Contributors

FOUNDER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Miss B

Snapshot 2010-04-12 20-38-24Miss B is a Belle About Town who likes to bring a little bit of style into every aspect of her life. While she likes to see herself as a cross between Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn she will privately admit that there is a lot more Bridget Jones in there. She has an unswerving confidence about being able to understand any language if she just concentrates hard enough (she can’t) and an irrational hatred of mail.

An experienced journalist with over a decade in the industry she turned to the web to fill a gap for tech-savvy stylish women who want the best life has to offer at their fingertips.  She loves a decadent cocktail bar, a beautifully cut dress, the perfect pair of heels, quality over quantity and is partial to Asian-fusion food, enjoys holidaying in the sun and shopping breaks to New York. But her first love is of course London!

LONDON EDITOR: Emily Cleary

After almost a decade chasing ambulances, and celebrities, for Fleet Street’s finest, Emily has taken it down a gear and settled for a (slightly!)  slower pace of life in the suburbs.

With a love of cheese and fine wine, Emily is more likely to be found chasing son Henry round Kew Gardens than sipping champagne at a showbiz launch nowadays, or grabbing an hour out of her hectic freelancer’s life to chill out in a spa while hubby holds baby. If only!

GOSSIP QUEEN: Ashley Pearson

Ashley PearsonAshley Pearson began her career as a hard news journalist covering politics and international news at NBC in London. However she quickly realised that her passion was reporting on the lives and loves of the world’s most famous faces. Since then she has been spotted on the red carpet at the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, the Emmy Awards, and the Grammy Awards!

In the UK Ashley regularly appears on This Morning and The Alan Titchmarsh Show and has also reported for GMTV, BBC, Sky and ITN News, and E! Entertainment. A familiar face at the Cannes Film Festival she has had regular columns in OK! Magazine, Star Magazine and can currently be read on the Mail Online. This gossip queen knows all the movers and shakers ensuring she gets all the celeb news first hand.

SNOWY WEATHER BELLE: Gill Martin

Gill byline pic 2 LesGill Martin is an award winning travel writer and former Fleet Street journalist – Daily Mail reporter, Daily Express feature writer and Sunday Mirror Woman’s Editor. She is a freelance writer for national newspapers from the Financial Times and Daily Telegraph to tabloids, magazines, regional newspapers and websites.

After a six month career break after the Indian Ocean tsunami where she volunteered as a communications consultant in Banda Aceh, Indonesia for Plan, the children’s charity, she is now focused on travel.

From skiing everywhere from Kashmir to Argentina, Morocco to Turkey, North America and all over Europe; snow shoeing in Canada; captain of the GB team of the Ski Club of International Journalists; whitewater rafting down the Zambezi; electric mountain biking in Switzerland and cycling in Portugal; Kenyan and South African safaris; riding elephants in India and horses in Brazil; paint balling in Romania; opera and archeology in Serbia; Caribbean snorkelling; sampling food and wine in Italy.

BROOKLYN BELLE: Kate Smith

Kate SmithKate left London for New York in the spring of 2013 for no other reason than she knew they had be together. So far, it’s been the best love affair of her life. She immediately adopted Brooklyn as her home and is currently living the Girls dream four blocks down from Hannah Horvath’s Greenpoint gaff.

She’s a freelance journalist who has interviewed some interesting celebrity folk, working for titles such as the Daily Express, Time Out, Woman and Glamour Magazine. She also wrote a beauty column for the Express and now has a costly addiction to face creams. She enjoys converting everything from dollars to sterling to convince herself living in NYC is in fact saving her money.

GRADUATE BELLE: Sophia Mead

Sophia Mead

Sophia is a greedy graduate not content with building up her credentials in one half of her joint honours degree. By day, she is a junior PR Executive, racing around trying to conquer the world of public relations but by night frantically taps away at her keyboard, getting lost in the realms of celebrity culture and sharing the stories with her own “Sophia spin”.

Sophia is unashamedly obsessed with meaningful quotes and whilst blissfully content with the simple things in life, she’s far too ambitious to ever let them be enough until she is carrying on her person that perfect Chanel bag.

OUT-AND-ABOUT BELLE: Aamina Zafar

Aamina Zafar

Aamina has been a roving reporter for more than 10 years – penning stories for local and national newspapers. After living a fast paced life for a decade, she has now settled for a life in the suburbs with her husband and baby boy.

She loves writing about beauty, babies and hard earned bucks. Aamina also enjoys writing articles that do not begin with the letter ‘B’ such as travel and food.

FASHION-A-BELLE: Dee Dashwood

DeeTo quote David Bowie: “fashion turn to the left, fashion turn to the right …. Oooh fashion.”

Fascinated with shoes even before she entered kindergarten, Dee is a style goddess and consummate shoe queen. Fashion and style is in her blood, she was born with the ability to make a paper bag look fabulous.

