After reading History of Art & English at Bristol University, I began my career at Vogue House's graduate advertising scheme on Conde Nast Traveller. Here, I realised my dream to become a travel writer. One day. But first, I wanted to "cut my teeth" in the news room.
Advertising, proved not to be a path into editorial. The ticket proved to be a PGDiploma from Cardiff. I graduated in 2002, with a PPA award and trained as a news reporter and features writer (NCTJ) at The Gloucestershire Echo and The Guardian.
Then I saw the role I was after: features writer on REAL, the leading women's intelligent, glossy fortnightly (330,000 circulation; 1 million weekly readership). I was a national magazine writer. Then senior features writer. Then section editor. Every day was a challenge, and I relished it.
Here I made it my mission to shine the media spotlight on serious issues affecting our readers and to champion inspirational women. In 2005, I was awarded PTC New (Weekly) Journalist of the Year for "insightful investigative reporting", "sparkling writing" and "sheer hard work". I was utterly delighted. The slog was paying off.
My specialist areas were researching and writing investigative reportage, real life and celebrity (interviewing the likes of Emma Thompson for Nanny McPhee). I also commissioned and edited Health, Books, Arts & Travel. From here, I moved abroad as features editor on VIVA, UEA's leading monthly women's glossy. But I enjoyed the challenge of fast-paced British weeklies the most, returning to EMAP on features desks of young women's magazines, first on Closer! (weekly readership 1.6 million) then as acting features director on More! (weekly readership 1.8 million).
Career highlights have included interviewing authors, poets, war reporters, entrepreneurs, musicians and being asked to Cannes Film Festival. Another was having my real life case study features showcasing the reality of sun bed UV skin damage (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
In 2017, I went freelance as an adventure travel writer and haven't looked back.
It is a privilege to do this job, combining passions, and to have skied all over the world, from Alaska to Iceland.
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 day might entail learning to kite-surf in Mauritius, kayaking the Zambezi, water-skiing on Lake Malawi, hot-air ballooning in Marrakech or skiing down the North Face of 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 corner and only hope you enjoy reading the pieces as much as I do researching and writing them.
Murren, 1980 - Our first Hall family ski trip. Apparently I was hooked from the get-go.
As a family, social impact work is a big driver. Here we are visiting Lesvos Solidarity Boat Camp, 2016 (Greece), donating clothing and sanitary ware. The life jackets spelling "SAFE PASSAGE" stopped us in our tracks.
“This was a summer camp where I would play as a child. Today it's a refugee camp housing 35 children and 40 women from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Africa and Palestine" Georgia Lazaridou, Lesvos Solidarity Camp
Kara Tepe Refugee Camp, Lesvos. Children are not allowed in due to the conditions inside.
North Pole, 2010 - Vanessa Lindsay and I joined explorers Inge Solheim and Henry Cookson (Guinness World Record Holder) to ski to the North Pole, to achieve a childhood dream and help raise funds for charity and polar science.
Katundu is a social impact interiors studio on Likoma Island, Malawi. We have organised deliveries of second hand books, stationary and clothing to the local school in partnership with my son's primary school, Hawkesdown House.