counting koalas

In bed with the Hutchinsons

Koala sits down with Ainslie of child wear clothing company, Daughter and talks parenting, design and finding balance in life.

Firstly we’d love if you could tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure! I’m Ainslie, I’m 28 years old and live with my husband Brook – also 28, and my three children, Indie – 4, Elke – 2 and Atlas – 5 months in the hinterlands of Byron Bay. My husband is a chef and I run my own business from home.

What does your perfect morning look like?

A perfect morning for me would involve a sleep in! It’s been about five years since I’ve had one of those so these days I’ll settle for a smoothie and a walk in the fresh air.

What’s your number one sleep tip?

Good quality sheets!

How do you wind down in the evening?

A chai tea and a good book or podcast really helps me to relax.

How has Koala changed your sleeping habits?

We can all fit in the bed much more comfortably after upgrading to our king size koala mattress. I also love the no disturbance feature so if my restless two year old is tossing and turning right next to me I won’t even feel it!

What mattress feature appealed to you the most?

We love that the mattress doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals.

You have the most adorable family! What is your style of parenting, and how effective has it been?

We are the type of family that just goes with the flow. We have never been the type to have any strict routines and therefore the kids are pretty adaptable to many situations.

Is it easy to get your kids to bed when they are still at such a young age? Can you share a few tips to new mums on how to get little ones to sleep?

What works for us may not work for everyone but we are big on bedtime stories. Each night the girls come to us with their arms full of books and we try to get through as many as we can before they drift off to sleep.

The girls have shared a bedroom since Elke was a baby and they have always felt a sense of comfort and security by each other’s presence. We have just recently packed away their toddler beds and moved them into a shared queen bed (their idea) and they have never slept better! Atlas is still so little and although he has his own crib he prefers to co-sleep with us and we all get a better night sleep this way.

What’s the hardest thing about raising children?

Trying to keep them safe and happy and having my eye on all three at once is a real challenge at the moment!

What’s the best thing about raising children?

Watching their personalities unfold and seeing their joy in new discoveries.

Your children always dressed neutral colours, and minimalistic designed clothes. Do you handpick all the clothes yourself, and what kind of attributes do you look for in the brands you choose?

I actually have my own childrenswear label, Daughter, and design all the pieces to fit the lifestyle we live. The brand’s aim is to create classic, timeless pieces with simple silhouettes rather than passing trends, and we ensure the longevity of our clothing by using high quality, natural fabrics and manufacturing in an ethical and sustainable environment.

My own children wear little else these days as a few key pieces from Daughter are really all they need!

In a lot of the photos, your family looks very close. What’s your secret to happy house, and a happy family?

My children thrive out in nature so I’d say that really is the key to their happiness.

You moved to your current house only a few months ago. What kind of house were you looking for to make a home?

It’s actually been almost a year since we made the move from Sydney to our hinterland town outside Byron Bay! We’ve always loved the look of the original weatherboard country cottages and when one came up for sale we jumped at the chance to make it our own. Our home was built by the family who actually founded our town and is one of the oldest homes still standing! We’re looking forward to restoring and renovating it over the next few years to make it appropriate for our growing family whilst still keeping the original country charm.

How would you describe your style of interior design? 

I don’t know if I have a style really but I love white walls, neutral colours, fresh linens and wood pieces. We try to keep the clutter to a minimum and only bring pieces into our home that truly serve a purpose.

What are your favourite styled pieces in your home

At the moment our house is very much a work in progress so almost nothing is going to be staying as it is right now. We haven’t put too much thought into styling anything as we know it’s all about to change but I did have a lot of fun putting together a little nursery space for Atlas. We purchased a new crib but everything else we used in that space was already hanging around the house. I love that he has a serene space to play and sleep (not that he actually sleeps there much, he loves our bed too much!).

Your family live a very minimalistic life. What prompted this style of living?

I try to live by the words ‘buy less, choose well’. So many people think they need a lot of ‘stuff’ to be happy but for me the opposite is true. A clean and organised home with purposeful furniture and decor is a perfect for us. Finding ways of decorating with useful items is a great way of achieving a relaxed and homey aesthetic. We love to display our hats and baskets on the walls and hooks which also make for easy access when it’s time to use them. On our shelves we keep diffusers and brown bottles filled with essential oils and we like to make sure each room has at least one plant for health and aesthetic purposes.

