Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Last issue - Summer 2011

Hello lovely readers
As you may know, Summer 2011 is our last issue - so to make sure you all have the opportunity to purchase this one without needing to subscribe.

SUMMER 2011 (Issue 12)

Barefoot - Summer 2011 issue

Please note we have only a handful of Issue 12 left already - so don't wait and then be disappointed...Enjoy
The Barefoot Team

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Losing Iris

To our beautiful readers and followers
Some of you may not know of Iris' story - Rachel's daughter who died four years ago.
Rachel wrote a piece of writing for Meanjin which has been published online too - We'd like to share it with you.
It's a profoundly moving story - and one that brings me to tears everytime I read it - but it's at the very core of Barefoot and why we have done what we have for the past three years - Iris' short life was a catalyst to create something to share with you all, to value our children passionately and live consciously and with love.

We love you Iris - and miss you so much.

The Barefoot Team

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

World Vegan Day Expo 2011

If you're living in Melbourne, or visiting this weekend - here's something you might be interested in...

It's the World Vegan Day Expo!

Our friends from Rad-Pads will be exhibiting at this wonderful event with a swag of Rad-Pads products for you to view and/or purchase (, along with lots of other stalls and activites for everyone..
The details are:

Sunday November 6th, 10 am - 5 pm

Abbotsford Convent

5 Helliers Street, Abbotsford Victoria..

See the website for more details on activities


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thou art Mum Exhibition

One of our very talented illustrators for Barefoot, Sarah Hardy, is part of this upcoming exhibition 'Thou Art Mum' being held at Monsalvat Long Gallery - which is open 9am-5pm every day and entry is free
Opening night is Thursday 3rd November from 6-9pm and then the exhibition runs from 3-27th November 2011.

Thou Art Mum's chosen theme for this exhibition is 'Tribute' - an acknowledgement of gratitude and esteem.
The focus of the exhibtion is the artist visually interpreting their personal tribute; whether it be related to a living thing, personal object, painter, writer, performer, musician, photographer or other artist who has influenced them with their unique style of work, chosen medium, technique or creative thinking processes.

There is a great little cafe at Monsalvat too, to have a coffee and cake afterwards - so if you have time, go down and have a look at the amazing artwork of these talented mummas.

Monsalvat is in Eltham, Victoria.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Adventure photos

Hello to our lovely readers
We're putting a call out for any adventure photos that might fit in our Summer issue of Barefoot. Send them through to as low resolutions pics, and if we can use them we'll ask for higher resolution pics later.
Photos will need to be minimum 300 dpi for use in the magazine.
Look forward to seeing your photos..
Yours adventurously
The Barefoot Team

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spring is here!

Finally!! Our Spring issue is here, just in time for Spring!!
This issue's features are on faith plus lots of other articles such as fussy eaters, social isolation and losing the family pet..

In store next week and out to subscribers this week!!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

BIG kids magazine

We'd like to share with you a new publication that is about to launch called BIG Kids Magazine. BIG stands for Bravery, Imagination and Generosity. (Just to avoid confusion - this is not being launched by us at Barefoot!)

BIG Kids Magazine is a contemporary arts publication for children. Driven by discovery, experimentation and response, we invite children to participate in topical conversations about art and the world. With a senior editor who is eight years old, BIG challenges hierarchies of who is listening and who is speaking to amplify small voices in BIG ways.

BIG is committed to partnering with organisations that support and enrich the lives of children and we will be working towards donating one magazine for every subscription sold, so that BIG is truly accessible to all children everywhere.
The magazine is a 60-page ethically produced biannual print publication that inspires creativity. It can be posted to anywhere in the world flying art from gallery walls and onto playroom floors. Every issue features a FREE artist print and two key projects: SIDE BY SIDE publishes artwork by children and artists side by side as our primary content and The Child Artist Response Project (CARP) is an initiative where children and artists respond directly to each other’s work.

You can keep up to date with developments, launch dates and stockists by signing up for the Monthly Newsletter, becoming a follower of the blog or by liking the BIG Kids Magazine facebook page.

Visit for more information.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Barefoot back issues

Here is some information about our back issues - for those of you who have recently subscribed and need to choose a back issue as part of your subscription - and for those of you who want to purchase some of the wonderful back issues you may have missed out on...
Issue 1 - Autumn 2009
Art and Motherhood
The value of Mothering
Slow Food
Issue 2 Winter 2009 - ALMOST SOLD OUT
Comtemporary Fathering
Breeding Brats?
Living Simply
Zen and the art of...
Issue 3 - Spring 2009
Family life in Australia
Home death
Eco psychology
Issue 4 - Summer 2009
The widsom of our hands
Peaceful families
The 'm' word
Raw food
Issue 5 - Autumn 2010
Kitchen remedies
Fair Trade
Issue 6 - Winter 2010
Boys and wild play
Our girls, our bodies, ourselves
Seasonal soul food
Issue 7 - Spring 2011
Rites of Passage
Let's talk about sex
Knitting for good

Issue 8 - Summer 2010
Sustainable play
Finding your tribe
Deep ecology

Issue 9 - Autumn 2011
The shadow side
My kombi mid-life
A journey into sustainability


Issue 10 - Winter 2011
Listening deeply
The healing power of chooks
Billy Carts

Issue 11 - Spring 2011
Fussy eaers
Social isolation
Losing the family pet

Issue 12 - Summer 2011
Step parenting
The wisdom of horses
Cubby houses


Back issues
Please specify which issues

Back issues
Please specify which issues

Please specify which back issue you'd like when you subscribe - otherwise we will choose one of our favourites for you..
Take care
The Barefoot Team

Monday, July 25, 2011

Solar Power Info Session

One of the wonderful places that sell our mag is the Enviro shop in Northcote (Melbourne).

