Making a tree change: 3 years on

It’s been 3 years today since we left out little inner city terrace and moved down here to a home where the living room was a big as our old house. 3 years. Where does the time go?


I remember that first day so clearly. I waited at the house in the garden with the girls while Rob went and picked up the keys. I ran about the garden like a kid…I couldn’t believe that this was ours! Going from a tiny courtyard to somewhere that needed a ride on mower was quite an adjustment. When we got inside, Harper was crawling around the floor crying because of that all space and the echo of her cries from the big empty rooms. We camped on the floor that first night before the removalists arrived the next day, we ate pizza and Rob and I just kept looking at each other in disbelief…what had we done? How was the house ours? When were the real grown up owners going to kick us out?


So, what have been the best bits over these 3 past years? There are SO many. Our lives have completely changed for the better because of this move – we are all very different people because of it. But here are some of the best bits (for me at least).

My garden

Every day, each and every flipping day I take simple joy from my garden. It’s been overwhelming at times, neglected at others and most definitely not worked on as much as it could be, but it’s bought me so much happiness. I adore being able to go and get cuttings for vases from outside. See things I’ve planted grow and do well, and learnt all sorts of things along the way. I love that I now know what happens to each thing in the different seasons – when the leaves turn, when the blossom comes out, when the roses need pruning, the bulbs planted and the daphne is heavy in bloom. There have been so many hours spent out there in it, and while it is hard work, and there are always more weeds to pull, more branches to cut back, more hedges to trim, it’s been so rewarding to see that Rob and I have managed it. I know as the years go past and the kids get older I’ll be able to make it even better. I hope one day to get a go on that ride on mower too.


The seasons

I love the fact that we get proper seasons here. The summer is hot and green. The autumn cooler and magnificent in all its coloured glory. Winter is long and cold filled with frosty mornings and dark afternoons. Spring is colour and bloom and sunlight. I like to feel things – properly feel things. It’s the kind of person I am. When I am happy you know, cranky you know, sad I feel it. The seasons and the FEELING of them just works with me.


The fire

Not much brings me more simple happiness than chopping wood and stacking it in different sizes, collecting kindling and lighting a fire. That or when I wake up a freezing morning and see that the fire is still going and be cranked back up again. The smell of the smoke, the crackle of the wood and the beauty and warmth of a fire in our home is a pleasure. Sure the stacking of wood when it arrives Β and the cleaning and ash and sheer number of fires in a year can be tiring, but the thrill of Β it all still hasn’t worn off. Of all the things I’ve taken photos of the most over the past few years, my fire might just be it.



This place has made me a better cook. A healthier cook and aware of what we actually eat so much more. We’re growing some stuff. We’re eating some bloody good local produce and I’ve done things I would never have dreamed of before: entering home made jam and scones for the local show for instance. Baking bread! Making stuff from scratch. It’s been a steep learning curve…



Goodness me we have entertained some people under this roof. Dinners, lunches, Christmas, Birthday parties, Christenings, Fathers Days, and everything in between. It has been so special to have a place that people have been able to come to and enjoy a meal and a glass of wine. To laugh and chat and cry and natter and make memories with old friends, family and new friends, it has been the biggest part of our life here and one that I am proud of and hold very dear to my heart. To have had my entire family or Rob’s in one spot, to celebrate special occasions for friends or family and to share a meal with new friends is something I have always wanted, and it’s been realised a gazillion times over.

IMG_5672 IMG_9576 IMG_5917 IMG_1756 IMG_0340


It’s so nice to feel like you actually ‘belong’ somewhere. This is our home. This is our town. While we are about 2 generations off being called locals, but I like to think that we are part of this little village now. That the Macdonalds have a place and we add to it. Rob and I have thrown ourselves into life here – because you have to and because it is SO rewarding. In between the School of Arts, the pub, the RFS, hockey, the local school, golf, tennis, the morning teas, the committee meetings, the June long weekend ball and fireworks, Christmas Eve, Easter Markets, and the hundreds of interesting, funny, artistic, hard working, clever people we have met and are lucky enough to now call our friends, this is what it was all about. Being a part of something bigger than our own backyard and our own social needs has been a wonderful discovery.



