Tuesday, 21 May 2013

choc berry breakfast quinoa | recipe

This quinoa dish is full of all sorts of good stuff, making for a light, healthy breakfast. Quinoa is high in protein, making it a great way to start the day & the addition of cocoa powder, vanilla & berries helps it taste wonderful.

It is also a quick-to-make breakfast, using already cooked quinoa & is gluten & dairy free. I use a combination of dried & frozen berries, but if you are lucky enough to have fresh you can certainly use them.

Firstly you need to cook the quinoa - the following amount will make several breakfast, I just keep the rest in the fridge.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
pinch of salt

Rinse the quinoa, before placing in a small saucepan with the salt & water.
Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer & cook until the water is absorbed - about 15-20min. I like to leave it to cool in the pot with the lid on, then store in a container in the fridge.

choc berry breakfast quinoa
adapted from Eating for England

3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup oat milk (or milk of your choice)
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp chia seeds (optional)
sugar, maple syrup, honey or sweetener of your choice (I use rapadura sugar)
handful dried cranberries
handful frozen blueberries

Place quinoa, milk, cocoa, vanilla, seeds, cranberries & a sprinkle of sweetener* in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until hot - add the blueberries once it has started to get hot & cook until the berries are defrosted. Tip into a bowl to serve.

*I use very little sweetener in mine - I find the oat milk makes it quite sweet anyway, even with the cocoa powder. You can always add extra once it's cooked, so don't add much to start with.

You can adapt this in a myriad of ways - different dried or fresh fruit, adding some chopped nuts, dessicated coconut or anything you enjoy.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Wrapping | the most versatile wrapping paper

If I could only ever have one wrapping paper it would be, without a doubt, brown paper. Brown paper both looks good and is super versatile. With a little dressing up, a roll of brown paper will have all your wrapping needs covered.
Here are a few suggestions:

Twine is a classic to put with brown paper, probably because it looks so good. It’s a gender –neutral combination that’s classy and simple.

For a more colourful option, you could wrap some pretty ribbon around your gift. Fabric ribbon simply tied or plastic ribbon split and curled with the blade of a pair of scissors.

Another fun option is to cut out some shapes (I used a shape puncher) and glue them on.

Covering the paper in doodles or a pattern is like making your own unique wrapping paper and can be a lot of fun to do.

Lastly, for something super cute with a sweet message, try dressing it like a parcel but address it to ‘the best Mum ever’ or ‘Coolest Dad on the planet’ to give a subtle message about the person you’re gifting it to.

Brown paper really is super versatile; they are so many options, way more than I’ve collected here.

What about you, do you like using brown paper? How do you decorate it?

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


 As I run my hand through the lavender bush I am reminded how much I love this herb. It is easy to grow and creates a great garden feature with its silver foliage and beautiful purple spears. Lavender essential oil is a great way to bring that scent inside. It is great in an oil burner on its own or blended with other essential oils. This helps create a calming atmosphere as well as providing relief from the symptoms of colds and flu and keeping the rest of the family healthy.

However this is not its only use. Lavender essential oil has antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties making it a great addition to any family medicine cabinet.
When my children were little I often put a drop on a tissue under their pillow to help them settle if they could not get to sleep. This is also a great way to use it if someone has a blocked nose, it helps them breath and eases them into sleep.

Lavender essential oil is also a wonderful insect repellent just add a few drops to pure water and use as a spray. It also helps to heal insect bites by placing a drop on the bite.
Lavender essential oil ‘s antiseptic and anti-fungal properties mean it can also be used to treat skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and other types of skin inflammations .This and tea tree oil are the only oils that should ever be put undiluted on the skin. Also, avoid the eye area.
You can use a few drops on minor burns that are caused from things such as small cooking burns or burns caused by a craft iron or glue gun.
Each time I read about it there is another use for lavender that I have not heard before. Do you have a favourite or new use?

Friday, 10 May 2013

Spotlight | Tea Ceremony

Urban Rituelle is an Australian company specialising in beautiful bath & body products. We have been using & stocking their products for many years & love the high quality, exquisite fragrances & gorgeous, distinctive packaging. Urban Rituelle is all about modern indulgence - celebrating life's simple pleasures & enhancing daily rituals.

