Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sounding Off!

I have been wondering whether to write this post for a few days now. I know that there are many 'Country Living ' magazine fans out there, all raving about how fabulous it is, but I have not been impressed with it for some time now. I have bought or subscribed since the 90's, and have always hurried to the interior section, as that is where my interest really lies. It used to be my Bible and was very inspiring, but I now find it repetitive and ordinary.
Last months issues, for example, had a complete copy of photographs that had already featured in the September 1998 issue.
Here it is in that issue.

And here are the recycled photographs in last months edition.

I admit that the article had been re-written, but it is the photographs that hold my interest and inspire me.
Then in this months issue...

Although the house featured had been rephotographed, I still felt I had seen it all before, because the owner still decorated in the same style. (No offence to the owner, she has a lovely home, I just want to see something new.)

Of the two photos above, the top one is this month's issue and the lower one August 1999.
The magazine only features one property per month, surely it wouldn't be too difficult to find 12 new inspiring homes each year?
A few months ago, it seemed that they couldn't print an issue without mentioning certain well know designers and their latest merchandise, now they seem to be recycling old news.
I have decided not to renew my subscription in a couple of months time - anyway, reading Blogs is far more inspiring!

On a different subject; a couple of ladies asked about the china pots in the post below and wondered what they were. Here is a closer look.

They are in fact a mustard pot and a pepper pot! They are around 8cm tall and unmarked, but probably Victorian.


"Happy Mothering Sunday to All Mums!" - 18th March 2007.


  1. Anonymous9:37 pm

    I can't believe that Country Living has done that... I'm furious. I must admit I haven't been getting the inspirational 'hit' from the mag for a while now, but I keep buying it. Shame on them.

  2. nikki,
    I agree about country living, I stoped getting it about a year ago because it no longer showed me anything new. I much prefer Romantic Home and others.

  3. I quit Country Living a few years ago. Switched to Country Home for a couple years. Now I love Cottage Living. They show homes with small rooms which my older home has. They also show cottage gardens which I love! You might want to give it a try.

  4. Hi Niki, Here, here! The magazine has really gone down in my estimations - and many of their readers feel the same, judging by the comments on their chat page on the website - they probably regret letting everyone have a free say now! I used to love the interiors but they only ever have one now and of course they regularly feature the homes of designers etc., instead the real homes that we all love and live in! I do hope they soon take note of the unrest!

    Clare x


    I felt the very same thing. I am glad you spoke out! I might stop my subscription. I am also fed up with Homes and Gardens too, the pictures on the front of the mag are so sterile, I don't even bother to pick it up.

    I still like English Home though Niki, what do you think?

  6. I'm joining the queue and agreeing with you all. I feel this way about lots of the journals / mags currently being produced. For sometime now I've just treated myself to a book every 2-3 months. Works out about the same in cost. Except you can't really cut out the pics for your scrap book??

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Only deleted the comment because it posted twice??!! Mary

  9. I have noticed the same thing with country magazines here. I found a couple of old copies of Country Living in a thrift shop the other day. They were fantastic! I ripped out so many pages for my scrapbooks.

  10. First of all, those china pots are even more beautiful up close! Thank you so much for sharing the extra picture and for explaining what they were used for. I just love them....
    Secondly, I have been disappointed with decorating magazines lately as well ~~ and it's made me even more thankful to have my blog friends to visit for inspiration! Don't know what I'd do without all of you!! :)

  11. Oh my, Niki! That is awful what CL has done! I've only subscribed for two years, so I had nothing to compare it to, but you are so right! You are also right in that I too find much more inspiration through blogging (which is why I keep coming back here)! =)

    I thought those sweet little pots were egg coddlers! ooops!

  12. Anonymous12:51 am

    Very sad. I am very disappointed.
    Shame on you, CL.

  13. Anonymous1:05 am

    I too have saved many issues from the last 10 years. The magazines is nothing compared to the homes that were displayed then.....OH they were so wonderful....When this sub runs out I will not be renewing it!

  14. OMGoodness! You are so observant. I haven't subscribed to CL for years, just buying one occasionally when it looked interesting. I just subscribed last month! I wish I had known this before subscribing. :(

  15. Anonymous2:54 am

    You are sooo right!
    Another is Country Home.Not much new!
    They ride on their past success.
    We pay for,and rightfully expect new,fresh ideas,and great pictures!
    Thanks for speaking up.
    Good girl!!!~Carol

  16. That is really sad. I didn't know they used their old pictures, but I noticed they used pictures published in Danish magazines years ago.

