Showroom 20/2/2015

Left to right from top:

1. Arranging Erstwhile prints.

2. Your Core Light Jewels display.

3. Wilde flora roses for Valentine's Day. 

4. Jacqueline Evans bath salts. 

5. Playing with new YCL crystals & agate slices in low light.

6. Tea breaks with The Seventh Duchess chai & latest Kinfolk mag. 

7. Fabienne modelling our coconut obsession on the high verandah. 


8. Potted succulents by The Small Garden.

9. Paddington Queenslanders

10. Claire demoing yoga moves at our morning #teamshowroom stretch sesh. 

11. Enamelware love c/o The Spring Shop. 

12. Fabienne & the vegan pumpkin caramels. 

13. More Queenslander ♡, this time by JFrank

14. Lambie & Co all in a row. So much tying and retying went into levelling these prints out right, I almost hate to sell one! 

15. Sunshine, blue skies & polywood on the high verandah. 

Last Week in Objects

1. Roses over the weekend at Showroom.

2. Valentine's Day paper decor & brunch at The Southside Tearooms.

3. The first Spring Cottage pineapple. 

4. Tea, toast, and pumpkin butter breakfasts. 

Making Pumpkin Butter and Vegan Caramels

In an attempt to get more organised about healthy eating I bought a crock pot this week. My theory was (is) that if my working and sleeping hours could also be effectively used to create nutritious family meals, I'd have the whole not-eating-cereal-for-dinner-beacuse-there-really-isn't-anything-else-available thing licked. 

As it turned out, the first thing I've used my crockpot to make is confectionary. Plus ca change, and all that. 

Anyway, the point is that I needed the crockpot to make pumpkin butter because pumpkin butter is the base ingredient in the vegan caramels I'd decided to make for the #teamshowroom girls' Valentine's treat this week. 

On its own the pumpkin butter has turned out to be a delicious spread for toast and muffins. I can also see that it would make a wonderful hostess gift, especially in the colder months as it's so warmly spiced.

As would the vegan caramels, which easily won themselves a place in the category of 'best things ever'. They're also sticky, delectable, creamy on the inside, salty-sweet on the outside, subtly spiced, satisfying, simple, and pretty much healthy.

How To Make Pumpkin Butter in a Crock Pot

1.  Make unsweetened pumpkin puree. In North America, I'd just used a big can of pumpkin instead, but that's not so easy here in Australia. Instead, I just peel and dice a whole butternut squash, pop it all in a large pyrex bowl, cover it with a dish, and microwave it for 8-10 minutes. It's easy, and because the pumpkin steams in it's own moisture it always ends up the perfect texture (not too watery).  

2. Fill the crock pot. Just pile all the cooked pumpkin in. 

3. Add the spices. I like my pumpkin butter well spiced and use:

  • one tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • one tablespoon of ground ginger
  • one teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • one cup of darkest brown sugar

4. Cook the Pumpkin butter. Set the crock pot on low or medium heat. Pop on the lid and leave to cook for 6 - 8 hours, depending how thick you like it. It does help  the pumpkin to all break down if you stir with a wooden spoon occasionally. 

Hint: Crock pots heat up from the sides, so if you're worried about your pumpkin butter burning, use a spatula to scrape the paste away from the edge and you'll be fine to leave it overnight. 

How to Make Vegan Pumpkin Spice Caramels


  • 12 ounces (1 1/4 cup packed) medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin butter (or sub plain pumpkin puree with 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice added in a pinch)
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup raw pepitas


1. Preheat your oven to 350 and place the raw pepitas on a baking sheet. Begin soaking your dates in hot water. Wait 10 minutes and then drain thoroughly.

2. Bake the pepitas for 5-7 minutes, until they're fragrant and slightly toasty. Remove set aside.

3. Add dates to the food processor and mix until a ball forms. Then add in the pumpkin butter and mix.

4. While mixing, stream in melted coconut oil until a paste forms, scraping down sides as needed. If the paste is too thick and won’t mix, add 1-2 tbsp of hot water - this will depend on the size and stickiness of your dates. Taste and add a little extra ground cinnamon or ginger if needed. 

5. Transfer the mixture to the freezer to chill/harden for at least 2 hours, preferably 4-6. You want it to be tacky enough to allow for handling and rolling into balls.

6. Once the paste has set, remove your date caramel from freezer. Scoop out rounded tablespoons and roll each one between your palms to form a ball. Roll each ball in the bowl of pepitas to coat the outside, then sprinkle the tops with sea salt. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet or plate and pop back in the freezer to set.

