Five More Gift Wrapping Ideas

A few of the images from our Pinterest W R A P board that inspired our Winter Wrap Edit earlier this week. The first photo is ours and to discover the sources of the rest, just click on the pic. Happy weekend! 

Meet Madonna Gott of Anise Skin | #teamshowroom

Madonna is the founder and creator of Anise Botanical Skincare, and a firm believer in sourcing organically. Founded by passion over 15 years ago, Madonna's Business draws on her Scandinavian roots with its simple, clean lines and minimalist values. She produces with only the finest, pure ingredients and botanical essences, her skincare contains no artificial fragrances, parabens, sulphates, petrochemicals, pesticide or herbicide residues, synthetic preservatives, fillers or whiteners.

It’s a simple philosophy that I appreciate - as well as how beautiful the packaging looks on my bathroom shelf. So without further ado, meet Madonna, and the skincare that's making my skin glow as winter draws in. 

1. Give us your elevator pitch: 

Produced in Australia from the finest, pure ingredients and botanical essences, Anise Botanical Skincare is a pure and chemical free range of skincare suitable for the entire family. Our simple philosophy is mirrored in our functional glass bottles and matt-white labels. Designed for a modern Australian lifestyle, our products are as beautiful in your home as they are on your skin. 

2. What did you do before starting Anise Botanical Skincare?

I have been making natural skincare for over 15 years but this particular range was launched only 5 months ago. I started my first business at 25 and haven't looked back since then. 

3. What made you start this business here and now?

I wanted to create a range of skincare that was not only pure and high quality but also looked amazing sitting on the kitchen sink. Its not just skincare but a lifestyle and homewares range that suits many different purposes. The products are designed to be multi-use and our labels come with suggestions such as blending our cream and wash together to make a mild face cleanser. It harks back to our pure and simple philosophy.  

4.  What are the key elements that go into creating Anise Skin's unique vibe?

My family on my mothers side are Swedish and I have always been drawn to Scandinavian style and simplicity. This design aesthetic is mirrored in our packaging - simple amber glass with matte white labels. Beautifully functional, pure & simple.

5. What do you love most about running your own creative businesses?

I just love the process. I think a lot of creative people would say the same thing. In the beginning its not really about commerce. You create something you love like you are fulfilling a deep need within yourself and when people respond positively to it then it becomes something you can make a living from. Being able to make money from something that you create with your own two hands would have to be one of the most satisfying things there is. I'd like to say that the hours are flexible and I get my weekends off but its not that glamorous yet. It's a lot of hard work and hopefully you get some little wins along the way to let you know you're on the right track. 

6. If you could go back in time to tell your younger, inexperienced self one thing about starting a creative business, what would it be?

Have some faith! When I look back, I see a person who was always in a hurry to get somewhere - to be 'successful'. I have achieved some really great things both personally and professionally but I was in such a hurry to move to the next stepping stone that I missed a lot of the enjoyment of those experiences. Slow down. The beauty is in the details and some of my biggest mistakes have led to some of my most fortunate situations. Trust the experience.

7.  Give us three awesome tools that simplify your workflow as a creative and entrepreneur.

+ I use Shopify for my website and online store and I am constantly finding more apps and add ons that help me to do the most amazing things. They also have a great blog with lots of business tips. 
+ I use quickbooks online and have the app on my iphone. It is such an easy to use bookkeeping and invoicing program. 
+ I use pack and send online www.packandsend.com.au to send my wholesale orders. They give you a choice of up to 6 freight options with prices so you don't need to be tired to no freight company for all of your needs. 

8. Which other design / creative brands inspire you? 

I am constantly inspired by Yumiko Sekine from Fog Linen www.foglinenwork.com . Her amazing quality linens and simple design aesthetic is just beautiful, I cant ever have enough of it and her style never fades.

9. What’s the first website you load when you wake up in the morning?

My emails and my own website..the back end of it anyway. I like to check over the orders I have for the day ahead.

10. What’s your favourite hashtag?

#naturalbeauty I like to think that we attract the kind of customer who aspires to be a natural beauty in many more ways than one..

11. How do you like to recharge creatively? (Where do you go, what do you do?)

I spend a lot of time alone in my business so I love to meet up with friends who also have creative businesses, share ideas and catch up. I always come home with renewed focus. I am a serial internet researcher as well so a lot of my recharge time comes from seeking out inspiration from this amazing world of creative people that we all live in. Often at 2am and always with a hot cup of tea..
 

Baked Cinnamon Donuts

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Although I'm writing them up as baked cinnamon doughnuts, I've seen similar recipes claim that they're of French breakfast provenance. I like to imagine handsome Parisian families starting off their day in sunny apartments with flowers on the kitchen bench next to the little cakes, although whether it's all true I can't say for sure. What I can tell you that these cinnamon doughnuts pair so well with coffee (or tea) that they're always welcome at my weekend table, and that anyone who's lucky enough to wake up with you is certain to feel the same.   

