Hélène was born in Grenoble, France, and moved to England at primary school age. She left school at 17 and trained as a secretary. It was whilst typing up clients’ case notes in a clinical psychology department that thoughts of becoming a journalist to report on people’s often extraordinary lives first surfaced. She became a parent to two boys, studied at the University of Sussex and retrained as a journalist. She joined Guardian News and Media as public policy correspondent, then became The Guardian’s political reporter. Hélène left after nine years and now works as a freelance journalist and writer. She lives in south London with her partner.