Monday, September 30, 2013


1.  Humble pickings for a garden salad.

2. Story Time - Bare Bear is one of our favourite books.

3. Trying really hard to be foot models. This was the most hilarious exercise. I never ask my kids to 'pose' for photos, in fact, I seldom snap them when not in real life play situations but on this occasion I said 'let me get a photo of your shoes'. They promptly stood in these staged positions. Zeph said 'Look mum, this is how dad stands'. I guess you stand a little bit like a Kmart model Dave, missed your calling maybe?

4. Dave with his Dad, Sister Amy and our River Cottage bestie Jess.

5. The Bride and Groom arriving for our family breakfast the day before the wedding.

6. My Girls helping set up for the wedding. I really must gather all the photos from my camera and put a post together of the great celebrations!

7. Beans, ready for planting.

If you've been visiting the other bloggers who link up wit our Stills Collection then you'll know the beautiful Sophie of Her Library Adventures! Massive congratulations on the birth of her beautiful Babe - head over to her Instagram feed to find out more :)

I'll look forward to seeing what you've been up to this past week.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Please excuse the appalling quality of my images this week. Despite the purchase of a smoking hot new lens and Macbook Pro, blogger seems to be making a mockery of my photo's - they are clear and crisp on my computer but as soon as I import them to Blogger, they become blurry and the colours change. It's a total pest. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Zeph: Making pasta with your Dada in your most beautiful concentration face. I think you may have actually been silent for the split second that this photo was taken. A wonderful and rare occurrence.

Pip: Stoked on your new $16 Berties and even more stoked that Zeph, your brother and idol, got EXACTLY the same pair.

Elke: First bites. Out of all my babies you approached the spoon with the most enthusiasm. You are ready Darling Elke, but I fear I am not.

ewh, I just can't get past those blurry, grainy images. It pains me.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

AUSSIE ANIMALS AT THE SUPERMARKET {sponsored by woolworths}

 A collection of images of MY Aussie Animals, my children.

I have a confession. You're going to think i'm a nut case but it's true.

I actually LIKE* grocery shopping with my kids.

I know. I'm ashamed.

People often ask me 'why don't you shop online' and my answer is simple - 'because I live for this kind of crazy'. You don't go and have three kids in four years so you can calmly walk the isles of your local woolies making informed decisions about carbohydrate content and price checking tins of baked beans.

No, you have three children in four years so you can bundle them all into one tiny green trolley and zoom them through supermarket repeatedly requesting that ' arms and legs stay inside the vehicle at all times'.

It's utter chaos.

 Zeph talks constantly without taking a breath. Pip tries to climb from her perch every 2 minutes whilst intermittently inventing new and creative ways to utilise the trolly as monkey bars, a ladder or a swing whilst Elke, darling Elke sits snugly in the pouch cooing and eyeballing her sister until we reach the checkout, at which point she screams. Every. Time.

It's awesome. Really.

In between the calamity we chatter about this and that and negotiate what items we'll be buying - will the peanut butter be smooth or crunchy? Will we get strawberry jam or fruits of the forest (my favourite)? Should we get the extra large tub of honey or one in a glass jar? And PLEASEEEE MUM CAN WE GET ICY POLES?

Naturally bribery plays a huge role in the success of these outings and there is almost always a carrot and a stick involved.

Sometimes the promise of a little tube of yogurt will do the trick but on other occasions I need to pull out all stops - a bake off.

That's right, if things are turning pear shaped as quickly as my body during the first trimester of pregnancy, then something must be done. A project MUST be created.

A common goal, if you will.

Together we decide upon some fabulous culinary project to distract us from the task at hand.** Usually it's something complex like a milkshake, ice cream cone, choc chip cookies or the famous fish biscuits but it's a winning strategy for convincing the kids that the supermarket is indeed a wonderful and magical place. They need to keep their eyes peeled for the special ingredients required for their treat.

It's all about the keeping the trolly occupants engaged in riveting conversation.

The glory of the grocery store was made all the more golden when, on our last adventure, the kids were presented with a pack of Aussie Animals collector cards, part of an initiative between Woolworths and the Taronga Conservation Society to get our kids excited, engaged and educated about Native Aussie Animals. These cards can be collected at checkout with any purchase over twenty dollars and traded/swapped on the Woolies Facebook page or in store today.

