Born in Glasgow.
Och Aye. Brought up on ‘mince and tatties’, macaroon bars (soooo good), Tunnocks Caramel wafers and Irn Bru. Apparently dipping a dummy in single malt whisky used to shut me up as a baby. Nothing much changes (sigh).
Early teens - A Canadian odyssey
At 14 our family moved to St John, New Brunswick on the East Coast of Canada. Bloody cold winters. Did a lot of ice skating (but I never wore those little flappy skirts). Fell in love with an ice hockey player. It didn’t end well.
Late teens - Portuguese custard tarts
At 17 I lived in Portugal and got to travel to school on a hovercraft every day. The country was full of swarthy, budgie smuggler wearing men with mullet hairdos. I fell madly in love with those Portuguese custard tart things. Crisp flaky pastry, creamy custard filling and a sticky caramel bit on top. I could go on….
The university years
I went to Strathclyde in Glasgow and spent most of my time and money going to see punk bands. Once, while under the influence of Vodka, my mate Liz and I jumped up onto the stage with Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats. We were frog marched from the Glasgow Apollo by a team of very large bouncers. We often got ‘punked up’ and wandered around the City Centre carrying kettles as handbags (don’t ask).
The things we do for love
I told my parents I was going to Paris for a week with my boyfriend who had a motorbike - and then stayed there for three months - living in a hovel where we had a small sink and a bidet on wheels. I managed to get a job working for a foul tempered french chef. I once tried to buy duck breasts in a horse meat only butcher.
Bright lights big city
Got my first proper job as a junior account executive (general dogsbody) in a London ad agency. There were no Apple Macs back then. I swear I spent two years permanently high from ‘Spray Mount’ fumes. I discovered ‘happy hour’ at the cocktail bar at the Mayfair Hotel. There were real mini crocodiles in a tropical water feature.
Managed to blag a job as a press officer with Lotus Software. Loved it. Turned out I was really good at it. A glittering career in high-tech PR followed. Managed big brands and big egos. (And there were times when the glitter was just something we rolled the turds in). Traveled lots. When escorting an IBM ‘big wig’ on a European press tour, he told me he didn’t like the French people smoking in Charles De Gaulle airport. Then he ordered me to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT - yeah right!
Viva Las Vegas
Met Darren, fell in love. We had a Singing Elvis wedding in Las Vegas. Darren wore a star spangled banner sequined waistcoat that he bought in a ‘post 4th of July’ sale in the Caesar’s Palace gift shop. (If I ever need to go ‘on the game’, I’ll buy my clothes from Las Vegas. My mother always said it’s good to have something to fall back on).
The great outdoors
After years of commuting on the tube with my face often crammed into the sweaty armpit of a total stranger, I left London and the M25 and moved to the Lake District. Having to deal with septic tanks, sheep on the roads and tea so strong you can feel hair growing on your chest, came as a bit of a shock. It’s been ten years, I’m gradually getting used to it, but my love of weak Earl Grey tea continues to be a topic of derision up and down the county. I’ve met many people who are barking mad. I feel right at home!
Copywriting and marketing
When I moved to Cumbria I called my business Brightspark Marketing. But since I've become better known, I've reverted back to just using my name. I’m like the child in The Emperor’s New Clothes. I’m always asking why? And I have a knack for pointing out the bollocks. Some people love that about me, other people hate it. But I’m ok with that.