Media: A lovely little magazine

Media: A lovely little magazine

When my Footprints magazine turns up in the post, it is usually at a time when my little soul is crying out for feeding or I need a little kick in my step that I can't get with stilettos and red lippie. It's a handy, soul-candy little mag for Christian women that's ideal for your handbag, full of stories and poetry and heartfelt words. In short, it's a DELIGHT. And it might make you cry.

Dorothy O'Neill's story of a man named Frank who had polio got me off to a right Kleenex start: during the London Olympics of 1948, he told a crowd gathered at a church, "If I had the chance to be the finest athlete in the world, but be without the friendship of Christ, I would not accept it. I would rather have Jesus." Three days later, at age 31, he died.

Bulletin Board: Biggest Relief Package, Philanthropic Foodies, Compassion

Bulletin Board: Good will tidings
While you are likely more than aware of the many pressing needs globally, did you know just $80 will pay a teacher's salary for a year in Nakivale, Uganda? I learnt this via news of UNHCR's 'Biggest Relief Package' campaign. The organisation aims to raise $1 million to assist the people of Nakivale, a refugee settlement where nearly half the population are children, with a chance to learn and grow. Gift packages also include malaria treatments, emergency survival kits and water distribution points.

With 36,000 Australian teenagers homeless this Christmas, The Philanthropic Foodie collective is hoping to raise $25,000 for Father Chris Riley's Youth Off The Streets via the donation of profits from its $150-$200 "Love Sydney" hampers. Bringing together goods by Bourke Street Bakery, Christine Manfield, Gelato Messina, Simon Johnson, Danks Street Depot, Campos and Harris Farm Markets, as well as a picnic mat, Future Classic CD and hand-drawn card by Daimon Downey of Sneaky Sound System.
And a word from GWAS supported charity Compassion, releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name. It's my Compassion child Ana's 12th birthday on Friday!
Girl With a Satchel

Satchelnomics: Retailers say "Shopcupy" this!

The Rudd Government GFC stimulus package of 2009, which saw a $950 sweetener land in the bank accounts of Aussie taxpayers, is but a distant memory as the Gillard Government's pre-Christmas economic cutbacks start to resonate with the Aussie public: $400 chopped off the baby bonus, tough love for living-away-from-home workers and Public Service savings are just some of the measures proposed to get the country's bank account back in the black come 2012-13.  

Austerity is the word of the moment as governments strive to become fiscally responsible and avert the disastrous consequences seen in Greece and Italy and the structural issues emanating from America which spurred on the GFC. 

But while cautious citizens have tightened their belts this year to weather the brewing storm blowing in from abroad,  retailers have launched a series of strategic pre-Christmas "Shopcupy" campaigns to encourage shoppers to their doors and online stores while reminding us all that retail is a driver of economic growth and employment.

Tonight Vogue Australia is exercising its powers of persuasion via its Online Shopping Night with the aim of tapping into the masthead's legion of loyal fashion followers. Vogue has recruited more than 80 brands and shopping sites while a 'media hub' consisting of Team Vogue Australia and designers including Akira Isogawa, Leona Edmiston and Josh Goot will build momentum via tweeting and content creation at

Media: The team behind Gold Coast magazine

Media: The team behind Gold Coast magazine
Jenna Moir, Kirra Smith and Aimee Ley of Gold Coast magazine pictured at Melbourne Cup
When I slipped into the Marina Mirage office of Gold Coast magazine, the editorial team of three was busily putting the November/December issue to bed. Editor Aimee Ley, who hails from Tamworth, runs the show, reporting to publisher Maria Gambaro, a prominent Coast businesswoman who bought the magazine about three years ago. 

"I work out exactly what's going in the magazine, I liaise with the sales team to make sure we're meeting our budgets, make sure these guys are on track and that we have the same united vision for the mag," says Ley, who has a journalism degree from the University of Queensland and started on the magazine as a junior writer. "I also work with the publisher, who pays all our bills, to make sure she's happy, and I make sure the magazine is well represented in the community."

Ley's wingwoman, editorial assistant Kirra Smith, has a Masters of Journalism (Griffith University) and is also a Tamworth migrant (she and Ley went to the same high school but graduated in different years). Smith is responsible for about 50 per cent of the content, including the product pages, 'What's On' pages and advertorials. She also handles the distribution of the magazine with the advertising accounts team, ensuring that all 15,000 CAB audited copies of "Australia's longest running regional magazine" get out to the right people and places (cafes, hotels, hairdressers, shops) each bi-monthly issue.

The Digital Gloss Files - November 29

...with Julia Low

Play School has an app! Designed for two to six-year-olds, the free ABC Art Maker app encourages imagination and creativity by allowing children to create pictures, animate a Play School movie, make a story slideshow and catch up on episodes. The American Society of Pediatrics says screen time for under-2s is a no-no, and children older than 2 should be limited to 1 to 2 hours per day, while a recent survey of NSW school children found 44% of primary school aged kids are exceeding healthy screen time limits. So, Play School is cool but not at the expense of physical activity and independent creative play. 

