What does Pane, Amore e Cha Cha Cha mean?
It means "bread, love and blah blah blah". We use this phrase a lot in Italy, or at least, my family does. My father often uses it when my mother is on the phone, he makes a 'chat chat' signal with his hand and says "pane, amore e cha cha cha". I used it as the name for my blog because I thought it rather neatly covered anything I might want to write about, in other words, everything.
What's this blog about then?
Well it's a consumer blog, started up in part because I was/am a consumer journalist, although I don't write much about products at the moment and wanted somewhere to put all the things that I've found that I like, or that I really think aren't worth buying. I get really cross at crap products.
But it's about, as the name suggests, a bit of everything. I only write about things that I've personally tried. And in almost all cases, they are things I've paid full price for, just like everyone else.
It's also a really useful procrastinating tool, and when my friends ring me asking me stuff that I've written about, instead of repeating myself I can point them to this blog. This blog is my personal blog and has nothing to do with any of the newspapers I write for.
Does anyone tell you what to write?
Sometimes my boyfriend will suggest ideas, but otherwise no, I write what I want. It's a blog and I don't live in North Korea.
Are you related to Richard Barbieri from Japan?
Are you related to the ballerina Margaret Barbieri?
No. Although we share an alarmingly similar physique.
Are you related to Mr and Mrs Barbieri who used to run Lo Spuntino on Bayswater Road?
Yes, they're my mum and dad.
I think you served me once.
Sorry about that. I've never been very good with members of the public, which is why these days I hide behind print and radio.
Didn't you used to write the Dear Annie column in the Independent on Sunday?
Didn't you used to be the fishing correspondent of The Independent?
Yes. For seven years. Ask me about the Common Fisheries Policy, go on. Or sea vents and methyl mercury and tuna.
Did you actually fish?
Didn't you used to write Cleanse Tone Moisturise in the Independent on Sunday?
Yes, yes I did.
Didn't you win Beauty Journalist of the Year once?
Actually, twice. Thank you. This is why, officially, I can put that I am an "award winning journalist" which every other journalist seems to be. But I got my award for writing about wrinkles and what causes them and what you can do to prevent them (see above: cleanse, tone and moisturise).
Don't you write the Problem Solved column in the Guardian?
Yes I do.
Are all those letters real?
Some of them are emails, so virtual, but if you mean do you they come from real people, yes, always.
Aren't they all very different subjects?
Thank goodness, yes. I've always like writing about different things. As long as they're well researched, which is what I always try to do, I don't see a problem with that. Once I went on a press trip and met someone from another national. She asked me what I wrote about, I told her that I wrote on lots of different subjects. She looked at me, appalled.
"What do you write about then?" I asked her.
"Weekend courses," she replied, "for adults."
This was before the recession, mind.