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Magical Monochrome

I certainly can't say I follow this theme in my house my I am a fan of the sleek look that Black and White creates.. It always looks classic and elegant whilst still somehow being fresh and modern.

I put together a couple of mood boards. One for the adults and one for the kids..

Just click on the images to go to the sources

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I love doing mood boards.. I go searching the internet for stand out pieces and that is often when I find amazing gems that are perfect for Down that Little Lane 


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Do you work a little monochrome into your place? 

A Traditional Modern Christmas..

Using the Traditional Christmas Colours for decorating makes for easy shopping and co ordination with new items as you grow your collection.

Traditional Colours do not have to mean traditional design or even style. I am just talking fabulous greens and reds mixed with either silver or gold for your added bling.. and of course you can never add enough white. 

I have put together an inspiration board of styled images and some more modern version decorations of those traditional colours.. just click on the images to find the sources.


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I like to add a few new pieces each year to my collection and always buy well made items that will last me more than just the one season. 

My decorations have evolved with the trends and once I combine that with the tree and some Christmas foliage I am all set for 

What colour theme do you do for Christmas?


*I wrote this post for LifeInstyle

Selling your Insta Pictures..


So Katrina was talking about people selling their Instagram Images the other month as lots of Instagramers are getting approached by brands to use their images.

As I used to model and my images were used in a variety of branding I have a fair amount of knowledge on what an image is worth and felt it would be a good idea to share..

Yes for sure, if you want to sell the image go for it.. coming from a place where my mug was bought for the same reason payment should depend on usage.

The brand is relevant, are they a big brand?..
How long do they have the right to use it for.. 1 month or 1 year?
Lastly where will they use it, just on line? in mags? using to print in leaflets that go worldwide?



To give you an idea. I used to sign a contract for x amount of time with x amount of usage and once that expired it could be re negotiated for a further use or time if they wanted.. any use caught outside the contract during the signed period could then be charged for.

My numbers would be way off the mark now (as 3 years+ old) but for example a single image for a car brand being used in leaflets for 1year and in Aus and NZ only was circa $5000-7000, the same scenario for a more boutique homeware brand/item would be maybe $2500

If you sell your image to anyone without a usage contract they could put in a stock library and be selling it for $250-1000 each time it is used and then you have no control where it goes..

Lots to consider.. its not fair if people start to get ripped off so I thought I would put it out there..

Do you know anyone that has sold their images? 

San Fran to San Diego

So it's just an 8hr drive but we will be taking it slow.. I want to focus on the kids and shared excitement so lots of juvenile behaviour for all is the plan.. and it looks a little like this..










Any places you think we need to see between to the two points? Special places to stay? Hit me!




Ideas for the Holidays....


So this school holidays I am so sorted its not funny as I am off to the US and Mexico for my first family holiday in 2.5 years (yes you read right!!) but last school holidays I really wanted to do more with the kids than just hang out at home and we were invited to go to Sydney Sea Life Aquarium in Darling Harbour as the Dugongs had just arrived back in..

We had the BEST day.. the pictures speak for themselves but the kids raced around, answering all the quiz questions and trying to find the ugliest fish, the prettiest fish and of course we had to find Nemo, Dory and Marlin!


I was busting to see the Sea Cows (Dugongs) as I had never heard of them until I came to Aus and just think they are desperately cute, a sort of ugly cute, I want to cuddle them. I might be odd, I am not sure but that was my major squealing moment followed quickly with the kids when we got to the shark tank.


Post exit we had ice cream and went to Tumbalong Park and because you get set price all day parking if you go to Sea Life I wasn't even watching the clock, the kids went Parkour mad and we grabbed dinner before heading home.. does a day get much better for kids and parent?



That was last hols but I wanted to share how fab it was for those not leaving the country over Chrimbo as truly it is worth the visit.. SO much fun and next time I will actually go earlier so I can do Tumbalong Park action before AND after Sea Life..

Have you been? Got any fab tips for awesome things to do with the kids that you can enjoy too? 

Packed and Ready to Rock..

So I leave for the U.S and Mexico in a few days.. just a tad excited and already pretty much packed apart from the last minute add ins like my laptop (yes I will be working)..

I realised I really like to pack simple and light. I have a very rotatable wardrobe.. I use one pair of really comfy wedge heels that go with everything (daywear is my birkenstocks) and I use the same earrings to jazz up for evening as they work with all outfits (daywear is studs).



I have a couple of maxi dresses and kaftans that can be day or night and even my make up is just Watts Up, Mascara and Gloss.

