A Coffee With… Laura Whitmore

A Coffee With… Laura Whitmore

Prior to sitting down with author, radio host and television presenter Laura Whitmore, we had it on good authority that she was every bit as charming in real life as she is on screen. Having now chatted all things fashion, beauty and wellness – including her new collaboration with activewear brand Dare2B – we can confirm the rumours are true. Here she tells us more about how her summer has been, her favourite TV shows and movies – plus, the one moment from 'Love Island' that made her cry…

Hi Laura – how’s your summer has been so far?
It’s been a bit busier than it was last year! Like a lot of people, we’re all juggling the return to work, and everything takes a bit more organising than before. Last year I also had a baby, so like all new mums, I’m doing a million things at once. Sometimes I’m surprised at how much I’m capable of and that I’m even still functioning – at least I think I am! I have to say though, it’s felt like a very positive time all things considered.

And how is this series of Love Island going?
To have it back it on our screens is such a joy. I love it as a job, but also just settling down in the evenings to watch each episode – it reminds me of normal times, in a way. But it has been a different experience this time round. Every time I’ve flown out to Mallorca, there have been different rules in place. The first time I went I was only there for three days, then I had to self-isolate back at home for five, but I’m double-vaccinated now, so this time I didn’t have to. Even so, I’m doing a lot of PCR tests every week, so we’re navigating it as best we can. I’m thankful to have such a great team of people working on the show who can help us do everything the way we need to. At the end of the day, I’m really proud we were able to get it up and running this year.

Do you plan on travelling more now things are opening back up?
Great question – I’m very lucky to have a few weddings to attend this year, many of which were cancelled and postponed in 2020. One of my friends is getting married in Ireland in the next couple of weeks, so I’d love to stay on for a bit if possible. I haven’t been back to my hometown since 2019. Of all the luxurious places I could choose, I’d love to just be able to go back to Ireland for a bit.

Any good holiday reads you’ve discovered recently?
I’ve said in previous interviews how much I love reading and there are so many good books out there right now, depending on your taste. Matt Haig’s The Comfort Book was a recent favourite. You can jump in and out of and it does what it says on the tin. For a rom-com holiday read, I really recommend The Unexpected Love Story Of Lexie Byrne by the Irish writer Caroline Grace-Cassidy. Perfect for sun-lounger readings. Also, it’s not out yet, but I can tell you Katherine Ryan’s new book The Audacity is hilarious. 

Let’s talk a bit of health and fitness – what’s your go-to workout?
The most important thing is to keep it simple and just focus on moving your body. That’s why going to the park for a brisk walk or jog is my go-to exercise, especially if I only have half an hour to an hour to spare. I also love yoga for a bit of a stretch. No matter where I’m off to in the world, I always make sure I throw a pair of trainers in my suitcase so I can get outside and move – even more vital after the events of the past year!

To have 'Love Island' back on our screens is such a joy. I love it as a job, but also just settling down in the evenings to watch each episode – it reminds me of normal times, in a way.

You recently joined forces with activewear brand Dare2B – tell us more about the collab…
Dare2B shares the same ethos as me, which is what made me want to work with the brand in the first place. I’m always careful about who I work with, but over the past year I, like many people, wore an awful lot of activewear. It made the partnership feel very authentic – the edits and selections I’ve made as part of this collaboration feel so me. They’re genuinely all pieces I would reach for daily, either to work out in or just to lounge round the house. Most people like to wear darker colours for workouts as a rule, so it’s about adding in a little bit of colour and a few prints here and there, like the mantra print in this collection and the zebra stripe we did last time. Nothing is too intimidating – it just makes the pieces feel that little bit more fashion-forward.

Do you have a favourite healthy snack post-workout?
Hmmm, healthy? It’s probably just a piece of fruit. I’ve always got something in my bag and it’s usually a banana or a bag of nuts. The latter is usually better because they keep – finding a banana in your bag two or three days later is not a pretty sight…

What’s your regular coffee order?
We got a coffee machine during lockdown, which now takes up most of the kitchen – it’s so extra. I love it because it’s such a meditative ritual making a coffee in the morning. Honestly, it has so many options though – some of which I’ve never even heard of before. Like this morning, I had a coffee crème. I don’t even know what that is… Usually, I go for an americano or latte. I’m getting better at using the frothing machine, although I do tend to opt for dairy-free alternatives these days.

And what’s your cocktail of choice?
I’m going to stick with a theme and say an espresso martini. You can also use the coffee machine to make one of those! As someone with a baby, when you do get to go out and have a drink, come 9pm, you need something that’s going to keep you awake.

Do you have a favourite restaurant?
I’d probably say Corrigan’s on Park Lane. It’s run by an Irishman and they do the best oysters – I love seafood. It’s fancy, but it’s homely, too. If you ask me, it’s so important for a restaurant to have good lighting – it helps it feel more like a bar when you’re in there. If you go, order the chips. They’re great.

Do you have a favourite TV show right now?
Motherland is utterly brilliant, as is Breeders – you’re probably sensing another theme here! Love Island is work, sure, but I still sit down to watch it every night. [My husband] Iain [Sterling] also happened to write Buffering, a new sitcom on ITV2. I also binged This Way Up on Channel 4 – oh, and Younger, too. The makers of Sex & The City are behind it and it’s so fun, I’m really into it. It’s about the publishing world – I wrote a book last year, which is probably why I found the premise intriguing. 

