Posts tagged ‘magazines’

July 26, 2013

Colours May Vary, Leeds.

Those of you who know me well, in real life or through the pages of this blog, will know that I have something of a magazine addiction.

Over the past few years, my magazine preferences have shifted, moving away from women’s monthlies that make false promises like ‘A Perfect Life in 10 Easy Moves’ towards more nourishing, soulful reads like Kinfolk, Cereal, Hole & Corner,  Uppercase, Another Escape and Frankie. That’s not to say the lure of the glossy doesn’t catch me – it does every so often, but if I succumb to one of them, I’m invariably disappointed.

My love of paper and of print media, as opposed to e-books, means that I like to seek out places to find the unusual, the individual and the beautiful. I’m a big fan of Magpile, I did the Guardian Masterclass in independent magazine publishing last year (watch this space…) my Pinterest account has a special board just for magazines, and you might remember that my only Christmas blog post of last year was about Stack magazine subscriptions.

I used to spend many an hour in the now-closed Leeds branch of Borders, perusing the magazines there. I was that rare type who didn’t just spend my lunch-hour standing and reading magazines that I had no intention of buying. I was the one staggering to the cash desk under a teetering pile of unusual, often imported, magazines and journals. That they didn’t survive in Leeds is not because I didn’t spend…

Thankfully, there is now a wonderful place in Leeds where I can satiate my love of magazines and print. That place is Colours May Vary.

Located in Munro House, on the outskirts of the town centre, Colours May Vary is the kind of place that is almost impossible to find; an independent retailer with the kind of relaxed and inviting vibe that doesn’t leave you feeling that you are being watched like a hawk, or always expected to buy. And that, because you feel at ease to browse, and therefore discover all manner of awesome things, is precisely one of the reasons you do buy!

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Some of my purchases from Colours May Vary – and coffees from Laynes!

Together with the aforementioned magazines, the stock includes a great selection of art, design and children’s books, cards, gift wrap, notebooks, and an array of other carefully chosen and ever-changing items that will basically form my entire Christmas shopping this year. I know, I know, I said ‘Christmas’ in July, but I’m on a budget, which means I’ve started my shopping already. Sorry about that.

Current stock includes books, tote bags and prints from the super talented and lovely Matt Sewell, who I was fortunate enough to meet at a recent book launch there. I am currently coveting one of his prints and hoping that if I wish for one hard enough, I might be lucky enough to get one for Christmas! There, I go, mentioning Christmas again…

The customer service is wonderful, and I’ve been able on many an occasion now, to ask for a copy of a particular magazine to be put to one side to enable me to get there and buy it. It feels incredibly responsive and makes me want to sing their praises from the highest of rooftops. The collaboration with Laynes Espresso (splendid independent coffee shop near Leeds Railway Station) means that I can get a coffee and have a quick look through new issues before buying, either from Laynes, or Colours May Vary.  As you can see from the photos, I do that quite a lot!

So, if you’re in Leeds, I highly recommend that you do go to Colours May Vary. It’s a really special store that deserves every success. I’ll probably see you in there…

As an aside, after reading Issue 17 of Uppercase, I have finally booked myself onto a Letterpress Course at the West Yorkshire Print Workshop! Very excited. I’ll let you know how I get on on…

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December 17, 2012

My Sole Christmas Gift Idea: Stack Magazines.

Regular readers of this blog might notice that I’ve been absent for a week or so. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, I’ve been spending a lot of time reading for my Goodreads Challenge (more on that in another post) secondly, I wrote a guest post about great Christmas gifts for gardeners for the utterly marvellous The Culture Vulture and lastly because the run up to Christmas is a bit crazy, and I’ve been struggling to find the time. And, if I’m honest, the motivation.

Having written one Christmas gift guide post, I didn’t really want to write another one, and the internet is overflowing with Christmas blog posts and wonderful gift guides anyway. I’m not feeling particularly Christmassy myself so haven’t felt much like adding my two penn’orth to the conversation until now. This isn’t because I’m feeling Scrooge-like about it, but I really only ever feel Christmassy in those final few days leading up to Christmas Day, when I’ve finished work and am at home wrapping presents, mulling wine and listening to Carols. I rather hate that we start being bombarded with Christmas stuff roughly the day after the shops have finished trying to sell us Hallowe’en costumes and fireworks. How cynical I am…

If you’re anything like me, you’ll still have gifts to choose and not much time to get them organised. So, in my only contribution to the whole Christmas shopping conversation, I present to you my last minute gift solution for that difficult-to-buy-for person in your life: A subscription to Stack.

