Do you have to pick a dream or can a dream pick you?

How do we get what we want especially if we don't really know what we want in the first place?  I have never had a "dream job", a "dream man", a "dream wedding" or a "dream trip".  

How do we get what we want especially if we don’t really know what we want in the first place?

I have never had a “dream job”, a “dream man”, a “dream wedding” or a “dream trip”.

This doesn’t mean that I never had dreams. I had plenty of those. But they were never attached to physical things. Instead, I dream of things like feeling safe, happy, fulfilled, passionate and loved.

As a young girl, I found the choices in school incredibly daunting as I never felt like I actually wanted to become something particular. And it wasn’t that I wanted to marry rich and become a comfortable housewife (as my mother kept on nudging me towards half-jokingly, but also kind of seriously). Instead, I felt like the options were too many and it wasn’t that I didn’t want any of them – I wanted all of them!

I felt like any choice or particular dream would limit me. I had this very strong belief in myself that I could literally do anything if I put my mind to it and worked really hard. I worried more about what I would lose out on than I actually would gain. It was like standing in front of a row of open doors and not wanting to close even one of them of fear of missing out. I couldn’t choose!

You see I have never been amazing at any one thing.

There has never been a subject where I particularly excelled. Nothing that came “naturally” to me. An interest that was much bigger than the others. A sport I was more suited to than the rest or even anything I actually disliked doing. I have always been pretty good at everything. Not excellent, just good.

It would have made my life a lot less stressful if something would have come to me easier than the rest. If one subject would have jumped out I would probably have felt some kind of calling to dedicate my life to that particular area of expertise.

But no. I was pretty ok at everything and because of that, I felt like any choice would be a wild guess. My neurotic inner voice didn’t want to make any decisions that I might regret later. So I didn’t really make any decisions at all.

I didn’t go to university. I honestly still have no idea what I would have studied. If anyone asked me today what I want to be when I grow up, I would tell you the same as 10 years ago – I have no idea!

I didn’t find my careers, my careers found me. Modeling kind of just happened when I was a kid because Mom was a model. I was good at it, it made me money and I enjoyed the traveling and meeting new people. So I  stuck with it.

I started the blog so that I wouldn’t have to be on the phone to my family in Sweden every day, telling them what I was up to here in London. It was never meant to be anything more. The rest just happened and since I was good at it, I enjoyed it and kept going.

How do we get what we want especially if we don't really know what we want in the first place?  I have never had a "dream job", a "dream man", a "dream wedding" or a "dream trip".  

Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly hard working and I’m really good at what I do (if I may say so myself). But it has all happened after the choice was made for me.

If I was going to be a model, I was going to be the hardest working model out there. Same thing with blogging. If I was going to be doing it, I wanted to be the expert. It was the only way I could justify dedicating myself to a subject.

And to be brutally honest the subject could have been almost anything.

Some days I wish I would have been less indecisive and just chosen a direction and stuck with it. But then I look at where I am now and I’m completely content and happy. I sometimes wonder if I have wasted my talent. But for that thought to count, I would have to have some kind of idea of what that talent is.

My life has been a series of non-choices and still, I have lived in 4 different countries, I have 3 jobs and I’m really happy. I have a dreamy man ( that I never dreamt of), a dreamy wedding (that I only started imagining a year before it happened), 3 dreamy careers (that I never really chose) a dreamy house, a dreamy dog and a dreamy kid. I’m living the dream I never really had.

So the conclusion is that maybe you don’t need to know exactly what you want in life? Maybe some things will just work itself out as you go along. Maybe the choices are just an illusion. Maybe I would have ended up here no matter what I would have chosen?

This way of life is actually quite exciting. I’m feeling like I can turn a corner and bump into something new at any time. It keeps things really interesting. I’m not sure it is for everyone, but for me it still makes me feel like all options are open and that I can be anything I want to be and do anything I put my mind to.

Anyone else out there who hasn’t really picked a path? Maybe the dream picked you? It would be nice to know I’m not alone. Or the opposite? Who was born with a calling and grew up with a dream? Please share in the comments.

Photo – Ida Zander. Blouse – Geo by George

 

Mindful Monday 8th July

Happy Monday guys! Are you on holiday, or are you like me, working away still?

We actually only have one trip booked this summer, and it’s 5 days in Sweden at the end of July. Ace’s little cousin Harry is turning 2, so we wanted to be there to celebrate with him.

But the rest of the summer we will be here in the UK. It’s mainly a choice out of a sustainable perspective. We don’t want to fly more than necessary and since we have friends and family all over the world. We rather save our CO2 for when it really matters.

This summer I’m keen to try out some nice spots for weekend staycations instead. Somewhere preferably dog-friendly we can go to chill out outside of London for a weekend.

Do you maybe have any nice places you have been to and would like to recommend?

