Wednesday, October 31, 2012


In my experience, when it comes to pregnancy, birth and parent hood - everyone with a kid is the holder of sacred, must-be-shared undeniable truths.

TRUTHS I tell you. Facts not to be argued with.

During my first pregnancy I found the influx of information completely overwhelming. I was angered by the constant bombardment of unsolicited advice and opinions. Each told with an air of superiority and an unspoken assumption of compliance.

The thought of a calm birth, caesarian birth, water birth, natural birth, orgasmic birth (oh yes, it exists) and the endless attitudes, beliefs, judgments and suggestions surrounding them was enough to make me make me hyperventilate.

Can a woman not enjoy her pregnancy in blissful ignorance of the imminent birth?

Can a woman not choose to be ill prepared for such an event?

It would appear not.

So on I went, listening and silently seething.

And whilst I was silently seething I was simultaneously visualising the birth canal and wind swept beaches in preparation for a spiritual, connected birth. One where I would painlessly (contractions are like 'waves', don't you know) push a baby from my nether regions and in a candle lit room, have it placed to my swollen, naked breast.

There we would stay for weeks, enjoying a sacred baby-moon.


Obviously nothing can truly prepare a woman for the birth of her first child. No amount of breathing, stretching, visualising or planning.

Some women are just blessed with complication free births. Other women are blessed with births that deviate from the plan but still result in beautiful, healthy babies.


This time, the third time round, I feel like a powerful wilderbeast* not to be messed with. My ideas are formed, my experiences set. I know what I'm in for and I'm thrilled by what is before me.

Pregnancy and birth, much like parenthood have provided me with endless opportunities to reflect upon my human-ness, my need for a savoiur, for help and support, for confidence and humility.

*I'm completely comfortable with comparing myself to a wilderbeast, whatever that is.

Tell me how did you/do you find the 'information overload' that comes with pregnancy/parenthood?

Wearing Bump Beetleshack at 13 weeks
The Past Two Months
The Beetle Shack is Expanding

Wearing Bump Beetleshack - Week 13

Well hello little bump. What a surprise to see you. Well, maybe not. Truth be told i've had a baby bump much like this one ever since I became pregnant with my first child. Why is it that these things never really go away?

Anyway, on with the business.


Bump Beetlesack
Black Dress c/o Soon Maternity
Denim Shirt from Target
Khaki Jacket from Sportsgirl
Shoes c/o Sole Society
Egyptian Necklace c/o C.Alexandria
Bangles collected over many moons
Rings from The Beetle Shack

See pre pregnant 'wearing' posts

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Stills: A Weekly Collection {and giveaway winner}

 1. Saturday morning coffee in bed.
 2. Trucks and diggers lined up at the work site.
 3. Chalk, water and a paintbrush. Thats at least 5 minutes silence right there.
 4. Polkadot socks and jelly sandals. Why? Because she can.
 5. This is a standard breakfast for Fancy Dave. Fresh eggs from our chooks, coriander from the garden and toasted sourdough.
 6. Me, I prefer the humble peanut butter on toast. I like to eat it as I walk around to ensure that i contribute equally to the filth in our home. It feels better when it comes to clean up, knowing that I'm cleaning up after myself and not just the kids. Fancy Dave cleans up after himself, really he actually does.

If I had a picture that perfectly depicted how s.t.a.r.v.i.n.g. I am right now, I would have included it. I'm craving hot chips loaded with chicken salt. Don't tell me it's bad for me, I already know.

Also, if you were one of the very clever buttons that entered our $1000 giveaway for the home- please head back here to see if you or someone you love is the winner.

If you are new here as a result of these alluring giveaways, thanks so much for visiting. I'm thrilled to have expanded this community and hope that you choose to stick around for more fun, a growing baby bump (bump beetleshack, if you will), additional giveaways and the much expected chaos that is part of this little blog.

xo em

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Past Two Months

Now that i've outed myself on the 'baby' front I can tell you how completely exhausted I am.