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Ingredients:

1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup milk 

3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Coat donut pan generously with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

3. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. I do this in my food processor. Add egg; mix well.

4. Sift (if it's not too much trouble) flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk.

5. Transfer to a piping bag or ziplock bag with the corner snipped off to create a make-shift one.

6. Fill the donut tins half full. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

7. Take out of pan immediately and swirl tops into melted butter, then sugar and cinnamon mixture.

*Makes 6-7 big donuts | These work just as well in a muffin tin, too!

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Winter Wrapping Edit | The Spring Shop

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I recently received a fresh order of tags and twine for The Spring Shop, and after a quick forage around the neighbourhood for some silvery sprigs, Anwyn and I set up an impromptu photoshoot on the verandah and Showroom. A beautifully wrapped gift is so much more fun to give and receive, so over the coming winter, this is how we'll be styling tokens of regard on special occasions. 

Day In The Life | Friday, May 15

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8:15am Today I lay in. Not having anywhere to be this morning, I turn on the electric blanket, dash to the kitchen to make my mug of tea, fly back into a toasty bed, and reach for the issue of Cereal that's been waiting on my night stand for just such an opportunity. 

9:30am Shower. Oatmeal. Laptop time. I work on a new email template for my weekly missives on behalf of The Spring Shop. I've been out of the habit of sending them for quite some time and I'm pulling myself up on it because I know what an opportunity to connect I'm missing out on. I'm excited about my 'new email look' and have the first four weeks already planned out to make it easier getting back in the swing.

10:15am I realise I'll be late if I'm not careful so I close the lid and dress, scrunch a dollop of leave-in-something into my still wet hair, and apply a little makeup. I grab my keys, wallet, phone, and I'm out the door. 

10:35am I reverse down the driveway I take care to avoid hitting the empty bins encroaching on my usual path and suddenly there's a loud EEEEEEERRRRRRKKKKKKKKK! I've got the car on such an angle that I'm manage to graze the brick garden wall flanking the driveway, scraping the sh*t out of my car and breaking part of the wall. I'm so annoying with myself but I'm still in a rush, so I only hope I can sweep up all the crumbled mortar before N comes home. 

10:55am I meet up with my creative intern Anwyn at our appointed grocery store. I've got an ingredient list in hand for the 6 recipes I want to feature here on The Spring Blog over the next few months, and we have an ambitious plan to make and shoot them all this afternoon. I tell her about the car thing. She's getting her licence any day now and I hope the whole 'folly of complacency' message is useful. (Just because you've done something 1000 times, doesn't mean you can't screw it up if you don't pay attention on round 1001.)

11:45am Back at home we sketch out our plan of attack, turn the dining room into a sort of set, and start cooking. I don't want to give away the recipes ahead of time, but they were all a great success and really delicious. Taking all the photos was really fun too. Days like these, away from the computer and outside the shop, when I get to be more creative than managerial or entrepreneurial, are a real treat. 

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4:15pm Having gotten a little behind schedule, we're frantically shooting the final (amaze) skillet dessert before Anwyn has to leave when N comes home. There's still rubble in the driveway. The dining furniture is strewn across the verandah, the sink is piled high with dirty utensils, and there isn't an inch of kitchen counter not given over to something we've been concocting. It's chaos and I've got some 'splaining to do... but not just yet. 

5:25pm I drop Anwyn off at her guitar lesson and head back home to face the very messy music. I put the furniture back where it way, clean the kitchen, and wash what seems like every pan and dish in the house before setting the table with an assortment of all the left overs from the day. 

7:05pm I sit down to check emails and continue working on the email template but quickly realise I've left my power cord at Showroom and my laptop is flat. It's another silly mistake but there's nothing to be done so I brew a herbal tea, pick up my iPad, run a bath, find something to watch on iview, and soak.


Meet Tipi Interiors | #teamshowroom

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I met Jess and Haddy in the middle of last year when they came to Showroom to chat about the homewares business they were in the process of starting. As I've gotten to know them and watch their business plans unfold, my admiration for the enormous task these two have set themselves - and the finesse with which they're actually pulling it off - has grown and grown some more. Not only have Jess and Haddy set out to start their own business, they've become designers, manufacturers, social media experts, photographers, and intrepid travellers as part of the process. And the results are about to be unveiled, later this month at Showroom. I hope you'll all come to the Tipi Interiors launch party on Thursday, May 28th from 6pm to experience the new line for yourselves. In the meantime, I'm thrilled to introduce you to Haddy and Jess who've shared their big dream in our Q&A, plus a little insight into how they're making it happen. 

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1.    Give us your elevator pitch: (describe what your business is all about in just a sentence or two)

TIPI Interiors is a homewares brand that aims to inspire people to create interiors that reflect their personal style, travels and life story. We design and sell unique and timeless homewares, with the entire process from concept and design to production and delivery overseen by the TIPI team.

Our first range (launched at the Pop Up on 28th May) consists of tableware, outdoor living and one-off furniture items.   

