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I should preface this post by saying I’m not much of a magazine reader. I used to be, but things changed. There was a time when I’d grab the latest celebrity rags before a train journey, maybe a fashion magazine here and there. I even had a subscription to Vogue. A couple of years ago I decided to go cold turkey on the gossip magazines – blogging and the flood of judgement from total strangers gave me an (incredibly) small glimpse into what that world is like, and I realised they just didn’t make me feel very good about myself. There is enough gossip and judgement on social media as I discussed here, so why pollute my relaxation time with that? Fashion magazines also fell by the wayside. With the exception of Company magazine who have really made an effort to embrace the digital world (yet still at times get it horribly wrong, case in point, The Skinny Club) I turned to blogs for fashion inspiration and product reviews.  With the exception of Spanish magazines which I often buy in an attempt to stop my language rusting, fashion magazines and I sort of drifted apart. As I got older I realised that Vogue, although fantastic, didn’t fit who I was any more. When I was younger that was such an aspirational subscription. I would sit in my suburban bedroom and pore over the images of clothes that cost more than my university tuition and dream. As a 28 year old woman juggling bills, holidays, being self employed and navigating the emotional rollercoaster that is life, I realised that even if I had that disposable cash, I probably wouldn’t buy those clothes.

I love print. I love holding things in my hand and I love stacking magazines and books neatly on my bookcase to pull out down the line with a cup of tea. I don’t believe that industry is dead – I have a kindle but also a bookseller boyfriend who knows my eyes will light up when he comes home with a bag of new reads, yet I didn’t know which kind of magazines were for me. I love features, so I have a Vanity Fair subscription,  I’m into health and wellbeing so there’s the obvious Women’s Health in there, and our household is passionate about digital so there’s a Wired magazine coming through the letterbox every month, bought as a present for Matt but thumbed through by both of us on lazy Sunday mornings.

When it came to buying a magazine “just because” though, I had no idea where to turn. I started this post saying I’m not much of a magazine reader.  After just reeling off my favourite ones I guess that isn’t entirely true, but after interest-specific ones I had no idea what to grab when I just wanted to escape. Until now. Last week after a busy time in London and in need of reading material I ran into WH Smith in Euston, laden with bags, and spotted Oh Comely. As a huge Neutral Milk Hotel fan the name called to me and not having much time before my train I quickly paid. On that journey I fell in love! This magazine is everything I was looking for. A mix of short stories, fashion, features, music and art, it’s hard to pigeonhole but easy to love. It’s beautifully printed and a pleasure to read. I might be late to this party, after all, issue seventeen is the one I grabbed, but I’m here for the long haul and made the ultimate commitment, I subscribed. I even got my friend a subscription as part of her birthday present.

Published every two months and priced at £4 (or £3 per issue as a subscriber) if you’ve fallen out of love with magazines but love reading something tangible, this might be the magazine for you.

A six month subscription usually costs £10 but with a £2 discount if I pass you on – not making any money, everyone gets a welcome email and can refer a friend and save them a couple of pounds, not sure if it’s only valid for one person but here’s the link anyhow if you want to subscribe!

What is your favourite magazine? Do you subscribe to any? Have your tastes changed over the years?

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  • Louisa

    I’ve been looking for a new magazine to read for ages so I might try this one. I’ve never even heard of it so it would be nice to try something completely new! Thanks for the recommendation :)

    Louisa’s Notebook

  • Theresa

    I used to be a magazine hoarder! When I was younger, it was Smash Hits, Top of the Pops magazine and anything that featured Take That or Boyzone! In my later teens, it was Heat and NME magazine.

    A few years ago, I had a long commute to work and I’d often be buying a glossy magazine on a weekly basis (Company, Elle, Marie Claire, Cosmo, etc), with the odd Look, Grazia and Closer thrown in in-between times. It got very expensive!

    One year, I decided my new year’s resolution would be stop buying magazines. I didn’t last very long, but I did cut down enormously. I figured I only really liked the magazines that featured clothes that I could afford and I wasn’t really interested in celebrity gossip any longer. I limited myself to Company and Look (skipping the celebrity stuff and just reading the articles on fashion, beauty and lifestyle).

    However Look started to get rather samey and I just didn’t get on with Company’s new style. WAY too much text talk (‘amazeballs’ – just, NO!) and articles that weren’t relevant to me any longer.

    I’m sure this is partly because I’m in my early 30′s now and and the demographic for Company is younger. But mainly I just wanted to read something with a bit more substance.

    These days, I gravitate to lifestyle blogposts way more than I do fashion and beauty (love that you have such a great mix, Gemma!) and my magazine choices seem to reflect this too.

