My secret life: Lauren Child, writer & illustrator

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The Independent Online

Lauren Child was born in Berkshire in 1969. A writer and illustrator, she went to art school in Manchester for just one week before starting another art course at the City and Guild Art School in London. Her Charlie and Lola children's stories have been made into a successful BBC series and her new book, Clarice Bean, Don't Look Now (Orchard Press, £6.99), is out now. She lives in north London with her partner

I drive: a rather crappy old Nissan Micra which I've had for many years. Or I'll ride my bike on a clear day.

If I have time to myself: I stare slightly blankly out of the window. The difficult thing about working from home is there are many moments when you can waste time, though staring lets my mind roam, so in a way it's useful.

You may not know it but I'm no good at: going to the supermarket. I hate food shopping, it zaps all my energy and leaves me feeling dispirited by the number of choices I have to make.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at: er, I can't think of anything!

Movie heaven: is anything at the cinema. There are less and less of them but a nice independent cinema is a treat and I'm happy to watch most things.

Comfort eating: Marmite on a crumpet followed by raspberry jam on a crumpet.

When I was a child I wanted to be: a girl at my school called Belinda. She was allowed to wear platform shoes and my sister and I had to have Start-rite shoes. It was depressing, though I'm sure my mother was quite right.

I wish I'd never worn: most of the clothes I'm wearing in photos. It's only then that you realise it didn't look that good – usually weddings are when you make the most serious errors.

All my money goes on: cashmere cardigans from Brora – my only excuse is that I'm allergic to wool. It's very decadent, but I can only wear cashmere!

At night I dream of: very weird things, always quite odd and I really wonder where they come from.

My favourite building is: I'm more interested in domestic buildings; I just love looking around people's houses, either stately or private.

My biggest regret is: I usually have at least one regret by the end of each day, from slipping up in a conversation to wishing I'd gone to art school abroad.

It's not fashionable but I like: watching Hart to Hart DVD box sets. I used to love that show when I was little and still find it gripping today.

My favourite work of art is: I can't mention just one artist; I find it useful looking at all sorts of pieces which rely on design and composition.

The best invention ever is: a question I fear. I was asked this at an interview for secondary school and I said refrigeration. I immediately realised it was a silly answer and it has haunted me ever since.