Saturday, November 30, 2013

Family Values

The expansion of my immediate family has prompted me to consider our family values. To reflect upon what is important to us. You know, things like dinner table conversation, togetherness and really, really well behaved children (not).

Dave and I were raised in completely different ways on opposite sides of this sunburnt country. His family is disciplined while I come from a gaggle of pleasure seekers. Regardless, both of us are opinionated, driven and maybe a little hot tempered. Okay, okay- i'm hot tempered.

It means our family home is full of conversation, sometimes with raised voices. A busy home with endless projects to keep us occupied, punctuated by cups of hot tea after lunch and icy cold beers in the evenings.

Together, Dave and I make a pretty good team (when we're not screaming at each other whilst trying to brush our teeth). We find a middle ground on most issues and often spur one another on in our individual creative interests.

Slowing, we are building our own family values. Usually unintentionally but as our children grow, we feel the need to pause, regroup and really consider the path we are traveling.

We want our children to be respectful but we also want to encourage boundary pushing and questioning the status quo. We want them to be creative in whatever way they choose. We hope to teach them to be endlessly kind to others and to think of themselves second, only after they've considered those around them. We pray that they will have a healthy respect for this planet and the unknown ferocity of nature.  And mostly, a genuine love for it's Creator.

We hope that we can lead by example. By being kind and respectful to others while standing firm in what we believe is right.

Each day as we guide them, our children become our teachers. They reflect us, sometimes the ugly other times the lovely. They are a refining fire- making us strive to be more whole, for their sake.

Call me crazy, but the longer I do this parenting thing- the more I love it*.

What values would you say are important to your family?

*did I just make you gag a little bit?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Setting The Table With Target and A Giveaway {sponsored}

We're having Dave's family to our house for Christmas this year, you know, so we can feast on home grown pork products, icy cold cocktails and enjoy the air-conditioning. We're planning a Polish feast as a nod to the family's heritage and I wanted to set a really special table.

In typical fashion, I went over the top with print, pattern and colour. I've avoided the more traditional colours of red, green and white in favour of fruity hues like pink, green, blue and purple. Because it's Christmas, I've embraced 'glitter' with complete abandon.

I started by layering coloured textiles complete with a bright table runner before filling my classic glass dome with masses of coloured baubles. Glassware is filled with fresh peonies and glitter encrusted reindeer stand proudly amongst ceramic pine trees.

I feel in love with the vibrant range of plastic table ware at Target and decided to add a jolt of blue in the form of tumblers and wine glasses. I chose platters and plates in textured ceramic including stunning crackle glazed dinner plates and polka dotted beauties for the side. We'll be eating with new cutlery from the Jamie Oliver collection and wearing party hats from glistening silver bon bons (I love a good bon bon).

To add a little bit of whimsy to the room I hung some ivy (but lets just go all out and call it mistletoe) above the table and put a couple of golden bauble wreaths on the wall.

Yipee! Just writing this makes me so excited for the family, food and friends we will be enjoying over the next few weeks!

We'll be preparing a place for our Christmas Tree (which is also available from Target) this weekend and before you know it, December will be upon us and the champagne will be flowing.

Because it's just SO much fun to decorate the house with all things festive, Target would like to give you the chance to win a $180 voucher to spend! Yaahooo.

All you need to do is head over to the Target Website, take a look around and tell me what you'd buy with your $180 voucher.

Tell me, are you hosting a family Christmas at your house this year?

What do you do to prepare?


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wearing: Double Denim

Excuse me while I make faces with my young Elke Bear and also excuse that inappropriately positioned gap in my buttons and my shorts that are a little bit too short for a 30 year old mother of three, how awkward. But I figure when the days are hot I have two options - be too warm or wear short shorts. Clearly I'm going for the latter.

Lately I've been teaming chambray and denim with vibrant accessories. Layers of forgotten coins by Bohemian Traders along with a brightly coloured Maria Bangle Stack and an Antique Embellished Clutch.


Chambray Shirt | Target
Shorts | Free People
Shoes c|o The Horse
Maria Bangle Stack | Bohemian Traders
Antique Embellished Clutch | Bohemian Traders
Knotted Yarn Necklace | Bohemian Traders

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Tuesday is swimming day here at The Beetle Shack.

Each Tuesday morning for the last term and a half I've bundled the kids into the car with their swimmers and towels and a sweet little snack as a good behaviour bribe. Each week I've hustled and jostled and patiently reminded the kids NOT TO RUN THROUGH THE CAR PARK, you know, I've been really calm and serene about the whole thing.

Each week I manage to forget some necessary item like goggles, hair ties, bobbi pins or said snack for behaviour bribery. Each week Elke stays calm and quiet until it's time for the big kids to exit the pool, get dried and dressed- at which point she screams relentlessly. But you know, I remain really calm and serene, because thats the kind of woman I am.