But out of all these really good bits, my very favourite bit is the difference this move has made to the 3 most important people in my life: Rob and the girls. We are happy people. And why wouldn’t we be? We can walk to School. Walk to our work, be where we are having good, happy and fulfilled days and each and every night we get to sit down together as a family and eat our dinner. We work hard and we all enjoy our lives and are grateful for what we have every day.


I’m a different person to the one I was 3 years ago. I am more confident. I am stronger than I was. I work harder and I am happier. I know I’m lucky, but I also know that when you are happy, and you make decisions that are scary and challenging that the very best can come out of life. If you just let it.

And that one liner I threw at Rob in a car trip sobbing over 3 years ago, “maybe we should just pack it all in and move to the country.” may have just been the best one liner of my life.


  1. Corrie Sebire says

    what a brilliant post!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we are forever trying to make the move work for us and just this morning were talking about it but I think the biggest thing is just to do it, get over the fear and just do it!!!! beautiful and those girls have grown sooooooooooooooo much:)

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Thanks Corrie. You’ll get here eventually, I just know it. I couldn’t believe that photo when I went trawling through my old shots yesterday…they were so little! It seems amazing to me that Harper will never remember anything OTHER than living down here x

  2. This brought a tear to my eye. We are about to make a big move too – Cairns to Hobart. We dont have family there, or know many people – it is just time for a new adventure. All the things you have described above are what I’m hoping are in store for our family in a few months time. Thanks for the great read!

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Thanks Pip! It WILL be an adventure and I’m sure will be fulfilling for you all. Throw yourselves into it, and push yourself out of your comfort zone every day. Good luck!! x

  3. This makes me very happy – and I’ve said this before – brings me so much hope. My husband and I work so hard – see each other so little and we have two small beautiful boys. I hope we can make a big move one day and get out of the burbs and to a place and home we truly love and makes us happy. In the meantime – we make the most of what we have and I have an immense gratitude that we’re all healthy.

    The photos are beautiful – your writing is even better and your message is most very clear. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

    Big love xx

  4. Jay - Moodie Foodie says

    Beautiful post Beth. I couldn’t’ move to the country cause I’d go absolutely bonkers but I love that you have and you’re so happy. That makes me happy xo

  5. Oh Beth, I’ve only ever known you post tree-change. I can’t imagine you any other way. Except in New York and impromptu nights at the QT in Sydney. This post has made me all emo this morning x

    PS. I think we need a “caption this” on the photo from Mrs Woog’s 40th.

  6. Alli @ ducks on the dam says

    Congrats and happy anniversary. I have similar feelings on May 17th every year – our tree change anniversary. Love the same things you do about your move and I laugh as I have a similar photo of our girls when we moved – 3 and a bit and not quite 2. Have a lovely day.

  7. living in the bush is full of challenges [the drought has us in it’s grip at the moment] – through it all though we live the life of kings. truly. now who wouldn’t love that!!

  8. Emma Steendam says

    Love it Beth, I discovered you not long after your tree change and can’t imagine you any other way. It’s just so RIGHT. Although we do live in the country (like reeeeaallly the country, an hour to the nearest shops) I still dream of ‘the tree change’ – where we can have our own house, our own land, a great community, close to family, a home where we can raise kids and have everyone over for Christmas. That’s the dream. Especially close to family and a great community – at the moment we’re eight hours drive to our family and no ‘community’ as such around us. But it’s super tricky to get that dream tree change with work…you’d think it’d be easier being farmers but it’s actually much harder. Ho hum. I’ll just keep living vicariously through you if that’s ok…
    Happy anniversary, you wear country living so well xxx
    (and how cute is Harps as a wee babe?!)

