Shopping with …Marverine Cole

Media Maven

Meet Marverine Cole,  award-winning Journalist and Broadcaster.

In recent years you may have seen Marverine as a Newsreader for Sky News or Arise TV Newshour. If ever you’ve spent any time mesmerised (admit it)  by TV shopping then you’ve more than likely seen Marverine as she’s also a live host for Britain’s longest-running and most successful shopping channel, QVC.

Marverine honed her journalistic skills at BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Midlands Today, ITV Central News and BBC Radio WM in Birmingham. Sky News lured her away from Birmingham to London with an offer she could not refuse: to ‘fly solo’, anchoring the 5-hour ‘World News & Business Report’ programme.

In her role as Senior Video News Producer/Presenter for The International Business Times UK, Marverine led a small team producing online news features about everything from the financial stability of Europe, to ethnic cleansing in Burma. The team was nominated for Best Video Journalism at the Online Media Awards in 2013.

When it comes to Radio, Marverine has extensive experience here: for 2 years she hosted her own weekly radio talk show on BBC Radio WM. She also stood in for Dotun Adebayo and Rhod Sharp on BBC Radio 5 Live’s ‘Up All Night’ programme – a 5-hour programme featuring news and interviews on issues from around the world.

In terms of documentaries: she produced ‘Ladies With Lyrics’, a one-hour programme for BBC Radio1Xtra about the rising female stars of the UK rap scene, and she’s also explored the world of female gamblers for BBC Radio 4, ‘Lucky Be A Lady Tonight’ – a 30-minute documentary which she produced and presented.

Marverine has always been committed to helping the next generation of media professionals and aspiring journalists. She regularly mentors undergraduates and postgraduates, she continues to be a judge for the NCTJ’s Journalism Diversity Fund, and judges awards for the Royal Television Society and Birmingham Press Club.

Marverine also has something of an unusual hobby. Her regular favourite tipple is beer! she’s one of Britain’s leading female independent beer writers and is a Beer Sommelier (accredited by the UK Beer Academy). You can watch videos of her in action right here:  She is the first woman to ever win a Gold Award from the British Guild of Beer Writers. She also collected a second Beer Writers Guild award in 2013, alongside the British Beer & Pub Association for her role in fronting a video campaign which persuaded the Chancellor, George Osborne to axe the beer duty escalator.

Lovers of daytime TV may have seen Marverine’s  countless appearances on ITV’s Alan Titchmarsh Show, ITV’s This Morning with Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield, and Five’s ‘Live with Gabby’ as a ‘beer expert’, conducting tastings of a variety of beers with celebrities, discussing the history of beer and imparting her knowledge and passion for Britain’s national drink. She’s also produced her own documentary feature for BBC Inside Out about women and beer, and threw a party at the request of Oz Clarke and Hugh Dennis for their recent primetime BBC2 series ‘Oz & Hugh Raise The Bar’. Marverine’s also hosted premier prestigious International Master Bartender Awards in Prague, and a myriad of other beer launches and events for various breweries.

She’s a media maven, a serious over-achiever and also a very determined and happy shopper.

Now, let’s go Shopping with Marverine Cole:

Hi Marverine,    Thankyou for sharing some  of your time today. Ok, so, being all about shopping and lifestyles, I’m going to jump right in: Could you tell me your top three favourite High Street stores?

Marks and Spencer

John Lewis


In designer clothing who’s work do you most admire?

I don’t buy designer clothes anymore, so there’s no-one really I admire

Your most favourite outfit currently for a night out, what is it and where’s it from?

For a formal night out, I’d wear one of my many Cos dresses.

If it was to dance the night away, it’d be black skinny jeans with a glitzy tunic top

Do you ever shop online, if so tell me a few of the retailers you love, if not, any reason why?  

I buy an awful lot via Amazon – simply because they have all manner of things – I’ve bought printer paper and print cartridges, but also African-Caribbean haircare products.

I order from Very, John Lewis, M&S and ASOS.

Make-up bag, what can you not be without in yours ?

My Trish McEvoy Intense Gel Eye Pencil. It glides on instantly without pulling my lid and is mega-comfortable for me as a contact-lens wearer. It cleverly comes with its own sharpener too. My friend and beauty blogger, Jo Gay (aka Patent Purple) introduced me to it about 4 years ago. I don’t wear any other eyeliner now, and I panic when I’m approaching the end of a pencil – I always have two in reserve.

What’s your guilty pleasure in terms of retail? Something you probably shouldn’t buy but can’t stop yourself?

Dresses from Cos to be honest. I think I buy a new one at least once a month

When you hit the stores, who is your favourite shopping pal and why?

I always buy clothes alone. I’m like a heat-seeking missile and my brain works so fast, I dart around looking for specific things like a black skirt or a hobo handbag. And if I can’t see it on the shelves, I move on very quickly. I’m not a window-shopper or a browser. I am a woman with intent when out shopping. But then it’s always a huge disappointment when I’ve money burning a hole in my pocket, that I want to spend, but I can’t find what I want

Who inspires you?

I’ve always been captivated by Michelle Obama’s style & elegance. Of course when she was FLOTUS she had clothes, make up and hair stylists to hand on a daily basis. I wish!!

What’s the most indulgent thing you’ve ever bought for yourself?

A pair of JIMMY CHOO sneakers – they were gold metallic leather. I’m very much into my fancy sneaks and this was my treat to myself for working my butt off in 2015 so they were a Christmas present to myself. I’ve got to admit it was a ridiculous amount of money to pay for trainers. They’re going to last me for years. But that is a once and once only purchase!

What was your most regrettable thing you ever purchased?