Still at the ABC, head of arts and entertainment programming Amanda Duthie has told Graeme Blundell of The Australian that the digital Arts Gateway founded in 2010 is competing with the artists themselves with the smallest of galleries embracing cheap technology to showcase their own work in video broadcasts. "It's all shifting so quickly; what were once arts venues have become distributors of their own product," she said. "They show the work; there are interviews with the artists, behind-the-scenes journalism and they even commission short films." Just one of the many industries taking consumer media matters into its own hands.

NewsLifeMedia today announced the extension of 14 of its mastheads onto Zinio's digital newsstand platform. Four NewsLifeMedia mastheads have already launched on Zinio – GQ Australia, Vogue Australia, ABC delicious. magazine ($19.99 for six issues) and donna hay magazine – with another 10 mastheads to follow over the coming weeks.

It’s official: a Facebook smartphone is in the works, and the social networking giant has chosen mobile phone maker HTC to build it. A Facebook spokesperson told AllThingsD, “Our mobile strategy is simple: We think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social. We’re working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers to bring powerful social experiences to more people around the world.”

Meanwhile, at Apple,  last time it was the Nano burning down the house, now it's the iPhone...(almost) burning down the plane.   

Covers: MONOCLE issue 48

Covers: MONOCLE issue 48
The December/January issue promises 300 pages of interesting reads and ideas, but with thoughts of procuring food for the holiday season presses in, and the big supermarkets become all about branding their own generic goods on home soil (Aussies are apparently nothing if not loyal to brands in this case), a moment to enjoy the November cover of MONOCLE magazine, which is a diehard loyal advocate for print itself (the new issue showcases Paris-based XXI magazine) even though it's transferred well to the digital medium. Big guys supporting little guys, that's nice to see.

Girl With a Satchel

Media: Men's magazine performance a new manuscript for print

Media: A new manuscript for print
By Julia Low
Just three months after alternative men’s magazine Smith Journal was launched comes MANUSCRIPT hot on its  loafers. MANUSCRIPT is a new quarterly Australian publication that revolves around fashion, art, culture and design created for the growing generation of forward-thinking men. Helmed by author and journalist Mitchell Oakley Smith, MANUSCRIPT targets like-minded men who enjoy reading extensive profiles and visual essays on respected individuals in the industry.

“It seems that the magazines that do exist [in the Australian market] are extremely broad – encompassing every subject for every possible reader – and I wanted to create something that really honed in on what we know best,” Smith told GWAS.

“[You] won't find cars, food or alcohol in our title, nor do we objectify women. Beyond this, our content has international relevance, as we acknowledge the globalised society we live in, but there's a distinctly Australian twist to what we do: you can see it in the simplicity of the magazine's design and also in the tongue-in-cheek nature of the fashion pages, under the direction of Jolyon Mason.”

The sudden upsurge of alternative titles suggests that an increasing number of men are edging away from the typical lads’ mags and gaining a deeper interest in arts, culture, and lifestyle magazines. Recent magazine readership numbers have revealed that lads’ mags such as FHM, Zoo Weekly, People, and Picture are flailing.

Short & Sweet - week beginning November 28

Brooke Weeber Illustration
Let's catch up: Last week we were praying our little hearts out for a friend, but his healing was not meant to be. A little perplexed at God's planning in it all, a brand new addition to our immediate family, a little baby called ALLIE GRACE (lovely, no?), followed by a weekend Christening of five babies, helped to soothe our souls. Isn't that the way; life is lost and new life is found? Profound. Alas, we simply cannot know it all, or how or when we will go, and thus we can try to do our best to get on with whatever we've been given to do, to relish this precious gift called life, commit to love a little harder and stronger (God, husband, family, friends, others) in action and not just word, and to make the world a nicer place for other people, too. Pride of Australia 'Child of Courage' medal winner Coen Ashton, 14, is exemplary in this human capacity. Beautiful boy.
This week's agenda: I am packing for a trip to New York! Yes, siree, my friends at Planet Blue Tours are taking me abroad. What a blessed girl I am. I am still pinching myself at the prospect that I will soon be walking the streets of Manhattan... in many layers of clothing! Meanwhile, there's a lot of avocado picking going on at home, and I'm a tad guilt-ridden that I'm not helping out more (resolve to do the night shift).
The Word for the Week: "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." Joshua 1:8 (The Gospel for our Good... not for feeling guilty and terrible.)
Quote of the Week: "There's no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing." Explorer Sir Randolph Fiennes word for the week: procrustean \proh-KRUHS-tee-uhn\, adjective:
1. Tending to produce conformity by violent or arbitrary means.
2. Pertaining to or suggestive of Procrustes.
"The degree to which we are able to take freedom – religious or otherwise – and turn it into a procrustean pursuit that ultimately tramples our humanity never ceases to fascinate me." 
Reading: Yes, I would very much like to do this! After sifting through a bunch of my books over the weekend, I resolved to finally read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – on the plane with me, you go!
The breakfast club: Avocado on toast with a touch of salt and pepper, anyone?