Oh gosh, the secretive first trimester is the hardest, don't you think? That, and the third trimester when you have a baby's head, you know... applying pressure.. to.. well, you know.

My decision to skip out of some activities, embrace change and slow down our weekly routine was incredibly timely. So instead of rushing to get out of the house every day of the week, the kids and I now have two very lazy days at home.

On these blissful days we slouch about the house in our trackies, sometimes we do the grocery shopping (but not often) or put on a load of washing. We play with playdough, make fresh juice and hit the drive through circuit round lunch time. I know, I know- there I go again straying so far from my ideals about eating local, organic, ethical food. But i've been craving juicy, fatty, greasy burgers okay. It's my pregnancy thing and i'm not about to deny myself or lie about visiting macca's for the sake of keeping up appearances... ohhh look at me being all pregnant and emotional*.

It would be safe to say that eating ethically has given way to eating obsessively.

It's not at all unusual for Dave to arrive home from work to find the kids still in their pyjama's.  At which point he laughs and affectionally ruffles their hair before asking them if they've had a fun day.  Food down their fronts and fresh sand pit sand falling from their bums is a tell tale sign that they have indeed enjoyed themselves.

This is the first time in my parenting career that I have afforded myself (and my children) such a luxury, and I can't express what a true and treasured luxury it is.

In the past two months Zeph has watched more iview/movies that he has in his life time. Some days we snuggle on the couch and watch Fire Man Sam together while other days it's Octanauts - but everyday, it's something.

The nausea has come in waves but i've impressed myself with an ability to ride it out, rather than push through and soldier on. If I feel sick or exhausted I rest and the kids make do.

My expectations of myself and the kids are, lets say, realistic. If I don't have the time or energy to cook dinner then Dave does it when he gets home or we have take out. It's okay, we're a team here at The Beetle Shack and we're all rolling with it.

And this time, possibly for the first time, I can't feel the black dog of anti natal depression biting at my heels.

It's liberating to accept that near enough really is good enough.

So we move forward, into the second trimester with a renewed energy, a few extra kilos and a great anticipation of all the good that is still yet to come.

the beetle shack is expanding 
change I embrace you
case in point

LAST CHANCE TO ENTER OUR $1000 GIVEAWAY (winner drawn tomorrow)

*I promise i'm not crying right now.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Notes From the Weekend (and your thoughts)

We have had a deliciously full weekend here. We've splashed in the ocean, made pizza's, caught up with family and shared a meal with beautiful friends.

We had an interesting 'park experience' this afternoon which has my mind in a spin. I'm sure i'll be unpacking my thoughts here later in the week (because I just can't help over sharing).

Also, I'm in the process of putting a post together on Sponsored Posts and c/o's (care of - when items are gifted). If you have any thoughts or questions you'd like answered, feel free to leave them in the comments section below, as always i'm interested to hear your perspective before I waffle on.

For now, i'm going to plonk my weary body on the lounge and find something trashy to watch on iview.

I hope you had a wonderful, rejuvenating weekend.

p.s seriously, when did my Lady Baby get so big? I mean, frills on her size 2 swimmers, what is she, 16?

p.p.s I love my family.


Zeph: testing his skills on a stormy day at a near by rock pool. All within the safety of a pink floaty vest.

Pippi: I'm sure i've posted a photo much like this before. What is it with tiny toddlers wanting to climb every surface in sight? 

Can you believe mid next year there will be three photo's in each of my 52 posts?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Beetle Shack is Expanding (+1)

Photo's by Daniel Ferris Photography (more to follow)

If there was ever an exciting side project to announce, it'd be this one.

We're having another baby.

It seems hard to believe that my little Lady Baby is almost two and even harder to believe that after she was born, I was certain that she would be our last.

I changed my tune quickly though. By the time she was one I was ready for more chaos.

And chaos there is.

Pregnancy seems to have this magical way of turning me into a fully developed version of my pubescent self.  I'm a little cubby, there's a tinge of body odour lingering around, I have pimples on my chin, my breasts are as tender as testies and i'm oh so emotionally volatile.

