when the product photo looks this way, it's because the sleeves are cut wider at the bottom just for ease of movement and the flare is not actually noticeable once it's on! So extra points for comfort.

As I mentioned on my Instagram and Facebook pages, those who dress in any alternative fashion will learn to expect a comment or two whilst out and about. In my big puff printed skirts I'm never surprised when this happens as, let's face it, it stands out. I always compliment women when they wear something outside the norm. However I though this dress was of a modern enough cut and plain enough color that no one would pay me any mind. Nope. I was stopped about 10 times just whilst at my local shopping centre and told how amazing this dress is, and that was even half covered due to the baby carrier I had Aurora in. So suffice it to say this dress is fab.

I didn't wear a petticoat with it today as I had too much to do to fluff about with such... well, fluff. But this dress drapes beautifully without it and is perfect for "baby pinups", meaning girls that may be new to the retro community and nervous about going all out with their wardrobes just yet. This is a perfect toe in the water piece, but it's also seriously stunning.

As far as quality is concerned, I think it goes without saying that pretty much everything from Pinup Girl Clothing is spot on and will last you at least a decade. My first Pinup Girl order is still going strong, seven years later.  And at $128 USD, it's well worth the money.

So, go get it. Seriously. You won't regret it.

 Thanks for reading!

xo, Miss Betty Doll


Monday, 11 July 2016

Jitterbug Swing Dress Review by Stop Staring!

Polka dots are a pinup essential. I mean, if you don't like them, I understand, but you might be crazy. I love you anyways.

So it was with great shock that I took a peek at my closet the other week and found I only have a couple of polka dot dresses. I know, right?

I had a browse of a few websites, in search of the perfect dress. Not finding anything that immediately caught my eye, I went to the "wants" board on my Pinterest, where I pin items I know I could forget about but really shouldn't. And there it was, the Jitterbug Swing Dress, which I pinned ages ago and somehow haven't ordered until that day.

The advice on the size chart says that if you are between sizes and the item has stretch, go down a size. My waist is currently 27-28 inches, and the size chart for a size small says 26 inches, so I grabbed a size small as the Jitterbug as stretch.

It's a perfect fit, though you should note that the seam where the bodice and the skirt of the dress meet has much less stretch. It's still an easy fit for me, but after having a pleasantly fitting meal and then sitting down, I noticed it went a little tight. But not uncomfortably so. Therefore I would still stick with the size charts advice and size down if you are between sizes.

My favourite feature on this dress is not actually the polka dots - it's the beautiful puff sleeves. I have a puff sleeve obsession, which is part of the reason I loved the Billion Dollar Baby Dress so much at my Baby Sprinkle. It's also why I'm so excited for the new Powder Puff Tops by Vixen by Micheline Pitt, but I digress.

The skirt is very full, but the thick material means it stays down in a breeze. It can also fit any petticoat fluff level you desire underneath.

The crossover bust and sweetheart neckline are both ultra-flattering, and do wonders for the girls (no, not my daughters, I mean the girls) and your collar bones alike. I've got simple dresses for throwing on, I've got printed dresses for when I want my dress to do the talking for me, and then there's this dress... It's the one I reach for when I want to feel demure and 40's. It's also the one that I wish came in so many more colors, because dammit, those sleeves!

Their quality is always top notch. Their dresses don't come cheap, but the fabrics are of the highest quality and I can tell I will get wear after wear in the Jitterbug. Sometimes I'm willing to spend a little more on a dress because it's so unique I can't pass it up, but I know I'm compromising a little on quality. I never have this compromise with Stop Staring! It's always amazing quality and I know I'm getting what I paid for and then some. 

Stop Staring! is also amazing because some of their items go far beyond your 2x and 3x sizing, which is a beautiful thing. I can't imagine wanting to buy a dress only to find they don't even make it in my size. It would be beyond frustrating, and Stop Staring! has worked to turn that around.

My littles both matched with me on this day. Like I said, I have a penchant for polka dots!


I spoke a little bit about how important supporting small businesses is in one of my recent posts, and I wanted to back that up by giving a shout out to Belle Bowtique . I recently purchased a few bows and headbands from this mama owned and run business, and I love them! Inspired by her three little girls, Cinzia makes gorgeous bows and headbands for little ones. I got the medium for Aurora, but you can get bows literally as big as your baby girls head! Girly goodness! So if you have little girls in your life and need reasonably prices hair accessories, be sure to check her out.

Thank you for reading!

Until next time,

xo Miss Betty Doll

Monday, 4 July 2016

Fourth of July - Sales and Mother Daughter Matching Outfits

Hi lovelies!

So today is a super quick post just to wish everyone a happy Independence Day and share a few sales going on today from my favorite American pinup stores.

There's just a few hours left so hold those fireworks for a moment and buy ALL the clothes!

Holidays can be hard living so far from my family, but having my husbands family as well as the one we made has made things much easier. No barbecues for us in Wintry Melbourne, but we did get to indulge in some TGI Friday's. It's such a novelty getting American food when you can't be in American itself to celebrate the holidays!

For our outfits we all matched in red, white and blue (shocker). I wore my Pinup Girl Clothing Heidi Dress in blue as a top, with the Red Jenny Skirt from Pinup Girl Clothing as a skirt. The girls wore these cute little matching Wonder Women outfits from Big W a few months ago. 

Happy Fourth of July!
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