Girl With a Satchel

Aesthete: Playful lilac infusions

Aesthete: Playful lilac infusions

Top to bottom: "Hello Possums!" says Dame Edna care of Ponystep magazine (you've got to love Dame Edna – my grandma did!); Brisbane-based blog Suburban Insider is one of my new favourites and the trip down Jacaranda lane is wonderful (I love the lilac carpet they create, even if it gets slippery after it rains – watch where you skip, you might trip!); and a decorative idea for Christmas care of Inside Out magazine incorporating a lavender pot. Ingenious.

Girl With a Satchel

Book Shelf: Fine Lines and weeping women with Aliki Flodine

Faith/Book Shelf: Fine Lines by Aliki Flodine

"Mind your own business, up yours!" were the words Aliki Flodine had for our small congregation during a recent sermon on the Mount (Tamborine) as she reflected on our inclination to be judgemental of others. "So what if they've been on holidays a few times this year – let them be blessed!"

While no doubt ruffling a few feathers, Aliki's somewhat unconventional preaching style, which I've had the pleasure of witnessing, cuts to the chase and always comes back to God's grace, mercy and love and the truths of the Gospel ("because it's right and it's good and it's life-giving").

Aliki has a deep passion for setting people free from the rigidity of religion, exhaustible self-care and finite human wisdom, and giving them permission to step into the full, wonderful experience of their faith and enjoy life by getting to know God's true character ("Being filled with the knowledge of how God ticks, what He's passionate about and growing to love it, makes us better, not bitter," she says). And she does it extremely effectively.

She is not afraid to be who God created her to be, nor to share of her human frailties and hurts, the quiet sorrows of her spirit, thereby giving us permission to feel sadness, to confess our iniquities, and delight in our salvation through Jesus ("Teach me your ways," she prays), and be all that we can be for his glory, too. This is why her book, Fine Lines, is a true gem, or opal, as she would have it. Now those she can't reach with her preaching and music can partake in some of this wonderful woman of faith, too.

Girl Talk: Overcoming circumstances

Girl Talk: Overcoming circumstances
Inocente Trailer from Shine Global on Vimeo.

What a beautiful, inspiring young girl. 

Catch up with my post about having a safe home in light of White Ribbon Day @ JUSTB.

Girl With a Satchel

Covers: Country Style had a little lamb

Covers: Country Style had a little lamb
"Imagine growing up on a Christmas tree farm — it sounds like a very good storyline for a children’s book but Neve, Aimee and Tristan Adamson Ringk are doing just that at their home at Glengarry in northern Tasmania," writes Country Style editor Victoria Carey. "Christmas must be a very special time at their place. 'Needless to say, I’m very partial to Christmas myself,' explains their  mother, Lee. 'Our tree is up on the 1st of December!'"

Last year the magazine gave us a white horse, this year Country Style reveals a little lamb for its December cover. Thank you, Country Style, for the wee Christmas-time reminder of the sacrificial lamb who was slain for us all as we soldier on towards Christ's birthday.

Girl With a Satchel

Perspective: "Let my girls be Hermiones" says J.K. Rowling

“I've got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don't want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I'd rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before 'thin'. And frankly, I'd rather they didn't give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons. Let them never be Stupid Girls.” 
- J.K. Rowling via GoodReads

(Another) Media Update: ELLE magazine to launch in Australia

(Another) Media Update: An Aussie ELLE
Michelle Williams, UK ELLE, December edition

ELLE magazine is to have an Aussie edition. Ten years since Pacific Magazines folded the original ELLE Australia (after exchanging hands from Hachette Filipacchi), the title is being given a new lease on life by ACP Magazines in partnership with Hearst International, which will launch a local edition in the autumn of 2012. 

The move is defiant of shrinking print circulations and suggests that there is a lot of life left in strong mastheads – across web, tablet and mobile platforms in addition to print, that is.

"ELLE is a magazine brand that is right for our times - for readers and advertisers," said ACP Magazines managing director Phil Scott. 

Arts, Media & Culture Update: Emily Bristow, Dear Gladys, Claire Danes

Arts, Culture & Media Update - November 23
Emily Jane Bristow is the name everyone's talking about with the Brisbane teenager's "Raindrop" reaching in excess of 160,000 YouTube hits (see it below!) after her brother posted it on Reddit. A teary breakup tune, one Reddit commenter wittily consoles with the thought that, "We'll always have puddles." The sweetly singing Bristow, who looks a little Lauren Conrad meets Kirsten Dunst, is a Year 12 student at Citipointe Christian College. Nice to see something "unmanufactured" (the clip was shot for a film project) making it big on the 'net.