This morning I awoke to the sun creeping through early morning mist. The light was dancing, a new day dawning and everything was beautiful. From the living room I could hear the sound of my children happily playing and I knew the aroma of coffee wouldn't be far away.

As I lay beneath the covers, pondering all that was right with the world I recalled that today was Tuesday, swimming day.

Mystique turned to madness and I started the day poorly.

Somewhere between drinking my delicious hot coffee and finding that the towels had been left outside in the rain I decided we'd Forfeit our pre paid fees and give swimming a miss (for the 3rd week in a row).

Sometimes you've just gotta call it. Enough is enough.

For a a term and a half I've been running like a chook with it's head cut off. I've been stressed and anxious and, well, a little bit shouty and I feel crap about it. I've exhausted myself with my inward focus and heavy brow and I figure if a little less 'busy' can make it easier, then I'll take it.

So see ya later swimming, you pain in the proverbial!

How about you, are thing starting to get bonkers in the lead up to Christmas?

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Pot of Gold

Sometimes being a parent is the most wonderfully rewarding job in the world. Yesterday Zephie told me that the best thing about me, his mumma, was my warm cuddles. Naturally, my heart swelled to capacity upon hearing such sweetness and today, I made sure my cuddles were extra long, extra tight and extra warm.

I've been getting a glimpse of the future when looking that these strapping kids of ours. They are maturing right before my very eyes - their questions are considered and rational (well Zeph's are) and their patience is growing.

The past six months have been a complete haze of sleepless nights, leaky breasts and irrational behaviours (from me) but as the fog begins to clear I'm gaining a renewed appreciation for my children. While I've been consumed with the business of newborn Elke, Zeph and Pip have been getting on with the business of growing up.

All of a sudden they are bigger and older and wiser and cuter and SO appreciative of me, their mother. While I've been busy, they've been waiting patiently with warm, sticky palms and dirt on their cheeks.

 And now that I'm looking up rather than shuffling around with my brow to the pavement, I can see them face to face, looking me right in the eyeballs and saying 'hey mum, it's all good'.

And you know what, it really is.

So tomorrow when they pull at my hand and ask me to be an aeroplane, I'll putter along with them. When they pass me a chunk of play dough pizza i'll eat it with delight and when they ask me to put a dash of honey in their cup of milk, I'll oblige.

Gosh it feels good to know that life will be normal again.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Stills : A Weekly Collection

1. I'm absolutely addicted to Peonies at the moment. Such extravagance in each bloom.

2. Baby bunnies all covered in fur.

3. Rainy days.

4. Pet tadpoles.

5. Stick insect inspections.

6. Project preparation.

7. New colourful treats from Bohemian Traders plus free shipping on all accessories and orders over $150 (enter FREESHIP).


 Zeph: Easily the sweetest brother that has ever lived (beside my own brother). Always so eager to entertain his baby sister - Four years is SUCH a lovely gap.

Pip: Polka dots and Florals - a girl after my own heart

Elke: Your favourite place, sleeping in your dadda's arms.

I've been enjoying a very busy, extremely exciting weekend woking with Kris Paulsen - professional Interior, Lifestyle and Food photographer. We're preparing for a project will be launching in January 2014. Yipeee!

See you later for the Stills Collection :)

As always, joining in with jodi.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Beetle Shack House Tour- Behind The Scenes

Welcome friends. Would you like a tea?

Oh wait, I've run out of tea bags. How about coffee?

Oh, no milk. I just used the last.

Let me get you a glass of tap water, don't mind those smudges around the rim of glass, It's clean, I promise.

take a seat, oh, I'll just wipe that down for you.

So while you're here, let me fill you in on what's been happening.

Life here at The Beetle Shack is complete and utter chaos. The kids think it's SUPER fun to pull everything from their wardrobes and spread it all out on the floor. I think it's really NOT fun to clean it up every singe day, so there it stays upon the floor... just for a couple of days while I get over the fact that next time I pick it all up it will literally be back on the blessed floor the next morning.

Yes, yes, you're right. That is Zeph playing some kind of 'aeroplane' game with his baby sister.* She'll be fine though.

We've added some pigs to our little back yard farm and with any luck, we'll be eating home raised pork at christmas. We've also got 15 chooks, 1 duck and 3 rabbits. Oh yes, one of the rabbits has just had baby bunnies, so we've got 8 of them too. They are just starting to get some fur and practise their jumping. It is Ah-dorable.

Anyways, the last couple of days I seem to have harnessed the power of positive thinking (prayer, if you will) and I'm back in the game. Ready to make the lunches and the beds, wash the clothes (but not sort them, that bores me to tears) and launder the linen.