2.   What did you do before starting your brand?

Haddy is a Cost Analyst at an Oil and Gas company and Jess is a Psychologist at an Organisational Psychology Consulting business.

We couldn’t have brought together more opposite ends of the spectrum, could we?
But that’s what makes it work. Haddy has a very process driven, operational mind whereas Jess’s strengths lie is understanding the bigger picture and piecing together the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ of our delivery of products, customer service and retail experience.  

3.   What made you start this business here and now?

It has been a nine year dream of mine [Haddy]. I remember clearly – I was in the souks of Fez as an eighteen year old globetrotter and had that ‘ah ha’ moment when I realised what I wanted to make of my life. One day I told myself, I would start a homewares brand that would bring the magic of travelling back into peoples’ homes. 

Haddy then went on to study Uni – both a Bachelor of Business (International Business major) and Masters of Commerce (Finance major), then worked for a few years in both consulting and in the oil and gas industry. Don’t get me wrong, these roles were all very challenging and rewarding but at the end of the day, I wasn’t being true to myself by working for someone else for something I wasn’t passionate about.  

When you think about something day in and night for nine years, it’s becomes part of you and let me tell you, you are so driven to make it happen. I knew though that I didn’t have all the skills I needed to make it a success. So I invited a friend Jess, who also shares a love for interiors, to take the leap with me and make this dream come alive. 

4.   If you could go back in time to tell your younger, inexperienced self one thing about starting a creative business, what would it be?

Don’t drop art class for chemistry in secondary school! 

Keep a journal. I must say I do have many scribbled on napkins and airline tickets that I have jotted on over the last 9 years (I tend to think about business ideas that I could start when I travel!). Having all of these thoughts in the one spot would be priceless to read later in life to see how the brand evolved and came into fruition.    

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5.   Give us three awesome tools that simplify your workflow as a creative and entrepreneur.

Excel – Everything for Haddy naturally gets plugged into a spreadsheet! 

Google drive – Great way of keeping our docs in the one place. Can access anytime and anywhere.

Fortnightly catchup – Jess and I are both still working full time in our professions and so having a regular face to face interaction is crucial to sustain momentum, hold each other accountable, share ideas and foster creativity.

6.   Which other designers or creative brands inspire you?

Megan Morton | Anna Spiro | India Hicks | Sig Bergamin | Walter G

7.   What’s the first website you load when you wake up in the morning?

Email (Checking in with suppliers in India) |  Instagram | Daily Dream Décor – for inspiration. 

8.   What’s your favourite hashtag?

 #interiorinspiration #bucketlist #incredibleindia

9.   Do you feel optimistic about the handmade / #shopsmall scene in Brisbane? Why or why not?

Definitely!! People love unique things and people still want to touch and feel products before they make a big purchase. The retail experience in person can be a captivating journey too, which is why Jess and I are launching our brand in person via the TIPI Pop Up!

http://tipi-interiors.com.au

Day in the Life | Thursday, May 7

That Flower Shop at Showroom Brisbane

6am | Wake up. Tea and toast. Emails. Jump in the shower. Dress. Realise there's no time to apply makeup or dry hair before I have to be at Showroom to receive our fresh flowers. Before dashing out the door I say my morning mirror mantra, taking in one last look at my rumpled shirt and naked, slightly puffy face... "it's as good as it gets today, and that's plenty good enough." 

8am | Glenn from new Showroom vendor That Flower Shop arrives with buckets of bouquets wrapped in brown paper. They add a stunning pop of colour to the front verandah and it's a beautiful start to the day.

9am | I take a moment with my to-do list to collect my thoughts. It's the new styling intern's first day, I still have a lot to prepare for HOMEROOM's Photography for E-Commerce workshop on this Friday (May 15) and in the evening we're celebrating Showroom's first birthday with a Sip & Shop event sponsored by YELP. It's already been a busy week. I'm under-slept, but I'm so excited to see the store at its best, all lit up and buzzing into the night. 

10am | Kerry, the styling intern, arrives. She's a natural, all smiles and super competent. We walk through Showroom deciding what displays need sorting and get to work tweaking, starting with a new installation on the front verandah which requires both the use of a hand saw and drill. I'm relieved at how readily Kerry embraces our 'DIY ethos' because that's the only way things get done around here. 

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12pm | I spend some time working on HOMEROOM content while Kerry creates new displays for #teamshowroom brands Established Eyewear, The Seventh Duchess, and The Spring Shop. While I tend towards geometrical lines, Kerry's touch is more organic and undone. I love how she presents Showroom's products in way that feels more inviting, tactile, loosened up.    

1pm | Lunch from Java lounge. Kerry gets salad. I get a burger. As we talk though the rest of the afternoon's to-do list she keeps gently reminding me to keep focused on my own work because she's perfectly fine working away independently on her own. I'm unused to delegating without pitching in, and I'm amazed how much we accomplish when our efforts are divided and focused. After a full year, there's still so much about running this business I have yet to master.

