Friday, September 28, 2012

A New Design

For the past few weeks i've been woking with Talia from Talia Christine on a new blog design. And finally, it is here!

This one is stripped back, super simple and ready for a collaborative project you'll be seeing here over the coming months.

So tell me, what was your initial reaction?

I showed my friend Nat last night and she gasped 'oh noo, i liked the old one more'... but after looking for a few moments, she came round!

It's quite bare over on the top right there but I'm keen on the white space.

Have a click around, let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Besties Makin' Babies

Jo and I have known each other since we were eleven or twelve.

She was a people pleasing high achiever who played classical piano with perfect posture.  I was less inclined to quietly impress, preferring a more in-your-face approach, I liked punk music.

We did the awkward teen years together, talking about boys and going on double dates. Having sleep overs at each others houses and convincing our parents to give us money for fuel.

Years and many, many stories had past when we found ourselves meeting for our regular coffee and banana bread date. There was always much to discuss - work (we were both teachers), life, our partners  etc.

On this particular occasion I had some very important news to share with Jo. It must have been some time around August or early September. Dave and I had just spent some time in France and returned home with a little 'bun in the oven'.

I couldn't quite read Jo's expression when I told her but her open mouth and bulging eyes suggested shock.

Seconds later she confessed to being in the same position... you know... pregnant (we didn't talk kama sutra on this occasion).

We couldn't quite believe that this was happening - we were going to have a kid each... within a month of each other. We were not prepared.

But they came anyway.

After that, we had another kid each, again within a month of each other.

Each time, Jo has looked like a pubescent teen moments after birth. Whilst I struggle to shift the extra twenty kilos, Jo struggles to decide which pair of cut off denim shorts she should wear.

Pregnancy looks good on her too, so she's going for round three.

This will be the first time in four years that we won't be having babies almost simultaneously.

I'm thrilled at the thought of being able to cook her dinners and do her washing and hold that sweet little baby while she chooses which denim shorts suit her perky bum best.

So Jo - just this time, I was wondering....can we call this baby 'our' baby, since you're having one and i'm not?

It just seems 'right' to me.

today marks three years

the boys bestie parties

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Big Skip Bins

Dave works in an office pushing papers and crunching numbers, but he also makes trips to building sites with big skip bins, fluro vests and hard hats galore. For this reason, Zeph considers his dad a hero.

From time to time the kids and I tag along for site visits. The work men call Zeph 'matey' and indulge him in his delight at being there. They talk machinery, tools and Bob the Builder - it's all very serious.

look at them there, two peas in a pod.

For some reason these photo's make me a little misty, I can feel the sting in my eyes as I write this. Look at my baby boy's eagerness to grow up. You can see it in his step as he catches up to his dadda, he wants to be an adult but I don't want him to, not even a little bit.

I'm just not ready.

Monday, September 24, 2012

This Girl

Oh my Lady Baby.

Sometimes she just disappears. A quick search of the house will find her here, in her room making cups of tea for her teddies.

She climbs upon a little table to ensure she can watch the passing cars and keep an eye on the vegetables. There she stands, quietly tinkering with her toys and enjoying some solitude.

All I can say is that it's lucky that this child wasn't my first born, because if she was I would have been one s.m.u.g parent.

Gosh I love her tiny self.

Chux Giveaway {CLOSED}

 “CHUX Collections™ is a range of brightly coloured cloths and sponge-scourers inspired by the trend of colour matching kitchen appliances and home wares. There are many well documented wellbeing implications of colour and cleaning with new CHUX Collections is an easy and inexpensive way to add a splash of colour to your space.”

Its no secret that we like all things fruity here at The Beetle Shack. Be it linen, clothing, cushions or cleaning, we keep things colourful.

Oh wait, not really with the cleaning part.... dish cloths always consist of yellow sponge with a green scourer or flimsy sheets of blue and white striped cloth. You know the ones, right?  It's never really bothered me though, giving that cleaning is... well you know.... boring.

 Cleaning will always be an arduous task best left for the husbands, but if we must wash the occasional dish, wipe the occasional bench and clean the occasional... ehum... toilet then it might as well be with the new range from Chux.

Vibrant and fruity and covered in love hearts to boot. You can have one for the dishes, one for the floors and one for the children's faces- each in their own colour and sporting their own fabulous pattern.

I know you want some.

Chux are offering one totally lucky reader of The Beetle Shack the chance to win a hamper full of fruity cleaning essentials form their new range (think of the reduced shopping bill).