We're pleased to support them by letting our readers know of their upcoming

(info below taken directly from their website)

 Solar Power Info Night 

Wed 3rd August

Hear the latest on Solar Power from the solar power experts

  • Learn about the latest rebates and incentives
  • Find out if your house is suitable
  • Bring along your last electricity bill to find out what system is best for you
  • Learn how to get the most out of your solar investment


Wednesday 3 August 2011
6:30pm - 8:30pm


EnviroGroup's New Head Office
8 Arthurton Rd
Vic, 3070
How to get there


1. Your last electricity bill - if you want the best advice on what kind of system is right for you
2. Your friends and neighbours! Here's their invitation - Click here

How to Register

To attend you will need to register by Tuesday 26th July to 9095 7421 or

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Changes to Barefoot

To our Barefoot friends and families,

As you know, Barefoot has always been a labour of love, dedication, time and energy. Throughout the last three years, we at Barefoot have maintained our unwavering environmental stance and endeavoured to maintain our standards for the magazine around treading gently and parenting passionately. In keeping with this philosophy, we have made a decision to make Summer 2011 our last issue of Barefoot in order that we may tread gently and parent passionately in the lives of our own families.

We know that this will disappoint many of our loyal readers, subscribers and supporters, but we hope you will understand our desire to prioritise our own families.

If you're wondering about subscriptions, here's how it will work:

If you subscribe during Winter 2011, you'll receive three new issues and your choice of a back issue.
If you subscribe during Spring 2011, you'll receive two new issues and two back issues.
If you subscribe during Summer 2011, you'll receive our last issue and three back issues.

If you've recently subscribed, please email us and let us know which back issue you would like to complete your subscription. We will rely on you to contact us, as we don't have the time to chase all of you up for your preference. If we don't hear from you, we will choose a favourite for you to be included with our last issue.
If you're a distributor, everything will remain the same until our final issue in Summer 2011.

For more updates on what we might do next, please watch our blog and Facebook.
Our regular events will also continue to run so watch this space for more information.

Anna, Rachel and Charlotte

P.S. If Barefoot has ignited a fire in your heart and you’d like to talk to us about taking it on, please email us at

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Upcoming Event!!

Here's the flyer for our upcoming event!!
 Tickets are available on the blog (look down the right hand side)
Hope to see you there.
The Barefoot Team

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Listening to our Children in the Spaces

By Jenny Chapman

"The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow,
but the rainbow won't wait while you do the work."
Patricia Clafford

Living in bare feet makes me think of a carefree childhood spent outdoors: summers by the lake; mud and sand; bee stings; running; and the occasional mishap with doggie doodoo…

Bare feet can symbolise childhood, play and a free, ‘un-selfconscious’ way of being in the world.
Bare feet can also represent a child’s place in our parenting world. The space that we provide for them, with our words and actions (and reactions!) is the space in which a child’s sense of self will flourish. This space creates the context in which they grow and understand their world and their relationships. The challenge is to give up the pace of our adult lives and tune into the pace of our child—even just for a moment. Kindness, respect and presence will never be replaced as the most important gifts we can give anyone, least of all our own children.

And our child's place in our world can be seen and heard when we stop and listen to them in the 'white space' of our lives - the spaces between the words, the busy-ness. With this in mind, I wondered, am I present with my child? I decided to metaphorically take off my shoes and socks and listen to my child today…and to the spaces between us. I got a shock.

Dear mama.

Did you know the sky was pink this morning when I woke up? I wanted to tell you about it but I forgot to when you turned on the telly and I saw the Bananas chasing the Teddy Bears. I wanted to help you make the breakfast, but you told me to go sit down and wait. I wanted to crunch up the wheat biscuits and feel them in my hand—even munch on a few bits. I wanted to hold the spoon and watch the honey drip. Why did you take the spoon off me? I am sorry I spilt the honey on the table. Can I help you wash up the dishes? Why are we in a hurry? I feel a bit sad…

Can you swing me on the swing? More, more! Wheeeee! Why do we have to stop? I am happy just swinging. I don’t want to go on the slide – I want to swing!

When we make the omelette can I crack the eggs? Sorry Mama, I got a shell in the bowl. I will help you wipe the table. I already did it—why do you have to do it again? Can I help do the vacuuming? I can do the little bits then you do the big bits.

I want to show you something mama, just outside. Watch me run! Watch me roll on the ground! Look at the rain—can I go outside and play in my raincoat?

Mama can I sit on your knee? Please don’t do your emails now…read me my new book!

I was shocked by the number of times my son apologised TO ME for spilling something; for thinking he was in the road when I was trying to get something done. And, the number of times he asked to just JOIN in with what I was doing, however mundane I thought it was. And, the number of outbursts of frustration and sadness by him, because I’d interrupted his time in disrespectful ways, or tried to control how he played. And, the number of times I said, ‘Be careful.’ Too many! Oh my heart fills with grief for lost moments, and guilt for violating his needs.
Breathe. Let us all take time now, and reflect on how we treat our children. Moreover, how we treat ourselves? Living barefoot is the freedom to be a child. Do we allow our children to live freely? Do we allow ourselves to live freely, simply, and in the present?

