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April 12, 2011

There is so much green around these days. Well, excepting in Cape Town where the seasonal rains have not yet put in an appearance after a long, hot, windy summer which means that everything is still brown!  If you are not into greening then you just aren’t that much into your planet I am told! We started off by saving and recycling and things just started snowballing from there. The new big thing is GREEN MAGAZINES! Yes, those days of lusting over gorgeous photos as you turn over the glossy pages while you lie in bed with your final cuppa of the day are kind of over for me. Well I mean really, I fall asleep anyway and there is nothing like the thud of the latest edition of your magazine of choice hitting you in the face to wake you up fast! And in any case, I have piles and piles and piles of old magazines lying around that I am so loathe to part with…we have moved about 5 times over the last few years with those boxes of magazines in tow. They weigh a ton. And when I look at them I think of all the trees that were used to make the paper….and the noxious ink that is all over their pages that in turn also affects the oceans and sea life…….. so these days its online magazines for me baby!  I just love them.  And the most beautiful thing about these online magazines is the fact that the green in my wallet just stays put HAHA! Yes…….these online magazines are FREE! And they are gorgeous! Interactive, full of beautiful photos, delicious informative articles, fabulous news and tips, recipes, wonderful competitions….I could go on and on but instead let me introduce you to one of these beauties….it will speak for itself.

CRUSH online magazine  a wonderful South African digital foodie magazine filled with all the food and wine industry information that one could possibly need. All at the click of a button…..


I recently got to know more about the folk behind this fabulous magazine. It is so easy to just open these wonderfully innovative discoveries and get lost in them, getting irritated waiting for the next edition to hit your inbox – yes you can subscribe to an online mag for life and the alert drops into your inbox on the day of release with that exciting little link and you just click happily away, never missing a beat or wondering who is behind all that easy navigation and innovation. I love my Crush Online Mag so much that I really wanted to know about who was behind it. Oh I knew some of the names being bandied about but I wanted to dig deeper! Here is the story as I got it from Matthew Ibbotson, the initial grey behind the green of Crush, and Michael Olivier, delightful editor and inspiring contributor of Crush Online Magazine.

It was a dark and stormy night……..ooops, that’s another story, for another day. This one happened one bright and sunny day near Plettenberg Bay….the place that resonates with my soul as you all know J I actually have no idea what the weather was like but who cares? It was definitely a bright sunny day for the future of online magazines J

Matthew Ibbotson is a book designer and one half of a company called Petal Design. The other half of Petal Design is Petal Palmer, an internationally decorated book designer who did a lot of work with the late great Lannice Snyman. This just sets the scene for success doesn’t it?

One day Matthew met up with one of his partners on holiday just outside Plettenberg Bay. He saw his first really inspiring digital magazine and saw the potential of this as a medium with all it’s interaction, video and sound. On his return to Cape Town he got together with Petal and they started excitedly putting plans in motion. Having worked previously with Michael Olivier on a couple of Michaels books, they knew that he would be the man for the job as editor of their hatchling magazine. Matt says it had been a quiet aspiration of theirs to partner Michael in some sort of publication venture for quite some time. Of course Michael jumped at the idea immediately and they decided to continue with the title CRUSH from Michael’s two wine guides.  From there the core team grew with Michael as Editor, Matt on the creative side working with two extremely talented young men, ex Zimbabwean Graphic Designer and self taught Flash expert Graham van der Ruit (who is very detail oriented as one can see) and Kelvin Manley, a young Capetonian of Mauritian Chinese descent. Kelvin’s background is in advertising and he is a dab hand at designing pages….as one can see when you page through CRUSH! Kelvin’s  family used to own  a store in District 6. The rest of the team is made up of Jaco Schoeman(business partner, Redonline Publishing), Philippa Mitchell on the ad sales side and Madeleine Olivier (Michael’s wife) who assists on the editorial side. So, no humongous editorial team there…..surprise!! The team members all get involved with everything. Contributors are, of course, the lifeblood of any good magazine and CRUSH has its share of a network of fabulous contributors to whom the team outsources. They are given loads of freedom with what they want to write. This way it becomes quite a collective process with Michael steering the ship. And of course the CRUSH contributors know that the team will always try and push the boundaries with how their work is presented at the end result.


When it came to the design and planning of CRUSH the whole team wanted to create something fresh, fun and accessible and they really are achieving that, more and more with each edition that comes out.  There are no set rules in Crush so the team experiments with what they think will work and they are happy to change it if it doesn’t! The team’s main aim is to inspire people to enjoy food and wine without boring them along the way, to interact and discover things within the layers of the magazine. Matt believes that when you are online there may be less caution to do things the way they have been done before as there is with print. A winning recipe if you ask humble magazine lover me!

