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)

 

The reason why we at times fail to be the best versions of ourselves

The reason why we at times fail to be the best versions of ourselves

Have you ever thought about how the people we choose to spend our time with actually affect our lives?

Actually, not even just the people we choose to have around us, but also the ones we have no option but to spend time with.

Different people make us feel different things and we act accordingly. Some bring out the best in us and others the worst. Some give us energy and others leave us feeling drained and tired.

There are those who listen to our ideas and say “I believe in you” “go for it”. Whilst a certain kind of person will interrupt us mid-sentence with all the reasons why the idea won’t work. It’s interesting how we can be really frustrated and prickly or soft and easy going depending on who we are hanging out with. Some people just bring out the best versions of ourselves.

We act differently depending on who we are around. Still, we are the same person.

The way someone makes us feel will affect the way we act around them. It’s logical, but we don’t always manage to step out of the situation and look at it from an objective standpoint. So then we end up blaming ourselves.

I really try to listen inwards and choose people around me with care. Who I want to be around has a lot to do with how they make me feel as a person. If I’m calm and safe around them, I will be a lot better version of myself compared to if I’m feeling on edge or criticized

It might sound like a selfish way of thinking. But in the end, we all need to get to feel like we are good people. We want to feed and grow the better parts of our personalities. We want to be the best versions of ourselves.

This is why it’s so important to pick the right life partner. If we choose someone who we don’t feel supported by, then we might spend most of our time cultivating our bad sides. If you are unhappy in your relationship, you might even start to feel like you are a bitter and angry person. Even though it’s just a small part of your personality that has been magnified because of the situation.

It’s important to remember that we have a really big self, filled with layers of personality and traits. We are capable of feeling all kinds of emotions, good and bad. And to act in many different ways. All of these feelings are us.

But we don’t have to feel all of them all the time. We can make choices if we are aware of how we are affected and why.

If someone leaves us with a bad feeling. Maybe, they make us feel small or uncomfortable. Then it’s a sign to be aware of. Do you have anyone like this in your close circle of friends or family? Maybe a work colleague or a family friend?

Sometimes all we need to do is to acknowledge that they have this effect on us. Then next time they might not be able to influence in the same way since we now are aware. We can predict what is going to happen and change the way we react.

Just because we react badly to someone else doesn’t mean they are bad people. We are just not all compatible.

We don’t have to stop spending time with friends or family who does make us feel like a lesser version of ourselves. As long as we are aware of what is going on and why we feel the way we do around them. This way we can decide to act differently around these people. This could start a chain reaction and maybe the relationship will change for the better.

If I look back a few years, I can now see exactly why I always felt a bit uneasy spending time with that particular “friend” or why I wasn’t at all sad when I broke up with a boyfriend I thought I really loved.

I find it really interesting to reflect on what actually shapes us in our lives. And see what we can do to make us better. To make sure we become the best versions of ourselves and live our best lives. 

Photo – Ida Zander 

 

This is the only everyday eyeshadow palette you will ever need

This is the only everyday eyeshadow palette you will ever need

I’m not really a makeup girl. You will never find me in a full Instagram makeup. It’s just not my style.

I care a lot more about what I do to my skin to make it healthier and look better because it’s happier. (Like using retinol)

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t use makeup, because I do. I just use smaller amounts and fewer products. I tend to find my favorites and stick with them for a really long time. When I buy makeup I try to find everyday heroes rather than new cool colors and snazzy tools. (Even though it can be pretty fun to go all in for a part make up now and then.)

I like skin and I want my skin to look like skin. Sometimes I see people with almost like a silky blanket over their face and it looks very generic. It removes those little charming imperfections that make us individuals. Beauty cannot be beautiful without flaws. Flawless beauty is boring.

So I much rather find products that highlight what I like about my face than those who cover what I don’t like.

This is the only everyday eyeshadow palette you will ever need

I have also had the absolute pleasure of having had my makeup done by hundreds of different makeup artists. It’s a perk from over 30 years of modeling. I have even had the privilege to work with some of the big names like Charlotte Tilbury and Mary Greenwell.

The main difference between the makeup artists that are really skilled, compared to the ones who yet has more to learn, is amounts. The really good makeup artists I have worked with know how to do a lot with a little. I never felt caked up, dry or unnatural in their make up. Only like a better version of me.

