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I love Christmas. It is definitely my favourite time of year. I always stock up on loads of Christmas DVDs, Christmas books and Christmas Cds during December. I love the whole idea of the perfect Christmas and so another thing which I buy loads of (and I mean loads) are magazines; I just can't resist when they all have Christmassy covers. So one magazine which I recently tried out for the first time, having being tempted by it's gorgeous Christmas cover was Good Housekeeping magazine.
Good Housekeeping is British magazine for women. It is published on a monthly basis and so there are twelve issues per year. The magazine currently costs £3.90.
I am going to review the December 2012 issue of Good Housekeeping. This issue has a lovely cover; it is red and really rich and luxurious looking. Nigella Lawson is the cover star and is posing all glamorous on the cover. The cover is very busy with titles such as; 'Party Glamour', 'Totally Traditional Stress-Free Feast (have a lie in!) and 'Nigella's Festive Plans'. So all in, this is what tempted me to buy this magazine.
The magazine is very classy and luxurious. I did at first think that the magazine was more of a 'middle-class' magazine as it very 'posh' and expensive looking. Although when looking at their fashion items featured apart from a £160 dress featured, the rest of the items seemed quite affordable with a pair of shoes costing just £13 which I Thought was good value. So perhaps the magazine isn't so 'posh' after all, especially when I read magazines such as Cosmopolitan which feature much more expensive items.
There are some adverts in this magazine. Such adverts include: Estee Lauder, Clinique, Dior, Jaeger and Laura Ashley. So expensive brands. But then there are also cheaper brands featured for items such as toothpaste and shampoo. There aren't too many adverts which is good as a lot of expensive magazines tend to fill the magazine with adverts.
I like magazines which involve the readers. I like the 'inbox' page which is a letter page. It is split into two with the first half titled 'we ask' where the magazine asks a question (this month's question is: what's your go-to outfit that makes you feel fabulous?' and then reader's give their answers. The second part of the page is where readers sends in their thoughts etc. I find this interesting as I like seeing what other 'real women' think etc.
I enjoyed the article; 'The Best Year of Our Lives' as it featured real-life stories from celebrities such as Victoria Pendleton (the Olympic Cyclist) and Tamzin Outhwaite. I found it interesting to read about celebrities from their own points of view rather than the rubbish stories that tabloids print about them. So this article let them say the truth which was good.
The cover star of this issue is Nigella Lawson and so there is a few pages dedicated to her in this issue; mainly consisting of an interview. I thoroughly enjoyed this part and I mean who doesn't want to be a domestic goddess like Nigella, especially at Christmas time? To me Nigella is perfect so I especially enjoyed reading about how she is going to spend Christmas and of her Christmas traditions etc. She is a great role model and I even managed to pick up a few tips along the way!
I also really enjoyed the section on 'inspiring women'. which featured their real life stories and how they have faced tough times and come out the other end smiling. Christmas is a time to think about our armed forces and the brave soldiers who will be spending their Christmas in Afghanistan. I found it really touching reading the stories of five women who are members of the armed forced; some of them who were heading off to Afghanistan over Christmas after the interviews took place. I found this to be quite an emotional read.
There is a fictional story in this issue called 'The Ghost of Christmas Present'. To be honest, I didn't really enjoy this story as I didn't really get it, but mainly because when I am reading a non-fictional magazine, I don't want to suddenly read a fictional story of two pages and then go straight back into the non-fictional magazine. So I didn't really like the story because of this as I wasn't in a 'fictional' mood. Although others may like this part of the magazine.
Celebrities play a small part in this magazine. One section is where celebrities such as Lorraine Kelly and Judy Finnigan as well as a few other celebrities tell us about the books that they will be reading and giving this Christmas. I thought that this was an interesting way to inform readers of any new books.
Another article which I enjoyed was 'Secrets of Team Mistletoe' which gave advice on tips on how to overcome certain issues over the festive period, such as children saying they are bored and arguments over 'how much did you spend?!!!'. So certainly useful tips which will help everyone.
There was also another article which I found amusing. Here, celebrities gave their views on the tradition of sending Christmas cards; should we still do it, or send emails etc instead. It was interesting to learn the different celebrities' views. I was actually really surprised to see that Lynda Bellingham sends around 350 Christmas cards each year! I thought 'wow that must be nice receiving lots of Christmas cards'.
