Hipkin Journal


New Zealand born (and now residing in Torquay with her family) Amanda Maxwell has written a lovely story inspired by a Hipkin photo shoot at the beach.  We hope you enjoy her story...


Bonnie is eating rice bubbles when I ask her how she feels about dressing up and having some photos taken on the weekend.


“No, thanks,” she says. But she stops eating and looks out the window for a second, then says, “Wait. Will there be other kids or Japanese people there? If there are other kids or Japanese people, then yes.”


I check with Monique, my lovely friend who will take the photos. Her daughter Dulcie will come too. Dulcie isn’t Japanese, but she is a kid.


“She’s eight right,” I tell Bon, who is seven.


“Oooo,” she says.


At the beach, on Sunday it’s 12 degrees and getting colder fast, but as the girls run across the sand they shed layers. Their breath comes out in clouds of steam as they giggle and spin and jump, chatting the whole while. They seem completely free here. They’re in their own world, flying from the water to the dunes and running so far down the beach they’re out of earshot. We follow them, knowing we won’t be able to reign them in. Their energy is boundless. It’s pretty beautiful.


They pick up shells but put them back, hitch up their skirts and dance in the little waves, squealing. The sun is fading but it’s hard to drag them away.


Before we leave the beach we pile their layers back on, but when it comes to shoes they shake their heads and jump out of reach. They walk home in bare feet, looking forward to fish ‘n’ chips.


A week or so after the photo shoot I ask Bonnie if she can remember what she and Dulcie were talking about that day because they were chatting and laughing for hours.


“Cartwheels,” she says.

 “Just cartwheels.” 

Social Communication

This week Hipkin caught up with 12 year old Inez Jost and we were absolutely taken back by her insights into the life of a teenage girl without social media!!!  Here is what she had to say....


Social media is overrated, period. I'm twelve years old, go to high school and have heeeeeaaaaaps of friends. What I don't have is Instagram, or Snapchat, or Facebook,  or Twitter, or basically anything. Sad right? Wrong! I couldn't care LESS! Not kidding. In saying that, it is hard. On the orientation days for year seven, you know what I'll  just show you;

Scenario uno:

a - 'Do you have Instagram?'

b - 'Yea.'

a - 'Cool. What's your username?'

b - 'person_b_'

a - 'Great. Let's be friends!'


Person a and b link arms and skip unknowing of FOMO, selfies and textbook peer pressure.


Scenario duo

a - 'Hi do you have Instagram?'

b - 'Sorry, no.'

a - 'Oh, bye."


Person a walks away, horrified that person b doesn't have Instagram, while person b stands there slightly depressed.

I was person b. In scenario duo. 

Lucky for me I already had friends from primary school so I made friends with the ones they had made. Isn't it awful to think that social media dictates our freedom to make friends?! I had Snapchat for under a week and it didn't really change except for the fact that my phone buzzed around 104% more than it usually did. I don't have it any more. I'm almost certain my friends will be annoyed about losing all four streaks, but I'm sure they'll get over it.. Eventually.


I believe social media is so dominating that it has taken over the reason phones were created ie, to communicate.

It's so bad that I have all of my friends phone numbers but nobody ever texts or calls. The only way you can communicate is when you see them face to face or through social media. This means that I can't organise to catch up with my friends unless I talk to them at school. Buuuuuuuut, nobody actually talks at recess and lunch about what they did on the weekend (it's on their snapchat story) or what book they are reading (nobody reads 'cos #boring #hateschool #phoneislife) so I don't really have a, snif snif, social life on the weekends. I'm serious nobody talks because their faces are always around five centimetres and seven milimetres away from their phones.

You wouldn't believe how boring it is. The other day at school I was sitting around a table with my friends while they looked at their phones, and one of my friends looks up and says to me, " Oh my god Inès, you look so depressed and bored!" and then she kind of laughed like it was a joke and then I wiped away my internal tears, laughed and said," Yeah that's because I am, ha ha ha!". She wasn't even listening. I don't even need to tell you why!


People don't experience a funny moment any more. It has to be staged or reenacted, filmed and then shared to people who aren't even actually going to laugh at it. Is there even an actual point to people my age having social media? I mean people my age don't run businesses and use it as free advertising or to promote a charity or problem, so what do they really use it for? It's not a rhetorical question. I actually want to know. I'm not saying I'm better than my friends because I don't have it or that they are awful people for having it because I know that once you get sucked in to it's vacuum it's almost impossible to escape from, I'm just saying what is happening and I have made the conscious decision to not use it and this is why.  


Let's talk Instagram. Now before I say anything, let's get one thing straight: everything of what I'm about is about thirty percent factual and seventy percent opinionated. Anyway, Instagram sits at the top of the social media hierarchy, wearing a facade of skinny models and weird trends, topped off with a crown of people having fears of how many people like their photos. Behind all of this, it sits on a throne of LIES! (and photoshop) Sure it's good if your running  a business (cough, @hipkinkids, follow them) and Instagram is your platform, but let's get real; you wake up in the morning and check your Insta feed and the first thing you see is a skinny girl in a bikini. So before you are even fully awake you are already not liking the way you look. Now I'm sure this won't affect you that morning or maybe even the next day, but if you see this everyday, it's gonna get to you. Who needs that in their LIVES?!

Now do me a favour, delete your social media. If that's to hard, just don't open the app. I can understand if you won't take it from me because, "who cares what a twelve year has to say?" But do just do it. Because social media is #OVERRATED

This kid is going places!!!


To read more gurlpower123.wixsite.com

Words by Inez Jost & pics by Monique Sverdvik


Mental Muscles


"Being mentally strong is ten times harder than being physically strong.  Mental stamina does not come from the muscles or from training.  It comes from your heart...and from the mind.  Calling on my heart is far more difficult than calling on my muscles" Catherine age 12, Quote taken from Strong is the New Pretty.

It's early July so going to an inner city Melbourne beach seems like a crazy idea. However, today I am willing to brace the cold and icy wind to catch up with 11-year-old Maddie who is training to qualify, in order compete in the STATE under 13 cross country competition.  
Maddie, what makes you get out of bed on those really cold mornings?
"It's the feeling of success & knowing that I am doing my best".
Maddie, what is it that keeps you going on those long runs when your brain is telling you to stop?
"It's the sweet spot.  When I go into the sweet spot I feel like I'm somewhere else..it feels really easy to run..it gives me energy and just feels really good".
Do you like to win?
"Yes, I do like to win" however you do learn more from losing than you do from winning.  When you lose, you figure out what you need to work on and so in some ways losing is better than winning".
What do you tell yourself to keep you motivated?
"One of my favourite quotes 'Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard'".
Maddie also has 4 motivational words written on her hand...
PERSIST: "keep going and try your best".
IGNORE: "ignore anyone who might upset you or make it difficult or challenging".
FOCUS:  "focus so you can give it your best shot".
COURAGEOUS: "stand up for what you believe in and what you think is right".
What is your take home message for all the kids out there working towards their goals?
"Never give up in what you believe in! Always try your best no matter what happens, train hard and most importantly just ENJOY IT"!!!!!