Founder - Lakeside Style Loft

Lake Macquarie and the Greater Hunter Region



As the founder of Laskeside Style Loft, I look forward to meeting and welcoming many women from our wonderful region to this supportive group. Read on to find out a little bit more about me.


How long have you lived on Lake Macquarie?

My Husband and I moved here from Sydney’s Northern Beaches mid-way through 2017. Initially, I was a bit worried that the change would be too extreme, and that we would miss the hustle ‘n bustle of Sydney but I was wrong! Moving to Lake Macquarie was a truly wonderful decision. So many things to do and places to uncover, and we have made some wonderful friends.


Tell us what makes you feel truly grateful to live in such a beautiful place?

We are very fortunate to live right on the waterfront at Yarrawonga Park. I marvel at the colours and reflections of the water, the mountains and the sky. At night when I look up at the sky, I can actually see the stars! The birdlife is beautiful and being here makes me feel really centred and at peace.


What motivates you to get up and start your day?

At the moment, I am studying ‘Independent Youth Work’ full time at college in Newcastle. It’s been awesome (and scary) to get my brain going again after 25 plus years! I’ve been really interested in working with children and adolescence for many years, but only just now have I had the opportunity to pursue it.

So, from Monday to Thursday I am up at about 5.45am filled with motivation and excited that at the end of it, I might have an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of children and adolescence in crisis. My other passion has been this web site. ‘Lakeside Style Loft’ stems from an idea that I had a few years ago, and with the help of a dear friend (who happens to be a brilliant Graphic Designer), I have managed to get it out of my head and convert it into a reality! It envelopes the other side of me – a more fluid, creative side that loves her female tribe. I work on it from Friday to Sunday (with a bit of fun thrown in between), so motivation is not really a problem for me at the moment!


Give us a quick rundown of your morning routine.

Up at 5.45am. I usually have a big drink of water, and an Arbonne Vanilla/Banana Smoothie and a green shot and an Earl Grey Tea.

I take my dog Luna out for a quick walk, usually throw a load of washing on – (my son has recently moved back home and between him and husband, omg the washing! I know I shouldn’t do it, but the house is chaos if I don’t!).

Then I hit the road at about 7am for an 8.30am start at college. I listen to Triple M’s Tanya and Steve most mornings in the car to hear about what’s going on locally, and generally call my mum or daughter or my best friend at some point during the drive!


Who inspires you to live your
best life?

This was a really tough question for me to get my head around, because to be honest, this is the first time in my life that I have really had the opportunity to do something just for me!

Between my husband and I, we have 4 children. Each of them is an inspiration to me. Maddy 26, is a Federal Police Officer and studying law. Ruby 24, has a degree in media and has just commenced her dream job at DDB advertising agency in Sydney. Tj 23, is an aspiring musician and is set to release a new album at the end of this year. And Harry 21, is getting the tickets he needs whilst working full time, on his way to becoming a crane driver!

I am enormously proud of all of them and helping them to become the people they are has always been the major focus.

So, I now find myself in a unique position, where I can start to dig deep within myself, and do those things that I’ve tucked away in the back of my mind for the past 30 odd years!

With that being said, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that my inspiration lies within me! Perhaps if I bring to fruition the things that I am passionate about, I can inspire others to do the same. That’s all the inspiration I need, and I am inspired to make it happen.


Who do you call when you have good news to share?

My daughter Ruby. She understands how my head and my heart works, and she really invests in my happiness (or heartache). Ruby has a unique way of looking at life, and often adds real perspective to any situation. Rarely has life thrown us good or bad, that we haven’t celebrated or nutted it out together.


Perhaps if I bring to fruition the things that I am passionate about, I can inspire others to do the same. That’s all the inspiration I need, and I am inspired to make it happen.

Kellie Tonkin
Lakeside Style Loft (Pictured here with daughter Ruby)

Where do you grab a coffee?

If I have time and need a coffee/ herbal tea/ fresh juice or smoothie in the morning – then I will pull into Black Sheep Espresso, in the foyer of Genesis Health and Fitness centre, on Hillsborough Rd, Warners Bay. The staff are lovely, and they also make an awesome sandwich or wrap! It really is a great find!


Favourite place to eat, wine and dine?

Our absolute favourite place to enjoy a meal, is at the Hotel Wangi. It was recommended to my husband and I, by an old ‘salty’ that we randomly met and started a conversation with when we first moved to Lake Macquarie. The following Sunday (date day), we discovered Wangi Wangi and the pub, and we have made it a weekly deal ever since!

