Friday, 21 July 2017

Baking With Littles: Apple Roses


Apple Roses started circulating on social media years ago, but they immediately struck me as too time consuming. Don't even ask me why, as I finally made some the other weekend and they were ridiculously simple. 

First, as always, I suggest doing a bulk of the prep work before you even advise your kiddo(s) that it's time to bake. It makes everything run so much smoother, trust me.

Thaw 2-3 sheets of puff pastry. Then,core and cut 2 apples in half and start slicing them very thin (I suggest Red Delicious, as the red skin makes the finish product appear more like a rose, but I used Granny Smith). You could use a mandolin, but I used a very sharp knife and worked slowly.

Place the apply slices in a bowl of water with 1tsp of lemon juice as you go.

Next, microwave the apples for 1-2 minutes, just until they are soft enough that you can bend them without them breaking. We need them pliable for creating the "rose petals" without being mushy.

Next, melt 2 tbsp of butter and mix with equal parts brown sugar. Add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Then, have your little one help you spread it across your thawed puff pastry sheet.

This part gets messy. That's ok.You know why I'm smiling here and everything is still clean? Because I'm doing a photo shoot, that's why. Normally, you can see my nose kind of scrunched up as butter and sugar are flung about. My expression quickly melts into a smile when Selene takes a peek at me so I don't break her spirits, and then I go right back to a horrified nose scrunch. Completely normal. Let them make their mess and you make your mom face while they do it, but don't interrupt them. Let them be kids. 


Next, have your little one help you, very carefully, slice the puff pasty into four even strips. This part is easy for them to help with, as it's one even stroke per strip.They need to be thick enough to fold in half, because that's exactly what we will be doing with them.


You want to take your apple slices and overlap them, with the rounded edge peeking out of the puff pastry, from one side of a pastry strip to the other. Then, fold the pastry in half and slowly, carefully roll the apples and pastry in a clockwise motion until they have circled around. Voila! Apple rose!

Pop them in a greased muffin tin and   Bake at 375°F (190°C) for about 40-45 minutes.





 
Bon appetit!



Fun fact: I've been studying French on the train on my way to work every morning. I've been excelling, and thought I really must have a knack for learning languages... until I actually found the time to repeat the words aloud. Apparently I alone have the power to make French sound entirely un-romantic. Yay me.

Thanks for reading!

xo, Miss Betty Doll
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Sunday, 16 July 2017

Troublemaker Swing Dress - Vixen by Micheline Pitt

You have no idea how long I wanted the Troublemaker Swing Dress by Vixen.




 First, there's the stunning leopard print fabric. It's not easy to find a well done leopard print. They can range from cartoony to awkwardly shaded, so finding a retro dress in the right kind of leopard print is like a jewel mine.

Second, there's the sleeves! Living in Melbourne, Australia means chilly winters and unpredictable weather year round. I've said it before and I'll say it again: retro inspired dresses with comfortable long sleeves are few and far between. Unique Vintage is host to several such dresses, and then of course there's this particular dress.


One of my favourite things about Micheline Pitt's Vixen line is the quality. Now, I know I tend to only review clothing that is of high quality (besides some of my beloved inexpensive alternatives that I just can't resist!), but Micheline is the goddess of quality. If you are part of the Vixen's Salon on facebook, you can see how she regularly posts about quality control. She does little things like have her prints pinned and then perfectly aligning them together so that they are seamless when worn, and takes feedback from her customers and then makes actual adjustments in the next batch. She is also thorough about giving sizing advice and posts videos of herself wearing the clothing, testing the stretch/lack thereof, etc.

Now then, onto sizing.

I ordered a size extra small, as I have ordered a small in my past few items and found them too big on me. This one, however, I could have actually done a small in. It is made of a stretch crepe material, so though it's very stretchy, it's also quite firm. I have a size C bust, and being fairly petite at the moment means it's a smaller C. So, I'd almost identify as small chested at the moment. Were I any fuller in the bust, this dress may be uncomfortable.My measurements are 35", 24", 35". The arms and waist are perfectly comfortable.

I am an extra small in some clothing lines, and a small in others at the moment. I'd probably identify closest with a small, and therefore recommend ordering true to size. Also, note that the belt is very true to size!



The dress happens to match quite well with these Rock Your Baby pieces (now sold out), so we wore them on our weekly grocery shopping trip.



Tiny personal update!

I've been at my new job for a month now, and feel settled in. I've passed the worst of the learning curve that accompanies any new job, and no longer feel exhausted to the bones. That's fortunate, since University has started a new term.

I am taking Research Methods (Psychology) and Statistics II this term, so it should be information heavy. I'm getting my tablet repaired (Selene stepped on it ages ago) so that I can start studying on my lunch breaks. I am feeling torn in all directions at night, between preparing dinner, spending time with my girlies and catching up with my husband, and then sitting down to study. I feel that if I can get some of my reading done during the day (psychology courses are very book heavy), then that will help me balance better at home.

I've also started trying to eat better. Keyword is trying, as we seem to keep ending up at San Churro on the weekends. I know that my lacking energy levels has been due to my poor diet lately (not enough calories, too much diet soda, lots of veggies but hardly any fruit). I've been reading Dita Von Teese's "Beauty Mark", and though I am not one to follow celebrity diets, I love a few of her tips. She uses things like exotic mustards on chicken breasts instead of creamy sauces, and hot water with lemon and ginger in the mornings. She also eats mostly vegan throughout the day, and because I am a vegetarian, it's an ideal guide for me. I don't believe in following other people's diets obsessively, but I do see the good in gathering inspiration from like-minded individuals. So, hopefully I can eat a little healthier over the coming weeks and see my energy levels improve.