Lastly, what advice would you like to give to anyone who wants to live minimally?

Don’t buy into trends. Invest in few but good quality pieces that will stand the test of time.

Spring Cleaning is an ideal way to spruce up your living space by de-cluttering and reorganising your home environment in a few small steps. A few hours of rearranging, scrubbing and polishing can make you feel like you’re living in an entirely new home. The best part? You don’t even have to wait for Spring!

When done correctly, spring cleaning can totally transform your personal environment. Not only will it improve your household structure, but your mindset is sure to reap the benefits, too. If you are stressed, angry or simply lead a busy life, it’s easy to neglect your household sometimes. A peaceful home environment can make a world of difference to both you and your family.

The idea of spring cleaning can certainly seem like a daunting task to most, though with a plan, your home is sure to be back to (almost!) new in no time. Here are my five favourite tips to get you on track and start the process:

Make a list: The easiest way to get started is to identify your key areas for cleaning/reorganising and what needs to be done in each room. This will make the task seem more achievable, less daunting and we all know how satisfying it is to check items off your list when you’re done with them. Get as many people involved as you can to make the most of your time.

Treat yourself and update your cleaning equipment: Nothing will make the idea of cleaning seem less appealing than knowing your equipment is old, broken and unusable. Replacing your mop, rags and clothes is a good way to start. This will instantly make the idea of cleaning seem a lot more attractive.

Work in zones: It’s quite unrealistic to attempt to spring clean your entire household in one afternoon. I recommend separating your areas and sorting through them one at a time to avoid becoming stressed and overwhelmed. By breaking up your clean, you will experience a sense of achievement as you finish each room, motivating you to start on the next.

Listen to something stimulating: Play some music, turn on the TV or perhaps listen to a favourite podcast or an audiobook. Not only will these audio cues help you to pass the time, but they will also encourage you to maintain momentum and stay focused on the task at hand.

Add something special to each room: Think fresh flowers, a pot plant, a photo frame or a trinket. Adding new touches to an area can entirely lift the mood of the space. Flowers and greenery are perfect for simple areas such as bathrooms and study nooks, while more personalised items are fantastic to add into shared areas to evoke a sense of warmth and comfort.

Spring cleaning is a task designed to invigorate your home by cleaning out the old and prioritising the new. Your end result will not only be a clean, fresh living space, but you can also appreciate the hard work you have put in to maintain your home. Cutting the clutter and messy environment is a great way to improve productivity in the home. Now that you have a spot for everything and your items are organised, you will be able to find everything you need with ease. Your home will be more orderly, daily chores will be far more manageable and you will have much more time to relax and enjoy the things you love. Grab a mop, bucket and a helper, and thank yourself later.

Firstly we’d love if you could tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hey! I’m Monny (@montanalower). I like to smile. To laugh. To make people laugh. To share things. To learn. To eat. To dance. To sit by a fire. To swim in the ocean. To pick the grass out of my hair. To grow things. To grow. To travel. And most of all, I like to simply, be.

(Pools freak me out, and so does low fat milk).

What does your perfect morning look like?

A trip to the beach!

What’s your number one sleep tip?

If my boy is away, I like to read myself to sleep. It often leads to some pretty fun dreams, but if he’s home, there’s nothing better than a back tickle.

How has Koala changed your sleeping habits?

Admittedly, it’s now a little too comfy to get out of bed.

What does your morning ritual look like? Are you the kind of person that checks social media first thing?

Nothing happens before a lemon water.

You recently went to Sri Lanka. What motivated you to travel there, and what were you ultimate sights or activities you experienced while there?

We kind of just woke up one day and said – let’s go! I didn’t know much about Sri Lanka before we went, but I’d been to India and loved it. I like to be surprised by places; to let them show me what they want to. Sri lanka was a curry-hunting, elephant-spotting, treasure wave dream. We spent most of our time in Arugam Bay. If you’re ever there, make sure to take the train trip from Ella.

Any other world destinations you recommend team koala visit?

Without a doubt, I’d recommend a trip to Mexico. It’s beautiful and vibrant and full of life.