Vintage, high street and dash of Chanel are her calling cards. Dee has an uncanny knack of spotting a trend before it arrives in the high street but she is not a slave to fashion, having her own quirky chic look which is very distinctive.

NEW YORK BELLE: Angela Leland

Angela LelandAngela is the owner of Angela Leland Interiors, a sassy boutique interior design firm based in New York City.

She is also writer/editor for the blog The Decadence Project, dedicated to exploring sexy spaces and exotic places with an emphasis on design and travel.

When she’s not plotting her path to greatness, Angela can be spotted around Manhattan sipping gin cocktails and singing bad karaoke.

BEAU ABOUT TOWN: Kris Pace

Kris PaceSince gaining a degree in journalism four years ago, Kris has already covered many sectors within the world of journalism, including licensing, retail, fashion, toys, music and currently politics at the MailOnline.

Based in London, Kris has poked his nose into some of the finest places in town to eat and drink, whilst his fervour for music has led him to cover a plethora of both mainstream and unsigned acts.

As one of the few male Belle contributors, with a passion for all things, sport, music and alcohol-based, Kris is champing at the bit to check out all the latest goings on in the Capital!

NY-LON BELLE: Lucy McGuire

Lucy McGuireLucy is a former aspiring Psychologist turned journalist who loves spas, coffee, cocktails and culture. While her 9-5 job involves interviewing women on their fascinating real life stories, her evenings and weekends are spent sipping cosmos in Soho, blogging about her travels, and putting the world to right over coffee in Covent Garden.
With a penchant for indulgence and belief in healthy living, Lucy loves sampling the latest massage therapies, caviar facials (yes really) and Reiki healing. She’s even been known to seek guidance from a Tarot reader on life’s uncertainties. While she’s been known to cycle a velodrome, surf and even compete in the Masterchef Kitchen in the name of journalism, she’s not quite plucked up the courage to join the army boot camps in Regents Park yet. But she will one day run the London marathon in less than five hours.
Manhattan-mad Lucy hopes to one day move State side and live her dream of writing in down town New York. But until she follows the columnist’s life of Carrie Bradshaw, she loves being the first to report on the latest trend or person of interest to hit our capital.
While she’d be on the next plane to the Caribbean if she won the lottery, she embraces everything there is about being British – our fearless dress sense, saying please and thank you, and afternoon tea, with scones jam and cream. Life’s simple pleasures.

MATCHMAKER BELLE: Rachel Vida MacLynn

Rachel 2Rachel is a real life cupid, matchmaking for London’s elite since 2006. She owns and runs an upmarket matchmaking consultancy called Vida. With more letters after her name than a crossword puzzle, Rachel is a bona fide psychologist (Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society) and relationship counsellor, with what is arguably the best network of eligible guys and gals in London. Rachel is on hand to share her experience, knowledge and expertise of all things from dating right through to relationships and marriage. Girls, hold onto your Manolos, this Belle is changing the singles scene in London forever!

HOLLYWOOD BELLE: Justine Harkness

JustineNow based in Los Angeles, Justine had worked for publications from Now to Look, OK! to Loaded, in the UK as well as for weekly magazines in Australia. She has written everything from in-depth celebrity interviews to covering every showbiz party, hotspot, the three ‘Fs’ (fads, fashion, fitness), awards ceremonies, travel (to Mustique, no less), you name it, for all the big magazines. A regular showbiz and lifestyle expert commentator for radio and TV, including BBC, Sky and all the terrestrial channels. There’s more, but there always is. She lives in Santa Monica with her ridiculously fluffy kitten Cookie (‘We should have called her Queen Latifah,’ she shrugs), chasing the latest celebrity stories. Justine’s mantra in life is: ‘In vodka we trust.’  She successfully out drinks many, yet is a bit of a hippy at heart. Just don’t ask her about grammar.

BEAU ABOUT TOWN: Phil Boucher

Photo on 2011-07-04 at 16.14Over the past 15 years Phil has written about pretty much every topic on the planet: celebrities; golf; spa holidays; relationships; baby milk; next generation coal fired power stations… you name it. This has included publications such as People (USA), The Independent, Daily Mail, Daily Express, FHM, Maxim, Who (Australia), Women’s Own, Woman and about 100 others (including Practical Caravan).
But Phil’s life is not purely about work: hell no! When he’s not glaring furiously at a blank page he can be found looking after his two daughters in the desperate hope that if he feeds them enough lard he may one day get a lie in. He’s also been married for seven years, has busted knees from playing way too much football and has just agreed to become the drummer in a rock’n’roll band, despite the fact that he doesn’t own any sticks and has never played the drums. Just goes to show that you actually can drink too much bourbon. Or was it Lilt…

MOMMY BELLE: Gia de Picciotto

Gia de PicciottoGia de Picciotto is a blogger, mother, and lifetime journal keeper/storyteller. Gia has been documenting the trials and tribulations of mothers entering the new world of parenting for the past five years. Formerly the Director of Communications for Warner Music, and Double Click Inc (Google) and associate producer at ABC News, Gia has spent her career writing and telling stories to the media. Married to an Italian, with whom she has two cheeky sons. Gia has been living in London for 11 years and can’t be without green juice and a martini. In her next life she will be a rock star.

