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Correspondent’s Week

This week by Money Marketing features writer Helen Pow

It has been a few weeks now since the F-grade celebs – was it Jordan and Peter? – flicked on the sparkly lights on blessed Oxford Street, which every day is squeezing in another 10,000 Christmas shoppers for me to plough through on my way to work. Brilliant. So now London is winding down to a soundtrack of Jingle Bells and Take That and Money Marketing is no exception.

I suppose it is quite fitting that as the workload peters out, the social life escalates. My workload has certainly petered out – from an average of six feature pages on any normal week, the paper has shrunk to one or two feature pages and a profile.

Clearly, being the festive season, the social invitations are coming in thick and fast and my acceptance of said invitations has been more generous.

As a result, the last couple of weeks have seen many boozy nights out and a fair few long lunches as well – obviously once my fabulous features are filed. And it looks set to continue until the big day arrives.

Being a young, innocent foreigner, I am by no means an alcoholic but I feel my three months working in London’s financial services industry, perhaps MM specifically, has corrupted me.

I had no idea how social an industry it was but can no longer reject any glass of fine champagne or G&T within reach and on a number of occasions have found myself dancing like Shakira at Tiger Tiger late at night with a certain Nicola York.

Meanwhile my liver is shrivelling into a sultana. Although, however drunken this season may turn out to be, this cold Christmas stuff is quite exciting. Having spent all my Christmases literally eating prawns and lobster on the beach in 30-degree heat, this year will be quite an experience but a fabulous one I am sure. in all its roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and mulled wine glory.

Anyway, Scottish Widows’ 20th anniversary party on Tuesday, where the three beautiful Widows strutted their stuff, was the drinking pinnacle of last week for myself and probably a few others at MM, Hargreaves Lansdown and Lansons among others.

I was just mingling, chatting to contacts and generally having a pleasant time like a conscientious financial journalist does when this evil little man in a black apron started following me around with a bottle of Champagne. What could I do but drink it?

I am a polite person, my parents are lovely, respectable people who brought me up well so I was not about to insult this young fellow, let alone the generous host Scottish Widows, by rejecting this cold beverage now bubbling in my glass although clearly I did not want to drink the stuff.

Anyhow, to cut a long story short, we were blindly led to a bizarre Scottish bar in Trafalgar Square by a certain couple of Lansons ladies who made me sit in a cave-like space where men in kilts forced gin and tonics down my throat.

That was until Sam Shaw and I decided sometime close to 3am that the girl dancing like an Eighties prom queen taking up the whole dancefloor was way uncool and needed to be taught a thing or two about how to boogie – queue Shakira one and Shakira two.

So I had the flu on Wednesday. But the rest of the week was amazingly productive as usual. Wrote a cracking feature on protection and a brilliant piece on investment. You would be crazy not to read last week’s pages 48 and 50 respectively.

This week and the next couple of weeks look to be more of the same but obviously once the silly season passes, I will be back to my semi-sober super-dynamic self.

Any Out of Contexts or Diary stories? Send them to Diary editor Paul McMillan, email: or telephone: 020 7970 4776.


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