7. Keep your caramels in the freezer for freshness - they won’t harden. Enjoy straight from the freezer, or let set at room temp for 5 minutes before serving. Or wrap individually in squares of parchment paper like bonbons if you plan to transport or gift them. 

5 Instagram Accounts to Follow This Week




@megangilger - Wow, just wow. 







@katekipley - This woman takes my breath away, who knew this sort of art was possible on an iPhone.






@getlostclub - A local hubby & wife throwing up regrams of amazing travel pics (our creative intern Miss Anwyn has been featured twice!).







@designlovefest - She's right up our alley.







@gillianstevens - Great portraits, event and food styling. This lady is pure class.


Shop Counter

You know when you're looking to buy something new... And in your mind's eye you can see so clearly exactly how you want that thing to be... So you go out into the world looking for it... Hoping that (for a price you're willing to pay) the new, perfect thing will find you?

That's how it was with the new wooden service counter at Showroom.  

 We've had so many compliments on the new counter that I couldn't keep its provenance to myself. So here it is:

The bench was made by Andy, who I found on Gumtree. He customised his most popular kitchen island design to create the perfect work/customer care station for our front room, and all for less than it would have cost to get something (sort of) comparable (read: way less good) from a big box store. 

You can find Andy's business Home Made Home on Facebook and in person at his Sailsbury Studio Tuesdays - Saturday by appointment. 

New Projects: Introducing Homeroom

Tell us if this sounds familiar. You’re a creative, a maker, a small business owner. You’re neck deep in designing, ordering, dispatching, marketing. Maybe you lead a team or maybe you’re a one-woman-show; either way, you know that the success of your business is down to you. You’ve chosen this path and taken the leap. Even though it can be a little terrifying, you’re determined to define success on your own terms and make it happen.

Homeroom is a collaborative platform for sharing distilled inspiration and practical advice, all delivered by people who’re out there in the area themselves. 

My partner in this new venture is Claire Deane; friend, yoga coach, and personal marketing guru. Claire is an experienced and knowledgeable business coach; after working in digital marketing for over 10 years, she realised the biggest barrier for small businesses was a lack of confidence in their ability to leverage their web presence. Like me, Claire believes passionately in the ethos of #shopsmall and wants to help this new generation of more digitally savvy business owners fine tune their skills, bring their own incredible projects into the world with, and make great money doing it all, via the web.  

Our first project has been the development of a Survey of Australian Creative Entrepreneurs. Our study is designed to open a dialogue about entrepreneurship in Australia at the level of the creative small business. We believe that collaboration is the lifeblood of creative people and we'll be sharing the data and insights gained from the survey freely with our colleagues so that we can all learn from the hard won experiences of each other. 

Over the next few weeks we'll also be launching a comprehensive curriculum of short courses, full day immersives and downloadable guides guaranteed to inspire business owners looking to kick their brands up a notch. We're about delivering the practical, tried and tested advice we all need to help us skill up in the areas where we're weaker and enable us to kick some serious biz goals.

Stay tuned for our upcoming events - we can't wait to share what we have planned with you!

Magic Monday: Botanic Gardens Edition

Brisbane botanic gardens

Until recently I hadn't been to the Botanic Gardens at Mt. Coot-tha in years, so after reading this post and remembering how they're pretty cool and not even that far away, we picked a gloomy Monday afternoon to pay a visit. 

Even though it was school holidays the gardens and outlying paths were quiet and peaceful, with only a handful of visitors. It was fun taking photos backdropped by the pale grey skies and it'll be nice to go back in autumn once even the bright blue days have cooled a little.

It’s always the best finding spots like this to enjoy for an hour or two without having to spend any money.

Australian Creative Entrepreneurs Survey | What does success mean to you?

Calling all creative entrepreneurs!

Today, Claire (my most favourite social media guru and small biz coach) and I launched our new research project, and we're looking to you to get involved...

We’re setting out to take the pulse of creative small businesses in Australia and open a dialogue about what it means to be in business today, right here, at the level of the micro-biz, the solo-preneur, and the bespoke artisanal firm. 

We all know that this is an exciting time to be a creative business. Around the world, entrepreneurs are embracing the new micro-business model is re-writing the rules of work, defining success in their own terms, and creating a new future. These businesses are characterised less by what they sell than by who they are and how they’re serving. Across diverse industries, this new type of entrepreneur is not just about making a living; we're about making meaning in our own lives and creating value for their customers.