    I quite often tend to choose my magazine depending on my mood. If I want to be inspired, I’ll choose something like Oh Comely (which is gorgeous but I’ve only read a couple of issues) or The Simple Things (I had a subscription but stopped it after a year as we’re budgeting). If I’m in the mood for home decor, then any of that genre of magazines work for me! I especially love buying them at Christmas!
    If I want to geek out, BBCs Focus or Wired (UK) are fab!
    I quite like Essentials magazine for a bit of everything (and most things featured are affordable).
    Every so often, I’ll pick up a glossy (mainly if the free gift is good (and still intact!)) but after reading one (and I actually rarely finish one these days as I get distracted), I have that same feeling after Chinese takeout. Great at the time, but rather unsatisfied afterwards.

    • CarolineG

      I’m totally with Theresa on this, also in my 30′s and with a regular sized budget, I just can’t be bothered with the glossies as the clothes aren’t wearable. Essentials is about the best magazine for variety and affordable, wearable fashion, but now I find blogs much more satisfying and real, I just wish there were more UK fashion ones, I love the US ones but am not always as likely to be able to buy pieces I like (I’m not a huge fan of Internet shopping!) Ill give this magazine a go anyway, I’ve seen it but couldn’t work out what genre it was so hadn’t picked it up! Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.thesugarspunsisters.blogspot.com Eve & Faye

    This sounds like just the magazine for us! So over all the trashy glossies that suggest we please our man before pleasing ourselves. Next time we’re stood in front of the magazine stand looking lost, we’ll know which to go for!

    Great post, Gem.

    Eve & Faye

    Sugar Spun Sisters – A blog about cosmetics, clothes & coeliac disease

  • Jennifer

    Hi Gemma, I’ve absolutely loved Oh Comely since moving to England almost two years ago. Beautiful issues every time.

  • http://www.youtube.com/Moniker192 Clara

    oooh thanks will have to look this up!
    love magazines but gone of them lately don’t know why
    have you heard of LOVE magazine? that’s quite inspirational

    :) x

  • http://www.youtube.com/Moniker192 Clara

    Oh, also check out Pretty Nostalgic!

  • http://thecuriousklutz.blogspot.com/ Renate

    Sounds good! I’ve fallen off the magazine reading wagon as well. As and expat, I find it not exactly relaxing reading in a foreign language – I need to focus in order to understand. More so, the English magazines here are very expensive and therefore an airport treat. I get what I need from reading blogs, but when my mom sends me a package of my local loved magazines, I’m occupied for a week :) Illustrated History and Shape are my favorite.
    I don’t think your mentioned magazine is too expensive and if I lived in the UK I’d probably give it a shot :) Thanks for the info – if I see it, I’ll definitely know to try!

  • http://cantshutitup.blogspot.com Jessica Brown

    I’m definitely starting to lean more towards independent magazines for similar reasons. I love love love Oh Comely! I’d also recommend Libertine magazine!

  • http://thepalettee.blogspot.com.au/ Sarah

    Love this photography!!
    Wish we got that magazine in Australia :(

    Sarah x

  • http://beautifullysuperfluous.blogspot.co.uk Helen

    I love magazines and have a subscription to Elle and Vogue. I occasionally buy Grazia too.

    I suppose that they’re mostly all the same content though and whilst I like flicking through something glossy I’m definitely looking for something with a lot more substance that just pretty adverts for clothes I’ll never have the money to buy. This sounds perfect – as always Gemma, great post and a great find!

    Helen x

  • Maddy

    I love the style and layout of this magazine, it looks like a really nice read! x

    Maddy from UNSTITCHEDD 

  • http://emmihearts.blogspot.co.uk/ Emily

    Why have I never read this magazine sounds great :p I love grazia and glamour xx Emmi


  • http://www.noisy-rain.blogspot.it/ Daria

    ooh one of my friends actually had it and I did see it but didn’t feel like giving it a try, but maybe I should! I stick to Harper’s Bazaar which is really beautiful in my opinion but I like Lula and Frankie too :) xx

  • http://kitsch-n-sync.blogspot.com Jen

    As a teen I used to be an avid reader of Heat magazine, and whilst I have long outgrown it – I spotted on the cover a year or so ago a picture of Tulisa papped on the beach with the caption that she had ‘ballooned to a size 12′ …..Really!? Balloon? Size 12?!

    These days I love Style at Home and the Slimming World quarterly mag as they have some great healthy recipes but to be honest I mostly read blogs. xx

  • http://jesuis-hannah.blogspot.co.uk Hannah

    I, like you, had fallen out of love with magazine reading. I used to buy a lot of them obsessively – I had over 200 sitting around my room at one time. When I was having a clear-out, I ditched them all and just…didn’t buy more. Now, I’ll buy a magazine if there’s a great freebie or a particular feature I want to read. However, it sounds like I definitely want to check out Oh Comely…although it might spark my old habits again!

  • http://www.ciderwithrosie.com Rosie

    Ooh this sounds amazing! I love magazines like this, and totally agree with you about gossip mags. I refuse to buy them, they’re just so vicious! Will keep an eye out for Oh Comely next time I’m in the newsagents!