BEAUTY BELLE: Alice Smellie

AliceWith a passion for beauty and over a decade’s experience working for national newspapers and magazines, Alice has written for such publications as the Independent, Harpers, Grazia and ES Magazine. After four years on the Daily Telegraph features desk, she became Beauty and Celebrities Editor at Brides magazine and then Deputy Beauty Editor of InStyle magazine. She has been freelancing for the last five years – predominantly writing beauty features for the Daily Mail.

Her obsession with decent mascara is rivalled only by her increasingly desperate quest for effective anti-wrinkle creams. She adores cheap chocolate, expensive champagne and Edward Cullen with a passion and hasn’t left the house without wearing make-up since 1993 when the local newsagent didn’t recognise her without lipgloss. She refuses to wear flat shoes or loose clothes, even in the countryside and is renowned for once wearing six inch heels to a local cricket match. In the rain.

MAMMA BELLE: Nadia Cohen

NadiaAs mum to a pair of cheeky twin boys, Felix and Harry, Nadia is mostly very tired. And sometimes she’s grumpy and very tired, but that doesn’t stop her attempting to have a life beyond sterilising and pureeing, even if that means she has been spotted strolling through the Grazia office with a Cheerio stuck to her bottom, or accessorising her fabulous Vivienne Westwood vintage with a smear of dried porridge.

She loves lounging about in the sunshine with a cocktail (those were the days) and hates smug yummy mummy types offering their unwanted opinions on her sons’ snacks, schooling and snot.

CULINARY BELLE: Alison Christie

aliAlison’s love of food developed when she started cooking at about 12 years old. Her mum would get her to make the roast dinner for the family (all five of them!). As a child she spent time living in Germany so was exposed to a huge range of different foods and ingredients. Her mum loved to experiment, which Alison picked up on, but when Alison’s mum survived a huge heart attack in the mid 80s it began a different attitude to food for the whole family – and a different way of cooking.
Alison cooks with fresh, seasonal ingredients as much as possible also looking out for offers in the supermarkets. She hopes to show you how to create cheap, easy, low-fat food that doesn’t have to have expensive ingredients. She will aim to design easy one bowl dinners for singletons and also easy impressive dinners for when friends are round! “I’ve never had any professional teaching but have learnt though reading and watching and doing. It’s always me that cooks for my family (even in their own houses – its ‘get Ali to cook’) or my friends and I know they all say – great – we will get good food round at Ali’s house – so here we are, hope you enjoy…”

ANIMAL EXPERT: Kitty Nine

Kitty NineKitty  has long been fascinated with the animal kingdom and much prefers it to the human world. In her early days she was featured on kids TV with her menagerie of pets and has expanded this to making animals her full time focus. Working in the veterinary world for ten years she’s seen the good, bad and ugly of the pet industry. Now she’s the voice for their wild relatives and works full time on spreading the word about the world’s threatened animals. Kitty can often be seen chasing a stray cat along the street in hope of a cuddle, sitting in a tree waiting for a visit by a rare cockatoo or dreaming of African safaris. From wallabies to love birds, tigers to rhinos she’s been there, done that and is waiting in line to do it again.

WINE BUFF: Bordeaux Bertie

WinePointerBertie is Belle’s wine correspondent. Bertie loves finding great wines and would prefer to share his discoveries with Belle and her friends over a glass or two, but now he’s in Los Angeles he is reduced to sending a letter from America. Bertie gets very enthusiastic about wine – especially after a mid-morning sharpener – but he can’t abide wine bores, and simply wants everyone to enjoy it as much as he does.
He threw in a marketing career to devote himself to wine, spent a season or two working amongst the vines of Bordeaux, and studied wine and all things vinous at a certain English agricultural college with a slightly hedonistic reputation. Apparently there really is a degree in drinking! Back in London as a wine merchant he could be found, when not weaving between various wine bars and restaurants on a scooter precariously stacked with wine boxes, in the shop off the King’s Road sampling fine wines with his customers, or holding wine tasting parties for the likes of Belle and her friends. Until he followed one of them over the Pond, taking a post with an international wine auction house.
Now he lives in Hollywood, handles the private wine collections of the rich and famous – who he invariably fails to recognise – and spends his weekends in wine country.

GOOD LIFE BELLE: Lottie L’Epicurienne

Snapshot_1With over 10 years in London this Belle About Town is still on the hunt for the best places to eat, drink and be merry! Knowing the latest place to try top International cuisines to where the get the best dulce de leche ice-cream, she has her finger of the gourmet pulse.
She also has a penchant for Indie rock – she can be seen at many a festival where only glamping will do or rocking out at a gig. And when she packs up her bags, it is to go and find exciting places around the world to… eat, drink and be merry!