I work on average 6 days out of 7 and work some really strange shifts so when it comes down to my hour long break a day I really don't know what to do with myself.
As a child I used to always get a copy of Shout magazine from my gran she used to buy me one from the local paper shop and give it to me every Tuesday when I stayed at her house but as I grew older I got really bored if it and wanted some thing new to focus my attention on so I started reading my mums Take a Break and I loved it! It was always full of competitions (which I loved) and real life stories that where really interesting. After that I became totally hooked and now I get my gran to get the magazine for me every Monday they night I now sleep round.
HOW MUCH and WHERE FROM?
You can pick up
a copy of Take a Break from any decent newsagent or from anywhere that sells magazines
such as your local supermarket, WH Smiths
or Woolworths. Wherever you buy it from you will pay the cover price of 70p, which is a complete bargain. You can also usually get Take a Break abroad it will set you back about £4 so its probably best to grab a copy at the airport.
THE FRONT COVER
Ok I must admit that the front cover on Take a Break isn't the most glossiest and trendiest thing on the market but who needs all that anyway most of those mags are full of adverts to pay for that sort of thing anyway!
There is usually a mature lady model on the front who is between 25-35 they are always very natural looking and very smiley I think that is supposed to draw those sort of people to the magazine, I'm not sure but it is never anyone really young and certainly never anyone famous!
The usual Take a Break logo is always in the left hand cover it is red with white writing very distinctive and that is what catches your eye. It usually has the quote "world's favourite true life weekly" on as well, which is quite cheesy.
You then have a couple of small pictures from some of the stories featured in the magazine and then the titles of about 5 of the stories usually the juicy ones to get you thinking what is that all about? There are usually a couple of adverts about the competitions inside as well. The right hand side has the barcode and then the price and the issue number. The issue number starts at the start of the year and it then has the date that the magazine is available for sale.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO FIND INSIDE?
I love Take a Break because although it has the same layout every week it works and you know where to find your favourite bits. All the puzzles are in the same style and all the stories are usually in the same sections. Take a Break is usually about 78 pages long and it includes only about 10 adverts which is quite good and they are never jut a picture of a lipstick with Dior all over it some of the adverts are really quite interesting and some even have discounts off what they are advertising such as washing powders
and chocolate and things like that. They advertise
the odd catalogue and stop smoking
ad but you can live with those. The only thing I hate is the rip off mobile phone
ad which is always on the back but you can just not look if it bothers you that much! There are usually about 3 loose leaflets inside as well which go straight in the bin but compared to magazines these days I think Take a Break does a good job of keeping the ads to a minimum.
Once you open your Take a Break you are faced with
TAKE A BREAK ST
This is the start on the left hand side you get the contents page
broken down into
- Our lives - Which lists the real life stories in order of page number. If they are advertised in the front cover it states this on the right hand side so you know where they are straight away.
- Health and vitality - There is usually only a one page spread on this but it states in the contents what this weeks subjects are and on what page the spread starts.
- Our looks - One of my favourite areas this tells you the page numbers of the make over pages and the letters to the beauty experts.
- Favourites - These are the original favourites it tells you where to find the Grumps who are the family who review things and things like the letters pages and the fiction stories.
- Dream Holidays - This again a small section only gives the page number for the one thing, which is different each week. It states the country it is about and the title it is given
- Over £2 million in prizes each year! - Yes you guessed it this the page numbers of every single competition in the magazine very good if you just love the puzzles.
On the larger right hand side of the spread you can have a look at all the photos everyone has sent in the usual ones are of pets and babies that are doing funny things or just recently what I really like they have been showing a picture of a group of family members about 20 years ago and then they show a picture of them in the same position now its really good. They also print people's receipts that have errors on them like charging then £23,000 for a can of 23p beans or something sometimes they are really funny!COMPETITIONS
I used to love Take a Break because I was always obsessed by competitions, I won a few and thought they where a good way for getting something for nothing, but In the end I couldn't keep up with them because there are just so many of them. You usually get a page of stories then a competition and then a spread of stories followed by a spread of competitions. They are all really good fun and there are some hard ones and some easy ones but after a while of not winning I just gave up altogether and now I don't even bother. I read all the stories and let my mum do the puzzles to past the time we don't send them offer anymore, mainly because she doesn't do them quick enough! Once you get the magazine you have two weeks to send the answers back.
