FRUIT by Consept Serafin
Me as a baby! Chubby chops... circa 1977!

My first holy communion Starting to show my age in 1981!

Big hair - nothing's changed there then

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I was born in Liverpool on 21 September 1974, where my parents, grandparents and great grandparents had lived as long as anyone could remember. As a consequence, I still know the words to every Beatles song and am frequently accused of stealing the cutlery at dinner parties.

My parents moved to Kent in 1981, where I attended the local Catholic primary school and was teased mercilessly for my pronunciation of words such as 'last' and 'past' (it's 'laarst' and 'paarst', don't you know). My unusual pronunciation was tolerated, even during elocution lessons, although I do suspect the nuns may have beaten it out of me somewhere along the way, as I sound less like Cilla Black these days.

At secondary school, I was generally considered to be bright, despite being mathematically, scientifically and linguistically challenged. Well, the latter isn't entirely true - I was good at English. Nevertheless, I left the local girls' grammar school with a good set of GCSEs and A levels, intending to study music. In a strange fit of panic, I turned down my place at music college and went to Leicester University to read English. My career in classical music may have been short-lived, but I still play and sing, and can often be heard belting out a few numbers at the local Irish pub after a Guinness or three.

At university, I honed my drinking skills - resulting in impressive weight gain - sang in the choir, contributed to the university newspaper and even wrote a couple of essays along the way. After graduating in 1996, I had an unhappy year flogging advertising space for a trucking magazine and car insurance over the phone, before coming to my senses and enrolling on a teacher training course at Christ Church College, Canterbury.

There were many things I loved about being a teacher (significant weight loss due to stress, for example!) but after three years of it, I was worn out. After all, there are only so many times you can be abused, sworn at and unappreciated without taking it personally. And the myth of the 3.30 finishes and all those long holidays were well and truly shattered in the first few weeks.

Nevertheless, I'd discovered a passion for education. And somehow, writing about it seemed a much easier option than actually doing it. So I gave it all up to study for a journalism diploma at the London College of Printing, during which time I began to publish my work in a variety of publications, initially on education. Since then, I've expanded my specialist areas to include health and lifestyle and my client list now includes: The Guardian, The TES, The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, The Sun, BBC Online, Real and Natural Health, among others.

I've also written my first novel Jennifer Ever, which I hope to publish this year and married my lovely husband in July 2003, also a journalist.

Our first child, Katy, turned up on 30 September 2005, somewhat earlier than expected (11 weeks early and weighing less then 3 lb), and after a spell in hospital is now at home exercising her lungs between midnight and 6am. Click here for baby photos.