I've been delighting in the simple pleasures that all adolescents know and love. A hot chocolate with marshmallows after dinner, deep solitary baths and five am wake ups... oh wait, no, on-one loves those.

Any way you look at, we're all seriously excited about this new person and can't wait to meet him/her in just under six months from now (i'm due early may).

There is so much I want to share about growing, birthing and raising this baby and I hope that I can manage to do so with sensitivity and tact (which is rather unnatural for me). Along the way i'll share my past experiences (maybe) and intentions (definitely) about the birth of this little treasure.

 In the meantime i'll just sit back and let God knit it together. I know that it will be good.

Happy me, friends! Happy me!

xo em

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Spring has sprung and blossoms are blooming. Endless cliches could be used to describe the beauty of this season, but instead i'll let the garden do the talking.

1. Basil flower.
2. Some kind of cheap potted colour that I insisted upon on our last visit to the nursery.
3. Delphinium. The prettiest thing in the veg garden.
4. Chive flower. My favourite of all the flowering herbs. They look just like the trees in the Lorax.
5. Egg plant.
6. Buds on the apple tree.
7. Buds and spiders webs on the lemon tree.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Anticipation

We've been waiting years for this moment. The moment when a big green digger arrives at our house and merrily parks itself in our driveway.

It's landscaping time!

We have lived on this undulating half acre block for over 6 years now. When we bought it, it was so over grown that you couldn't see the fall of the land. There were three massive water tanks where our studio now resides and fishbone ferns covered everything.

The earth was damp and sodden and we were filled with anticipation. Oh, the possibilities.

And now, the time has finally come.

Half our land will be terraced and turfed (you know how much I love grass) while the other half will be fenced and prepared for animals- think goats and pigs.

It's been a long time coming but well worth the wait.

I'll be sure to show you the progress as we go.

There's lots to be excited about 'round these parts at the moment. I mean, we've got said digger in the front yard, a $1000 giveaway going on, side projects in the works and some other news to share later in the week. BAM. I don't know about you, but i'm like, totally excited.

take a walk around our garden.
enter our 'for the home' giveaway to win $1000 worth of goodies.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Giveaway for the home {Valued at over $1000} CLOSED

 When Tess and I were organising a celebratory giveaway for Down that Little Lane's first birthday, we had such an overwhelming response that we decided the split the products in two. One for the kids and one for the home. The last giveaway (now closed) was filled with vibrant, fruity products dedicated to a child's play/ sleep space.

This one is relaxed and intended to fill your home with luxury products like the lambswool blanket and stunning hammock- it's a lifestyle pack. And lets be honest, who wouldn't want to spend a Spring afternoon lazing about in a hammock, covered in a soft handmade blanket. Throw some cushions in the mix and i'd say life is as close to perfect as possible.

This giveaway is valued at over $1000 and it pretty spectacular. The image above is just a selection of what the winner will receive. Full details are below.


1.Anna Lisa Blanket by HABITAT HOME. This stunning large, soft blanket is 100% lambswool and was woven using traditional techniques in Finland. It's just about as luxury as you can get. Valued at $290

2. This  timeless hammock by THE TOUCAN SHOP has conquered its niche in the international market because of its grace, style and incredible comfort. Hand made by Nicaraguan artisans using a double weave technique and have a beautiful crocheted edge. 100% soft cotton, plantation hardwood spreader bars and cast alloy rings all add to the pure luxury of this hammock.   Valued at $249

3. A beautiful duo of cushions exclusive to STEPH AND GAIA. these love birds are hand made and filled with natural fibres, perfect for your your lounge or boudoir this spring.  Valued at $138

4. You'll love this bespoke collection from T DESIGN. Pack includes Snow bubble necklace,White pea pod earrings and five handmade cards (not pictured). Total value of $89

5. Two beautiful digital illustration lovingly created by COLOURED PEARS and professionally printed on 200gsm crisp white coated stock , ready for framing. One in neutral tones and the other in fruity hues (not pictured). Total Value $70