In this issue there was a 'Tried & Tested' article which took up quite a few pages. Here they mentioned certain Christmassy things they had tried out (turkeys, cranberry sauce, champagne, Christmas trees etc.) and said which ones were the best. This didn't really interest me, neither did the numerous pages of Christmas recipes for Christmas day. I'm not cooking the Christmas Lunch this year and so it didn't really interest me. Although, I am probably in the minority as a lot of readers will probably enjoy this section and trying out all the different recipes and tips etc.
'Peace and Joy' was another good article with some great tips on how to relax during the Christmas period, especially when you are stressed. Other articles included 'A-Z of Glamour' which didn't really interest me. I think that these kind of articles are just sneaky ways of advertising certain beauty products etc and obviously different things suit different people. So I skipped these pages.
I found that as the magazine went on, I seemed to lose interest a little bit. Especially as the second half of the magazine seems to be all fashion (again something I'm not overly interested in - I much rather shop in store, than flick through a magazine looking for things to buy) and cooking (a large portion of the magazine is all food recipes (I'm not sure if this is the same in all issues or just because it is Christmas). There is also lots of 'Christmas decorating ideas' in this magazine, although I already have all my Christmas decorations and so don't really need all these ideas etc. I think that this is good if you have just bought a new house and are looking for different ways and inspiration on how to decorate your house etc. Although if like me you tend to pull out the same decorations year after year then this probably won't interest you. I will admit, I did find the pictures interesting to look at.
The last part of the magazine features pages and pages of adverts which don't really appeal to me. I did read my horoscope though and skipped the travel pages. I did enjoy the last page which was a column by Sandi Toksvig and though that this was a nice way to end the magazine.
The magazine cost me £3.90 which I do think is very expensive, although as it is Christmas I couldn't resist treating myself. It is an interesting magazine, although I am not sure if I will be buying it again. I liked it, but more as an occasion treat for myself rather than buying it every issue. I would definitely recommend this magazine though. I think that if you are a homely person and love being a domestic goddess, then you will love this magazine.
Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas to you!
Xdonzx / xd-o-n-z-x
I thought I was going through a crisis when I turned 30, joined the womens institute and started reading Good Housekeeping magazine but then I realised that I was just growing up!
As a magazine that has been in print 80 years I thought it would have noting to offer a young woman like myself. I enjoyed fashion magazines and celebrity gossip but after reading this I was suddenly aware how shallow the other publications were and also realised how much more you can get froma magazine than just mindless gossip and speculation.
Since reading Good housekeeping I have learned so much about home life and cooking that I didnt know. Many years ago people learned these skills through the women in their families but now with families being separated and spread across huge distances and a lack of close extended families there is a lack of good training in being a housewife which is sad really when it is what women like myself aspire to.
I am so grateful for this magazine for such a good grounding in being a housewife.
Good Housekeeping is a staple magazine that has been on newsagents shelves for over 80 years. Released monthly and retailing at £3.40 for circa 200 pages an edition, it also has a corresponding website - www.allaboutyou.com/goodhousekeeping.
The front page has an inspirational female celebrity featured. The cover also features a lot of text explaining what is inside, so it is generally quite easy to gather just on the surface whether this edition holds any particular interest to you.
As an indicator, here is how the contents page is divided so you know what you can expect from it.
Good reading - the main features of the magazine, this includes the in-depth interview with the celebrity on the front cover, a problem page with TV clinical psychologist Dr Tanya Byron, book reviews, features on family life and inspirational female and work/life balance.
Good choices - testing and tips by the Good Housekeeping Institute; extremely useful advice on household products, where it picks items around a theme - thoroughly tests them and gives feedback under a number of criteria including value for money, ease of use etc - in essence very similar to the thoroughness of Which
Good health - tips on health and wellbeing - including a nutrition Q+A, problem page with a GP , diet and health tips as well as relevant recent news from the field.
Good looks - tips on beauty and fashion, key looks for the season, economic beauty buys and how to dress/ wear make-up for your particular needs
Good homes - tips on how to get the best out of your interiors and gardens
Good food - a really good number of great, wholesome and very cookable recipes - often with economic and calorie restraints applied without compromising on flavour.
Great escapes - information and features on travel both home and abroad
Just for you - information on subscriptions and featured vouchers and special offers.
In every issue - readers letters, an article by novelist Kathy Lette, horoscopes, article by Sandi Tolksvig.
As with all magazines, Good Housekeeping contains a fair amount of advertising, but it is certainly not as prominent or as invasive as I have seen in others. The articles are well considered and written and you will get a good amount of useful information on them. The features are sensitively written for the most part and there is a nice sense of community coming from them. The tone is certainly not patronising.