2pm | Mel from Antler and Moss pops in to add new ceramics to her display. Lani from YELP is logging some laptop time in our co-working space and Fabienne from YCL Jewels is styling new products on her tables. The shop is a hive of activity, just the way I like it!

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4pm | Anwyn and Claire arrive at Showroom early to help out. The SOFI spritzers are unboxed. The cupcakes from Fiori Bakehouse arrive. Kerry, the youngest, coolest looking person in the room gets tasked with creating the party playlist. We lay the refreshment tables in the WORKROOM and I slip away to apply a bit of makeup before Jo the photographer arrives. Finally, we all take some time to relax on the back verandah as the sunsets and wait to the shoppers to arrive. 

6pm | The Sip and Shop gets underway. It's funny, that no one on #teamshowroom is really shy but we are all confirmed introverts, so mingling in a noisy, crowded shop doesn't come completely naturally. Luckily, heaps of the people who turn up are our favourite 'regulars' and those who aren't are still connected somehow by small degrees of separation. 

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Our Sip & Shop was organised by Lani, the community manager of YELP Brisbane. For those of you who haven't used it yet, YELP is a fantastic city guide website that helps people find cool places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play, based on the informed opinions of a vibrant and active community of locals in the know. It's an easy place to find, review and talk about what's great — and not so great — in Brisbane, especially when it comes to independent businesses. 

6:45 | It's time for my Q&A, and Lani and I elbow each other to see who'll be tasked with grabbing the crowd's attention. A customer helps with a loud whistle from the back of the shop, and we're off. 

I'm asked about my background and why I started Showroom. My thesis, I suppose, I that I wanted there to be a real world venue just as beautiful as the websites where I love to browse for cool stuff made by local artisans. One year in, I want people to understand that supporting local makers isn't more difficult or more expensive than shopping the big chains. Independent shops like mine have something more uplifting to offer, and it's super rewarding to see so many people who believe what we believe rooting for our success. 

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8:00 | We've met in store before, but I finally get to have a proper chat with one of my favourite Brisbane instagrammers, Nicole from @sxswco. She's lovely and a real inspiration for the imagery I create for The Spring Shop, and I hope I didn't embarrass her too much, gushing all about what I huge fan I am!

9:15 | The guests have come home and my friends stay behind for a quick cleanup. 

10:50 | Home at last, still buzzing but the weariness has well and truly crept in. It's been a fabulous night and I'm grateful and proud in equal measure of what we as #teamshowroom have accomplished one year on. I hit the pillow, scanning instagram for pics of the night before finally closing my eyes. 

photo credit: Joanne Theis and Anwyn Howarth

 

Brisbane's Best Breakfasts | Five Places to Take Your Mum This Weekend

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Before I get into my list of Brisbane's best breakfast spots, let me clarify one thing first. In the morning, I do not like waiting to eat. (OK, I don't ever like waiting to eat but in the morning, I like it least.) Since every decent cafe in town will be rammed this weekend, I recommend cooking mum the nicest thing you can and serving it to her in bed (or close to it). Then you can present her with a pack of IOUs promising you'll treat her to a breakfast out at all five of these places over the next few months when the crowds aren't quiet at their peek. 

1. The Jam Pantry | Greenslopes *top pick!*

2. Shouk | Paddington

3. Crosstown | Woolloongabba (for lovers of lunch, not breakfast) 

4. Plenty | West End

5. Billykart Kitchen | Annerley 

 

Why I Love Australian Ceramics | Meet Mel from ANTLER and MOSS

The more time I spend exploring the Australian design scene, the more excited I get about ceramics. Australia boasts a large cast of fantastic ceramic artists producing beautiful, practical, paired back things, and I'm on a mission to follow all of them on Instagram.

That's how I met Mel. Mel is a true aficionado who's assembled a truly unique collection of Australian ceramics, hand printed textiles and timber products, kindred in their natural textures and tones for her online shop Antler and Moss. Taking the role of curator to the next level, many of the pieces Mel offers are the result of creative collaborations with her favourite artisans meaning a good deal of the designs she carries are exclusive to Antler and Moss. 

I noticed Mel's Instagram feed a few months before we discovered that we work in the same neighbourhood. As soon as got talking shop (literally) we began plotting our vision to bring Mel's amazing collection into the real world, nestled among the other Australian design wares at Showroom. Antler and Moss' pop up runs for two weeks from today and if you're in the Brisbane area, I hope you'll have a chance to come take a look. 

And now, some thoughts from Mel on running an online businesses & her passion for Australian ceramics. 

Give us your elevator pitch: 

ANTLER and MOSS is a collection of Australian ceramics, hand printed textiles, timber products and artisan gift packs that have been created in timeless neutrals and quality materials to stand the test of time.   
 

What did you do before starting Antler and Moss?

I have always worked in the hospitality industry in fine dining and absolutely love it, but with two little girls of four and seven years, the hours are not really plausible. So after purchasing a dilapidated workers cottage, I studied interior decorating so that I had the confidence to make sound decisions while renovating it into a home with the right feel for us. It has taken many years of hard work but my home is now my muse for Antler and Moss.

