Journalist / Writer / Editor
An award-winning writer, journalist, magazine and digital editor in the fields of travel, luxury, fashion, music, art and architecture, I write for myriad publications including Condé Nast Traveller, The Guardian, FT Magazine, Tank, The Telegraph, The Independent, The International Herald Tribune, Canvas, Bidoun, Bespoke, Time Out, BA Highlife, Quintessentially,Voyager, Impressions, Easyjet Traveller, Esquire, J Magazine, American Way, The National, Unherd, Variety and more.
A Middle East specialist, I lived and worked for many years in Beirut as the Lebanon correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, as well as writing for the city’s English language newspaper of record, The Daily Star. In 2005 I founded and was the Editor-in-Chief of Time Out Beirut before returning to London in 2007 to take up a role as the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Publisher of Let's Go, the inflight travel magazine for Europe's largest airline Ryanair, until 2015.
In 2016 I founded FuturePunk, a creative change agency working with organisations to create and visual and editorial narratives and beautifully crafted matter to communicate effectively their values and ideas. To date clients have included The Natural History Museum, Aïshti Department Store, Le Cool and Ultravilla among others. My range of skills include strategic conceptual and physical design development, profile building, social media management, editorial development & content delivery (multiple platforms including podcasts and online newsletters), web design, article and copywriting.
I publish a popular travel blog, Hike to the Moon, have written books including The Hedonist's Guide to Beirut, a travel book on the city for the Hg2 series and have appeared and exec produced three of the late Anthony Bourdain's travel programmes on the Lebanese capital for The Travel Channel and CNN: No Reservations – Beirut (2006), No Reservations – Back To Beirut (2010), Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain – Beirut (2015). I am a regular creative consultant for the US-based Gerson Lehman Group.
I hold an MA with Honours in History from the University of Edinburgh, an MA with Distinction in International Relations & History from the London School of Economics and a PostGrad Diploma with Distinction in Print Journalism from the London College of Printing.
My journalism, as both a staff and freelance writer, over the years covers news and politics, art, culture, travel and more. Various links and publications appear below.
My clients come from many fields reflecting my collective ‘magazine’ experience across a wide range of sectors. Each client has unique requirements and is treated as such. Often they are interested in several different aspects of my expertise and we work together to achieve specific goals, whether that's putting together a winning content strategy or creating a brand. Whatever the size of your company I create a bespoke solution for your needs. Some are showcased below.
Premium print and online magazine for luxury department store Aïshti
A Mag is a high end luxury fashion and lifestyle magazine published in Beirut and distributed across the Middle East and in the fashion capitals of the world. Tony Salame, the CEO and owner of Aïshti, the Selfridges of the Middle East, approached me to revamp and relaunch his magazine, make it younger, more on pulse and increase readership and advertising both in print and online. Organising budgets, managing and hiring a new team, totally changing the editorial approach and print size, paper alongside brands was not only a huge amount of fun but an incredible success and saw a measurable uptake in in advertising, distribution and readership.
Le Cool News
A weekly news briefing that makes you smarter
Launched in September 2018, Le Cool News is a weekly email newsletter created for Barcelona-based media and travel company Le Cool. Tired of manipulative news stories and clickbait journalism LCN brings readers the most relevant, forward-looking and future-positive news from across Europe across the realms of design, culture, travel, entrepreneurship, current affairs, climate, urban innovation and more, along with the occasional life hack for good measure. And it's all delivered in Le Cool's signature style: smart, concise and with a cheeky smile. As co-editor and one of the writers, we've taken Le Cool News from zero to over 15,000 unique subscribers in the first four months and rising purely through word of mouth and reader referrals without any social media promotion or marketing. Watch this space and sign up here.
The monthly cultural and creative journal for Beirut bookstore Papercup
In early 2017 the owner of independent Beirut bookstore Papercup commissioned me to create, develop, edit and write their new online journal and newsletter sent out monthly to over 2,000 international subscribers in the creative, print and book publishing industry. The Sounder launched in July to popular acclaim and we are currently developing a print option the aim of which is to become the leading cultural magazine in Beirut.
Time Out Beirut
The culture and listing magazine no city can do without
I launched, conceived and created the celebrated Time Out magazine online and in print back in 2006. The first quality English language journal in the city Time Out Beirut was filled with daring investigations, in-depth reviews and topical interviews that were not afraid to ask the difficult questions, it blazed onto the scene attracting a new readership and strong advertising, with increased circulation and sales mont-on-month.
The inflight travel magazine for Ryanair, Europe's largest airline
In 2007 Ryanair were expanding rapidly and in desperate need of an editorial travel magazine that ticked all the boxes – new, exciting, destination targeted content, beautiful and effective presentation, a successful advertising vehicle, and a leading marketing tool for the brand. Working with client publishing firm Ink, as editor in chief and co-publisher, I conceived, directed and managed all content, design, print, size, distribution and commercial direction of the magazine, which at it's peak was printing 600,000 copies per month and reaching over 70million passengers leading the way for inflight printed content. In 2015 after eight years in light of technological developments with the Internet and the way people consume travel content on planes we closed the magazine to take all editorial content online
A Hedonist's Guide to Beirut
The Beirut edition of high end luxury travel guide series
As a Lebanon-based reporter and Beirut-city expert, HG2 approached me to select, write, and photograph the best things to do in the Middle East's most happening city. The hardback luxury guide covers everything from restaurants to bars, nightclubs to beaches, day trips and cultural dos and don'ts. The most authoritative guide to the city A Hedonist's Guide to Beirut quickly became the best-selling and must-have source of all things Beirut.
The Travel Channel & CNN
Creative consultant and guide for Anthony Bourdain
For almost a decade between 2006 and 2015, I worked for America's The Travel Channel and CNN as the Lebanese consultant, fixer and guide for the late television personality Anthony Bourdain, hired to help plan and create Bourdain's three programmes –including the Emmy Award-nominated 2006 No Reservations show – on Beirut. Together we created impactful television that was at once thrilling, insightful, educational and beautiful showing off the good, the bad and of course the amazing food that Lebanon is known for.
I work with a top notch independent team of accomplished, passionate and experienced graphic designers, photographers, writers, marketing personnel and developers. Here are just some: Rami Obeid is a Swedish-Lebanese graphic designer and art director based in Beirut with a focus on branding. He regularly travels to Montreal, Dubai, London, Gothenburg and beyond to work on projects for brands including Ooredoo Telecom, IKEA, Toyota, Vodafone, McVities, Johnnie Walker, Baileys and Qatar Museum Authority among others. Rami has also collaborated with advertising agencies JWT, Drive Dentsu, Interesting Times, & Publicis. Tanya Traboulsi is an Austrian-Lebanese photographer whose work revolves around themes of travel, identity, memory and belonging. Her images have been featured in publications and exhibitions from Beirut to Bogota. In 2013 she won the Boghossian Foundation Prize for Photography. Lydia Bell is a travel and features journalist contributing to newspapers including The Times, The Financial Times (How To Spend It), The Telegraph, The Independent on Sunday, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and magazines including Conde Nast Traveller, Australian Gourmet Traveller and Net-a-Porter's The Edit. Tom Mcloughlin runs SEO Travel, a digital marketing agency exclusively promoting travel firms online with a successful track record increasing customer uptake and search engine optimisation. Mike Peake is a freelance writer as versatile as he is prolific, able to write pitch perfect copy across subject matter and media including Harrods Magazine, NatWest Private Banking and Singapore Airlines.