  17. I'm wishing you a very happy Mothers day dear Niki! I'm sure you deserve that as a mother of so many girls! We still have 2 month time until it's Mothers day here in Germany.

    I know exactly what you mean about the Country Living mag and the repeating imgages and featured homes because I've had that same problem with two magazines over here and I have cancelled my subscription that I've had for years. I see it like you do that the pictures are the most inspiring part of the magazines and it cannot be that difficult to find new pictures 12 times a year, this is very annoying. I'm now flicking through the pages of the mags when they hit the news stand and only buy them when they are really new and inspiring to me! Ha so true that our blogging community is far more inspiring at times! Maybe we should create a new Home & Garden magazine! But hey you can happily send your double featured magazines my way, cause I don't own any English Country Living issues from the 90's lol

    Hugs to you!
    Carol xox

  18. Anonymous8:29 am

    try Romantic Homes. I am contribting new, specially written and edited stories to the May and the August issues. I am a real person. Living under the eves, with my rescued barn cats, in a very humble design studio in the New York area. While I am working very hard at designing my own bedding line to please you. and I am part of the blogging community too.

  19. Your comments about the UK Country Living resonate, which is why I stopped reading it five years ago. There is no excuse for a magazine to recycle articles. The US Country Living is excellent and can be found at Borders and a few other bookshops in London, but am not sure where else it's available in the UK.

  20. Hi Niki - So glad you told us this. I hadn't really noticed - probably because although I have a subscription I rarely get time to do any more than flick through the pages when it arrives and then hopefully catch up at a later date. What a waste of money that is, now I've stopped to think about it, so I'll not be renewing my subscription either.

    I've been contemplating taking out a sub to Period Living. What does anyone think about that one, or shall I just pick a magazine off the shelf when it looks interesting in future?

    Sue xx

  21. Thanks for pointing that out - I have noticed that I've been getting through a copy of CL much faster than usual, looking and flicking back for features that just aren't there, I am beginning to feel short-changed too! Have a good Mother's Day!
    Kim x

  22. Hi ya, bought CL last night in supermarket, for a sunday morning slob with lovely columbian fair trade coffee, giving delish Lavazza the heave-ho. I have to agree, whilst sadly i really look forward to CL it is getting very same old same old, i flick through it a couple of times, read the articles that interest me and i'm done, i think it could do with a bit more substanance, i find the repatition rather unprofessional, i thought i had seen this months house before but in another mag, not the same, several months later, tut tut tut......finally "hand on heart", i get more inspiration from some of the blogs out there tahn any magazines at the moment...

  23. Anonymous10:55 am

    Couldn't agree more Nikki, I no longer subscribe to magazines as I get thourghy fed up with seeing the same images everywhere, Christmas seems an especially bad time for that. I still buy sometimes from the newstands but only after having leafed through the mag to see if it is worth nearly four quid. Afterall, 3 mags and you could have bought a nice interiors type book. We are not getting value for money here!
    Rant over. Have a wonderful Mothering Sunday.

  24. Thank you ladies for all of your comments - glad to know I am not the only one who feels like this!
    Although I was talking about the UK edition of 'Country Living', it sounds like a similar story in the US issues too.

    I would like to check out a magazine before I buy from the news stand, but so often now the mags are in poly bgs and full of leaflets and brochures - you can't always check its worth the high price before you buy....

  25. i think you should submit some of your lovely photos to the magazine! :)

  26. Well I'm glad I am not the only one to have "dumped" CL. Plus I think we can all get lazy about inspiration - it shouldn't come form a magazine in the first place.

  27. I had wondered about this...but you proved it! Good for you! I think there are a fair amount of magazines that try to pull this on us, don't you?

    Recently I bought a garden magazine over here (USA), trying to give it another chance...and after reading one column, just threw it out...what a waste of money!

    I think you're right...there are so many interesting blogs (like yours!)...full of new, interesting and lively writing/photos!

