Heiter Moments With Magazines – Leah Nikolaou

Heiter Moments With Magazines



My relationship with printed media goes way back to my coveted weekly ‘My Little Pony’ magazine bought for me by my mum in the 80s.

Growing up magazine’s were my equivalent of
what Instagram is to young girls today.

Smash Hits, Just 17, Marie Claire, Elle, Vogue, Elle Decoration, Dazed & Confused, Wallpaper, Drapers, Selvedge Magazine & Textile Review were amongst just some of the magazine’s I consumed.  These magazine’s provided me with a social, cultural and moral education.  Then for 11 years I worked for a property publisher and I’d drawl over the most incredible houses unobtainable for the average person as our weekly publications arrived at the office.

I have a deep embedded love of magazines
I don’t think
will ever change.

However there is no doubt that today’s landscape has changed as the digital world competes for views on it’s pages and I, like the average person embrace the changes.  But why do I still love magazine’s quite so much? I’ll explore this question as I discuss the magazines I love reading right now!  To me there is nothing better than buying a magazine, the anticipation of what’s within its pages and the physical act of turning pages and losing yourself in it’s contents.  I see it as a luxury both in time and money now I have a family.

Firstly just to say that the term ‘Magazine’ was first used to describe the periodical ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine’ published in 1731 by an Englishman called Edward Cave.  

He invented the word ‘Magazine’ taking inspiration from the Arabic word ‘Makhazin’ which meant storehouse.  

Back then his goal was to create a magazine that the general public would be interested in.  I think today its longevity is less about appealing to the masses and more about creating unique content to specialised niches.  Niche magazine’s such as craft magazines were gaining popularity from as early as the 1930s.



I first became interested in vintage magazines whilst I was studying Fashion & Textiles at Winchester School Of Art.  I frugally purchased a few old copies of Vogue and then later got given a whole stack of vintage magazines from my Italian grandmother ‘Nonna’. The majority were old Stitchcraft Magazine’s from the 50s and 60s but there were also some older gems that are so well loved it made me love them even more for their sheer shabbiness! I gain so much joy from the nostagia of past fashion styles, trends and techniques as I explore their pages as well as for my time as a student.  

As I look at my stack I also wonder what led Nonna to collecting and reading these magazines almost religiously!  There are pencil markings on many pages counting rows or making notes on how to follow a pattern, these weren’t just purchased to browse they are well used with designs from their pages actually been made. There is no doubt that making something yourself was a means of aquiring aspirational home accessories or fashion at a more affordable budget.  Gone were the days of rationing and the unavoidable plain sewing and mending as a day to day necessity.  Crafting in the 1950s was more about fun and enjoyment.  Although some of these aspirations seem very modest today in a world of mass manufacturing the pastimes have been integeral in shaping civilisation as we know it today.  

These magazines also offer women a mental place and
space where they can lose themselves in the enjoyment
and fulfilment of the objects that they are making.

For me these magazines also bring a nostalgia of been taught to sew by my mum.  Sewing alongside family members it’s known forges emotional networks that last generations.  Many items made from these pages would also be gifts for friends and family and the love and devotion that has gone into the gift is an expression of the love and devotion to that person.  But which magazine’s would I go out and buy now?

Daphne’s Diary

Today I’m a more mindful spender when it comes to magazines, it has to be a magazine that offers more than just one read.  My latest magazine crush is Daphne's Diary which I generally pick up from my local WHSmiths.  I stumbled on it quite by accident and I’m so happy to have found it!  It’s a beautiful utopia of vintage, gardening, DIY, travel, recipes and mindfulness and embodies these interests I also have.  Daphne’s Diary is named after Daphne and this is literally her diary put into the form of a magazine.

Our souls really must have been carved
from the
same vintage paper!  

The paper she prints on, the feel and smell of the pages is something you just don’t get from a computer screen.  Daphne’s Diary provides an experience as well as blooming good read!  You feel almost like Daphne is a friend as you digest anecdotes about her family amongst the articles which are all relate-able, obtainable and inspirational rather than purely aspirational.  I’m always impressed and excited by the content in Daphne’s Diary it doesn’t follow predictable market leading brands and ideas but seeks out completely unique content, even including the smaller guys.  Photographs aren’t all perfectly airbrushed, the photography is beautiful but real!  

Whilst Pinterest and Instagram are great vehicles for discovering and keeping up with new brands and ideas, magazine’s like Daphne’s Diary give you the complete journey in a few spreads.  There is no waiting for then next post instalment. I find its a great tool for stimulating my own creativity and spurring me forward, particularly if I’m having a bad day!

Country Living Magazine

Country Living magazine is like my reliable wealthier friend, I know I can always find it and it will be an enjoyable read.

It provides an complete escape from everyday life and I
love the fact that it celebrates great craftsmanship.

It’s links are very much in tradition and that’s reinforced when I pick up an actual copy rather than scroll through a reformatted mobile phone size version. Country Living special editions are the most sumptuous indulgent coffee table bibles of home design that you can find!  Seriously, not only will you spend hours pouring over their contents but they look amazing in a small stack on your coffee table.  Magazines are generally a cheaper alternative to buying specialist books and you are more likely to dip in and out time and time again if its’ a physical item in your living space.  It’s also more likely to be picked up and shared by others too.  It’s unlikely someone would pick up your mobile phone up to share what you are reading.  Some would also say that they are also a visual indicator that you know good design!  I think its a shame that more recent generations wont get to develop the same relationship with printed media that I did.

 Surrey Homes

I’m very much a person who will flip through magazines to see if there is anything vintagey or unique that inspires me and Surrey Homes picked up free from my local train station is one of those I regularly check out.  Surrey Homes is amazing for vintage home interior features.  I’m not sure if I’m a little younger than their target market (I hope so) but they choose the best homes to showcase.  This is the only magazine I‘ve actually taken tear sheets from in the past few years.  There is something wonderful about creating physical tactile mood-boards it allows us to be inspired by more than our visual sense.  Partly I tear the sheets because the whole magazine doesn’t interest me any more and partly I think I need to justify having supported them in creating their carbon footprint.  These homes are however purely aspirational but when I worked in publishing it was a habit that I would pick it up and check it out as they were a competitor.  Old habits die hard I guess too!

In my mind the purpose of buying a magazine has changed and it goes beyond the education of a particular subject and provides a physical, enjoyable, nostalgic, relaxing, traditional personal experience in an otherwise digitally dominated world.  

To check out how I transfer vintage information from these magazines into my art click here to take a look at Leah Nikolaou’s Collections



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