I'm sure you can imagine the explosion of conversation that erupted soon after their unwrapping. Trust me the 'why did the crocodile cross the road, why did the frilled neck lizard cross the road, why did the kangaroo cross the road?' jokes came thick and fast. Naturally the answer is always the same 'cus it's the chickens day offfffff' followed by raucous laughter.

I don't know about you but I feel an animal focused school holidays coming up. The Woolies collector cards provide the perfect accompaniment to our usual David Attenborough viewing or perhaps a spot of family charades is in order? Maybe a game of Memory or a Pop Quiz complete with prizes (icy poles, perhaps?). Either way, they'll give Zeph that little bit of mental stimulation he'll be craving whilst on holidays. In addition, we might take trip to the zoo, maybe a visit to the Reptile Park and most certainly - we WILL bake off.

*when I say like, what I really mean is 'don't ALWAYS hate'

**getting out of the supermarket without mummy rocking in the organic foods isle crying 'inadequate, inadequate, INADEQUATE'

Thursday, September 26, 2013


When we first bought Elke home from hospital, I noticed two small little spots on my right hand shoulder, they were kind of like tiny blind pimples.  Because, you know, everything post baby is oh so glamorous, I thought nothing of it and carried on with the business of being a mother of three.

While I was focused on feeding my newborn baby every 3 hours around the clock and entertaining the other two, those little spots grew and grew. At this point I started to take some notice of my new blemishes. Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought I should probably have them checked over by my doctor. But you know, life continued to be busy and time got away.

Late the other evening evening I caught a glimpse of these growing spots in the mirror and was surprised to see they now had a twinge of colour atop of their dome like shape. Immediately alarmed, I consulted doctor Google, as you do.

Doctor Google, as he does, confirmed my deepest fears - they were nodular melanoma, the fastest growing and most deadly variety of skin cancer around.

While my family slept soundly (that NEVER happens) I lay awake in a clammy anxious state, indulging in the belief that my time here on earth was now limited. As I tossed and turned my mind raced from one possible tragic scenario to another.

I watched the as the sky turned from inky blue to violet before rising from my bed to call the real doctor, you know, the one with the medical degree and the decades of experience.

I told the lady at the doctors desk that I had suspected nodular melanoma and needed to be seen immediately*. She obliged and within 45 minutes I was waiting at the surgery.

My gracious doctor looked at length upon my deadly moles before calmly informing me that they were, in short, just ugly spots.

My relief was palpable and I held back tears (gooosssh, i'm such a nut case**) as I walked out.

It's ridiculous to think that I got myself SO worked up over a couple of tiny spots. I mean, I actually lost sleep - precious, sacred sleep over them.

What naughty ugly spots.

Useless boring story? Probably.

 But said state of overwhelming anxiety prompted me to make a booking for myself and Dave to have a full skin check early next month. Summer is coming and this is Australia after all, the land flowing with milk, honey and melanoma.

I hope it prompts you to do the same.

okay, as you were.

*I really was this dramatic. Really.
**As above

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


There are two very important phone calls one needs to make when they decide to cheat at life;

1. To your mother
2. To your cleaner

Last week I made them both.

It was awesome. Life is so much better when I surrender to my limits and call for back up.

How are you going with that ol' job of keeping a house and raising a family? have you called for back up lately?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Seriously, no words can do these images justice. If you think these two look like frivolous love birds then you'd be right. 

On her left hand, Nicole spots a hand crafted Jarrah ring lovingly carved for her by Brendan. It's lined with gold and over the past 6 months, the term of their engagement, it's become smooth and glossy with wear.

On Saturday, she added a fine, locally made hammered gold band to complete the ensemble. 

Those two humble rings sitting snugly on her finger speak volumes about who Brendan and Nicole are, their values and their ideals.  

What an honour it was to see them wed before God and their community. 

Thank you SO much to Daniel Ferris Photography for giving me permission to share some of his images here. If you'd like to see more from this special day, pop over to his website. If you love the work of Daniel Ferris Photography as much as we do, you can contact him here for rates on weddings and family sessions.  

Monday, September 23, 2013


Zeph: In your Nanny's arms. 

Pip: In your cardboard house.

