goodhousekeeping1909-08

Women’s lifestyle time machine

I love magazines almost as much as I love my dinner so I try to limit myself to one subscription at a time – on top of first editions and rare arty titles that I can’t resist – because my shelves are already full to bursting.

Original Good Housekeeping Seal from 1909

In the last year I’ve noticed a refreshing new trend in women’s lifestyle magazines that I find quite exciting. I say ‘new’, but I guess it is more of a reversion to old ideas. Perhaps the climate of economic austerity is inspiring a vogue for ‘make do and mend’.

Anyhow, I have long loved what Good Housekeeping stands for and I am fascinated by its history, but as a thirty-year-old who went to art school it just isn’t what I want to read. Thankfully, a new crop of titles seem to be taking a fresh approach to women’s lifestyle mags that is about being creative, conscientious and self-sufficient, rather than monied, beauty-conscious and interested in celebs.

My local WH Smith stocks Oh Comely and Pretty Nostalgic, two independent titles that encourage creativity by focussing, respectively, on arts and crafts and vintage revival. I also found Homemaker (Aceville Publications) in Waitrose, which is aimed at a younger audience than Good Housekeeping, and contains features on crafting, cooking and interiors. I got most excited however, when I came across The Simple Things from the people behind Future Publishing’s hugely popular craft title Mollie Makes, the third issue is on sale now.

The Simple Things manages to keep some of the charm of good independent titles with a clean design that makes it stand out from the mainstream. Its contents is inspiring and offbeat without being overly kooky. Expect plenty of tasty recipes, gardening tips, tempting shopping pages, interviews with artists and entrepreneurs and features on history, interesting places and pursuits. I also like the ‘Miscellany’ at the back, which contains the same kind of useful illustrated snippets of information that you used to find in the local newspaper, or indeed, Good Housekeeping.

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