This is my vision, mantra, goal, and lesson this week; 

My mantra this week  – “Pay close attention to those who do not clap when you win”. It’s not really a mantra, but important none the less. You can learn a lot about the people in your life in bad times, but almost even more in good. Some people feed off negativity and will be your best friend when you are down. Those are also the ones that will pick you apart and dampen your happiness when you are up. Look out for these and get as far away from them as possible. Never let them ruin your win.

My affirmation this week – “Be a rock in a wild sea”. No matter how much things around you change, know who you are, what you stand for and be rooted enough in yourself to stand tall and trust yourself. Change is exciting, but it’s easy to be swept away.

My goal this week – I want to hit my 2 hot yoga classes this week. I have been bad at going lately, but I managed to go once last week, so it’s about time I get into it again. I feel so much better after a proper stretch and a sweat.

My dream of the week  – I dream of a big house in South Africa. Dark wood, big linen sofas, a large indoor-outdoor living room, a view of the sea and an infinity pool. This is a dream Garth and I are working actively towards. It’s too early to say it’s a goal, but soon.

My vision this week – I really want to take Ace sailing in Sweden when he is older. I’m really keeping my fingers x that he hasn’t inherited his dad’s seasickness. I come from a boating family. We love fishing, swimming, and sailing. I would love for Ace to grow up with a bit of the sea in his life.

My focus this week  –  This week I’m setting myself up to start my new job next week. I’m really excited and I have hundreds of ideas. But first I need to make sure Ace is signed up for more time at the nursery, that Olive has extra walks with Cathy and that Garth knows what to do in the mornings (he will do drop offs).

The event of the week – From having none last week, I actually have 3 fun events in the next few days. Tomorrow I’m going to a lovely lunch for a favorite brand – Monica Vinader. On Wednesday I’m invited to breakfast at the RewardStyle hq and on Thursday Christie’s are showing off some of the most gorgeous Hermes bags going up for auction.

My lesson from last week – It was really fun to meet Gia for drinks last Friday. And it showed me that I do need to take time for myself to see my friends more often. Ace is sleeping in the evenings anyway, so I don’t actually need to be home every night. Garth and I can take turns hanging out and getting some non-parent time. And of course, we can always get a sitter so we both can go.

My little luxury this week – I think I might splurge on a couple of Diptyque candles and/or diffusers for the house. I love “Baies” and “Mimosa” (affiliate links) and want my home to smell gorgeous the rest of the summer.

My inspiration this week  – I like this article on self-efficacy I found on Thrive Global. It’s basically about how our own beliefs in our own skills affect the outcome.

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

 

This is why you should wear your clothes over and over again

Do you remember when it used to be uncool to wear an outfit too often? Everything should be new and the idea of recycling outfit was frowned upon. 

Do you remember when it used to be uncool to wear an outfit too often?

You could “get away” with wearing a dress a few times if you took notice of who had already seen it on. The more separated your different friendship groups were, the better for your wallet. The idea of recycling outfits too often was frowned upon.

You were meant to have a lot of clothes and not only that. It was all meant to be brand new and on trend.

We wanted to look like we constantly had something previously un-worn to put on. Like we had an endless walk-in wardrobe of choice and a spending account á la Paris Hilton. (Don’t forget the chihuahua!)

To have the other girls whisper “she’s got something new on today again, how does she do it?” as we breezed past in our not even washed yet bootcut jeans and tank tops, was the ultimate dream of teenage girls.

Do you remember when it used to be uncool to wear an outfit too often? Everything should be new and the idea of recycling outfit was frowned upon. 

As a blogger of 12 years, I remember feeling that same pressure. I had to constantly try to keep up with showing my followers the latest trends, the must-have item of the week and how to style it in a way that was “current” and “now”.

It was exhausting. And the solution was fast fashion. A lot of it.

I would get some for free, buy loads and then borrow the rest. And still, I never felt like I could keep up.

My new clothes were never new enough and once I had shot it or worn it to an event they were considered old and boring. Most of it ended up on the bottom of my wardrobe, some in big boxes in the basement and I gave lots away to friends and family. You would never see me recycling outfits.

I really struggled to know what to actually keep and didn’t know the difference between having style and being trendy. 

Do you remember when it used to be uncool to wear an outfit too often? Everything should be new and the idea of recycling outfit was frowned upon. 

Funny how quickly these things can change.

These days it’s truly the opposite. Not only for me but in general in society. We don’t want to be seen as “wasteful”, “vain” or taking too much advantage of mother nature. If a royal re-use an outfit they these days get praise instead of scorn in the tabloids. If you re-style a dress and wear it again, people think you are clever, not cheap.

It’s in fashion to be aware. To buy quality over quantity and to care about our clothes.

Where second hand used to be “dirty” and for “poor” people. It’s now re-named “pre-loved” and everyone is doing it. No one would lift an eyebrow if you stated that your new blouse is a find from Vestiaire Collective (affiliate link). If anything they would ask you how to spell it and go browsing the same evening.

Do you remember when it used to be uncool to wear an outfit too often? Everything should be new and the idea of recycling outfit was frowned upon. 

