Sunday, 10 May 2020

Supporting Small Businesses: Mademoiselle X



Mademoiselle X is one of my favourite brands. The mixture of short hemlines and tight sillouettes with retro femme elements leave me waiting for each new release.

The Marie Antoinette-esque details of the Mansfield Dress makes this one of my favourite pieces. I paired it with La Femme en Noir faux leather gloves for a sugar and spice combination, but it goes equally well with pink heels and lips. 

Most everything from Mademoiselle X is created and sewn by the beautiful Paula, who created Mademoiselle X after working with beloved Aussie brand Wheels and Dollbaby for years. The pieces are high quality, with their knitware resistant to pulls and piling.





 Every once in a while I will buy a few fast fashion pieces to fill out my wardrobe, but when you compare them to these ethically sourced, hand crafted designs, there is just no comparison.

If you are looking to add some coquettish pieces to your wardrobe, head over to Mademoiselle X and support local businesses!


I hope you are all staying safe during this time xo

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Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Baking With Littles: Easter Bunny Macarons

I have a different Baking With Littles post for you today. One that is more complex. Why?

Because most of us now have more time than we have in a very long time. We are in lockdown, and many of us are now baking more than we ever have before.

I have people who hate baking now making banana bread and cupcakes. We have the time to do things that are a little more complex.

Enter - the macaron!

I have been wanting to make macarons since I went to Paris in 2018. La Belle Miette here in Melbourne makes the best and most authentic macarons, in my opinion. But they are far from my home, where we are locked in for the next few months, it looks like. So it was time to finally try to make them on my own.

I tried this recipe from Preppy Kitchen. I did it once on my own with perfect results, and the second time with my sister in law. I didn't get the temperature on the oven right and ended up with a batch that was great and a match that was under-cooked and awful. So these really do take careful attention and precision.

This is why this isn't your typical, low ingredient, quick and easy Baking With Littles post. This will take more time but it's worth it!

With Easter around the corner, you could even try these bunny shaped macarons. All I did was pipe the typical circular macaron shape and then pipe bunny ears on top, free hand. It was simple.

I recommend just using a regular buttercream recipe for this one. You can make it the day before, it's quick and easy, the kids can help you make it, and it will speed things along. If you want to follow the French buttercream recipe from Preppy Kitchen, however, click the link here! 

Ingredients

For the Cookie

  • 100 g egg whites room temperature 3 large eggs
  • 140 g almond flour 1 1/2 cups
  • 90 g granulated sugar just under 1/2 cup
  • 130 g powdered sugar 1 cup
  • 1 tsp vanilla 5mL
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar 800mg

For the Buttercream


  • 125 grams softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon milk


Instructions

For the Macarons:

  • Sift the confectioners sugar and almond flour into a bowl.
  • Add the room temperature egg whites into a very clean bowl.
  • Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites. Once they begin to foam add the cream of tartar and then SLOWLY add the granulated sugar.
  • Add the food coloring (if desired) and vanilla then mix in. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Begin folding in the 1/3 of the dry ingredients.
  • Be careful to add the remaining dry ingredients and fold gently.
  • The final mixture should look like flowing lava, and be able to fall into a figure eight without breaking. Spoon into a piping bag with a medium round piping tip and you’re ready to start piping.
  • Pipe one inch dollops onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (this should be glued down with dabs of batter). Tap on counter several times to release air bubbles. Allow to sit for about 40 minutes before placing in oven. 
  • Bake at 300F for 12-15 minutes, rotate tray after 7 minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing from baking sheet. 


For  Buttercream Filling:

  • Mix butter until creamy, then slowly add powdered sugar, vanilla and milk on medium until thick and well mixed

To get your little ones in the kitchen, here's where they can help - they can hold the beater for the extensive mixing you will do to get those stiff peaks on the egg whites. They can pipe the macarons. They can add any pre-measured ingredients. They can do the sifting. 

There are many ways to get little ones to help out with this recipe, and making your own macarons is so satisfying. Melbourne has world renowned coffee, but our macaron scene leaves much to be desired. These were authentic and so delicious. 



Special thanks to the beautiful Bettie von Sweetz for our Easter themed aprons. She kindly sent this to me and the girls last year and I was so excited to find they still fit Selene and Aurora!

As mentioned in my last few blog posts - supporting small businesses is so important right now. As we will be doubtlessly doing more baking, head over to her site to see if any of her gorgeous aprons catch your eye. You won't regret it!



Stay safe everyone. 

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Thursday, 2 April 2020

Support Small Businesses Part 2 - Jools Couture



In situations like this (COVID19 pandemic, as all of us have heard over and over and over again in the news) it's important to focus on what we can control. We've gone from having gyms and endless food options, entertainment galore and being way high up on Maslow's hierarchy of needs to...  worrying about our health, jobs, and not being able to plan more than a day into the future.

So, what can we control? Our behaviour, for one. Our behaviour affects our state of mind.






I spent the first week in self isolation enjoying sleeping in a little later, being makeup free and learning to let go and relax. This week, I've found that keeping my normal routine as much as possible and wearing things that make me feel put together gets the best out of me. So, I've started putting more effort into my loungewear. Pearl hair clips, subtle makeup, curling my hair and pretty nighties are helping me feel like my best self.