The competitions they have every week are
- 4-squared - Where 25 people can win £25 each it is basically a cube 4 by 4 and you have 8 questions once you've filled in all the answers the 4 yellow squares make up the word you put on your entry form.
- Mega snap - Again 4 people win £25 each you are shown a small picture and you have to find it in the magazine and write the page number on the entry form. The little picture is usually part of a large picture and can sometimes be easy to find and other times it can be really hard.
- Star Car -This competition offers a car as a prize every week sometimes they are granny motors and other times they can be ok cars. That competition gives you all the clues like a crossword and you then have to write the answer next to the number of the clue there are 3 clues and you need to write in 3 words. Again at the end the letters in the yellow squares make up the answer.
- The big bonanza - This is a puzzle where you choose your prize from the list, which has things like a holiday, vouchers, a charity donation, clothes or driving lessons. You fill in a puzzle which Is half crossword and half where you have a list of words where you fit them into where they will fit, once you have filled it in and if you win you can choose up to £2,500 worth of prizes off the list.
- The big relax - This is a really good puzzle one person wins £2,500 all by filling in a large arrow word puzzle which is where you have a clue and fill it in where you see the number on the grid. The yellow squares spell out the winning word.
- Oops, I shrunk the puzzle! - This Gives 2 people the chance to win £500 each it is just a small arrow word puzzle where a couple of pictures are shrunk on the front and you have to guess what they are. The winning word again is in the yellow squares.
- The big arrow word - Funny that the puzzle is actually in the title this is just a huge arrow word puzzle. One winner will get £1000.
- Now 4 something different! - This puzzle lets 5 people win £100 each. It is called house work You get 24 clues each are a clue to do with an appliance you then write this under one of the room headings kitchen, bathroom, lounge, garden, bedroom and nursery. The room that has the most things under it will be the winning room!
- Star Prize - This is probably the best competition it is a large crossword about famous people the prize is usually a holiday of a lifetime with £500 spending money.
- £100 Star scope- This is on the same page of the horoscopes it is worth £100 if you win and you can win by reading the clue and then the answer is split up you are given a few numbers and you put the letter on each number given to spell out a sentence the yellow letters again spell out the winning word.
- Code breaker - This is a hard puzzle you have a grid of numbers and then you are provided with one word so you can put the letters into the grid say the word is then t is 1 h is 2 e is 3 and 4 is n you then have to try and fit words in it is very hard to explain and can be very hard to do if you put in the wrong word. Again the yellow squares spell out winning word winner gets £500
- Win a make over for 2 - This can be done when you complete a nice easy word search and then the remaining letters spell out a word, which is the winning word you win a make over for 2 on this and it is then featured in the magazine.
- The big supermarket bet - This is my sister's favourite puzzle and it is my favourite prize. You have a grid with one word and you are given a load of words with 3 to 13 letters you then have to fit them in around the word they have given you. This is easy peasy as there is usually only one 13-letter word so you have lots of letters to go on. The word left over is the winning word, if you win you get a supermarket-shopping spree and if you guess the amount you have got on the dash over or under by £50 you get an extra £500! and They usually guess right how good is that!
The competitions are good if you don't have much to do all day except for those but you sometimes get a bit bored of the same sort of thing. To enter the competition you fill in the form on the back you can send it Take a Break competitions PO box
94, Darwen BB3 1WW or text the answers for 25p to 87222. It is also possible to fax
your form in as well to 0901 383 4292.
All cost about 30p so that's not bad you get to enter 14 competitions for 30p! You can't do that in many other magazines.
On the same spread as the entry form you will also see the answers to the puzzles in the issue from 2 weeks ago to see
if you go them alright, you will also see a list of the winners and for proof they also feature a couple of the winners with their photos and a quick comment about winning from them.
