Confessions Of A Vintage Magazine Junkie

30 Jun

I recently developed a new interest in something which unfortunately requires a pocket full of money – but then isn’t that true of all good things?

Woman magazine over the years

Woman magazine over the years

I have developed a fondness of collecting vintage women’s magazines. OK, strictly speaking, I suppose I should be using the term retro as the magazines are predominantly from the eighties and nineties but hey I like the word vintage better! And in any case I’m sure that I’ll soon start collecting magazines from decades prior to the eighties. And it’s not just women’s magazines – I’ve also started collecting pop and teen mags from those decades too.


I have always been a magazine junkie – right from the time I was able to read. As a child I couldn’t go into a newsagents without whoever I was with purchasing a  kid’s magazine for me. And it just went on from there.

As a young teen, I started to keep all the magazines I bought rather than toss them out – proving they really were money well spent. But unfortunately as my collection grew, space became increasingly tight, especially as we were living in a pretty small place at the time. So feeling fed up one day, I threw the lot out, not realising that one day I’d regret that decision.

My interest was sparked when upon arriving home from America, I discovered that my mum had thrown out boxloads of the vintage recipe pages I was saving. I was livid! And that’s putting it very mildly!

Part of my recipe collection

Part of my recipe collection

However during the three months I’d spent in the States, I didn’t buy any magazines as I didn’t really like the selection that was available there (apologies to my American followers!) But then when I arrived back in the UK, I found that my usual weekly reads didn’t really entice me as they once did. I actually found them a bit soul-less. It was just full of ads, celeb gossip, and fashion features of clothes from stores that I don’t frequent. It was all starting to get a little bit dull. The quality just wasn’t there.

I started thinking back to the magazines I used to buy years ago. I loved the extraordinary stories from real life people. I couldn’t get enough of the fiction pages and the puzzles. I loved the homely way the food accompanying the recipes was photographed. I enjoyed the regular weekly features. I also liked how the cover girl was usually an unknown model or at the very least a relevant actor or actress from one if the top soaps of that time. Not a reality TV star in sight!

Woman's Own from the 1980s

Woman’s Own from the 1980s

I began to wish I’d never been so foolish as to throw out my beloved collection of mags – and set about trying to replace them.


Well in a nutshell, it’s because it reminds me of my childhood. Bet you didn’t need me to tell you that! It brings back wonderful memories of going to the newsagent with my uncle and picking up a pack of jelly tots – and a kiddie’s mag which I would read from cover to cover; of going through my aunts’ bags to flick through their latest mag; of going to the shop after school with my friends, where they’d buy a chocolate bar or bag of crisps for the journey home, and I’d buy a ton of chocolate – and a very ‘uncool’ women’s weekly – which I’d always claim was for my mum. Yeah right – Mum was lucky if she even caught sight of it, let alone read it!

I loved best!

I loved best!

I actually believe that these magazines got me prepared for the adult world. Or perhaps I should say that in my very naïve teenage mind, I’d flick those pages and think that that was what being an adult was all about. As I looked at the fashion pages, I’d imagine that those would be the clothes I’d wear when I was all grown up. I’d look at the hair and beauty features, envisioning my chic and elegant future self. The interiors section gave me a lot of inspiration for my future home. I learned a lot from the sometimes unfortunate real-life stories of ordinary people. Furthermore, my love of cooking and interest in food stems from those recipe pages.

And where teen magazines are concerned, they played a major role in my growing up. They answered the questions my friends and I were to afraid ask our parents, teachers and other adults around us; questions about boys, dating, the changes that were rapidly occurring to our bodies, problems at school, fitting in with the crowd… And of course they enabled us to indulge in our teenage crushes, gave us advice on how to do our hair and make-up and gave us tons of freebies. And without Smash Hits, I would never have been able to learn the lyrics to my fave tunes.


Well it wasn’t easy, I can tell you that now! But once  I decided to try and track down vintage finds and stop buying modern-day magazines, I had to consider which were the best places to start looking. At first I tried many of the local charity shops but found no joy there, although one of the volunteers did suggest the Freecycle site to me. Unfortunately I had no luck there either. Nor did I find anything at car boot sales.

More recent issues of Woman's Own from within the last ten years

More recent issues of Woman’s Own from within the last ten years

I also tried people I knew who might have the odd mag or two or a hundred going back to the eighties but alas nothing. And I was practically laughed out of the newsagents when I enquired if they had leftover stock from thirty years ago (not as ridiculous as you might think seeing as my parents acquired stock from what seems like thirty thousand years ago when they took over a local shop!)

Finally I checked out sites like Gumtree and eBay which I suppose I should have checked out first. It was slow going but I soon discovered some real gems…


I’m thrilled that in such a short amount of time, I’ve been able to get some really amazing finds. I’ve got a lot of the magazines from the eighties that my mum and aunts used to read such as Woman, Woman’s Own, Women’s Realm, My Weekly and Women’s Weekly. I’ve also got two issues of Bella which I’m thrilled about as well as Prima which were two titles that I – not my aunts – used to buy.

