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.