One-item-a-month challenge April – Is this the most gorgeous one yet?

I’m so excited to show you what I got for my one-item-a-month challenge in April – The most gorgeous Dolce & Gabbana hydrangea bikini!

I’m totally in love. Isn’t it pretty?

And what’s even better is that I did indeed get something pre-loved. This beauty is from Vestiaire Collective. affiliate link.

Now you might think that underwear and beachwear is a bit unhygienic to buy second-hand? And I normally totally agree that it’s one of the few items of clothing I would rather buy new. However, sometimes people get gifts or buy the wrong size or just decide they don’t like it, even before they wear it.

I was incredibly lucky to find this gem with tags and the protective plastic still attached. It was completely unused and I got it at a great price.

The size was a bit of a gamble, and I have actually never worn a high waisted bikini-bottom before. So I was stoked when it arrived and it fit me like a glove.

This is probably going down as my favorite purchase this year so far. And with summer just around the corner, PPW (Price Per Wear) should be nothing but great.

I have to admit that the beach here in Hossegor isn’t really the warmest. It’s about 20 °C, and pretty windy. I was the only person actually braving it in a bikini on the whole beach. But hey, I’m a Swedish viking, desperately needed some sun on my legs and I had an epic Dolce & Gabbana hydrangea bikini. It was going to happen.

So with a bit of clever positioning wind-wise, it was completely fine. Ace was dressed in his little UV-suit, enjoying digging holes and playing with the sand. I got to actually read a book and relax. It was bliss.

So what is your April one-item-a-month purchase? Anyone else who got something pre-loved maybe?

Honestly, this challenge is doing so much good both for me mentally and my wardrobe. I have completely snapped out of trend hysteria and are fully focused on creating a sustainable wardrobe instead.

I want to be that person who always has something to wear. If you only have items you truly love that actually fits in with the rest of your wardrobe, you will be spoilt for choice as soon as you open the door to your closet.

It’s not too late to join me, there are plenty of months left of 2019. And it doesn’t have to be one item, it could be two (maybe one new and one pre-loved?). You decide!

Would you buy underwear or bikinis pre-loved if the tags and the plastic were still on? 

You can find my January item here, my February item here and my March item here. 

My Dolce & Gabbana hydrangea bikini is from Vestiaire Collective. – affiliate link


Mindful Monday 29th April

Mindful Monday 29th April - My mantra, goal, focus, and vision this week

I might still be on holiday, but I am not missing out on my Mindful Monday post.

These things are not just for work, they are for life. Goals, visions, and dreams should always be at the forefront of our minds. And who says they have to be work-related at all? Most of my dreams have nothing to do with my career.

At the moment we are staying in a beachfront villa in Hossegor France. We are incredibly lucky to get to stay with our good friends The Ibanez family. Not only did they invite us to their grand castle-like mansion in Dax, but we also got to go to the converted stone barn in Mendy and now their amazing beach house in Hossegor. Imagine having 3 houses like this, it’s just incredible.

Our timing to come and see them could not have been better since Raf just got the job as the new manager for the French rugby team. We couldn’t be happier and have been celebrating all weekend.

Garth knows the family from when Raf and he played rugby together for London Wasps. Garth was actually somewhat of a “manny” and helped Sandra with the four kids when they lived in London. It was a great way for him to get some stability in his life and for Sandra to get some help. So it was a win-win situation. And now we have the privilege of calling them our friends.

They could honestly not be better hosts. We are terribly spoilt!

Today we spent the whole day on the beach and Ace is in heaven. He has never been to the ocean before and is in love with the sand and the waves. It’s a bit cold to go for a swim, but he plays at the waters edge wearing his super cute little UV suit.

Mindful Monday 29th April - My mantra, goal, focus, and vision this week

This is my mantra, goal, focus, and vision this week

My mantra this week – “Be present”. I’m the kind of person who likes planning my time down to every little detail. At times I end up having a hard time focusing on what I’m doing. Since my brain has already moved on to the next thing. At the moment we are on holiday and are creating memories for our little family to share together. So I need to let go of everything else and allow myself to actually experience my time with them without distractions.