Throughout the magazine there are a lot of useful tips and advice, particularly when it comes to reducing waste and getting the most of your money. Information that anybody would need. They have a really good line in doing features on 'real women' - inspirational stories from everyday women who have overcome hardships, in some magazines these can seem farfetched but here they really work and have the desired effect. They do not just assume that the reader has tons of money at their disposal and is already successful, focussing instead on the notion that with modern pressures - nobody is superwoman and sometimes bad things happen and instead guide you to a more inspirational way of thinking, often through practical, straightforward advice. In some of their fashion and beauty features - the models chosen tend to represent 'real' women's body shapes than being exclusively and obviously models.
As I have alluded to before, the recipes in this magazine are particularly good. As a recipe hoarder myself, I often keep hold of most of the ideas featured here. They generally feature seasonal ingredients and contain the type of details that are really useful and that you do not always get in some magazines as the recipes are generally filler or an afterthought - for example, preparation cooking times are clearly indicated as well as nutritional information as well as reasonably priced accompaniment wines. Often, they will give additional tips on how to plan your cooking times effectively, if putting together a suggested menu eg for dinner parties.
It also does a really good line in budget recipes - working out how to get the best meals for your money and providing information on how to make the best use of leftovers and standard storecupbard ingredients. The recipes are vaunted as being 'triple tested' by the team, so it is extremely unlikely that you will find any errors in the methods.
There is certainly a degree of the aspirational about the magazine's content however - the interiors featured are stunning and much of the fashion is on the higher end of the department store budget , yet without being designer.
What is particularly impressive is that, although I would wager that the key audience of the magazine is for women aged 35 - 60's, I think there is a lot here that would be of interest to women of most ages. As someone in their late twenties, I have gained a lot of knowledge and practical tips from looking at it. It also does a really good job of considering a wide variety of ages in the production of its beauty pages so it is not prohibitive.
In a highly crowded market, I number this magazine as being amongst the best out there when it comes to value for money for the content it contains. It has a great deal of integrity and heart and cannot really be faulted in my opinion. I certainly learn something from every edition I pick up. Above all it is just a really good read.
My sister in law suggested this magazine to me a few years ago. I used to think it was all about cooking and home decor and didn't think that I would find it over interesting on a regular basis, however it has so much more to offer than that.
I find that the best way to buy it is by annual subscription as it is so much cheaper than buying it each month and I often put it on my Christmas list. It makes a nice Christmas or birthday present as it is like getting a present every month delivered to your door.
The current price for 12 issues is £24.99 through National Magazines, 40% off the cover price which is a fantastic saving.
Each issue has 240 pages with lots of regular features such as a letter from the editor with news of what is happening in the magazine, letters from readers, a look at what will be in next month's issue , horoscopes and an amusing article at the end of the magazine by Sandi Toksvig.
There is a problem page, medical questions answered, topical issues discussed, lots of advice on clothes, fashion for different age groups and makeup. There is also the Good Housekeeping Institute which tests lots of different recipes until they find the perfect one and also lots of kitchen appliances and gadgets so that it can recommend the best buys.
I love Aggie's Kitchen (Aggie MacKenzie from How Clean Is Your House)which is a fairly new regular article giving money-wise tips and recipes. I also like the Real Lives section which concentrates on problems affecting ordinary people and how they have coped with life changes and difficulties.
There is usually a celebrity interview and, one of my favourites, Best Books For The Month, which gives 4 or 5 books and a small resume about each one. There is also a chance to win a book by posting your name and address to Good Housekeeping.
I find the money saving tips really useful and love looking at the fashions and beauty products. The magazine is written in easy to read fairly short articles so that it is brilliant for picking up and putting down when you have a few minutes to yourself.
I find the articles about fashion for different ages really useful. As a women in her late forties who isn't ready to shop in Eastex I find it very helpful to see what other women of a similar age are wearing, giving me confidence to mix fashionable clothes or accessories with more classic items so that I look up to date without looking like mutton dressed as lamb!
The magazine also has a good website called All About You which has loads more information, tips, recipes, articles and advice if you have the time to look after reading your way through over 200 pages of the magazine!
I have bought other magazines but haven't found one to live up to Good Housekeeping. The Editor often refers to it as the magazine for Grown Up Women and I feel that that probably about sums it up - women in their 20s may not find it to their liking but anyone 30+ would probably love it.