Top Language Lovers 2013: show some love to Rainy London (again!)

Red on white is always good!

Hello everyone, it’s June already!

It’s that time of year again and via the contest to find the Top Language Lovers of 2013 is here fo you to join! I was so lucky to be nominated again this year (see me in last year’s top 25 and again here), in the Facebook Page and Twitter Account categories.

All you need to do to show how much you love Rainy London and my FB / Twitter pages is just… vote!

  • Click here
  • Go to the left-hand side
  • Image
  • Go to Voting > Language Facebook Pages and click on Rainy London (A-Z order)
  • Go to Voting > Language Twitter Accounts and click on Rainy London
  • (Yes, you have to do it twice, once for each category).

Vote and you’re done! Easy, right?

Thanks so much for your always positive comments and endless support – hopefully I’ll be among the top 25 again! 🙂


A Day in the Life of… Michelle Hof

Welcome back! This month’s #ADayInTheLifeof features friend and colleague Michelle. This month, we jump into a high-profile interpreter’s life – that’s why it spans over a WEEK! Find Michelle on Twitter or check her blog here.

First of all, thanks Valeria for the valuable little peek behind the scenes you’re giving us with #ADayInTheLifeOf series! And thanks for promptly invitingme to do some sharing of my own.

MONDAY – A typical day at home

7:00 – Crawl out of bed, get the kids up, eat breakfast (which means cafĂ© con leche, no solid food this early in the morning, please!) and head out the door.

8:30 – Drop the kids off at school, grab a croissant and another coffee, then head up the road to campus to hole myself up for a while in the university library. This morning’s project: flesh out some of the modules of a professional development course I am working on. I have a lot of work ahead of me, and the deadline is looming, so I had better get down to it. It’s mostly right-brain work, so I need to use my most productive morning hours for it.

13:30 – Look up from my laptop and realize I haven’t moved since breakfast. Head downstairs to grab a quick bite at the university canteen. While shoveling in the day’s special (arroz a la cubana, which counts as vegetarian if you ask them to leave off the sausage), I catch up on my Twitter timeline from my phone, call the secretary at AIB about a team we’re putting together for a job in Italy, and approve a few new blog comments.

14:00 – Back upstairs to the library. Right brain is brain-dead, so time to switch hemispheres. This afternoon’s project: Finish revising an academic paper for one of my university clients. The closet perfectionist in me is in for a real treat today, as I get to spend the next two hours dealing with comma splices and rearranging subordinate clauses to my heart’s content.

16:15 – Whoops, time got away on me again. A quick cortado and off to pick up the kids.

20:30 – After basketball, ballet, swim, supper, teeth, books, it’s the kids’ bedtime. Have used time in the car (as a passenger, obviously, not the driver) between all these things to reply to a few emails and tweet the day’s news. There is a post of mine due to come out in the AIIC blog this week and while most of the details were wrapped up last week, it still needs finalizing, so I have squeezed that in from the passenger’s seat, too.

21:30 – Guilty pleasure time: I am an addicted to The Mentalist and it’s on La Sexta tonight. Good night!

TUESDAY – A day on the road

7:00 – Alarm, kids, coffee, school.

8:15 – Today’s a travel day. Good news: the airport is near my kids’ school. Not so good news: we only have one car (a soccer-mom Dacia minivan owned by the bank), so I have to get dropped off at 8:15 for an 11:15 flight. Oh, well… Once I’ve arrived at the airport, I step into what I call my “travel bubble”, sit down for a second coffee at the airport cafĂ©, pull out my laptop, and get to work. No free wifi, but my phone can act as a tether in a pinch. To do today: write up the month’s invoices, sketch out some interpreting class activities, contact those interpreters in Italy about that option, and prepare tomorrow’s interpreting assignment.

11:15 – Hello, Iberia! Keep working away at that to-do list at 30,000 feet.