Just a fraction of me Me magazine collection

Just a fraction of me Me magazine collection

Another thing I’m also thrilled about is that I’ve been reunited with a 1990’s mag called Me which I’d totally forgotten about! But flicking through it, the memories came flooding back and it was just as awesome as I remembered.

I never used to buy Essentials and neither did any of the women in my family but after I stumbled across a file containing pages from old-school issues of this publication, I made it a mission to track down some issues – and I haven’t been disappointed.

Essentials from the early nineties

Essentials from the early nineties

But one of the best finds, even though it isn’t a women’s weekly title, were a bundle of Smash Hits magazines from the late eighties to the early nineties – the exact period that I used to buy this fantastic pop magazine. And what I was most excited about was the issue that had the first ever cover of New Kids On The Block on it – the best pop band in the world! Upon contacting the previous owner to thank her, she revealed that she was sad to part with them but as she was a mum with a growing family, she had to let her Smash Hits collection go which made me feel guilty. I promised her that I’d give them a good home – as I will with every mag in my growing collection.

The issue now is (ha! Geddit???) Is how I’m going to haul my collection across the Atlantic to my new home!



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12 responses to “Confessions Of A Vintage Magazine Junkie

  1. Jay Mackie

    September 3, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Hi Angel- I loved your article on collecting vintage magazines. This is a passion of mine too and I’d love to swap notes on our collections. What started me was my obsession with the Mini Mystery stories on the last page of Bella from 1987-the late 1990s. I have a sizeable collection of these and many volumes of Bella from these years. Also a collection of Take A Break, Best, Me and quite a lot more – some going back to the 60s and 70s.
    It’s a cheap hobby (well – it depends !) and a window to the past when life seemed better – and the mags were more varied like you say and not full of celebrity stories and gossip. But sadly times have changed and I guess magazine content has to move with the times and appeal to the masses, not the minority who really miss the fiction pages and other brilliant weekly regulars.
    I’d love to know more about your magazine collection and you never know I may be able to help you with some if I have doubles and advise each other on the best websites and strategies to increase our collection. Feel free to email me.
    It’d be cool to meet a fellow collector!
    Happy hunting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • darkangelrocks

      October 11, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      Hi Jay!

      Many thanks for the comment you’ve left here. So glad that the post resonated with you. Its nice to meet a fellow collector especially as we seem to like the same mags. Funny you should mention the Mini Mysteries because that was one of my favourite features in Bella too. I still remember the silhouette with the magnifying glass which was the feature’s symbol. I agree that it is a reminder of more simpler times and whether its a cheap of expensive hobby depends on how you look at it but seeing as I don’t buy many of today’s magazines, I think I’m making a bit of a saving! I understand that times change and we have to move with the times but if today’s magazines are a sign of our times then I think that explains why I want to head back to the eighties! Thanks again, Jay! ☺


  2. jennypugh

    September 21, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    My mum used to get Essentials, it was a massive chunky folder in the end, chock-full of useful information and tips. Your collection looks great! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • darkangelrocks

      September 21, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      Thank you, Jenny! I’ve acquired quite a few more mags since this post so my collection is growing.

      I really love going through them because I get transported back to the eighties and nineties i.e. my happy place.

      And Essentials is an awesome magazine – you’re right about the really useful info!xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • jennypugh

        September 25, 2016 at 12:58 pm

        Aw my happy place is also the eighties and nineties. I can’t believe I will be 38 in November. Just, how? 😦 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • darkangelrocks

        September 27, 2016 at 10:17 am

        I know! Didn’t we just do our GCSEs yesterday???

        Liked by 1 person

      • jennypugh

        September 28, 2016 at 9:05 pm

        Ugh, my GCSEs were so long ago! Next month I will have been working for 20 years. 20 years! xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • darkangelrocks

        September 29, 2016 at 4:13 pm

        Seriously have no idea where the last twenty years went! It really was only yesterday…

        Liked by 1 person

      • jennypugh

        November 2, 2016 at 10:04 pm

        I just sent you a DM on Twitter 🙂 xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • darkangelrocks

        November 14, 2016 at 1:51 pm

        Hey Jenny. Thanks for lmk you sent me a DM but unfortunately Im having issues iith my account 😞 and am waiting for the lovely people at twitter to get back to me. 😕I hope you don’t mind but I sent you a request on FB as that might be the only way you can communicate with me outside of here. xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • jennypugh

        December 11, 2016 at 10:09 pm

        I don’t really use that Facebook so I have sent you a friend request for the Facebook I am using xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • darkangelrocks

        December 27, 2016 at 5:04 pm

        Thanks lovely! Already added you. Belated merry Christmas to you and Michelle xx

        Liked by 1 person


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