Photo Credit: Sam Sloan Photography
Elle is a journalist who has written extensively on health, gender, family and society for broadsheets such as the Guardian and The Telegraph – as well as first person, beauty and lifestyle articles for glossy magazines, featuring regularly in Psychologies.
She’s also an advertising creative, and last year – combining all these talents with a fascination for technology and the rapidly changing world – co-founded RUDE, the first communications agency to specialise in the sharing economy.
Describe a typical day for you?
One thing we have to do as a family before we get up is have a huge group cuddle in ‘The Big Bed’. Then it’s an hour of saying things like ‘Put your shoes on’ and ‘Brush your teeth’ to Jake (8) and Phoebe (6), while grimly clutching a coffee so strong the makers of Bialetti advise against it.
Once the kids are dispatched I’m off to meetings with my partner Eve, or to our office, or sometimes I work from home. I try and squeeze in a swim or gym session and share school pick-ups with my husband Andy who is self-employed. In the evenings, we aim to sit down together at about six o’clock to eat. Usually risotto, quesadillas, tortilla: stuff in a pot or on a big board in the middle of the table.
I like food like that which you can share – it’s like the ‘Big Bed cuddle’ but at the other end of the day.
In the evening, there’s often more work to do (that’s start-up life…) but at the weekend Andy and I often share a beer (ok, several) outside by our fire pit and ‘decompress’. I have some amazing female friends too, so I try and go out for food and chats every week or so, that feels good for my head.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
They say having children is like a bomb going off in your relationship and it really is. I think one of mine (and Andy’s) achievements is that we’ve come out the other side of the baby years and aren’t just still married, we’re like, hey, you’re a cool person, let’s hang out, get drunk and listen to George Michael. That’s pretty awesome.
I’m also proud of the fact that I built up my career as a journalist when I had a newborn and a toddler. I wanted to write for the Guardian, and I just pushed towards that, regardless of leaking boobs and sleep deprivation. It’s the same with RUDE. Eve and I have created something special, something really unique that people all over the world are interested in. We didn’t do that just taking about it, we got out there and made it happen. That feels like a huge achievement.
What’s in your handbag?
Mulberry would not be happy to see the disrespect I have for the inside of their Arundel Tote. There’s a bottom layer of Playmobil figures, squashed blueberries. Ritz crackers and tissues. Floating on top of this is the usual phone, purse etc, as well as a makeup bag with tons of amazing lipsticks left over from my days as a beauty journalist. And a notebook, always a notebook. Which sounds very creative but the reality is that it’s used to play hangman with my kids when they’re bored on a bus.
What are your ambitions in life?
A younger me would have answered that by saying my ambition was to achieve happiness. But I think age has taught me that to focus solely on being happy is a bit simplistic. Truly living life is about feeling many more emotions than just that one – grief, guilt, heartbreak… these are all part of the human experience. So I’d say that to me, ambition is more about fulfilment. A life fully lived – not just the seeking out of a rosy glow.
And although I’m totally committed to and passionate about whatever project I’m working on, like RUDE, I’m pretty open in the long term to how that fulfilling comes about. I like that – not knowing what the next plot twist will be.
What advice would you give your pre-baby self, that you now know, having had children?
Try and find humour in the chaos, even when you feel laughing is the thing you least want to do.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I don’t know – and I don’t want to… I don’t like spoilers.
What advice would you give a budding journalist?
Don’t just write about anything and everything, try and find a subject that really interests you – your passion will really come across in your pitches and articles.
Finally, happiness is…
Good conversation, good food, good music. When you put all these together then I think you’re properly participating in life.