An ad for Marc Jacobs' Oh Lola! Perfume, featuring actress Dakota Fanning, aged 17, and referencing the novel Lolita, has been cleared by Australia's Advertising Standards Bureau despite the fact the same ad was banned in the UK for sexual representation of children. The ASB noted that actress Dakota Fanning is "of age", making the ad acceptable. "Acceptable" isn't always right – particularly given how we've "normalised" the representation of young (and old) women as sexy children.  

Meanwhile, several brands have come under the microscope for brandishing goods on soft porn sites, perhaps unknowingly. Clearly not the kind of brand association wanted, trade journal AdNews reports that ANZ, Westpac, Coles and Sony have all shared page space packed with nudity and raunch, "partly as a result of the push by major corporates to demand cheap online inventory through non-premium websites."

Covers: Sarah Murdoch resplendent in red for The Weekly

Covers: Sarah Murdoch (and more!) for The Weekly
Sarah Murdoch in Alex Perry for The Australian Women's Weekly's December edition
It's been a tough week at Satchel HQs, so picking up The Weekly this morning was just the thing to keep things sweet. A moment for a debt of gratitude and a platitude or two as we contemplate the nursing home fire victims laid to rest today, the families with loved ones lost from this world and the personal challenges we all face...

Stuffed with catalogues for Myer and Priceline and World Vision, with a beautifully designed Traditional Christmas recipe book stuck to the cover (Turkey, Cranberry and Peanut salad – yum!), the December edition of The Australian Women's Weekly, out today, is a spectacular way to finish the year's run of books. It is filled to the brim with goodness! So much so, I scarcely know where to start. Sarah Murdoch, with her brilliant pink lip, is a clue.

Satchelnomics: Making sense of fatuous seasonal spending

By Emma Plant

Sitting irreverently within the landscape of Australian culture is a little thing we Western women have a love/hate relationship with. It arrives at this exact time of the year (nee sooner every season) in the guise of ‘Christmas giving’. 'Tis the season to be giving, 'tis the season of plenty and abundance, 'tis the season of unashamed materialism.

“Bah Humbug” you say! Get off your moral high horse and stop scrooging around ruining the giving season for the rest of us. True, there is nothing wrong with giving. In fact, Christmas time, regardless of your beliefs, affords people the chance to participate in collective, heartfelt altruism (to an extent). The real issue is our unquenchable desire for stuff. While Christmas can serve as a selfless season, it can also act as a magnifying glass that highlights our petty human greed.

Covers: Indira Naidoo take two!

Covers: Indira Naidoo take two!
As well as an Indira Naidoo cover – the second this month for The Edible Balcony author – Gardening Australia comes with Christmas tree tips, wattle loving, a wee piece celebrating DirtGirlWorld's "Every Little Drop" International Songwriting Competition victory and watering, mulching, trimming and pruning suggestions for December.
Girl With a Satchel

Film School: Georgie's Twilight Breaking Dawn (Part One) Verdict

Film School: Georgie's notes on Twilight
As a clumsy, awkward 13-year-old, I found I could connect to Bella Swan in a way I had never quite been able to with another fictional character. Reading about her relationship with the perfect Edward Cullen gave me hope that, one day, I too may be able to find my dream guy. 

Of course, as I got older, I realised Bella was a prime example of a “Mary Sue”, basically a character designed to be two dimensional so readers can put themselves in her shoes. I also realised Edward was creepily abusive, and by the time the final book was released my love was fading faster than the blood sucked from a vampire victim. It disappeared completely before my 15th birthday.

Though my love may have diminished, the hype surrounding the series only grew. Every teen magazine in the world featured the stars of the movie on their covers numerous times a year, and every teen girl appeared to have read the books, and in most cases, loved them.

Short & Sweet - week beginning November 21

Let's catch up: It was just lovely to have Julia Low (and her nifty Polaroid camera) in the office with me last week – someone to banter with as I wrote posts for this here blog and also JUSTB. Julia stayed with me and the husband and the in-laws for a few nights, which got me thinking about work experience as a more holistic experience – i.e. if you want to do my job, you can see how it works in with my whole life, from breakfast to late at night.
This week's agenda: Praying very hard for a young man who is in dire straits... it does not look good. Oh, dear. Also attending to administrative tasks that have built up.  
The Word for the Week: "After Hezekiah recovered from his illness, he wrote this song of praise: 'I thought that in the prime of life I was going to the world of the dead, Never to live out my life...My voice was thin and weak, and I moaned like a dove. My eyes grew tired from looking to heaven. Lord, rescue me from this trouble... Lord, you have healed me. We will play harps and sing your praise, sing praise in your temple as long as we live." Isiah 38: 9-20 

Media: News Magazines rebrands as NewsLife Media

Media: News Magazines now NewsLife Media

NewsLife Media's Sandra Hook and Zara Curtis
Following the creation of Fairfax Media's Women's Network incorporating its nine female-centric print and digital entities in October, News Magazines is rebranding as NewsLife Media.