Obviously, a bit of this has to do with age and maturity. But most of all we have realized that it isn’t cool to waste resources and to pay poor workers in a third world country only a few pounds a month to produce all these sub-quality garments. We are finally aware of how the endless cycle of “buy-wear-throw” is unsustainable in more ways than one.

The perception has changed. Where we would in the past have looked up to the idea of having an unlimited wardrobe. We now want an edited collection of items that truly works for us. We covet to have a truly personal style and not be labeled as a fickle trend-lover.

To have new clothes all the time would be deemed as trying too hard. And the ignorance of wasting money and resources on yet another fast fashion item would be frowned upon by our peers.

Do you remember when it used to be uncool to wear an outfit too often? Everything should be new and the idea of recycling outfit was frowned upon. 

As with anything else fashion-related. There is a risk that this view of fashion is but another trend. I, of course, hope not. But even if it is. This small blip of awareness would already have made a world of difference.

Not only are we doing our own wallets a favor by wearing recycling outfits (PPW* guys!). We are also showing that brands and companies that make the clothes that we do care what they are made of, who has made them and at what cost.

Already we are seeing shifts in the market towards a much more sustainable view of fashion. And once that ball is rolling, it’s a hard one to stop. I have a hard time seeing that we would start caring less once we actually started or that companies would go backward in the effort of doing better by both people and nature.

It’s so liberating to buy an item I truly love and wear it over and over again. I don’t care who has seen it or what anyone else thinks. As long as it makes me happy, I will be recycling outfits and wear my clothes it until it falls apart (or sell them pre-loved). 

This dress was one of my best buys this year. It’s by H&M Conscious collection (affiliate link) and It has been one of my most worn outfits this summer. It’s a staple in my holiday wardrobe and will be for years to come. 

*Price Per Wear

 

Why beauty isn’t wasted on the young

Makeup in my 30s & why beauty isn't wasted on the young. When I finally can afford it (and some people could argue actually need it), I use it the least. I'm talking about makeup.

When I finally can afford it (and some people could argue actually need it), I use it the least.

I’m talking about makeup.

In my early 20s, I could spend hours at the beauty counters in big department stores like Harvey Nick’s, Selfridges or Harrods. Not to mention the beauty section in airport tax-free. I would swatch, blend, smell and try out any new product I could get my hands on. Mainly in the hopes of finding the one product that would change my life (get my that boy/job/friends or whatever I was dreaming of).

Most of the time I couldn’t afford the big brands glitzy packaging that came with luxurious ad campaigns selling so much more than just a new lipstick. Instead, I had to settle for cheaper drugstore dupes. I used to treat myself to a new small pot of eyeshadow whenever I felt a bit down. I had at least 35.

When I started blogging, I all of a sudden found myself showered with skincare and makeup products. Every week it would be a new package by my door. Most days I would find myself in front of a table full of makeup and an expert doing up my face. Modeling was a great way to get to try on makeup without buying it.

My standard question used to be “show me your favorite makeup product”. And then I would hit “buy” on my phone on the tube on my way home.

I was literally hoarding makeup.

Makeup in my 30s & why beauty isn't wasted on the young. When I finally can afford it (and some people could argue actually need it), I use it the least. I'm talking about makeup.

I have had a Benjamin Button journey with makeup.

As a teenager, I used to slather covering Clinique foundation (it was a recurrent Christmas gift from my mother) over my skin until you couldn’t see a pore or a freckle. Resembling an actor with a face full of pancake and leaving hard to wash out stains on any boyfriends shirt and pillowcases.

I knew not to sleep in a full get-up, but I would wake up before him and make sure to have put my face back on before I snuck back in bed again. To have anyone see me without a full face of pigment was unthinkable. I would spend an hour in the bathroom only to go down to the shop around the corner, just in case I bumped into someone I knew.

In my mid-20s, with modeling, I quickly realized that good skin was my signature and moneymaker. And you cannot have good skin if you don’t let it breathe. So I would make myself have makeup-free days before big jobs or important castings. Most of the time it meant I didn’t leave the house and ordered in food and watched shit tv..

I was still uncomfortable with anyone seeing my, to me, tired, grey and boring face with all its imperfections. I was addicted to a retouched version of myself.

Makeup in my 30s & why beauty isn't wasted on the young. When I finally can afford it (and some people could argue actually need it), I use it the least. I'm talking about makeup.

And then I grew up.

My life got busy, I met someone, got engaged, got married, had a child. My time in the bathroom in the morning shrunk with every year. The makeup-free days became more than the ones when I actually could be bothered with “putting my face on”. My makeup-drawer got Marie Kondo-ed and I told the companies who sent me lots of drugstore makeup to stop since I wasn’t going to use or feature it in my channels.

You might think that I “gave up” and “let myself go”. But in fact, it’s the opposite.

I literally got comfortable in my own skin.

I decided to stop hiding the small imperfections and instead treat my skin with care to make sure they didn’t become big imperfections. I started chasing a “healthy glow” instead of perfection. I embraced my freckles and moles.