15:00 – Back on terra firma and it’s time for some more waiting. Iberia, in all its downsizing wisdom, has decided to cut several flights between Madrid and my destination, leaving me with a six-hour layover in Barajas Terminal 4. Oh, well, at least their workers are not on strike this week! Lunch is some overpriced food in an airport cafĂ©. Happy to report that the travel bubble remains intact and I am still feeling zen.

In between flights, I finish reviewing the documents for tomorrow’s meeting. It’s a regular client, so I know their business pretty much inside out, but still need to prepare. I also make a few more calls to the AIB secretary about Italy, BBM with my better half and send some silly emoticons to my kids as they head to music lessons.

21:45 – Board my final flight for the day. Too tired to do any more work, so I read El PaĂ­s while in the air. Realize I had breakfast, lunch and dinner in an airport today. Yum!

23:00 – Finally arrive at my hotel. It’s basic but acceptable, and to be honest, at this hour I am hardly in a condition to notice how many stars it has over the door. Collapse into bed. Big work day tomorrow.

WEDNESDAY – A day in the booth

7:00 – Early start today. The client has asked us to be on site for a briefing at 8:00 am, so I grab a quick coffee, hop into a cab with a couple of colleagues, and off we go to work.

8:00 – Arrive at our client’s office for the pre-meeting briefing. Sort out the booth logistics and day’s schedule and compare documents with the client to make sure we’ve got the most recent version. There’s just enough time for another coffee and a bit of breakfast between the briefing and the meeting’s start.

9:30 – Into the booth we go!

13:00 – Time for lunch. The office canteen does a nice veggie pizza, so that’s what I’m going for today.

14:30 – Back into the booth. There’s been plenty of German to keep me busy today, so I am happy. I get stuck for a second on einstweilige VerfĂĽgung, and am kicking myself because it’s an in-house term I hear all the time, but I come up with a decent solution just in time. I blame the lapse on the postprandial effect and move on.

18:00 – Back at the hotel. A quick Skype chat with the kids and then I spend a while surfing the hotel news channels while I check my Twitter feed.

20:30 – Off to have dinner with a good friend of mine who lives in town. I’m feeling tired after a long day and wishing we could have arranged to meet earlier, but restaurants don’t open before 20:30 in this part of Spain! Still, I am looking forward to some tapas and a good chinwag…

THURSDAY – Interpreting day 2

8:00 – Out of bed, coffee, taxi.

8:45 – Grab a second coffee and some breakfast before disappearing back into the booth.

13:00 – What a nice surprise: they have got through their agenda early and have given us the afternoon off! Quick, what is the most useful thing I can do with the unexpected free time? Get a haircut, of course! A quick WhatsApp exchange with a friend who knows every salon in town and I am off to get coiffed.

17:00 Back at the hotel and sporting my new “do”, I see I have some time before a Webex conference scheduled for later tonight, so I decide to tackle that to-do list. I do some online banking, catch up on my tweeting, read some blog posts (too brain-dead to draft a post for my own blog), and answer some emails. I even venture onto Facebook for one of my rare visits to that increasingly bewildering land of cat videos and clever memes. Got the hotel TV on in the background, listening with one ear to the headlines. BBM with the better half and get the day’s news from the kids.

20:30 – Run out to grab a falafel before I hit Webex.

21:00 – Tune in for a teleconference with AIIC’s Social Media team. Nice to see so many familiar faces, if only virtually. The team members are based all over the world, so there are many I have never met in person. Still, I feel like I know them well, as we are in constant virtual contact.

FRIDAY – On the road again

8:00 – Feeling a bit TGIF as I pull myself out of bed for a third day in the booth. Looking forward to the flight back to Tenerife later, even though I won’t make it home until the kids are in bed. The agenda for today’s meeting shows it will be the toughest of the three, so no chance of an easy ride today.

9:00 – Into the booth again. Sigh as I look at the agenda. Very glad I am spending this week with a trusted team from AIB. It makes life so much easier – especially on the tough days – when you know your colleagues well and have a familiar routine to follow.

