Sheer Luxe Leading Ladies

A little while ago I was asked to be part of a panel of women for the brilliant website Sheer Luxe

They assembled their ‘Leading Ladies’ and asked us questions about everything from our careers to beauty secrets.

Everyone from Elizabeth Hurley to Ella Woodward got involved – Meet the Sheer Luxe Leading Ladies

It’s well worth a read Sheer Luxe: Leading Ladies

Here’s my Q & A

What is the best piece of career advice you’ve been given? Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. So true in my job, going into interviews without doing enough research or heading on set without having checked all your scripts – a recipe for disaster.

What’s the best piece of career advice you could give? Find someone to mentor you. I was always too shy early on to ask for help from someone more experienced. Now I’m the experienced one I’m flattered and honoured to help people just starting out.

What was your first job? I was a model in my teens but my first real job was as a newsreader for Capital Radio.

What advice would you tell your 21-year-old self? Stop going out so much and get some sleep!

Why do you think you have made it in your industry? A good voice and being comfortable in front of the camera have helped but ultimately perseverance and an awful lot of hard work. Long hours, overnight shifts, double shifts, working for free and knocking on a lot of doors.

Did you have a Plan B? Never, I was pretty single minded about making it in broadcasting.

What’s the difference between someone being good at their job and fantastic at their job?People stand out in my industry if they go the extra mile, ask the tough question, get the interview everyone wants or get the story fist.

 

What got you through tough times at work? Working with so many brilliant and inspiring people. A newsroom is an amazing place to work, there are so many enthusiastic people and always something going on. It’s hard to not enjoy working there.

What are your goals for 2015? To write more. It’s been tough to spend as much time in the office as I’d have liked this past year so I’m trying to keep my skills alive by writing articles and blogging.

Which other women do you admire / inspire you? Women in my industry who have pushed to the top of their professional, and managed to have a family along the way. People like Deborah Turness (President of NBC News), Cristina Nicolotti Squires (Channel 5 Editor), Julie Etchingham (News at Ten and Tonight Presenter) Penny Marshall (Social Affairs Editor ITV News) & Cathy Newman (Channel 4)

 

What restaurant do you want to visit this year? I know I’m the last one but I still haven’t been to Chiltern Firehouse.

Who are your 3 dream dinner party guests? Stephen Fry, Caitlin Moran and Jamie Oliver (he has to cook!)

Which TV shows will/are you watching? Broadchurch at the minute – I also love Homeland, The Newsroom, The Good Wife, Girls and House of Cards.

Any new books on your to-read list? I’ve just started The Luminaries by Eleanor Cator

What’s the best book you’ve ever read? That’s tough – I studied English Literature at University so have dissected all the greats.. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale will always stick with me. More recently I loved Caitlin Moran, How to Be A Woman, and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Which film do you want to go see? The Theory of Everything and Wild

What’s the best film you’ve ever seen? I’m rediscovering the movies I loved as a kid with my children. The Wizard of Oz & ET are at the top of the list. But I’ll always love Life is beautiful.

Best London discovery?
Borough Market – such a great place to stock up and get inspired and I never come away hungry.

Best London bar?
I love an outdoor bar Kensington Roof Gardens, Sushi Samba or one with a view like the Oxo Tower.

What’s the most important thing to remember when it comes to your personal life?
To try and leave work in the office. It’s almost impossible in our house as my husband and I both work in news but we try and make time to talk about things other than office politics and news agendas.

How do you think a woman can successfully balance her career and personal life?
As a mother the only way to do it is with a lot of help. I naturally try and do everything myself but it’s impossible. Nannies, au pairs, nursery, cleaners, parents and Ocado all help.

Do you have any children?
Yes, Olivia is 3, Alfie is 2 and my stepdaughter Emily is 14.

How do you balance your business with motherhood?
I work at the weekend a lot at the moment so my husband can be with the children, it will change as they get older but it’s a bit of a balancing act right now.

2014 was the ‘year of feminism’. Would you call yourself a feminist?
I find it odd that it’s taken so long for us to talk about feminism again. My industry has allowed women to play second fiddle to men for far too long. I feel like things are slowly changing, we are seeing many more women taking up the main role in the studio and reporting but broadcasting is still heavily dominated by men. Experts who appear on screen are more often men than women too. The issue of age still plays a huge role as well but at least there is a dialogue about it now. It’s not fair that I would have to be worried about my career being over at 40 if I started to show my age while my male counterparts would be just hitting the peak of their careers and not giving their age a second thought. Many more women are making it happen like Deborah Turness the former Editor of ITV News who is now President of NBC News and Cristina Nicolotti Squires, Julie Etchingham, Penny Marshall and Cathy Newman.

Are you dieting or detoxing? I’m trying not to diet as such but to change the way we eat – less meat, sugar and processed foods. A colleague put me on to Kris Carr and I’ve been taking a lot of inspiration from her and Deliciously Ella as well as Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar.

Do you workout? I love swimming and get the blues if I’m away from the water for too long. I try and swim three times a week and am trying to pluck up the courage to swim outdoors at the Charlton Lido this winter. I’d love to do the Serpentine New Year swim. I do the Insanity DVDs and use a Yoga app at home or when we are away.

What motivates you to workout? I get really down if I don’t do something physical every day. Even if it’s just a long walk through Greenwich Park it just makes me feel better and clears my head.

Do you have a trainer? One of my friends is trying to set me up with her trainer but I’m resisting at the moment. Now both the children are in nursery I don’t have any excuse!