We notice you’re currently studying Civil and Environmental Engineering; how do you juggle modelling and a difficult degree?

It’s hard to do anything else while modelling. The short notice, varying locations and sporadic nature of it all is a lot to base your life around. But it’s been a few years now and I think I’m finally getting the hang of it – or at least just accepting its flow in my life. Engineering is a challenge, but it’s one that I enjoy. I think when you believe in something and enjoy it, it has a way of working out.

What made you decide to study Civil and Environmental Engineering, and do you see yourself going down that career path after university?

I’m currently enjoying modeling, but I firmly believe that your “outside” should have little to do with your “inside”, unless of course you are expressing what you feel. I’ve always had an interest in design and figuring out how things worked. It occurred to me that I couldn’t rely on someone else to make the changes that I wanted to see in the world. So I combined the two. I think everything you learn along your journey has a way of working its way into other avenues of your life.

Engineering is all about systems management. Efficiency. Innovation. Complex analysis. These skills are beneficial in anything you do. Just like my engineering brings me back down to earth from my modelling, the modelling reminds me to spice it up.

So to answer your question – yes. I truly can’t wait to put what I’ve learned to action.

What first got you into modelling?

I honestly can’t draw the dots between how I got from full time office work to modelling and living in Byron. But I think if I traced it right back, my first introduction to it was through my Mamma. She’s an artist, and I’ve been her little life model since the beginning.

We notice you’re signed with Vivien’s – that’s so exciting! What is it like being a professional model? How does a photoshoot day look like?

I was lucky to fall under Vivien’s wing when I did. They’ve been so supportive and understanding of my unique path with this whole modelling thing. The start was pretty funny – I grew up in rural towns and so professional modelling was my first introduction to fashion, makeup, girls competing with each other based on their looks… I didn’t understand what I was doing at the time, but Instagram gave me an opportunity to show more about who I was rather than what I was, and soon enough like minded brands started getting in contact. From here, shooting got really fun. And now it’s just a giggly blur.

What’s the hardest thing about modelling?

Sometimes I have to wear shoes. And sometimes I have to be ‘serious’. But it’s nice to play different characters sometimes.

What’s the best thing about modelling?

The free lunch. Hahaha just kidding. Getting to be around creative, passionate people. It’s energising.

What are some of your favourite campaigns you’ve been on? What made those photoshoots extra special?

Recently I went to Uruguay to shoot a campaign. I wrote a poem in the makeup chair and ended up doing a voiceover on the video produced on the day… It will be released soon and I can’t wait to share it! I love it when brands make it about more than the aesthetics. Fashion, to me, has always been about dressing how you FEEL.

Lastly, what advice can you give to our audience for those who want to pursue modelling?

Know who you are. Don’t let people change you. And if you’re going to change – don’t do it for anything or anyone but to grow for your true and essential happiness.

Firstly we’d love if you could tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi! My name is Chelsey and I’m the Founder and Editor of Like A Vegan – a blog covering all things vegan including food, fashion, beauty, lifestyle and travel. I live in Newcastle with my rescue terrier, Brett and love to spend most of my time listening to hip hop and podcasts.

What does your perfect morning look like?

My perfect morning would mean waking up whenever I felt like it, making a delicious breakfast like avo on toast and taking it back to bed to eat while I watch Netflix!

What’s your number one sleep tip?

I have to have white noise in the background to sleep as It helps me block out any other noises that may pop up throughout the night. I usually have a fan going as well as a podcast to get me in the zone.

How do you wind down in the evening?

I know you’re not supposed to do this but I can’t go to sleep without watching a solid half hour of Netflix. If I don’t factor this in to my nightly routine, I find that I have a really restless sleep.

How has Koala changed your sleeping habits?

Firstly, I upgraded to a queen so I am loving the extra sleep real estate but with a puppy in the bed, I’ve found that his movements throughout the night don’t disturb me at all.

What mattress feature appealed to you the most?

I love Koala’s commitment to animals by not only creating a vegan and cruelty-free mattress but also adopting a koala with every mattress purchase. I don’t think I’ve heard of any other mattresses that actively promote anything like that!

As a blogger, what is your favourite thing to blog about?