Things are on the up'n'up.

How's thing with you?

*no children were harmed in the writing of this post

** totally got on top of this filth over the last couple of days. 

(i hope you're not too repulsed by the state of my home. Bet I made you feel good about your's though, right?)

This post is for you Grace.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wearing: Little Tienda

Oh you know, just those super unflattering boyfriend jeans that I wear every day because, you know, they're comfortable and practical. Yeah, those. I've also been flogging this Little Tienda blouse with great frequency this spring- It's pretty, easy to wear, breezy and very forgiving when it comes to dirt, snot and food. I've added a couple of other more fruity Little Tienda pieces to my wardrobe for the summer months too, but I'll show you those later!


Top c|o Little Tienda
Jeans | Levis
Slatwaters c|o Fabrik

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lounge Room - Mid Century Inspired

 I've got some serious lust for Mid Century decor at the moment. In my dreams we live in a flat roofed  1950's palace with timber panelling and excellent plastic furniture. Clean lines and sparking surfaces- not a speck of dust.

In reality I live in a 1970's shack complete with double hung windows lined with cobwebs, yellowed cyprus pine flooring, cheap knock off furniture and very few redeeming features. But I do have the worlds most awesome retro sideboard that I picked up for $70 at a garage sale a couple of years ago (remember?) so I decided to give my living room a little Mid Century facelift sans money.


I removed those fruity polka dots and carefully applied some Orla inspired flowers that I ordered from Look Sugar ( the same place I always get my decals). I think they add a little touch of 1950's fun and hey, when I'm bored, I'll pull them down!

I also added the same stickers to my Kitchen tiles, but my kitchen is currently far too messy to show you!

Other rooms I've used decals in

Monday, November 18, 2013

We Love Orange

Last weekend Dave and I packed the kids into the car just after lunch on Friday and took off on an adventure to Orange.

It'd been about 8 months since our last failed attempt at a mini-break and sometime between then and now, we plucked up the courage to try again. Holidays with kids are no easy task but after we conquered our first night (which totally included a cracking midnight fight) we were set to go and had a lovely time.

We stayed in the most budget cabin known to man and it was just perfect for our little family. Contained by tiny faux timber walls were 3 bunks covered in mission brown vinyl, one double with protruding springs and umpteen rubber backed curtains in mottled maroon. It was a glorious nod to the mid 1980's in which it was built.  Aside from being perfectly compact it brought back many a happy memory of my own childhood holidays to beach side locations all over the blustery South Coast.

On Saturday morning we rose with the sun to deliciously crisp country air. A quick buzz around town lead us to the best coffee I've ever had in my life at Factorie Espresso, a cracking little cafe and wine bar filled with the sweet aroma of coffee and oodles of attractive men in butchers aprons. It was kind of like heaven, actually.

The highlight of our weekend was by far our trip out to Mandagery Creek Farm to visit the ever beautiful Sophie, her family and their amazing property littered with delicious deer. We devoured fresh venison on the BBQ cooked by Sophie's husband Tim. It was easily the most tender meat I have ever eaten and was accompanied by fresh salads, icy white wine and raucous laughter. Blood Oranges dipped in Dark Chocolate were served for dessert and I must confess to eating more than my share- they were amazing.

After lunch we jumped into the back of Tim's work ute and went for a tour of the farm - the children were able to feed the deer and give them a pat. It was seriously SO much fun and a stunning change for this coastal family.

Sophie and Tim run a Farm Kitchen on their property which hosts 'family friendly' gourmet lunches complete with bubbles on arrival, cooking demo and farm tour.

If you're looking for a little getaway with your family, you really must head out to Orange. We fell in love with the town for it's unassuming charm, great coffee and seriously awesome 1980's accommodation.*

*Orange has many lovely boutique options... they were just outside of our budget. I reckon we did the whole weekend for under $250 inclusive. Thats a pretty affordable weekend away, even for tight wads like us.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Stills: A Weekly Collection

 1. The stunning vista from the Local is Lovely Farm we visited last weekend in Orange. I'll tell you all about the magical time we had asap!

2. Local ducks. Also lovely.

3. Dave's makeshift green house. We've been raising tomato, cucumber and bean seedlings for planting.

4. Early morning crafting sessions. We couldn't thing of a better way to use that old nappy box.

5. Jacaranda or Wisteria, you know. Whatevz.

6. Plenty of exciting new listings over at Bohemian Traders, but I hear thing are selling fast so you'd better be quick (this is my personal fave)

7. I've been thinking about putting together a post for the 5 Minute Spring Face (using ethical/ natural products). Would that be of interest to anyone?


I'm looking forward to seeing what you've been up to this week. Feel free to leave your link below so we can have a visit!

xo em