"This name change recognises the work we have done over the last few years to strategically reimagine our business," said Sandra Hook, CEO of News Magazines.

"We are elevating our digital focus, creating new products and services, developing our presence in Women, Lifestyle and Life Stage, while building on the strength of our phenomenal print brands."

While Fairfax says its Women's Network's digital properties reach 2.75 million women and its Sunday Life supplement enjoys a readership of 1.149 million readers* each week, a combined reach of 3.9 million, NewsLifeMedia says its print and digital assets – covering food, fashion, health, parenting and weekends – reach an unduplicated audience of 8.5 million Australians and a gross readership of 10.87 million.

Aesthete: All aboard the delight train!

Aesthete: All aboard the delight train!
Top to bottom: Tokyo-based illustrator Grace Lee c/o Inside Out Christmas issue; Illahie boutique gift arrangement, Mount Tamborine; and chunky choc-hazlenut stars and white chocolate festive fudge c/o Super Food Ideas Dec/Jan 2012 issue. "My favourite part of the festive season in Tokyo is the Christmas-themed snack food – especially the cookies at Dean & Deluca," says Aussie expat Lee.
Girl With a Satchel

Media: A wee magazine called Seam

Media: A wee magazine called Seam

If Joanie Cunningham from Happy Days had a favourite magazine, it might have been Seam. A happy little magazine, Seam is punctuated with 50s hipster language – things are "pretty neat", "rather swell" and "super chipper" between a recipe for 'Mum's Coconut Meringue Berry Slice' and the jovial editor's letter.

The brainchild of Brisbanite Linsey Rendell, Seam appeals to the kitshy, the quirky, the retro and the homely. It's "wee" enough to fit in your handbag and the ideal length for perusing over an hour or two with cups of tea, which is just how Rendell would like you to read it. "Be gentle with my little creation," she says.

Rendell has a lovely way with words, an appreciation for the finer things and an enthusiasm for creative start-ups, which she aims to showcase through Seam. 'Around the World in Eight Crafty Cafes' takes us from Paris, France, to Fitzroy, Melbourne, in pursuit of the ideal places to indulge one's penchant for crochet or otherwise crafty projects in a social setting with cups of organic coffee.

Media: A magazine called Frock Paper Scissors

Media: A magazine called Frock Paper Scissors

Last night 200 wonderfully dressed students, academics, members of the press, friends and family gathered at QUT's Glass House to celebrate the 6th edition of Frock Paper Scissors, the student fashion magazine. Officially launched by Linsey Rendell, editor of the beautiful Seam magazine, there were cheese platters aplenty and one bespectacled tiny tot who almost stole the show from my vantage point (too cute!).

This year's edition, together with its impressive website, is testimony to the talent and hard work of the editorial team headed by Madison Drabble and Meagan Lawrence (print) and Susan Haines and Tess Cameron (online), overseen by effervescent course convener Kay McMahon, creatively directed by Sonia Kwek and artfully laid out by Lauren Gibson and team.

Covers: Indira Naidoo for Sunday Life

Covers: Indira Naidoo for Sunday Life
Sometimes magazine covers appear and you think, "Has the art director been in my brain?", because it is just the right fit. Not only have I been contemplating my mother-in-law's excellent veggie patch, from which we procure salad bits and veggies for dinner, too, but after spotting ABC/SBS newsreader Indira Naidoo's new book, The Edible Balcony ($40, Lantern) in The Australian Women's Weekly, I was thinking, "This lady needs to be on a magazine cover!".

And then, whammo, there you go. Well done, Eliza Iredale, photographer Ellis Parrender, stylist Melissa Boyle and hair and makeup artist Jasmin Lo.

It seems all the newsy peeps are getting in on the foodie act in this country: after ABC newsreader Juanita Phillips' A Pressure Cooker Saved My Life and news of Annabel Crabb's upcoming political foodie show, Naidoo is now showing us how to get busy with our own produce, even if we inhabit very small urban spaces. 

"It started with an epiphany, a stopped-in-her-tracks moment while shopping for lunch at a Sydney farmer's market," writes Roslyn Grundy in the cover story's intro. "Offered a cherry tomato that looked much like any other, Indira Naidoo popped it in her mouth and kept walking. "But when I bit into it, it tasted like a bite of candy," says the former ABC and SBS newsreader. "It was just so sweet and so juicy. I could taste Turkish delight and toffee apple. I thought, 'Hang on, where did that tomato come from?'"

She sounds just delicious! You can read the rest of the story over your lunch break here and check out Naidoo's Saucy Onion blog, too.

