September 17, 2017

Racquet Magazine

Racquet Magazine cover of Roger Federer 2017

The stories surrounding tennis

Just as the Wimbledon tennis tournament ended this year, Stack posted Racquet magazine through my door. The 4th issue of Racquet, a US quarterly independent magazine, focuses on American tennis players and gives a fascinating insight into some of the most well-known champions’ careers.

Racquet is perfectly pitched whether you’re a tennis lover, or you don’t know much about the sport. Issue 4 of the magazine has a phenomenal wrap around cover photograph of Roger Federer winning his 5th crown at Indian Wells. The detailed photography and attention to layout continues throughout the issue.

This magazine isn’t one that I would normally pick up, but really enjoyed reading. We live close to the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club where the Wimbledon tournament is held. Every year, where we live in South West London explodes in ‘Wimbledon Fever’. The streets are decked out in green and purple flags. Our local pubs sell Pimms on tap. When we walk to the station in the morning, the roads are full of Wimbledon cars with blacked out windows. The buzz of the tennis tournament dominates our area, and it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement.

It was brilliant to read beyond the headlines of the sport and uncover some fascinating details about tennis that I never knew before. Getting to know more about Venus and Serena Williams’ incredible careers. Finding out about Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe’s road to fame. Tennis is a huge spectator sport in Britain, and it’s heartwarming to discover that across the ocean in America, Racquet is just as passionate.

I received issue 4 of Racquet magazine as part of my Stack subscription. 

August 21, 2017

Positive News

Positive News issue 88 2017 first quarter front cover

‘We can share a new story of what it means to be alive at this time. A story that will unleash human potential instead of drowning it in a sea of anxiety and cynicism.’
Editor’s letter, Positive News issue 88

Doesn’t it feel like we’re in an endless cycle of news? I don’t know about you but I feel stuck amongst divisive voices, all clamouring to tell me what’s happening in the world from their perspective. I feel compelled to be informed, and want to be interested. Lately though, I’m exhausted and dispirited hearing about the world around me. Perhaps it’s the political times we’re living in, but it’s not helped by the unrelenting negativity in the mainstream news.

Positive News independent magazine issue 88

Positive News is a uplifting read whether you feel bombarded by the news or not. It doesn’t soothe readers with frivolous stories about rescued puppies, but validates concerns. It covers some of the most alarming and uncertain situations that we’re collectively facing, just from a positive position. The housing crisis becomes an article about floating homes; the rise of fascism is instead a piece on how to move beyond political division in society; India’s women suffering from gender injustice is reported on from the angle of the people who have benefited from a creative education programme designed to educate women on gender inequality.

Whilst it doesn’t break the boundaries of the form of an independent magazine, Positive News breaks the boundaries of journalism. Instead of feeling paralysed by the news, reading Positive News I felt unusually empowered.

I received issue 88 of Positive News as part of my Stack subscription. 

June 19, 2017

Anxy: The Anger Issue

Anxy Magazine The Anger IssueAnyone feeling angry? I sure am. Trump, Theresa May, Brexit, the widening gap between rich and poor… there’s a lot to be angry about now. Anxy magazine’s The Anger Issue hit the shelves at just the right time.

Anxy magazine is a project funded by Kickstarter backers, based in California. It aims to smash the stigmas around mental health, with The Anger Issue as the first issue. A whole magazine issue focused solely on anger, undisguised by other themes, feels rare and bold; anger is a controversial emotion that our society allows us to feel (sort of) but rarely express openly and vocally.

Anxy looks at many different forms of anger, and the affect on our mental health in bottling it up, or in not understanding the source of our rage and taking action.

Anxy Magazine Our Secret Language

We’re given a close up view of Kate Speer’s journey from psychiatric hospitalisation to recovery, driven by anger at medical professionals’ failure to rehabilitate her into society themselves. The anger of Turkish Kurds, living ‘like refugees’ in their own country. Retail employees’, restaurant managers’ and hospital nurses’ experience of having people’s anger directed at day after day. And Margaret Atwood’s advice for those who feel driven to anger at the state of current events.

Anxy Magazine People Shout At You

Anxy Magazine Nothing to Worry About

Anxy Magazine Margaret Atwood Isn't Angry

I had assumed that the sheer amount of anger in Anxy would overwhelm me, and perhaps even increase my own anger. But it was cathartic. Reading others’ experiences of anger helped me feel less alone with my anger and removed some of the shame attached to the emotion.

Healthy expressions of anger are marginalised, with women expected to contain and diffuse their anger, and men’s typical outlets being anger and aggression, so I was particularly relieved to read ‘Gaslighting: A Hate Story’, ‘Between the Binary’ and ‘Removing the Mask of Masculinity’ probing into the binary gulf in gendered experiences of anger.

Anxy Magazine Fight or Flight

The writing within Anxy is human, compassionate, rage-fuelled and frustrated. Anxy forced me to take a heavily critical look at society’s inability to incorporate anger into an emotional spectrum, untarnished by shame. I cannot wait for the second issue.

Anxy magazine  website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

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May 29, 2017


The beginning of this post signals that the wedding has happened! I am married and I am overjoyed that I have more time for reading independent magazines again, and writing about them! 

Illustoria is a magazine for creative kids and their grownups. But even as a grownup without kids, I fell in love with the simple story-telling approach Illustoria bring to nuanced concepts like friendship, determination and loneliness. The Californian based magazine is published quarterly, having been founded in summer 2016.

Issue 3, Outside-In, had a surprise on every page: comics, DIY ideas, and book recommendations, all with beautiful eye-catching illustrations. This is a magazine you want to spend time with, pore over, and return to time and again. It made me wish I had a little person to share it with. The little person I was would have adored Illustoria, and still does!

Illustoria  website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

Illustoria issue 4 ‘Grow’ is available to buy online 

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February 27, 2017

Indie Mags – Phox Pop

The lateness of this review doesn’t reflect how quickly I read issue 2 of Phox Pop* magazine; it was devoured within a couple of days over Christmas. (Lack of natural light and knee-deep wedding planning conspired to keep me from blogging!)

Phox Pop is a well researched, engaging and beautifully designed magazine. It defies easy categorisation into a broad independent magazine theme. Instead, Phox Pop is driven by curiosity; the website simply states Phox Pop is ‘a free-range selection of stories’. Meticulous research has gone into every page, bringing together tenuous topics such as the origin of the banana; urban geodes; and how to become a wine god/dess. Since when did multicultural Australian identity sit easily with monarch butterfly migration? Each page turn leads to more detailed and fascinating facts, as delightful as they are intriguing.

Phox Pop is created by Amy Freeborn, who has a background in newspaper journalism, digital publishing and editing. With Phox Pop she says that she ‘made the magazine that I would want to write for, and read, myself: rather than pitching ideas to multiple other titles, I would write them all for my own title, and hope that other people would be as interested in reading them as me.’

I love that issue 2 of Phox Pop hasn’t been moulded into a theme; that the topics are diverse. It feels like a labour of love, as if any interesting facts that Amy has heard, seen or experienced have been plucked and polished for Phox Pop. They are much shinier and engrossing facts than skim reading the same information on Wikipedia due to personal stories that root the research; from female astronauts to hunters of render ghosts – reading about their lives widens our own world.


*So where does the name Phox Pop come from? It comes from the phrase ‘vox pop’ an abbreviation of a Latin phrase that means ‘voice of the people’. The ‘v’ has been replaced with ‘ph’ from the Greek ‘phos’ (light) to indicate different art forms.

Phox Pop website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

Phox Pop issue 2 is available to buy online and issue 3 is due to be released on 20th March and can be pre-ordered

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January 26, 2017

On My Bookshelf: I Capture The Castle

On My Bookshelf is a series of my most favourite books, frequently recommended to friends, family, and now to you!

I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining-board, which I have padded with our dog’s blanket and the tea-cosy.

When a friend recommended I Capture the Castle to me several years ago, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t already read it. It’s one of those books you can return to year after year and still find utterly enchanting. Cassandra Mortmain’s diary mirrors the frenzied attempts I had as a teenager to document every moment; the fights with my siblings; the longing for life to be interesting; falling in love for the first time. Her eccentric father, bohemian step-mother and the family’s hand-to-mouth lifestyle living in a crumbling castle are far more romantic than my teenage-hood ever was!

January 22, 2017

Indie Mags: Little White Lies

Little White Lies Rouge One cover

Just before Rogue One, the newest Star Wars film, was released in December, Little White Lies released an a special Star Wars colour-in edition. The joy of colouring in never really leaves you when you grow up, and it was lovely to have the time (and excuse!) to get out a fistful of colouring pencils and imagine what the final film might look like.

I’m a Star Wars fan by proxy. All of the times I’ve watched the films it’s been with my cousins, brother or my fiancé, who have been real enthusiasts of the series. I’ve enjoyed all of the recent films in the cinema, but I’d be hard pushed to explain the intricacies of the plot! Thankfully, Little White Lies took a broader look at where Rogue One fits in to the Star Wars series. A profile of Felicity Jones’ career (remember her from Chalet Girl days?) and an article about how her character, Jyn Erso, continues a cinematic tradition of tough women who take action made me pretty excited about the upcoming movie.

Did you see Rogue One? Are you a colouring-in fan? If both answers are yes then get yourself a copy of the Little White Lies Star Wars colour-in edition if you haven’t already!

Little White Lies The Chosen OneLittle White Lies colouring inLittle White Lies Star Wars edition coloured

Little White Lies website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

Little White Lies 67 Rogue One: A Star Wars Colour-In edition is available to buy online 

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January 8, 2017

Happy 2017!

January 2017Happy new year! I’m enjoying a brand new year with new resolutions underway. I’m calming down the eating and drinking post-Christmas with my first dry January and a (nearly) veggie month of eating. I’m also following Lauren Laverne’s advice to only take on one task at once, ‘single-tasking’, to stay more relaxed. This year is the year I get married (only 4 months to go!) and juggling work and wedding preparations was quite exhausting last year; I’m determined I won’t be a stressed-out bride this year! Have you got any new years resolutions?

I really enjoyed delving deeper into the world of independent magazines last year on Arts Bites, and I’m looking forward to continuing it this year! I’m also considering a book series too as it’s been something I’d like to write more about for a while. I’m hoping to continue posting fairly regularly this year, however I’ve found wedding plans eating into my non-working time pretty easily so we’ll see how that goes in the first 6 months!

I hope you’re having a great start to the new year!

December 17, 2016

Indie Mags: Peppermint

Peppermint magazineA few weeks ago I wrote about reading frankie, an Australian independent magazine whose summery pages helped make the UK winter feel a little less severe. Recently it’s been so dull and grey outside that another trip down under, this time with Peppermint magazine, has helped to brighten things up!

Peppermint is an Australian quarterly magazine, focused on natural living and sustainability. I picked up a copy of issue 30, as I was drawn to the tranquil beach cover photo! Inside, I loved the feature about THINX, underwear designed to be more ecologically friendly than tampons, and a profile on Yassmin Abdel-Magied, a Muslim immigrant activist who co-founded Youth Without Borders, works on an oil rig, and is an amazing role model for young Muslim women.

Peppermint magazine THINX underwearPeppermint magazine Yassmin Abdel-Magied


Although, at times, Peppermint felt slightly too ‘old’ for me to be reading, I really appreciated the age range of the women Peppermint represented and the variety of different crafts and projects that had been written about so passionately.

The white spaces in Peppermint’s pages reflect their natural living ethos. The magazine is pitched at women in their mid-twenties to thirties and most likely with young families, due to a focus on family-run independent businesses, whether that be a husband and wife couple, or with idea-generating kids involved! Although, at times, Peppermint felt slightly too ‘old’ for me to be reading, I really appreciated the age range of the women Peppermint represented and the variety of different crafts and projects that had been written about so passionately.

I am so glad that I’ve been able to buy such dynamic independent magazines from the other side of the world here in England, however disorientating it is seeing a brand in an Australian magazine and thinking ‘Perhaps I’ll buy that!’, only to realise that the shipping costs would be astronomical!

Peppermint magazine issue 30Peppermint magazine I'm every womanPeppermint magazine Toy StoryPeppermint magazine wild and woolly

Peppermint magazine website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

Peppermint is available to buy online 

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November 20, 2016

Indie Mags: Frankie

frankie issue 72 cover

Frankie issue 72 inside

I’m in denial about it being autumn; I miss the long sunny evenings of summer and Christmas is not quite near enough to get excited about yet. So when I picked up a copy of frankie, an Australian independent magazine, and found that it was infused with the down under excitement of ‘summer is just round the corner’, it was the best antidote to the cold, dark pre-Christmas days in Britain. continue reading