My Son Reminds Me

Who told you that I need to Learn how to live in this world?
I am in this world NOW and NOW is my world!
I am living!
I am Life!

I like my Boots on THESE feet,
And if I have my pants on backwards I can see my tag – very Important to see your tag, Mama!
And today I want this blue sock, and this orange sock. I think they look very pretty.
Why are you groaning? Are you sick?

I LIKE my pops, they are FUNNY!
My bottom goes all bubbly and tickles me.
My tummy is big but not as big as yours, Mama – yours is Very Big!
I have big ears, you say, that hear too much.
What is Too Much? A song? Can you sing it?

Mama, YOU have to sit on the Calm Down chair
You have to sit there and take big breaths in and out when you are cross.
Then I will give you a cuddle and you can say Sorry.

Let’s have a picnic outside in the dark tonight,
But you have to hold my hand…it’s a bit scary and the possums might get me.
Look! There’s the moon! It’s a smiley moon today!
Hey diddle diddle the cat played the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the mooooooooo-n!

Here I am NOW, Mama
I am Life!
Don’t get too busy, Mama
Here I am NOW!

 What do you hear, when you stop to listen to the white space in your lives?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Red Nose Day

Hello lovely Barefoot readers

This post is about an issue which is very close to our hearts in the Barefoot team - As you may know, Rachel's daughter Iris died in her sleep almost four years ago. She was a month off turning three and she was such a wonderful girl. Rachel and her family received a great deal of support from SIDS and Kids and so we all feel very strongly about supporting Red Nose Day which is coming up on Friday 24th June, 2011.

Red Nose Day Product Box$5 'Tax Deductible' Donation Lapel Pin (Avail. in packs of 5)

Red Nose Day, one of Australia's favourite fundraisers, is calling on your support this June. Nine children under the age of four die suddenly and unexpectedly everyday in Australia from a range of causes including sleeping accidents, drowning, motor vehicle accidents, sudden onset illness, SIDS and stillbirth.

SIDS and Kids offers anyone affected by the death of a baby or child free 24-hour bereavement support services. They also provide safe sleeping education for mums, dads, grandparents, carers and the like to reduce the occurrence of SIDS and other fatal sleeping accidents.
This June, why not fundraise for SIDS and Kids and support families who have been devastated by the death of a baby or child? Through Red Nose Day, SIDS and Kids are helping to save lives of future babies and children.

SIDS and Kids needs your help so stick on a red nose, slap on a smile and be silly for a serious cause this June!

How can you help?

Buy Red Nose Day products from retail partners

The SIDS and Kids online shop is a great way people can offer their support. Visit to see what's on offer or you can follow the cause on Facebook and Twitter


Giant Foam Nose

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Seminar coming up....

For all of our Melbourne Barefoot readers, there is a great seminar coming up in Ivanhoe, Victoria about the sexualisation of children in the media. Julie Gale spoke at our of our events and she's fabulous - I strongly recommend going along if you can...

Bratz, Britney and Bralettes:
The sexualisation of children in the media.

Thursday 19 May 2011
7:00 pm for 7:30 pm to 9:45pm
The Performing Arts Centre, Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School
Cnr Noel Street & Upper Heidelberg Road
Ivanhoe VIC
From tiny tots to late teens, children are being affected by sexualisation and media messages about weight, looks, clothes and behaviour.
The harm is real, and not just to girls.

Come and hear some of Australia's best speakers on children and teens, the issues and what can be done, at this seminar for parents and teachers.

• Steve Biddulph, Author and Family Psychologist (via video presentation)
• Julie Gale, Founding Director of Kids Free 2B Kids
• Dr C Glenn Cupit, Senior Lecturer in Child Development, University of South Australia
• Archbishop Dr Philip Freier, Anglican Diocese of Melbourne

The seminar will be chaired by Professor Elizabeth Handsley, School of Law, Flinders University & ACCM President

Cost: $30.00

For more information, or to book by phone, contact ACCM:

PH 08 8376 2111

Seminar bought to you by The Australia Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) and Kids Free 2B Kids

Please share this information.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Our Autumn 2011 winners have been decided!!

Congratulations to Marissa Prudden from Mornington, VIC who won a 100% double bed bamboo quilt from Mendip! For more info, go to  All Marissa needed to do was subscribe during March/April!

Our photo winner was Shellie Drysdale from Eltham, VIC who sent in this beautiful photo which will be featured in our Winter 2011 issue.

Well done Marissa and Shellie  - thanks for your continued support of Barefoot and being a part of it!
Take care and stay warm.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Science of Washing Nappies

by Amanda McCracken, with Jacqui Parncutt and Kirsten Randle.

With the advent of modern cloth nappies a new regime of eco-friendly laundering has come into being. No soaking, no bleach, no boiling water. Modern nappies don’t require all those things of the past! All sounds very well, but in many parts this has been taken to an extreme – gentle washing, cold water and minimal detergent. The result: smelly nappies that are deteriorating before they should.
As much as we want to believe that we can get away without chemicals or hot water, it goes against the laws of science and nature. Going against the laws of science in the laundry is like standing naked in the rain and expecting to get as clean as you would by scrubbing yourself with a soapy washcloth in a warm shower.
We must always remember that nappies are essentially our babies’ toilets for the first two years of their lives. We are not washing clothing which may have a bit of dirt or food marks, we are washing little toilets and trying to get them clean enough that our babies can wear their toilets, right next to their skin, over and over again.

Using science in the laundry.
There are four main factors to consider when trying to get your nappies clean.