It also tells you about all the competition rules. Yawn Yawn!TRUE LIFE STORIES
These are my favourites and really the only reason I buy Take a Break there are usually about 5 main stories and about 6 or 7 shorter stories. All of them are really interesting and informative and some are really quite remarkable. There are usually ones about people with foreign lovers, husbands or wives that cheat, people who have drug problems, sad stories about people dying from illnesses, wedding stories and tragic accidents.
It is hard I think for a magazine to have really different breath taking stories all the time but Take a Break do a really good job at putting a good selection together. They usually have a broken family story and then sometimes a follow up if things have really changed. They also sometimes have long running stories since I have been getting this magazine they have ran on going stories about
- The botley boys V Penny - This story had a lot of reader response and I think they are still running it. Its about a street that was taken over by yobs who terrorised people in their own home and they picked on Penny who stabbed one not killing them but they had made her life a misery for years and nothing happened and she pricked a man with a knife who attacked her and got sent to prison. She is now currently free but it is such a heartbreaking story and Take a Break gave it good coverage.
- The lady who could not stop having orgasms - laugh all you like but Take a Break made this into a real serious story and ran it over about 2 months while she went for tests and tried new things to find out what was causing these orgasms. This story isn't currently running, as the doctors still don't have a cure. The couple featured on that programme about young lovers on channel 5 the other night.
- The mum who had cancer - This was a really sad story and it still appears in Take a Break it was about a mum who got cancer and it went through all her different life stages, once she started on her treatment it came to light her husband had a gambling problem and they had the bailiffs come to the home it was all heartbreaking and Take a Break did a very good story nearly every week tracking her progress.
- The lady who was having a Down syndrome baby - Take a Break covered a lady who was having a baby that she found out to be a down syndrome it was very emotional and very informative. It ran for about 6 months on and off and in the end the poor little baby died so it was really really sad and it just shows they do cover serious issues unlike in other magazines.
All the stories are from real life Take a Break readers if you write a story you can get anything from £25 to £500 for one depending on the quality and juiciness! All stories and letters genuine some of them are that silly you couldn't make them up but they are always free to send in you don't even have to stick a stamp on!
As well as the true life stories Take a Break usually includes a couple of fiction stories that they call "coffee break fiction" There ok to pass the time if you haven't got anything better to read but they aren't the first things I turn to. They are usually really cheesy and the sort of things you read and thin why do I bother take the one I read recently it was about a lady who had an affair with a man who told her to kill her husband as he was a cheat and a liar she felt bad for her husband for cheating but thought she would kill him as he was cheating so she went to his office and saw the man she was having an affair with cheating on her with the person he told her that her husband was having an affair with so she cut the breaks on his motor bike and killed him! It was pathetic but just one of those things you just have to read! Sometimes there is a twist in the tail but not usually!
As well as the stories Take a Break has its usual popular sections that include
This page always makes me cringe it is a page dedicated to peoples tips to make life easier! Oh what a joke, I always think what the hell do these people do in their spare time and other you wonder why they where printed they where that obvious!
Like the one I read today someone had tied ribbon around the loops and stitched them to he grandsons coat! How old??
People who send in tips get £30 if they are printed and £60 if they send a photo as well.
This is the place where you can write in with all your personal medical problems he answers anything from sexual health
to warts and colds! He doesn't send you back a personal letter but 5 letters a week are printed and he gives people a lot of help and in depth knowledge. You can also write to him freepost.
DAVID HALE'S TRUE SECRETS
Good old David he is Take a Breaks answer to a modern day agony aunt people write into him with all their loves life questions and family problems, he is really good and offers people a lot of good advice. There are usually 10 letters printed and there is usually one letter from someone agreeing with someone else's problem thanking David for his advice. He isn't a big head as there is never more than one a week. No letters that are sent in to the problem people are paid.
LIZ WILDE'S BEAUTY SOS
"She'll come to your rescue" This is one of my favourite pages it features letters from people who are having beauty crisis they are usually make up queries or from people who are trying to locate old pieces of make up they haven't been able to find in the shops recently. There is also a section where Liz recommends her favourite beauty buy and where you can get them. She likes advising about her little pearls of wisdom!
