After university, I joined Conde Nast (Traveller) as a graduate advertising executive, where I realised my dream to become a travel writer. One day. But first, I wanted to "cut my news teeth".
After a PGDiploma from Cardiff, (with a PPA award and shifts at The Guardian in pocket), I joined The Gloucestershire Echo as a local news reporter then features writer.
Two years later, I saw the job I was after: a position on women's glossy fortnightly Real Magazine (1 million readership). I was a national magazine writer! Then senior features writer. Then section editor. Every day was a challenge, and I relished it.
At Real, we championed inspirational young women and I found my voice in women's reportage; I was awarded PTC New Journalist of the Year, runner-up, for "insightful investigative reporting", "sparkling writing" and "sheer hard work".
Areas covered included reportage, health, real life, books, food, art, celebrity, money, crime and travel. (Travel was a perk back then; I thrived on the excitement of securing, commissioning and writing cover exclusives.) One day I might be interviewing Emma Thompson, another Richard Branson, the next a murderess, or charity founder.
Next, came a move abroad and a step into editing. My partner secured a place to study an MBA at INSEAD. So, off we went to Singapore. Then Dubai. Where I worked as features editor on VIVA magazine, the leading UAE 'intelligent, international women's monthly glossy'. The following year we returned to London and I joined EMAP, working first on the features desk of Closer! (weekly readership 1.6 million) then as acting features director on More! (weekly readership 1.8 million). I've always loved the pace of weeklies.
Career highlights have included interviewing authors, poets, war reporters, entrepreneurs, musicians and being invited to Cannes Film Festival. Another was having 'real life' case study features showcasing the reality of teen sun bed mis-use (UV skin damage and early stage skin cancer) read out in Parliament. The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010 came into play on 8 April 2011. It is now illegal for U18 to use sun beds. Lowlights? I couldn't go to Cannes, so sent a writer; that's the reality of editing.
FREELANCE - TRAVEL & SKI
Then three years ago, after a stint in interiors, I decided it was now or never and I went freelance as an adventure travel writer thanks to some exciting commissions. Since then, I haven't looked back.
All in, it has been an eye-opening journey since scooping local front page exclusives, reporting on midnight anti-TB-badger-cull rallies or surviving another deathly council meeting - and being almost the only woman in a newsroom of 15 hungry reporters.
Who knew then that a work commission one day might entail powder-skiing with Olympian Jenny Jones in Sainte Foy, kitesurfing in Mauritius, elephant conservation in Zambia, kayaking on the Zambezi, waterskiing on Lake Malawi, hot-air ballooning in Marrakech or climbing/ skiing Mont Blanc?
WHAT I DO, AND WHY
Over the years, I have met many a person who has moved my world - whose story deserves to be told. That, and rising to the challenge of the commission, is the thrill of the job.
I love that I never know what story lies around the next corner and only hope you enjoy reading the pieces as much as I do researching and writing them.
What's next? I have a dream to combine my two careers: to write about luxury travel and interiors, with a focus on sustainability.
Solidarity Boat Camp, Lesbos, 2016: a Greek NGO camp supporting refugees. We donated what items we could.
“This was a summer camp where I would play as a child. Today it houses 35 children and 40 women from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Africa and Palestine" Lesvos resident Georgia Lazaridou.
Kara Tepe Refugee Camp, Lesbos. This island houses thousands of refugees, fleeing Turkey by boat, leading the New York Times to declare it the "Island of Despair"in March 2018.
North Pole, 2010
Katundu, a social impact handcraft interiors studio on Likoma Island, Malawi.