We want to know how this generation of entrepreneurs is taking creative business to the next level in Australia. Based on our belief that collaboration is the lifeblood of creative people, we’ve designed a survey to yield statistics and stories that all of us engaging in this arena can learn from. Specifically we aim to:

  • Create a detailed picture of how creative businesses begin, develop, and operate here in Australia;
  • Understand how creative entrepreneurs are defining success for themselves;
  • Assess the extent to which micro businesses—both bricks-and-mortar and online—are thriving here, and determine how optimistic business owners feel about the future of their industries;
  • Gain insight into the particular strategies helping micro-businesses to succeed, as well as collecting stories about best-laid plans that haven’t quite come off.

Claire and I intend to use the survey data to develop educational programs for creative entrepreneurs looking to take their businesses to the next level, as well as for those just starting out on this path.

To everyone who participates we'll send out the PDF package containing the aggregated results and most useful stories shared by creatives from across the country.

We know you’re busy, but we believe that by contributing our experiences to this collective whole we’ll all get to take away valuable insights and lessons that just might make it a little easier next time we feel like we’re out there reinventing the wheel.


SO, how can you get involved?

  1. Click < HERE > to complete the survey in as much detail as possible. You’ll need to allow around 30 minutes for completion. Surveys should be submitted by Feb 28th 2015.
  2. Forward the link to the survey to entrepreneurs you admire, or currently collaborate with. The more detail we can collect from a diverse range of entrepreneurs, the more beneficial this information will be for all of us.

Can’t wait to share the results!

Creative Entrepreneurs Survey

Mango & Prawn Summer Salad

prawn mango salad

When I was home in Toronto last northern summer, my Mom made this mango prawn salad for a family potluck. We teased her, just a little, because she usually treads a well worn path in the kitchen and this was the most exotic dish I'd ever seen her cook. Or toss. Dress? Whatever.  

No points for guessing that by the end of the evening the joke was on me. Her salad was triumphant - zesty and delicious - and everyone said so. When she came to Australia for our New Year's holiday in Byron Bay we bought mangoes by the side of the road and back at our beach house I had her show me how it's done. Enjoy! 

Mango Prawn Summer Salad Recipe


2 firm mangoes
1/4 cup dry shredded unsweetend coconut (the kind you use for baking)
2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
3-4 spring onions, sliced
a handful of cashews, left whole or roughly chopped
1/3 cup fresh basil
Optional: 1 cup cooked shrimp (or chicken or fried tofu if vegetarian/vegan) cut into small cubes
Optional: 1 fresh-cut red chili

Salad Dressing:

3 Tbsp. fish sauce, OR 4 sauce if vegetarian/vegan
1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice
2 Tbsp. brown sugar or honey
1-2 tsp. Thai chili sauce, OR substitute 1/3 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili (chili flakes)

prawn mango salad
prawn mango salad


1. Place the coconut in a frying pan (without oil) and "dry-fry" it for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until the shreds turns a light golden-brown. They'll smell amazing. Set the coconut aside in a bowl to cool.

2. Mix together all the salad dressing ingredients in a bowl or cup. The dressing should be a mingling of sweet, sour, spicy and salty, but more sweet than sour. Set aside.

3. Using a sharp pairing knife, peel the skin from your mangoes.

4. If your mangos are very firm, grate them into a bowl. If they're too soft for this, cut them up into fine strips. 

5. Add the bean sprouts, coriander, spring onions, cooked chicken, shrimp or tofu (if using), the fresh-cut chili, plus half the toasted coconut. Toss well to combine.

6. Add the dressing and toss again. Do a taste-test. Add more fish sauce or soy sauce instead of salt. If you prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar (honey works too). If you prefer more spice, add more chilli sauce. If it's too salty or sweet, add more lime juice.

7. Place on a serving platter. Sprinkle the nuts over top, plus the basil, and remaining toasted coconut. Enjoy!

prawn mango salad

Showroom 04.02.2015

Byron Bay Summer Holiday


There's something magnetic about Byron Bay.

Part laid-back beach town, part bustling hippy/hipster enclave, part island of sophistication in a sea of diverse natural beauty... This summer I booked my mum and I into an old 1960s beach house and slowed down long enough to discover why  so many of the most discerning people I know have fallen in love with Byron.

Air B&B did us right once again, landing us 50m from Wategos in a tree house/surf shack owned by the family of one of Australia's most talented (and well known) stylists.


(I'll refrain from name-dropping... not just because it's inelegant... but because this realisation was so much more delicious for having stumbled across it, and I'd like to help keep it that way.)

We did our share of exploring (read: eating our way) around Byron and it's hinterland and I've jotted down a list of favourite spots below. The best part, though, was the luxury of a real holiday pace. We got up early to walk on the beach. Swam before breakfast. Spent the hot hours inside with a stack of books or gazing out to sea from the crow's nest deck. We had late lunches and drove down country lanes looking for honesty boxes. At night we watched girly series on my laptop and slept with the sliding doors open, listening to the sound of rain and the ocean rolling into the shore.