Paging through this awesome magazine you can see that design is really important. Matt’s thoughts are that with the traditional structure of a magazine they can really produce beautiful layouts to go with outstanding images from people like Russel Wasserfall.

“Our dream is to create the best digital food and wine magazine. This dream drives our ridiculously small team.  We have so many ideas that we will be developing in future issues. There are no limits in being digital only finding the time to do them!”      Matthew Ibbotson

 So then where does Ceros Media come into this picture that I have painted?? Ceros Media has licensed Redonline Publishers for South Africa and they host over 300 publications internationally including the Waitrose, Sainsbury, Asda and Morrisons digital magazines. Ceros Media are hot on stats so the team are able to track every activity that happens when you, you, you and I visit CRUSH.  Michael’s article on Bertus Basson has already had over 18,000 clicks. The income is growing, according to Michael, with the number of visitors growing all the time and the last I had heard they had hit the 5,600 subscriber mark already.

Crush 7 went live last week. You might just want to click over here so that you do not miss out on another edition of this fantastic magazine. Of course….being digital……the great news is that you can go back and read all those you have already missed out on. Now isn’t that just marvelous? So what are you waiting for? Go over there and subscribe. It’s free…..and its convenient and easy. There are fantastic informative articles, photographs to drool over, recipes and competitions. Everything that a good magazine should have…and a bit more!!

Seeing as this is a special week in the brownie household, with it being my birthday soon and all, I am going to be nice and give someone a gift. Because I cannot exactly offer someone a subscription to this fabulous magazine…because it IS already given to you free……I will instead give the delightful cookery book, BON APPETIT MR PRESIDENT from the kitchen of Hilton Little, chef to the President of South Africa, to the first person who pops over and signs up for a free subscription to the magazine and then comes back here and leaves a comment for me telling me that they have done it. Simple as that.

Even though it will never happen (because CRUSH will always remain a “green” magazine) the team love it when people say that they would love to see a  printed version of Crush because it is the Crush teams goal that Crush remain good enough for print but will never actually be printed. Nice that! Now all I wait for is the invention of scratch and sniff screens…..YUM!!!

Have an awesome week everyone.

browniegirl xx

PS Keep a look out for more awesome giveaways happening here and on my Food Blogger Indaba blog during the course of this week 🙂

12 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2011 9:45 PM

    Well done Colly, this is a beautiful write – up!!! And yes the magazine is outstanding!!

  2. April 13, 2011 4:23 AM

    An excellent post. I’ve long been in love with the magazine.
    (And, thanks to you, I already have Mr Little’s book.)

  3. April 13, 2011 8:22 AM

    What an outstanding post and write up Colleen. Just popped over and subscribed.
    Have a happy day.
    🙂 Mandy

    • April 15, 2011 11:47 AM

      Thank you so much Mandy! And CONGRATS!! You are the winner of the fab book Bon Appetit Mr President! I will need postal details from you if you could send to me please…Enjoy it! Hugs xx

      • April 15, 2011 12:28 PM

        Yay, what wonderful news, thanks so much Colleen. This is so exciting, yippee. Will send my address details on email.
        I will count the sleeps until I can read through it at the end of June when I get home.
        Happy Birthday for Sunday – we will toast in your honour.
        Have a happy weekend.
        🙂 Mandy

  4. carey permalink
    April 13, 2011 9:25 AM

    Great write up cols! awesome to talk about the peeps behind the scenes and find out what makes them tick!
    Very proud of Michael and Crush team. Fantastic mag! xx

  5. April 13, 2011 10:46 AM

    I loved reading this post and learned so much that I didn’t know – thank you

  6. Supa permalink
    April 13, 2011 11:11 AM

    Great write up Colleen, I am already a subscriber and I always enjoy reading it.

  7. Youngest&Best permalink
    April 13, 2011 8:55 PM

    Hmmm! I too subscribe to Crush. Exciting part is I can read it furtively at work 🙂
    Hope we are going to see more of your posts Col…have missed you xxx

  8. April 14, 2011 2:06 PM

    Colleen, this is such a great write up! You are a brilliant writer, honey! And funny thing, I just sent an e-mail to Michael telling him that I did think Crush was the BEST online food or food and wine magazine there is. No ordinary blog form for them! A gorgeous magazine with stunning photography, fabulous design and recipes that make me want to dash into my kitchen ASAP to reproduce them. Love the format, the content, the photos, the design… all of it. Thank you so much for telling the story behind this wonderful creation. xo

  9. April 14, 2011 2:16 PM

    great write up!



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