My affirmation this week – “There is enough time in the day to do it all”. Holiday before kids and holiday after kids cannot be compared. I used to be able to do pretty much whatever I fancied whenever I wanted to do it. Not so much anymore. These days it’s Ace who calls the shots and I’m always busy making sure he is fed, changed, stimulated, safe and has slept properly. I still have a few things I want to do for me, like to read a book, get some sun on my pasty legs and get a bit of work done on my laptop. The trick is to find little pockets of time now and then during the day when I can take a minute and focus on the things I like to do.

My goal this week – I’m at the moment putting together an action plan for my social channels. It’s importatn that I know what direction I’m heading and why. So I make moodboards, write down my goals, and make a plan to get there.

I have noticed that my productivity cycle is closely linked with my biological month. I tend to have two weeks of pondering and thinking about stuff, one week when I put pen to paper to make a plan and then the last week is when I make it all happen. It totally makes sense to follow our own monthly cycles to make sure we do the right thing at the right time. We are better at certain things at specific times of the month. So it would be silly not to do it then.

Mindful Monday 29th April - My mantra, goal, focus, and vision this week

My dream of the week – Getting to stay in these 3 completely different houses has made me realize even more that we need a second home. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy, just close to nature. I have a strong urge to get away from a busy London, to inhale clean air, go for walks in nature and just de-stress.

My vision this week – At some point in the next few years, Ace and any future children will be going to school on a full-time basis and I will have my time back again. This is when I want to step up in my career again. Until then my main job is to figure out exactly what this means. What makes me happy, what am I good at and where is my passion?

My focus this week – To enjoy my holiday and let go of everything else. I have even put a holiday reply on my email and just go into my inbox flag the messages I need to reply to next week.

The event of the week – On Friday I will be getting on a train and head to a secret destination. I can’t tell you guys where yet. But I’m very much looking forward to it. Garth will stay here in France with Ace until Sunday and I’m coming back to London again on Monday.

Mindful Monday 29th April - My mantra, goal, focus, and vision this week

My lesson from last week – It’s a bit of a silly one this week. But from now on I have to remember to always pack at least one pair of cozy socks every time I travel. I have been needing them every evening so far. I’m always cold at night, no matter where in the world I am.

My everyday-luxury this week – Is to get to live by the beach for two more days. I love the sound of the waves at night, it’s like conditioner for the soul.

My inspiration this week – I’m reading the book “21 lessons for the 21st century – (affiliate link)” at the moment and it is fascinating. It’s by no means an easy read. I find myself having to go back and re-read certain parts to make sure I have completely got it. But the ideas and facts in this book are so current and interesting. I can’t recommend it enough.

What is your mantra, goal, focus, and vision this week?

Get my dress here, my sunglasses here  and my shoes here – Affiliate links

Mindful Monday 29th April - My mantra, goal, focus, and vision this week

My ultimate travel wardrobe for our trip to France

My ultimate travel wardrobe for our trip to France - Tess Montgomery

Blue and white dressCaroline Costas , bag – Marni, blue sandals – Alice & Olivia, top- Filippa K, bathing suit – Duskii, blazer – Iris & Ink, shorts – Vanessa Bruno . Maxidress – Melissa Odabash. ScarfDiane von Furstenberg, leopard dress – Rachel Zoe , earrings – Iris & Ink , sunglasses – Stella McCartney, bikini – Lisa Marie Fernandez,  jumpsuit – Iris and Ink, sandals – Micheal Kors . – affiliate links.

I hate packing… I get so frustrated.

I do everything right. I take my time, I put together and try on my outfits and I plan my travel wardrobe very well. However, it’s also the time I realize exactly what is missing in my travel wardrobe.

“…if I only had that blazer to go with those trousers…” “The dress I saw the other day would be perfect with these shoes. “..etc

I end up getting very annoyed with not finding exactly what I had in mind in my closet. Garth often finds me sitting inside a half packed suitcase on the floor, researching my dream travel wardrobe instead of actually packing.

Obviously, this is not an efficient way of packing at all, but it does help me plan my future purchases. Just as I’m building a sustainable wardrobe for every-day wear, I also need a couple of smaller travel wardrobes.

I want to find items that I will want to wear for years and years to come. Things that don’t feel dated after a season or two. I also want them to travel well, be versatile and fit nicely with the rest of my travel wardrobe. It’s actually quite a lot to ask from a piece of clothing. So it is important that I choose well.

