1. I had a head injury that affected my speech and short-term memory. My cat knocked a metal candle holder on to my head while I slept and it hit the soft tissue below my brain stem causing severe concussion. I was in hospital for four days, with my memory and concentration tested daily. I still have post-traumatic migraines as a result of this accident.
2. My first job was at McDonald’s when I was 14. I loved this job because it gave me financial freedom and good, basic training that I still use today. And I was great at asking “Would you like fries with that?”
3. I have been married twice. My first husband and I met at school and became a couple when we were 16 (he is a week older than me). I left him when I decided I deserved more than the abusive relationship I had.
4. I am considering writing a novel. I wrote a short story earlier this year and have had such good feedback I’d like to use the story as the prelude to something bigger.
5. I bite my fingernails. You would know this if you knew me in person, but it’s a habit I find it impossible to break for any extended length of time.
6. I am lactose intolerant. This was diagnosed when I was 11 when the only non cow’s milk option was goat’s milk (which I hated). I’m so glad there are many more options now.
7. I grind my teeth. I wear a plate to bed so I don’t grind my teeth down to nothing. Apparently I ground my baby teeth flat.
8. The first album I bought was The Best of Eric Carmen (yes it was vinyl). I was 14 and Dirty Dancing was my favourite movie!
9. I am quarter Greek. My grandfather’s family came from a tiny island called Kythera, where they fled during the French revolution.
10. I used to do jazz ballet. An early goal was to be a ballerina (that was never going to happen).
11. Oysters and offal make me ill.
12. I cried listening to the Last Post played in the 2003 dawn service at Gallipoli. I have no relatives who lost lives in the first or second world wars, but being surrounded by thousands of Australians and New Zealanders and the thought of what so many had sacrificed made the moment an emotional one for me.
13. I had a pet chicken when I was 14. Her name was Belina (from Return to Oz) and she used to walk to meet me if I was late home from school.
14. My favourite flowers are gerberas. Preferably hot pink.
15. I was told I was probably infertile when I was 23. I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and my doctor was amazed I had two children without fertility treatment.
16. I type with two fingers. Yes, I’m a journalist, but my two-finger typing hasn’t affected my career to date.
17. Once upon a time I could take shorthand at 100 words per minute. No chance now, but it was a requirement of my journalism cadetship.
18. I climbed up the Franz Josef glacier in New Zealand. And I still remember how good it felt to look out from the top.
19. I lived in Henley-on-Thames (famous for the Henley Royal Regatta) for two years.
20. My first car was a Mini Clubman. I still drive around corners like I’m in it!