MY first edition of UK Glamour magazine was a gift in my Christmas stocking, December 2001. Thanks Santa.

Opening the glossy, handbag sized covers marked a transition from girlhood to womanhood. Prior to that, I’d been a regular reader of Mandy and Judy but now, now I was fully adult.

From then, I never missed an issue.

What lured me in, I think, was the unfettered aspiration of it all. As young women can be prone to, I was never satisfied with myself and here was, essentially, a manual of betterment.

The women featured - the models, the celebrities - had perfect skin, swishy hair and fashionable clothing.

If I could only add up all the money I spent on skincare having read the promises of epidermal glory, I'd likely have enough to pay off my mortgage.

Marie Claire came as an addition to Glamour. I liked its serious features, sitting side by side with fashion and beauty. I credit Marie Claire with introducing me to the hardships of women in developing countries, broadening my feminism and introducing me to international news.

That's right, a woman's glossy. Who would have thought?

But women's magazines have long, long been a Trojan horse, sneaking controversial topics in among the lighter articles - whether that's through the agony aunt pages or simply a strong editorial decision.

You wouldn't think it because it's so easy to sneer at women's magazines - heavy on the advertising, heavier on the fluff. Melt your back fat, how to wear neon yellow eye shadow, buy these shoes at £800 a pop. And it's so easy to sneer at things aimed at women, to fail to take women's likes and choices seriously.

Readers could learn about miscarriage and also about how to make shorts appropriate office wear, learn about hemlines and headlines.

They helped to define mainstream feminism and, in the popularity contest of publicity, often went awry - Glamour, say, giving its annual Women of the Year Award to… Bono. A man, and not a very popular man at the best of times.

The magazine was also an early adopter of the currents trans rights debate, sparky controversy when giving the newly transitioned Caitlyn Jenner the same award.

Some of the most read political coverage has come from women's mags: from Teen Vogue’s op-ed on Donald Trump gas lighting America to Michael Howard being grilled on his views on abortion by Cosmopolitan magazine during the 2005 election.

When broadsheet newspapers treated “women’s issues” as a separate, less worthy topic to be handled by one dedicated page and tabloid papers dealt with women exclusively as sex objects, women’s magazines gave a voice and a place for the things that mattered to women.

In an industry where female editors were a minority, magazines allowed women to reach the top. Female writers with serious clout have contributed to women's magazines: Joan Didion at Vogue; Glamour had Susan Orlean and Gloria Steinem; while Betty Friedan used a commission for Good Housekeeping to rip apart the medium.

I can't pinpoint the moment that I stopped reading women's magazines. Partly I simply didn't have the time - there was no natural point in my day for me to pause with a magazine. Mostly I simply no longer needed the services of Glamour or Marie Claire.

It slowly dawned on me over a long awakening that the £80 skin cream wasn't making any discernible different to anything other than my bank account. I would never buy any of the clothes in any of the features because they were out of my price range.

By now my current affairs came from newspapers instead.

It's not the case that magazines failed to move with the times. They very much did, backing the trend towards body positivity rather than thinness at any cost; introducing more politics and current affairs; becoming more diverse in the models they used.

Magazines, though, are always aspirational, no matter how down to earth or wholesome they try to appear. Even when serious subjects were tackled in one section, there was also still the subtle message pervading the rest of the pages that you could and should be more beautiful, more fashionable and buy more stuff.

Buying a magazine became a bit of an event - something for a flight or a long train journey. Something to switch off with.

And so it came to the point with Glamour I didn’t notice that, in 2017, it had gone web-only. If there was anything I did need, I would Google it. You would think somebody working in an industry dependent on print sales would be more mindful of paying for a product, but no.

I wasn't alone in giving up my monthly glossies. Marie Claire has recently too joined the ranks of the digital first, that publishing half life of having no print edition.

The internet has everything the mags offered: online magazines cover feminism, beauty vloggers deal with lipstick and food websites cover cookery.

What the web lacks is scrutiny. Magazines had teams of fact checkers. Editors had accountability - think of the backlash against skinny models that saw the glossies called to explain themselves to politicians.

There's no road back now for the web only publications but let's hope we don't regret what comes to fill their place.