13:00 – Lunch at the office canteen. Will try the veggie special today.

14:30 – Final stretch in the booth. Things heat up a bit in the meeting, with delegates disagreeing on a key point. I appreciate the resulting adrenaline rush, since there’s no better way to stay alert during the dreaded after-lunch shift (and did I mention it was Friday?).

16:30 – Meeting over! My work here is done. Rush off to the airport in the hope I will have time to swing by the gift shop before boarding (this is one of the few airports I frequent with a well-stocked section of kids’ books in English).

17:45 – Hello, Iberia! I’ve managed to pick up the books for my kids, as well as an Economist and a Scientific American for me. I settle back into my travel bubble for the trip home.

22:00 – Five hours, two flights, and a mad dash in T4 later, the taxi drops me off at my doorstep. The kids are in bed, as I expected, but at least their dad has stayed up to welcome me home. Let the weekend begin!


THIS WILL GIVE YOU ENOUGH FOOD FOR THOUGHTS! And don’t misi my #ITIConf13 talk tomorrow, Saturday, at 15.15 – join me for more interpreting stories – all-but-serious and with a funny twist!

– V.

A day in the life of… Rainy London (aka: 7am to 12pm)

Some people are early birds, some other love to pull all-nighters… which one are you?


My new series ‘A day in the life of’ found inspiration in a great @wordyrama‘s post so thanks Konstantina!

I’ll be discovering on habits and work-life balance tips of colleagues and friends, by asking them to be a ‘fly on their wall’ and know more about how they plan and spend their typical day.

Here’s the first one. No wonder: it’s yours truly. Enjoy!

7.00am Alarm goes off. The first one. Immediately tap on snooze!

7.20am Alarm goes off. Again! I eventually wake up. Getting up is a different story!

7.30am I start my digital life by checking my phone for messages: e-mails, Tweets, Facebook, Instagram etc. If something really important came through (ie. a client in the US sent me a job while I was asleep) I quickly take note and reply.

8.00am I have a healthy breakfast with porridge and my faithful espresso, one brown sugar. You know the cup, ‘course 🙂

8.30am Getting dressed and ready. Yeah, there’s a 50% chances I won’t actually change straightaway but that’ll depend. I’ll leave you with the benefit of the doubt!

I’d love to say I do yoga and all that zen business, but I don’t. I’m NOT a morning person, so stop asking yourself why it takes me so long since I opened my eyes to actually start working. Don’t ask, you’ll live better!

8.45am I officially sit at my desk and switch on the desktop. In my case it’s this – a 15” MacBook Pro connected to a 23” external monitor and an extension support for my iPad. All is synced and connected so I know that everything can be found even if I’m not at my desk. What comes next?

RL desk DSC_0499 DSC_0500

– Check to do lists. Apps like Wunderkit or Evernote or Carrot – the latter is very good as it has its own personality (and a very irritable one) so the mood swings are hilarious and stimulating. Still, not ideal if you hate being told off or are easily offended! Also, I recently had the chance to access (upon waiting list) to Mailbox – only for Gmail but very clever.

Carrot's mood swing

– Check bank accounts and/or pay suppliers if required. Sometimes it’s a good time to also chase money – which, alas, I hate doing. Most offices and people are easiest found or reached early in the morning before real work happens.

Check e-mails on my Mac client, Mail. I have several folders for several e-mails. I also have a flagged e-mails folder: if I flagged something here it has to be taken care of ASAP. If it’s the end of the month, I’ll dedicated some part of the day drafting and sending invoices. ÂŁÂŁÂŁÂŁÂŁ! I’ll also end those e-mails drafts I’ve done the day before, if any. It is never too good if your e-mail shows 2am in the morning. Maybe I’m paranoid but some people may eventually notice those crazy hours I work at.