Elke: In your Babunia's (booboo's) arms. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

STILLS: A WEEKLY COLLECTION {the week before the wedding}

1. After writing this post I flaked and paid to have my house cleaned. Its a luxury I used to indulge in weekly but as our family grows, so do our expenses - so it's a treat we can seldom afford at present. Needless to say, after a day at my mum's place I returned home to find it sparkling and this lovely bunch of lilies atop of the kitchen table.

2. Breakfast and our banged up, stained table top.

3. Upon their ritualistic egg collection, Zeph and Dave found this miniature among the pile.

4. A little lady's outfit for a very special day. I can't wait to share some photo's with you later in the week but if you want a sneak peak of the bride and groom head over to my facebook page or, even better Daniel Ferris Photography, for a squiz at his stunning photographs (if they're not up now, they will be soon).

5. At the front door.

6. Fresh Australian wildflowers in salvaged vintage bottles accompanied by napkins made from vintage linen. Just a very small sample of Nicole's immaculate vision for her wedding.

7. The Bride and her maids during Operation Set Up for the big day. Over the coming days I'll share a few more images from our fun filled weekend and the celebration that was the marriage of Brendan to Nicole.

but for now, we sleep.

Friday, September 20, 2013


The Pre School holidays are fast approaching and I've got my thinking cap on in an attempt to ward off any additional chaos that may come with endless days at home and no where to go. If your kids are anything like mine, after a few days of boredom they can be found underfoot and at each others throats.

It's fun for no man.

Our days seem to work best when we stick to a basic 50/50 principle. You know, 50% of our time is spent outdoors and 50% indoors.

Typically we get out in the mornings for a little adventure. I'll make some vegemite sambos, peel some carrots and throw in a pack of crackers before we meet friends at the beach or the rock pool. Often times we take a wander through the whimsical winding paths of our local National Park (this really is a family favourite, as you may have noticed) keeping a lookout for birds, bugs and lizards.

In our house, adventure is ALWAYS followed by rest.

Fortunately for me (and maybe you too) The National Parks and Wildlife Service have taken the hard work out of the 50/50 ratio with their WilderQuest programme. They offer a range of discovery adventures in National Parks across the state that will make light work of a morning in the great outdoors.

Not only will WilderQuest ensure your kids are plum tuckered by mid day, they'll also provide a little bit of afternoon respite in the form of an online, interactive website and an award winning iPad app. Ranger Sam will take them to amazing places before letting the kids get settled into their own online 'cubby'. WilderQuest proves to be a positive and engaging app that acts as a 'support material' (can you tell I'm a teacher?) for all of the outdoor activities we do as a family. The characters and illustrations are lifelike and truly do simulate our Australian wildlife, meaning that experiential learning really is extended into your living room. If you want to take things a little further, try an
d afternoon movie with David Attenborough - my kids absolutely adore his documentaries. You know what all of this means for us mum's don't you? That's right - tea, chocolate and silence. BAM. Winning combo.

To help set you up for an phenomenal school holiday the National Parks and Wildlife Services would like to offer one reader of The Beetle Shack a $280 adventure pack including a picnic rug, picnic set, binoculars, a wahu beach pack along with a collection of WilderQuest goodies for the kids.

To enter simply follow the prompts below.

I'm interested to know if the 50/50 principle works for you in your house? Do you party in the 
mornings and recuperate in the afternoons?

Thanks to the National Parks and Wildlife Service for sponsoring this post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 19, 2013

At The Octopus's Garden In The Shade

It's about to be official, my mermaid sister will become my ACTUAL sister (in law, but whatevz) in just a couple of days. On the 21st of September she will walk down a grassy isle and say 'I do' to Dave's handsome brother.

I'll be standing right there beside her along with Amy and a couple of other lovely ladies. We'll be wearing vintage floral, worn leather and a touch of fur. Amazing wedding photographer Daniel Ferris will be there to capture the day from sun up until we party on down.

Of course a Hen's night provided the perfect precursor to the big day and we decided to kick hers off with a floral crown making workshop.

We had the most beautiful afternoon at The Octopus's Garden in Long Jetty, a hub for all things gritty and vintage. The Octopus's Garden is right next door to The Glass Onion Society* and together they, along with the many and varied vintage boutiques, make for the perfect ladies day. I mean hello, vintage stores, amazing coffee and flowers in abundance - I'd call that utopia, you?

If you'd like my unsolicited advice, get your gaggle together and go costal. You won't regret it.

*about 90 mins from sydney, well worth the easy drive.