Recipe development is for sure my fave because it allows me to show people that vegan food isn’t boring. I also love to promote companies who are creating fantastic vegan products so that’s a close second.

Where do you find your inspiration to blog, and how did you first get started?

I find inspiration mainly from non-vegan food and funnily enough that’s also how I got started. When I first went vegan, I missed a lot of the food I grew up with so started ‘veganising’ those meals and sharing them on my personal Facebook page. When friends started asking for the recipe, I started a blog to keep track of them for myself and to share with friends!

You have a good following of 16,700 people. What do you think draws people to follow you? What’s your unique offering?

I like to think that people follow me because I’m posting content that is relevant or interesting to them in some way. It’s really easy to get overwhelmed by all the horrible stuff that happens to animals and while accounts highlighting that kind of thing are important, I’ve made a point of always showing the lighter side of veganism and highlighting all the positives!

What made you start being vegan?

I first went vegetarian because my brothers told me they would love me more (true story). I had always wanted to be vegan but like many had put it in the too hard basket because I bloody loved cheese! I finally made the decision to go vegan when I’d cut out cheese for a diet I was on and realised it wasn’t so hard after all!

What’s the best thing about being a vegan?

Good question! I think it depends on why you’re vegan. For me, it’s a 100% ethical decision so the best thing for me is the fact that as much as possible I am reducing animal suffering for my own benefit. The diversity of delish eats, health benefits and environmental impact are all amazing by-products that have come along with it.

What’s the hardest thing about being a vegan?

The hardest thing is absolutely the mainstream misconceptions about what veganism is all about. I think people like to immediately jump to the conclusion that vegans are bossy activists who live only to make people feel guilty about the way they live their lives and that’s simply not true. Funnily enough, I find it’s usually the people fighting that ethical dilemma within themselves that love to perpetuate the “militant vegan” stereotype.

Has being vegan made you think about how the rest of the products you use in life are made?

Absolutely! Veganism is an all-encompassing lifestyle that doesn’t just include diet, which makes it impossible to be vegan without considering everything you buy and reading a lot of labels. It sounds super complicated but trust me, it becomes second nature very quickly.

What do you look for in products now that you’re vegan?

First and foremost – products I buy can’t have any animal products or animal by-products. For food that means nothing like dairy, eggs or things like gelatine and when it comes to other products I’m looking for things like leather, wool and silk. If I’m searching for beauty or home products nothing can be tested on animals or include ingredients like carmine (from beetles), lanolin (from wool) or beeswax.

Some people may be put off going vegan because of the reduction in food options. What is your ULTIMATE meal you love to prepare?

Oh, don’t make me choose! If I’m just cooking for myself I love to make a delicious vegan pizza with a tonne of veggies, mock meats and vegan cheese. If I’m entertaining I love to put on a huge spread. At the moment I’m planning a Christmas in July (in August) feast for my (non vegan) friends and plan on making a huge mock meat pie, mac n cheese, crumbed Brussels sprouts and a bunch of roasted vegetables.

In this growing technological world that we live in, we are surrounded by technical gadgets. We have smart phones, smart watches, laptops, tablets, wireless headphones, in fact wireless anything, digital radios, digital televisions, even digital assistants such as Alexa – the voice of Amazon’s Echo.

If we were to pick out the top four gadgets, Koala would nominate some interesting developments that have forever changed how we live.

First up is the humble fridge. Where would we be without it? Suffering from food poisoning on a regular basis, making constant trips to the shops to replace our diary, meat and fish products.

Another overlooked piece of tech is an absolute must in the home. Ask any fire brigade: smoke detectors save lives. While it’s easy to forget these little devices, it’s important to schedule in regular battery changes to ensure they are working at the time you may need one. It could mean the difference between life and death.

While indoor plumbing dates back millennia, one of the most influential technical gadgets in the home remains the common lavatory. The widespread use of flushable toilets led to a significant a drop in serious waterborne diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea, making that piece of porcelain priceless.