I hate having too many bags and prefer to choose a couple of colors and make sure all my separate items match nicely together. I want to be able to mix and match depending on my mood, but still be able to carry my own suitcase… (hrm…well, at least Garth should be able to carry it).

When I make these dream collages, I always make sure not to pick anything too expensive. This time I put the limit at £350. In case I would fall in love with something. I haven’t picked my item for May yet…

This time I chose one more cool and elegant palette and one colorful and fun version. The dress in the middle would work for both and is a great example of a versatile item that you can dress up or down depending on how you style it.

All the items above are from THE OUTNET affiliate link. It’s a great page if you like me like to buy quality, but don’t care too much about trends and what is in season at the moment. I shop for investments, not to be “cool” at the moment. I have found many great items from THE OUTNET, and it’s a great place to shop when you are building your sustainable wardrobe. 

What would you pick for your travel wardrobe, the left or the right side?


Mindful Wednesday 24th April – My mantra, affirmation, vision, and goal this week

Mindful Wednesday 24th April - My mantra, affirmation, vision, and goal this week

I know it’s not Monday today… heck, it’s not even Tuesday. But I blame the long Easter weekend and it is, in fact, my first and only “work-day” this week. So Mindful Wednesday it is!

We have spent the last few days with the hubby’s family in Somerset. Visiting the most beautiful gallery, eating great food and joining in on the mayhem that is a 6-year old’s birthday party. Oh lord, I had no idea what we have ahead of us!

I did secretly enjoy it a bit though, all the kids were so excited and happy, including our little munchkin. He was a lot younger but still joined in on the mini-disco, puppet and magic show and shrieked of delight when the bubble and foam machine came out. He conked out in the car on our way back to London and didn’t wake up until 8 this morning. Result!

So today I’m in work mode and doing my best to get as much as possible done before we head off to France tomorrow. More holiday for us, I feel very spoilt.

This week might be a short one, but I still need my mantra, affirmation, vision, and goal:

My mantra this week  – ”I’m a YES-woman” – We are spending the rest of this week in the south west of France with a family Garth knows very well. They are quite the sporty bunch and I have heard whispers of everything from surfing to flyfishing. It sounds exactly like the kind of stuff I would love to do. I have been fishing since I was a kid and one of my goals in life is to get better at surfing. However, it’s easy to become the Mom that gets left behind with the child. So I’m making it my mission to at least get to take part in 50% of the fun stuff.

My affirmation this week  – ”I can be good at my job AND have days off”. Today is my only work day this week and the rest we will be traveling. So I will have to let go of my expectations to produce as much content as I do in a normal week. I have to have a slow week now and then to rest up, or I will be right back in the hospital with a stomach ulcer again. So my mission this week is to allow myself to do a little bit less than normal (expect 2-3 posts from me here on the blog instead of 3-4). I will try to make up for it on my Instastories instead.

My goal this week – Is to enjoy our family holiday. I’m really looking forward to going to Dax and it’s extra fun to get to go with local friends. It’s always better to explore an area when you have all insider information.

My dream of the week – It’s still 5 years away, but I’m dreaming of a big party for our 10-year wedding anniversary. Rent out a big castle and have a great big bash. I don’t need to do the whole renew the vows thing, just get all of our friends and family together. This year we will be halfway there. Go us!

My vision this week – A proper at-home-office. 4 days blocked off every week for work. 3 days for solid family time. No more working at night and maybe go down to about 70%. I rather want to do my absolute best at a few things than do loads of stuff half-assed.

Mindful Wednesday 24th April - My mantra, affirmation, vision, and goal this week

My focus this week – Live life. Enjoy the moments, Eat and sleep well. Have conversations, explore and try new things. 

The event of the week – France! We will be in Dax, the mountains and on the beach. I cannot wait!

My lesson from last week – It’s funny how life throws you stuff and you don’t always know where they come from. Last week I felt like things were happening behind-the-scenes that I wasn’t aware of. I thought I was doing ok with something and it turns out I was doing really well. It shows that we don’t always know 100% what’s going on and can get nice little surprises now and then.

My everyday-luxury this week– I have just had a mani/pedi and some new shellac. I love taking the time to listen to a podcast, get pampered and just relax for an hour.