There is also another bit called "readers happy endings" This part is from all people who have listened to Liz's advise and have had success. This part is alternated each week the other part is what other people recommend like what shampoo
somebody has used which they have found really good and want to spread the word. If you write in to Liz you get £25 if your letter is printed and another £25 if you include a photo.
BOOT SALE TALES
This section makes me laugh and sometimes I wonder if people have really brought these things from car boot sales or not. It has about 5 letters in all with photos that show what bargains people have picked up from their local car boot sales. If you send in a story about your bargain you can earn yourself £50.
This bit makes me laugh each week it is made up of a panel of mummy Grump, daddy Grump, son Grump, daughter Grump, grandma Grump and Granddad Grump. They review something different each week they are things people buy like biscuits, frozen goods or cakes. They usually have a cheap item, a middle prices item and an expensive item and they all try them and give them ratings and add a comment, they are good and very truthful!
SENSIBLE and BARMY
This is the final page in the magazine it is the place of all Take a Breaks fan mail !!! Not really it is just a selection of letters sent in by readers about their kids, partners or pets! Some are sad some are thanking people for everything that they have done for them and some are even mini stories about how a couple met or something like that. Each letter printed gets £50 and the letter of the week gets £100. The page also has an on the throne section where someone nominates someone to go in the stocks (its usually a man because he has said something or done something offensive to his wife!) and then there is someone who goes on the throne this is usually someone who has helped someone when they where poorly or just someone who has just brightened up someone's day. Each one that is printed gets £75.00.
Take a Break does its best to cover everything that people are interested in so they have a couple of page spread on things that they people are really interested in such as
- The fashion spread - This double page shows you what is hot this week it is quite good for bargains it shows you some really nice clothes and what to match them up with its quite a good place to look for something to wear for a good night out. They do a good spread at party times such as Christmas.
- Heartbeat - This has four pages it is made up of all hints tips to keep you healthy it tells you what you should be eating and what things you should be feeding your kids. It is quite different every week, which is quite surprising as you wouldn't think there was that much to cover but they really go through everything. They even cover issues such as slave labour and sweat shops it is really interesting. It also always has 2 real life stories about people and their illnesses its very interesting to read about and can sometime shock you!
- Recipes - I copy quite a lot of the recipes from Take a Break they are very healthy and very tasty they show you succulent photos as well so it makes you want to eat the food straight away! It tell you how to make the things and how many calories they have and how much it costs to make each one it's a very good recipe page there is usually about 4 recipes and there is always some goodies to make at Christmas, Halloween and bonfire night.
- Lynn's Travel - This is a two-page spread that is dedicated to some country in the world that no one really thinks about travelling to. Its usually a far away land full of surprises and Lynn tells you all about the area, hotels, food, weather and currency it is a real eye opener and a good source to find out about a holiday destination. Definitely a section worth having a look at.
I think Take a Break is a real bargain it appeals to everyone I am 20 and read it my sister is 16 she reads it my mum is 40 she reads it and my gran is 72 and she reads it. So it really is some thing everyone can enjoy! My favourite parts are the stories but I never get bored reading Take a Break. I think it will be a life long addiction. I don't think take a Break will fade out like any other magazine it is too good and it grows with the times. I do believe it has something in for everyone. It usually takes me about 3 dinner
breaks of an hour to read it and that's not doing the puzzles so you can imagine you can enjoy this magazine for ages. It takes my mum to do the puzzles about a day on and off and about a day to read the stories on and off so it is definitely worth the 70p. To be part of Take a Break it doesn't cost a lot either it is freepost to send in any letter or story which I think is really good. I have sent in a couple of letters (cringe :-}) they have never been printed but once they receive your letter they write and thank you for your letter and to look out for it and that they will contact you again if it is printed. I think that is really nice that they acknowledge you.
Next time you are browsing the magazine rack
for something different I would recommend buying Take a Break I don't think you will be disappointed.