6. SWEET STYLE will be sending our lucky winner a party pack that includes disposable wooden cutlery, ribbon, gift tags, party bags and a selection petite cake stands. Just the thing for garden parties or picnics. Valued at $65

7. A set of melamine plates will be coming to you from MONSTERTHREADS (only one pictured). Use them for the kids or for barbecues, any way you play it they are bound to be a family favourite. Valued at $60

8. Two I phone covers, one for you and one for your partner. This ultra slim "barely there" style iphone case is designed to fit 4 and 4S models and simply snaps over your phone and is from the excellent collection at MAGGIES PLACE. RRP$60


Thanks to all the sellers for participating, once again, your generosity has been humbling and astounding.

Now for the nitty gritty.

For your entry to be valid you need to be a follower of The Beetle Shack* via google friend connect (the blue button on the right).

You can gain entries in the following ways. Leave a comment for each.
  1. Like The Beetle Shack  on Facebook
  2. Like Down that Little Lane on Facebook
  3. Share this give away on any social media platform (instagram/fb/twitter/pinterest)
Of course you can still enter if you aren't on facebook, you just need to leave a comment below and make sure I can contact you via email.

Winner will be announced on this post on Tuesday 30th. Make sure you check back to see if it's you.

* if your comment is chosen by the random number generator and you're not a follower of T.B.S, a second winner will be chosen.

Graphic designed by my beautiful friend Lauren who also designed my blog header. You can find her here at Lauren Merrick Illustration and Design.

terms: this giveaway is open to all Australian followers of The Beetle Shack. All entrants must provide a first name along with your comment entry and ensure I can contact you via your blog/social media or email  (you can subscribe via email if you don't want to list your contact details publicly) . Once the giveaway has ended and winner is chosen they will be contacted via email and put in touch with the sponsor. Giveaway items are not distributed by The Beetle Shack, they are directly distributed to the winners by the sponsors themselves. 

The winner is 

RamblingsOctober 21, 2012 8:23 PM
Got to be in it to win it... and i am in! Have liked you on facebook x

Well done lady cake. You have won the golden egg.  Please hit me on the email with your postal address.


Zeph: Being tickled by a sprig of dill, or is it the top of some fennel?

Pippi: Resting in the shade of the Magnolia branches and munching on an apple (it's organic. Now you can think i'm like, totally amazing, even if i do take my kids to dirty donalds every now and again)

See the full 52 series here

Friday, October 19, 2012

A word about the side projects {and giveaway winner}

illustration by Lauren Merrick

Over the past little while I've teasingly* mentioned a few little side projects/ collaborations that i've been working on. One of them was the Kids Bedroom Giveaway that launched last week and another is an amazing giveaway 'for the home' that will be announced over the weekend.

I've also got a couple of other things in the pipeline.

As a Visual Arts teacher, I'm a fan of anything creative, especially creative people. I though it would be fun to try and incorporate some more Art into this space here so i've been putting together an 'Artists Series'. I've been in contact with a few of my favourite designers, illustrators and artists and have been working on some collaborations with them.

Over the coming months you will see a range of blog headers here at The Beetle Shack that have been crafted by true Creatives. It will be an opportunity for us to meet some great designers and learn more about their business, practice and passions**.

I for one am excited.

I'm also working on another little something that will be revealed in full in the next week or so.

But for now, why not head over here and see if you or someone you know won our massive Kids Room Giveaway. If it wasn't you, don't despair, we have another incredibly exciting package launching  on Sunday.

* i'm immature enough to still believe that having top secret information is seriously fun ;)

** if you're an artist, illustrator or designer (or know someone who is) and would like to be involved, i'd be delighted to hear from you.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Magic Moment From A Very Mundane Day

You know when you have those days that seem like they've lasted an eternity by ten am? We've had one of those.

I awoke feeling lethargic, unfortunately my children did not.

