Journalists Wear Hearts on their Sleeves by “The Pool”

Photo: Scarlet Page/Henley Literary Festival

‘The Pool’ provides interesting, inspiring, original online content for busy women.

An Evening by the ‘Pool’ was one of the opening day’s events at the Henley Literary Festival at the Kenton. Sam Baker, co-founder, CEO & Editor, sat by The Pool with four savvy, sassy, vibrant contributors: Sali Hughes, Grace Victory, Daisy Buchanan and Bryony Gordon.

A natural topic for the evening’s discussion with the distinctive women on the stage was honesty, which goes to the very heart of The Pool’s online promise.

The event, which was sold out well in advance, was broadcast simultaneously on Facebook Live and, by the following morning, it had had over 5,900 views.

The four journalists and contributors wore their hearts on their sleeves as they discussed issues ranging from OCD, rape, mental health, the state of the NHS and child abuse. Telegraph writer, columnist and author, Bryony Gordon, has struggled for years with a form of OCD and related anxieties. She overcame her battles with this illness when she “outed herself” through honesty and open conversation. She said, “Nobody ever got better by not talking about it!”

Daisy Buchanan, columnist and features writer for the Guardian covering arts and entertainment, said she found online writing and honesty “liberating”. She shared a story about moving jobs and hating it, which meant she stayed in the role longer than she should have. Only through a chance “How’s it going?” conversation along with a suggestion that she writes about it, did she find it within herself to use online honesty to change things for the better.

Sali Hughes, successful journalist with a reputation for candid writing particularly in the field of beauty, said there are two different types of honesty. There is emotional honesty, and the kind of honesty she brings to her beauty column. No beauty product features in her Guardian column unless it has been used on her own face.

Vlogger, Grace Victory, is widely regarded as “The Internet’s Big Sister”. Her weekly videos are distinctly personal and open. Her goal is to make taboo subjects less taboo. She discusses items ranging from body image to eating disorders. She oozes confidence, likeability and positivity, revealing that her only regret was providing content on an occasion when she had had too much alcohol!

Lyndsay Henderson, Emily Hillyard and Marlene Gibson-Skinner were at the event. Lyndsay said, “It was interesting and thought-provoking. The panel covered a broad range of subjects with strong emphasis on mental health. Great idea to include Grace Victory on the panel as she provided a younger viewpoint, and bridged the gap between traditional and social media. It was thoroughly enjoyable and I hope to see a similar event next year”.

This was a night of serious straight-talking, bringing topical subjects to the front of people’s minds. The floor was opened for audience questions, including several via Facebook.

The evening was topped and tailed with delicious Gower Cottage Brownies for everyone in the audience which were delicious… Honest!

Lindsay McLoughlin