I’m a woman on a mission when it comes to shopping so I’ve never bought something I’ve regretted and kept it, I’ve always returned it pretty sharpish. Or sold it on Ebay. Or donated it to a charity shop. I’m quite sensible when it comes to things like that. Even when we got a new car a couple of years ago, it felt very different driving it for real compared to the test drive. My husband and I ummed and ahhhed about whether we should hand it back. And a month later we did. ‘There was no way we were going to be lumbered with that car for three years!’

We know from your work you have a passion for beer, where does this stem  from?   What’s your current favourite?

I’m a TV News Journalist and I was looking to get to the bottom of a story. Research had been released which said that over a million women in Britain drank real ale regularly, and that was double the number form the year before. I was quite shocked by that and – being a red wine drinker – I was skeptical. So I embarked on a journey to investigate the figures: hear evidence from landlords about the amount of beer they sell and to whom, meeting brewers at breweries and experts along the way. That journey of course meant I had to try various beers and – luckily – the ones I tried really changed my mind about beer. The culmination of that ‘research’ was a BBC TV feature for which I won a Beer Writers Guild Award.

I started to write about what I was learning, who I was meeting from the beer world etc and all of that turned into a Video blog, I decided to take my UK Beer Academy exams and become a Beer Sommelier. That also lead to me appearing on TV a lot on shows like ITV’s THIS MORNING and that was strange, because a Journalist I’m usually the ones asking experts all the questions! I have a raft of favourites but I’ve got to say the one that’s been at the top spot for at least two years is GREEN DEVIL IPA which is brewed by Oakham Ales over in Peterborough. A delicious beer, with a glorious tropical fruit nose, which follows through with the juicy sweetness of fruits like gooseberries and mango, and is topped off by a pronounced satisfying bitterness which makes it hard not to drink a second, third and fourth pint over the course of an afternoon.

We see you have a stunning work wardrobe, do you have a brand or item that’s your failsafe, you know you’ll look good in regardless?

You probably know this by now: Cos. I have a fondness for their garments because the fabrications are exquisite, superb quality. But my body shape very much appreciates the cuts. I’ve always been very curvalicious, and I don’t like to wear body con clothing which accentuates all my wiggly jiggly bits. Cos’s clothes are very roomy, yet also feminine.

Please describe your favourite pair of shoes:

I don’t get chance to wear them enough but I have an inexpensive pair of leopard print heels from M&S. They were the stupidest bargain from the Outlet store in Hounslow (before it shut down) and the full price was already under £20. For me with wide, flat feet, they are the most comfortable, stylish heels I’ve got. I utterly adore wearing them

Shopping, choose one: London or Birmingham?

I’m not a designer obsessive so I don’t hanker after waltzing around Harvey Nicks or Selfridges in London all the time. Birmingham is my hometown and I live here. Plus we’ve got smaller versions of those big name stores here, as well as some of . If I want to track down smaller name designers, I can do that online. And to be fair, the choices in terms of designer clothes for any woman over a Size 16 are abysmal so I guess in that sense my designer ambitions are naturally curtailed.

What’s your favourite holiday destination and why?

I adore the Caribbean – my parents are from Jamaica and – although I have no surviving relatives there – I love the country: an extraordinary place to holiday. I also loved Cuba when I visited and would love to go back soon.

 You seem very confident, however, if you buy something, and want a second opinion, who do you go to?

I’m so single minded, I know what works for me. If I’m ever doubtful, I take it or send it straight back. No second opinion required.

You’ve been a real positive advocate for women of colour in the media, especially with the platform of your podcast Quintessential Voices, what motivated you to launch this?

I call Quintessential Voices Britain’s biggest conversation celebrating women of colour.  Because during my 24 year media career I’ve seen how much the voices and opinions of black British women and women of colour are excluded from mainstream media in the UK. And I’ve experienced being excluded and discounted over and over and over again. I’ve been working in TV mainly the last decade, and I wanted to do some more radio work but not with a a station that was going to limit me. I wanted to produce my own content, which was shaped by me, that was true to me and my identity as a 40-something black woman, which was funny, entertaining and possible inspire others.

I already had production equipment: a microphone, a home PC with editing software and decent-ish editing skills. It costs nothing to make a phone call or send an email to book a guest. And it was the perfect excuse for me to catch up with old friends, revisit some of the incredible women I’ve interviewed in the past, and meet others who wanted to share their stories with my audience. And so in December 2016, QV was born!

What’s the last book you bought?

I’m a big chick lit fan and my friend and former work colleague Jackie Kabler released her second book in her Cora Baxter mystery – THE DEADLINE

What was your last positive ‘pinch yourself’ moment ?

Sitting in front of Oscar winning actress Viola Davis at an event at BAFTA headquarters in London a couple of months ago. Being in her presence and hearing her discuss her craft first hand was like being in the presence of royalty.

What should we expect to see from you the near  future?

My main focus – apart from my freelance journalism work and lecturing – is my podcast. I’ve got a long list of incredible guests I’ll be bringing audiences so it’s a case of staying tuned. I’m on @TVMarv across all social media and also @QVoicesPodcast.

The iTunes/Soundcloud/Stitcher and RSS feed for you to click and listen to it is on my website right here:

Wow, truly a powerhouse, a media maven and inspirational figure for women of colour and women in general pursuing media dreams. Find out more about Marverine, her journey and  wide repertoire of talent here:

On a personal note, I find Marverine to be truly inspirational, independent, very strong willed and minded, a real motivational force.  I love that she shops with conviction, knows what she wants, knows how to get it and doesn’t need reaffirmation from anyone along the way.   Now, I’m off to take another look at Cos,  because clearly we need to give this store some  serious attention.