 

What made you start this business here and now?

I have been collecting ceramics for many years and love the local ceramic works being created. I had so many ideas for slight adaptions to artists’ works that Antler and Moss really came from my ceramic obsession and the frustration of not being able to find what I was looking for. Now that my girls are a little older I am in a positon to be able to put in the energy that building a brand needs.

 

What are the key elements that go into Antler and Moss's unique vibe?

Our vibe is edgy black pieces contrasting with warm timber tones and earthy ceramics. We have pieces that you won’t find anywhere else too.

What do you love about ceramics?


I love that ceramic tableware is functional art. I grew up in New Zealand surrounded by incredible ceramicist and have always loved ceramics since I was little making pinch bowls next to my mother while she created wheel thrown pieces. I source only Australian ceramics for Antler and Moss because I believe in keeping it local and the quality is exceptional.

 

What ceramic design trends are you excited about? 

 

Everything goes around in cycles. I liken our current era to the Arts & Crafts movement in the late 1800s to the early 1900s when people were rebelling against the growing globalisation of Victorian Britain and moved back to creating unique handcrafted works in more simple forms. I feel we are all moving toward buying less and buying better.

There is a dark ceramic movement that I suspect will be here to stay for some time. Normally as Spring comes in the States and the UK people gravitate to lighter shades, but not this year. Food looks sensational plated up on dark tableware. Restaurants are choosing artists to create their tableware for them, rather than the usual standard mass produced wares.

There is also a rough earthy textured ceramic trend surfacing too, and ceramics mixed with timber products.

Which other design / creative brands inspire you?

The artists that I have the privilege of collaborating with inspire me. We have so many incredible people in the Australian design industry and are known globally for our innovative design and beautiful crafts.

 

Do you feel optimistic about the handmade / #shopsmall scene in Brisbane? Why or why not?

 

Small boutique businesses are what make Brisbane shopping interesting. It is so important we support local business and buy local goods as often as possible and it makes shopping more fun.

Day In The Life | Friday April 24, 2015

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7:30 | It's been a week filled with decision making and structural business changes. Since growth is both wonderful and stressful, I'm feeling amazing and worn out in just about equal measure. I'm grateful to have slept in, but I wake to a cold sore and a scratchy throat. I lay in bed flicking through instagram repeating to myself over and over "I am not sick." 

7:55 | Get up. Make tea. Shower. Dress.* Emails. Fix hair and apply makeup for reasons which will become obvious around 12pm. 

9:45 | N has the morning free, so he's planned for us to have breakfast out together at a new(ish) cafe he thinks I'm going to love. It's The Jam Pantry in Greenslopes and I do. The space is buzzing but airy. The menu is inventive. The food is delicious. The staff are kind. Best green smoothie ever. 10/10.

11:00 | I drop N off at work and head for Showroom. Fabienne is keeping shop and we catch up on how things have been over the morning and what's coming up this weekend. Our intern, Anwyn, arrives to take photos of new stock and help me plan next month's blog & social media content. 

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Hand made leather glasses case by up and coming Brisbane accessories brand The Sett. 

Hand made leather glasses case by up and coming Brisbane accessories brand The Sett

New metallic bakers twine available in store and coming soon at The Spring Shop online. 

New metallic bakers twine available in store and coming soon at The Spring Shop online. 

1:00 | Chai break & more Spring Shop & blog planning with Anwyn at Atticus Finch. Even though it's only a few blocks from the shop, we barely ever venture so far down Latrobe which makes visiting feel like a field trip and a real treat. 

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2:00 | I've been feeling pretty good since breakfast, but by mid-afternoon my energy and focus is on the wane. I decide to photograph Showroom's Mother's Day vignettes next week and drop Anwyn off in the city. I head home to take a nap on the couch. Andy the Spoodle, who was miffed earlier in the day about being locked outside while everyone was out at work, is thrilled to bits. 

3:00 | More emails, scheduling meetings for next week, and packaging Spring Shop parcels. 

5:00 | Already in my pjs, I heat up leftover couscous and veggies, crawl under my blanket on the couch, and set up for an evening of blog post writing and instagram scheduling. Unless you hear otherwise, I've had a bath and put myself to bed by 8pm. 

*Life Coach tee was a gift from my Homeroom biz partner Claire. If you want one, you can get it here

Images by Miss Anwyn

Five Productivity Apps We Love

In honour of our WORKROOM* launch I thought I'd cap off this crazy week with a list of five of the productivity apps that help me through. If you run a busy business or a busy life, I hope you'll get something out of them too. 

* WORKROOM is a flexible co-working space for Brisbane Creatives housed inside Showroom.   

1. Teux Deux | The ultimate list-making app that synchs across your laptop browser, iPad, and iPhone. I love that tasks I don't finish today get rolled into tomorrow. Plus there's room for unscheduled 'future project' lists so I can keep track of steps for ideas that haven't found their way into the calendar yet. 