1.Thermal Energy (water temperature)
2. Water Softness (mineral content of the water)
3. Mechanical Energy (agitation)
4. Chemical Energy (detergent)

These four factors work together to help reduce the surface tension of water which in turn allows it to get into the fibres of the nappies an clean them. If you decrease one factor other factors will need to increase to compensate for that loss. This explains why people in Adelaide with hard water will require more detergent than people in Melbourne, and why they have to scrub harder with a cake of soap in order to make bubbles.

How to wash nappies

Wash early, wash often. Like any laundering; nappies will be cleaner if they are washed soon after they become dirty. The urine has less chance to eat away at the fabric, the bacteria has less chance to breed, and any stains that may arise from soiling have less time to set. Most importantly, this is not the time to skimp on water.

1. Dry-pail. This is still a good idea from a practicality and safety point of view. A) No Heavy Lifting involved and B) No Drowning Risks to young infants. You’ll get a better result if you give your nappies a quick rinse under the tap before popping in the bucket.

2. Prerinse. This step should be done with cold water and no detergent. The aim of this step is to try to remove much of the urine and bacteria from the nappy - so we need less detergent to get the nappies clean in the next step.

3. The wash. This is where you need to contrate on getting the combination of water temperature, softness v hardness, mechanical energy and detergent right. Now while you might not have a lot of control over your water softness or hardness, you can control the three other factors. You don’t always need hot water, and it may damage other parts of your modern cloth nappies such as the elastic or plastic components, but you may need to hot wash occassionally. If you use cold water, you will need to compensate by using more detergent. So a balance is best. Warm water with an appropriate amount of detergent and a wash on the longest cycle.

So which detergent is best? We recommend a non-purfumed, enzyme free, optical whitening free, phosphate free concentrate or an ultra-concentrate. You want the best bang for your buck – the most bubbles for your scoop. As many babies can show reactions to detergents, you want the least amount of fillers – as small traces may remain on the fabric, even after a final rinse.

4. Final rinse. This is to remove as much of the detergent residue as possible – so as to reduce the risk of skin irritation of your little one’s behind.

5. Line Dry. The sun will provide you with lots of lovely UV rays that will kill bacteria and assist in sterilising your nappies. Great news for Queenslanders! Not such great news for southerners in winter, although many of us can make do.

If your nappies smell, it is likely you have a cleanliness problem, that is, you are not washing the urine and bacteria out of all the layers of your nappy. In this situation you need to work on lowering your surface tension of the water so that it will clean your nappies properly, by changing your thermal and/or chemical energies.

The extras

  •  Hot water – This has a lower surface tension than cold or warm water meaning that it gets into the fibres of the nappies and cleans them more easily as well as killing many bacteria. Hot water may decrease the lifespan of PUL and elastic but it does have the advantage over chemicals that it won’t leave a residue that could cause irritation to baby’s skin. Anti-bacterial rinses - These will help to sterilise the nappies and once more will help to lower the water surface tension – resulting in cleaner nappies. They are recommended after gastro, thrush, live vaccinations and a bad case of nappy rash. Also handy in winter if you aren’t getting enough UV rays from the sun to sterilise your nappies.
  •  Nappy Sanitisers – Like the anti-bacterial rinses – these use chemical energy to both kill bacteria and to lower water surfact tension. The active ingredient breaks down in water to a water softener and hydrogen peroxide – which will further break down to water and oxygen. Often cotain optical whiteners and enzymes which may cause rash. Rinse well.
  • Vinegar – can be used to lower the pH of the nappies caused by detergent residue.
  • Dryer - isn’t such a great idea because it deteriorates elastic and PUL in your modern nappies as well as using enormous amounts of electricity. If you do use it you will need to use it on a hot enough setting to prevent bacterial growth, since you are omitting the sterilising step that the sun performs.

Most of us who use modern cloth nappies do so because we want to reduce our footprint. We want to live eco-conscious lives, lower our impact on our environment. But this does not mean we can wish science away. Warm and hot water, detergent and chemical solutions need not be the enemies. They can help us get longer wear out of our nappies and make those years that we have little ones in nappies a pleasant, satisfying experience.

Amanda McCracken B.Com.

Amanda is a mother of four children six and under, all of whom have been cloth nappied. In 2007 she established Mandy Mac, a successful modern cloth nappy business which she runs from her home in Melbourne. See

Jacqui Parncutt B.Sc. (Hons)

Jacqui is a Melbourne based medical scientist. She is a keen modern cloth user with a soft spot for microbiology. She wanted to share her knowledge of bacterial management in the laundry, especially with regard to cloth nappies.

Kirsten Randle B.Sc., M.F.Sc.

Kirsten is a very busy RAAF wife and mother. She has a Bachelor of Science, Master of Forensic Science (Firearm Chemistry) and almost completed her PhD in Applied Chemistry (Forensic Science/Counter-terrorism) as well as being an avid fan of modern cloth.

Photos by Pamela Bradford and Debbie Treweek

Monday, March 7, 2011

Who Am I?

As we try to create our own identity in this society and our own families, when new roles are placed in our lives, we rethink who we are and how important names become to us. Barefoot reader Sue Lloyd submitted this wonderful, thoughtful article, on being a grandmother.
Thanks, Sue.

Who Am I ?