For your entry to be valid you need to be a follower of The Beetle Shack (button on the right) and leave a comment below.

Further entries can be gained from liking The Beetle Shack on Facebook or sharing this post on any social media platform (facebook, instgram, pinterest, twitter, blog etc). You can leave an additional comment for each 'share'.

winner will be announced one week from today.

EDIT WINNER: JoanneSeptember 25, 2012 9:27 AM
I'd love to win these funky sponges.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekly Collection - Stills {and a preview}

the outdoors edition 

 1. Dave clarifying that our Wood Fired Oven will look nothing like the dream oven I shared over here, no matter how badly i'd like it too. Ours shall be simple and humble.

2. Snacking on fresh, sweet peas. A daily tradition. Peas rarely make it to the plate as we all find ourselves snapping a few off at random, the kids especially.

3. Little legs making fun. You can just see the stringy new Asparagus sprouting in the garden beds.

4. See how she is holding my hands there? Such a tender little touch.

5. Harvesting lettuce. We grew it so I suppose we'd better eat it.

6. The kids taking shelter from the heat of the day whilst Dave works on the wood fired oven. I'll be popping back in later to show you our progress.

7. Bounce, bounce, bounce.

8. A dear friend of ours, the husband to one of my park mum's, has just released the trailer to his new film. You'll be reading more about that soon but for now - indulge in the beauty that is 'The Heart & The Sea'

It's been such a delightful weekend here at The Beetle Shack. We've made masses of progress on the wood fired oven and I can't wait to tell you all about it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Zeph:  The kid's got back chatting down pat. Can you see it in his eyes?

Pippi: A few of her favourite things. 

View the 52 Series

Friday, September 21, 2012

Magical Faraway Land

On Tuesday we wandered the grounds of the Hunter Valley Gardens with retirees and garden staff. It was almost completely deserted when we arrived at about four in the afternoon. The children explored and played amongst the flowers and sculptures while I followed at a distance behind them (they always seem to play better when i'm a little out of arms reach).

We were all mesmerised by the beauty and grandeur of the gardens. Winding pathways led us from one pavilion to another - we walked from Versailles to Italy and Japan before entering a Story Book wonderland filled with the sound of children's voices and giant mushrooms.

It was lovely to watch Zeph and Pippi* engage with their surroundings, the wonder on their faces and the spring in their step was echoed by my own.

Happy weekend friends.

Pippi's boots c/o fawn and fox

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Online Persona?

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on this post and for your truly generous affirmations. I felt them.

The other day I was filling in an online form about this little space here and one of the questions asked me to describe my 'online persona' in 200 words or less.

I was completely and utterly bamboozled.

Online Persona?

I timidly asked my cousin to form a few sentences for me so I could complete the questionnaire, which she did. But it got me thinking about you and why you continue to come here. So I wrote yesterdays post in the hope that you might offer me some clarity about my bloody 'online persona' .

You know, I write this blog for myself and my family. I blog to keep a record of the things we do, the way we do them and how we feel about life.

I record the things that are important to us and the things that are of personal interest to our family. The garden, art, our children and so on.

But if i'm truly honest, there is another important side to this little blog and that is you. You, my friends who visit here regularly (or sporadically) and read our tales of everyday nothings. And especially you who take time out from your own busy lives to comment and engage with me.

Over the past year and a half since I started this project, the above motivations have become inextricably linked and at times I find myself in a little bit of a pickle.

When I write something and get a positive response, I feel successful. I feel like I have achieved something, like I could maybe make something of this blog and never have to work again (oh yes, my mind really does go there, it does). I feel like i'm connected, important, beautiful, popular and skinny.* Yet when I post something that's a bit pas and no-one comments, or *gasp* I lose some followers, well then I feel crap and insignificant and, dare I say it, uncool.

It's a dangerous place to teeter.

 The fact is, my kids love me every day. My husband loves me almost everyday and my parents love me most of the time - so really, I have nothing but love in my back pocket.

I'm on a journey here with this blogging thing and a big part of that is accepting that I can only be me. And I need to be okay with simply, you know, just being me. like it or lump it.

I like me**

*gosh those endorphins do amazing things

** when you like me .... JOKE

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why Do You Visit Here?

If you're a regular visitor here, i'd love to know what The Beetle Shack is about for you. 

What do you expect to see when you visit here? 
What are you pleased to see when you visit here?
What would you like to see more of?
What to you wish I would just freakin' shut up about? 

If you have a spare minute or two, i'd love to hear you thoughts.

pretty please?