My inspiration this week – I recently saw a sentence on Instagram that really resonated with me – ”Be the kind of woman who cheers on and celebrates other women behind their backs even if they have no idea”. Great right? I love the idea of supporting someone behind their back instead of putting them down. That’s what good people do. How powerful is that?!

What’s your mantra, affirmation, vision, and goal this (short) week?

Photo – Ida Zander


Buy Less, choose well – How we can build a more sustainable wardrobe in 3 steps

Buy Less, choose well - How we can build a more sustainable wardrobe

As soon as you mention the word sustainable, peoples eyes tend to glaze over and thoughts of what to have for dinner start popping into their heads.

Yes, it’s kind of a boring subject. Sometimes.

The thought of a sustainable wardrobe might fill our heads with ideas of hippie kaftans, yoga pants, and clothes made from hemp and bamboo (don’t knock it until you have tried it…)

But that’s only such a small part of it.

To have a truly sustainable wardrobe you don’t have to limit your shopping to a few brands or look on the other side of the globe. It’s actually not limiting at all to shop sustainable.

Just follow these 3 rules for a truly sustainable wardrobe.

1. Buy less, but buy better – It doesn’t have to be from any particular brand. You just have to love it and wear it for a long time. Skip the trendy “I wear it for a month when it’s in and then toss it” stuff. Instead, hone in on your truly unique personal style and get items that fit you and your wardrobe perfectly. Make sure to wear it to death before you replace it.

It’s not always about what you buy, but sometimes more about what you don’t buy. Skip the 5 items from the high street and buy one thing you love love love by a designer and you are on your way to a truly sustainable wardrobe.

Buy Less, choose well - How we can build a more sustainable wardrobe

2. Do your research – If you don’t have the budget for designer clothes. Don’t worry, I won’t ask you to vegetable-dye your own fabric and make your own harem pants just yet.

Instead, choose well within the budget you do have. Some high street brands got great sustainable ranges. Like H&M Conscious Collection – affiliate link. Look for fair trade, ecological and transparent labor policies. Try to find out where the clothes are made and buy from countries where you know the workes will earn a fair wage for the job put in.

There are of course more or less sustainable fabrics, but if you are new to the idea. Just get yourself a few bits in organic cotton and you can go from there. It’s an interest that has to grow on you to actually be sustainable for your lifestyle.

And if your favorite brand ticks none of these boxes? Be vocal! Press for change. If more of us speak up, eventually they will have to listen right?

3. Borrow, swap, mend, sell and recycle – Imagine getting to dive into your friend’s wardrobe and pull out your favorite pieces to call our own for a few months? Why not, it’s not just sustainable, it’s loads of fun too!

Sell anything you have fallen out of love with on sites like Vestiaire Collective.– affiliate link. And why not buy something new second-hand with the cash? Pre-loved is the shit! Not only do you end up with designer gear to high street prices, but you are also doing the environment a big favor.

Mend broken things, organize a clothes swap or why not start a WhatsApp group with all the girls in your size who you could pool dresses to go to weddings in? (I’m in one, they are brilliant. I’m never ever wearing the same dress and neither are my friends!)

The thing about sustainable is that most of the time, it actually ends up saving us money. And you wouldn’t know by looking at your wardrobe that it is in fact sustainable. (Even though you should indeed brag about it).

Buy Less, choose well - How we can build a more sustainable wardrobe

Sustainability is becoming a lot more normalized and more and more fashionistas and brands are joining in. Until we are 100% there it’s up to us to do our best to help the progress move forward.

I’m hoping I have inspired you guys to keep these 3 simple rules in mind when you are out there shopping for your sustainable wardrobe. 

Photo – Ida Zander. My dress is by H&M Conscious collection – affiliate link


Have I found my new favorite lipstick?

Charlotte Tilbury "Pillow Talk" - Have I found my new everyday lipstick?

I’m the first to admit that I don’t vary my makeup as much as I should do. Especially as an influencer, I would probably benefit from trying out a few more different makeup looks.

As a model, I have worn every makeup look under the sun. So it’s not a lack of imagination that is to blame.

The thing is, I play favorites.

When I find something I really like I wear that product to death. All my favorite makeup pens are about a cm long and I can’t even sharpen them with a sharpener anymore and have resorted to using a knife. If I love it, none of it will go to waste.