2. Boomerang | This scheduling plugin for Gmail lets you bounce clutter out of your inbox, time when emails are set, and organise follow up messages all in one go. It's magic for unruly  mailboxes. 

3. Word Swag | I've tried a lot of apps that promise to generate cool infographics (that's text over image) and this one is the coolest. Not only is the interface beautiful, but the editing options are seamless and the templates provided are super good looking. 

4. Postso | There are quite a few instagram scheduling apps recently on the market, but I'm sticking with postso for the moment. It's simple, relatively inexpensive, and it ensures I'm ready with content lined up across the channels I manage. If I had to reply on posting on the go, nothing of quality would ever get shared! 

5. Balanced | This is a personal pick, and one that's been helping me remember to stop throughout the day to take care of myself both mentally and physically. I feel a little guilty now that I'm writing this because the whole point of Balanced is that wellbeing shouldn't be last on our list... but hey... balance is a journey not a destination and what's important is that we're all out there doing our wholehearted best. 

Happy weekend, everyone!

Brisbane's Best Hot Chocolate | John Mills Himself

John Mills Himself Brisbane CBD
John Mills Himself Brisbane CBD
Archives Fine Books, Brisbane
Brisbanes best hot chocolate
Archives Fine Books Brisbane
Archives Brisbane

These photos were taken weeks back, but I've been waiting for our Brisbane autumn to turn a little chillier before posting them. This morning when I woke to feel the chill of the air on the tip of my nose I knew the day had come - Welcome to hot chocolate season!

While I can't claim to have tried every cup in town, I was more impressed with the hot chocolate at John Mills Himself than I have been with any single other thing in a very long time (Poet's Ode in Hahndorf SA notwithstanding). The ambience inside this long, narrow cafe tucked away underneath Archives Fine Books is pretty wonderful too, though with such an exciting menu offerings I'd happy have sipped my hot chocolate in a food court or a field.  

The whole experience puts John Mills Himself squarely in the running for Brisbane's Best CBD Cafe. If anyone has other worthy contenders for the title in mind, it would be my woolly-jumper-wrapped pleasure to investigate. 

Introducing Brisbane's Newest Co-Working Space | Welcome to WORKROOM

I'm so excited to announce the launch of our latest #teamshowroom venture! We've been running Brisbane's newest Co-Working space in beta for the past few weeks and it's been so awesome that we're officially opening to the public. So WELCOME to WORKROOM! 

If you're reading this post from your couch... In your pjs... And it's after 9am... If you've turned to mindless daytime snacking, talking to the dog, or leaving the TV on all day playing old episodes of The Simpsons to distract from the silence ... If you'd feel more in control of your life and your biz if you had an excuse to put on pants in the morning... Then you're probably a free-lancerer or a creative entrepreneur...

And we've been there. That's why we started WORKROOM. 

CO Working space Brisbane

WORKROOM is a co-working space unlike any other in Brisbane. How so? Glad you asked.

First, it's way less expensive. There's no monthly rent or ongoing subscriptions. A 10 session pass costs $200 - that's just $20 a day. Simple. 

Second, it's way more fun. If you're looking for dead silence, this isn't the place for you. WORKROOM is a place for people to collaborate, take phone calls, meet clients, and enjoy the levity that comes with having some company while you get things done. 

Think of WORKROOM as the best possible cafe... Where there's no pressure to keep buying coffees. Where you can come, or go, or stay at your leisure. Where the free wifi actually works. And where the other patrons really understand about the wins and challenges that make up the fabric of your non-traditionally-employed days. 

For information or jump on board (spaces are limited) click over here to the Showroom website where we've spelled out all the particulars. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email me at hi@show-room.com.au

WORKROOM BRISBANE
WORKROOM BRISBANE

Coastal South Australia Photo Diary

These beaches on the Fleurieu Peninsula were our last stop before boarding out flight back to Brisbane. Lucky for us, in the last hours of our South Australian sojourn the wind died down and the sun came out -  perfect conditions for our coastal hike at Encounter Bay followed by a frolic beneath the russet cliffs of Maslin Beach. 

Barossa Valley Photo Diary

Before setting off from our Adelaide accommodation we wondered if the Barossa would be a bit hectic and overrun with tourists. It wasn't. In fact, if we had one complaint from the whole trip it was that places like the Barossa are so quiet mid-week that most restaurants and cellar doors aren't even open. In the end we did manage to sniff out a few places trading in delicious wine and beautiful local food, all under brooding skies that threw the most wonderful shadows across the tawny hills and fields. Here're our favourite spots from our day in the Barossa:  

1. Lyndoch Lavender Farm | Lyndoch

2. Lyndoch Lavender Farm & the quince orchard at Maggie Beer's FarmNuriootpa

3. Lyndoch Hill Winery (worth visiting for the incredible rose gardens) | Lyndoch

4. Dessert after a beautiful lunch at Seppeltsfield Winery | Seppeltsfield

5. Old grapes left on the vine

6. & 7. & 8. Hillside vistas & the olive grove at Maggie Beer's Farm | Nuriootpa

Adelaide Hills Photo Diary

I know it sounds like a backhanded compliment, but I reckon the best thing about Adelaide is how many beautiful places lie just beyond it. The Adelaide Hills won me over with pick-your-own berries, orchards, cellar doors, forest hikes in the autumn leaves, and South Australia's most beautiful little shop. Here're the spots we loved best on our overnight excursion to the bustling little town of Hahndorf. 