I’m 36 and my face is aging. As it should. But still, I feel prettier now than I ever did when my skin was “perfect”. I so regret that when my face was at its prime, I covered it up the most.

They say beauty is wasted on the young and I’m not convinced.

Sure, I’m angry at myself for not truly appreciating what I had. But I also understand that it had nothing to do with the outside. I just wasn’t the same person I am now on the inside.

So maybe it’s a good thing that we are more insecure when we are better looking and not the other way around. Maybe the charm with aging is to actually appreciate the beauty that is left.

Once we stop chasing perfection, makeup becomes a completely different thing. More a fun hobby than an absolute must. I still swatch and blend at airports. But even though I can afford it, my purchases are few.

These days I actually don’t buy a lot of makeup at all. I have favorites that I have loved for years. Most of them are by glitzy brands since my pockets are deeper. But I’m actually spending a lot less on makeup these days than what I did then. I just buy less but better and use it until it’s finished.

What I want to say is that we shouldn’t be scared of aging. It’s going to happen. But the good thing is that it’s not just the outside that changes with the years, the inside does too. We end up caring less about what we look like and care more about who we are and what we do. So maybe mother nature knows exactly what she is doing?

I still, of course, wear makeup now and then. But these days I wear it for how it makes me feel instead of what other people might think. 

Photos – Ida Zander My feathery top is by Coast.

These are my favorite makeup products in my 30s (affiliate links)-

 

My one-Item-a-month in June – A pink bag by Roksanda

My june "one-item-a-month" purchase - This is not a trend-purchase. The color matches my pastel-heavy wardrobe, the shape is unusual and it's by a brilliant designer - Roksanda Ilincic.

It’s kind of funny. When I was thinking about getting this bag (affiliate link), I put it on my Instagram stories and made a poll.

Close to 90% of my followers said: “don’t get it”.

And I almost didn’t because of it. But then I decided to listen inwards. What do I really want? And I discovered I really loved the butt off this bag, so I got in anyway.

Sometimes the decision is only ours to make. I have been looking for a small pink bag to wear to events and nights out. And this one is really cute and different. I love the clash between the symmetry of the circles and the asymmetric shape of the actual bag.

I saw it at the event I went to with Moms of Mayfair and Roksanda. It was sitting there on a shelf, screaming “Tess, I’m perfect, you need me in your life!”. Also, the fact that a part of the sale went to charity made it feel like a slam-dunk.

If I’m only allowing myself one single purchase every month, it’s really important that I love that one item. And that I am going to use it for a long time. This is not a trend-purchase. The color matches my pastel-heavy wardrobe perfectly, the shape is unusual and it’s by a brilliant designer I very much admire – Roksanda Ilincic.

My june "one-item-a-month" purchase - This is not a trend-purchase. The color matches my pastel-heavy wardrobe, the shape is unusual and it's by a brilliant designer - Roksanda Ilincic.

The proof is in the pudding, I have used it loads since and my PPW (price per wear) is getting better with each wear.

Now I’m officially half-way through my year of one-item-a-month and it has completely changed the way I shop. I have never loved my wardrobe as much as I do now. I don’t end up spending all that much less money, but I spend a hell of a lot better. I get one item that I truly want instead of several things I kind of like.

I have gotten rid of anything that doesn’t feel 100% like me and I can actually see my clothes now when there is a bit more space around them.

My Marie Kondo clear out was such a great catalyst and since then my shopping and my wardrobe are streamlined in a completely different way. I’m converted for sure. I will never go back to hoard fast fashion and chase fad trends again. I’m done with that chapter in my life and it both shows on the outside and I feel better on the inside too.

My june "one-item-a-month" purchase - This is not a trend-purchase. The color matches my pastel-heavy wardrobe, the shape is unusual and it's by a brilliant designer - Roksanda Ilincic.

I’m doing my best to edit a truly sustainable wardrobe and a big part of it is picking out those special pieces to keep for a very long time. This little bag is one of them and I’m so happy I got it.

What is your best recent fashion purchase? Check out my January, February, March, April, and May purchases. 

You can find my lovely pink little Roksanda bag at Matches fashion. (affiliate link) It also comes in different colors. 

 

My post-pregnancy body and why I’m tired of being “grateful”

Ida sjöstedt swimsuit and my post-pregnancy body

Post-pregnancy bodies – what a loaded subject. 

On one hand, you have carried a baby inside of you and nourished it with your own bloodstream for 9 months. Your belly and breasts have expanded the way they are meant to do. To be able to not only house the growing human inside, but also it’s food supply for the first few months. It is what our bodies are supposed to do and our main purpose in life from an evolutionary perspective.

However, on the other hand, it’s rare for someone’s physique to change in such a quick and extreme manner. It’s easy to say “it’s all normal” and “it’s the price you pay for having children”. But most of us are still freaked out. Our bodies are our homes, we are used to knowing what they look, and most importantly of all, feels like.

There is one thing to look in the mirror and see something unknown, and a completely different ballgame to look inwards and actually feel “wrong”.