Girl With a Satchel

Occupation: Eleanor Young, Sisterhood Sewing

Occupation: Eleanor Young, Sisterhood Sewing
Eleanor Young of Sisterhood Sewing
From the good things we sew, amazing things grow, which has certainly been the case with Sisterhood Sewing. Three years ago, Eleanor Young was at a women's church meeting when she was prompted to think about how she could use her resources and gifts to raise money for a Teen Challenge project that would help young women get free from addictions in a safe place.

"At that stage I had two young children and hadn't sewn for a few years," says Young. "But I knew I wanted to take the challenge so the idea of sewing some babushka dolls came to mind. Well, as soon as the ladies saw them they started selling, so I decided to start doing markets. With a great response and lots of support from my family, we have donated over $3000 to Teen Challenge and other charities, and now Sisterhood Sewing is our family business."

Girl Talk: The unfairness of playing favourites

Girl Talk: The unfairness of playing favourites
By Julia Low

“Nevermind what your parents told you,” writes author Jeffrey Kluger in Time magazine, “They had a favorite child—and if you have kids, so do you.” Yikes! They're the sort of unspoken words that will break through the love-bubble of any self-respecting adult. Am I the favourite? Oh my gosh, maybe I'm not! Cue memories of Mum saying, "Susie did well in her English test,” as you bawled your eyes out screaming, “That is so unfair!”, tears streaming down your hand-me-down pinafore.

According to Kluger, even loving parents with the best intentions subconsciously have a favourite child. Some parents are great at hiding it, but scientists aren’t constrained by the same pretense of impartiality, he writes, citing studies that point to humans’ natural bias toward the more attractive, be it personality or looks. Is this helpful? We're not sure. But let's examine the evidence anyway...

Media: A friendly magazine for BIG kids

Media: A friendly magazine for BIG kids

My niece and nephew recently popped by for dinner at which time I was delighted to bestow on them copies of the children's classics Treasure Island and Little Women, which I had picked up at a fete. I had dreamily anticipated much excitement as I handed the somewhat time-beaten books over. They indulged me with polite thank-yous. Then when they went home, they forgot them! I was forlorn.

As Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney wrote for Time, "adults often push books that they loved as children", and children aren't always receptive to that in the same way that my eyes roll whenever my father pulls out his Tommy Emmanuel music DVDs. I also appreciate that we are not all born with a love of books; that it is not woven into our generic makeup like blue eyes and frizzy hair. My book love was born from spending hours on end alone in hospital with asthma and encouraged by a well-read mother.

But even author Maggie Alderson's little girl, Peggy, did not inherit her mother's proclivity for page-turning with Alderson lamenting on her blog last year, "while surrounding her with books, I fear I have also let her watch far too much television. As an only child, I thought it was company for her, but I fear it is has zapped her concentration span." Hence, Alderson has published a children's book that fits the description as her daughter's favourite Ottoline titles: "pleasing small hardbacks with as much illustration as text and kooky characters".

While J.K. Rowling proved that there is still a lot of life in books for our "digital natives", magazines also provide opportunities for children and parents to interact with printed matter. My 10-year-old nephew, curious about animals in particular, was quite happy with his subscription to CSIRO Scientriffic magazine. Another magazine, recommended by Ellen-Maree via Twitter, is The Horrible Histories. The key is engagement – choosing media that caters to your child's interests but exposing them to new concepts, ideas and knowledge in a way that keeps them interested.

Arts, Media & Culture: Diane Keaton, Deborah Needleman, New Idea

Arts, Media & Culture Update
Emily Rhodes of the book blog Emily Books has her (hard) back up about undervaluing the female-authored novel. "How can publishers tell a woman that her choice of book is only worth £12.99, but a man’s is worth £18.99? And, worse still, how can they deny a woman’s book all the trimmings – hard covers, dust jackets, a decent RRP – that belie confidence in its publication?" So she writes in 'Death of the Woman's Hardback' for Spectator UK.

You can bet Diane Keaton's memoir, Then Again, will come out in hardback, just like Joanna Lumley's Absolutely and Patricia Bosworth's Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman (a memoir and biography is surely deserving of hardback status?). You can catch a glimpse of Diane talking about her book – which contains reflections on her mother – here. Did you know she got her inspiration for wearing men's hats shopping in a Salvation Army store? P.S. There is a retro David Jones dress just waiting for someone to love at the Salvo's online shop.

Deborah Needleman, former editor of Domino, editor of WSJ Magazine and creator of WSJ Off Duty, has released her book The Perfectly Imperfect Home... in hardcover (Random House; $55). You can read Needleman's '10 Odd, Yet Essential, Elements of Style' at WSJ online. My new bloggy friend Sarah Brydon-Brown has made some notes on building bloggy momentum for such a book.

Do women in leadership make a difference? You bet! The Australia and New Zealand School of Governance recently convened a panel of high-achieving women, including former Democrats leader, Natasha Stott Despoja, former chief of Victoria Police Christine Nixon, company director Wendy McCarthy and ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, with the event opened by Governor General Quentin Bryce. Well worth a watch if you have an hour to spare! 