Byron Bay Picks

The Lighthouse: It pulls you in, and for me, no visit to Byron is complete without spending at least some time walking the tracks down to Wategos Beach. I love to play 'spot the ray' from every lookout point along the coast.

Harvest: The famous eatery at Newrybar didn't disappoint. Fully marks for style, ambience, and super fresh food.

The Road House: This bar/eatery on the outskirts of town came highly recommended by locals in Byron and Bangalow. Local food, carefully prepared, and plenty of good-for-your-guts fermented sides to boot. Loved it.

Top Shop: They have nice looking salads, but we got the burgers and shakes. We weren't sorry.

Town: The lunch and dinner fare's a bit rich for us, but for breakfast or a sweet treat, it's still our favourite place to stop in Bangalow.

Hope and May: This Byron Bay shop really impressed me. The products and styling are so beautifully displayed and well edited. Full marks.

Ahoy Trader: A happy, bright shop full of interesting, cool things. I'm a big fan.

The Corner Store: Another shop I always admire for its product mix and styling. It's cool and quite neutral, perfect for accessories and gifts.

Polish: Incredibly beautiful, restored antiques in the old masonic hall in Bangalow. I'm now desperate for a standing desk with map drawers. Who knew?

Lake Ainsworth: Of the beachy towns we passed through in Byron's vicinity, Lennox was our favourite. We had a good pizza in Lennox. And a couple of really good swims in Lake Ainsworth. The water is clean, warm, and the colour of richly steeped tea, thanks to the tea trees that ring its shore. The lake is about a 90 second scamper from the main surf beach, so you can alternate plunging in salt and fresh water to your heart's delight.


Paleo Chocolate Milk

Because I promised y'all this recipe way back at the end of October... So here... with my apologies for tardiness... are the instructions for preparing the most refreshingly satisfying beverage of summer. This paleo/vegan/sugar-free take on chocolate milk comes via Sarah Wilson and it ranks seriously high up on my list of the best discoveries of 2012.

Ingredients: 250ml pure coconut water +1 tbs raw cocoa powder + 1/3 frozen banana, sliced.

Directions: Pop all ingredients into a blender and blitz. Pour into a large glass, enjoy, and feel restored!



Of all the wares I've gathered to The Spring Shop, these mugs are my favourite.


Because of the perfect simplicity of the design. Because even though I didn't grow up with these mugs (like so many other people seemed to) there's something sweetly nostalgic about them. Because the design hasn't changed since the 1920s and whenever possible I'm all for doing it once and doing it properly.

I do still have a kitchen cupboard full of porcelain mugs, but I never use them anymore.  The more worn and tea stained my enamel mug gets, the more I love it. I love how at it's always too hot to cup in my hands, then it mellows to the perfect, cosy temperature after the first few sips. I appreciate what a serious amount of tea it holds. And I'm this close to convincing myself that it makes my morning brew actually taste better.

If you want to get your hands wrapped around one, we've got 'em for grabs here.




Gifts under $100

1. The Small Garden 2. CITIZENS OF THE WORLD 3. The Spring Shop 4. Brisbane Made — at Showroom Brisbane


Gifts for design lovers

1. Lambie and co 2. lume décor 3. Milly Dent Design 4. Nest the Label — at Showroom Brisbane


Gifts for Brisbane loyalists

1. Deep Blue Maps 2. Jfrank 3. Lambie and co & Wilde Flora 4. Yes Vincent for Brisbane Made — at Showroom Brisbane


Gifts for busy mums

1. Once Was Lost 2. Ark + Anako 3. The Beach People 4. Shop Elsa — at Showroom Brisbane


Gifts for crafty girls

1. The Spring Shop 2. The Spring Shop 3 The Spring Shop 4 The Spring Shop — at Showroom Brisbane


Gifts for teens (the too cool for school edition)

1. The Beach People 2. The Spring Shop & Blog 3. P.F. Candle Co c/o The Spring Shop 4. Yourcorelight — at Showroom Brisbane


Gifts for green thumbs

1. Lambie and co 2. Wilde Flora 3. The Small Garden 4. Wilde x The Spring Shop — at Showroom Brisbane


Gives for interior design lovers

1 & 2 The Spring Shop & BlogPolywood Outdoors 4. The Spring Shop — at Showroom Brisbane




I love Christmas, but I've been resisting throwing myself into preparations a bit this year. Resisting, that is, until I received my first homemade gift.

