Thank you Anne for the support you give to my blog and for nominating it for this award (and sorry it's taken me a few weeks to post this).
On accepting the award, I have to tell you seven things you don't know about me and I have to nominate seven blogs to pass this award to.
1. I once had a job in the university holidays snipping the end off parsnips in a warehouse. A minibus picked me up from the end of my road at 6am and dropped me back at 7pm. We had to stand around a conveyor belt with a knife and snip the parsnips before putting them on another conveyor belt above. The people I worked with were great fun and we talked incessantly to get ourselves through the day, telling each other stories. Sometimes we'd laugh until we had tears running down our faces.
2. I lived in Grenoble for 5 months in 1993/4 as part of a French and Italian degree. Me and three girls from my university were in rooms next to each other in a Hall of Residence half way up what we called 'the mountain'. It was very steep and it would take a good half hour to walk up it. Our rooms were damp and the only equipment in the kitchen was a hotplate. We could see Mont Blanc out of our bedroom windows and a cable car passed us on the way up to a castle on top of the mountain. We didn't have a fridge so we hung our food in carrier bags outside on the handles which opened our windows. We had the best time though and went out most nights to bars in Grenoble where we ordered jugs of beer with our student budgets.
3. I once did a Secretarial course but never worked as a secretary. After university I had no idea what to do with a language degree so I got a loan and did a three month course at a secretarial college in South Kensington, London. I learnt shorthand and touch typing.
4. I used to work in Investment Banking. Whilst doing the secretarial course, I registered with some recruitment agencies and was lucky to get a temping job at Deutsche Bank using my languages. Initially I had to chase confirmations. (Confirmations are legal documents used to confirm Derivatives trades.) I had to call my equivalents at French and Italian banks and ask them to sign and return documents. I got to know the staff working in these banks and we had a laugh chatting to each other. I also worked at Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse before returning to Deutsche Bank where I managed the Structured Derivatives Documentation team. I left banking in 2003, shortly after my mum died as the hours were long and the job was stressful. I needed time to grieve and I haven't returned as I've since had children (not that there would be a job for me now!)
5. I like handbags. My favourite is a Gucci pink and brown bag which my husband bought for me at Malpensa airport in Milan before we flew back from our honeymoon in the Italian lakes. I don't have any other designer ones (but I would love to own a Chloe handbag one day...)
6. I love cheese. My favourites are Brie, Gorgonzola and Manchego.
7. I am a fan of 'just being'. I love going out and seeing my friends but sometimes I think everything can get a bit too organised and hectic.
I am going to break the rules and pass this award onto one special blog (as the others I wanted to nominate have already got it.)
To a great new blog which has a variety of upbeat posts on different subjects - writing, funny stories, chat-up lines, technical advice on how to upload an MS to Kindle etc. The Romaniacs are a group of lovely ladies on the RNA New Writers' Scheme like myself. I wish them the best with their new blog. You can also follow them on Twitter @TheRomaniacs