When Hels first started talking about publishing her own magazine, I have to admit I was a little sceptical. I mean, people say they want to do a lot of stuff, don’t they, and things like this – making your own magazine – that’s hardcore. But I’d only met Hels once back then, and I didn’t realise she is in fact a flaxen-haired force of nature. Because here it is: Lionheart Magazine, issue one, in the printed flesh. I’m incredibly impressed by this feat, and I am so very proud to have contributed to this magazine because it is simply beautiful, in every way. It feels good in the hand: you put it down and pick it back up again. What goes on in these pages is not about trends, but it offers a slice of something more lasting. It’s very funky but it’s not overly hip, and there’s a warmth pouring out of every page. This magazine has a beating heart. In addition to beautiful illustration and photography, there’s heaps to read too: these are stories about people like us. They are extraordinary regular people talking about what we can achieve, and how good it can get when you reach for things. ‘Bravery’ is the theme of the first issue of Lionheart, and while I sat in London while Hels made this happen from Bristol, the sheer force of it all would reverberate down the daily Twitter stream from Lionheart HQ. Watching Hels do this has made me feel like we can do anything.
“It’s on, the dream. It’s on. I may never have a mortgage, but I’m darn well making this magazine.” Hels said this, as she threw down the gauntlet to start work on Lionheart, and I love this sentiment. Heck, I share it, having thrown out my own mortgage-credentials in exchange for the freelance life I want in the here and now. … I was actually planning for this to be a proper review of the magazine, but I find my words keep veering in a different direction. Maybe it’s because what Hels and her magazine has done is capture a feeling. Sort of like … a soft summer wind in your hair and the smell of dusty country roads. Or when you feel like taking the long way home after a party so you can skip along on the pavements just a little while longer. The tingle on your skin when you’ve hit a vein of inspiration, or when your pace quickens when you’re on your way to meet a friend you can’t wait to talk to. When something is against all logic but you can’t help it, you just know you have to do it. Something like that.