There are, however, those days when I look at my reflection in the mirror in the morning. And realize the same old face with the same old makeup is staring back at me again. And I get annoyed with how boring I am.

So I go out and get something new.

I have been using the same lip pen and stick by Bobbi Brown for years. I always re-buy the exact same items, and to be fair one of the most common questions I get on my blogs and on Instagram is what I got on my lips (It’s this pen in “ballet pink” and this lipstick in “Blush” btw- adlinks).

I feel almost bad putting it on for yet another shoot… So I decided to find an alternative.

Last week I went to a very lovely event for the  “The Royal Ascot Millinery Collective” in Fenwick. It was a presentation of some incredibly beautiful hats you could choose to wear to Ascot (or royal weddings, if you got any of those coming up…). It was a very elegant affair.

I arrived uncharacteristically early and found myself browsing the beauty counter in Fenwick while I was waiting for the event to start. I remembered hearing good things about Charlotte Tilbury’s own brand and especially the “Pillow Talk” series. I don’t own any makeup by her yet. So I headed over to sneak a quick peek.

I came away with Charlotte Tilbury “Pillow Talk” lip pen and matching lipstick. It’s similar to my Bobbi Brown favorite, but just that little bit darker, slightly browner and … a bit more 90s?

The slightly browner pigments give this combo a more elegant and grown-up feeling than more pink shades.

Charlotte Tilbury "Pillow Talk" - Have I found my new everyday lipstick?

So far I’m super happy with my buy. It’s the perfect shade for me to alternate with my Bobbi Brown favorite for my everyday makeup. I find the lip pen to be just creamy enough and it really stays on too. ( I still have a heart on my arm after taking the photos for this post yesterday).

I’m terrible at shooting swatches by the way. I never seem to be able to get the light to reflect the true color properly. So please imagine the shades on my arm a little bit pinker than they come across in my photo.

The only negative feedback I have is that lipstick is a tad bit too matte for my liking. But with a little dab of lip balm on top, it’s perfect. I don’t like shiny lips anyway,  I prefer mine dewy with a bit of glow.

Now after buying “Pillow Talk” I’m finding myself curious about the rest of the Charlotte Tilbury products. I have heard about an amazingly glow-y primer  (adlink) and most people seem to like the foundation (adlink). Do you have any favorites to recommend? Please leave a comment!

You can buy Charlotte Tilbury “Pillow Talk” lip cheat pen here – adlink. And Charlotte Tilbury “Pillow Talk” Matte revolution lipstick here – adlink

Charlotte Tilbury "Pillow Talk" - Have I found my new everyday lipstick?

Mindful Monday 15th April – My mantra, focus, goal, and vision this week

Mindful Monday 15th April - My mantra, focus, goal, and vision this week

Hello lovelies, how are you today?

It’s Monday again and we have a short week ahead of us. I’m looking forward to easter. Not because I’m particularly religious, but because it’s a great opportunity to spend time with family. I love my work, but I love spending time with Ace and Garth more. So I can’t wait to have some time together.

I’m so happy for all the feedback I have had regarding my Mindful Monday posts. It is my most personal post on this blog and I’m happy to hear so many of you find it inspiring. To be honest I kind of almost write it as therapy for myself. It’s incredibly important to reflect and evaluate on a regular basis. So if you haven’t tried it yet, now is a great time to start.

This is my mantra, focus, goal, and vision this week

My mantra this week  – “At my own pace”. I am one of those people who very easily become a bit overexcited when I have a new idea. I want it all to happen straight away and I forget to plan my execution. Often I end up keeping it up for a while and then the lack of preparation becomes tangible and I quit. So now I have decided that I need to learn how to take my time. I have to plan properly and execute only when I’m actually ready. It’s such a fine line between hurrying into a project and leaving it too long and never get it off the ground.

My affirmation this week – “Tess is back”. Last week really showed me that I can have most things from my “old ” life even now when I’m a Mom. It’s actually really cool how quickly things have begun to go back to normal after Ace turned a year. It’s such a gamechanger. I wish I would have known this the first few weeks as a new mother. It would have brought me comfort and made me stress less.