My beach bag is the only casual bag I need all hols as it fits the whole families needs and then I have a clutch for evening.

I bought sonny angels as a little surprise for the kids to play with and of course we have the iPad for long journey videos etc.

Training kit I pack only two outfits and just wash often and the only other thing I am packing is some books that I cannot wait to read!!...

Of course it leaves me open for an excuse to shop but to be honest I would prefer to spend it reading whilst sunbathing or having fun on rides with the kids :)

What are your go to items for packing? Do you take everything from here so nothing left to chance or are you more my style? 

Welcoming Pain...


When I spoke about Indian Giving last week I omitted a detail I later realised upon one of my reflective moments..

I asked for the one item back which was possibly childish and got them all.. definitely childish 

The thing is I think I sort of asked for the hurt to see how far that person that I would still have welcomed back in my life would go. Well she answered in no uncertain terms that she truly did not give an iota about me or my feelings. No note, not even one telling me where to go.

I had to hold myself back from being super bitchy and listing the things that had been forgotten, possibly they were in use but whatever the reason I refused to lower myself to such a) nasty and b) pathetic behaviour 

It has been quite cleansing. I can walk away thinking why would I even want to fight for that?

It has hurt and it still hurts but I drive past her house and my kids ask after the family and I say sorry sweethearts she is not my friend anymore. They say ‘why?’ I say ‘she just doesn’t like Mummy, she says I don’t make her feel good’. I could go a different route but why? I am not lying to my kids, I am not shying away.. instead I welcome the pain as it is the only way to heal. 

Her telling me I was not a good enough friend just makes me want to be a better on to all my others. I choose to live my life these days by find the silver linings, and if facing some pain leads to that then it is the way I will go about it.


Life is too short to dwell on what does not make you feel good.. 

Do you face your pain or run a mile? 

Dreaming of Summer

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Some things I have , some things I will get and some things I just love to covet (yes, like those hot bronzed bodies).. Click on the images to go to the source :)

Are you immersed into that Summer feeling yet? 

Life Lately







Dexter : I am so in love with watching the bond the kids have with Dexter.. they loved Obi and Tyler but they came into the dogs lives not the dogs into theirs, this is the opposite and Dexter just adores them as a result.
Swimming : The Pool is a regular drop in on Saturdays.. I read, they play.. oh happy days..
The Girls : I managed to find time for lunch with the girls and it was only 90mins but it was sheer bliss
Food : It is like a constant battle. I have a sweet tooth but want to be healthy. This Sixer Juice by Sam is to die for..
Hanging : Hammock is hung, it sits in full sun early morning and shade in the afternoon.. total perfection.

A Little bit o' Leibster..

Oh how divine to have been nominated again.. this time by Something Gorgeous

The rules that come with a nomination are as follows:

1. Link back and recognise the blogger who nominated you.

2. Answer ten questions given by the nominator.

3. Nominate ten other bloggers for the award (I am going to do 5 as I only did one recently)

4. Create ten questions for nominees to answer.

5. Notify your nominees.

6. Get an award button and display it proudly.

So my questions are..

What makes you smile?

Oh so many things but if I am counting the things that do it daily it has to be my family. They truly are my everything and my husband is a spunk and total keeper whilst my kids have a bond that I just adore.
Just recently my biggest smile is coming from launching my new brand The Cult List with one of my best friends Kate..



What is you favourite season of the year?

Summer all over, I may moan about the heat at the time but I love the beach, I am revived by sun on my back as I run and easy summer maxi's are just bliss..


If you won a million dollars, what would you do?

I would have my husband stop work immediately and book holidays for every school break for a year. I would pay off the mortgage and then see what was left to invest back into DTLL..

What does your family think about you blogging?

Not much, my kids don't know that I do and my husband knows I have made some amazing friends from it so doesn't question it.. as for my extended family.. they don't read it so rather irrelevant :)

What did you want to be when you were a child?

A Lawyer.. Power Suit, Stilettos and Shoulder pads.. I used to watch LA Law with my Mum, what can I say.

Tell a random fact about you.

I grew up hanging around a race track as my Dad was a Formula 3 Racing Driver



Are you punctual or tardy?

Oh it depends on the day, I am always on time to get out the door but often late due to checking my emails just before I leave and ending up delayed but customer service issues but only when meeting people that know me well

What advice would you give to any new bloggers?

Have fun, be yourself and create your own voice because it is too hard to be someone else

If you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be?

Wowsers that is a hard one there are so many but I would love to meet Vivienne Westwood. I met her once but would love have a proper sit down chat.