My post-pregnancy body and why I'm tired of being "grateful" - Post-pregnancy bodies - what a loaded subject.  On one hand, you have carried a baby inside of you and nourished it with your own bloodstream for 9 months.

I remember laying on my back for the first time in months after having Ace, putting a hand on my belly and freaking out big time. My previous 4-pack of abs felt like a big batch of cookie dough. It took many months before I dared to have another feel and by then, it had gotten a lot better. But it was still nowhere close to what I would consider my own belly to be.

I don’t think we are aware of what our bladder, intestines, and stomach actually feel like before we have a baby. Like the actual sensation of them. But you realize pretty quickly after that we do have sensations in those areas and also some kind of idea of what is meant to be where.

After pregnancy, I could physically feel my organs shifting. From week to week slowly moving around to try to find new comfortable places inside their new much larger dwelling.

It might sound a bit freaky and scary, and I’m not going to sugarcoat, it really is.

My post-pregnancy body and why I'm tired of being "grateful" - Post-pregnancy bodies - what a loaded subject.  On one hand, you have carried a baby inside of you and nourished it with your own bloodstream for 9 months.

It’s one of the many things no one tells you about post-pregnancy bodies.

You are made to feel like you are not meant to care about it either. So the whole subject is very hush hush. Because if you do voice an opinion, you will most likely be met with either “9 months to grow, 9 months to go”. Or a get a stinky look and a reminder that you have a healthy baby and should be grateful.

BTW, the 9 months thing is total BS. For me, it has been 2 years and my body is still anything but familiar to me. Also, I even now feel like things are slowly shifting around in there. All those misplaced bits and bobs that got squished up into some forgotten corner of my ribcage when my belly was full are still feeling slightly lost and confused.

No one talks about this. Post-pregnancy bodies are not up for discussion in any other way than to be grateful and content.

I love all the ladies showing off their bodies after kids and saying they are completely happy and content. It’s amazing, go you!

But what about all the ones who are not happy? Who suffers in silence and can’t “get over it”. Those who feel lost in their own self and are ashamed to raise the subject?  Especially when seeing all those smiley faces celebrating their mom-bods and stretch marks in magazines and on tv.

Why do we have to be so darn grateful all the time? Can we not just get to say, “yeah, it’s shit”, if that is how we feel?

Or at least get to be freaked out and complain about it without being told we are ungrateful.

We seem to be able to do anything else with modern technology and skilled doctors. Why do we give birth and then get left to deal with whatever mess we end up with and on top of it be asked to be grateful?

I have had followers tell me horror stories of having such bad Diastasis Recti she actually looked like they had a small backpack hanging off the front of her belly. And what did the doctor tell her…? “This is your new body, get used to it”.

Say what?!

My post-pregnancy body and why I'm tired of being "grateful" - Post-pregnancy bodies - what a loaded subject.  On one hand, you have carried a baby inside of you and nourished it with your own bloodstream for 9 months.

Anti-aging and wrinkles are a million-pound industry. These tiny little lines on our forehead are considered something completely normal to get rid of. But an actually mal-functioning body after pregnancy is not?

We are meant to embrace our stretchmarks, deal with uncomfortable scarring in our private areas, not talk too loudly about hemorrhoids, prolapsing bowels, and vaginas, and to live with Diastasis Recti and hernias for the rest of our lives.

Can you not be grateful for having a healthy baby AND be allowed to feel uncomfortable in your post-pregnancy body?

I wish people would have spoken out louder about these things before I had a baby. It would have made the emotional process a lot easier to be somewhat prepared. I love Ace and I’m indeed grateful my body made him. But I hate how I feel on the inside. I hate the Diastasis Recti that prevents me from moving normally, makes my back hurt and stops me from feel strong and like “me” again.

Most of all I hate not being able to say these things about my post-pregnancy body without being told I’m ungrateful. 

Because people are still asking me if I’m pregnant when I wear swimwear, I have become really careful when it comes to wearing bikinis. This swimsuit by Ida Sjöstedt (gift) is one of the few things I can wear to the beach and still feel good in. I love the little frills and the detail in the waist is really pretty. It’s on sale at the moment and you can find it here.  My earrings are also by Ida Sjöstedt and you can get yours here (also a gift).

 

Mindful Monday 1st July

I have been offered a job kind of out of nowhere and I think I'm going to take it. This is my vision, mantra, focus, and lesson this week; 

Hi guys, how are you doing? 

I’m actually having quite the exciting week.

I have been offered a job kind of out of nowhere and I think I’m going to take it. It’s only for 2 days a week to start with, so I can still do the blogs and have some time with Ace. I feel like it is the perfect time for me to start something new. Even though it’s a completely new environment for me, I think I will be pretty good at it.

For the first time in my life, I will have an office to go to in the morning. It’s kind of exciting!

All of a sudden I will have a “work-Tess” that is not a “sitting-in-a-café-with-a-laptop-Tess”. I will have colleagues and a schedule that isn’t 100% dictated by myself. Ace will do two full-days of nursery a week instead of 3 half days and I will still have Wednesday mornings to pick up slack for the blog.

