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A challenge to you, lovely readers!

So often when I post to the BLBB tumblr, I notice reblogs with comments like “I wish I could wear things like that”, or “one day I’ll dress like that” and the like.

It makes me sad. And leaves me wondering why you can’t dress “like that”.

Is it budget? Lack of confidence? Not knowing what to wear/how to style it? No occasions to wear it? Can’t find sizes to fit you?

Ladies. You can dress like that. Here’s how.

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Stocking Fillers II: Damsels and Dames, and Debstar Designs

Installment two of our Christmas Stocking Filler Highlights! Today we’re talking Damsels and Dames, and Debstar Designs!

First up, Damsels and Dames! Tani, the powerhouse behind Damsels and Dames, is a friend of mine who I first met about four years ago when she was running Blue Attic on Lygon St, Brunswick East. She’s fabulously quirky and offbeat and will happily, fiercely discuss pretty much anything you can think of. She’s a dancer, makeup artist, crafter, feminist, artist … but for the intents and purposes of this post, she’s primarily makeup artist and purveyor of cute and kawaii accessories and vegan makeup!

Earlier this year I asked Tani if she’d do my makeup for a dark arts festival I was attending in Melbourne, and the resulting makeup rendered me totally unrecogniseable. Literally: I was approaching friends at the venue and people were giving me the polite but blank look you give when a total stranger approaches you like a long lost friend. Tani is amazing and I have no reservations whatsoever in recommending her if you’re looking for a makeup artist in Victoria.

Makeup wizardry aside, Damsels and Dames sells a range of makeup for lips and eyes, pinup and tattoo charms, hair clips and pins, brooches, purses … the list goes on!

Next, Debstar Designs. Deb defines her accessories as ‘gothabilly’, and I think she’s hit the nail on the head with that tag! From the webstore;

[…] unique take on costume jewellery results in an assortment of necklaces, chokers, earrings, brooches, hair clips, shoe clips and more, featuring skulls and crossbones, razor blades, safety pins, tattoo inspired pendants, dice, anchors and much more, all beautifully handmade with crystal beads and quality metal findings.

Her accessories also include a men’s range, and a range catering specifically to the interests of Derby girls!

Deb’s accessories are quality pieces, made by hand and to order – and they’re customizable, so you can choose the colours and finishings. She also accepts custom orders, so you and Deb can work together to create a custom item from start to finish! I own the handcuffs necklace (I opted for black), and it’s a serious statement piece that I love!

Once again, when you shop with Debstar, you’re supporting a small Australian business. Feel good!

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Stocking fillers: Sailor Mouth Soaps and Jubly Umph

Kicking off the Christmas Stocking Fillers Showcase with two of my favourite Australian businesses: Sailor Mouth Soaps and Jubly Umph. I think the best compliment for a small business is when you choose to shop with them repeatedly, and both Sailor Mouth Soaps and Jubly Umph are businesses I have gone back to time and again, both for my own needs and when shopping for gifts.

First up: Jubly Umph. Direct quote from the webstore as it says almost everything that needs to be said:

Jubly-Umph is a Melbourne artist who paints pictures in watercolours and indian ink creating characters with mysterious eyes and curious occupations.

Her lovely lady heads are instantly recognisable and owning one is like being in a secret club. She is influenced by traditional tattoos, folk art and Victorian sentimental ephemera.

Jubly Umph pieces are made from 45% stainless steel, 45% resin – they’re hypoallergenic and completely waterproof, and they use stainless steel and silver coated stainless steel posts for our stud and dangle earrings.

I own all of these except the skull purse. Which I’d really like to own. HINT HINT.
The pictured items are just a fraction of the collection I’ve accumulated over the last year (minus the delightful skull purse, which I don’t yet own but would really, really like to own, hint hint, nudge nudge). They’re the sorts of items that people will comment on because they’re unique, eye catching, and beautiful quality. Postage is super speedy (everything I’ve ever ordered has arrived the next day – items are sent from Daylesford Victoria, and I’m in Melbourne, so it’s generally less than 24 hour turnaround!). And one of the best parts about turning to Jubly Umph for your Christmas stocking filler needs is that you can choose between a pouch or gift tin for packaging, and with most pieces you can opt to ‘upgrade’ to a matching set (earrings and necklace), or even choose a handbag to match a brooch!

Next: Sailor Mouth Soaps. The only soaps I use at home come from Sailor Mouth Soaps. Why? Simple: they’re cute, they smell amazing, they’re gentle on my skin, and they support ethical business practices.

A few of my favourite things …

From the shop site:

I don’t believe in using animal products, animal derived ingredients or animal testing so all of my soap are vegan and cruelty free.

Sailor Mouth Soaps is fully accredited with Choose Cruelty Free, Australia’s cruelty free regulator as well as the international group, PETA.

Cute and good for the environment! Bonus points: despite the name, you can also shop for lip balms, perfumes and home fragrances!

Just the right size to stuff into a stocking, and with the huge range there’s definitely something for everyone. As much as I love the range of colourful novelty soaps (they’re also fantastic for convincing bath-wary children to get into the tub! My son loves the dinosaurs and jolly roger soaps!), I’m actually a huge fan of the chocolate and oatmeal face soap (I have sensitive skin on my face and this is beautiful on it!) and the exfoliating raspberry and vanilla sugar soap. They smell divine and work wonders on the skin, promise!

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Christmas is Coming!

Christmas is coming! Shock, horror and great disbelief delight. I FREAKING LOVE CHRISTMAS BUT IT HAS SNUCK UP THIS YEAR.

Anyway, general Betty Le Bonbon housekeeping as the festive season approaches!

First and most importantly: our cut off date for Christmas custom skirt orders is NOVEMBER 15. If you’d like a custom skirt in time for December 25, please get your order in before November 15 – with the Christmas postal rush, we simply can’t guarantee your skirts will get to you in time if you order after this date. We’ll still be taking orders after that date, of course – just no guarantees they’ll reach you before Christmas.

So. November 15. Remember it!

Next: we’re contemplating doing another run of red circle skirts in time for Christmas, but again, it needs to happen ASAP if we’re to get these skirts to you on time. To encourage people to get their orders in, we’re going to offer a very special Christmas price of $45 if you pre-order a red circle skirt (that’s a saving of $10).

Our circle skirts are made of a beautiful stretch cotton sateen, they’re a full circle of fabric, they’re 24 inches long, feature a 2 inch deep waistband and have side seam pockets. They fasten at the back with a zip. These skirts are fabulous and we’re always receiving comments from happy customers about how versatile, well made and beautiful they are, and because of the medium weight of the fabric they’re perfect for both summer and winter! Email me at bettylebonbon@gmail.com to pre-order a skirt in your size – orders must be received by October 25!

Finally! Want to give someone the gift of Betty Le Bonbon but have no idea what to choose? We’ve got gift vouchers available! We have a $55 option, perfect for our ready to wear skirts, and a $90 option, ideal for a custom skirt. But as always, we’re flexible, and if there’s some other price point you have in mind, simply email me at bettylebonbon@gmail.com to discuss. Easy!

I’ve been lazy with blogging recently (let’s just pretend I’ve been that busy organising our upcoming dresses!), but please stay tuned over the next few weeks as we’ve got plenty coming up. Hopefully the first dresses will be available very, very soon, plus I’ll be reviewing some of my favourite Australian small businesses who provide the perfect gifts for Christmas, and I might even feature a few international options if anyone wants to make a suggestion!