Finally, and perhaps most predictably, the internet has forever changed how we interact with the world and has had a dramatic effect on modern life – as drastic as the invention of the printing press in the late 15th century. It’s a source of price comparisons that help us make informed choices about how to spend our money wisely, the centre of our entertainment and social lives. Apps now tell us if our trains and buses are on time or late, leaving us with informed choices about whether to stay out of miserable weather and in the warmth of our homes for a little bit longer. The internet helps us to communicate with our loved ones, we can keep checks on elderly relatives, order groceries (or mattresses!) online, get home deliveries and save so much time.

While we tend to think of smartphones, vacuum cleaners and myriad kitchen appliances as time-saving technologies, it’s important to celebrate the smaller inventions that you interact with every day (or, when you really need them).

There are many reasons why sleep is so important to wellbeing. Your body, mind and emotions all benefit from a restful night of high quality sleep. If you’re looking for an excuse to relax and recharge, here are a few great reasons to allocate a little extra time in bed over the coming weekend.

Balance your hormones

Our hormones are like the body’s instant messaging system; they are responsible for everything from moods, to fertility, to immune system functions. Critical hormones are produced and regulated during sleep, so if this process is disrupted or compromised, the results can be very damaging to health.

For example, inadequate sleep increases the production of ghrelin, the hormone that causes hunger, while suppressing leptin – which is responsible for making you feel full. Broken or inadequate sleep can fuel hunger pangs, and over time lead to weight gain.

Regenerate your skin and muscles

Better sleep helps reduce cortisol levels, which in turn reduce the likelihood of heart problems and high blood pressure. The rate at which your cells repair themselves is also at its most intense during sleep, so the idea of ‘beauty sleep’ is more than just an idiom. Skin health deteriorates as a result of insufficient sleep, affecting your complexion and causing bags under your eyes, and the less time your facial muscles spend in a relaxed state, the more quickly you will develop frown lines.

Balance your emotions

One of the reasons people who are well-rested have more stable moods is directly related to their hormonal balance, which is improved by adequate sleep. But the emotional benefits go deeper than this: the simple matter of not feeling tired all day contributes to a sense of calmness and patience. Good sleep is associated with greater happiness and empathy, which both work to ensure stronger and more rewarding relationships.

Think better, and more clearly

Studies have shown that adequate quantities of deep, restorative slumber help the brain consolidate learning and improve memory and recall, as well as contributing to heightened alertness and faster reaction times. From a more self-reflective angle, as you begin to examine and think about the factors affecting your sleep, you will naturally also develop a deeper understanding of yourself and a more profound insight into the forces that shape your life.

Firstly we’d love if you could tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Gayle, I live in the Byron hinterland with my husband Luke and our 22 month old little girl, Talloh. We moved to Byron almost six years ago, and we haven’t looked back. I’m originally from beautiful Cape Town in South Africa and I love to travel, meet new people and take photographs. I’ve found that photographing a special moment or time in a family/couples life brings me so much joy and fulfilment.

I can be found on Instagram at cape_to_byron, and my website is at

What does your perfect morning look like?

I’m a huge morning person, I tend to start out with some sort of movement first thing; be it a run, yoga or a walk to the lighthouse with my little one in the carrier. The fresh air and exercise does us a world of good. Afterwards coffee and breakfast with other mamas, and then straight off to the beach! It’s great that we can do this even throughout winter here.

What’s your number one sleep tip?

I’d recommend not having screen time just before bed (not always an easy one for me, I’ll admit). I suggest winding down down with a book, or a stretch and some mood music; it’ll make a world of difference!

How do you wind down in the evening?

After I’ve put our toddler to bed, my husband and I sit down with a tea and chat about our day. It’s a great time for us to connect one-on-one (Pukka ‘love’ tea is a beautiful blend to drink before bed – it’s infused with rose, chamomile and lavender).

What are your tips to new mothers on how to get young ones to sleep?

Definitely have a winding-down routine. A warm bath, dinner, some quiet time of choosing a book and reading it together in bed with the lights dimmed. My little one loves it when I rub her back and sing Incey Wincey Spider.

Are there any food, or drinks you make that help your daughter go to sleep?

She loves chamomile tea! She’s got quite the acquired taste for it now. Also, since I’ve just weaned her, she loves a dash of milk with warm water in her bottle.

How has Koala changed your sleeping habits?

We all fit on the bed better! Since we upgraded from a queen to a king size, it is just that little bit roomier for the three of us (we’re co-sleeping until our home build is complete) and it’s oh so comfortable.