I have to suppress the urge to go all mad-men and get myself loads of pencil skirts and pussy-bow blouses. Can you imagine…

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

My mantra this week  – “If I’m not scared, I’m not challenging myself enough”. This new job is a bit scary. I have never really worked for anyone before. I have been a model and a blogger my whole adult life and to take a step into the corporate world is a step into the unknown. The reason I’m choosing to accept is that I know I will be good at it and I really enjoy the subject. It’s all a bit cryptic, but I promise you will know more about it later. I definitely have little butterflies in my stomach.

My affirmation this week – “What I don’t know, I can learn”. It’s not always about what you know. It’s actually more about how open you are to learn something new. We just have to have confidence in our own learning ability and understand that no one is expecting us to know everything from the start.

My goal this week – I need a bit of child-free downtime this week. I haven’t been out with my girlfriends in ages so I’m planning to go out for drinks with a friend Friday night.

My dream of the week  – To have a housekeeper/nanny? I dream about having to do less housework so I can focus more on Ace and my actual work. Garth travels a lot and only comes home after 7 in the evening when he is in London. So even if we try to have a somewhat equal divide of chores, I still end up doing at least 75%. I think it’s quite common when one partner works from home to then automatically end up doing the lion’s share.

I have been offered a job kind of out of nowhere and I think I'm going to take it. This is my vision, mantra, focus, and lesson this week; 

My vision this week – My vision is to excel at this new role and to be able to do more days for this company later on. When Ace starts school in a couple of years time, I would like to feel that I have properly re-joined the workforce.

My focus this week  –  Get my admin done. God, I got sooo much bloody admin at the moment. Phonecalls, take Olive to the vet, Ace to the doctor, packages to send and receive, emails to write and general home stuff… ect. All things are small but put together I feel exhausted thinking about them. My trick is the put it all in my calendar and divide it up to manageable chunks over the next few days. Why does everything always have to happen in the same week?

The event of the week – I think this is the first week in forever I don’t have one single event to go to. And to be honest, it’s kind of nice.

My lesson from last week – You have no idea what unexpectedly can pop up. I wasn’t looking for a job, heck I didn’t even know I was going to an interview. I thought I was meeting a company to check out their product to see if I would use it myself.

My little luxury this week – I’m going to sit down and do an order of a whole bunch of skincare products I have been wanting to try. It will be my little reward for getting my new job. I love new skincare, don’t you?

My inspiration this week  – If you are an influencer, I really think you should check out the podcast “A drink with James”. It’s the head of the Influencer network Fohr that chats about influencer specific subjects and give all kinds of insights. Sometimes with guest, but always with a glass of whiskey. It’s a bit of a niche tip, but I really enjoy it.

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

My set is by Beulah London. A company who donates 10% of their profit to organizations that are fighting to eradicate modern-day slavery. 

Photos – Ida Zander.

 

My Favorite Sun Protection Summer 2019

I make a point out of trying out new sun protection every time I go on holiday. I see it as a part of my job here on the blog. These are my 3 favorites for summer 2019

As a model in my 30s, I know how important beautiful healthy skin is to the way we look and feel.

As we know by now, the sun is not our amigo.

Sure it provides us with vitamin d, a functioning environment for us to survive in and makes the world less of a dark place. It also gives us a nice tanned glow that we covet so much. However what we sometimes forget. Well, ignore, is that the sun also gives us things like sunspots, wrinkles, pigmentation, saggy skin and in the worst case scenario even cancer.

To tan is a very short term gain with a long term loss out of a beauty perspective. Because your tan fades and you are left with damage that is pretty permanent.

This is why SPF is so important. 

Yes, you read it everywhere and yes it’s common knowledge. But still, so many people do crazy things like go to tanning beds and lay out in the sun roasting like chickens with no SPF in sight. What are you doing people?!

I make a point out of trying out new sun protection every time I go on holiday. I see it as a part of my job here on the blog. Because even if we sit in the shade, covered in clothes and with a massive hat on, some UV rays will still reach us.

SPF is the best investment you can do for your skin. And most of the time it isn’t even an expensive one.

When we went to South Africa recently I brought 3 products for sun protection;

1. An SPF for the body.

I got sent Vichy Idéal Soleil SPF 30 (-affiliate link + gift) a while ago and I was intrigued with the light consistency. It’s a really light oil, almost like water. You spray it on and rub it in. It’s got a silky texture, smells nice and gets absorbed by the skin quickly.

One day I missed a spot whilst doing my back and by the evening I was sporting a snazzy outline of a finger. I take this as proof that this product does its job even though it’s so light.

2. A physical SPF for beach days.

I chose The Ordinary Mineral UV Filter SPF 30 (affiliate link, out of stock but worth signing up for).

We often talk about physical and chemical sun protection. Both of them will protect your skin from the sun but in slightly different ways. A physical SPF will do a better job since it basically forms a barrier on top of the skin that reflects any UV rays. The plus is that you can really trust this kind of sun protection. The negative is that it does leave you with a slightly ghost-like white veil all over your face.