– Check social media plan. Am I launching a new blog post? I’ll plan how to do that on all platforms. Should I take note of events and appointments coming up?

10.00am Based on workload, I’ll start working! I try to have a healthy break every 15 min-20 min (including getting up, drinking water – I keep a 2 lt bottle next to me) and washing my hands. I don’t wear glasses (only to see from a distance) but it is recommended you look away from your screen as often as every 15 minutes to give your eyes some rest. Look outside the window, make sure there’s some distance to enjoy.

11.30am It’s my proper coffee break (sometimes even earlier, in case it’s a ‘I-feel-grumpy’ day). I would normally have a cereal or fruit bar. I’m loving Nakd bars at the moment. There’ s mocha-flavoured one!


1pm I will have a protein-based lunch and some fruit plus my faithful coffee. At this point, it’s either TV (or BBC Player) or music (via Spotify) or glossy mag to get some mind fresh air. In between, I’d get calls and some of it would be my mother 🙂

3pm Sometimes, the day can be well over by now: I may have a meeting or some chores to run, but most days I keep on working until I can. During the day, I’d be checking my social media on TweetDeck or my mobile and then save pages I’m into on Pocket to check them later on.

5.30pm I usually get ready for the gym – I tend to go at this time as the busiest hour is after 6.30pm. I have become much stricter with my food and gym and now I strive to go 4 times a week, for at least an hour and do a mix of circuit training and resistance workout, and I also power walk to the gym and back. I usually keep my phone with me so I can attend work calls or emails if I need to. I use an arm band from InCase.


7.30 home: I know for some this is craziness, but most days I’ll resume work if required (sometimes I do get last minute jobs that need half an hour to do and I’ll fit them in then. I hate waking up early (never did it in school either. I always studied late at night) so I see much more point in finishing off a job before dinner, which I’ll have around 9pm.

It’s not unusual for my day to continue after dinner too – I am always at my laptop from 10 to 11pm; sometimes it’s work, sometimes it’s planning or blogging. You choose. Of course when I have interpreting assignments or voiceover or consulting meeting the day may be well different but what I try to do is this in a nutshell:

  • Keep motivated
  • Maintain mental clarity
  • Find my head space
  • Focus with music
  • Make room for relationships. In-the-flesh ones.
  • Try to clear the to-do list as much as possible. Just to create a new one!
  • Exercise to keep aches and pains at bay

If I can be healthy and productive, I feel a better person.

Of course, ups and downs are on the menu, too. So don’t believe this is strictly applied day in, day out. Sometimes you are under pressure and kill it. Some other days, you’re just plain lazy and that’s OK too. As Marie Forleo once said in her blog, ‘you can’t be so hardcore all the time’. But let’s try, right?

Again: credit to @wordyrama for the inspiration I found in her blog. 

Forget three, FOUR is the perfect number (aka: Buon compleanno, Rainy London website!)


February has started and with it, so has a period of excitement: we’ve left behind all worries about fulfilling our NY’s resolutions , Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, Carnival celebrations are now in full swing worldwide (in my hometown, too!) and the list is long. February is also the month of my birthday (yay!) and in recent years, for Rainy London it’s been the…. season of contests, too!

You may remember this or this from past year. Fun, uh?

As the website turns 4 years old this week (YES… 4! ), I’d love you to join me for celebrations and be in for chance to win:

– the now legendary Rainy Cup

– the handy Rainy Oyster Wallet

and because I like you ALL so much,

– a brand new badge, too!


(Also see them here or here)

So, let’s play with the number 4, shall we?

Here are the rules:

1) Just name 4 of your FAVOURITE THINGS ever in the entire world, ONE OF THEM being Rainy London of course.

I’ll help you with an example: I love raspberries, focaccia, designer bags… and Rainy London.

2) Post your entry on Rainy London Facebook Page or by using @rainylondon on Twitter.

Your 4 things can be anything, even people. And if you fancy it, document your entry with pictures, links or nice videos.