This is one of the reasons I myself rather have fewer products but instead, choose really well.

I have been on an eternal quest of trying to find the perfect everyday eyeshadow palette. I can’t be bothered with lots of loose shadows, but prefer mine pressed and as a part of a palette. I also don’t want to have to carry around (or pay for) lots of shades I won’t use. So I’m quite a difficult customer.

But now finally I have found the one. My new everyday hero for eye shadows – “Nude on Nude” by Bobbi Brown (- Adlink) It’s, of course, a limited edition, because all good products seem to be. So I will have to get myself another one soon before they sell out and never come back again.

This is the only everyday eyeshadow palette you will ever need

The shades are a little bit warmer than I’m used to. But not enough to bother me even the slightest.

For an everyday makeup I use “Bone” under the brow and in the inner corner of my eye. I then brush on “Frappe” as a base all over the lid. I continue by smudging in “Milk chocolate” under the eye and along the lash line out towards the outer corner of my eye. To lift the eye a bit I dab a bit of “Burnt amber” on the middle of the lid.

Et voila, a very quick and pretty foolproof everyday eye.

If I’m heading out to something a bit more glamorous. I instead mix “Frappe” with “Buff” and after following the same procedure with “Milk chocolate” I also add some “Black chocolate” to make the look a little bit more intense. Both “Copper Chocolate” and “Chocolate truffle” looks amazing on the lid for a more glam party look.

…and if I have a bit of a tan I also use a tiny bit of “Golden Glow” as a highlighter.

Of course, there are loads of different combinations to try with “Nude on Nude”. But these are my favorites so far. To be honest this palette is pretty hard to get wrong, as long as you blend the shades properly.

A little tip I got by makeup artists Lan Nguyen-Grealis is to dare to add more shadow under the eye along the lash line. We tend to chicken out in this area and miss out on that deeper and more intense effect. This is a great tip that I use almost every day and it has really made a difference for me.

You can find  Bobbi Brown Nude on Nude at Liberty London – adlink. It is a limited edition and seem to be sold out everywhere else, so make sure to grab one now if you like the look and sound of it. Because soon it will be gone. 

This is the only everyday eyeshadow palette you will ever need
 

Mindful Monday 1st April – My goal, vision, mantra, and dream of the week

my goal, vision, mantra, and dream of the week


It’s Monday and the 1st of April. And we all know what that means!

Have you pranked anyone today, or even better gotten pranked? I love April fools and my poor hubby is always the one on the receiving end.

Like when I hassled him to get a guinea pig. I said I would make it little clothes to wear and walk it around on a tiny lead. At first, he was very skeptical. But eventually, after a lot of nagging, he finally told me yes. But I had to dress, walk and pick up its poo myself. Haha, he must really love me. Imagine us going outside with a tiny guinea pig wearing a hat on a lead?

What’s the best joke you have come up with?

This is my goal, vision, mantra, and dream of the week:

My mantra this week – “Listen inwards”. I’m working really hard to listen more to my intuition. I want to make more decisions with my gut instead of my brain. Sometimes it’s little things like what side of the street I want to walk on and other times it’s slightly bigger decisions. The gut feeling tends to be that first thing that pops into our head. It’s before the brain has had a chance to process the actual thought.

There was one time when I was 17 and on the tube at night heading home to my Mom’s from my Dad’s house. I stepped into the tube carriage and just got this overwhelming feeling of “no something is not right”. So much so that I got off and picked another carriage instead. I felt like a crazy person at that moment. But a few stops later the tube just stopped and stood still for ages. When I looked out the polices was escorting a man wearing some kind of suit of armor and holding a sharp ax out of that first carriage. How scary?

My affirmation this week– “I’m a doer”. I often overthink things and talk myself out of doing stuff. So I need to just do and think later. As long as it’s not massively serious things, I rather just go for it and actually think it through later.

My goal this week – I have had way too much unhealthy food recently. So my goal this week is to get rid of my sugar addiction again. I have a method that involves lots of tea with less and less honey in it. It has always worked in the past, so by Sunday, I should be cravings free again.

My dream of the week – I want Ace to grow up to be a person who dares to try new things. Both in food and experiences. So far the food part is going really well. He eats almost everything. Normal stuff like veg, fish, and meat. But also slightly more unusual things like scallops, squid, dim sum, blue cheese, snails and different kinds of livers.