I know who I am but perhaps everyone else does not know. It is clear to me how I would like to be regarded, what interactions I would like with others , usually anyway, and which direction I would like my life to go in. However there is a new role to be added to the ones I am used to playing and here I find myself on less familiar ground.
It seems to me that names and titles may  be associated with images and perceptions. For example give someone the title of King and there is an automatic assumption of power, privilege and wealth. Label someone else as homeless and we probably conjure an image of poverty, hunger and poor hygiene. Do I want to be labelled in a certain way by the name that is given to me in this new role? I would prefer to make my own choice, be part of  forging my own new identity and be able to negotiate and navigate this new direction with flexibility and humour.
I do not want to be pigeon holed with an accepted or traditional perception of the role I have embarked upon but rather be free to forge my own individual version of this position with terms that are allowing of evolvement and growth. Having been familiar with a variety of common words to describe this position it seems that none of them fit the vision I hold of my intentions. Previous  personal imagery which fills my head evokes entirely the wrong picture, by association or inference I suppose, and encourages me to avoid such similes.
 It is my objective to develop a new multi faceted role to add to the other aspects of my life; perhaps I will be a confidant, a story teller, a friend, who knows. Since there are two of us involved in this interaction I do not have carte blanche but will need to negotiate my way carefully and be aware of the embryonic nature of this relationship.
Research into possibilities for names to encompass my new function revealed some cute, traditional, old fashioned, staid and plainly weird suggestions. It appears different countries have their favourites which sometimes overlap but more often are different, reflecting alternate cultures and customs I suppose.
Regrettably, it seems to me, the personal role models on which I might have based my  own interactions are either lacking, poor or inappropriate so I feel it is best that I  work out  my new  situation without reference to prior characteristics.
Defining and naming a personal rank is one of life’s great challenges I think. Who has not manoeuvred to claim the title of Manager instead of Assistant Manager for example, who does not jealousy guard given job descriptions  as signs of status often recognised with a superior office or personal assistant? Most people would regard a title as indicative of individual worth and the esteem and respect in which they are held; a just reward for hard work or company loyalty perhaps. It became apparent that I wanted to get my new classification to fit my perception of this role.
After much deliberation  I have decided Gigi will fit with my idea of how I would like to be thought of. This can be pronounced with a hard G or a soft G – as in zee zee but the image portrayed will remain the same. Does anyone remember the 1958 film Gigi with Leslie Caron in the lead role I wonder? The theme of this film is that Gigi is willing to sacrifice anything for love and there is a strong emphasis on the values of  caring and responsibility. She is portrayed as tomboy who did not really want to grow up still displaying the enthusiasm, exuberance and joy of childhood while managing to also be sophisticated and wise. Literally this word means both Earth Worker in the Greek translation and brilliant and trustworthy in the French translation. 
What a great name for my role as Grandma.

Right to Childhood Conference

An important conference with loads of great, informed speakers (we know, because a few of them have spoken at our Barefoot events!).
For professionals and parents and anyone else concerned with childhood in today's culture.
Friday 29 April, 2011 • 9am-5pm: Sydney
Wesley Conference Centre 220 Pitt Street, Sydney
We encourage you all to check out the website and/or the brochure.

Subsrciption giveaway!

For the next ten people who subscribe or resubscribe, we have a giveaway!
A double pass to our Bullying event being held in Eltham, Victoria on March 16th, 2011!! All you need to do is subscribe, and then post 'I'm there' on our Facebook page - and we'll put your names at the door!! Giveaway is worth $40 per pass - so you can't go wrong!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Barefoot event - Bullying

Come along and find out more about how children, parents, teachers and the wider
community can recognise, understand and combat bullying. 

Artwork copyright by Janet Wolf 2011

Presented by Maree Stanley 

Wednesday 16th March, 2011
Eltham Community and Reception Centre, 801 Main Rd, Eltham
Doors open 7pm (limited parking)

7.30pm (prompt start) – 10.00pm

Tickets: $20/$15 conc. - includes light supper

RSVP by 11th March by emailing
Tickets must be paid for prior to event (paypal to your right of this page)

Other enquiries please call 0417509756.

ELTHAMBookshop will have books for sale on the night.

Maree Stanley is the Prevention Manager at The Alannah   and Madeline Foundation
The Foundation’s mission is'keeping children safe from violence’. 
Maree developed the foundation’s prevention program and is an experienced and dynamic
speaker on the issue of bullying.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Equality Rights Alliance is celebrating 100 years of International Women’s Day with Sharing Young Women’s Stories, a campaign to fight negative Body Image and we need YOU 

Equality Rights Alliance is Australia's largest network of organisations advocating for women's equality, and they're running a body image campaign.
They (and we!) want to see more positive body images showing the beauty of real, natural women. They're calling on Minister for Youth, Peter Garrett, to promote 100 fashion industry businesses who sign up to the Voluntary Code of Conduct on Body Image. Guides Australia released a report yesterday showing that 63% of girls aged 10-14, and 75% of older girls, believe that the media thinks the most important aspect of being a girl is to look 'pretty and thin'. They want to show girls that they are valued for more important things than their ability to conform to an unrealistic and unhealthy media stereotype.

Click here to read more about this very important project.

A Gift of Flowers

Friday, February 18, 2011

Our Autumn Issue Out Soon!

Our Autumn Issue is due out very soon - and there's loads of new wonderful articles to enjoy.

We need to let you know - Barefoot Magazine is unfortunately no longer available in Newsagents. It is still available in some smaller outlets, but mostly we encourage you to subscribe so you don't miss out!

Scroll down and you'll find our magazine subscription info, on the left.