You take beautiful photos! Can you share some tips to other mothers on how to get the perfect photos of their children?

Thank you! Catching a candid moment is beautiful (it’s better when they don’t know you’re taking a photo) and good lighting makes a big difference.

What’s your number one tip to give to new mothers?

Whatever feels right, do that. Don’t stress about what you’ve been told or what you’ve read. You’ll know what’s right for you and your baby. And if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it – it can make a world of difference. There’s always support for you if you need it!

What’s your favourite thing about being a mother?

Where do I start?! Seeing our baby girl grow into a little person with character and her very own quirky personality traits. I love watching her figure out who she is and that I get to be a key part in the whole process. It’s a humbling experience.

We saw that your husband actually created your new bed frame for your Koala mattress. What inspired him to create the bed frames for your home?

He’s a handy, do-it-yourself kind of guy. He had found the perfect timber and decided he wanted to build our beds.I love that we will be sleeping on something he made himself, it makes it that much more special.

You told us that you’re actually building your own home. What inspired your husband, and you to build your own home instead of buying one?

We stumbled upon our block of land by chance. The timing and location were right and we got a great deal, we couldn’t say no! So now we’re building!

What styles, and designs have inspired you when designing your home?

We’ve always been drawn to Queenslander homes. The tall ceilings, hardwood floors and wrap around decks are exactly what we wanted for our home. Since our driveway is too narrow to relocate an old Queenslander, we built a modern one.

What’s the hardest things you’ve both encountered while building?

Though others have different experiences, we’ve found a number of the tradespeople we’ve tried to work with to be quite unreliable! It’s so frustrating when you want to give someone work yet they can never return calls or show up when they say they will. That said, we had an amazing team of builders who got our home to lockup, who we’re so grateful for.

Can you share some tips, and tricks for people interested in building their own home?

Get your ideas down first as a couple, then find an amazing draftsman or architect to help you see what works and what doesn’t. It’s all about the team you choose, and a reliable builder is an amazing asset as well. Remember, it’ll take much longer than you anticipate, so be mindful to just go with the flow and not get too attached to an end date – things always come up!

What are the essential pieces you must have in your new home?

Hardwood pieces my husband will build – like our dining room table and beds. We are also planning framed photo walls filled with memories we hold dear. We’ll also emphasise pieces from our travels that we’ve collected, like woven baskets from Africa, kilm cushions from Turkey and beautifully painted bowls from the Middle East.

Lastly, in all your photos your whole family look so happy. What about Byron makes the perfect place to create your home?

For us, Byron felt like home ever since the first time my husband and I road tripped up here nine years ago. Lifestyle is key for us, and Byron has exactly what we’ve always talked about raising our children in. However, I wholeheartedly believe that wherever my family is, I’ll be happy. ‘When you love what you have, you have everything you need.’

Sleep is when our bodies rejuvenate. It’s well documented that inadequate sleep doesn’t enable the muscles and cells to repair themselves properly, which can in turn lead to health problems. Counterintuitively, getting too much sleep can also lead to health conditions as well, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Recent research also indicates that getting either too little or too much sleep has a negative impact on cognitive function and has even been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease and depression.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours as the healthy range for adults, though this may drop to around six as we enter our twilight years.

What’s clear according to research is that quantity does not make up for quality. If you have failed to enter into several iterations of full sleep cycles, or your period of rest has been marked by frequent awakenings, your body doesn’t have the ability to repair itself and you’ll feel tired the following day. A full, restful sleep should include four or five 90-minute cycles of REM and non-REM sleep.

While the occasional disruption to sleep patterns is normal (we’re not suggesting to give up dinners with friends or relatives, or getting up earlier a couple of days a week for exercise), the notion that you can refill your reserves of missed sleep by putting in extra hours on the weekend is a fallacy. Repeated late nights trick your body to adjust its energy levels to suit the new regime, which produces a sensation very similar to jet lag. The best way to address this is by putting yourself on a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and waking at approximately the same time (yes, even on the weekends). Here are three simple steps you can try to maximise your rest:

Silence is golden: make sure that your room is dark and quiet. Eliminate as much light and noise as possible (though a little soft music or quiet white noise can also help some people relax into a blissful rest.

Drop the evening cuppa: Avoid caffeinated products for at least 3 hours before bedtime. Likewise, spicy foods can trigger alertness, so avoid hot curries or chilli chocolate just before bedtime.

Switch it off: Electronic devices, although handy and entertaining in the daytime, trick your brain at night into thinking that it’s still daytime. This interrupts your body’s natural rhythms and makes sleep very difficult to attain.

Set your alarm and stick to it: If you get to bed at the same time each night, try to get out of bed at the same time each morning. Resist the urge for a weekend lie-in that’s substantially longer than your weekday morning ritual – consistency is key to healthy sleep. And don’t ever hit the snooze button! Use the mornings on the weekends to prepare a healthy breakfast, get out for a walk, or to knock over a few chapters of the book that’s been sitting on your coffee table for the past month.

Spend a couple of weeks adjusting to this schedule, and if you find you are still not getting the sleep you need, consult a medical professional, as there could be something else at play. As we spend a third of our lives asleep, getting the correct amount of healthy sleep can help you live longer, happier and healthier. Just don’t overdo it!

The alarm clock breaks the serene silence with its persistent (and largely unwelcome) clamour. You struggle to roll over to silence its wail and even consider reaching for the dreaded snooze button. But the work day beckons, and despite the fact it’s not always easy to leap up and jump headfirst into the day, being a lark instead of a night owl can offer six very clear and enticing benefits:

1. Avoiding Commuting Complications

If you hit the road before the rooster crows, you get to skip the traffic. Breezing down the highway devoid of lane-cutters and snarled gridlock means you can avoid unnecessary frustration and arrive in the office in a more positive frame of mind. For those that don’t drive, being able to get your choice of seats on public transportation is a joy those who follow an hour later will never know.

2. Claiming Fridge Space, Coffee, and Peace

Arriving at the office before everyone else permits you to stake your claim for space for your lunch in the refrigerator. Avoiding the balancing act atop Tupperware and sideways sandwiches ensures your lunch will actually be edible when the time comes. Likewise, making and serving yourself one of the first fresh cups of coffee enables you to approach your day calmly and caffeinated. Finally, starting your day in peace and quiet before the cacophony of the crowd permeates your presence allows your mind to begin its tasks in an orderly and efficient manner. This is particularly important if you work in a creative field.

3. Prioritising Plans and Productivity

Mapping out your work day before it technically begins is the very best way to gain the edge on productivity. Knowing when your meetings are and organising your time for your allotted tasks takes the frustration and futility out of the endless loop of making up your schedule as you go. If connecting with a client before their vacation is essential, then you must plan your phone call and its critical details. Submitting your budget in time for a deadline becomes small change if you have organised your day at the outset.

4. Making Memorable Impressions

When your boss appears at the office early in the morning and finds that you are already there, they will remember. When this happens repeatedly, you are established as a “go-getter” who is serious about their job. The person that’s consistently late, disorganised and always one step behind is also the less likely to be the recipient of management favours.

5. Expanding Your Evening

One of the most important personal benefits to being the early bird is that if your job has flexible hours, you are headed home long before your colleagues. This leaves time for you to run errands, cook dinner, socialise, and spend more time with family. For those with children, it’s no secret that kids grow up fast. Being able to attend family dinners, school performances or evening sport is priceless, and well worth the sacrifice of an early start. This also allows you to get to bed earlier and maximise your rest time, so you can get up the next day to do it all again.

6. Following in the Footsteps of Greatness

Before the general populace has even hit the snooze button for the first time, many of the most successful people the world over have already squeezed in an early morning workout, responded to emails, and prepared for the day ahead. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has been known to go for an early morning bike ride with his wife and still make it to the office by 6AM. Anna Wintour, Vogue editor-in-chief, is famous for starting her day with a tennis match bright and early. Similarly acclaimed architect Frank Lloyd Wright is known to have come up with some of his most creative ideas between the hours of 4 and 7AM. While there are plenty of stories of successful people that are night owls, there’s no denying a link between early risers and success.

