Sophia Kaplan & Lauren Camilleri are co founders Leaf Supply, an online shop delivering lush indoor plants around Sydney and a beautifully curated selection of botanical wares and self care products Australia wide.
We recently collaborated on a tea, inspired by the rejuvenating feeling of spending time in a greenhouse. As we enter the first week of autumn and leave the intensity of the summer behind us, looking after ourselves from the inside, out is becoming more of a priority again.
To celebrate the change of seasons we are giving away 2 bottles of our Adaptogenic Greenhouse Tea and Plantopedia, Leaf Supply’s latest book to help you embrace more mindfulness and self-care as we move into autumn. Link to enter competition here.
We spoke to Sophia and Lauren about all things plants - from the benefits of indoor plants and the joy they bring, as well as their favourite herbs and how they use them.
Mindful Rituals is a series of conversations with wise women who inspire us to be and feel well, ultimately making the world a better place. We hope it will inspire you to introduce more mindfulness in your daily life, one day at the time.
Daily morning rituals...
SK: Our small children usually wake us up these days! Mornings start slowly and involve lots of cuddles and a few books read in bed. Being pregnant at the moment I am trying to make sure I don’t skip breakfast, which is usually something simple and sustaining like honey toast and tea.
LC: The morning tends to be the best time for me to fit in exercise and I find if I can make the time I feel energised for the day ahead. Getting up before my little one to get to a class before the chaos of our day starts helps me feel like I’ve achieved something even if the rest of the day falls apart, ha.
How do you stay mindful throughout the day? Do you have any advice for cultivating a daily mindfulness practice?
SK: It’s a bit embarrassing but I often have to tell myself to put down my phone. I do a lot of my work admin on the go, and while I often pick up the phone to do something work related it’s very easy to be sucked back into the vortex of Instagram and news apps. Trying to carve out more considered times for work versus time with my kid and relaxation is important and something I am constantly trying to practice.
LC: It’s definitely something I struggle with. My mind is always going at a million miles an hour and I tend to rush around like a headless chook most days. I have recently set a reminder on my watch a few times a day for just a minute or two of meditation which is essentially just me sitting still and focussing on my breath. Meditation is something I find really hard but I know that practise makes perfect, it’s baby steps for me!
What does plants as medicine mean to you? How have they offered support or helped you find balance?
SK: I have always found that growing plants, especially those you can eat, is incredibly rewarding. Not only do they somehow taste better, surely the freshness ensures their health benefits are even greater. The act of gardening, whether it’s growing things from seeds or cuttings, weeding, or harvesting, indoor or outdoor, is so therapeutic and the best kind of medicine. Taking time out of your day to work with your hands, mentally focussing on the task at hand, watching things thrive, and sometimes die... It’s all part of the joy of plants.
LC: Tending to a garden (indoor or out) is a rewarding and therapeutic pursuit. Time spent watering and maintaining my indoor jungle allows me to step away from my screens and get my hands dirty. The thrill of watching a new leaf unfurl or a flower bloom is good for the soul. In terms of consuming plants, more and more my partner and I are trying to increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables we eat and reduce our intake of processed foods. Although I do have some work to do on curbing my sweet tooth.
What is your favourite (adaptogenic) herb and how do you use it?
SK: Rosemary is so versatile. It reminds me of my Nonno and Nonna, who grew a lot of it in their garden, and always added it to their delicious cooking. It also goes great in sweet drinks, its flowers are beautiful and edible too, and I love picking things like mint, rosemary and lemongrass at the end of a lunch or dinner party to make a soothing tea.
LC: The freshness of mint has always made it a favourite for both cooking and of course in tea. I could live on vietnamese salads piled high with mint and coriander. It’s the perfect addition to hot and cold drinks alike. A mint tea is the perfect end to a big meal and my go to brew for before bed.
Plants really are the simplest way to visually bring a space to life, but more than that, studies have shown that they improve productivity, concentration, and creativity, increase levels of calm, and reduce stress.
Apart from looking great and stylish for your interiors, can you tell me any other benefits indoor plants can provide?
Plants really are the simplest way to visually bring a space to life, but more than that, studies have shown that they improve productivity, concentration, and creativity, increase levels of calm, and reduce stress. The act of caring for plants feels like it’s a lovely habit to nurture. Not only does it bring obvious benefit to our plants, but it’s great for our own mental health and fosters a more thoughtful relationship with nature at large.
Favourite house plant?
SK: Lauren and I both love the Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa), for its graphic beauty, and easy going temperament. I am also a bit obsessed with carnivorous species like pitcher plants (Nepenthes and Sarracenia) and sundews (Drosera), although these are definitely a little harder work to keep alive at home.
LC: This question is like asking someone to name their favourite child, ha. Monstera deliciosa was the first plant to get me hooked on indoor gardening and I have about eight at home so it would be up there! I’m also a sucker for a Philodendron, from the spindly skeleton key to the variegated heart-shaped ‘brasil’, there are so many lush options to choose from.
Best health/wellness secret?
SK: Spending lots of time in nature, whether it’s the local park, the countryside, the beach, or even our little backyard keeps me happy. I’ve relatively recently come to love pilates, and (semi) regular workouts keep me feeling strong and focussed.
LC: Move your body. For the first time in a long time I’ve committed to consistent exercise and am loving the effect it has on my physical and mental health. Keeping up with (and constantly carrying) a busy toddler is hard work but my stamina and strength has definitely improved and when I’m sweating it out I’m focussed on just what I’m doing in that moment instead of my never ending to-do list.
What lights you up? Or what are you currently grateful for?
SK: So cliche but my kid has to be the best thing in my life. He’s a toddler and can definitely be hard work sometimes but goddamn he makes me smile. I am also so grateful for our little weekends away with friends and family… Travel has changed, but at least we still have these smaller trips out of town.
LC: Definitely grateful for my family and friends, especially since having Frankie I’ve realised how important it is to have a strong support network. Being creative and doing things that inspire me like travel (pre-covid), seeing live music or going to a gallery are all things that make me happy.
Daily evening rituals...
SK: A tea after dinner to aid digestion and a good book to send me to sleep.
LC: Trying to switch off my phone/computer and do some reading with a cup of tea before bed. I’ve struggled to read as much as I used to these past few years so I’ve set myself a challenge to read at least a book a month this year, so far so good.