We are very pleased to have products from their newest collection - Tea Ceremony - available, both in store & online. The Tea Ceremony collection celebrates the time honoured ceremony of drinking tea. Blended with the finest botanical extracts & herbal infusions, we invite you to experience the beauty & nostalgia that is the Tea Ceremony.

With fragrances such as Hibiscus & Cranberry, Green Tea & Citrus & Turkish Rose & Vanilla & presented in elegant packaging, the Tea Ceremony collection makes the perfect gift for someone special, or little indulgence for yourself.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Mother's Day recipe: Spelt french toast with mixed berries

As promised, here is a really easy, super yummy recipe to spoil Mum with this Mother's Day.

Spelt french toast with mixed berries

French toast:
2-3         Slices of spelt bread.
2            Eggs
1/3 cup   Milk

Berry topping
100g      Mixed berries, fresh or frozen (we used raspberries and blueberries)
1 tsp      Sugar (you can use either caster or light brown sugar)

  • To make the berry mixture, use a fork to crush 2/3 of the berries, along with the sugar, into a luscious sauce. Add back the remaining berries and gently stir through, trying to avoid breaking them up.
  •  For the french toast, crack the eggs into a shallow bowl and give a quick whisk with a fork. Add the milk and whisk to combine. Submerge your bread in the egg mixture until saturated.
  • Heat a generous amount of butter in a fry pan over a low-medium heat. Fry the bread until it is golden and starting to crisp up, then flip and repeat on the other side.
  • Serve the french toast with your berry mix and a good dollop of thick cream.

We've used Cranberry and Goji berry Spelt bread, which makes this extra healthy and tasty, but if you can't get hold of any, try using whole grain, light rye or any type of fruit bread.  

You can also include some extras for Mum, like a nice cuppa and some fresh flowers.

Friday, 3 May 2013

and the winner is...

Congratulations to Michelle, who is the lucky winner of our April giveaway!

Send us an email {laurasoapshoppe[at]gmail[dot]com} with your details & we'll get your goodies in the post to you :)

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Mother’s Day | ideas for gifts, treats and pampering

Mother’s day is just a couple of weeks away and now is the perfect time to start planning how to treat your mum this year. I’ve pulled together some ideas to help inspire you.

While you don’t have to give a gift on Mother’s Day, it’s a lovely way to thank her for the last year. These are just a few ideas you can buy or make:

Jewellery – always a good idea. It doesn’t have to be anything super fancy; it can just be something simple and nice, which could well become her favourite thing. We have a few gorgeous pieces in the shop, like these amethyst earrings.

Scarves – versatile and pretty, scarves come in such a range you’re bound to find one she’ll love. They can be wore or used to pretty up a chair or dressing table.

Portraits – simple, cheap and lovely. Gather your sibling(s), set up the tripod, take some shots, print and frame and you’re done! If you want it to be extra special, you could organise to have a portrait photographer take your photos and you could even include mum for a fun mother’s day activity.

Something handmade – this can mean many different things; just a quick search on Pinterest will fill your head with thousands of ideas. But my personal favourite is customising a tote or scarf, anything really, with fabric paint. You can easily make your own fabric paint by mixing craft paint and fabric medium (following the instructions on the bottle) and its super fun to use. Our efforts have always proved successful; from the pillow we made and painted to the totes we customised.

Gifts or no gifts, a treat is surely a must for Mother’s Day:

Cake – we bake cakes for pretty much all our celebrations. They are a classic for Mother’s day for good reason; they are so varied that you can make one just how mum likes it. Of course, there are some people who don’t like cake; if your mum is one, you could challenge yourself to find a cake she’ll love. Perhaps a savoury one or a pie? Or a stack of biscuits or doughnuts. We love this recipe, it’s super yummy.

Breakfast – another classic, a fancy breakfast. Going to the trouble to make something fancy for breakfast feels decadent, which is perfect for the occasion. Pancakes, fancy eggs or French toast are excellent choices. Next Tuesday we’ll be featuring a delicious spelt version of French toast, be sure to check back for it! 

Dinner – although breakfast is more traditional, dinner is a great alternative (or extra!), either cook up a storm of her favourite things or take her out some place nice.
Pampering is a key element to the celebration, and although gifts and treats are a form of pampering, here are a few more ideas:

Would you like a cup of tea? – seeing to Mum’s every need, including cups of delicious liquids, making lunch and doing chores. That way she can spend the day as she wishes.

