Thursday, May 28, 2015


 By Talia Christine

Audrey is officially in her big girl bed! To celebrate the occasion I made a special new bedspread for Audrey as a present for being such a big girl now. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


 This is moi and my best friend Jo wearing the same dress. The Dreamer Dress in Ice Blue. When taking these photo's we laughed about the very different sizes and shapes of our bodies - I do believe the words 'fatty and skinny' slipped from my mouth...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


 We've lived in this little Beetle Shack for almost a decade now. Prior to children we had spare rooms used for music and art making. Places for friends to sleep after long dinners and plenty of spare storage in each and every wardrobe. My clothes collection used to fill the walk in robe and at least one other built in. Our floorboards were freshly polished, the walls crisp white and the kitchen had doors on all of the cupboards.

Over the years, slowly but surely we have filled our little shack to capacity. We've bough all of our children home from hospital to this quaint house and now each bedroom is over flowing with their books and clothes and toys. The walls are a lovely shade of grey and speckled with boogers, our floorboards are almost completely destroyed and each wardrobe is a disgusting display of disorganisation and filth.

We've let things go and our place is totally run down.

Recently we decided that it was time for a freshen up and a little extension - An extra living space designed to catch the light and open up on to our back deck. We're also putting internal stairs down to the studio and second bathroom (currently external).

And here we are, all 5 of us living amongst the mess. An open ceiling, no lights in the dining room and seriously freezing drafts from everywhere.

In the evening we huddle under mohair blankets and Kantha quilts to stop our bones from shaking but in the mornings you'll find us here. Together at the kitchen table making paper aeroplanes, creating glamorous squiggle drawings and thawing out in the first light as it hits the dust on the floor.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Nurture Nature Exhibition

 By Lauren Merrick

 I recently had my first solo show called Nurture Nature at The Glass Onion Society.

Friday, May 22, 2015


 By Claudia Martin & Theresa Shields

A super delicious alternative to the traditional peanut butter, this cashew cream has all the good stuff in it while tasting like all the naughty stuff you know you love...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Almost The World's Best Muesli

My husband’s aunty Jenni makes hands-down the world’s best muesli. That is by no means an overstatement. It is delicious. My mother-in-law also makes it, and it’s in copious supply whenever we’re there. There have been talks that she should go into commercial production, although it’s not a cheap one to make,  with loads and loads of nuts and a special secret sweetener. The day after our wedding we had a big breakfast back in the marquee, standard bacon and eggs for those nursing a headache but also bucket loads of Jenni’s muesli with fruit and yogurt. I can’t even count the number of our guests who asked about the muesli, begged for the recipe, devoured it by the bowl full. It’s goooood.
I have tried to replicate, I know roughly what’s in it, but not the exact quantities or if there is a very super special method. I was happily surprised with my efforts, it doesn’t taste exactly like Jenni’s, but it’s fairly close. And because I am the sharing caring variety, now you can make it too…

 Almost The World’s Best Muesli


4 cups oats

2 cups almonds, chopped

1 cup hazelnuts, chopped

1 cup macadamias, chopped

1 cup pepitas

1 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup dessicated coconut

3 tablespoons cinnamon

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup agave syrup (available at health food shops)

1/2 cup of dried cranberries

1/2 cup of dried apricots, chopped


Chop up your nuts, I pulse them in my food processor a few times, I like it pretty rough and ready, some still whole, some fully pulverised. Combine in a large bowl the oats, all the nuts, the pepitas, the coconut, the cinnamon. Stir until combined.
Drizzle in your maple and agave syrups. Mix until it comes together a bit and everything is a little covered by sweet syrup. Spread mixture out on a baking tray (or two) nice and evenly.

Bake in oven at 150 degrees Celcius until lightly golden and fragrant when you open the oven door. Then you can either mix the muesli all around back in the bowl to separate it a bit, or leave to ‘dry’ which results in a few crunchy clusters due to clumps being stuck together from the syrup. I like the clusters.

Add in the cranberries and apricots. These aren’t in Jenni’s version, but I like some fruit in there as well. Store in an airtight container for yonks. Serve with big dollops of Greek yogurt and fresh fruit or if you’re lucky your mother-in-law might have some stewed rhubarb on hand (almost always the case for me).

You can change the quantities as much as you like – you might not like pepitas as much as I do, or you might prefer walnuts over hazelnuts, I’m not a huge coconut fan so you might want to bump that up. Whatever floats your boat.

I’m not a big breakfast eater. I know, I know, most important meal of the day, very important… but I devour this stuff. I’m like a naughty fussy eating child, my husband tries to coax breakfast into me most mornings, then when we’re at his parents he will bring out the big guns: “There’s Jenni’s muuuueeesssliiii…” Gets me every time.

 'Emma is a blogger, crafter, baker, farmers wife, Mother, photographer-by-trade, many hat wearer. Most days she can be found digging about in her garden, talking to her chickens or brewing a strong pot of tea in her little farmhouse on the hill. You can join Emma as she makes, bakes, sews and grows at She Sows Seeds. Other days can find her pointing her lens at chubby babies, people in love and local businesses with Emma Steendam Photography.'

Monday, May 18, 2015


 By Ronnie Mason

Every three months or so, I try to record an entire day in as much detail as I can manage. My last attempt fell on New Year's Day. This time, it fell on Easter Sunday. At the end of the year, my plan is to compile all of this into a small coffee table book.

Friday, May 15, 2015


My rules for a shirt dress are that it has to be long enough that you can bend in it (even if you need to squat a little), that it has to be a good natural fibre- (no poly!), for me at least, the plainer the better in colour and pattern as I can then use it as a base to style it up or down, it can be fitted or oversized....

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Pulling your house to pieces isn’t exactly a recipe for stress-free living. There’s a lot of dust involved, and the continued removal of things so essential to daily life makes it hard to relax at the end of the day. First it was the sofa, then the dining table, then the pantry and stove.

We’re completely overhauling our kitchen/dining/living space at the moment and we threw out just about everything except the kitchen sink. No carpet, no walls, no ceiling. After a particularly tough week at work, the house situation inched closer to intolerable and I had a good think about how I could cope.

Making dinner at the end of a long day is a real drag when this is your kitchen outlook, but there are ways to make it more bearable.
1. Know that it’s not permanent. You (hopefully) won’t be living this way long term. Set a deadline and stick to your plans - having an end in sight makes the hard slog easier to bear. Start a countdown if you have to and keep your eyes on the end goal.
2. Clean up at the end of the day. If you have to step on loose nails or in piles of dirt on your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you’ll get cranky. Get a vacuum cleaner that can handle hardcore filth and use it when you’re done working for the day. The extra 10 or 15 minutes will buy you the patience you need!
3. Eat good food. Don’t call for pizza every night. Set up a camp kitchen if you have to (I’m loving my slow cooker right now), but be sure to eat nutritious meals most nights. Good mental health is supported by a good diet and you need to look after your body if you intend on putting it through serious manual labour.
4. Celebrate your progress. If you’re tackling a huge project, be sure to stop and admire how far you’ve come from time to time. Take a few before, during and after shots and high five yourself for getting a step closer each day. It’s easy to forget all you’ve done when there is still a lot to come.
5. Ask for help when you need it. We recently booked a rubbish skip for a weekend and soon realised that filling it would be beyond the abilities of a pregnant lady and a man with a bulging disc in his back. A much as we want to ‘do it ourselves’, there are days when a few mates or a professional trade or two makes all the difference. 
Have you survived a renovation project? What survival tips can you share for those considering or already undertaking the daunting task?  

A child of the 80's, Kate was raised on country music and family camping adventures. She documents more recent adventures on her blog This is My Family. When she's not pulling her house apart, Kate aims to rid the world of cheesy family photos. Find out more at Urban Safari Photography.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


By Emily Beetleshak
Who's a fan of the patterned pant? I am!! There is nothing like a good soft pant - as comfortable as trackies but completely acceptable for work, Saturday sports or shopping. I'd even dress these up with a strappy pair of heels....

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Friends, if you haven't visited Sophie's blog Local is Lovely then why not? It is the most scrumptious place on the inter webs and Soph just happens to be equally as delicious as her recipes. Head on over to her blog and sign up to her newsletter and you'll also receive a free copy of her 'Winter baking' ebook.

I'm seriously enthusiastic about making these Rhubarb pickles below. Oh and when I say 'I will be making' naturally I mean Fancy Dave will be making them and I will support him by eating them.

 Got any recipes for Choko, Soph? We've got them growing like crazy in the garden right now!

xo em

Orange and quinoa biscuits with pickled rhubarb

Sweet pickles are a new thing for me but I’m totally smitten. They are beautiful with goat’s curd and these not-to-sweet biscuits, but also fantastic served with harder, stronger cheeses or even over ice cream or spooned over a simple almond cake. Fiddle around with the aromatics at will, perhaps swap the bay and peppercorns with a cinnamon stick and or a couple of star anise? A cardamom pod too wouldn't Just don’t go overboard with the aromatics though, one or two per fruit is a good ratio! Verjus is the perfect ingredient to use here I think, the acid is softer than any vinegar or lemon juice yet still enough to cut through the fruit’s sweetness. The two recipes below are a ‘fresh pickle’, meaning that they aren’t made to last for months, a week or so is enough, and need to be kept in the fridge......

Monday, May 11, 2015


I first met Seren some 3 years ago at a Tim Clouson Photography workshop. It was love at first sight and Seren had me in stitches the entire day. Since then we've kept in touch and met up for coffees and honest talks about motherhood.

These days Seren is traveling around our gorgeous country with her husband and 2 young daughters- something I would NEVER have the guts to do!! She's going to share some of their adventures here at The Beetle Shack!!

I hope you enjoy her tales as much as I do

xo em

By Seren Shutte

Hi I'm Seren and I LOVE camping.

Getting away in a tent with my family/friends and eating yummy food nourishes the minimalist in me.

Life's essentials are personified in camping, really!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Any ensemble that allows for sneakies is okay with me. Yes this another 'uniform' type outfit - each piece can be worn a myriad of ways. I can dress up the vest by cinching it in a the waist with the accompanying belt and teaming with denim and heels. The jumper can be worn over a classic white shirt with distressed denim or dare I say, my velour trackies (don't tell anyone).

This is a combo I feel good in. It's comfortable and looks respectable enough to wear for school drop off, grocery shopping or work. The gifted Navy Louenhide bag offers a nice dose of luxury... hopefully I'm not mixing too may styles here... if I am, don't tell me- I've been wearing this outfit all week! hahah!!

I've sized up to a large in the jumper as I like a slouchy fit- the medium may have looked a bit neater but, you know, who cares. The Vest is a size 10, my standard size. 


Bohemian Jumper | size large

As a gift to you, Bohemian Traders would love to offer readers of The Beetle Shack an exclusive discount of 20% STORE WIDE. Shhh it's just for you guys!!

Head over to Bohemian Traders now and use the code "BEETLESHACKMUM" to take 20% off your total order. 

valid until Saturday 9th May

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


It's Mother's Day on Sunday and you know what that means... cold vegemite toast in bed!!! Right? If you're lucky, it'll be made by the hands of your adoring children who will snuggle up close beside you and watch you devour every last mouthful.  There is nothing more delicious than cold kid made toast - straight from the pure heart of your children.

Once Zeph made me a coffee with our espresso machine and bought it in to me while I was sleeping- It was surprisingly good.

Anyways, I'm rambling.

Here is my list of suggested Mother's Day gift items. I've selected things that are Pregnancy and Breastfeeding friendly. Plus you can get 20% off your total cart when shopping with Bohemian Traders today by using the code BEETLESHACKMUM at checkout.

Belle Blouse | This is top of the list for me. I adore this blouse. It's so easy to wear, machine washable, a little longer in length if you like to layer over leggings/jeggings and has buttons to the front making it feeding friendly. It's that one special top that will make you feel gorgeous sans effort.

Ella Dress | If you don't yet have the Ella Dress in your life, Mother's Day is the perfect time to remedy that. It's a dream to wear while pregnant, has buttons to the front for feeding, can be layered over tights, dressed up or down on a whim and will literally trail behind you when you walk. If yo have daughters, they will love you in this dress. It's a real life fairy tail.

Bohemian Traders Anorak | We all need one great jacket in our life, right? This is the BEST quality jacket with just the right amount of stretch for serious comfort. It's a slimline cut with a tie to the waist which is really flattering and it's machine washable... not that you'll take it off for long enough. This one will go with you everywhere.

Bucket Bag | Big enough for everything... I think you could probably fit your kids in it too. I use this bag every day for work as it fits my computer and everything else I need. Plus I can see everything inside it- no lost phone of keys please- this vexes me greatly.

Dreamer Wrap | Another feeding friendly, totally versatile number. Wear it open as a floaty jacket, button it up for an elegant blouse or tie it at the back as a sweet little wrap. Perfect for dressing up if you have a winter wedding (and still need to access the boobs) or easy and flattering with jeans for dinner with the girls!

So what's on your dream list this Mother's Day?

Bohemian Traders would love to offer readers of The Beetle Shack an exclusive discount of 20% STORE WIDE. Shhh it's just for you guys!!

Head over to Bohemian Traders now and use the code "BEETLESHACKMUM" to take 20% off your total order. 

valid until Saturday 9th May

Monday, May 4, 2015


Having young kids is MUCH easier than having a newborn. Lets just get that out there. The sleep deprivation that comes with being a new mum, particularly for the first time, is almost unbearable. For me it induced a pinch of Post Natal Depression and Anxiety. I mean who really can function with 3 hours of broken sleep night after night, week after week? I know I couldn't.

And when you're doing a job as important as raising a human- all bets are off. There is nothing you want to be better at. I wanted to smash the mothering gig. I wanted to be present, engaged, motivated and look hot when pushing my pram to the park.

Instead I was sleep deprived, depressed, jittery and chubby. A pretty grim reality, don't you think?

I couldn't function. There were days where I would call day in tears just moments after he's walked out the door confessing that I just couldn't cope.

By the time we'd had our 3rd baby, he knew to take my crazy seriously. Things were out of control for me and on occasion packing the lunch boxes would literally tip me right over the edge. It seems ridiculous to confess but there really were days where I just couldn't figure out how to find the jam in the pantry.

These days life is so much easier.

Little Elk is now 2 and sleep is far less elusive than it used be. Having said that, we're often up several times a night (it was six last night, as I mentioned on Facebook earlier today) and most mornings, we awake to find a child between us.

I'm still not getting the amount sleep I need but I AM getting enough sleep to stay sane most of the time.* Okay okay, lets not get too ambitious - SOME of the time.

What about you? Are you getting enough sleep? Do you feel like it effects your mental health? How do you cope?

* PMT time- all bets are OFF! c.r.a.z.y


  Nothing like a home made party favour, right? I've always taken massive inspiration from the amazing Briar Stanley, author of Sunday Collector and delightful contributor to The Beetle Shack when it comes to kids parties and all related entities. The woman is a genius with colour, style and food. How good does this Chocolate Bark look?

Find out how to make it below and see more from Briar HERE

xo Em

By Briar Stanley
Briar Stanley is a Sydney based interior decorator and founder and editor of life and style blog,Sunday CollectorBriar believes your home should tell your story. From rethinking a room to designing a unique look throughout your space, she can guide you through everything from choosing a dining table, tile selection to the colours of your cushions. Find out more about Briar's styling and decorating work here.

I wanted to share an easy and inexpensive treat idea that is perfect to make with young ones, and a tasty indulgence for kids and adults to enjoy....

This recipe was originally made as an Easter treat but can be adapted to suit any occasion.

Step One
Line a tray with baking paper and pour melted chocolate of your choice, spreading it around until the slab is about 1cm thick. I chose a mixture of milk, dark and white chocolate. Don’t worry about getting chocolate all the way to the edges of the tray, a bit of mess is ok.

 Step Two
Here’s the fun part! Decorate the melted chocolate with your choice of ‘topping’. I chose crunchy m&m’s (that look like easter eggs), sliced up bounty bar and sprinkles. I then topped it off with splashes of melted white chocolate. Place the chocolate slab/tray in the fridge for over 4 hours, until the chocolate concoction is set, rock hard.

Step Three
Break up the chocolate in to ‘bark’ pieces with a knife. You should be able to pierce the slab with the tip of the knife, allowing the cracking to happen naturally, giving you a much nicer finish than actual slicing.

Step Four
I packaged the chocolate bark in to striped paper bags I purchased from a $2 shop. I made the bunny ear shape by simply cutting the shape with scissors and securing the top of each scrunched bag with some bakers twine. Seriously, too easy.

Enjoy – and make sure you let me know if you make this at home, would love to see how your version turns out!

Briar x

See Briar's tips on How to organise your pantry HERE

Friday, May 1, 2015


Some 2 years ago our 3rd and final little babe was born. I wore a pink knitted jumper and a pair of threadbare floral pants to the hospital before changing into a glamorous backless green gown in preparation for her C-Section delivery.

I was nervous, shaky with adrenaline and SO outrageously excited to meet her, our newest daughter. You know those moments when you're acutely aware of being on the cusp of something new? The Great Unknown. It's like all your senses go into overdrive- they take EVERYTHING in as if it might be their last chance to absorb the glory that is living. The coolness of the air, the whir of an air conditioner, the clattering of plates and cutlery as the breakfast dishes are cleared. The crispness of the hospital sheets and the warmth of Dave's chest as I rest my head against it. All of the beautiful things sensed in a brief moment of time.

I was about to become the mother of 3. Uncharted Territory. Unparalleled Crazy.

As the nurses wheeled me into theatre I felt confident in the knowledge that I'd been here before. I'd faced my c-section fears. Made peace with my past experiences and was ready to get this girl out of my body and into my arms.

I was expecting a fair haired child just like the others yet I was met with mop of chocolate hair and a nose so flat our baby looked as though she could have been born the 'natural' way. She was puffy and squishy and pink and when I first held her, she kept her little eyes closed as though she wasn't quite ready for all the bright lights.

Hello baby Elke. I love you.

We spent 5 blissful days in beautiful sexy quiet hospital before returning to reality. Family of 5-ness.

And apparently that little baby is 2 now?


It seems that Elke is in denial along with the rest of us as when we tell her she's going to be a 'big girl' she insists she's going to be a Big Baby Girl. That's okay with me.

Elke Bee - This is you at two

  • You like your milks. Cows milks or soy milks. Either way, you like your milks, plural.
  • When you sleep, you prefer for there to be nothing in your bed. You throw sweet little stuffed toys and precious blankies to the floor with abandon.
  • When you wake, you call out at the top of your lungs DAAAADAHHH. Every single morning I'm grateful you cal him and not me. Shortly afterwards you curl up in our bed for snuggles. It's bliss.
  • You seem to be toilet trained… unless we are at home and then you like to mark your territory… perhaps it's a 3rd child thing?
  • You could not be more loved by your bother and sister. You play them off for cuddles and attention.
  • For a delicate little girl you really can wind that arm back and offer a good slap.
  • I seriously can not keep my hands from pinching your bottom. I'm in love with it.
  • I call you my Tea Cup Lady because you're tiny.
  • When you get shy or are guilty, you turn your face away from me before slowly casting your eyes back... rolling them over ever so cheekily. 
  • Sleep is easy for you.
  • You were created, knitted together with a purpose greater than we know.
  • You are one happy kid. You laugh all the time. 
  • Making jokes comes naturally to you.
  • You are the apple of our eye. 
  • To say 'I love you' feels far to trivial. There are no words to express our love for you and the others. The closest I can get to comprehending it is in a long embrace. Flesh to flesh.
  • As I write this you sleep peacefully in your bed, your siblings play rebelliously in their room while your dad serenades the house with hymns and home written tunes. Your live in a love filled house. I hope you feel that deep within you for all of your days.
  • Happy 2, Elke B. I love you, love you.