What’s your favourite movie of all time?
Anything made in the 80s starring Goldie Hawn – Overboard, Housesitter, Private Benjamin… oh, and Tom Selleck is another favourite – can you believe Iain had never seen any of the Three Men & A Baby films before we met? Iain loves horror and I love romcoms, so we struggle to find common ground sometimes. We usually find a thriller – nothing too gory or gratuitously violent – strikes the right balance. 

The most important thing is to keep it simple and just focus on moving your body. That’s why going to the park for a brisk walk or jog is my go-to exercise, especially if I only have half an hour to an hour to spare.

What kind of music do you like?
I listen to such a wide range of music – growing up I loved rock music and I’m obsessed with the Foo Fighters’ new album Hail Satin. It’s their take on the Bee Gees, and they’re calling themselves the Dee Gees [a nod to frontman Dave Grohl’s initials]. It’s the perfect blend of rock and disco. Having worked in radio for so long, I’d say my taste is quite eclectic. I actually went to a gig last night for the first time in ages to see a new band called Mosa Wild. It was so nice to be able to hear live music again.

Time to talk a bit of fashion – what’s been your best buy this season?
Free People is one of my favourite brands in the summertime. I got a lovely kaftan dress there recently, which is great because you can wear those sorts of pieces on the plane, over jeans or over a swimsuit. The materials are so soft and such high quality – plus, I find lots of their pieces are breast-feeding friendly, too! 

Is there anything you have your eye on for autumn/winter?
I always treat myself to some good knitwear ahead of the new season – it’s such an essential for radio because those studios can be so cold! But I’m really trying not to buy too many new things unless I have to now. Rental platforms are brilliant, especially for all the weddings I have coming up. 

What does your ‘going out-out’ outfit look like?
When I’m not working, I usually keep it pretty causal – like a dress with trainers or even a great pair of skinny jeans. To me, if I’m going out-out, it’s probably less about the clothes if I’m honest and more about the make-up – specifically a red lip. It can make you look like you’re dressed up even when you’re not – plus, it helps disguise any dark circles under your eyes!

Speaking of beauty – what’s the one product you can’t live without?
It’s a bit boring but a good moisturiser with a decent SPF is essential. I’m very fair-skinned and protecting my face is so important, especially when the British weather can’t make up its mind! My go-to is the Sheer Hydration Broad Spectrum SPF 40 from Alumier MD. It’s so lightweight and sits beautifully under make-up. 

What are some of your favourite online destinations?
Yoox – they own NET-A-PORTER, so the vibe is very similar and the brands they stock are lovely. It’s so much easier to have all these brands in one place than to trawl through all the shops separately. That said, with lockdown taking away our freedom to go into shops, it made me really appreciate the joy of being able to go in and see, touch and feel clothes in real life. Plus, online shopping can sometimes make you buy things you don’t need or want.  

With lockdown taking away our freedom to go into shops, it made me really appreciate the joy of being able to see, touch and feel clothes in real life.

So where do you like to go shopping IRL?
I mean, Liberty is just the best, right? If my friends and I are meeting somewhere in central London, we always say let’s meet by the hand cream! There’s a counter – I think it’s Laura Mercier – which has a row of gorgeous hand cream testers to the side of it (probably not anymore) and we always used to gather there. 

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?
Probably to be yourself and do you. It sounds like a cliché but lots of people always ask me how to get into television or entertainment and everyone’s route is so different. I won a competition, but my background was in journalism. I’ve had friends who have used a certain niche – maybe they’re a sports star or something – and now they’re a presenter. I remember my mum once said to me: “If you’re not in it, you can’t win it” and that’s really stuck with me. It means if you don’t put yourself forward, no one’s going to just hand it to you. It’s good advice no matter the industry you’re in.

What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
Well, I live with a comedian, so it’s a barrel of laughs every day. Although, I have to say the dog is probably funnier. The groomers just called me actually – he really needs a haircut right now…

And the last thing that made you cry?
Honestly, I’ve cried several times during Love Island this year. I’m so invested in all the relationships – including the bromances and the closeness between the girls. It’s not just about the romance. Like when Liberty lost the bracelet Jake, her boyfriend, gave to her the other day… I mean, we’ve all done that haven’t we? Lost something that’s important to us. Also, the music the producers and editors use – they’re so clever at picking the best emotive tracks for the moment. I have zero influence, but I’m always suggesting different artists – actually, there have been quite a few Irish bands on the track list this season. It has nothing to do with me, but I like to think it does.

Finally Laura, do you have a life motto you live by?
I do in fact, and it’s the same song lyric I borrowed for the title of my book No One Can Change Your Life Except For You. It’s from the song by Wilson Philips called ‘Hold On’ which was used in the film Bridesmaids. Ultimately, what it says is don’t let anyone step all over you and take control of what you can. It’s something that’s come into even sharper focus for me over the last year. Life can be so overwhelming sometimes, so it’s about making little changes to make it better. I find that idea really empowering.


The Dare2B x Laura Whitmore Edit is available now. Visit Dare2B.com 

‘Love Island’ is on at 9pm Sunday-Friday; ‘After Sun’ is on at 10pm Sundays.

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