My goal this week – I had an “all in” week last week. I was everywere and did everything. It was great. But now I’m a bit behind on admin and need to put my head down and work on my laptop this week. It’s important I collect my thoughts, organize and re-focus again. I try to keep an every-other-week schedule if possible. One week I step on the gas and the next one I cruise.

My dream of the week – I’m dreaming of hiring an assistant again. I love the creative part of my work. But I’m just not as big of a fan of the admin. I’m not really ready to hand things over yet, but soon.

My vision this week – “Serenity, stilness, 9 hours of unbroken sleep, healthy meals, time to breath, move my body and just go with the flow. I have a vision to dedicate one week twice a year to myself. I want to go on a retreat, maybe yoga or similar where I both get to move my body and relax. The idea is to create a pocket of time to only focus on myself. For now Ace is a bit young for me to leave for such a long time, but maybe next year.

Mindful Monday 15th April - My mantra, focus, goal, and vision this week

My focus this week – I’m coming up to a crossroads where I will have to make a choice. If I will go back to modeling again, something else will have to give. I don’t want to lose out on my time with Ace and I spend my working hours on the blog and other social media channels. It’s time to evaluate what actually brings me joy (and of course an income). I won’t be able to do it all so something will have to go. Possibly the Swedish blog. I’m just not sure I’m ready to give it up after 11 years. This is a conundrum I will have to chip away at for a while.

The event of the week – I’m going to meet the founder of a Mom-network here in London tomorrow. There are many of these kinds of organizations in London and I always meant to join one. I just haven’t found the perfect fit yet. I quite like the sound of this one, so hopefully, it will be what I’m looking for.

My lesson from last week– I’m not too old to book my dream photo-shoots. I wasn’t sure what modelling was going to be like after I had Ace, but apparently there is still some juice left in this old lady.

My everyday-luxury this week– Friday is the start of a 19-day long break for Garth. I can’t wait! It’s always so nice to have the family together in one place. Especially since Garth has been traveling lots recently. We are staying in London for the week of easer and then we head off to Dax in France to visit our friends The Ibanez family. I’m so excited about this spring!

My inspiration this week – This week I’m inspired by this clip by Jay Shetty. It’s about the importance of re-charging. I think we all can benefit from making a few changes in our routines to live a better life.

What’s your mantra, focus, goal, and vision this week?

 Photo – Ida Zander. Location – Aux Mervellieuxde Fred. 


This is the season of the power-suits

This is the season of the power-suits

You probably know me well enough by now to have me down as a pastel-girl who loves dresses and heels.

And I do.

But this spring I’m also heavily flirting with my androgynous side. Because even though I’m a girlie girl, I got this massive thing for oversized power-suits at the moment.

They make me feel like I’m in charge of my life. Like I got it all together and figured out. I feel cool and relaxed at the same time. And I wear them with sneakers, so I’m comfier than ever. I could honestly wear one every day.

It is also the perfect transitional outfit from day to night. I just add a pair of heels if I want to feel a bit fancier. Or why not a red lip? It’s quite a grown-up look that I only recently felt like could actually pull off.

You have to wear a suit with a laid back assertiveness. 100% self-confidence is required. It might sound hard but it comes naturally as soon as you put it on.

As long as you pick a good material like linen, wool or cotton, a suit doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of affordable options out there. However, it is a great investment if you can afford a high-quality one. The cut will be that bit sharper and you could love it forever.

This is the season of the power-suits

I prefer my suits slightly oversized for a less business-like and more relaxed silhouette. At the moment stripes and chequers are really trendy and I love the slightly retro feel of the grey one in the photos.

The regatta style version is really fun for the summer. It’s a bit more daring and I would probably be more likely to wear it daytime out and about with friends than in a bar at night.

I like to style my suits with a t-shirt or a silky strappy top. But it would also look amazing with a turtle neck. If the blazer is big enough I would even try to fit a slightly chunkier jumper under until it gets a little bit warmer outside.

You will never be underdressed in a suit. Or overdressed for that matter. I prefer to wear mine with minimal makeup and understated hair. And let the outfit do all the talking.

This is the season of the power-suits

Another thing I really like is mocktails. I don’t need alcohol to enjoy a drink. These days most bars make great virgin versions of the classics. There are even botanical versions of different spirits that almost taste the same, like seedlip.

I just don’t like the way alcohol makes me feel the next day. I will still have a regular drink now and then, but honestly, mocktails do the trick. Who needs a hangover anyway?