The ABC's online political commentator Annabel Crabb (above)  is to many female journalists what Annie Hall is to Woody Allen enthusiasts. Watch her present her thoughts on media and politics, and the ongoing story of democracy, to The Sydney Institute here, at your ABC. Viewing will increase your IQ by at least 5 points!

It’s an occupalypse! While mega music mogul Jay-Z has attracted criticism for capitalising on the Occupy Movement “brand” with a slogan tee, somewhat contradicting the movement’s anti-Capitalism purpose, the movement has now set its sights on the poetry scene, aiming to liberate artistic authenticity from the trappings of commerciality and the clenches of benevolence from the wealthy, reports Salon. The movement is also making inroads on college campuses.

Perhaps the Occupy movement could take a cue from poetry? Research by Janina Marguc of the University of Amsterdam published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that typical poetic structures open up writers to “broader perceptions” with links to “seemingly unrelated concepts”. Or, as Wired‘s Jonah Lehrer puts it, “because poets need to find a rhyming word with exactly three syllables, or an adjective that fits the iambic scheme, they end up uncovering all sorts of unexpected associations. We break out of the box by stepping into shackles.” As apposed to messy and chaotic movements, the challenge of rules and order can lead to greater creative expression. This is an idea emulated by Richard Doster in his essay on Christian fiction: faith gives you a solid foundation to work from.

What every woman needs now is a rucksack... at least that's what I'm sensing looking at Sara D'Souza, travel editorial assistant at UK ELLE magazine, whose Forever 21 sack looks extremely practical. An update on last season's smaller backpack, GWAS will be hitting the streets of New York soon (more on that to come!) in a similar ensemble for the wintry season (only with a satchel, not a rucksack, of course!).

"But," writes William Deresiewicz for The New York Times, "style is superficial. The question is, what’s underneath? What idea of life? What stance with respect to the world."

Collective Shout knows what it stands for. The organisation has nominated brands that should not appear on your Christmas Wish List for 2011 according to the degree to which they excelled in objectifying women and sexualising girls through their marketing and advertising during the year. "The companies we have named do not respect women, they have not responded to complaints or changed their ways, so we are calling on shoppers to boycott their stores and labels during the holiday season,” Collective Shout spokesperson Melinda Tankard Reist said. Jewellery chain Diva, which sells Playboy branded products to tweens, Unilever, which produces Lynx, City Beach, Cotton On, General Pants and American Apparel have all made the list for failing to meet corporate responsibility obligations. On a more positive note, New Moon magazine is an alternative online and print safe-haven for girls.

Does the world really need another magazine devoted to "celebrity"? American Media Inc, publisher of OK!, National Enquirer and Soap Opera Digest, thinks it does. The publisher is launching Reality Weekly in 2012. "It reflects the fun and unpredictability of reality TV," editor Richard Spencer told Min Online. "It's uncensored and addictive." Addictive. That's a worry to me. While Pip made a convincing case for reality TV on JUSTB yesterday, my thoughts are this: you need a really healthy sense of self like Pip to consume such media without it warping your world perception. Research shows that viewing of reality TV is linked to teen cosmetic surgery, aggression and the normalisation of bullying and gossip. This is high-risk stuff for younger girls and women.

Girlfriend magazine has announced the winner of its 2011 Model Search competition sponsored by Rimmel London. Chloe Glassie, 13, joins the ranks of the competition's alumni, including Abbey-Lee Kershaw, Catherine McNeil and Pania Rose. "There is no doubt that Chloe possess the qualities the competition embodies – she’s outgoing, confident, bubbly, and possesses a vibrant fresh, diverse look," said Girlfriend editor Sarah Tarca. "We wish Chloe the very best of luck and look forward to following her journey with our Girlfriend readers." The NSW youngster (she is very young!) will have a meeting with NEXT Model Management in New York City. This competition worries me a wee bit, I have to say: it BREAKS MY HEART when I see the girls succumb to the vagaries of the industry. There need to be protective measures in place. I love the magazine's Girlfriend of the Year competition, which celebrates achievement.

The world of cosmetics is mourning the loss of Evelyn H Lauder, 75, senior corporate vice president and head of fragrance development worldwide of Estee Lauder Companies, Inc. and co-creator of the Pink Ribbon Campaign, which has raised more than $350 million for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. An avid photographer as well as philanthropist, Mrs. Lauder died from "non-genetic ovarian cancer" and is survived by her husband, Leonard A. Lauder, two sons and five grandchildren.

Ginger Meggs, the comic strip based on the mischievous antics of a red-haired 12-year-old, has celebrated its 90th birthday. The strip first appeared in the Sydney Sunday Sun in 1921 and has been drawn by four cartoonists since. "Ginger has captured the Aussie spirit over nine decades and has inadvertently become a bit of a time capsule of the Zeitgeist of those years," Jason Chatfield, the comic's current cartoonist, in The Sun-Herald.

