Today I sat down with Tara Dennis, to find out how she maintains a healthy balance in her busy daily schedule.
Talk us through a day in the life of Tara Dennis- start/ finish and everything in between.
My weeks are split between TV work and my design Studio. We film Better Homes & Gardens TV all year so it’s pretty full on, they’re busy days with me often leaving home early for a 7am start. We often finish around 6pm and as my locations can be anywhere in or around Sydney I can spend up to 5 hours a day in my car! That part sends me crazy.
On my non filming days I enjoy dropping my son at school and then I head to my studio. I work with my husband and we also employ a design assistant. I have been creating my own home wares range for about five years now, it consists mainly of table top bone china dinnerware, serve ware, art and decorator accessories. I can spend up to two days per week purely on designing, painting and concepts. I create original art mainly using watercolours and gouache and develop the ranges with a Melbourne based distributor. It’s such a fun collaboration and the ranges are really developing. We are now stocked across Australia in independent home wares stores as well as David Jones.
From our studio we also develop creative solutions for companies such as 3M, this year producing a series of stop motion videos which was pretty exciting. My husband is a photographer and keen builder so it’s a real team effort. We do photographic styling and build full room sets depending on the job. I also spend time preparing for up and coming design presentations, workshops as well as trend forecasting for trade events.
Day on a plate- breakfast/ snacks and lunch and everything in between.
Generally as a family we eat really well, enjoying good, whole food as much as possible. I’m not a take away or pizza fan, therefore my family misses out!! If I do eat out it will be mostly Japanese or Thai.
Breakfast is usually Rye or Sourdough Toast and Vegemite, or Porridge.
Snacks – boiled egg or cheese, maybe some almonds. I have really cut back on fruit to lower my sugar intake but if I do it will be blueberries, an orange or a green apple. Every now and then I’ll dig into the Tim Tams but I’m getting better at going without!
Lunch – often it’s a salad with tuna or cheese or home made veggie soup or a sandwich. The TV crews mostly eat out but I take a packed lunch because Im too lazy to go searching for a decent lunch! Dinner could be steak, pork, chicken or fish, lots of vegies and staples like French Lentils, Quinoa, Pearl Cous Cous. Sometimes we have Pasta or homemade soups. Dessert is rare, last night I made Rhubarb and Apple Crumble with ice cream which was yum.
Are you creative in the kitchen / or do you enjoy simple dishes?
Oh yes, I love to cook. I’m lucky because we share the cooking in our house so it never feels a chore. There was a time when I wanted to be a Pastry Chef, I didn’t pursue that path so now I enjoy baking on weekends.
How do you keep fit and healthy?
I have a good attitude and I move. I don’t have a desk job, I renovate houses and build things so I’m always on the go. I believe being healthy and well mostly comes from the mind, it’s about being positive, it’s acceptance and being the best you can be. If your head is in a good place the rest follows. I just have the attitude ‘get up and make things happen’!
Do you have a regular exercise regime?
Nothing regular at the moment apart from the physicality of my job. It’s all work and not much play lately, I’m out of the house to work in the dark and back home in the dark. I do admit to finding it hard to juggle being a full time working mum and finding time for me. I’m ok with that for now though, I’m hoping for more balance soon ( I’ve been saying that for years!!). I was a keen runner before my son was born and I really feel I need to get into it again as I loved how strong it made me feel. It made my back strong and cleared my head, such a powerful feeling.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Wine, not in vast quantities, I just enjoy a glass or two after work to celebrate the day. We’re spoiled with so many lovely wines in this country, I like a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, otherwise a light Pinot Noir or Cabernet Merlot.
Are you a Coffee or Tea queen?
Tea, without a doubt. I never drink coffee, just don’t like it.
Like or loathe sugar? / Or something in between?
I love sugar but lately have been trying to curb the cravings, mainly for my wellbeing and concentration. I watch how sugar affects my son, he is so much more stable and happier with less in his diet, I figure there’s definitely something to it. I recently purchased the Sarah Wilson books. I don’t strictly adhere to all she advocates but am slowly adopting some of the ideas, I feel it makes a difference to the way I feel and get through my busy days.
What drives motivation and your creative side?
If you’re a creative person I just don’t think you can turn it on or off. I have been blessed with the creative gene all my life and it’s exactly what motivates me. You have to be bothered to try things and accept that some things don’t come as easily as others, the failures are as much part of the journey as the successes. I have two fully equipped studios, stocked to the brim with art materials so there is absolutely no excuse for me to ever be bored!