Editor’s Comment: Sunshine and serious journalism

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I have just returned from the South of France and the weather is almost as beautiful in London as the French Riviera. My time away was a combination of work and play as I combined a press trip with a few days of much-needed holiday. It is the second time I have travelled to France this year; back in March I spent a few days exploring the delights of Paris for the benefit of our travel pages. This time I embarked on a long drive south, stopping off at various cities before reaching the final destination; a stunning villa situated in the hills overlooking Cannes. However, I won’t spoil the feature by revealing too much before it is published.

Although I am relatively new to writing travel pieces, they certainly satisfy my inquisitive nature and I am gaining a healthy appetite for exploring exciting places, as well as sampling different cultures. I must admit, although it is a real pleasure working in luxury editorial I occasionally miss my days at the BBC and Mail, when addressing serious current affairs issues formed a key part of my remit. This reflection was triggered when I met the vivacious Amal Fashanu at La Durbin Beauty Boutique’s Charity Event towards the end of last month.

Laura Toogood with the owner of La Durbin, Latifa Durbin

Laura Toogood with the owner of La Durbin, Latifa Durbin, at the Charity Event

Amal was behind the BBC documentary ‘Britain’s Gay Footballers’ and we share a desire for tackling controversial and sensitive issues. Some of the most rewarding features I have written include addressing topics such as eating disorders in the modelling industry and the impact on body image in society, as well as the grim culture of drug addiction among young professionals. A feature that I found particularly moving was one that I wrote for the Irish Daily Mail about suicide in young people. This included an interview with the brother (and a dear friend) of a University classmate and equestrian teammate who tragically took her life. As you can imagine, it was an extremely difficult and sad discussion. I cried whilst drafting the copy for the piece and even after multiple proof reads, I still shed a tear.

Amal is equally passionate about her assignments and also experiences incidences when she is overcome with emotion. This was evident when we discussed her latest documentary, which looks at human trafficking. Our conversation contrasted greatly with the setting of the event that we attended but it was a real pleasure to meet such an engaging and driven young journalist.

Whilst the setting for the event was a plush and glamorous beauty salon in West London, the focus of the evening was geared towards the serious issue of cancer. It was hosted to raise funds for ‘Yes to Life’, which helps people take a proactive role in their treatment. It was a huge success and raised £2,000 for the charity.

I was joined by our Beauty Editor, Halle Carlson. Halle is a big fan of La Durbin and has previously reviewed the salon for our beauty pages. It is particularly convenient for those living on the Fulham Palace Road or in the Putney area. Halle has also recently discovered a ‘wonder product’ for those of you looking for a natural alternative to Botox. The aptly-named ‘Beetox’ range is terrific and you can read more about it here.

The last time I wrote my Editor’s Comment was prior to Royal Ascot. Our Social Correspondent Katie Ann Lamb and I enjoyed a wonderful few days at this premier race meet and you can watch the highlights here. Katie has just returned from Henley Royal Regatta and The Sloaney’s coverage of this event will be live soon. Her guide to the top social hotspots proved an extremely popular read.

Talking of social hotspots, I am sure most people are eager to spend as much time outside in this glorious sunshine as possible. Whilst in Cannes, I saw a little too much sunburn on the beach and I expect there is also some tender skin in England. With this in mind, I wrote a quick article about protecting your skin during the warm weather. This followed my feature containing healthy tips for getting the ultimate beach bodyI am sure many of you will be keen to step into a bikini or swim shorts this week. Let’s enjoy the British Summer while it lasts!


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