Louise, 53, received a £200 fee for successfully pitching a first-person piece on her transformation in mid-life to Noon founder and editor-in-chief Eleanor Mills.

The busy mum of three, currently living in Ascot, is normally found at the renowned restaurant Le Gavroche, where she originally worked 30 years ago for the famous Roux brother Albert. She is now back working there for his son, Michel Roux Jr. “He is just as lovely as he appears on the TV.”

While Louise says she has always loved to write, her work has up until now mostly taken the form of poetry, comedy skits to amuse friends and the odd restaurant review. But during lockdown she embarked on an online writing class and felt compelled to pitch for Eleanor’s Editor Under the Spotlight opportunity because she had asked for a story of transformation in midlife.

“I’m 53 and pretty much starting all over again, which is not where I thought, or wanted to be at this stage in my life,” says Louise. “However, I’ve had to pick myself up, brush myself down and start all over again before, and so hopefully I can do it all again.”

Louise’s pitch to Eleanor was based on her very personal and difficult experience of the breakdown of a relationship. “Essentially, the article that I’ve now written under a pseudonym is about me and the unexpected curveballs that life has thrown.

“While, I’m not fully transformed yet, I think I’m on the right track, and hopefully my story might help someone to believe that things do get better if you just keep moving forward.”

Eleanor said: “As soon as I read Louise’s pitch I knew it was the one. She wrote with such insight, honesty and humour about a really difficult time in her life. Everything we do at Noon is about helping women through the pinchpoints of midlife into a new chapter and Louise’s article showed such wisdom and courage in the face of really bad luck.

“Not only is she a natural writer, she had great pacing of her tale and infused it with wit and a refreshingly unself-pitying candour. I knew it would encourage others who have been in the darkness to reach for the light.”

Eleanor added: “WIJ is a great place for any aspiring journalist to receive support and encouragement. I am so pleased we have helped Louise and am sure this will be the first of many commissions for her. I am glad she is moving into her own new career in midlife and that Noon and WIJ have helped her do that.’

Louise says: “Eleanor was so encouraging and supportive of my piece and it is the greatest compliment to me that someone, so well respected in the industry liked it.”

Encouraging anyone else thinking of dipping a toe into journalism or pitching to Editor Under the Spotlight in future, she says: “I’m so happy that I found WIJ.  It’s a fantastic platform which offers so much help to writers new and old.  I have been made to feel very welcome despite my inexperience and I would definitely encourage others to apply for the Editor Under the Spotlight commission. If nothing else, it’s a great confidence booster and who doesn’t like one of those?”