What is your favourite post that you've written?

I have written a couple I am sure but none are a standout above any other so I will link to my favourite recent one which was called Serious Reflection

So now it is my turn to tag and I tag..

Kim, Jess, Sam , Bianca and Chris

My questions are..

Why did you start blogging?
What is your favourite thing to do on a weekend?
What is top of your list for a Christmas gift for yourself?
Do you have a holiday spot you could happily visit forever?
What is your dream job?
Share with us your favourite memory..
What is the best thing that has happened this year for you?
Chocolate or Cocktails and which style?
What is your favourite Social Media and why?
Who is your ultimate dinner date?

Ok who is playing ? Feel free to answer them yourselves or just pick one?



Unisex Kids Decor..

I certainly can't say I have a huge amount of this theme in my life but I am a fan of the versatility that black and white creates. It always looks classic and elegant whilst still somehow being fresh and modern AND when it comes to using it for the kids I love that it never goes off trend so if a decent cost can last the ages.

1. Custom Name Wood Blocks

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Personalised and monochrome, these Letter Wood Blocks ($9 each) would happily sit on the bookshelf amongst all the coloured spins of children's books.  

2. A Trio of Batman Prints

Trio of Bat Prints Batman is hot property at the moment and I adore the vintage feel of this Dark Knight Trio ($49) as I think they would be as popular with the dads as much as the kids.  

3. Cotton On Cushions

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I know being from Cotton On they are not so unique but they are oh so fun and affordable. The Dream Big Cushion ($19.95) has such a fab message and Moon and Back ($14.95) is such a cute saying and Batting Mad ($19.95) is just plain goofy!  

4. Ikea House Hack

I LOVE this ever so simple DIY from Mommo Design. Black tape PLUS a white set of drawers and ta da you are done. You could use this on any lighter coloured box too.  

5. Santa Monica Cushion

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Fresh and with a little touch of the Aztec Trend this Santa Monica Cushion ($83) is 47cm so it's a good size for a kids floor cushion that could then be on a king single bed as they get older.  

6. Stormy Quilt Set

Cloud Doona Cover
I often hear that boys bedding is so hard to find and that is always just car or robot themes. Well this Stormy Quilt cover set ($190) goes against all that and would be just as good for a girls room as a boys.  

7. Hey Mr. Spaceman

HM
My kids are now at an age that I can trust them with crockery and I have been slowly replacing all my plastic pieces. These pieces from H&M ($7.95 each) are a definite on my list.  

8. Knitted Bean Bag

La De Dah have an awesome range but the knitted bean bag ($129) is a stand out for me.

9. Storage Bricks

Stack them up or scatter them around these Stud Storage Bricks ($15) come in an array of colours and sizes. Lego never goes out of fashion huh?!    

10. Monochrome Blankets

Kate & Kate Blanket
Kate & Kate are all about generous sized blankets and they have quiet a few designs in black and white. My favourite is the Jagger ($119) and the Geometric ($119) comes a close second.  

11. Geometric Cross Decor

We can start them early on the monochrome path with this beautiful cross geometric mobile ($135) and the banner ($75) to match.  

12. Batboy Pillowcase

Batman Pillowcase
I couldn't resist rounding off one more Batman piece, after all he is the master of all-in-black superhero. The Batboy Pillowcase ($31) is just the best. I already have it on my sons bed with the girls version on my daughters.

Giving and Taking..



I am curious.. have you ever asked for a gift back?

I did it a few weeks back. I had bought this stunning piece of framed art for a couple last Christmas of which I now know the female didn't even like me anymore at the time that I gave it to them. I didn't make her feel good about herself so she had distanced herself from me and my life.

Thats all well and good but I didn't find out about that until 6 months after and it had me realise that the beautiful piece had gone to waste. That didn't really bug me until I started driving past their house each week on the way to Nippers and kept making me envision it sitting in the loft..

So I did it, first time ever, but I messaged and said can I have it back. I wouldn't re gift it but I want to give it back to the artist or to charity I just want the loving karma it was gifted with to end up somewhere other than in that house

I also offered to have a piece of personalised jewellery I bought her changed as I had gifted it with the words 'you are special' at a time when she was feeling far less than so. I didn't want it back as at the time of giving it I am pretty sure we were still good mates but thought she may want to change the wording..

It felt kind of wrong but it also felt like something I needed to do and whilst possibly selfish it is not like it is going to ruin a friendship as she had already made it clear that was over..

Have you ever taken a gift back? Am I odd? 


