Oh Comely

There is a magazine we love, it is now in its fifth edition, and we think all bloggers should buy it, be they foodie, crafty, literary, arty or all of the above. It is really young, fresh, enlightened and somewhat gravity defying. It is published by Adeline Media Ltd. six times a year, from an old biscuit factory in Clement’s Road, London SE16, and (hurray!) printed in Great Britain by Buxton Press.

Oh Comely is very quirky and liberating in its format, structure and composition. Within its pleasing A4 schoolbook format you will find all manner of things juxtaposed in a free and spontaneous style: lifestyle, fashion, travel, crafts, cookery, family, hearth, home and happiness.

Much of it is written in blogger style: the language is honest, open, democratic and idiosyncratic. Its contributors inhabit the turnstile, carefree world of social media and have selected pick-and-mix ideas, experiences and accounts to create a kind of human story patchwork quilt. It is fascinating. The magazine urges you to keep your curiosity sacred, talk to your neighbours, find out what is going on in your street, take part in the world around you, and look at nature and beauty with the wonder of a child. These concepts are very similar to those that guide and inform our food writing too.

The philosophy is explained very succinctly by its writers: “Oh Comely is a magazine about people and their quirks and creativity, rather than money and what it can buy”.

Foodies will love its snippets of kitchen reference. The contributors photographed what they ate while making the magazine: chunks of garlic bread, hot apple pie, so many biscuits and cans of beer.

Brittany Sullivan writes about her best ever pizza. “The best pizza I ever had was in Sorrento. I had a mushroom pizza….I had never had a pizza like it: it was so simple and thin and light” She yearns for that pizza, and no other pizza compares. Many years later Brittany returns to “Al Solito Posto” (The Usual Place) but what follows is very disappointing.

One of the the Editors of the magazine, Liz Bennett, writes about why you must never squeeze her teabag, and outlines recipes and serving suggestions for three different nationalities of porridge and milky breakfast dishes. There is Irish oatmeal, with fresh fruit, Norwegian Rommegrot with cinnamon and Korean pine nut gruel, served with dates.

“Pretty Lovely” takes a look at all the seasonal things that will put a spring in your step. There are hen cosies by textile artist Seren Stacey (www.serenstacey.com), rabbit egg cosies by Linen Cat (www.thelinencat.com), a Colman’s mustard tea pot by Pheasant (www.pheasantmailorder.co.uk), a cress head planter by Polly George (www.pollygeorge.com), seed bombs by Ka Bloom (www.kabloom.co.uk) , seed cards by Kate Broughton (www.katebroughton.co.uk) and a look at what kitchen gadgets you really need in your life, if you stopped to consider the matter very carefully.

If you enjoy going out shooting game or fishing near a river bank, you might well be thinking about getting yourself an oracle. Well, Oh Comely has done all the leg work for you, because they have been to visit Terry Kenny (www.coraclemaker.co.uk) who makes coracles for a living. There are step by step instructions and photographs to accompany the journey.

The photography and illustrations in the magazine are really artistic and accomplished, manifesting a beguiling simplicity and calmness that hides, what must be, a very thoughtful and considered editorial approach. Images and drawings are set against a wide, white background that makes the reading experience very luminous and therapeutic. When you come to the end of an edition, you feel much more informed and in tune with the positivity, humanity and artistic purpose that unites civilised communities.

You will also feel sad as you then have to wait another two months for the next edition, as there are only six a year.

Oh Comely. It’s not just a pretty face, it’s a really good read.

Website: www.ohcomely.co.uk

Editors: Liz Bennett and Des Tan

Publishers: Adeline Media Ltd. six times a year

Printed by: www.buxtonpress.com

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