Thursday, October 28, 2010

Moon Diary giveaway

We have 5 gorgeous 2011 Moon Diaries to giveaway!!
These diaries are 100% Australian made, produced using vegetable inks and 100% recycled paper - taking care of Mother Earth... Each diary contains information about the moon and her phases and transits - and they are beautifully illustrated too... So here's what you need to do...
Subscribe to Barefoot at or if you're already a subscriber, for a friend - then go to our Facebook page and say ' I'm a new subscriber!' and we'll send you out your diary with your first issue!!! Quick!! There are only five copies so get to it....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Don't Let Me Offend You

By Tiggy Johnson

I find it difficult to talk about some of my parenting decisions, particularly my stance regarding my children’s sugar intake. As a self-confessed sugar-Nazi, this is absurd because I know I’m doing a good thing, even though it isn’t always easy. Even so, it remains the one thing I feel most criticised for. Not that I’m strict on only how much sugar they eat.
    The other day my mother asked why I wasn’t buttering the bread for my eighteen month old before spreading it with a thin layer of homemade jam.
    It wasn’t an inquisitive or helpful Would you like the butter? but something accusatory as if I was depriving him of something vital, like oxygen.
    It went something like this.
    ‘Don’t you want butter?’
    ‘Why would I?’ I’ve never offered any of my three children butter.
    Mum shrugged, so I continued. ‘How many adults do you know who find it difficult to cut down on unhealthy foods they’ve been eating forever?’
    I knew immediately from her expression that she wouldn’t respond so, almost before it began, the conversation was over and I know why. Obviously, I could only have been referring to her, a grandmother who’d developed type 2 diabetes in her early-fifties and still, ten years later, sneaks in the odd naughty snack when no-one’s watching.
    In fact, she tries to sneak my kids a smorgasbord of sweet treats whether I’m watching or not, with one of two typical responses: That’s what grandparents are supposed to do or It won’t hurt.
    But it isn’t about whether the treat itself hurts. What will the kids think when they’re old enough to understand what diabetes means? Or wonder what Nana was thinking when she pushed McDonalds in front of them as she ate the sandwich she’d made for herself.
    I’ve tried to bring it up a few times, either with just Mum or among family and close friends. Nobody’s on my side. Sure, one of my sisters-in-law was horrified she once gave them lollies in the car; after dinner and their baths, teeth brushed, in pyjamas ready to fall asleep on the way. Generally though, they think I’m being uptight for not wanting the kids to have, say, the fifth or sixth treat within an afternoon or for insisting they have regular sugar-free days.
    Initially it bugged me that Mum overruled me and fed my kids junk regardless of what I said, but by the time my eldest (now seven) was five, the issue was that my family failed to support me and that they were undermining my authority.
    A few years ago, as a children’s party was winding down and most of the guests had gone, I brought it up again, hoping to enlist the understanding of my oldest friend.
    Instead, she suggested that if we were guests in her home, her family would offer them lollies.
    ‘I’d say no,’ I said.
    ‘It’s our custom,’ she replied. ‘Just one lolly.’
    ‘One lolly is one lolly. One lolly at your house today; chocolates, lollies, biscuits and sweet drinks at Nana’s tomorrow; a birthday party the next; and when they get to school, it might be the teachers with a reward or a classmate bringing chocolates to share for their birthday; they want to play at a friend’s house after school…’
    ‘Yeah,’ she said, nodding. ‘I see what you mean, but it’s our custom. A long-held tradition and if they don’t take it, we’re offended.’
    ‘Oh,’ I said, and later wish I’d added, ‘But it’s okay to offend me?’

Tiggy Johnson is a Melbourne writer and mother of three. Her short story collection Svetlana or Otherwise (Ginninderra Press) was released in 2008 and her poetry collection First taste in 2010. She is the editor of page seventeen and blogs at

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Invisible Cords - Stages of Separation

Laura Innes has written a lovely guest post for us, about her experiences with her girls, on separation and independence. Thanks Laura!

After the birthing of your child, whether it is cut or falls away naturally, the separation of the umbilical cord is an awakening.An awakening to the idea that you and your child are indeed two separate entities. After a pregnancy where you felt very much to be one being, two hearts beating within the same vessel.
While this is the more obvious and well known ‘cutting of the cord’, it has dawned upon me that there are ongoing, more subtle separations that help to ease us gently into the growing independence of our children. The creating of their own lives, separate from ours.

One of these moments came upon me when my first daughter, new to the world of school, tried to insist that I needn’t walk her up to her class anymore.
 It’s not that I wouldn’t feel safe letting her make her way to her classroom, there are only forty-one children in the whole school, and I find it to be a very safe little community. I just simply want to do it. To hold her hand as we make our way up together. As much for my benefit (or maybe more so), than for hers. While I’m not working, I have the opportunity to be there every day. I love being involved in what’s new in her world. Seeing her creations, meeting with her teacher, and putting a face to the so often mentioned names of her friends.
It’s a small way of comforting me that she is safe, accepted and comfortable in the environment where she spends so much of her time these days.
I’ve realised that her not needing my kiss goodbye anymore, though I still offer it every day, is not a sign of rejection. Rather it’s a sign of confidence. That my precious child feel s secure enough in her being  not be intimidated with the prospect of being away from my side.
I no longer force that morning kiss; just accept graciously when it is returned, and walk back to the car, to my day, knowing that my girl is okay without me.