I always use physical suncream when I know I will be in direct sunlight. Then I deal with the zombie-look and if it really bothers me I just put a tiny bit of foundation on top.

This product by The ordinary is pretty heavy, but my skin still liked it. So I had no breakouts or problems despite the thick consistency. I even trusted it to the point of using it on Ace’s face the days when we didn’t spend time on the beach (For beach days he was in his UV suit with SPF50 on his delicate flawless babyskin)

I make a point out of trying out new sun protection every time I go on holiday. I see it as a part of my job here on the blog. These are my 3 favorites for summer 2019

3. A chemical SPF for year around use.

I use Elemis Daily Defence SPF 30 (-affiliate link) every day, year around.

I feel like it’s enough protection for a regular day in London. This product is really light and acts like any old cream. I put it on after my day cream and before my makeup and never have any problems with applying other products on top.

Chemical sun protection works by transforming the sun’s UV rays into less damaging versions. It’s not as good a protection as the physical ones. But if I have the choice between this or nothing (because of time, sensitive skin or the white face thing), a chemical SPF is 100 times better.

Elemis’ version is a really good product for people who normally don’t use SPF to find a hassle-free and simple way of protecting their skin through their regular morning skincare routine.

Growing up in my family was a disaster skin-wise.

We never used sun protection and competed in who could get the deepest darkest tan. If someone got burnt and red, my parents said “we got color” and it was a positive thing.

I really have to suffer from this as an adult since it has left me with skin very sensitive to the sun. I have freckles, sun spots and after pregnancy pretty bad pigmentation. I will try laser, but for now, my best bet is to make sure I don’t damage my skin any further.

If you have lovely healthy non-damaged skin, please make sure to appreciate and take care of it. And if you are like me, just make sure you don’t make it any worse.

I always find it funny how we can spend so much money on clothes and other things we can take off at the end of the day. And sometimes totally neglect our skin, that stays on 24/7.

Ok, now I want to know. What is your favorite sun protection?

 

Chocolate, Champagne & A green Bentley

Firetree Chocolate, Champagne & A Green Bentley - Tess Montgomery

As you guys probably know by now, I’m a mom.

A mom to a 21-month-old toddler that loves to smear banana all over the sofa, shares his food with the dog and never want to brush his teeth. He is also training hard for muddy puddle jumping Olympics…

So I have my hands full as you might understand (and my hair full too…of banana). I love it, he keeps me on my toes and I laugh more and harder than ever in my life before.

However, sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that life offers other things than buying nappies and washing muddy clothes.

Firetree Chocolate, Champagne & A Green Bentley - Tess Montgomery

So the other day when my lovely friend Louis Nicolas Darbon called and asked if I fancied coming to a champagne and chocolate tasting. He did not have to ask twice.

Not only am I the biggest lover of chocolate, but I also mainly enjoy two types of alcohol – champagne and rum. So the chocolate and champagne together is a match made in heaven.

Throw in the fact that he picked me up in a brand new Bentley Continental GTC and you can imagine what a treat this was. I mean the car has a built-in massage feature for your back. Mind blown!

Firetree Chocolate, Champagne & A Green Bentley - Tess Montgomery

The contrast from wrestling a screaming toddler out of a giant muddy puddle in the morning. To be sitting in a Bentley driving through London (whilst having my back massaged) wearing a pretty dress and eating luxury chocolate a couple of hours later is quite something.

Our end destination was Taste of London – A food festival here different restaurants, drinks brands, bakers and anyone else who sell edible things comes together and hosts little pop-ups.

It’s a lovely place to spend an evening going from stall to stall, sampling great food and just enjoy the atmosphere. Or you can join in on a cooking class, listen to some live music or take part in a fun game. It’s up to you.

No matter what, it’s a really nice thing to do. So if you haven’t been I would highly recommend it. You can see when and where the next Taste of London will be on their website here. 

Firetree Chocolate, Champagne & A Green Bentley - Tess Montgomery

We headed straight to Firetree – a luxury dark chocolate brand that specializes in making chocolate from cacao grown on volcanic islands. Pretty cool right?

As soon as I got there I found a glass of crips Tattinger champagne in my hand and the tasting began.

I was amazed at the flavor of the different chocolate types. Mainly because Firetree adds no flavoring and all the taste notes in the chocolate come from the bean itself. It’s the flavor the plant has absorbed from the volcanic soil that makes the variations between the different types of chocolate they sell. Cool right?

Every pack has the taste notes printed on the inside of the pack when you open it. Flavors like honey, cherry, and truffle. So you know what to look for in the taste whilst you slowly let the chocolate melt in your mouth.

Firetree Chocolate, Champagne & A Green Bentley - Tess Montgomery

As a massive lover of dark chocolate, I found this tasting fascinating. It was almost more like a wine tasting in the way it was conducted.