Our usual routine began at 5.30 with a cup of milk buying Dave and I an additional 78 seconds of 'still'. Once the drink was guzzled the kids embarked on their bed jumping ritual. No man or woman, stomach or groin was spared.

It's pretty easy to get up from a bed that contains two small explosive devices .

Coffee, honey toast - morning done.

By 11am we were at the Macca's drive through for chips and a milkshake.*

By 3pm I was in tears.

By 4pm my Dad was on the door step with milk and bread and an hour to spare.

He indulged the children in their tales of fires and monsters and didn't even notice the toys all over the floor. He read them stories and talked about the alphabet.

As he went to leave, I told him his visit was the highlight of my day. He stayed and extra half an hour after that, out of sympathy, I suspect.

At times i'm overcome with gratitude for my family. This afternoon was one of those times.

*Yes, I take my kids to Macca's, they have chips and a milkshake every time- so not in keeping with my guise of 'ethical eating', i know.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wearing: Layers of Spots and Stripes

okay, okay. I'll stop talking about Mister Zimi. But first, let me show you this last shift dress layered with a polka dot shirt, just for fun.

aaannnd, let me tell you that i've just had a sneaky peek at their summer collection (coming to the website soon) and it is awesome! Thinks flowing dresses, cute jumpsuits, capes for layering and short shorts for those of you with great legs (you won't be seeing any of them around here- great legs or short shorts)


Dress c/o Mister Zimi
Shirt from Target
Necklace from Sportsgirl
Shoes c/o Sole Society

See the wearing series

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

the things dads do that mums never would

Dave is always throwing the kids up into the air or swinging them around by their arms. They love it, squealing with delight before he even begins.

On this particular occasion, it was his 30th Birthday and I can't help but have a good laugh at that last photo where he appears to be showing his age.

Dave, you are flipping excellent. You make us all smile (more than once) every single day.

nine years of good times

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Lesson Learnt

I mentioned a couple of times that our pre school holidays were a little less than exceptional.

Week one was relaxing - the kids and I played around the house, watched more iview than usual and of course played 'fire men' until the cows came home. We were content to slow down, unwind and re energise.

It would appear, however, that it takes a three year old much less time to recuperate than it does his almost thirty mother.

I could have wasted another week lulling about the house casually sipping cups of tea and day dreaming. Zeph, on the other hand, could not.

Week two was chaos. I was unprepared for his boundless energy and the squabbles that broke out almost constantly between he and Pippi.

They were bored and sick of each other.

I was bored and sick of them.

Next time, i'll have a strategy.

We'll have a preschool day at home (once or twice a week) where we focus on imaginative play, craft, puzzles and burning energy.

I won't check my emails, my facebook, instagram or my hair.

I'll be the preschool teacher.

Awesome. Bam.

Next holidays are going to be a dream, right? I mean, there's only six weeks in a row.

Tell me, what do you do to ward of the school holiday blues (please don't tell me they don't exist at your house)?

p.s don't forget to enter our $1600 giveaway

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Stills: A weekly Collection

1. It was Friday morning and we had run out of coffee. One portion of Forsyth Green Beans (included in a package from an incredibly thoughtful friend about two months ago) were found lingering at the back of the pantry. No morning is complete without coffee so we roasted them, ground them and indulged in a seriously fresh brew. Thanks Kate x

2. The Beans. See the two sets of hands- one fully grown, one on the way to being rough and strong like their dada's.

3. On the bench (as per usual) watching the bread machine knead our pizza dough ready for the garden party and our first ever Wood Fired Pizza's.

4. A rare glimpse of our table not covered in junk. On friday night a friend commented on our house looking lovely. He promptly asked- 'so how often does it look this good'. My reply was an unflinching 'never'.

5. You know, just lime green suede heels with tassels. With tassels. Holy perfection. Watch the 'wearing' space to see more form the fruity collection by Zoe Kratzmann.

6. Pony tail - only daddy is allowed to do her hair.

7. Fresh roses on the table especially for our Garden Party.

My week in stills - view the collection