* funnily enough, she never responded but returned both items and even a few others to my front door step with no note.. my emotions? incredibly hurt but very happy I can just move on and focus on those that stood by me when I was doing it tough setting up DTLL alone not the ones that jumped ship.

Win 1 of 2 Beautiful Personalised Bracelets..

I adore custom made items, personalised pieces are what had me start DTLL and this giveaway is from a fabulous store that has the most amazing range of gifts

Fleur Envy takes great pride in delivering excellent craftsmanship, taking great care of even the smallest details. For them, "handmade" is really made by hand. It is a big part of what makes their products truly exceptional the passion for handicrafts, nature and life is evident in their range.





Together in a cross promotion with Sonia from Sonia Styling , we have two custom made bracelets on offer from Fleur Envy

All you need to do to enter is tell us in 25 words or less;
 What is your favourite metal? Are you a Silver or a Gold Person?
Then follow the prompts in the Rafflecopter widget below to be in with a chance to win.

Competition is open now and closes Sunday 30/11/14 at 11.59pm AEST

Lets all go Free..



Free to air that is..

Our family, well Marcus and I, had mumbled about cancelling Foxtel from after about a year of moving to this house (we had never had it in any previous abodes) so after 4 years of apparently umming and ahhing we finally cut ties.

The clincher for us was actually our children..

Kitty walked in one day and mentioned she was going to get her dog his 'kibble'. 'Kibble, what on earth is kibble?' 'Oh you know Mum its what Odi eats in Garfield'.

The duo both used the words 'awesome' and 'rad' far too frequently considering our children had never seen a skateboard at that stage AND I could not stand to wake up to them scrolling through the plethora of dumb cartoons that are really made for teenagers and fart, belch and have too many inuendos.

Marcus and I realised most of what we watched as a couple was either already on free to air or would be soon and if not we could just get the DVD series.. talking True Blood, Suits, Orange is the New Black etc so the only thing we would loose was The Housewives of every State in the USA, Vanderpump Rules and a few other shows that would never return us back the hour of our life we had wasted watching.

It has been at least 4 months.. we are richer in every way..

Cash, of course...
I get to watch Ellen daily instead of Housewives...
If we run out of stuff recorded we go to bed..
Best bit.. our kids watch DVD's when it is down time and never even bother to turn it on in the morning.. they just play.

Its been like us moving house.. I wish I had done it earlier.. what the *^%# was I waiting for?

Why am I sharing? In case you are thinking the same.. GO FOR IT!..

Do you have Foxtel? Have you got rid if it and loved it? What shows could you never kick? 

A morning with Nikki.. Oh yes purlease..



* Event tickets include an award-winning, catered brunch (with amazing coffee to boot), nanny assistance from Precious Peeps, a Mum Society gift bag plus entry to win one of our lucky door prizes – this month the prize pool is valued at a whopping $1500. You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with an incredible community of mums. Please ensure you allow plenty of time for parking and to settle your little people. No paper ticket required – just come and join in the fun.


Serious Reflection..


I had lunch the other month with Sonia and Bron. Those two girls are good for my ego. You see they have only known me for 4 years or so. They have watched me ride some huge waves and seen me be very honest about how tough they were alongside growing from the journey. Both girls know me in the personal and work capacity, they know how much I adore and cherish the community DTLL has created despite what I have given up to get there and well lets just say they let me know I have something and am someone to be proud off.

Whilst chatting about some less desirable personalities we had come across in business of late I said to Bron at that lunch it is amazing to talk about these people and not relate to them as they are the person  I used to be. I haven't been that person for a very long time as from the day I met Marcus I have shifted slowly but surely into the person I am today but I can now look back and see what a selfish person I once was.

I recently lost a friendship I had really valued as during the 'riding the waves' part of setting up DTLL I had not given enough of my time to her. It hurts and I am really sad she felt that way but she never voiced it and so I never knew. The thing was at exactly the same time I had another girlfriend who was not only not getting enough of my time but the time she was getting was actually filled with negativity. I was just not myself and she ignored it and dug on through.. I came out the other side and she actually said 'I am so happy to have my Tessa back'.

It wasn't until loosing one friend that it highlighted to me how amazing another one was to me.

It wasn't until listening to Bron chat about an egotistical character that I realised I used to be one.

It wasn't until I started really absorbing my husbands advice that I actually found I could action it.

It wasn't until I started taking the time to reflect every few months that I worked out how to live a better, happier and more fulfilling life.

Do you take time to reflect? Do you use what you find and take it to a better place?