1. Main Street | Hahndorf

2. & 4. Poet's Ode | Hahndorf

3. & 5. & 7. Beerenburg Strawberry Farm | Hahndorf

6. Glen Vimy Apple Orchard | Hahndorf

8. Autumn trees 

Adelaide Photo Diary

It's Adelaide Week on The Spring Blog! Drawn by the promise of autumnal colours, rolling countryside, beautiful local produce and a proper break from our working lives, N and I chose South Australia for our mid-semster holiday. It was chilly, mostly overcast, laid back, and we loved it.

The first time I travelled in rural Australia the dry, hard country seemed mournful to me. Now, five years later, I find the palate of the landscape beautiful, sometimes startling, and strangely elegant. (All of which is to say, we took a lot of photos.) So over the next four posts I'll be sharing them with you, along with our picks for the best places to eat, play, and discover thoughtful SA design in Adelaide and its surrounds. 

(If you do live in Adelaide or are planning to visit I recommend checking out this post listing 12 of Adelaide's best cafes by Emma Kate - the girl's got style and she's done her research more thoroughly than I have!) 

Our favourite spots, In order of appearance:

1. Glenelg Beach

2. One Small Room | Elizabeth St. Croydon

3. & 6. Semaphore Pier

4. The Jam Factory | Morphett St. CBD

5. & 11. Old Port of Adelaide

7. & 12. Botanic Gardens | North Terrace. CBD

8. The old stone homes in the neighbourhoods of Norwood & North Adelaide

9. Red Door Bakery | Elizabeth St. Croydon

10. Council of Objects | Ebenezer Place. CBD

13. & 14. The Church in Norwood | Our Air BnB accommodation in Adelaide. It was a lovely place to stay, and Karin our host was fabulous!  

Honorable Mentions: We also loved the Adelaide Central Market, Khai Liew's design shop (open by appointment only), hunting through the antique shops on Magill Rd, The Art Gallery of South Australia, and Base Bar in Norwood for a casual dinner. 

Day in the Life | Wednesday April 1st, 2015

7:00am | Woke up to N’s alarm. We laid in bed for a few extra minutes listening to the hard rain falling and I thought about how few customers that meant for the shop. I also thought about how that was almost a good thing, because I'd worried about morning sun casting funny shadows across the photo we had planned for later in the morning. 

7:10am | N made the tea and toast while I stood over our ancient blender, whipping up a fresh batch of almond butter. I crawled back into bed to enjoy it while making a few quick updates to the shop website. 

8:00am | TRAFFIC! Dropped N off atwork and continued on to Showroom.

claire deane yoga

8:50am | Arrived late, but with just enough time for a speedy version of our usual #teamshowroom Wednesday yoga sesh. (Note to self: spend more time doing hip opening exercises… I almost got stuck in pigeon.)

9:45am | Our photographer arrived to shoot Fabienne’s jewelry line. I'm fascinated by the connection between technology and artistry so I love watching how pros set up their gear and position their subjects. I can't announce anything much about this project just yet, but more details are coming soon!

10:00am | Anwyn arrived and while the photo shoot cracked on, we went over what’s been going on in the business over the past week. There’s a new POS system to learn (I've invested in a big upgrade to the way we organise Showroom and The Spring Shop from the back end) and we debated branding as we brainstorm ideas for new packaging for The Spring Shop's signature range. 

12:00pm | Bonnie from Mous. Magazine stopped by to interview me for their upcoming print edition coming out this Winter. We had a super interesting chat about curration, retail, and the creative life which I can't wait to see in context later this year. 

12:30pm | After frantically printing out all the financial statements I can find around the 'office', I headed down the Gold Coast to meet with my new account. Book keeping isn't an area I feel particularly confident about but as the business grows, I know how imperative it is to have well designed systems in place to help me keep on top of it and it's a huge relief to have found someone I feel can really help me with this. 

 1:30pm | I arrived early at the coast so I grabbed a quick lunch and took my tea down to the beach. I love it there and after a busy morning I’m glad I found a few minutes to enjoy it.

3:30pm | Meeting done. It was pouring rain again so I skipped another walk on the beach and headed straight back to Brisbane.

 6:30pm | We celebrated N’s birthday eve with a family dinner at Marinara before everyone headed out of town for Easter. I think I've discovered Brisbane's best lasagne and I can't wait for an excuse to go back for some more. 