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I’ve spoken before about my magazine buying addiction – and how it’s a constant battle, but one that I’m gradually winning – but the one subscription I’m not giving up is my subscription to Stack. Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to go to a Guardian Masterclass on Reinventing Magazines, during which the founder of Stack spoke with lots of passion about the future of the printed word. When I got home from the event, I subscribed immediately. It’s a unique service, posting out a different independently produced magazine each month. You don’t know what you’re going to be sent, so each month is like a little surprise. The one thing that links them all is that they’re beautifully created. I’ve had a variety of titles, on subjects including film, food, cycling and urban art. All of them have had something to interest me, and in some cases, I’ve fallen completely in love with them. This month I received Delayed Gratification, a magazine dedicated to ‘Slow Journalism’ and it’s wonderful. Some other titles they send out include Little White Lies, Fire & Knives, Rouleur, Wooden-Toy Quarterly and Oh Comely. All of which are gorgeous, intelligent and worth savouring. Not like many other glossy magazines that are basically stuffed full of adverts and articles that promise to help us ‘Get the Perfect Life/Body/Wardrobe in Ten Easy Steps’… Or, in other words, a lot of wasted paper and ink.

Because I am tardy with my Christmas post, it’s too late to get a gift issue sent out before Christmas, but you can get a gift card right up to Christmas Eve so it’s a perfect last minute gift for someone who will then receive magazines in the new year. And given how much I love Delayed Gratification, that seems rather appropriate…

October 10, 2012

Making things happen.

I’ve been feeling a bit glum recently. Nothing major, but just a bit unsettled. Partly it’s because I’ve realised it’s October and so 2012, a year I had high hopes for, is almost at an end. I’m not exactly sure how we’re in October already. With that comes the realisation that I’ve not managed to do many of the things I had planned for this year. In some cases, that’s because I’ve done different things instead, which is fine, and in some cases there are reasons beyond my control. But in some cases it’s because of nothing more complicated than my own behaviour.

I’ve talked on here before about my top time wasters – the things I do instead of the things I should be doing. I’m still battling with them, although I’m relieved to report that my Moshi Monsters obsession has abated. To be replaced with a Blythe obsession, naturally. Honestly, sometimes I don’t quite understand myself, so I really don’t expect anyone else to…

The other night I had a bit of a revelation though. Mildly inebriated (which is when I’m the most honest with myself) I wrote a list of things I wanted to do before I reach forty. Now, I’m a bit scared of forty. With apologies to those of you who are there already, but it feels incredibly grown up to me, and if there is one thing I don’t feel, it’s grown up. I have dolls! I also have a mortgage and two children, but I sometimes still wonder how I got to be thirty six in the blink of an eye. What I began to realise as I looked at my list and thought about the reasons why I’ve still got to make some of these things happen,  is that often the things I consider to be helping me achieve my goals are in fact, hindering them.

Take, for example, my magazine habit. I buy a lot of magazines. I love them. Many of those are travel magazines. I have a list of places I want to visit as long as my arm. Yet many of these places have been nothing more than a pipe dream for years and years. Imagine if, instead of buying a forest’s worth of travel magazines, I saved up the equivalent amount of money. Where might that have taken me?

Another thing I do is look at design magazines, books and blogs. I spend hours and hours of time reading, and  thinking about decorating our house. At the moment, I’m focussed on the bathroom. I’ve even had the stuff I need to do it (sander, paint, willing accomplice) ready and waiting to go for weeks. And yet, the bathroom remains undecorated, because of all the time I’ve spent being inspired to do it, by reading about other people and their perfect bathrooms. If, instead of reading about all those perfect houses, I picked up a damn paintbrush and started work, it would have been finished by now.

My tiny front garden is another thing. I’ve got a plan to re-design the whole thing with bee-friendly plants. I’ve had that plan for ages. But instead of picking up my trowel and getting on with making it happen, I spend ages looking at beautifully designed huge gardens in old copies of Gardens Illustrated.

I’m not saying for a moment that seeking inspiration is a bad thing. I’m not saving that I’ll stop buying the odd travel magazine. But the proportions are all wrong. I need less time spent researching, or reading about other people having adventures (or perfect bathrooms!) and more time doing, whether that is saving up harder (by wasting less money on dolls or on food that gets thrown away – more on that subject in another post) or picking up that trowel or that paintbrush.

So, that’s my goal. I’ve got dates booked in with my willing accomplice to get the bathroom finished, and I’ve got myself a savings account (and home designed money pot for loose change!) to make some of those travel plans less of a pipe dream. I’m going to change the proportions of my behaviour and make the things I want to do before I reach the grand old age of forty a reality, instead of something I read about someone else doing.

Oh, and one last thing. Never, never, introduce me to Pinterest. Because  that seems like the ultimate way in which I could lose hours, days even, just thinking, planning, dreaming and researching. I need to act