Take her out – go for a drive or see a movie. You could take a class together or just go for a walk.

Stay at home – rub her feet or paint her nails or bake together. Basically, just spend some time together.

A few extra little ideas to compliment your other plans.

A handwritten note – a sweet, simple way to brighten mum’s day. You could list what you love about her or reminisce about a shared memory. It’s perfect if you live away but works just as well if you live in the same house.

A phone or Skype call – in my opinion, this is a must if you live away, a call to tell her how awesome she is.

Nice wrapping – if you are giving her something, taking extra care to wrap it nicely only makes it more special.

Flowers – a perfect gift for pretty much any occasion, flowers from your garden or local florist are sure to be a hit, especially if you can get her favourites.

Hopefully you are now armed with enough ideas to make the day special. You don’t have to do anything big or lots of things, pick one or two and I’m sure your mum will be delighted.

And remember, if you’re busy or can’t be there on the 12th, Mother’s Day can be moved; it’s not the date that matters, it’s the celebration of that special woman that does.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Anzac Day

Anzac Day
             a day of rememberance

We remember
                        -the terror of wars
                        -the bravery of soldiers
                        -the courage of people who have lived through it
                        -comradeships born in hardships

We remember.


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

fruit & grain biscuits {aka Dad's biscuits} | recipe

I came up with these biscuits a few years ago when my Dad needed to eat gluten free for a while. Based on a traditional Anzac biscuit recipe, these biscuits are made with gluten-free flour, a mixture of different flakes & honey (although you can use the traditional golden syrup). I've also added some dried fruit (use a mix of whatever you have).

The mix of flakes in this batch is quinoa, brown rice, millet, amaranth & oats**. Use whatever you have, although I do advise a mix of sizes - if all your flakes are tiny, it will affect the texture. These are perfect with a cup of tea & keep very well. I'm baking for lots of people, so I generally make a double batch.

Dad’s Biscuits
adapted from a traditional Anzac biscuit recipe
makes about 26

140g plain flour - gluten free*
70g raw sugar
120g mixed flakes (quinoa, rice, buckwheat, amaranth, millet**)
40g LSA meal (linseed, sunflower & almond meal - you can just use almond/hazelnut meal)
55g desiccated coconut
70g dried fruit (sultanas, cranberries, chopped apple, peach, apricot)
125g unsalted butter
80g honey or golden syrup
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp (20ml) boiling water

Preheat oven to 180C (350F) & line trays with baking paper.
Sift flour into a mixing bowl, add sugar, flakes, LSA, coconut, dried fruit & stir to combine. Make a well in the centre.
Put butter & honey into a small pan, stir over low heat until butter is melted & mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Dissolve soda in water; add immediately to butter mix. It will foam up instantly. Add to dry ingredients & using a wooden spoon, stir until well combined.
Drop tightly packed tablespoonfuls*** of the mix onto trays & flatten slightly.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Leave on trays for 5 min, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

* you can use a bought gluten free flour mix, or make your own. My mix (based on the mix & method found on Gluten Free Girl) is as follows (for 500g of flour):

- 100g sorgham flour
- 100g millet flour
- 150g rice flour
- 150g tapioca flour

If you don't have these flours, or you want to try a different combination, go read this post on Gluten Free Girl, there are lots of alternatives.

**we're not strictly gluten-free & so I often also add oats to the biscuits. I've read different things about the gluten content of oats, so if you are baking for someone who is celiac, don't put any in.

***my tablespoon is the standard Australian size of 20ml - the standard size in some countries is 15ml. If you are using a 15ml tablespoon, your biscuits might bake quicker.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Spotlight | Rescue Remedy

Rescue Remedy is not something new to me; it’s been a go-to for Mum for years. When someone’s stressing out or just fallen on their bum because they were attempting to jump over a stack of cushions or when we’ve had to deal with loss, Mum’s given it to help us deal with the emotions and shock that follows.

Rescue Remedy combines five Bach Flower Remedies {Rock Rose, Impatiens, Clematis, Star of Bethlehem & Cherry Plum} to help you deal with life’s surprises, good and bad. 

It helps you with the nerves of going to the dentist, going to an interview, public speaking and wedding day jitters.
It also helps in times of crisis or trauma such as bereavement, a relationship breakdown or a change in work circumstances, all of which can come as a shock or after a long period of stress anticipating the event.