Another of these subtle separations presented itself to me with the return of menstruation after my second daughter’s birth. Eleven months after her umbilical cord was cut, I recognized that familiar, yet almost forgotten warm trickle. I felt a little overwhelmed, not something I expected to happen. It was like a marking of the final chapter to my pregnancy and birthing era.
Although I still feed her frequently at my breast, my body has shifted in the recognition that my baby is less dependent on me, and is making way for the opportunity to nest and nurture a new spirit.

What an amazing gift to be a woman in this moment. To trust and amaze at the instinctive capabilities of my own body.
These moments are providing me with a reflection on the idea that our children, as much as they are a part of us, are also their own separate beings.

An opportunity to let go a little of the emotional strings of attachment, and allow these beautiful souls room to grow and develop.
At times I know I’ll have the natural urge to hold on tight.  I will try instead to take a step back and appreciate the resilience and confidence my children have developed. To feel proud that I have been a part of that, and to know they feel safe enough to venture out on their own, while trusting that I am here when they need me.

About me:
My name is Laura Innes; I live in the Yarra Valley and am a young mother of two spirited girls who inspire and amaze me every day.
I am passionate about instinctive parenting, gentle birth, breastfeeding, and trying to grow as a mother through all the trials and joy motherhood brings.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Book giveaway winner

Thanks to those of you who commented, and shared your favorite and influential books, read as a child. Anna and I have decided to give the lovely book of songs Mr Bandicoot and Other Tales to Sherryn. Sherryn reminded us just how the Narnia series evokes such imagination and whimsy. Wardrobes are still a favorite place of mine (not that I really fit in one anymore).Well done Sherryn! Email admin with your snail mail address and we'll send you out your prize.

Tablelands Folk Festival

Another festival for those of you who are up in North Queensland

It's on the 21st to 24th October, 2010

It's being held at Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands,
North Queensland, Australia
For more information and tickets go to

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mullum Mullum Festival

Seems it's the festival season already!!!
If you're in Melbourne this weekend - the Mullum Mullum festival is on..

Have a look at the website for all the great activities that are on - walks, star gazing with astronomers, musical performances, gum leaf playing, story telling, boomerang throwing...
or email us for a program..

The GreenWay Festival - Cooks River, NSW

For those of you in NSW, this looks like a fun day out on Saturday 10th October, 2010, for the GreenWay Eco-Festival. The Festival is to celebrate a new pathway for pedestrians and cyclists between Cooks River and Iron Cove, promoting this sustainable transport corridor.

The GreenWay Festival features a week-long program of activities ranging from bike tours and local history walks, to biodiversity workshops, bushcare working bees, an art exhibtion and art and drawing classes in the GreenWay.

The Inaugural GreenWay Festival runs from 10th - 17th October and details of workshops are in the Festival Program, and enrolment is available on the festival website

Influential Books of Our Childhood (and a great giveaway)

Are there books in your childhood that have influenced you? I’m not necessarily talking of your favorite books, but those that had an impact on you.
As my favorite books come to mind I am writing them down to get them out of my head – so I can ponder some of the influential ones. Oh, here they come (everyone likes writing a list of these!):

Fav books:
Richard Scarry Best Storybook Ever
Richard Scarry Best Storybook Dictionary
Anything by Enid Blyton
Grimms Fairy Tales
Mulga Bill’s Bicycle
Ant and Bee

Little Black Sambo
I Can Lick Thirty Tigers Today (and other stories)and many other Dr Suess

Influential Books
The Bible
How We are Made
What’s Happening to Me
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Horton Hatches the Egg
Aesop’s Fables

I ponder the list I’ve written. How moralistic are the stories in the books that have influenced me! Why had these books/stories within, have such an influence? Why am I feeling a little nauseous as I think of them? I remember What’s Happening to Me filled me with dread – I didn’t want pointy boobs like that! And I certainly didn’t want to see my brother standing on the diving board at the pool, with an erection. I gave Jaws to my Dad for Christmas one year, only to steal it back and read it myself. I now have a morbid fear of deep water shadows. Karma.

Anyway I shall leave this with you – have a think about the books that have influenced you. Write a comment about them. Barefoot will give away a copy of the gorgeous book and cd set Mr Bandicoot and Other Tales to our favourite comment on this blog post. It’s a collection of unique Australian nursery rhymes by Anne Lawson (sung by Kate Rowe). We’ll contact one of you lovely readers (yes you have to comment to be in it!) and send it out.

Read Anna’s review below

Mr Bandicoot & Other Tales is a lovely collection of rhymes that has simple, but engaging pictures matched with a CD of accompanying songs. My 4 year old daughter has loved listening and reading/watching along, commenting on the pictures as she does so! I especially love that this collection of rhymes originates from a mumma who made them up for her children, and that her children loved them and remembered them years later – encouraging her to publish them for other children to enjoy. I think this book/CD collection is a great antidote to the populist children CDs that are on the market at the moment. Available from leading book stores or at the website

So come on readers, tell us about the most influential books you recall from your childhood. Anna and Jenny will argue over decide the best comments and winner will be chosen next Monday (October 11).

Jenny and Anna

Barefoot Event - Love, Sex and Communication

Hello lovely Barefoot followers
We have another event coming up - it's about love, sex and communication.
All the details are on our homepage but in short...
We have Bettina Arndt and Martien Snellen as our speakers for this event. It's on December 1, 2010 at 7pm at the Eltham Community and Reception Centre, 801 Main Road (opposite the pub), Eltham.
Our last two events sold out - so don't miss out on tickets this time. 
Only $15 or $10 concesssion.
They are available through Paypal on the side panel of our blog, or email us if you'd prefer to pay by direct deposit.
See you there.
The Barefoot Team