And we encourage those who can make it, to attend our next event on Bullying. More info here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


As a hospital play specialist and counsellor I am often with children in potentially stressful situations where resilience is called upon. Studies have shown that one of the greatest comforts for a child is the presence of their parents or caregivers. I recently attended a workshop by Petrea King (and the Quest for Life Foundation) that has spent over 20 years working with people of all ages and their families when challenged by illness, and other major life events. The workshop was entitled “Resilient Children” and it gave deeper meaning into what it means to be a presence or ‘present’ in a child’s life. There is a difference between just being there and being present. To be present with a child means that we are fully focused and emotionally present in the present time. This means that we are not forward planning what we need to do for the rest of the day in our minds, distracted, caught up with what just happened, concerned about what others think… Sometimes simply being there can mean only our bodies are present whereas being present in its full sense involves our all of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects. An everyday example of my not being fully present was when I made my daughter a slice of vegemite toast when she very clearly asked for jam…  I had an internal conversation going on in my mind and was only half listening. Peter Levine who writes about trauma also tells of the importance in emotional first aid of settling and grounding ourselves first so we are then present and equipped to tend to the child’s needs. If we find ourselves or our child in a stressful or potentially traumatic situation then being present can become more of a challenge. If the parent/ caregiver is also overwhelmed by an event then it may be necessary to bring in another caring adult who can help tend to the child whilst the parent/ caregiver has time to calm, settle and ground themselves.  Children sense when we are not emotionally and mentally present for them and it can leave them feeling unprotected and overwhelmed. So one of the greatest ways we can support our children is by how we are in our ‘being.’
So how to be present and grounded? Everyone will find their own preferences, but it could include meditation practices or breathing into your whole body right down to your legs and feet. Practise the skills often and they can become easier to access under stress.
Sometimes due to circumstance if may not be possible to be physically there to comfort a child. Technology can help with the use of phones and the internet. You can also create your own rituals to keep connection with your child. This may be by sending kisses, hugs and love which the child may feel as tickles or a warm feeling, for example. Children can send their love too. And remember that the person you are wishing to feel connection with and send love to does not have to be living. Petrea has a lovely rainbow meditation available her website to be used for all these purposes.
Becoming resilient doesn’t have to be a sink or swim response when life throws us a curve ball. By learning to be more present, becoming more aware of our body sensations, becoming more emotional literate, and learning healthy coping and self care skills, we have a huge reservoir of skills that can be called upon when especially needed. Petrea stressed that it is not about what happens to us but how we respond that affects us. We can empower ourselves and children to have choices in the responses we all have.
Natasha Hund
Hospital Play Specialist and Counsellor

The Rainbow Mediation
Trauma-Proofing Your Kids
Peter Levine & Maggie Kline (North Atlantic Books, 2008)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My Story of Jude

As you know we welcome birth stories of all sorts, here at Barefoot.Natalie has been kind enough to share hers. Thank you Natalie.

By Natalie Caruso

Like many women, I always knew that I wanted to have children ‘some day’ but I recall a specific moment when I finally felt ready to become a mother. Waking up one morning, I felt different. It was a Wednesday in July. I felt an inner knowingness and a sense of peace with the decision to have a child.

It took me two days to share this with my husband Joe and doing so was a very emotional experience for me. Once I revealed my feelings, there was no going back. I felt a mixture of nervousness and excitement as I was entering into a new and life-long commitment. It was a great responsibility that I was accepting in my role as a mother especially in the way I wanted to raise a child.

Being extremely motivated, I began to prepare myself for pregnancy. I have always lived a health conscious lifestyle and working outdoors at a health retreat on the Gold Coast provided a wonderful setting during the day. I also began regular massage and reike as well as keeping up my yoga practice and naturopathic visits.

Only a month passed, when Joe’s company offered him a promotion based in Melbourne, which would commence in a few short months.  While it was a great opportunity for him career wise, it certainly didn’t fall into our plans at the time. We were renovating and planning a move soon and I had always imagined being around my family, as we began our own. I was also very close to my grandfather and I really wanted to be close to him in Queensland in his final years.  At the same time though, supporting my husband in his career was important to me and so after much discussion we decided that he would accept the promotion, ‘trialling’ things for a few months.

Around two months later, before he was due to go, I realised my period was late and I decided to do a home pregnancy test. Joe had just returned from buying some fresh bread as we waited impatiently for the little grey line to appear.  As it did, a wave of emotion swept through both of us ….we had created a child and our life was about to change forever.

My grandfather was in hospital at this time and we looked forward to sharing the news with all the family at his bedside knowing that it would cheer him up considerably.

Over the next month, our renovation neared completion and we packed up and we moved into our new home.  Moving was the last thing I felt like doing in my early days of pregnancy but I wanted to make our new place feel like ‘home’ for us before Joe went to Melbourne.  Unfortunately, the smell of paint and everything new coupled with my pregnancy made me feel very nauseous. When Joe left for Melbourne, I lasted all of two weeks before I decided to move into Mum’s. The nausea stayed but I felt happier being close to my mum at this time and my family was reassured that I wasn’t going to be alone.

Within a few days of moving into Mums our little poodle ‘Missy’ of thirteen years began to deteriorate and passed away which left me devastated. This, coupled with missing my husband, not being able to share my pregnancy with him and the uncertainty of where his career may lead us, left me very sad. I loved spending time with mum and I had envisaged that she’d be close to me throughout this most important time in my life. However, as often happens in life, it seemed that my journey was about to take a different path.

