Friday, 28 February 2014

Hat’s all folks…

Today is a sad day, because after many happy years, I am hanging up my Sorted hat. And what a lovely hat it has been.

I got involved with the magazine by ‘cappy accident’ back in 2008. I was working alongside a wonderful office manager called Bekah (now editor of sister magazine Liberti) at the time. 

Bekah had met and fallen in love with well-known entertainer Steve Legg (who, incidentally, had paid a very memorable visit to the church I attended as a child).

Never one to miss an opportunity, it was during a hat-wearing opportunity (their wedding) that Steve mentioned Sorted to me, and I was instantly intrigued. I started off writing the odd bit of copy, and before I knew it I was deputy editor (following a brief stint as sports editor, which has since been taken over by the far more qualified Stuart Weir).

There have been so many highlights for me at Sorted, not least of all my ‘hobble up the cobbles’ on the set of Coronation Street with Andrew Lancel, hilarious interviews with comedians Tim Vine, Milton Jones and Andy Kind, and – to cap it all – a heart-stopping interview with Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell (read this in full in the latest issue).

We’ve covered a range of subjects from pornography and domestic violence to man bras, online dating and toilet roll positioning, and I’ve learnt a lot (some details are best kept under my hat!). I’ve been proud to be part of a magazine that champions men’s issues in a sensitive way without needing to dumb down or plaster the pages with boobs.

And it’s been thrilling to see the magazine progress and prosper. The latest Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) figures show that while sales of lads’ mags are generally in decline, magazines such as Sorted and Men’s Health are holding their own and even gaining ground. This suggests that men are moving away from the babes and taking a step towards the more wholesome and inspiring magazines. Hurrah!

It’s been a privilege to edit the copy of some really great writers. And even though I haven’t met many of our contributors, I feel like I’ve come to know them pretty well just by reading their insights and adding the odd comma and apostrophe along the way. From finance to fitness to faith, the content has been both informative and refreshing. Oh, and I mustn’t forget to tip my hat to designer Andy Ashdown, who is as patient as he is creative. He has been a real pleasure to work with.

The team at Sorted has grown and blossomed since I came on board and it’s been a real privilege to be part of it. I take my hat off to Steve and Bekah. The vision they have for the magazines (and for life in general) is really contagious and I know that this is only the beginning.

Although sad to be moving on, I’m glad to be passing the baton to talented journalist Stacey Hailes. I am confident that she’ll love the job as much as I have and will see the magazine rise to even higher heights.

Please keep reading and supporting Sorted and Liberti. Although I’ll be wearing a different hat (or maybe even a hotchpotch of hats) from now on, I will continue to promote both magazines, and I hope you’ll do the same. If you’re not yet a subscriber, that would be a great first step…

Oh, and if you want to keep in touch or you’re looking for a writer/editor, contact me on, visit my website, Joy of Editing, or follow me on Twitter @joyous25.

And hat’s a wrap.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Is the UK a nation of lovers or cheapskates?

According to research from, many couples will ditch the flowers and chocolates this Valentine’s Day in favour of discounted jewellery and bargain lingerie.

Its figures show that more than 19,000 ‘romantic’ guys will spoil their lady loves with a personalised, triple ring necklace for £15, while almost 2,000 will present their significant others with a Swarovski crystal heart necklace for £14 on February 14. 

More than 4,000 men will hand over the exact same box of lingerie to their partners, for the sum of £19. And nearly 35,000 Brits have entered a Groupon competition to win the services of a Mariachi band in a bid to serenade (or embarrass) their special ladies.

Jason Grima, co-founder of, says: “A saving of up to 80% off is a no-brainer, even if it’s not particularly romantic to go for a bargain gift. But I’m sure most people would rather their other halves didn’t pay through the nose for something they bought last minute on the high street.”

According to a study from Sainsbury’s Bank Credit Cards, attitudes towards Valentine’s Day are changing. It claims that 38% of couples are planning less conventional dates for Valentine’s Day year, such as salsa dancing, wine tasting, cocktail making, spa visits, sushi making or outdoor sports. 

Other less traditional date ideas include watching live sports, visiting a museum or gallery, attending a music concert or going ice skating.

Simon Ranson, head of banking at Sainsbury's Bank, comments: “It is interesting to see such a wide range of both traditional and unconventional ways that couples and singletons will mark Valentine’s Day.

“Whatever you choose to do, if you are using a credit card to buy gifts or the ingredients for a special night in, ensure you take advantage of any rewards or benefits you may be entitled to, as saving loyalty points for example, could all add up and go towards another special treat.”

Another romance-based study from AA reveals that 3% of us have proposed or been proposed to in a car and nearly 40% of us have either prepared the ground or chickened out of proposing during a romantic drive. 
David Bruce, director of AA Cars, the AA’s new online car sales platform, advises: “For those looking for an intimate atmosphere and not wanting to run the risk of a public rejection in a restaurant, proposing in a car is a safer bet.

"It may avoid the unnerving scenario of another Valentine’s Day suitor two tables away getting a resounding ‘no’ just before you get the chance to pop the question!”

Finally, Halifax Home Insurance is urging those who are planning to invest in jewellery this Valentine’s Day to make sure it is covered, both inside the home and when you’re out and about.

Despite 35% of people claiming that their engagement ring is their most valued possession, 23% do not have any home contents insurance, and 15% have no cover in place for items lost or stolen outside the home.

Head of underwriting for Halifax Home Insurance, David Rochester says: “When planning a surprise proposal or romantic gesture, insuring a valuable gift is probably not the first thing people think of, so we are reminding people to ensure any new expensive jewellery is insured both inside and outside the home.”

Did you know?
  • The most popular ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day include cooking a special meal at home (46%) and visiting a restaurant (43%). Approximately 27% of couples will ‘go Dutch’ and split the bill
  • The average spend per person for Valentine’s Day celebrations is £53, with men budgeting £62 and women expecting to spend £45
  • Approximately 19% of single people have Valentine’s Day plans, with 23% enjoying a meal with friends and 21% treating themselves to a cosy night in with a nice meal and a film
What are you planning to do this Valentine’s Day? We’d love to hear about your plans in the comments below. Or perhaps you’re a little bah humbug about the ‘most romantic’ day of the year – we’d love to hear from you, too.

If you are stuck for gift ideas, a subscription to Liberti magazine is perfect for that special lady in your life. If you’re looking for an idea for your man, a subscription to Sorted is just the job. These magazines also work as a great treat for yourself if you’re shunning February 14 this year.