  28. I agree with all that has been said but i still find myself smiling when the new CL issue falls on my door mat - only then to read it from front to back in 5 minutes!!!!
    Each month there seems to be more adverts and less inspiration. I do still love the Emporium section though x
    Tracy x

  29. Anonymous5:55 pm

    Glad you did write this post Niki, it's absolutely true. Another thing I have noticed before is the same home doing the rounds of different magazines. I do feel cheated by them sometimes, after all they are not that cheap to buy. I tend to buy Country Homes and Interiors in preference to CL as it seems to contains more homes. I don't subscribe though, I always browse through the magazines before buying, and if they have cellophane wrapping I carefully remove them and then put them back afterwards. I think all magazines will have some issues that are better than others, but CL has recently been consistently disappointing.

  30. First of all I would like to wish you a Happy Mother's Day
    Our's is not celebrated for some time yet.
    It was a coincidence that you wrote about Country Living today. I almost popped into Chapters to pick it up when I was shopping today. I didn't because I remembered that I have the last two issues sitting unread at home. I have noticed that if they are put out by the same publisher, magazines often feature the same 'file photos' that appear in several different magazines.I agree that reading blogs is as much, if not more inspirational, since they are written by real and creative people such as yourself (and Clare).

  31. I agree with everyone's comments, I find that lots of monthly magazines are poor value for money these days. If I'm spending around £4 I really expect more than one home to be featured. I bought CL for the first time last month and wouldn't bother again, likewise Period Living. Books are much better value and blogs contain so much inspiration thank goodness.

  32. hi nikki
    yes I find most of them dissapointing. i have found better dispalys at the antique markets that I go to

  33. I just renewed CL (UK) and noticed the US subscription price had increased again. I hadn't noticed the repetitiveness of the interiors section, but have noticed the once great recipe/cooking section is nowhere near as good as it was when Brian Glover was on board. I do enjoy reading about the countryside which I miss so much, however there seem to be too many of those articles now. The CL management team need to be aware of our disappointment with their once fabulous publication - looks like many of you will not be purchasing in the future. We need to let them know, so let's start writing them direct and tell them to get their act together!

  34. Anonymous2:35 am

    Love those beautiful pots...I hav had this experience before with other magazines, disappointing to say the least!

  35. Anonymous9:02 am

    I used to subscribe to CL but cancelled about a year ago. Thank you for speaking out. I enjoy your blog very much.

  36. I'm glad I'm not the only one to be feeling disappointed with CL. It's definitely not what it was. There was a time when they would have two houses featured as well as a good decorating feature. Now they seem to always just have one house and the decorating feature is replaced with some sort of lame fashion/style feature. I used to find it such an inspiring magazine and would look forward to it dropping through the letter box, but I must admit I'm usually pretty disappointed most months. I still have a subscription but I'm now wondering whether to keep it on, especially now you've pointed out the repetition. I visited the Spring Fair last week and I have to say that was equally disappointing. I usually visit their Christmas Fair and have only been to the Spring Fair once before and I have to say I won't be going again. It was very uninspiring. I was lucky to be given a ticket by Samantha of 'Plump Pudding (who's stand there was lovely and stood out from the rest) but if I'd payed to get in I would have been rather disappointed. I think it's about time we let CL know how disappointed we all are. There are a lot of loyal readers out there, of which I am one, and I think they are letting us down.
    Good for you for saying what so many people are obviously thinking.

  37. Yes, I like the photos too. I use them to "steal" great ideas from others...but the British Country Living is sort of new to me and still much better then the American version, as far as I'm concerned...I wonder how long the wait before the "recycle" their photos and/or articles??

  38. Anonymous7:14 pm

    I'm joining the long line of people that have already commented - I agree that Country Living is very poor quality for the price you pay at the moment - I hardly look at my subscription anymore as nothing tends to catch my eye, every issue seems to lack the wonderful interiors they used to show. I love Romatic Homes but I also think it is quite expensive to get hold of.

  39. Well done for speaking out Niki. You are definitely not alone in thinking that CL had lost its way. I wondered why I had the feeling I had already read my new copy of CL, I had!! I too will be stopping my subscription and looking at more beautiful inspirational blogs, like yours, for inspiration.

    I bought you a present on Saturday but Mum accidently left it behind. We think it may be in a car park in Exeter!!! I shall try again ;-)

  40. That is frustrating. I see that quite a bit with the Better Homes and Garden special publications. It drives me crazy.

  41. I quit getting Country Living four years ago. It was always the same... very disappointing! And tons of advertising... and very little else!
    I switched to Cottage Living and was very pleased!
    I will pick up some of the real old issues at yard sales... before they went down hill.