The most creative set of 4 favourite things shall win!

CONTEST ENDS: 16th FEB 2013. The winner will be revealed at the #LdnTweetUp on the same day – but you do NOT need to be there 🙂

*Buona fortuna!*


You shop,… Rainy drops (aka: a new adventure)

You may remember that a while ago I ran a contest to win a customised iPod (Matt is still using it, as far as I’m aware!). Then we had the sweet espresso cup comp (#RainyCuppaComp) and Erik was the lucky winner (yes, you are still allowed to drink beer in it, my friend!). If you only joined the readership more recently, you may recall the latest of gigs, the Rainy London is my Oyster (card holder) contest.

Well, initially I was thinking it would be a nice ‘thank you‘ gift to special clients or people I would meet at events – while I sent some to those who ‘liked’ it on Facebook or retweeted the post on Twitter the quickest. I was quite happy with that but I felt something was missing there…

Later on, I exchanged a cup with MeowTrad, then a couple of Italian students of mine saw my Oyster wallet and wanted one; I gave some to a few selected colleagues at a recent TweetUp…(lucky ones like Anne, Charlotte, María, Ana, Marta to mention a few!) but honestly, as I keep receiving enquiries about my gadgets, I had a eureka moment and came up with a solution…

Ta-dah! I hereby introduce you all to the new, shiny RAINY LONDON Shop!


It’s hosted on a popular online site, Big Cartel. So if you want, you can now get these cuties for a decent fee – shipping is free in the UK and available for a basic fee to anywhere else. It only features 2 products for now, but stay tuned!

PS.: If you *really* like me, I’d appreciate it if you could take a pic of (yourself with) the Oyster card holder somewhere nice and see it featured on our Facebook page 🙂 Click here for ideas and some examples of the brave ones who’d done it already!

Hope you like this new adventure.


ps.: BIG massive thank you to @artscode / @cocorino for the IT support with setting that up! Fab sei imprescindibile!


The unmissable ‘Oh, I really need a cuppa now’ Competition! (AKA: Rainy London’s website is almost 3) !

Oh well….Rainy London’s website* will be soon 3 years old! – I know! Time flies indeed! As I’ve had loads of good comments for our cute Rainy’s cups – btw: thanks for that, folks! – I’ve decided it’s time to run a new competition for you to win one.

HOW TO JOIN? Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy:

1) follow @rainylondon on Twitter or like us on Facebook – now!

2) take a walk down your memory lane and look for the funniest thing ever happened to you.  

It can be a translation- or non-translation related fun fact, a weird request from a client, simply an epic foot in the mouth or a hilarious sentence/quote/idea you overheard somewhere – that brought you the conclusion: ‘Oh I really need a cuppa now’.

Just make sure it’s true and even better if you experienced it yourself. And also, you can use any media that reinforce your point! Just send that episode/story/joke/idea in and end it with ‘Oh I really need a cuppa now’ to be in for ONE of these gorgeous cups! (for how to use, see below – the truly Italian way).


My dear colleague @erik_hansson once posted a funny story on FB that made me LOL and read more or less like this:

Client: Can I have this text translated from Swedish into English?
Erik: But this is Finnish.
Client: Does it make any difference?
I’m sure at this point Erik thought:  <Oh I really need a cuppa now>

Well, I hope it’s all nice and dandy – and clear…

So, get cracking on it and keep entries coming on Twitter (using the #RainyCuppaComp hashtag; on Facebook, just mention Rainy London using “@” on your post) Of course, e-mails are more than welcome too: info[AT]rainylondontranslations[dot]com The coolest, funniest, most entertaining entry will get a sweet Rainy Cup delivered at home 🙂
And remember, the comp ends on Wed 8 Feb.

Well, ready, steady, …COFFEE! And the spread the love!


* With the precious help of @artscode / @cocorino, Rainy London’s website will hopefully undergo major works for a revamping this year… so stay tuned!

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