It came from my creative intern Anwyn and her mum Bec... A jar so full of homemade festive cheer that just holding it in my hands opened my heart to all the warm, lovely possibilities of this time of year.

The recipe I'm about to share with you is slow. Preparing the mince is a Saturday afternoon activity, set aside for when there's nowhere to rush off to and you have the luxury of music on the stereo paired with a good, old fashioned kitchen potter. The fruit takes time to steep. But when you do open the jar closer to Christmas day to spoon warm mince over ice cream or baked it into tarts, the pleasure circle will be complete and I promise it'll feel a whole lot like Christmas.


Home Made Christmas Fruit Mince


375g seedless raisins 250g mixed candied peel 185g sultanas 3 medium apples, peeled and cored 60g glace cherries 125g blanched almonds 100g dried apricots 185g currants 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar Grated rind and juice 1 lemon Grated rind 1 orange 2 tsp mixed spice 1/2 tsp nutmeg 125-185g butter, melted 1/3 cup brandy or rum


1. Finely chop or mince raisins, mixed peel, half the sultanas, the apples, cherries, almonds and apricots.

2. Add remaining sultanas and currants.

3. Stir in brown sugar, lemon rind and juice, orange rind, spices, butter and brandy or rum.

4. Mix well and put into a large jar. Cover and place upside down to allow the liquid to run evenly throughout the mixture.

Mince can be left for a few weeks in the refrigerator. Makes 6 cups.

NOTE: Brandy can be replaced with the juice of 1 orange, in which case mixture should not be made in advance.




The Holidays.

They're here.

So here's an idea.

This year, let's all buy Christmas presents from small local businesses and self-employed people. For example, from your neighbour who sells online, a local craftsperson who makes jewellery, the beautiful florist shop up the street, the baker on the corner who makes her own cakes, buns, and chocolates. The guys that run a cafe or salon.

Lets give the money we've already planned to spend this season to the cool people down the street working hard in independent shops & creating handmade goods. After all, they're the ones who keep our neighbourhoods vibrant and interesting.

Let's not give it all to multinational companies and big box stores just because they have parking lots out front and sometimes that can seem a little easier.

#shopsmall this holiday season & tag your finds at #shopsmallbrisbane to help other folks in our city do the same.


Photos (Products all available at Showroom)

1. Brisbane Made 2. Lume Decore Hoshi lamp 3. Lambie & Co. palm print // Wilde Flora terrariums 4. Jasmine Dowling print (not in store) 5. Anise skincare // Jacqueline Evans skincare // Your Core Light pyramid glass & crystals 6. Once Was Lost summer throw



This place was such a score.

I found us the best Air B&B Apartment in Melbourne and since so many of you asked for the details after I shared a few pics instagram I thought it'd be helpful to write a separate post filling you all in.

The link to the apartment is here: It's a one bedroom loft flat in Collingwood, not a minute's walk from the Smith St. tram, a grocery store, and (most importantly) Gelato Messina. Proud Mary is right across the street (serving the best breakfast of all time) so in terms of location, things don't get much better.

After my mum and I struggled with a seriously temperamental New York City toilet at our last Air B&B experience, I was relieved to find everything in this place in perfect working order and exactly as advertised.

This was definitely the most stylish place we've ever stayed and so beautifully edited, right down to the flowers on the table. Plus did you notice the claw foot cast iron tub in the living room? That's the kind of extravagance vacations are made for.




On Friday night we stayed up late to host our favourite ceramic artist (and hometown girl) Milly Dent. Milly's designs have become overnight icons and seeing our tables laid out with her creations was a huge treat for all of us at #teamshowroom who're massive fans of her work.

And Milly certainly knows how to draw a crowd! Just after these photos were taken the shop was so packed there was barely room to breath.

So thank you to Milly for all her hard work making all the special pieces she brought to the show.

Thank you to the Fortitude Brewing Co for donating a keg to our party. (That certainly helped make it awesome!)

Thank you to Primula Floral Styling for the beautiful arrangements.

And thank you to Milly's mum and dad for bringing the snacks, wine, and great company that made our party an over-the-top success!


SHOWROOM 19/11/2014

We've been insta fans for a while now, so it was our huge please this week to welcome Nest the Label to #teamshowroom.

And how pretty are these teacup and saucer sets? A collaboration between creators Audrey Won and Brigitte May, these life-long pieces of art are just the kind of treasure we want to surprise our best girlfriends with this Christmas.


Photography - Anwyn Howarth Styling - Catherine Roberts & Anwyn Howarth Props - Nest the Label // The Seventh Duchess tea // The Spring Shop