Wearing : Peach

I'm absolutely loving peachy hues this Spring. This super fine woollen scarf by Bay and Fyfe has been the perfect accessory so far. It adds a little bit of extra warmth when needed and looks delicious on the end of the bed when not being worn. As a bonus, I picked up this perfectly matching fruity skirt from Kmart for about $10.


Scarf c/o Bay & Fyfe
Top - Witchery
Skirt - Kmart
Belt- Cue
Bag c/o Fawn and Fox
Shoes c/o Sole Society
Earings c/o C.Alexandria

See more wearing posts

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Friends Since Like, Forever.

There is almost nothing better than tried and true friendship. The type that lasts the distance. Dave and I are fortunate enough to have a circle of really great friends, ones that we've treasured for the past fifteen years or so.

Last Saturday night we celebrated the 30th birthday of one of them. We call him Crumbs, because when he eats, he is surrounded by them. It's one of those high school names that i'm sure he would rather forget, but we won't allow that to happen. Our children call him 'Crummy' or 'Uncle Crumbs'.

Michael (his real name) is one of those men that could be described as a gentleman. Quick to listen, slow to speak. Educated and intelligent. A talented musician, a creative thinker, a speaker of French and a lover of real books (he is a librarian in one of our countries oldest libraries). He rides a bicycle on the weekends and quotes Leunig wherever possible.

It was in his honour that we ate and drank countless beers (okay, I counted mine).

As afternoon turned to evening we told stories of days past while simultaneously attempting to appear cool. You know how these inner city pubs are, everyone's a hipster.

Happy 30 Crumbs. You fit right in at The Duck Inn.

(photo overload)

 OMG- did you see the real Theif Urban in there? Hold the phone, I think I see this dude. Oh no, wait. It was just a Glass Onion*. Who wouldn't name drop with friends as talented as these?

when your besties are babes

* please note that this is both tongue in cheek and me being stoked for my friends. I'm only partially a wanker. not a total wanker.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Eating with Vegie Mama

In my quest to feed our family on a budget and make ethical choices surrounding food, I have asked a few of my favourite food bloggers about their approach.

Meet Stacey aka Vegie Mama.

This woman is, first and foremost, smokin' hot. She is also (less importantly) a vegetarian, a mother, a university lecturer and a blogger.

Her approach to food is simple and is chronicled on her beautiful blog, Veggie Mama. Stacey also does an awesome Meatless Monday linky where you can find an abundance of great vegetarian recipes.

What is your approach to feeding your family?

Relaxed, but with a focus on flavour and variety. I make the effort where possible to buy from markets or other local producers, and local or organic (or both!) dairy. I'm very fortunate to live in an area where this kind of thing is not only abundant, but incredibly high-quality.

Do you try to buy organic where possible? 
When I'm not getting it from local growers I do try, but should try harder!

Organic v's Local? What's your choice?
Both if possible, but usually local over organic. I do tend to frequent the market stalls that sell unsprayed produce.

What is the greatest luxury that you put into your shopping basket?
Organic salted butter.

Do you have a staple recipe? One that you fall back on when you can't be bothered with dinner?
Tacos or homemade pizza.

Do you closely monitor to your weekly food spend?
Nope! I grew up quite poor, so I indulge now when it comes to food. It's the one spending area in which I am not a cheapskate! And because we are a meat-free household, we've got a little extra cash to spend on organic or higher-quality items. 

Thanks for your time Veggie Mama. It's always a delight to be entertained by you!

xo em

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Weekly Collection - Stills

... letting the stills do the talking...

1. They were helping me do the dishes until they decided to dip their toes in the water. This was the end result.
2. Mailbox love - Whole Larder Love - only the best cooking book EVER. Expect to read more about this in the coming weeks.
3. Collecting Spring hues for the season. Pants from Country Road, Knit from Supre (of all places) Scarf from Bay & Fyfe.
4. In my kit. Seriously loving Garnier's new BB range. The make up is delicious.
5. Collecting the eggs. A daily delight.
6. Putting out the 'garden inferno'

Last night we spent the evening with true and treasured friends. I took my camera along for the ride and tomorrow i'll share the images with you. This week i'll also be starting a new little series (to accompany this little series) in which I will introduce you to a few of my favourite food bloggers and ask them about their approach to eating ethically. Dave and I are starting a journaling project also, so i'll fill you in on that. Bet you're like, jumping out of your skin with excitement. right?


 I'm really interesting, promise.

weekly collection