  9. Cassie Webster says

    Love this post. The couple of times I’ve contacted you, you have been nothing but kind and giving of your time. You are a beautiful person Beth and deserve every happiness. xx

  10. Stunning pics and beautiful post. I made a seachange almost exactly a year ago (had only myself to move however!) and – so far – it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I hope I feel the same as you in another 2 years time!

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      I’m sure you will! I spoke to someone who moved here about 18 years ago and she said she still feels the same way and gets excited about all this stuff…still!

  11. Next week are will celebrate three years since moving to the country, I didn’t realise our moves were at the same time. Our move came about one Summer, spending it here by the beach in a family holiday house. Hubs announced he wanted to move here. So we did. Reading this post I was nodding and agreeing with every word. People thought we were mad when we announced what we were doing. But goodness me, never in my life have I been so happy, with such a full life. Connected to a community, meeting new wonderful people all the time. Watching the seasons, and really living. Life just gets better when you live exactly where you love. Thanks for sharing this post and your special experience. We are so blessed!

  12. Beautiful Bev, I am so happy for you.

  13. Sweetheart what an amazing three years you’ve had. Your house is more than bricks its the most welcoming, love-filled expression of your family’s generosity and soul. And boy, have you girls grown! xxB

  14. We’re not quite 2 years into our tree change, though we have moved to a full on working farm in a remote community. We can’t go back. As I write the 3 year old is running around the shearing shed ‘helping’ with the crutching, and the older 2 are up a tree making a house. They have space and freedom here that they would never have otherwise. You’ve got to be careful of those one liners…. they can change your life!

  15. This post is a delicious mix of “country style mag” & “real life warmth”…the entertaining pics are so lovely…what a special home πŸ™‚

  16. Good on you, Beth. I’m so happy for you. We’ve just done something similar, but on a much smaller scale and I feel a lot the same as you do (though the new, much bigger mortgage that goes with it is taking some getting used to, but one day it won’t seem as harsh!) I adored this post and I’ve loved following your family and your story for the past few years. Feel like I kind of know you, you know? x

  17. Kelly Exeter says

    Is this the best post ever?! I think it might be. I love the contentment and happiness oozing through your words and pictures Beth!

  18. Lisa Mckenzie says

    What a beautiful post Beth, I love all your happy Pics and I am so glad you moved there it has done your soul good and that is when you know you are home xx

  19. Look at those two cuties in that first picture! Gorgeous! So happy for you that the move was everything you wanted it to be, so inspiring! xo

  20. Michaela Fox says

    We keep toying with the idea of a tree or sea change but I just can’t seem to get over the line. But looking at these pics and the reflections behind them, I do feel like maybe we could make the brave move. You don’t talk about feeling isolated or disconnected at all. Is this because you are not too far away from the city (i realise you don’t want to give your location away)??

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      I think it has a lot to do with it. We have great shops/restaurants/coffee etc 20 mins away and Sydney or Canberra is just 1.5 either side of us. The beach isn’t far either…but the main thing is having this blog. It really just makes sure that anyone, is never far away x

  21. Gibbergunyah says

    I’m glad you like it here, and you make ME appreciate it more. Ta!

  22. Emily @ The Beetle Shack says

    …and YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY. Hello amazing.

  23. This post is exactly why I keep coming back here Beth. Our lives are so different, I think you might be living my other life, the one I would have perhaps had, had i not ventured into expat life. In our house I quite often refer to something you’ve posted and G will raise an eyebrow as if to say “who?” the answer’s always “you know, the people who moved from Sydney to the gorgeous little white house in the country”. Of late, I’ve come to the conclusion that the blogs I love are not so much about the people, but the story behind the people. You have a beautiful story Beth. Just gorgeous.

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Oh Kirsty, thank you! I’m happy to be the other you because the real you is just a bit fabulous! x

  24. Change is better than a holiday! Lovely post and beautiful words. x

  25. Deanne Wild says

    I’m reading and nodding my head and agreeing with everything you say Beth. EXCEPT, we moved from small seaside town in Qld to inner city Melbourne to find the contentment, community, seasons and food you speak of.
    Beautiful post and I think you’ve inspired my own 3 years on post.

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Yes! I’ve had a few friends do the reverse and have the same thoughts too! How wonderful for you guys πŸ™‚

  26. Wow, can’t believe it was 3 years ago! I remember it all so well! I’ve also been blessed to sit and enjoy a meal with you in the large lovely room!

    “you make decisions that are scary and challenging that the very best can come out of life. If you just let it.” So agree with this. Has been very true in my own life.

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful life and home with us. x

  27. Congratulations – you are building a beautiful childhood for the girls, and a wonderful life for the adults too.

  28. Kellie Anderson says

    Love this post, Beth. This is my third year in my house as well and I truly believe if you love where you live, then you will be happy. It makes such a difference. x

  29. What a great post! Look at all the things you’ve done πŸ™‚ what a beautiful home you’ve made.

  30. You have a magic house, Beth.

    (But I suspect every house you have is magic because you are magic.) xxxx

  31. ahoy.jenni says

    Hi Beth, congratulations on 3 years….your blog inspires me and I turn to it when I want a bit of escapism! I found your blog after hearing Eden Riley on the radio one day. I had to research blogs for uni. I enjoyed all of the remarkables blogs but yours is the one I kept coming back to and I guess I could relate to the most. I don’t know why cause your life is quite different to mine and if we were at a cocktail party we probably look at each other across the room and think we had nothing in common, but that’s what is amazing about blogs, how you can impart something of yourself and your life and now if I saw you now at a cocktail party I would ask for your autograph Lol! (not really but you know what I mean) I would probably be embarrassingly pissed because I don’t get out alot!

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      I would hope that you would come over and have a natter (or drink) with me. You KNOW I would love to have a chat! Thanks for reading and for your great comments πŸ™‚

  32. Sarah Owen-Green says

    Amazing. Such an inspiration! Thank you.

  33. Awesome post. I can relate to a lot of that for sure. Your place looks amazing too. Happy Days! Cheers to the next 3 and beyond.

  34. Maryandlil says

    amen to that one liner!

  35. Such beautiful entertaining pictures… I dream of a home where we can fit such long lovely tables to gather such wonderful family and friends around.

  36. Annie Maurer says

    Love this post Beth and love that through your stories and beautiful pictures we ( your humble readers ) have been able to share the best bits with you. I also love that you share some of the not so good bits, which help to make your blog so honest and real and something we can all relate to.

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Thanks Annie! You always have to get the good with the bad the joys AND frustrations…that’s life right!

  37. We took a public holiday spur of the moment drive to Robertson for pies yesterday, had a little BabyMac moment when we drove past Dirty Jane’s, grins

  38. Wow, how this has helped remind me of all the wonderful things we have experienced since moving to the country three years ago too. Some of the good bits had been hiding under a cloud since our cat was bitten by a brown snake yesterday. This post has helped remind me of the bigger picture. Thanks!

  39. Gorgeous, Beth. I think this post just confirms that real life is very simple indeed. x

  40. Hayley Hickey says

    I could so easily and happily step in to your life. It’s what i want. Thank you for sharing.x

  41. Melanie Ann Tarr says

    love this!

  42. Hi my wife Sandra and my two boys are about to move from sydney to a property in Braidwood. The sign for the sale of our house went up today and I have to say it is all so real now and my emotions are all over the place excitement, scared, panicky, my heart knows the move is right but my head keeps me doubting, also people we know constantly saying oh your leaving sydney are you sure. So I got on the internet to find people who have done the same thing and with tear falling I found your site.
    Thank you for helping me see that you can be so happy when you make the move.
    Wiping away tears.
    Cheers Chris p

    • Don’t panic! It’s a great thing to do – congrats on making the decision that’s the hard bit. Put in as much as you want to get out…and good luck! Nothing worthwhile in life was easy. Good luck Chris!


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