Rachel Johnson, the newspaper columnist, author of “Notting Hell” and “Shire Hell” and the younger sister of London mayor Boris Johnson, is giving The Lady, Britain’s oldest women’s weekly magazine, a long-overdue nip and tuck. Johnson has been rapidly turning the title, traditionally Britain’s go-to magazine for nannies, holiday home rentals and advice on how to garden on a budget, into a smarter, more sophisticated read for the over-40 set.

“I want to put it back into the national consciousness, add good writing and put the focus on women over 40. We are fed up with being invisible,” said Johnson, who has put Twiggy and Honor Blackman on her covers, and drafted high-profile contributors including Lady Antonia Fraser, Mary Killen and Avril Groom.

First published in 1885, The Lady is run by one of founder Thomas Gibson Bowles’ great-grandsons, Ben Budworth. Its circulation is about 30,000.

Johnson, who took over last September, said 2010 will be a year of consolidation, and of getting her core message out. “The Lady is back, and it’s fabulous,” she said.

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