 

Any foods you avoid and why? I avoid dairy after having eczema quite badly as a child. It flares up if I’m not looking after myself. I try to steer clear of too much wheat too as it does make me feel heavy.

Name your top (healthy!) foods you couldn’t live without? I’ve discovered raw chocolate and can’t stop experimenting. I couldn’t live without peanut butter and bananas.

What’s your skin regime? I’m addicted to the whole Chantecaille range so use the cleanser and serum or Eve Lom’s amazing cleanser and gorgeous smelling TLC cream. I always make sure I take my makeup off before bed. TV makeup is really heavy (especially now we are in HD!) my skin would never recover if I slept with that on.

What skincare products do you swear by? Chantecaille, Eve Lom, Lucas Paw Paw Ointment, Clarins Beauty Balm & Ren shower gels.

What make-up products do you wear daily?
Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser or Chantecaille Just Skin, Chantecaille anti aging illuminator, Nars lipgloss, Mac bronzer & Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat & false lash effect mascara. If I’m going out I’ll add Mac lashes, some Mac shadow and maybe Chantecaille hydra chic lipstick. If I’m working I have an amazing makeup artist get me ready. They use HD makeup.

Any drugstore (Boots, Superdrug) buys you swear by?
Lashes by Eyelure are always a good staple, I love the smell of Palmer’s Cocoa Butter and use Vaseline & Bio Oil.

Do you have any beauty/skincare rules passed down from your mother?
I grew up in Australia so never left the house without sun cream thanks to my Mum.

What is your number one desert island beauty product?
Clarins beauty balm – always feels good after some sun and works like a mask overnight.

Best beauty discovery?
False lashes, or the ability the apply them. I was blessed with short straight lashes. I’ve dabbled with extensions but am a picker so end up ripping them out.

What is your ultimate skin treat/indulgence?
I love the indulgent facials at Aveda. My step mother took me for my first one in Sydney when I was in my teens and it always takes me back to that first relaxing experience.

Any facialists, beauticians or hairdressers you swear by?
Aveda Blackheath for facials and Nails at Hannah in Blackheath or Knightsbridge Nail & Beauty. Valentina at Anita Lawrence in Fulham has done my hair for 10 years but now I live in South East London I use Chandler Wright in Blackheath too.

How would you describe your look? Outside of work I’d say I’ve got a pretty classical style. I love trousers, shirts and blazers or a really beautifully tailored dress. My style has changed over the years at work from being quite conservative with a lot of suit jackets to being a bit more experimental. I love bright colours and dresses always look great on air if they have a good structure.

What are your fashion rules? Working in a green-screen TV studio we can never wear green – I did once turn up in a green dress. Luckily I was able to raid the wardrobe for a jacket! I’m always in heels – I hate flats. I do have to remind myself to accessorise though I try and do a scarf or a statement piece of jewelry and I do love a hat.

What was your last fashion buy? My daughter and I spent a little too long in Whistles last week with her selecting things for me to try on. She chose a really great Fedora and a lovely grey jumper dress with lace panels actually.

What is a typical work outfit for you? Work outfits are usually smart dresses from Reiss, Whistles or LK Bennett with a few pieces from Zara too. I have a Carla Zampatti suit which always makes me feel very grown up and a couple of DVF dresses for special occasions.

What do you wear at weekends? I’m pretty casual at the weekends if I’m not working. With two little kids I spend a lot of time in my hunters and a north face jacket or my gym kit. I love pretty much everything from Sweaty Betty, Stella McCartney’s Adidas stuff is great too and I’ve just ordered from the Kate Hudson for Fabletics range. If I’m going out though the heels are back on with a fitted or A-line flared skirt and a shirt.

Who is your go-to designer for basics/accessories/party wear? Basics from Zara, party wear from whoever will lend me something fabulous!

What is your favourite thing in your wardrobe? My Louboutins. I lusted after them for a long time and my husband took the hint.

Whose style do you admire? I love Emma Watson, Alexa Chung & Fearne Cotton – Kate Moss always looks effortless. Victoria Beckham is up there too and I wouldn’t mind looking as perfectly ‘done’ as Anna Wintour.

What clothes/accessories make you feel confident? Anything really well structured – I once wore a Roland Mouret Galaxy Dress and felt amazing.

Do you travel regularly? My family are all in Australia so I try and get back as often as I can.

Any beauty / sleep / tips on coping with a long haul flight? Don’t take babies/toddlers! Don’t eat the plane food if you can avoid it otherwise order vegetarian if you have to, drink plenty of water and avoid the alcohol.

Best long haul hotel? Bandos Island in The Maldives has got to be one of my favourites. An Island you can take a short stroll around and clear blue water. Huts on stilts – paradise.

Favourite hotel in Europe? Cotwolds 88 in Painswick, Gloucestershire. My husband and I got engaged there.

What holidays are you booking this year? The kids and I will be in Australia for a couple of months to catch the end of their summer and avoid some of our winter. I try and get up to our cottage in Norfolk once a month and will probably spend a couple of weeks there in the summer too. A week or two in Cornwall and I’m desperate for a bit of sun next Christmas and will hopefully book a quick trip to somewhere hot then too.

For the mums, any tips for traveling with children? Take plenty of healthy treats, nothing sugary! iPads, new toys and games always help distract. Emirates and Etihad also have sky nannies which I’m planning on employing on our next trip too.

Alexandra
Alexandra is currently a presenter and reporter for ITV News, ITV London, Channel 5 News and Good Morning Britain. She’s a familiar face on our screens having fronted ITV News bulletins since 2008.
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