New Idea magazine's test kitchen will be turning its expertise to Christmas cookery starting this Sunday November 20 at 6:30PM on 7TWO. A six-week series, the show will show us how to make delights such as fruit cake, roast turkey, spiced apricot-glazed ham and cranberry and pistachio biscotti, and will be frequented by celebrity guests. It will be hosted by Damien Leith, the amateur chef and one-time Australian Idol winner who knows how to crack out a carol.

This is an update of a post that appeared at JUSTB.

Girl With a Satchel

Covers: Anthology issue four goes global

Covers: Anthology issue four goes global
Another cover, another golden tinge... it must be Christmas! Anthology's covers always feel like such a celebration, but this one especially as it marks one year in print; no mean feat for a little magazine produced amidst a global recessionary climate. The bronze foil masthead complements a picture of Stockholm, while inside there are many visual treasures that will take you to places such as Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, Kuala Lumpur, New York, Paris, Philadelphia and Vancouver... two destinations of which I shall be visiting next month!

Girl With a Satchel

Faith: Be not afraid... Jesus said so!

'There was a very cautious man who never laughed or played; he never risked, he never tried, he never sang or prayed. And when one day he passed away, his insurance was denied; for since he never really lived, they claimed he never died!' - Anonymous

One of the most beautiful songs I learnt at my Catholic primary school was 'Be Not Afraid' by Bob Dufford, S.J. It is one of the few I remember and any time I feel myself trembling on the inside, like the scaredy-cat lion with no courage, I sing it to soothe myself. 

The Digital Gloss Files - November 15

...with Julia Low

Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games
Shhh, can you hear that? It's the sound of Hunger Games fans all over the world squealing their hearts out! Yes, the first full Hunger Games trailer has just been released hot off the reel this morning! Shimmey (or hop excitedly) on over to YouTube for your first look at the film adaptation of the teen dystopia franchise that is set to be the next Twilight (or Harry Potter, whichever camp you're in). 

Oh, nano! Do you own a first generation iPod nano? Umm, you may want to return it before it burns your house down, reports TechCrunch, as Apple issues a recall for iPod nanos that were purchased between September 2005 and January 2006 due to an overheating problem.

Just in time for Christmas: eBay has launched eBay Celebrity, a new shopping website that allows users to purchase memorabilia and merchandise from participating celebrities through charity auctions. Packages up for auction include a chance to meet Brad Pitt, VIP seating at Katy Perry’s concert as well as one of her red sequinned dresses, a private acting workshop with Robert Duvall, and many other items auctioned by celebrities such as Hayden Penettiere, Sienna Miller, and Christina Aguilera. All of the proceeds will go to the celebrity’s charity of choice, which includes Make It Right and the American Red Cross—a great way to spread some Christmas cheer.

Martha Stewart made a special appearance in the Authors@Google video series last week, where she recounted first foray into the lifestyle business and discussed how the Internet helped shape her empire. Apart from introducing her new book, Martha’s Entertaining: A Year of Celebrationsthe fifty-minute interview also covered topics such as how to maintain a spirit of excellence throughout a huge empire (“Hire people who have the same DNA as you.”), the Martha Stewart Living iPad application (“[It’s] more vibrant than the real printed magazine!”), and, of course, the problems with folding those blasted fitted sheets: “My suggestion to all busy people? Do your laundry, dry your sheet, and put it back on the bed.”

Media: Australian Traveller on right bandwagon

Media: Australian Traveller on right bandwagon

Used to be local travel was associated with three kids in a station wagon with camper van attached heading up or down the coast to the tune of the Leyland Brothers singing, "Travel all over the countryside.... ". Nowadays, there's less of a cultural cringe about having your holiday (or, gasp!, honeymoon) at home. 

"In the past few decades, it was easy to hold many Australian travel experiences up for ridicule, but in the past ten years domestic offerings in even the most remote places are becoming more sophisticated and enjoyable," says Australian Traveller editor Elisabeth Knowles.

"There's no need to self-deprecate, to talk to readers in a tongue-in-cheek, loveable larrikin tone, saying "We know we're second-rate but isn't it cute that we're trying?" We want readers to explore Australia with new eyes, presenting the truth that travel in Australia CAN be world-class and just as rewarding as heading overseas." 

Culture: What's okay in a cafe?

Culture: What's okay in a cafe?
Tunisian blogger Lina Ben Mhennia; All Voices
Not all cafe hopping bloggers have the Nobel Prize nominee credibility of Tunisian Lina Ben Mhenni, but what would a cafe proprietor who didn't agree with her regime-exposing views have had the grounds to ask her to leave? And what responsibility do digital citizens, and the general public, have to cafe proprietors?

In the media of late, mothers with tantrum-throwing toddlers, children with techno devices, bloggers with laptops and lyrca-wearing cyclists have all attracted the ire of cafe proprietors.