The best things in life are sweet

We are very excited to tell you about a local Laidley business who may come in handy for your wedding at Branell Homestead. Baked by Brooke creates delicious masterpieces, with each cake individually designed. One thing we admire is that all of the ingredients are locally sourced and the batter is made from scratch (not a packet mix in sight)! We have been lucky enough to steal a few moments with Brooke to find out more about her business. She has also offered some great tips when choosing your wedding cake, so grab a cuppa (or an ice cold drink in this weather!) and have a read below…



Tell us a little about your business… Baked By Brooke is my home-based business, baking all things sweet, decadent and delicious! I truly enjoy turning the simplest of ingredients into something that makes you say “mmm, yum”, before you know the words have even come out of your mouth. My specialties are mudcakes and cupcakes, made using good old-fashioned recipes – some of which have been in my family for years. I bake with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible and the eggs I use come from the happiest, most free-range chickens you will ever find, from a farm close by in Gatton.

When did you decide cakes were your passion? Baking is something I enjoyed from the time I was old enough to lick the beaters in my Mum’s kitchen! Growing up, there would always be home baked afternoon teas waiting for my siblings and I after school. Mum taught me how to bake in primary school and I’ve adored it ever since! I first tried making a decorative cake when I had no idea what to get my (now) husband for his birthday years ago. He is a photographer, so I made him a cake in the shape of a camera. My “trial” cake worked so well that he got his cake a week early!

What distinguishes you from your competitors? I’ve often been complimented on my cakes not only looking great, but tasting great as well. I’ve heard so many disappointing stories of cakes for special occasions that looked amazing, but were dry or bland to eat, and left on the plate. All my cakes, and buttercreams are made from scratch. Packet mixes and pre-mixes would be quicker, but they taste nothing like the real thing!

Favourite flavour? I have to admit I like cake mixture more than baked cake! It’s a little hard to give out scoops of cake batter at a party though, so when I’m selecting a flavour for my own celebration cakes, I go for cookie dough cheesecake or a mocha mudcake.

A favourite or funny memory from a previous event/client? I recently created a Thomas the Tank Engine cake for a gorgeous little boy’s first birthday. The cake took hours and hours of crafting and assembly and I was really happy with how he looked. I was sent some party photos of the cake after the event… in the final photo there had been a train wreck and Thomas’ face had been bitten off completely by the birthday boy’s older sister! At least I know Thomas was enjoyed 🙂

What advice would you give couple when thinking about a cake for their wedding? Firstly “It’s what’s on the inside that counts”. There are some stunning cakes that look smooth, elegant and classy, that are decorated with fondant icing (that’s the smooth icing you see on many wedding cakes), but do you like the taste of it? Many couples and their guests peel it off and eat just the cake – so why pay for something that you won’t eat?! Consider other styles and designs, too. Secondly, think about how your cake will be transported and stored leading up to your event or wedding. It only takes minutes in a warm car or room for a cake to become a hot mess, so plan ahead and crank the air-con in advance! Finally, I won’t use the line that the secret ingredient in a good cake is love, but you can tell when a cake maker loves what they do, and this shines through in the taste, texture and appearance of your cake.

Now don’t you wish you had a piece of one of Brooke’s cakes to go with your cup of tea! You can contact Brooke via her Facebook page or email. If you want to taste test some of her creations, she has a cupcake stall at the Laidley markets every Friday.


Luxury Cabin Accommodation


As you drive up the hill to Branell Homestead you will be able to see our three Nova Deco Luxury Cabins perched on the side of the hill. Each cabin offers unobstructed views over the Lockyer Valley which you can enjoy from your private deck. The sunsets are also pretty special. The cabins are all self sufficient with a full kitchen, living, dining, two bathrooms and laundry.


Each suite is private, but the main areas are shared. We have included a floor plan below so you can get an idea of their setup. They have a similar layout to a house and could be your new home away from home…

The suites can be booked individually, or you could take the whole cabin – the choice is yours. They are great for additional guest accommodation if you are getting married at Branell, because they are so close to the venue but far enough away for privacy.

You can find out more information about each suite by clicking the links below. We also have some virtual tours of each of the rooms so make sure you check them out.

> Premium Suite
> Deluxe Suite
> Standard Suite
> Cabin Features

For all bookings and enquiries please give us a call on 07 5465 1788 or email. You can also make a booking directly from our website.



Branell Site Map

We have a very unique set up at Branell Homestead. It is often very hard to explain the layout of our property over the phone which is why we encourage people to come out for a visit. Situated on 80 picturesque acres of both farming and bushland, the property offers the perfect setting for a quiet weekend away or to celebrate your wedding. We have developed the site map below which will hopefully make things a little clearer.


We have three distinct areas on the property – The Homestead, Pavilion and Luxury Cabins. The Homestead and Pavilion are the hub of activity on the day of an event. Our covered Pavilion overlooks the dam and offers a private space for wedding receptions, corporate event or parties. Our three luxury cabins are located on a hilltop offering spectacular views over the Lockyer Valley. Imagine sitting on the deck with a glass of wine to watch the sun set – we think this is a pretty good way to spend an afternoon!

If you would like to come out for an appointment to get a feel for Branell first hand, you can make a booking via the home page of the website. Or if you would like to talk to one of our professional team, please do not hesitate to call us on 07 5465 1788.

Make sure you look out for following posts over the next couple of weeks, which will provide details on the accommodation floor plans and Pavilion area.

Ceremony by the Homestead

The other popular location couples use for their ceremonies is on the lawn in front of the Homestead. This spot has fantastic views over the Lockyer Valley and the Branell property. Guests can move out on to the lawn for the ceremony, then head back to the verandah for nibbles while the photos are taking place.

Weddings at Branell are unique. Imagine being given the freedom to create the best day of your life, exactly how you want it to be. You know what style of wedding you are after, you’ve been dreaming of this day for years! We’ll loan you the entire 80 acres, the Homestead and the Wedding Pavilion for a couple of days. But most importantly, we’ll give you the freedom you need to turn your fairytale dream into a reality.

You can book an appointment to view the property and meet with one of our event specialists. Head to our website and click on the ‘Book an Appointment’ button in the top right.

Photographer: Sunlit Studios

Photographer: Sunlit Studios

Photographer: Sunlit Studios

Photographer: Sunlit Studios

Photographer: Byron Loves Fawn

Photographer: Byron Loves Fawn

Ceremony features white Tiffany chairs

Ceremony features white Tiffany chairs

Overlooking the Lockyer Valley

Overlooking the Lockyer Valley

Homestead verandah - Anna Osetroff Photography

Homestead verandah – Anna Osetroff Photography

Wedding Love Photography

Wedding Love Photography

Summer Blooms

Summer weddings at Branell are pretty special. Thanks to some recent storms, everything is out in flower and the grass is beautiful and green. It was such a perfect summer morning a couple of weeks ago, that we couldn’t help but snap a few shots to share. Believe it or not the colours have not been ‘photoshopped’ in any way – these are straight from the camera!

Our favourite feature at the moment is our big poinsettia tree, which is currently in full bloom. The fiery red flowers contrast against the green leaves and blue sky, making it the perfect backdrop for ceremonies and a feature for your wedding photos.

If you have recently been married or have stayed at Branell and have some great photos with our poinsettia tree in flower, please send them in to us via Facebook or email. We would love to share them with our Facebook community in coming weeks.















Local Touch: Hair & Makeup Studio


Each week we will have the honour of hearing from an industry professional, who will provide general information about their business and some tips to couples just about to start planning their big day. Sometimes it can be very overwhelming trying to book everything for your wedding, let alone knowing what questions to ask! We are hoping our Wedding Professional Showcase series of blogs will give you a good head start.

This week we would like to introduce stylist Ellen Jensen from locally based Birds & Fellas Hair Studio. Ellen has been in the industry for a number of years and has a passion for wedding styling. Her insight and expertise will give you the piece of mind to know every detail will be perfect on the day.

What makeup/hair looks and styles do you recommend? 
I really enjoy wedding styling and making brides feel ready for their big day. I love natural looks with soft pinned curls and natural makeup.

How long do you allow for each person for make up and hair?
I allow around 45 minutes for an upstyle and 20-30 minutes for makeup.

Favourite colour combinations?
I love pastels and soft greys on the eyes and neutral gloss, or a real pop of colour with minimum eyes! There are so many different colours to choose from, so we are sure to find a combination which accents your features.

Are there any challenges you face?
I have been very lucky with my brides and mostly things run smoothly. Every wedding, bride and bridal party is unique.

Do you often get asked to match makeup finishes from photographs or magazines? Is this easy to do?
Yes! You can always have something similar but let’s face it, no one has the same hair or facial features and some models in magazines have probably had 5 hours spent on their hair and makeup. Definitely bring your photos along, but just make sure you have realistic expectations. I can work my magic though!

What is one piece of advice you would give to brides?
Go for a soft look. Remember you have to look at your photos for many years to come. It is nice to still look natural and not over the top when your family and friends see you getting married.


Photography has been sourced from Birds & Fellas Hair Studio Facebook page. Photographers have been credited on the original photos.

Spring fever hits Laidley

LC_Spring_Festival_2015_Header_Print_ReadyWe are a proud supporter of all things local, which is why we wanted to make sure everyone knows about the annual Spring Festival in Laidley. It all kicks off tomorrow, with three fun filled days of free family entertainment.

There will be plenty to do for all ages including award winning gardens on display, the Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live stage show, face painting, QN Hotel show and shine, quilt and craft expo, the popular festival parade and much more! There is also a window decorating competition for local businesses, so you are sure to see some impressive displays. If nothing else, it is an excellent excuse to get out and enjoy the beautiful spring weather. You can check out the official program here – Spring Festival Program 2015.

After being a part of the festivities you will surely build up an appetite. Why not put your taste buds to the test at one of the local coffee shops or cafes. An insider tip – head to Annie’s Place Coffee Shoppe to check out the special pancake menu that is on offer during the festival. Who doesn’t love a good pancake!

We are proud to be a part of such a fantastic community, so please come for a visit! For further information head to the Luvya Lockyer website.