Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cleo - Surprise!

I had a pleasant surprise at Melbourne airport on the weekend. And it wasn't the 1.5 hr delay courtesy of Jetstar. That didn't surprise me at all, as last time it was a whole 6 hours. No, the surprise was in one of the many newsagent stands dotted around the departures lounge. Hmmm, thought I, I've found some awesome summer shorts thanks to Witchery, conveniently also in the departure area, now all I need is a really cool short summer jacket and a big plasticy mansyle watch. Swatch comes to mind. Oh look, Lily Allen on the cover of Cleo. Maybe I should buy it to read while I wait. Oh look, you get a free pink watch. OH LOOK, a white one here at the back! Sold!

Except I nearly didn't buy it, as I was cashless and you had to spend $10 to use EFTPOS. Yep, Cleo + ideal watch cost a whole $7.95. Bargain! But how to purchase? Avoid the chocolates! Don't do it! How about a packet of those all natural dinosaur lollies?
"Yep they are $5 so you'll be able to use your card," said the pleasant lady behind the counter.
$5 for lollies! Oh well, saved about $200 on a potential watch purchase so might as well treat myself.

I walked away pleased to have ticked another item of my list, but then was hit with the post-shopping guilts: had I just wasted some trees? I hadn't read Cleo since I was in high school and I didn't fancy flicking through articles on fake tan, how to sexy-fy yourself and bed as many hot young empty-headed things as possible. I had read that a recent editorial change was resulting in positive change for the mag, giving it a fresh new voice and distinguishing itself from the other C, Cosmo. No harm in giving it another chance!

The cover looked partly promising: smaller fonts with lines like "how to be a gorgeous mess", and "Lily Allen: not a wallflower" caught my eye. I could care less about Britney's stylist, overanalysing, and I'm slightly confused by "All Tomorrow's Parties". What are the kids talking about these days?

The opening "What's Now" section, aside from possibly being grammatically questionable, features, among other things, smirk-worthy quotes from Anna Wintour; an interesting profile on accessories designer Pamela Love; the gorgeous Georgia May Jagger posing in Hudson jeans but not saying much of interest; an Etsy-inspired 'make your own designer accessories' which would probably end in disaster for most of us; and "Peaches Teaches", an inexplicable column where Peaches Geldof, qualified life coach/psychologist/counsellor that she is, gives advice to readers on relationships, magazine addiction, and life. Huh?

Lily Allen's 4 page spread is a good read, not overly enlightening, but at least she never sounds like a broken record/marketing puppet. Less interesting is Samantha Brett's excursion to Ken Paves' Salon in Beverly Hills to experience hair extensions, celeb-style. Exciting. The promising 'how to be a gorgeous mess' story profiles the 'new' deco-glam look - looking done but undone. Great look for the party season - sexy, sultry, but in an effortless kinda way.

The Christmas gift guide has some great little ideas for everyone from your pooch to your parents. Further on, "The Gospel According to Gwenyth", in which Nicole Elphick tries to live a week via Goop principles, is hilarious. Agave syrup, anyone? A profile on Whitney Port is pretty bland, but the vibe picks up again with stories on 4 readers who threw caution to the wind to go travelling (would definitely recommend this myself). Of course, these are just the main articles thaty caught my eye; there are plenty more covering everything from partying safely to the "Kanye West syndrome".

The fashion pages are, predictably for a December issue, all about party outfits and bikinis. Considering my stomach has been stretched beyond recognition and not yet back to it's post-pregnancy shape (nor will it ever vbem Heidi Klum I am not), and we tend to party at a local pub/quasi-indie club where anything goes, these are not of huge interest to me personally. But, Cleo showcases lots of affordable fashion and local talent, which is a huge plus.

Beauty contains such gems as "lid vicious" in showcasing the coolest looks of the catwalk. Green eyeshadow, electric pink lips, and bold eyeliner all get a run. Not for everyone, but if you can't experiment with pink eyeshadow and orange lips when you're young, when can you?!

Love & Lust delves into hot summer romancin', an aphrodisiac test-drive, matchmaking, and all manner of relationship ups and downs. A fun read, probably not best to take all the advice to heart, and reminiscient of high school giggling seshs. Seshs? Seshes? Sessions, incidentally, is what I'm trying to say. Yeah I'm so not young enough to read Cleo anymore. Can I add a LOL here? No? Ok.
The 'free' Cleo Body Book is full of positive advice, some yummy recipes, exercises that will make you look like Jessica Alba, and a story entitled "Eat the Rainbow", which I have also seen on Sesame Street. It has a catchy little tune and all!

So overall, I was pleasantly surprised (just to reiterate the sentiment yet again in this post) by the new-look Cleo. Not a mag I'd buy every month, but it's an easy summer holiday read and, for once, I didn't feel let down forking over my money for a promising looking glossy that didn't deliver in content. Congrats, Cleo!
ps my scanner is shite so I can't scan in any mag pages. They are available for flicking at your local newsagent!

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