So, this coming Monday, why not set off on the right foot and get a jump on the week by getting into the office ahead of the pack? It might just make all the difference

Firstly we’d love if you could tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Kirsty (@pinksugarstyling), mama to the coolest kid I know, Brax, (who’s four years old) and wife to a bit of a hunk! My husband is world champion professional Muay Thai fighter Nick Trask (@nick_tnt_trask). Together Nick and I run Heart-Out Muay Thai gym in Ipswich, Queensland. It sure does keep life both exciting and busy! Aside from my family and Muay Thai my other passion is interior and product styling. I also have a bit of a cushion and throw addiction! I just can’t get enough of them.

What does your perfect morning look like?

My perfect morning would be getting to have a sleep-in, cuddles in bed with Nick and Brax and then going to a nice cafe near the beach for breakfast. A morning where we don’t have to rush and there’s nowhere that we have to be other than together.

What’s your number one sleep tip?

My number one sleep tip is to put your phone on silent. There’s nothing worse for your sleep than getting disturbed by messages and notifications. It’s important to completely disconnect from your phone and social media at bedtime.

How do you wind down in the evening?

I like to practice mindful meditation before bed to relax and break the connection between all the day’s stress and bedtime. You can find some really wonderful free meditations online.

How has Koala changed your sleeping habits?

We upgraded from a queen to a king so now there’s room for all three of us in our bed which I love!

We’re definitely all getting a better sleep thanks to the the zero disturbance technology. We no longer wake up when the other gets up or rolls over during the night. We could never go back to a normal mattress now. It’s also been great for my back because it’s not too firm or too soft.

As an interior stylist, and product stylist what drew you in to get a Koala mattress?

The first thing that made this mattress stand out from the rest for me was the fact that Koala adopt a real koala for each mattress. I previously volunteered at a Koala hospital nursing sick and injured koalas, so I know how important donations are to these hospitals. I’ve seen first hand the difference it makes to the koalas. The next thing that appealed to me was zero disturbance technology and awesome reviews online. It was also so cool that it came in a box. Unwrapping it was a lot of fun and there was even a cute stuffed koala inside which Brax immediately claimed as his.

How would you describe your style?

I’d say my style is scandi contemporary with a touch of boho. I love using layered textures and pops of pastel to create a unique feminine space. I am normally inspired by a particular piece of décor for each photo and try and frame my styling around that initial piece.

If you could recommend customers include one product (other than a Koala mattress) in their bedroom, what product would that be? I recently bought a gas lift bed with storage underneath. I’ve started storing my cushions and throws in it. It’s been an amazing space saver and I wish I had purchased it years ago.

What colour schemes do you love most for a bedroom?

Currently I’m all about pastels in the bedroom. They are so soft and pretty.

What patterns, and colours work best for decorating a bedroom during winter?

Warm colours and textures work well in winter for bedroom styling. And a heavy knit throw is a must!

You always use decorative pillows in your bedroom shots. What’s your number one tip for people who want to buy decorative pillows for their bedroom?

I love handmade cushions! Not only are they beautifully crafted and amazing quality but you’re also supporting a small business. I still buy store cushions and I normally use them as a base and then put one or two gorgeous handmade cushions at the front.

Can you share your styling tips for setting up the most aesthetic bed?

I like to start with good quality sheets and a nice quilt. Make sure you iron your pillowcases if they need it. Next I add two European pillows at the back and 2-4 standard pillows in front of those. I normally use 3-6 cushions at the front of the pillows and finish the bed off with a throw at the bottom. You want to make sure that all the items on your bed complement each other.

Your photos nearly always have an arrangement of flowers in them! What flowers do you recommend for the home? Definitely fresh flowers where possible. However, I mainly use silk flowers in my photos because they don’t die so they are always on hand. My favourite flowers are peonies but they are hard to come by where I live.

How regularly do you think someone should change their bedding?

I change my bed linen weekly. I love that feeling when you jump into bed with fresh sheets! It’s one of life’s simple pleasures.

Lastly, can you give a piece of advice to people out there who also want to pursue a career in interior styling or product styling?

My main points would be:

– Style your home and start taking photos of it. The more you do this the better you will get at both styling and photography

– Start an Instagram account for your styling and share the photos you take

– Support small businesses on Instagram and tag them in your photos that feature their products.

– If you love it don’t ever give up on it.

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