We are also trying to introduce him to many different sports. My dream is that he and I will be surfing together when he is a bit older.

my goal, vision, mantra, and dream of the week

My vision this week – We already own 2 flats in London and are kind of working on a 3rd project. My vision for the future is that we keep adding to our property portfolio. After the initial investment and renovation, it’s basically like making money in your sleep. And when our kids are older I like to earmark two smaller flats in London for them to get as a gift from us on their 25th birthdays. I never had any help from my parent after my 18th birthday. So I know how hard it can be to try to get somewhere on your own. I would like my kids to have a good stepping stone in life.

My focus this week  – My focus this week is Ace. He is in this great age when he is super curious about everything and likes to explore all day long. So my job is to make sure he has the opportunity to figure the world out. The other day he saw some ants running about in the garden and got super happy. He wanted to copy and run with them… and then he was so sad when they didn’t run anymore. A tough lesson to learn at an early age.

The event of the week –I have a whole bunch of interesting meetings this week. A while ago I made this bucket list of companies I would like to work with, and slowly but surely they seem to get in contact one by one. Law of attraction anyone?

My lesson from last week  – As long as I keep a good sleep and food routine with Ace, he is happy to come along with me to almost anything. He loves eating in restaurants and will sit and snack for hours in a high chair as long as he gets a bit of attention now and then. He is a massive flirt and loves looking at people in the underground, on buses and on planes. He is just really happy and cute. So my lesson is that I can, in fact, take him to more work stuff with me. He enjoys it!

My everyday-luxury this week –I’m going to get my shellac done and I will also color my brows and lashes. I don’t actually realize how light they are until I have them colored. I might actually not even need to do microblading, my brows are pretty full already.

My inspiration this week – I can’t think of anything inspiring I have come across off the top of my head. Maybe you guys can recommend something you have seen, read or got inspired by this week?

Ok, now it’s your turn to write down your goal, vision, mantra, and dream of the week. It’s a great way to reflect, realign and get inspired for the week ahead. 

Photo – Ida Zander. Location – Mama V’s. Hairclips here och jumper here – Adlinks

 

A mini-guide to Amsterdam

My mini-guide to Amsterdam by Tess Montgomery

… a very short, but fun and eventful weekend in Amsterdam has come to an end.

Even though we didn’t have much time and tried to see and do as much as possible with an 18-month-old in tow. I think we managed pretty well. I would, however, have liked to stay just a liiiiitttle bit longer, to get to explore this beautiful city even more.

We stayed – At Hotel Twenty Eight. A boutique apartment hotel close to the Olympic stadium. It’s a bit off, but the tram gets you into the city center in about 20 minutes. The hubby has his project he is working on inside the stadium, so it was great for us since he could pop in and out.

The positives are that the hotel is lush with great design and huge rooms at an affordable rate. There are also a whole bunch of fantastic restaurants in the area (Mr Sam is incredible), it’s not far away from the really cool area De Pijp and there is a really lovely kids playground in the square next door.

My mini-guide to Amsterdam by Tess MontgomeryMy mini-guide to Amsterdam by Tess Montgomery

We traveled by – Mainly trams, a bus and of course by boat. Our good friend Rasmus has his very own sightseeing company called “Flagship Amsterdam”. And we kindly got invited to join them for a 60-minute tour. We had some great guides with a really good sense of humor and great knowledge of Amsterdam. There were also drinks if you fancied it (I had a coke since I was on mama duty, trying hard to keep my child inside the boat). The whole experience had a great relaxed vibe and even Ace was fine to be in a boat for that amount of time. I would definitely go again, maybe without kids though so I can enjoy a glass of rosé.

We shopped – At Nudie jeans in the “9 streets” area. Garth wears his jeans until they are indecent and I was sure he would soon get arrested if he didn’t get some new ones pronto. They even had super cute mini-versions for Ace. He looked so cool in them. 9 streets is a great area if you have a similar style to me. Shops like American Vintage, Essentiel Antwerp and COS are situated side by side.