10:15pm | Home again. We patted dogs, decided against catching up on the work I promised myself I'd finish that night, and instead flicked on an old episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm before drifting off to sleep.

Meet the Creatives | Anwyn Howarth

Anwyn Howarth | Brisbane photographer

At almost 17, Anwyn is the youngest member of #teamshowroom, though we sure couldn't do without her. She helps with lots of the images and content here on the blog and across our social media (look out for the video series we're creating for Homeroom coming soon). Since you've been seeing so much of her beautiful work without knowing it recently, I figured it was high time we all got properly introduced. 

Anwyn Howarth | Brisbane Photographer
Anwyn Howarth | Brisbane Photographer

1.    Give us your elevator pitch: 

 I'm a blogger, photographer, and creative intern at Showroom. 

 

2.   What did you do before picking up your camera?

I was in school (I still am),  making music, drawing, scrapbooking, and loving all hours spent making things. 

  

3.   What made you start a creative business?

I started tinkering around with my camera to begin with. Since working at Showroom, I've met lots of people who run great creative brands and realised how much good commercial photography is needed. Lots of people have been willing to let me experiment shooting their products and them! 

 

4.   What are the key elements that go into creating your aethetic?

I admired moody photography before I really knew what I was doing. With some more experience under my belt I've come to appreciate working with a clean, white, sharp palate. I think that's helped define my own style, but I'm only young so it's all a work in progress.   

Just For Love Stationery | Brisbane

5.   If you could go back in time to tell your younger, inexperienced self one thing about starting a creative business, what would it be? 

Don't put crap up on the internet. Wait until you've done the work getting good at your medium, feel confident that what you're creating is a true representation of what you can do, and then share it with the world. I believe in the power of first impressions.   

 

6.   Give us three awesome tools that simplify your workflow as a creative and entrepreneur. 

  1. A good camera. There's no point trying to do great work with sub-optimal equipment. 
  2.  Patience and contentment. I'm walking that fine line between wanting to race ahead in my career and understanding the reality that I'm scaling a steep learning curve and still have a long way to go. 
  3. Keeping my inbox clear. About a month ago I found an email from a magazine asking me to contribute a story that I was so excited to write... The only trouble was, my email folder was so overflowing I didn't see it until a month after it'd been sent. (Luckily I kept the gig!) Still, I learned how important it is to keep on top of all that communication, both for my budding business and my peace of mind. 

 

7.   Which other design / creative brands inspire you?

 When it comes to photography I'm inspired by Brisbane girl Savannah, whose way of creating imagery on film is so organic. I love a good magazine, and I'm devouring the latest issue of Cereal this week. I have my eye on The Horse watches at the minute.  

 

8.   What’s the first website you load when you wake up in the morning?

 Instagram. (Is that a website?) Then Facebook or Bloglovin. Then Bleubird

 

9.   What’s your favourite hashtag? 

 #getlostclub 

 

10.  Do you feel optimistic about the creative scene in Brisbane? Why or why not? 

Yes, I do. Not necessarily from a photography standpoint because there are so many of us out there. But there are also so many people loving handmade right now, it seems like a bit of a renaissance. That community has really embraced me, and I feel like there's a lot of scope for working within the artisanal scene. 

Easter Entertaining | Salted Caramel Sauce

salted-caramel-sauce.jpg

Under the theory that ignorance is bliss, I generally think that most deliciously unhealthy treats are best enjoyed when they haven't been prepared by me... though this recipe has become the exception that proves the rule.  

Last Christmas my family was gifted the bottle of home made salted caramel sauce pictured here. It was so good warmed up and drizzled over a bowl of vanilla ice cream with fresh sliced peaches that I didn't bother making any other desserts for our family holiday celebrations, and no one even noticed. 

Salted caramel sauce isn't the sort of thing I want hanging around my fridge all the time (self restraint isn't my superpower) but for a special occasion it's simple & cheap to make, a bone fide crowd pleaser, and as I can personally attest, when packaged in a pretty glass bottle, makes a brilliant gift. If you've got plans to celebrate Easter with family and friends this weekend, I hope this recipe helps you out.

salted-caramel-sauce.jpg

Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 200g white sugar
  • 125ml water
  • 100g butter, cubed
  • 100ml creme fraiche (or double cream)
  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt

Directions:

1. Put the sugar in a wide, heavy-bottomed pan and pour over the water, trying to wet all the sugar in the process. Swirl the pan if you have any dry bits. Set over a medium heat and keep an eye on it as the sugar melts and begins to brown. Make sure you have the other ingredients, measured out, within reach.

2. Once it turns a deep, but not dark, amber colour (about seven minutes), take it off the heat and whisk in the butter until it is completely melted, then stir in the creme fraiche (or cream) and ½ tsp salt.

3. Once you have a smooth sauce, scoop a little up on a teaspoon, allow to cool, and taste for seasoning; add more salt if you like. Use immediately, or store in a sealed container in the fridge. You can reheat as necessary, adding a little milk if it is too thick.

salted-caramel-sauce