What Do I Do All Day…? The Big Reveal – Read It Here First!

When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them I write food industry related articles. About two minutes into the explanation, their eyes glaze over. In future, I’ll  just send them a link to this post and then quickly shift to expounding on my cake preferences.

No PJ outfit is complete without auntie's kitted socks. They don't have to match

No freelance outfit is complete without auntie’s hand-knitted socks. They don’t need to match.

So, for those intrepid enough not to shy away from more detail, here are a couple of unadorned excerpts from my typical ‘work life’, which…erm… takes place at home.

My punishing daily schedule commences at the crack of 10.30am, when I instal  myself at my desk, steaming mug of tea to my right (which I’ve managed to spill all over my keyboard only once so far) and professionally attired in my pyjamas freshly starched work uniform.

09 May 2013
This morning, I’m researching onions. Get a whiff of that glamour! And since I don’t know my onions (just yet), I’m looking at a French onion grower’s website for edifying insights. Their web designer has gone totally OTT. As soon as I enter, there’s an onion donning pink lipstick coming right at me, followed by an army of whirling dervish shallots. It’s giving me motion sickness. I’m trying very hard not to look directly at them, but to focus on the written info instead.

[It has to be seen to be believed. I dare you to click on this link, and then select any of the onion pictures. If you can gaze at pirouetting alliums for any longer than three minutes flat without getting queasy, I owe you a cake.]

29 April 2013
I’m writing a contribution for a trade journal entitled Nutraceuticals World. They want 2,000 words on the topic “functional food formulation trends”. I’m overjoyed, because it’s essentially a ‘Mary Shelley’ job – I’ll be bolting together three previously written articles to create a new one.

Sounds iffy, but, in this case, it’s perfectly legal.  The articles I’m using as fodder have never been published in another magazine, but only on the website of the company who’s shuffling me this job. Ergo, the mag gets a unique contribution, and I get to charge twice for what is essentially the same copy. Everybody is happy 🙂

Although this is much quicker than writing a long article from scratch, the whole cobbling-it-together process is a tad fiddly – I’ve got to link the sections so that the piece flows smoothly, plus write the intro & conclusion and add several paragraphs with up-to-date material.  I’m hoping for an outcome that’s closer to David Gandy than to the Frankenstein end of the continuum, but anywhere in between will do.

20 March 2013Findushorses
The whole of Europe is in the throes of the horse meat scandal, and I’m loving every minute of it. A client asks me to add my two cents, and I gladly oblige. I even make it to “editor’s pick” that week, hurrraaah! OK, it’s not the Wall Street Journal, but better than a kick in the teeth.

Now, you might be wondering how I ever clambered up to these dizzying heights of the writing profession. Let’s just say it was a long and arduous process that entailed, amongst many other inhumane activities, the endless editing of food industry reports written by analysts with eclectic opinions, whose command of English wasn’t always the best. Here are some samples:

From a Russian hot drinks report:

Decaffeinated coffee is in disgrace of public mind for its weird nature

From a weight management products report, Thailand:

Moreover, diet programs are not working very well in Thailand where food is very tasty. Unlike European and other Asian food, Thai food is very tasty, spicy and delightful.

From a health and wellness industry report, Russia:

Among all diets, the most popular are the blood group diet, slag cleansing and consumption of different product categories separately. Slag cleansing include self therapy as one day a week of hunger or clinic therapy which can vary from random visit to a doctor or up to one month in sanatorium where hunger or very limited nutrition is applied together with spa.

When I'm not working, I like to take pictures of weeds

When I’m not chained to my desk, I can be found in the wilds of the Toledo countryside, taking pictures of weeds


You may also be interested in my specialist language blog, see here: http://multilingualbychoice.blogspot.com


49 thoughts on “What Do I Do All Day…? The Big Reveal – Read It Here First!

  1. Expat Eye

    Very funny! But also very sorry I clicked on that onion link. I’m still not sure what a slag cleansing is but equally sure I never want to find out! You sound so serious in your horse-meat article – like a proper grown-up 😉


  2. Giovannoni Claudine

    😀 for sure, one thing is very important:: “mens sana in corpore sano”
    And when I look around, I only see too many people overweight, jungs eating junkfood and so on… I’m vegetarian (trying to became a vegan, which is easy to say but very difficolt to do) and twice a year with my husband we do a purifying fasting. Actually, is amatter of principle and personal behavior. We feel good and conscious of doing something right against animal exploitation… but as I said, is a personal choice, which consider a “way of life” not so easy to follow for many people (and I speak because many friends doesn’t see “the reason”, which is so sad! 🙂 claudine


    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      I do have this cake addiction… a terribly sweet tooth, in fact, lol, but I eat fairly healthily at other times. Well, lots of fruit and veg, anyway. Veganism… it’s not really all that healthy. There’s the B12 issue, for one. Can only get that from animal foods. We are omnivores, it’s our biological design, there’s no fudging that.