There’s also a version to help your mind switch off and let you sleep {rescue remedy with the addition of White Chestnut}.

Rescue Remedy traditionally comes in drops (available in 20ml & 10ml sizes), but now also comes in pastilles, which are more convenient for uses on the go, such as for on planes or dealing with unexpected occurrences when you’re out and about. They’re also great for giving to children, as they look like lollies. (The pastilles aren’t currently listed on the website, but we do stock them and you can order them by way of a quick email to us.) 

It, unfortunately, won’t solve your problems for you, but will clear your mind and help steady your emotions so you can deal with the challenges facing you.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

In my oil burner this winter.

I love winter.

Sitting in a favourite chair – rugged up with a hot drink (preferably chocolate) and a great book or some sort of hand craft.
To add to the atmosphere I like to put my oil burner on.  It helps bring the smells of nature inside and makes the house fresh and inviting. You can buy pre-blended essential oils but why not try blending your own?

I begin with one of my favourite essential oils, Rose Geranium; it has an earthy sweet fragrance that is both comforting and uplifting. To this I add the heady Ylang Ylang and finish off with Orange or Bergamot to add a delicate freshness.

Next step; add a drop of each into a small glass or porcelain bowl. This is my beginning point, so next I smell the blend and decide how I want to balance it. For this blend I would generally settle for:

2 drops Rose Geranium
1 drop Ylang Ylang
3 drops Bergamot 

If there is a cold brewing in the house I often add
2 drops Lavender
(I sometimes substitute the Ylang Ylang for a drop of Patchouli or a drop of Eucalyptus)

The possible combinations are endless, even if you only have a few oils, because it’s not only the combinations of oils that you use but also the variation of concentrations

When I get a ‘free’ moment I like to make up a larger quantity and store it in small bottle (generally an empty essential oil bottle that has been washed and dried) for those days when I don’t have time to make a new blend.

Do you have a favourite essential oil or combination?

While we do not have all the essential oils I have mentioned listed on our website, we do have them in the shop so if you’re interested in these or other oils please feel free to email us

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Folk Fair 2013 in review

So, another Folk Fair has come and gone.
 For the shoppe, there were oodles of lovely customers, a staff injury or two, but mainly lots of fun.
In the grander Folk Fair scheme there were a few changes to the layout that worked well, lovely weather, a great crowd, and the fireworks display once again managed to top the previous year. 
There were some newcomers, like Mike and his Great Australian Couch Tour, as well as the old favourites, like the Tumby Bay trolly rides and Dan Burt the One Man Band. Sideshow ally was in full force and the ice cream eating competitions were contested with the usual ferver.
 And so begins the countdown to Folk Fair 2014!

Sideshow ally

There are plenty of rides for the dare devils among the crowd.
The Tumby Bay trolly rides are a staple of the Folk Fair
Dagwood dogs, chips, slushies, and other classic carnival foods are always available for the hungry punters.
One of the two stages, where a variety of performers entertain the crowd. Here is Sing Australia performing "You'll never walk alone"

Friday, 5 April 2013

A Giveaway!

April is a busy month for us, with so much happening in the shop - Easter, the Laura Folk fair, Mum’s birthday, Wirrabara Producers’ market.

It’s also the 1st anniversary of our website! This first year has really been about setting ourselves up and finding our feet. This coming year we’re hoping to build the range we offer on our site and continue to produce good content for this space.

Every birthday deserves to be celebrated and to celebrate ours we’re running a giveaway!

Valued at $25.90, the lovely prize includes:‘Spring’ Box of Four Vegetable Oil Soaps, a CuteSweetPretty brooch and a ‘Wildflower Garden’ Sunseal.
To enter, all you need to do it is:
1. visit our website,
2. pick your favourite item,
3. post your favourite in the comments. (don't forget to leave your name!)

Entries are opened till 30th April and we’ll announce the winner at the beginning of May. And if you’re the lucky winner, you’ll need to send us an email with your details, so we can send it off to you.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Wirrabara Producers Market | March

We had a lovely time at the Wirrabara Producers Market on Sunday.

Although there was some rain early on, the market goers weren't deterred - those without umbrellas simply took shelter until the rain passed. The day soon cleared & eventually the sun came out, bringing even more people to enjoy the market with it's good food, local produce & handmade goods.

We'll be back for the April market, perhaps with something new....

see more photos here