My mini-guide to Amsterdam by Tess MontgomeryMy mini-guide to Amsterdam by Tess Montgomery

We touristed – The contrast when you leave the curb of the loud and messy red light district and find yourself in the quiet, bright white entrance to the famous church   “Our lord in the attic” is pretty surreal. And then when you take the stairs up to the attic and arrive into a massive wooden old church, things get even more psychedelic. Who knew you didn’t even need to go to the coffee shop to have this kind of experience.  No matter if you are religious or not, the church is worth a visit.

We had lunch – At Mr Porter situated on the 6th floor of the W hotel. We had a lovley (quite pricy) lunch on the terrace in the sunshine. Ace got to dip his little toes into the pool, we enjoyed watching Amsterdam from above and didn’t want to leave.

We rarely stay in the swankiest hotels when we travel, but prefer the smaller more boutique-style options. Instead, we make sure to visit the cool spots for meals. It’s a great way to experience the flavor of more than one kind of hotel.

My mini-guide to Amsterdam by Tess MontgomeryMy mini-guide to Amsterdam by Tess Montgomery

We had dinner – At food hallen. This is where you go if you don’t know what to eat and want to keep all your options open. The food hall is massive and packed with all kinds of cuisine you can imagine. Garth and Ace had burgers, steak sandwiches and dim sum. I had summer rolls and a poké bowl and our friend Alex went for a veggie option. Everyone was happy!

We brought with us home– Chocolate from “Stach“. It’s delicious and a great gift for someone waiting at home.

Next time I want to explore De Pijp a bit more, go to the aquarium and science museum and rent one of those biked where Ace can sit in a basket in the front.

Where are your favorite spots in Amsterdam?

 

“The Solution” by Oslo Skin Lab – What happens if I stop and start again?

So I first came across  “The Solution” collagen powder by Oslo Skin Lab last year in October. I got completely hooked straight away. 

Honestly, I never expected such a big difference from something so small and simple. I didn’t just get softer skin and more glow in my face. I also really noticed a difference in my skin on my body. The chicken skin on the back of my arms magically disappeared. Even Garth commented on how soft my skin was.

The collagen in our skin is what makes it stay supple and elastic. So if we can help boost it, then we can help slow down aging. This product contains collagen called Verisol and the reason why this particular type of collagen actually makes a difference is the size of the peptides. It’s the right size to be bioavailable to the body.

You can read about my experience with The Solution after one month here and two months here.

It’s such a jungle out there when it comes to pills, powders, and drinks that are meant to be good for us. It’s really hard to know what actually works and will be absorbed by the body. So when you find something that you really like and see results from, you just want to buy a lifetime supply and swim in it.

BUT, when I posted about The Solution last time one of you guys asked me if I please could stop taking The Solution for a while and see if I noticed any difference. Then I got kind of curious myself. It is, in the end, the best way to find out what this product actually does for me.

So even though it pained me I decided to stop taking the powder.

This is not a miracle product that you take once and it will change your skin forever. You have to keep taking the collagen regularly for the effects to stay. Just like any other cream/vitamin. But it also makes it easy to test the effect.

When I stopped, I didn’t actually notice much of a difference at first. It took about a month or so. Then one day I stood in the shower and realized that the chicken skin on my arms was back. Damn it! After that, my skin on my legs only got drier and drier and I had to start putting lotion on every day again. It can have something to do with the cold weather, but it’s worth taking into account.

To be really sure the full effect of the powder was out of my system completely, I held up for almost 2 months.

When I finally got to start again about a month ago, I recognized the “soft” feeling in my stomach after taking it. It took a couple of weeks, but now my arms are smooth again and my skin is a lot less dry.

This time I think I can see a difference in my cellulite too. They tend to come and go depending on if I’m a kg plus or minus. But I do feel like the unevenness is less deep and less visible.

I have worked out more lately, so that’s another factor. But I know other people who have seen an effect on cellulite from this product, so it is very possible it can be the collagen.

Now I’m not going to stop taking The Solution again. I just need to figure out a good way to get those boxes to London. You can subscribe to The Solution, but only in Scandinavia. I know they are hoping to expand to the UK soon so I will let you guys know when it happens.

I rather spend a bit of money on my skin that I will wear all the time, than an outfit that I can take on and off. It’s an investment to care for our skin. I’m planning to wear mine for a long time ahead and I want it to be as supple and soft as possible.

We have to have both and outside-in and an inside-out approach to skincare. It’s easy to make it all about the creams and treatments and forget to think about diet and supplements.