Unbeatable pub grub with a ‘specials board’ that is ever changing but always remarkable. The beer is ice cold, and publican Pete Coyne and his family makes everyone that enters the premises feel like they’re part of the family! If you love a pub (and we do), then Hotel Wangi is a must do.


What is the name of your favourite locally owned lifestyle business (clothing, homewares, hair & beauty)?

Luxe Homewares in Toronto is totally divine, if you are looking at buying the perfect gift. It is a dream to walk into and the products are of the highest quality. It’s only a small shop, but I could literally spend hours in it, just absorbing all of the scents and looking at everything.

As far as hair goes, I am lucky enough to live next door to one of the loveliest people I have ever met @tawnyvaschetty, who happens to have an amazing, purpose-built hair salon underneath her house, where she regularly performs miracles on some lucky women of Lake Macquarie (myself included). Given the logistics of Tawny’s salon, I’ve often been known to arrive with a bottle of wine. (NB: Tawny only gets a glass AFTER she has finished my hair!)

For something unique to wear, I love Fox and Willow at Warners bay. It is so reasonably priced, and the accessories are bang on trend.

I have also recently discovered Katillys in New Lambton. Owner Katherine is totally divine, and she is also a “Personal and Professional Stylist”, which makes the entire shopping experience a dream. Katherines eye for fashion is something to be admired!


Name a local charity or fundraiser that is close to your heart.

Lakeside Style Loft will be hosting several luncheons for the women of Lake Macquarie throughout the year. This will be a wonderful opportunity to network, catch up with friends, and raise some much-needed funds for the people of our community that need it the most.

As my passion is to support women and children, my first fundraiser will be for the ‘Lake Macquarie Women and Children Shelter’. All of the ‘Women with Style’ that are interviewed on LSL’s website will have the opportunity to nominate their favourite charity for upcoming events. Please see the website if you would like to get involved and together, we can make a real difference.


What is an example of a way you give back to the community you love?

I have made it my mission to shop (where possible) at locally owned and operated businesses since my arrival on Lake Macquarie in 2017.

It is the inspiration behind Lakeside Style Loft, and I am hoping that by launching this website, I will be able to contribute to the local community, local charity’s and local economy in a very positive way. Please join me!


Give us one or two sentences that sums you up perfectly!

I’m a little bit country, and a little bit rock n roll.


Something that makes you smile.

Memories of fun times spent with my best friend Mary.

Mary and I met over 30 years ago, and we have enjoyed so many wonderful moments together.

We have laughed and cried, and loved and lost, and stood the test of true friendship. I adore and admire Mary, and when I think of the times we have shared and how far we have come, it makes me smile.


Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself making a difference in the lives of women and children both in my work life and via a positive contribution through LSL.

I’d also like to tap further into my creative soul and put on canvas some of the ideas and feelings that I have swirling around in my mind!

Most importantly, it will give me great pleasure to continue to watch my family flourish and achieve what they want in life and I look forward to the next 5-year journey.


Who do you nominate, as an LSL Woman of Style?

I nominate Tawny Vaschetty my wonderful neighbour and friend!

Tawny is a mum of 3, operates her own business, and has the most infectious laugh I’ve ever heard.

She is born and bred on Lake Macquarie and she is most definitely a Lakeside Style Loft ‘woman with style’. I look forward to her insight about life on the Lake.




Kellie recently came into our home to give us Styling Advice, as we lack that 'Artistic Eye' and knowledge of how and what to put together!

Kellie immediately sensed our taste, giving us many positive, appealing suggestions that we hadn't considered. She advised us on colour combinations, heights and positioning of artwork, furniture, and furnishings.

Kellie's enthusiasm is infectious, and she is easy to work with. I can highly recommend her.

Fay Yuile

Kellie was such a tremendous help when we were redesigning our daughter's bedroom!

Her sense of style and space is insightful, and we now understand the importance of decluttering! Our daughter is now proud of her room and wants to be an interior designer!

If you're not sure of how to achieve the look you're after - Kellie is the key!

Kylie Whitelam


Each week, Lakeside Style Loft will interview a ‘Woman of Style’ from Lake Macquarie/ Greater Hunter Region, via a questionnaire. Each woman interviewed will nominate the next Lakeside ‘Women of Style’.

It's easy, nominate yourself or some other inspirational lady!

Let's do lunch

Join our fabulous network of women supporting women!

Our next Lakeside Style Loft lunch is set for: