5 Minutes With

2 December 2022

5 minutes with...

Jen Barton

Freelance Journalist



"I am a very curious person so I enjoy discovering the latest products, gadgets and trends first (and then telling my friends about them!)."

Please provide a brief introduction to yourself & the titles you write for

Hi, I'm Jen. I'm a freelance journalist originally from New York and now based in London. I've written for a variety of titles on both sides of the pond, including British Vogue, Red, Grazia, Stylist, InStyle, The Telegraph, Fabulous, Femail, WIRED, HuffPost, Insider, The Independent's IndyBest, Metro and others.

I cover a wide range of (mostly) lifestyle topics in my work, from consumer trends to mental health, parenting to fashion/beauty, as well as fitness/exercise.

When I do shopping roundups, I often cover kids' stuff, as well as fashion/beauty. When I become obsessed by a particular item, you'll know... in fact, I tend to mention brands/items/products I love in my first person pieces too (I get really excited!).

I love being introduced to new concepts/brands/ideas and then realising they're having an impact on my life in a small (or big) way. An example of this is kids' audio players like the Yoto/Tonie boxes... I discovered them during the pandemic and they played a huge role in helping my kids during the difficult lockdown periods (honestly, they're amazing for listening to books/stories, helping with sleep, etc). I've ended up writing numerous articles and reviews on various kids' audio players as a result because I want every parent to know how great they are!

Give us the inside scoop, what is your favourite part about working as a Freelance Journalist?

I've been a freelance journalist for over a decade and there are many things I love about it. I am a very curious person so I enjoy discovering the latest products, gadgets and trends first (and then telling my friends about them!).

I feel so lucky to be working with a variety of editors and publications and getting to cover many different topics, as well as writing in different styles (shopping roundups, interviews, personal essays, tried-and-tested articles, SEO pieces).

The flexibility of freelancing is huge for me because I have four kids (aged 5-12) so I am always working at odd times (and in random places).

I'm also neurodiverse (ADHD), and I've realised that office environments aren't where I thrive: I feel socially anxious and out of place and I get far less work done than I do at home because I am constantly distracted/feeling like I've made a misstep. Being able to set my schedule helps me harness my energy when I have lots of it... and also rest when my brain is a bit more depleted.

What types of products and price points are you personally looking to feature?

Since I cover a wide range of lifestyle topics, the products I'm looking to feature vary quite a bit from one month to the next. Recent examples include articles on roller skating, coloured tights, kids' hiking boots, YA books, TikTok beauty trends and trying Kourtney Kardashian's hero body product for a week. Typically, fashion/beauty/kids/health and wellness are always areas of interest.

I tend to include a range of price points in roundups and I get excited about products that really stand the test of time (like those kids' audio speakers I mentioned above - they are at a higher price point initially, but will last for years and years and years, can be passed between siblings and friends, etc.).

In my personal life, I am passionate about shopping with purpose (re-wearing what's in your wardrobe, buying less but buying better, building up an emotional connection to something before you buy it, etc.) so I do like it when I find brands that are purpose-led in their mission. I am also really into products that make our lives easier (convenience!) and that are time and money-savers (e.g. a beauty/hair gadget that's so good it saves you having to book in for treatments).

What is the best press event you have ever been to?

I can find press events overwhelming and intimidating (social anxiety sadly doesn't disappear for me in these situations) but I recently got a chance to go to Peloton Studios for a live ride and as someone who really loves those instructors and that app, I spent the entire time smiling from ear to ear.

I love The Big Christmas Press Shows and feeling festive a few months ahead of time... and I have really enjoyed Power Pitching events because it's such an efficient way to get a sense of so many different brand offerings (from the comfort of home).

Tell us a fun fact about you!

In a past life, I was nearly a professional ballerina... which explains my love of all things fitness. Also, I just completed a novel writing course recently (a 40th birthday present from my husband), and I'm finishing up the first draft of my novel, which is terrifying and exciting. Maybe this time next year I'll be calling myself a freelance journalist and a novelist :)

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