I have a pile of decorating to do at home now that the whole roof/loft/window saga has come to an end. It’s not *big* decorations, per se, but certainly a good coat of paint in 4 rooms and the hall, plus a tiled splashback to add in the kitchen, and a complete tile/shower screen replacement to take place in the bathroom. There will be a minor furniture change in the bathroom, and the spare room needs a new bed, bedside table and some shelves. I will also push the boat out and replace the living room curtains with some roman blinds I intend to make with the fabric goodies I bought in the market on Monday, which in turn will allow me to swap out the nasty old curtains in the spare room with one set from the living room.
With all this in mind, I’ve picked up a couple of magazines which are more aimed at decorating the home than crafts specifically, including Homemaker, issue 6, which I couldn’t really do the usual quick flick through that I like to do, what with it being all sealed up, and the woman in WH Smiths eyeing me suspiciously…
Will I be picking this up again? Well, no, but let me tell you why…
Firstly, the editor thinks a lot of herself. I don’t think I’ve ever read another magazine where the editor gets much of a mention, let alone sending herself on the best assignment for the issue, a cake decorating class with Mich Taylor at the Savoy, having declared herself ‘a bit of a cake decorating fan’ with, she ‘confesses’, ‘a flair for it’. Right. She has humbly then added the label on the finished item ‘Ed Lizzie’s finished cake looks fantastic’. It doesn’t. She also appears in a photo on her newly decorated storage unit as a wee girl, with an arrow to specifically point it out, just in case you cared. I’m not even mentioning the Snickerdoodles. Perhaps she would have better turned her editor’s pencil to the label on the Make Of The Month that reads ’Skip ahead to page xxx for more unique floristy ideas to make the x of xxx offferings’
Secondly, the only apparent places one should ‘save the date’ for are south of London: West Sussex, Tonbridge and Brighton & Hove, oh, I’m sorry, and Kingston, so a little west as well. Amazingly even the Londoners don’t get a look in!
Thirdly, there is the cost aspect of things (excuse me, this section is long, I flicked from one page to the next gulping more and more deeply):
• The summer garden party gaily suggests you go out and buy a ton of vintage tablecloths to cut up into bunting, and had lovely old glass bottles for vases – I’m not sure what it’s like round your way, but I’m not overly endowed with opportunities to pick up the kind of quantities required for this, let alone the money to do so.
• Then there’s the decorator’s diary where they suggest you wallpaper your stairs… The suggested inspiration has one measly Homebase £11.99/roll offering, and the rest are from £32 – £56.95 per roll. I have to ask, who on earth has that kind of money?! Actually, I know who has that kind of money, and I strongly suspect they are hiring a decorator themselves rather than reading ‘Homemaker’.
• Incidentally, you can also paint your curtains with paint that is a mere £32.50/2.5 litres, and throw in some ‘quick fixes’ on the decorating front with vases that are £81, a cushion cover that is £42 (yes, that is for one, not a set), and a set of ceramic bowls at £46.50 (which really ought to belong in the kitchen rather than the living room)
• In the ‘stylish mood board’ you can add floral fabric that is only £43/metre, or a blind at £98. They have once concession to cheap though, with artificial flowers from Dunelm Mills at £4.99 each…
• Perhaps you want to set up your kitchen with a new dresser at £898, upon which you can add a jug for £62, and a dinner service that doesn’t even have a price on it (if you have to ask…)
Fourthly, apparently all at Homemaker are Apple fans, since the only apps for baking that they could recommend were suitable for the iPhone or iPad. Jolly good, just ignore the large percentage of Android users then, there wasn’t a single one they could find? Or did they just not bother their backsides? (I know which I suspect)
Finally, having previously read through all the other magazines I’d brought with me – Mollie Makes and Making being the main two, I had a distinct feeling of déjà vu with Homemaker, as they had the same interviews with the same people, but at least an issue behind (and the preview of the next issue showed there would be more duplication coming up)
Back to just winging it on the decorating front then!
So you enjoyed it right? It always astounds me how far removed from reality these people are, suggesting re-decorating every couple of months with thousands of pounds worth of accessories, madness!
What a pity it was so disappointing but at least you know to avoid it in the future! Hope the other magazines were more to your liking! (And properly edited/proofread!)
Haha Katy – let it all out!!! There are some really rubbish 'making' magazines out there just now, and this sounds like it is right up there. Good luck with your decorating 🙂
Maybe they go on the assumption that if you can afford to spend £6-7 on a book of adverts you can afford to spend unspeakable amounts on badly made landfill fodder?
I can't remember when I last bought a magazine and refuse to buy them for my daughter. She only wants the free toys which are awful. I usually let her choose a book from a charity shop and get some hair clips etc instead. Hence me looking for a second hand bookcase today!
I do the exact same thing ha ha
Sorry, reading that back I sound as if I'm saying serve you right :-0 I'm not, honest, I'm referring to their usual readership 😉
Ha ha Catrin, glad I am not the only one who does that.
The only mags I buy now tend to be imported ones from my LQS. The UK magazine market is so poor atm!I think I must be the only one that doesn't "get" Mollie Makes either! Far too "Kirstie" for me!
This really irritates me too. I mean, if you're doing it yourself and not hiring someone to come in and just design it for you–there's probably a budget involved. (I'm not going to run out and buy a $500 lamp just to add that finishing touch to my room lol!) I've pretty much stopped buying magazines and just read blogs instead. Young House Love is a really great blog that covers the whole gamut of fixing up and decorating a home on a budget. I really like that they do the work themselves too and often show step-by-step how they did it.
I know exactly what you mean. Home decorator magazines here are exactly the same.
We have a TV renovation show on here at the moment called The Block and they had a cushion featured that I thought was pretty cute so I went to the website and it was $160 (FOR A CUSHION!) That's just ridiculous.
Maybe you and I should start a magazine for real people who have to renovate?
The magazines are so costly, they should have real prices in the magazine at least :). You have great plans and ideas without the need for magazines I think.
Wow, that editor sounds like pure class! I'm betting you'll ace it with the winging it :o)
Heh! Tell us how you *really* feel… 😀
Love your honest review Katy! Too many times I read mag or book reviews that only highlight the good and not the bad. Very refreshing to read a review that is actually helpful 🙂
Just say it as it is Katy!
Ah, pretension…. Not just for the society pages, anymore! Sounds like a magazine for the rich trying appear clever and "humble" with their pretend DIY. Wow.
Fabulous rant, though! I prefer magazines that are the real thing. Give me the high art and I'll do my own figuring on how to turn it into affordable decor in my own home. Or I'll turn to my not-pretentious, incredibly generous and inspiring online blog peeps for ideas and assistance. 🙂
Also recently browsing mags for holiday reading, am amazed at how many new publications there are "for the home", be it upcycling, recycling or just cycling!
on holiday and you haven't skipped a beat. You amaze me!
I never thought it would happen, but I've given up buying magazines. I was a subscription, buy every edition kinda girl for about 10 years, but I'm getting so many more ideas from blogs now. The craft magazines in Australia went really kitschy and republished old things, or followed the same pattern every year for themes.
Ha, loving your review! I hate magazines like that. Like other commenters, I've pretty much given up on magazines recently, there's so much junk out there, crazy expensive and mainly adverts! I just get my sewing and crochet inspiration from blogs, ravelry and books instead. Now I know to give this one a miss if I want decorating ideas! It's really poor that they use content from other magazines too!
Fab review, well, no, awful review but fabulously written dah-ling
My mum had a subscription for a mag, can't remember which one, that went under, so they sent her this one instead. Ridiculous, so glad to hear I'm not the only one that feels that way!