What was your first job?
My first job was at a newsagents in Hexham when I was 14. I did a newspaper round and worked on Saturdays. I think the paper round paid £3.50 and the Saturday job £1.12 ½ an hour.
If you were not in your present job, what would you like to do?
I always wanted to be a valuer in an auction house. Before I went into recruitment and tax, I studied History of Art at the Courtauld Institute, and worked in lots of galleries. I dreamt of being a specialist on the Antiques Roadshow, but couldn’t afford to take up the job offers I got to train in auction houses. Instead, I ended up getting a graduate role at Price Waterhouse.
If you had to describe yourself in a personal ad, what would you write?
Optimistic, educated blonde with weird sense of humour, hates wasps and curries but likes animals, art and sleeping. Fluffy exterior disguises a driven workaholic.
What has been your worst mistake?
So far I’ve been pretty lucky and I’m not really prone to regret. However, before I met my husband I did make some decidedly unfortunate choices concerning romantic attachments. My friends used to call me Bridget Jones.
What would be your ideal day away from the office?
It would have to be a long lie-in, followed by a leisurely lunch with my husband and some good friends. Then either the afternoon shopping in York or doing the walk from Burnsall to Linton, stopping for a cider at the Fountain Inn.
Name one person you would like to have dinner with, and why?
Bit unusual this one, but my hero is Sir Ernst Gombrich who moved to the UK from Austria in 1936, lived to 92, and wrote some of the easiest to read and most exciting books on art history.
What are your hobbies?
I am an avid reader and spend most of my down time reading fiction. I also enjoy going to art exhibitions and painting. I force myself to do exercise but it is more of a chore than a hobby. I really enjoy going to the cinema – the whole atmosphere and sense of it being a treat – so much more satisfying than watching a DVD. Nothing too high-brow, though, it has got to be an action film or a romantic comedy.
What would you do if you won the National Lottery?
I would buy my parents their dream house, and, for us, a house with land and a swimming pool. I’d breed Old English Mastiffs and Great Danes and foster a tribe of children. I’d give money to my three sisters and their families and my husband’s family. I think I would still work though, as fundamentally I enjoy it, plus, I could then justify large charitable donations.
What is your top time-saving tip?
I get my husband to do my last-minute ironing – because he does it better than I do and means I can get ready while he does it.
What’s your favourite piece of clothing, and why?
I have a really gorgeous, cream, long-sleeved top. It’s very Edwardian and was part of my wedding dress.
What was your best subject at school?
What political, legal, economic or sporting event would you most like to see happen in your lifetime, and why?
I’d like to see a new form of parliament where MPs are chosen to lead areas in which they have significant practical working experience – eg the education department to be run by a former award-winning headmaster.
What’s the best thing about Yorkshire?
Bolton Abbey – it’s hard to find anywhere as beautiful as the Strid woods in spring time.
What would you like your epitaph to be?
Loving daughter, wife and sister, and great, great, great grandmother. Lived long, loved well.