At three months pregnant, I packed up my house up for the second time, moved everything into storage and joined Joe in his family’s home in Melbourne. Whilst Joe was enjoying his new role, there was so much uncertainty around what we were going to do; where we would live and for how long? What I knew for sure was that I wanted to birth naturally in the peaceful environment of home….the only problem was…I didn’t have a home.

It took us five frustrating months to finally find a place to live and by this time I was eight months pregnant. I was so relieved and grateful to finally have my own space and to get myself prepared for birth and the new baby that was entering our lives.

Being in Melbourne was extremely upsetting for my family.  We missed each other terribly and this coupled with the decline in my Grandfathers health made things very emotional for all of us. I was torn between my existing family and the new life I was creating. I felt helpless being so far away. But I needed to be focussed on what was happening in my own life and so I directed all my energy towards setting up our home and preparing for our child.

Despite feeling the emotional turmoil my body responded beautifully to my pregnancy. I continued with my yoga practice, went on regular walks and connected with my child on a daily basis, instilling trust in both of us for what was about to come. This time of turning inward gave me the strength to deal with the challenges life was presenting to me.

My dear friend Marion who was very experienced with homebirth came down from the Gold Coast to stay with us in the week prior to my due date. It was a wonderful supportive time for both Joe and I.

Two days before my due date my waters broke during the night. I wasn’t sure what to do so I grabbed some towels and returned to bed to try and get some rest. It was difficult to sleep with feelings of excitement and anticipation of what was to come. I was in deep trust and felt no fear at all. Whilst I loved my pregnancy and never got to the stage of wanting it to be over, I was also looking forward to finally meeting the beautiful child that was growing inside me. By 10am the next morning I was in labour and my child was on its way.

It was my husband and Marion who nurtured and coached and me through the experience of labour with exceptional dedication and presence.  ‘Rescue Remedy’ and lots of water were my other vital companions. We utilised the bath (which certainly helped with easing the discomfort of contractions) and moved around the entire house to get things progressing.

Halfway through the day, I was lying on our bed when all of a sudden I smelled a dreadful odour coming through the window. I later learned that our darling Marion had forgotten about the ‘heat wheat’ she was warming up in our microwave when it suddenly blew up, sending her running around the house with a burning heat wheat in her hand. In desperation she threw it out the front door.  Little did she realise that my bedroom window was open and right nearby. We never replaced the microwave. I’ve never been a fan of those anyway.

After a 22 hour labour and pushing for almost 5 hours we were finally blessed with a beautiful, healthy nine pound baby boy at 9:10am Wednesday the 18th of June 2008.  As planned with a ‘Lotus Birth’ we kept his umbilical cord attached.

I’ll never forget when he was first placed on my chest. Wrapped in warm bunny rugs, his big bright eyes looked directly into mine, and deep into my soul. I felt an overwhelming sense of love for him and a connection that is simply beyond words. It was one the most beautiful moments I have ever known.

Believing in myself, trusting in my body’s wisdom and feeling so compelled to give my child the best natural start to life is what gave me the courage to do what I did. Having total trust in Marion and her gentle guidance in addition to the support and encouragement from my amazing husband gave me the strength to get through one the most challenging events I have ever experienced. I will always remember how enduring and dedicated they were to me in my time of need.

Five days later whist in the bath, Jude’s umbilical cord detached itself leaving a beautifully healed navel. It was so incredible to honour this natural process and witness it taking place.

Three months later Jude Michael (Michael after my Grandfather) was christened on the Gold Coast. Three short weeks after that my dear grandfather passed away. I am so happy that he was able to meet our beautiful Jude and that Jude was able to meet him.

Jude is now 2 and a half. I feel immense gratitude having this beautiful little soul in my life allowing me to guide and nurture him intuitively and instinctively. Being with him reminds me to be present, to breathe and to love unconditionally. I am totally in wonder and awe of his beauty and his brilliance every day.

Natalie is a full time mother and lives in Melbourne’s North Eastern suburbs. She has worked in the health and wellness industry for many years, including Camp Eden Health Retreat on the Gold Coast. She has also been a Registered Nurse and worked in the Beauty and Fashion industries. She loves animals, being outdoors and is currently writing children’s books which she hopes to publish in the future. She embraces a healthy, positive and conscious approach to life and motherhood and is passionate about sharing this with others.

Our Summer Subscription Winner!

We have a winner! 

Congratulations to Jacinda Brown from Bachelor, NT for winning Stephen Michael King's illustrations! Her entry is below:

Creativity is akin
to what I do when gardening .
Inspired energy motivates, propagates
...Ideas grown
From seeds sown
Care and nourishment germinates, creates
strong roots,
blossom and fruits.

copyright Stephen Michael King


Monday, January 31, 2011


Come along and find out more about how children, parents, teachers and the wider
community can recognise, understand and combat bullying. 
Artwork copyright by Janet Wolf 2011

Presented by Maree Stanley 

Wednesday 16th March, 2011
Eltham Community and Reception Centre, 801 Main Rd, Eltham
Doors open 7pm (limited parking)

7.30pm (prompt start) – 10.00pm

Tickets: $20/$15 conc. - includes light supper

RSVP by 11th March by emailing
Tickets must be paid for prior to event (paypal to your right of this page)

Other enquiries please call 0417509756.

ELTHAMBookshop will have books for sale on the night.

Maree Stanley is the Prevention Manager at The Alannah and Madeline Foundation
The Foundation’s mission is'keeping children safe from violence’. 
Maree developed the foundation’s prevention program and is an experienced and dynamic
speaker on the issue of bullying.