And lastly, I find myself falling in love with my girls so much more lately. Aurora's personality is really shining through of late. She is so sweet and gives the longest cuddles, and moments later can be found stomping her foot to get her way. She is extremely inquisitive and really studies people. Selene has been accepted to our chosen four-year-old kindergarten for next year, and blossoms by the day. Both of my little ones seem to be old souls (or so I've been told). I'm proud to call them mine...even when they make me want to pull my hair out, as they are so apt at doing.

Thanks for reading!

xo, Miss Betty Doll
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Monday, 3 July 2017

Glamorous Loungewear by Jools Couture


I first came across Jools Couture a year or  so ago, but somehow the brand fell off of my radar before I could place an order. It is such a shame, as had I placed an order then and there, I would have had so many more pieces by now! From everyday retro clothing to glamorous, fur lined suits, Jools Couture has a little bit of everything - and what they have is done well. Not only that, but they are made right here in Australia!

I'll start with customer service. The team at Jools Couture are incredibly professional and very sweet, excelling at everything from branding to communication. They asked every form of measurement imaginable. because as a third generation corsetière, Jools has based her line upon high quality and the perfect fit. I was sent several items in line with my preferences. and was updated on my order status by the lovely team that heads up the social media.

I can remember searching far and wide for lounge wear that was both practical and pretty several months ago. I wanted something soft to the touch, comfortable, pretty enough to greet the mailman in and glamorous enough to align with my retro style. These pieces tick every one of those boxes. The attention to detail in something as private as sleep and lounge wear is second to none in comparison with other lounge wear brands I have tried.

I believe that, if glamour is important to you, you should include it in every aspect of your life. Much like a pretty matching lingerie set, having pretty sleep and lounge wear puts a little extra sparkle into your day. It sounds pretentious, I know - but I've had everything from ill-fitting sweatpants to beautiful lounge wear sets, and I can tell you that it makes a difference in your confidence levels.

Jools Couture has several original prints, two of which I was able to showcase in this post. The Sweethearts Bow Print is available across several pieces of daywear from the line, but here I am wearing it in the form of a soft knit PJ top. There are so many aspects to love here, from the thick black collar to the dainty velvet bow. I've worn this top so many times in the few weeks that I've had it, and I hope it comes out in more prints! My favourite element has to be the pretty tie in the back, which creates a peplum-esque shape and makes the top ultra flattering.

The top came with the Bardot Sleep Pant. I think we can all say we own black leggings or lounge pants in one form or another, but this piece is unlike anything else I own. It is so silky to the touch, and so incredibly comfortable. Jools has very sensitive skin - as do I. This means her pieces are all made with this in mind, and you won't find anything that isn't divine to touch in her line.

I am wearing a size medium in both the top and pants for this one. As with anything stretchy, I could have gone smaller, but I like how the medium feels. The ties on the top mean I can adjust the fit myself, and having a looser fit means it truly feels like comfortable PJs.


 

 Next up we have the JOOLS Signature Tearose Slip Dress. This one has been my daughter Aurora's favourite, and she's been playing with the pretty shoulder embellishments as she falls asleep. Who can blame her!

The dress itself, while loungewear, is of a higher quality than you will find in any modern clothing store today. The fabric is thick and stretchy, but feels silky to the touch. It is of a different make than the above outfit. and glides over the skin differently. 

The pleated details of the skirt are my favourite. They are very flirty and very demure. Like the Sweethearts Bow PJ Top, the Tearose Slip Dress ties in the back for a well-fitted sillouette. I am wearing a size Au 8 or a size small in this one, and it fits perfectly.Whilst this piece is custom made, there are many other items on the site in this beautiful print. 










 Lastly, I have the Harlow Slip in Silver Mist. The same fit can be found here, with a pink colour and different brooch!

This one is, hands down, my favourite. It reminds me of something like a silver version of Belle's dress from Beauty and the Beast. The ruching in the bust, the beautiful jewel at the center, the careful curve at the bottom of the waist...

This is made of the same fabric as the PJ set above, and everything about it is soft and comfortable. I can't wait for summer, when I can wear this more freely. There is something about a dash of unecessary glamour that suddenly feel so necessary. I don't feel like I need beautiful pajamas.. until I slip into one and feel like a princess. This is one of those pieces that you won't want to take off.

 





Besides their gorgeous pajamas, one of my favourite sets from the brand has to be the Screen Siren velvet, fur-lined bolero and skirt set. It reminds me of one of the outfits I used to dress my Barbies in as a little girl. There is something about retro style that encapsulates many of the fashion ideals some of us strived towards as children, and it is these unique pieces that encompass that ideal.

Finally, I'd like to share a video of these pieces! I've had several requests to do videos over the years, so I thought now would be perfect timing to give it a try.



I'd like to thank the team a Jools Couture for these beautiful pieces, and my readers for (well..) reading! For a short time, the team were kind enough to offer my followers a discount on any full priced items on the Jools site! Just use BETTYDOLL30 to receive 30% off your order. Discounts like these are especially exciting with higher end brands like this, because it means you can grab an item or two and make extra sure you love it before fully investing into a pricier brand - but trust me, you'll want more. I know I do.

xo Miss Betty Doll

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