      1. Giovannoni Claudine

        I do agree, as matter of fact the B12 is the only inconvenience… but you have to balance with a lot of delicious surrogates like seitan – soya – bean – chickpeas – lentils and several other legume crops. But if you think tha the vitamin B12 it can’t be produced synthetically, because is only found on colonies of bacteria or mold present mainly on the meat… well, that isn’t for sure appetizing 😉 Since I do eat egs and cheeses (in Switzerland we have such a great choice…) and I’m 53 ys old for me isn’t a great problem. Both kids, if they ask for, they may get the meet which have to be strictly from a biological farmer. I do like sweets as well usualy bread pie with chocolate and dried fruits… :-)c


      2. ladyofthecakes Post author

        If you eat eggs and cheese, you’re not likely to develop a B12 deficiency. Vegetarian diets can be perfectly healthy.
        Oooooh, Swiss cheese… 🙂


      3. Giovannoni Claudine

        I take permission to send you the link… actually there are many siminar pages on FB or blogs. The meaning is only to get a better word… without cruelty… but filled with respect for animals and nature! I think this could be interesting for your job as well: you really are in the position to “give the informations” to the readers… (People like novels to read, but takes time 😉 – who’re interested in food, well, as I said, you don’t like to write more than 2000… Is quickly to read too… Aganin, see you soon around 🙂 claudine


  3. bevchen

    I love your socks!!

    Those example sentences remind oe of some of the things have to proofread at work. When will customers learn that they will get better results if they write things in German and have us translate them!?


    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      This kind of work is can be a total trial, and translating it from scratch would be far less hassle, I totally agree. I must say, though, that I’ve never had anything really abysmal from a German researcher… although it helps that I can usually gauge how the original sentence/phrase must have read. The absolute worst stuff comes in from Eastern Europe and Asia. And I mean.. absolutely incomprehensible at times!


  4. Anna

    OMG I want your job! Just kidding 🙂 Hm…how interesting that bad Russian writing made up 2/3rds of your list MAJOR SIDE-EYE. I kid, I kid of course – part of my job is to edit the English written by other Russians, so I feel your pain. But the Thai food bit it precious. Also, I am totally turned on by that onions site.


    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      The Russian reports were always among the worst, and also the Chinese ones… you essentially had to re-write them, and do a lot of guessing.
      I bet you do a sterling job, if only they could clone you about a million times… (while eliminating the onion fetish genes)


  5. tobyo

    I did wonder what you do all day and in my avoiding work mode over here I am happily clicking around your blog and finding interesting things. oh to have the time to just loll about and read blogs to my heart’s content. alas, duty calls and I must get some things done…for that is what they pay me for. I wish I could be a freelance writer! but at least I get to work from home on occasion, like today 😉


      1. tobyo

        LOL! I don’t spose a woman in her 50s can change careers and become a freelance writer just because she thinks she might like it better can she? I say mostly in jest….yea, probably best to stay on this path and hope to God I can stop working with numbers in about 5 or so years….sounds like such a long time….


      2. ladyofthecakes Post author

        It can be tricky…sometimes you have to give something up before starting something new. If you have a financial cushion, and/or a second income (i.e. spouse), it’s easier.


  6. adamf2011

    If diet programs don’t work in Thailand, it’s probably due to the heaps of white rice that everyone eats with every meal…that and a proclivity toward sugary sweetness.

    And what’s wrong with “Decaffeinated coffee is in disgrace of public mind for its weird nature”? — seems pretty on the mark to me 😉


    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      LOL, I totally agree re. coffee. I drink it because it tastes like coffee and because I want the caffeine, not because I want something that tastes like the dishwater I washed the coffee cups in, and without giving me a little energy boost 😉


  7. Hariod Brawn

    Just love those quotes! This is what happened when I looked at a Brandy review and popped it into Google translate (my French is a bit patchy), The ‘Davidoff’ thingy is a cigar by the way:

    Tariquet XO – Davidoff Milenium Blend

    For those precious wood scent (floral) delicately vanilla, and toasted candied nuances, its tip tangy orange zest (hint of pepper), perfumed nose of XO expression in elegance and taste far Tariquet. The balance scholar of the flower, fruit, wood and spices (the cardinal points of the expression Tariquet) is more sensitive than the power of the XO is made ​​of force used, the mouth of flexibility and fluffy. And the pleasure that results for the taste buds augmented by the spirit, the pleasure of contemplating the harmony refined. The lover of cigars will not be jealous of both taste completeness or fulfillment of this quiet Tariquet XO, but it can yield to the temptation to challenge such beauty and contemplative measure claim against the sponsor of a wilder fire full-bodied smoke. This is what I did by turning a Churchill Millennium Blend Davidoff.

    The beauty of the alliance of more accurately spicy large cigars Dominicans and the XO is required through the complementarity valued and rewarding for the Millennium spices (black pepper) to the melted honey-water-of-life of roasted coffee nuances very cigar-crystallized with those of Tariquet vanilla, the sweet (almost buttery) of the Bas Armagnac and drier note of smoke …

    XO is the refinement of the agreement and deepened even during the evolution of the cigar to more rounded and melted as the tasting.

    In the attack of honeydew and floral mouth of the old brandy, it is the nuances of pepper (gray) and toast the cigar assertive contrast and line the palace. On the climb, the more woody vanilla Tariquet, its soft texture found expression roasted coffee smoke Davidoff, and rounds it leads to sensations of cocoa (roasted beans) which we do not know if the cigar or XO. So it’s a game of correspondence arising along the length of mouth from impressions of oak (foam), bark and toasted almonds from tobacco and candied peel in the wood-vanilla water from life which reminds me of the final tender mead. It was believed heckle the XO but measured its harmony that appeals to the cigar, tame, and introduced him to the marriage.




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