I've been a huge fan of Jools Couture for years and have had the pleasure of partnering with them on a number of occasions. I have a number of their pieces in my wardrobe. In fact, I've debuted this nightgown here before. I wanted to show what I've been wearing it like on an average day, so I shot some new photos earlier this week.

I love Jools loungewear pieces because they are made from a soft and luxurious stretch fabric. Every one of their pieces is comfortable and pretty. The one that I am wearing is the Screen Siren Slip, available here.

I ordered the Harlow Lounge Wrap, which I plan on wearing around the house as often as possible. You can find more loungewear in their Boudoir and VIP sections. 

If you have any cute outfits you have been wearing to help yourself stay positive during trying times, I'd love to hear from you!










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Monday, 23 March 2020

Support Small Businesses Part 1 - Vintage Vandalizm

I can't think of a better time to pick up blogging again than when much of the world is practicing social distancing (ah, how arbitrary is language that we can simply invent new words for new things?).

Many of our most loved brands in the retro community are quite small. Some are run by only one or two business owners. Supporting them in the coming months will be difficult - after all, many of us our worried about our livelihood. But support them we must!

Countless brands have brought us not just clothing, but community, confidence, and happiness. How often have you been in a style rut or felt like something other than yourself, only to see a creative brain hard at work designing new outfits for you and others like you? Now is the time to support them back!

One such brand is Vintage Vantalizm. I've been in absolute love with this brand since Jasmin Rodriguez, the brands namesake, first announced it last year. I went through a phase in early 2019 where I wasn't sure what I liked about my wardrobe anymore, Big, fluffy skirts weren't doing it for me, nor were some of the kitschy prints I used to gravitate towards. Vintage Vantalizm was and is like a breath of fresh air. Each design is sexy and flattering. Many are midriff baring, something I would never normally partake in, but have come to love doing.







On top of being highly aesthetically pleasing and unique, Jasmin's designs are also well thought out and comfortable. The Harlow Set (my first purchase) , for example, has stretch in the back of the waistband. It is wide and firm, so it still nips in your waist, but won't dig in as the day wears on. The shoulder pads are comfortable and provide a strong silhouette, and the fabric is extremely comfortable.

The same can be said of the Aurora set, shown here. I was expecting such an elaborate design to be restrictive, but was pleasantly surprised. Though it is long sleeved and the skirt falls well below the knee, the fabric is flexible and breathable. The top unzips all the way down and up, making it easy to slip on. There is no lack of attention to detail on any set from Vintage Vandalizm.






Many of us may not end up leaving the house for quite some time. As quoted across many news sources now, this is a once in a century pandemic and times are strange. So support each other. Keep what money you can circulating through the economy. And make sure your wardrobe looks fabulous for when these darker days are behind us!
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Saturday, 11 January 2020

A Long Overdue Review: Retrospec'd Sarong Dress

Happy New Year to all of you. I cannot believe we are in 2020. We've all seen the memes about how funny it is that the year 2000 feels like yesterday and it was really 20 years ago, but oh, how true it is. It now means that the big milestones we have passed were now in the last decade, and we have a fresh, new decade before us. 

I have been saying for years that it is the pursuit of growth and meaning that matters - not happiness, and a new year is a time to reflect on that. Happiness is an emotion. It is fleeting. It is the meaning behind the moments that give you happiness that really matter, and meaning can be found in hard times and good. If I could wish anything for you this year, it is that you grow and find meaning. 


And now on to my first review of 2020! Retrospec'd is a brand I have wanted to review again for years, but never have. The reason is this: I absolutely cannot take photos that will do their dresses justice compared to their photographer! Brook Orchard Photography provides all of the shoots for the stunning dresses of Retrospec'd Clothing, and Brook is absolutely amazing at what she does. Nonetheless, they are 100% worth investing your money in, and thus 100% worth a review!

Retrospec'd makes high quality clothing right here in Australia. I occasionally fill in my wardrobe with fast fashion pieces if I cannot find what I need from a high quality brand, and I cannot tell you how differently their clothing feels from fast fashion. They are well made, the fabrics do not fade, and the cut is designed with comfortable form fitting in mind. 








The Sarong Dress that I am wearing (link here) has shirring along the back and well-placed boning in the bodice. This means it easily stays up without straps (though it does come with straps that I often tuck in when wearing the dress). It also gives the most beautiful sillouette. I am a modest C cup, and my measurements are 35-24.5-35. Even with my cup size, the bust looks full due to the clever design. For reference, I am wearing a size 6 AU and find their dresses to be true to size. 

These dresses are honestly show stoppers. There's never been a time when I have worn a Retrospec'd creation that I have not been stopped in the street and asked about my outfit. They are modeled after true 1940s and 1950s frocks by a sister duo who are just too good at what they do!

As if all that weren't enough, the US dollar is so strong right now that their dresses will be highly affordable for you American ladies. And, for us in Australia, Retrospec'd being an Australian brand means we are supporting our local market and don't have to pay nearly double due to US exchange rates. Win/Win!!

If you have any questions about this or any other brand, get in touch. 

xo Miss Betty Doll
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