I also got to take quite a few bars of chocolate with me home. I had to remind Garth that this chocolate is for slow consumption. He is a monster when it comes to chocolate and will inhale it all in one go if he gets the chance.

But at £8 a bar, it’s definitely worth sampling this luxurious bit of heaven slooooowly.

Firetree Chocolate, Champagne & A Green Bentley - Tess Montgomery

I feel so spoilt to get the opportunity to be invited to an event like this. I love being a mom and all that comes with raising a half-feral bundle of energy. But I also love to get to do something nice for myself now and then.

If I only had one of the two in my life I would probably get bored. It’s the balance between the two different worlds that makes my life interesting. It allows me to appreciate the contrasts and be grateful that my life has so much depth to it.

Firetree Chocolate, Champagne & A Green Bentley - Tess Montgomery

Thank you, Louis, Firetree & Bentley for a great afternoon. I truly enjoyed it and feel terribly spoilt. 

*This experience was gifted by Bentley and Firetree chocolates.

 

Mindful Monday 23rd June

This is my vision, mantra, focus, and little luxury this week;  My mantra this week  – ”Slow and steady wins the race”. I like to work quietly. I put down

Hi lovelies, how are you doing? Anyone on holiday yet?

We actually decided to stay put this summer. Well, with a week in Sweden for Harry’s (my nephew) birthday. But apart from that week, we thought we would stay in the UK for once. Enjoy our garden, hopefully, have some picnics in the sun and maybe have a little staycation somewhere nice in the countryside.

I’m trying to be more mindful of my flying habits. It’s obviously not great for the environment to be jet setting around the globe constantly. So I try to limit it to seeing friends and family. I want every trip we do to have a purpose beyond just a holiday. I will still fly but not unnecessarily and always pick my destinations with care.

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. If all of us skip that one or two flights a year, it will add up.

This is my vision, mantra, focus, and little luxury this week; 

My mantra this week  – ”Slow and steady wins the race”. I like to work quietly. I put down long-term goals and keep my head down and squirrel away. When I reach my goals it might look like easy wins to others, but believe me, it’s not. I just like to keep things under wraps. I rather want to be last in the race, and then surprise everyone by overtaking just before the finish line.

My affirmation this week – ”You can change almost everything in your life”. This is an affirmation I find incredibly important and use often. Sometimes our lives can feel conditioned by our circumstances. But it’s most of the time actually only an illusion. If you start to look around, you will realize pretty quickly that you are only a decision away from changing something significant. We also always have the option of how we react to the struggles life throws at us. I try to think “what can this teach me?” or “what is in my power to change in this situation?” if something doesn’t go as I planned.

My goal this week – This week’s goal is to decide what influencer networks to join and if I should have an agent here in the UK as well as the one I have in Sweden. I’m having a few meetings this week and by Sunday I’m planning to sit down, have a proper think and re-structure my business plan accordingly. It’s important to constantly be fluid and open for change in this business.

This is my vision, mantra, focus, and little luxury this week;  My mantra this week  – ”Slow and steady wins the race”. I like to work quietly. I put down

My dream of the week  – I’m dreaming of a collaboration with NET-A-PORTER’s new platform ”Sustain”. (affiliate link) It would be the perfect match for me. Sustainable, quality and timeless fashion. Whoever helps me get that gig would be my new hero in life. (Sending it out to the universe!)

My vision this week – My vision this week is to be able to do CrossFit again. My Diastasis Recti is still pretty bad and I’m barely allowed to do any exercise to not run the risk of making it worse or injuring myself. At this point, my stomach muscles have come together as much as they will on their own, so the next step is surgery. However if I have it done, I can’t have more kids after. So it looks like I have to wait a few years. Until then I just have to keep carefully doing yoga and dream of having a strong back and stomach again in the future.

My focus this week  – Garth is in Paris and I only have Ace to keep up with, So I’m using this time to really set down my routines and work on my efficiency. I love my routines and when I’m on my own I can really live the kind of life I thrive in without compromising.

The event of the week – A heatwave is coming to London and I’m excited to be hanging out in the garden. I have put Olive’s (the dog) ice vest in the freezer and need to dive into our messy basement and pull out and find Ace’s (the son) paddling pool. Bring on the heat!

My lesson from last week – You never know what fun stuff is lurking behind the corner. I feel like I’m getting nice surprises every day at the moment. Life is exciting!

My little luxury this week – I have loads of proper luxury chocolates at home from a fun event I attended last week (post to come) If you follow me on Instagram you already know what I’m talking about.

My inspiration this week  – I fell into a virtual black hole the other day and didn’t reappear again until hours later. I found this completely non-flashy ugly blog with all these really interesting articles on parenting.  ”Barking up the wrong tree”  is a great example of not judging a blog by its cover.

What is your vision, mantra, focus, and little luxury this week?

My jumper (*gift) is not only hand painted, but also made of 100% organic cotton. The brand is called Keepers tees and is exactly the kind of company I like to show you here on the blog. Small, sustainable, with some lovely items. Check them out!