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Championing the wonder product

Monday sees me recovering from a sleep-deprived Christmas. A trip to my sister and her family is like a sponsored stay-awake as her husband snores the loudest out of anyone I have ever met and explains why big sis chooses to work nights.

After an uncomfortable night on the living room floor, complete with ear plugs, I woke at 8am on Boxing Day with a six-year-old and three-year-old playing at jumping on Auntie Emma’s head. So most of Holiday Monday is spent asleep, dreaming up plans to spend the whole of next Christmas abroad on my own, and the whole of my life not having children.

In the absence of absolutely nothing worth watching on TV for the whole of the festive season, my rare waking moments are spent glued to BBC News 24 and the aftermath of the Asian tsunami. This is bad news – obviously lots of people died and lost their homes – but also in a mere four week’s time I’m heading off to Thailand for a month’s holiday. So, sleep deprivation, world tragedy and wrecked holiday plans sum up the day.

Tuesday I set to work on a feature I am doing about graduate debt for student magazine, Fresh Direction. Apparently students that graduated last year had an average £12k debt and my little article is telling them not to panic and giving them handy advice like “sell your body for use in live medical trials.” If they listen carefully they will have their debts sorted in no time at all.

Then, I am not ashamed to say, I shed a tear or two, when the lovely Dr Jim Brodie is killed off in Casualty. Is there no justice in the world? First the poor guy has to star in Grease 2, now he is dead.

On Wednesday I start a feature, again for Fresh Direction, about graduates who set up their own businesses and boast a life of no suits, no bosses and no nine to five. Pretty much like the life of a freelancer and I suspect students must suffer a similar loss to the structure of their day when Neighbours takes its two-week Christmas break.

By Thursday I am starting to panic that I have very little work for January, so I start dreaming up ideas to pitch left, right and centre, the plan being the first thing commissioning editors will see when they get back to work in the New Year, is an email from their favourite freelancer.

The New Year will also mark my women’s magazine debut as I have somehow managed to persuade the nice people at B to give me a trial as their work expert, answering reader’s career queries on my own special page. It is further progress in my quest to be London’s answer to Carrie Bradshaw.

Friday is New Year’s Eve and I have to say I am not a fan of the most over-hyped night of the year. Most NYEs are spent trying to co-ordinate warring factions into a plan that will please everyone and not result in a trip to casualty or custody, or both.

I resent paying £20 just to get in my local pub, so this year I am being a DJ’s groupie and getting in somewhere free. My friend’s boyfriend is spinning the decks, or whatever the cool phrase is, at a restaurant in the Docklands. As, er… “members of the crew”, we get free food and drink all night which, as all journalists know, is not to be sniffed at.

The downside, however, is every time my friend and her bloke go off for a snog somewhere, the entire Italian waitership of the restaurant zooms in and thinks I am fair game. Which rather sums up 2004.

Emma Lunn is a freelance personal finance journalist•”I’m thinking about having a Money Marketing arch at my wedding.” – Finance 4 Women’s Karen Richie.

Mortgage packager Exclusive Connections is doing its bit, or should that be its bits, to keep up the industry’s smut-free image.

The Diary was perturbed to get the firm’s 2005 calendar which featured snaps of staff members naked with naughty bits strategically hidden by filing cabinet drawers, printers and the like, through the post.

The acres of wobbly white flesh on display is not for the faint-hearted and we can only hope this bizarre Calendar Girls craze does not catch on.


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