If you feel like power-suits might be for you, Then check out the grey one here and the striped one here (adlinks) They are totally affordable and impossibly cool. 

This is the season of the power-suits

Why I’m “still” modeling in my 30s

Why I'm "still" modeling in my 30s

I have been modeling for as long as I remember. 

There are photos of me as a young girl with my hair in “space buns” wearing tie-dye in catalogs for H&M in the 90s. I did my first commercial when I was 5. When people ask me how I started modeling I tend to answer that I never really did. It was more my Mum’s decision than mine.

Don’t get me wrong, I did (and still do) absolutely love it.
I loved the idea of getting styled and made up into someone else for a day. I got to pretend to be all kinds of fun people. Running on beaches in Mallorca or jumping on trampolines in Hamburg. I got to go to loads of fun places and meet lots of nice people.

I have always felt really natural and at home in front of the camera. To be the center of attention might sound like a nightmare to some, but to me, who always had to share my parent’s attention with my 4 siblings. It was a massive treat. AND I got paid for it!

So when it came to “picking my profession” as a grown-up. It never really was a conscious choice. I automatically just kept doing what I always did. Just in different countries. I started off in New York as an 18-year old. This waiflike long-haired girl with huge hazel eyes. They still made me lose weight… it was right at the end of the heroin chic era. We were all constantly hungry.

Why I'm "still" modeling in my 30s

I’m only 5’6, so I should actually be too small to model professionally. But for some reason, it just worked out.

At first, probably because I was naturally really skinny. 45 kg to 166 cm. So as long as no one stood next to me in the photo or the trouser legs were too long, I still looked tall. Later the petite industry boomed and I was one of the few models that cashed in.

When I moved to London in 2005 I hit jackpot with my agency MOT Models. They decided to take a chance on me and believed I would do well. And I did. I quickly became one of their most hired models and did everything from big beauty campaigns to worldwide tv-commercials. I traveled almost every week to new destinations for shoots and had the time of my life.

For 12 years this went on. All through my twenties and until I turned 34. I actually booked some of my best jobs over 30. If someone would have told me this as an 18-year old I would never have believed them.

Then at 34, I fell pregnant with Ace. A complete game changer. I did do a bit of pregnancy modeling. But as soon as my little boy was born I knew I life wasn’t going to be the same again.

Why I'm "still" modeling in my 30s

I honestly wasn’t sure that I would want to get back into modeling again.

I felt too old, too broken and too removed from my old self. My family needed me and I didn’t want to have to leave my baby even for a day.

But then after a year, I got an email from one of my foreign agencies asking to book me for a shoot abroad. Body-wise I was almost back to normal (I have DR, so my abs were still separated by a couple of centimeters. But nothing no one except me would notice). And I thought why not? I went, did the job, came back and got a phone call from the agent telling me the client was unhappy.

Apparently, I was “fat”… I was 35, had a baby a year earlier, weighed 48 kg and was “fat”.

Of course, I dumped the agent straight away. The client was a cheek who was trying to get away with not paying. It happens quite often in certain countries. It’s the agent’s job to make sure they don’t get away with it. However, this particularly nasty one not only failed in that respect but also seemed to have been hiding behind the door the day manners and professionalism was handed out.

Having this experience as my first job “back” was not ideal. So I decided that no, modeling is not for me anymore. I can’t take the drama. I quit. So I ignored any casting calls, lost another foreign agency because of it and put all my focus on my family and the blogs.

Why I'm "still" modeling in my 30s

Luckily MOT didn’t give up on me but kept sending me casting requests. They invited me to go and see them and finally suggested that I would at least do some test shots so I could update my model portfolio. Reluctantly I agreed.

I did the shoot, had an amazing photographer and team and got reminded of how much I have always enjoyed my job.

Because modeling is so much more than looking pretty in photos. It’s a super social job where you get to meet people from all over the world. We are also actors and chameleons transforming into anything the client needs. I like to see myself as a canvas who the team will paint their needs and expectations onto and then I get to pick the matching personality to go with it. Most of all it’s really fun and no day is the other alike. The variation is endless.

In my 20s I never thought I would model over 35. I always saw it as something that would eventually just end and something else would take over. And I thought that time came when I had a baby.

Why I'm "still" modeling in my 30s

But I’m back.

I have moved from main board to 30s board, I do 4 castings a week instead of 8 a day. But the jobs are bigger and there are fewer of us competing for the work. Lots of models have moved on, so we who are still here are big fishes in a small pond.

It actually really suits me to model now. I get to spend my precious time with Ace. But I also get to go on great shoots where I have a day “off” being a mom and get to be Tess doing what Tess always have done best – stand in front of the camera.

It gives me a bit of breathing space in my otherwise busy schedule. It feels great to get to block off a day and just go with the flow. I have a newfound appreciation for my job. To call it something “transitional” is wrong. If I have been at something for this long, it’s a solid career. And I know I’m really good at it.

I have no idea how long it will last, but I’m hoping I got a good few years still in me. Maybe I will even make it to classics board?

For now, I’m just incredibly happy and lucky to have been booked by two of the world’s biggest brands in their respective fields this week. Tess is back!

Photos from my latest test shoot by Tomila Katsman. 


Mindful Monday 8th April – My focus, mantra, inspiration, and vision this week.

Tess Montgomery - blogger

I don’t know what happened, but all of a sudden I’m hitting all of my goals.

Stuff I thought was big, maybe even too big, is coming true. I’m almost having to pinch myself.

A few weeks ago I made a list of brands I would like to work with. Both as goals, but also to keep my focus where it should be. I really wanted to zone in on what I want to be about.

And in the last two weeks, almost from nowhere, these companies one by one are getting in touch. Talk about manifesting!

We are talking my favorite Swedish designer, a really amazing beauty brand and one of my favorite websites. All in one week. And on the modeling side, it’s the same. I have booked a dream job shooting on Friday and might be working for another amazing client on Wednesday too.

It shows that there is something to putting stuff out there. There is some kind of law of attraction going on. Because guys, this shit is happening!

This is my focus, mantra, inspiration, and vision this week;

My mantra this week  – “This is fun!” I have loads of really cool stuff going on and quite a few things this week. When I look at my schedule I feel a bit stressed about the sheer amount of things on there. But then I have to remind myself that I am doing exactly what I want to do and that It will all be amazingly fun.

My affirmation this week – “Everything I dream about is coming true” I really feel like I’m on a roll. The bow of life pulled me back and now I’m soaring through the sky towards my goals. It’s kind of weird that it seems to be happening both with the blog and modeling at the same time.

My goal this week – This weekend I want to be able to look back at this week and feel that I did good. I’m hoping that I will have managed to consistently keep the highest level of performance. It will be a little bit of an energy/time struggle between the blog and modeling. But nothing I can’t handle.

My dream of the week – I’m dreaming of living close to the ocean. I love the water. If I could live on a beach with lovely warm water to swim in every day, I would. I want to fall asleep to the sound of waves and wake up smelling the salt in the air. Water has this amazing calming effect on me.

Mindful Monday 8th April - My focus, mantra, inspiration, and vision

My vision this week – I’m at Allbright (or similar) working away on my laptop, with a lovely cup of coffee next to me. Ace is at school and his younger sibling is at the nursery. There is a definitive line between where work ends and when family time begins. I have the perfect balance in life. This is one of my main goals I’m working towards.

My focus this week – This week I’m focusing on work. Garth will be back and has some time off so I will step on the gas now when I have the opportunity to.

The event of the week – Tough one! It’s either the modeling job I’m shooting on Friday or something a bit different, but fun I did today – Floating. I haven’t done it before and I thought I would share a bit more from my experience here on the blog tomorrow.

My lesson from last week– I could be a single parent. I wouldn’t want to. But I would be completely fine. It’s nice to know that I can manage on my own if Garth has to go away for a longer period of time for work.

My everyday-luxury this week– The floating experience today was definitely a luxury. It was a bit different than I imagined it would be, but more on that subject tomorrow.

My inspiration this week – This TED talk about standing up for yourself really resonated with me.

Ok, now do this. Copy this blog post. Remove my answers and Voila – you got your own template for a Mindful Monday list. It’s really useful to write down your focus, mantra, inspiration, and vision every week. 

Photo – Ida Zander. Skirt – Mango (on sale), sunglasses – Asos, body – Asos. (adlinks)