So now I’m not going to miss even one more day of collagen.

I usually pour the little pack of powder into my glass of water in the morning. But on weekends we like to head out for brunch instead and I just pop a pack in my handbag and mix it with a smoothie instead. The small pouches make it really convenient to bring with when I travel.

This weekend we went for a massive brunch at Megan’s here in Clapham. We had porridge, overnight oats, avocado toast, eggs royale, coffees, and smoothies. I got the green smoothie for me and the orange fruity one for Ace. But after trying both of them (before I added the collagen, he is soft enough!) he chose the one with kale in it… weird kid!

The powder is completely tasteless so you can mix it into anything really. So far I haven’t missed taking it one single day and that’s how I’m planning on keeping it.

Do you take any supplements for your skin?

This post is presented in paid partnership with Oslo Skin Lab. 

 

This is the most common mistake when styling a kitten heel

This is the most common mistake when styling a kitten heel

So after years and years of hearing whispers and rumors about this almost mythical Jimmy Choo sample sale. I yesterday finally had the privilege of finding my own name on this elusive guestlist of all guest lists.

And oh boy, it did not disappoint.

We are talking rows and rows of the most beautiful Jimmy Choo bags and shoes. All with a price tag I could actually afford.

I wanted to go completely bananas and could easily have walked out with 15 pairs of shoes. I seriously contemplated buying everyone I know a very lavish gift each. I think I must have tried on at least 20 pairs myself… I felt so spoilt. A bit like Pretty Woman in THAT scene.

But then I remembered that I have made you and more importantly myself a big promise this year. ONE item a month. And sure, I could get 9 pairs and call it for the rest of the year. But that would be neither smart nor practical.

So after all of that, I walked out with only 4 items in my bag. 2 for me and 2 gifts.

This is the most common mistake when styling a kitten heel

So my April buy will now be this amazing pair of sparkling shoes with a kitten heel. I did however also get myself an amazing pair of trainers that I just couldn’t leave behind.

To justify this splurge, Garth and I decided that Ace will give me the trainers as a gift for Mother’s day on Sunday. It’s a bit cheeky, but it will make me feel a little less guilty. I’m looking at it as a grey zone purchase that I will get away with this time only.

So why did I got for a pair of kitten heels over something a bit more, well, high?

I already have loads of party shoes. I would say 75% of my shoe wardrobe. And only now after years and years I can truly say that their PPW (Price Per Wear) is pretty good. I just don’t use them often enough to justify having more.

Instead, I went for something slightly more practical but just as fabulous. I know some find kitten heels to be boring and a bit old lady-ish. And I also think they could be perceived as hard to style.

The mistake most people are doing when putting together an outfit including a kitten heel is to assume that a heel is a heel. It is not.

A kitten heel is not a downgraded high heel, it’s an upgraded flat. 

You can’t think that you will match them in an outfit that requires a heel and just pick a kitten heel because it’s more comfortable. Then it will look a bit off and like you chickened out last second.

Instead, you have to wear them when you would normally wear a flat shoe. With wide trousers, suits, midi skirt, maxi dresses, and mom-jeans. Then they will elevate your style and not downgrade it.

Basically, see a kitten heel as flats with something extra.

The mistake most people are doing when putting together an outfit including a kitten heel is to assume that a heel is a heel. It is not.

I had been looking for the perfect pair for quite some time. And I soon as I put these on I knew they were the ones. Not only are they super sparkly, but they are also incredibly comfy.

To be honest all my Jimmy Choos are. I even got married in a pair of platform Jimmy Choosa that I still wear to this day. I can dance all night in them without my feet hurting even a little bit. It’s just so obvious when a shoe brand actually cares about anatomy. I will never wear uncomfortable shoes ever again.

Come on, dig up your old kitten heels and try styling them like a flat. I bet you will like them more now!

I’m still dreaming of these amazing pieces of art. (adlink) I didn’t expect them to be at the sale, so I wasn’t disappointed. But they are on my “before I die” list. 

Can you spot my other beautiful purchase this week? We are finally with our very own Magnolia tree! I know they only flower for like 5 minutes, but it’s totally worth it. She is now hanging out in a large pot in the front of the house looking all kinds of dazzling. I think I will name her “Maggie”.