An Important Response

This is one reader's response to an article in our Winter 2010 Issue. Part of this letter is published in our Summer 2010 Issue. The full letter is here. Thanks Coby! (Sorry it's posted so late)

I have only just read your surrender article from your winter 2010 edition.
A very useful thing to bear in mind. I worked for many years at a maximum
security mens jail in NSW. A very unfortunate but common story repeated

Youngish men 18 plus are sent to prison having been found guilty of crimes
from manslaughter to multiple lesser offences. As they disembark the
transport inside the jail it becomes apparent that the first time in their
lives they are learning a lesson that is the most valuable you can teach and
repeatedly reaffirm to a child. That is cause and effect, consequences of
One boy/man and many like him had a fist fight. An unlucky punch to the head
had the consequence of death. Either due to the positioning of the blow or a
ring or the person hitting their head on the ground.

It is a terrible consequence of our more recent moves away from smacking
children or punishing them that no alternative consequential result has
replaced it. I personally feel that it is a dreadful way to learn the
consequences lesson by being placed in a dangerous jail with very dangerous

Boys push violent boundaries as you mention in your article but
unfortunately merely telling them to tap into a more understanding gentle
side is often not a consequences lesson. Each parent would know what a good
consequences lesson would be for their child but it certainly is a problem
if people don't react at all to behaviour that has its basis in violence.

I don't ever want to see a child smacked or punished for bad physical
behaviour with bad physical behaviour, but I also never want it not to be
taught to a child that guns stop life, punches kill and violence is always
punished after they have left our loving care.

One other story is common in relation to these boys. That is that most of
their mothers cannot believe this has happened and also believe that the
punishment is to harsh given that it was not the boys intention. But then
after the shock comes a steady stream on guilt that should they have known
they would have taught consequences lessons from the start.

As you asked for peoples thoughts and experiences I thought I would send you
mine. As a mother I was very aware of this lesson. Trying to stem the flow
of heavy rough and tumble with boys is difficult however, encouraging them
to see and treat their strength as a gift worked for me. He was taught that
using that energy to help to carry things, assist weaker ones, change bike
tyres, build go karts etc was the only way I could think of channeling

My most important lesson was from my mother who told me to travel by public
transport with him. She said we cocoon our kids in our cars and homes and
they never get to see real life, lessons and unpredictable behaviours until
they are alone.

She was right. On the bus was a mentally ill man who shouted and frightened
him, old ladies who were struggling with bags, seats that needed to be given
up, groups of teenage boys at the back shouting and showing off and
generally frightening and annoying everyone. Sitting next to the older
ladies allowed him to hear what they said in response to the boys behaviour.
How it frightened them etc.

My contribution to your question is to get parents out of their comfortable
zone with their boys and interpret the lessons as they go. Public transport
is a travelling world of life for parents and children. It provides a new
opportunity everytime with unpredictable situations arising. No one should
want their childrens first opportunity to see and work these lessons through
to be when they are alone. I always told him that when he stood at a bus
stop he should always say good day to the oldest ladies there. Simply put
because as a bigger boy and in a group they frighten old people. They are
however blind to that. My question to all parents of boys is do they want
them to be someone who frightens old ladies? Learns consequences only as
they get off a prison transport bus or learn that no matter how strong you
are there will always be many more stronger, but it is possible always to be
the kindest. Far less competition lies in the kindness stakes. Plus good
kind men get far better girlfriends.

We are now able to cocoon our children far more than ever before and as a
result they are learning very valuable life lessons only when not in our
care. Boys push boundaries but they soon start to discover more when the
boundaries are created by different people and not just us. For your
information I asked the group of boys had they ever travelled on a bus with
their parents before starting going on their own. You won't be surprised to
hear the answer was no.


Celebratory Book Launch

From Kinglake to Kabul
edited by Neil Grant and David Williams
published by Allen & Unwin

'In an extraordinary journey across cultural boundaries, these teenage writers emerge out of tragedy and trauma with stories of great beauty, power and empathy. Their work provides a model for writing projects that reach out for mutual understanding in a
divided world.' Arnold Zable

‘As long as we are still alive, we can have everything later, we can start from scratch.’ My Nguyen, Kinglake

'After twenty-five years, my father and uncle have moved back to Afghanistan. My father says, "You are going to build this country again."' Shaheer, Kabul

In this collection of young people’s writing, students from two vastly different countries share their stories of resilience, courage and hope. In doing so they illustrate the
remarkable healing quality of words and illuminate what connects us as humans. This is
not a book of remembrance or a book that desires to shock, it is a book about what is
best about human nature.

When: Sunday 13th February 2011 at 3pm
Where: Kinglake Rebuilding and Advisory Centre and Community Facility
2970 Heidelberg-Kinglake Road, Kinglake.
Bookings essential: Tel. : 9439 8700

abc features the book here

Australian Parenting Conference 2011

AUSTRALIAN PARENTING CONFERENCE is proud to offer Barefoot Subscribers a 10% discount!

We invite you to register for the upcoming Australian Parenting Conference being held at the Parkside Auditorium, Darling Harbour, Sydney on the 24 and 25 February 2011.

 Full details, programme, and registration details are available here.

The topics for this event include
  • parenting interactions within a book reading context,
  • positive parenting,
  • discipline,
  • adolescence, 
  • attachment,
  • abuse,
  • parenting in divorce and separation,
  • parenting children with autistic disorders, 
  • mindful parenting
  •  and more...

All subscribers to Barefoot Magazine are to receive a 10% discount please indicate this when registering.