  42. Ooo you are quite the spy! That is repulsive. I magazines for me...the blogs are too wonderful to put down!

  43. And that baby postcard is the sweetest thing ever!

  44. Anonymous9:03 am

    Yes, I have been thinking the same about CL for some time. I used to work on a magazine (Mizz!) and the editors really need to know all this. They could find lots of inspirational houses and lifestyles if only they turned to blogging. I'm loathe to give up my subscription as I do like something to flick through on my sofa. Can't do the squashy cushions thing with my PC!
    Now who's gonna lobby the CL office!

  45. You are very observant - and it is a scandalk as the mag is not cheap.
    I think that the photo library approach to so many publications is a shame. We were featured in CL a couple of years ago and I keep seeing photos of our chickens and flowers cropping up in other magazines and books.
    The adverts for Francine Raymond's chicken courses show our chickens.
    I stopped my sub last year but do buy it most months (and then am disappointed)
    It is one of the few magazines prepared to feature small businesses without artistocratic or media connections though.

  46. Niki - I hope those "in the know" at Country Living have had a little glance at this post of yours! Maybe their editors can quietly get a handle on this and shape up! =)

  47. I have to agree. I used to buy Country Living faithfully. Now only occasionally and when there is something that really catches my eye. I wonder if CL has noticed a drop in sales?

  48. Anonymous4:41 pm

    Wow, I can't believe the magazine would do this! You should write to them and let them know that many readers are on to their ways. That's just crazy!

  49. I've been a subscriber more or less ever since Country Living started and don't find it as good now as it used to be,the interiors they do now are pretty uninspiring. I certainly hadn't noticed the repeat photographs though, you are very observant. Must admit I much prefer Country Homes and Interiors.

  50. I'm finding this to be true of many magazines lately. HOME COMPANION is the only one I still get, and even it has been less than inspiring lately.

    Maybe that's good though, I spend so much time looking at beautiful blogs (like yours) that if I had magazines to look at too I wouldn't get anything done!

  51. me again...
    can't even begin to tell you how much I LOVE your kitchen!!!

  52. I do not doubt that Country Living is recycling articles and photos. I buy the magazine every once in a while, because for some time I have been disappointed with all the advertising and not enough "country living"!
    I love your site and will same it under my favorites.

  53. What a lot of comments! I dont buy the magazine, but hearing this does make me cross, I do hope that you all write/email/phone or whatever to let them know how you feel, and that you noticed what they are doing.

  54. Hi glad to be back to all most normal. I agree with you on the magazine and there are way to many advertisments also. I would reather go to a book store and get a book that has been marked down and pay the same thing....but have the pictures I want to see. When you have time come and visit and check out my slide show......Amelia Rose Cottage

  55. I quit my subscribtion to "Wohnen & Garten" (Home & Garden of BURDA) some years ago, too. Now I just buy it from time to time because most topics are just repeated....

    Maybe I get an issue of Country Living too one day, I'd like to have a look at it!

  56. Anonymous9:02 pm

    Totally agree I feel cheated by CL. I have been thinking of unsubscribing for sometime but will definitely do so now!!!!

  57. just visting,I have kin folks in the U.K come on over for a visit.

  58. I used to be a features editor on an interior design magazine, and I can tell you this is a no-no. A magazine can decided, years down the road, to feature a home they're already feature, BUT it must be for a good reason, i.e. the interiors have changed, everything is new and different. Otherwise, it makes me think they are....saving money. Which is not a good sign, because it means budgetary difficulties which can lead to the demise of the magazine.

    Thanks for explaining the pots. xo

  59. Anonymous9:08 am

    I've just posted a request on CL forum (Website suggestions) for an explanation of the use of old material in Interiors features. CL seem to respond very selectively to the forums, but I'd really like to know why this is happening and whether it is to be an ongoing feature.Watch that space!

  60. Yes I agree with everyone, though it is not the first time I have had feelings of deja vou with a magazine! I have recently sent off a subscription for romantic living magazine and am hoping this gives me fresh inspiration.

  61. Niki,
    AMEN TO YOU!!! And I have discontinued my CL issues because of that!!!
    Love the mustard container...YUMMY!!!
    Amy (Mom to the Four Sisters)

  62. I KNOW! What is that? And have you noticed how many advertisements they have now? Much more than the actual articles. Bullies...think that just because we are starved for shabby beauty they can manipulate us this way.

    Happy Sunday!


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx