It’s not all that long ago that I worked on women’s magazines in London. Okay, it was a decade ago – and two countries ago – but sometimes it feels like yesterday.
As well as writing for several health and beauty titles, I was a magazine junkie. I literally gobbled them up. My London flat was crammed to the rafters with glossy magazines (Marie Claire, Red, Vogue), which I’d leaf through for ideas, their beautiful pages becoming progressively more dog-eared and tattered as the years went by.
Any space remaining in my single-girl flat was taken up with the freebies I received from PR companies. Eye creams, moisturisers, vitamins, hair products, makeup, body-firming lotions – you name it, you could probably find it in my bathroom.
Oh yes, there were benefits to working on magazines (dah-lings!), especially the pharmaceutical title I edited for a few years. I was plied with ‘gifts’ from big-budget drug companies, and swanned off on press trips abroad at the drop of a hat.
But, today, things are different, aren’t they? I realised this while standing in line at the supermarket this morning.
The new issue of Good Housekeeping Middle East was out and I actually felt a ripple of anticipation. I picked it up. I put it back on the shelf. I picked it up again. The feeling of excitement was undeniable. So I tossed it in the trolley, on top of the broccoli.
Fifteen bags of groceries later, I was able to snatch 20 illicit minutes on the sofa with the January issue, while sipping tea and being used as a climbing frame by LB (there may have been some Maltesers in there too).
I pored over the page with the headline ‘Declutter Your Fridge’; read all the quick tips on freeing up shelf space (square, stackable containers are better than round ones – who knew!); I learnt that eggs stay fresher if you keep them in their carton, not the fridge’s built-in egg holder (a revelation!); I even drooled over some rather nice bathroom sets.
I sped-read an article on having too little time, and found myself engrossed in an interview with New York City lawyer-turned-writer Gretchen Rubin on getting into the right mindset for decluttering (bring it on!). Can you guess what exciting things I’ve been doing this week? Yes, clearing out our accumulated junk.
LB might have started gnawing on my leg by now he was so peckish, but I was inspired – 2013 will be the year I become a better housewife, I vowed. I will never be THAT person who moves unopened mail half-way across the world again.
Boy, how times (and taste in magazines) change!