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M Money: Our career forecast is bright; This week we ask two women on different rungs of the same career ladder about their finances. While Sarah-Jane Eddon has moved from presenting radio shows to producing them, Lara Lewington has just bagged her first major presenting role, as a TV weather girl for Channel 5.

Byline: JOHN KERCHER

What was your first job and how much were you paid?

I used to work in a sweet shop in Bognor Regis for pounds 2 an hour when I was 13. But my first job in telly was as a runner on It's A Knockout for pounds 100 a week. It was great, I was working with Cheggers and Frank Bruno. I then got a job with the London News Network doing research. I also worked on Liquid News and the Pepsi Chart Show before becoming a weather girl.

What qualities do you need to be a weather girl?

The most important thing is being confident in front of the camera. It's quite difficult at the beginning trying to work out east from west on the map because we see it in reverse while presenting. You don't have to be a great scientist, though, as the meteorologist on the show tells us what will happen. But you do need a basic understanding of the subject. I love the job - the only down side is that people constantly ask you what the weather's going to be like.

Where do you live?

In Central London. I pay pounds 600 a month rent on the flat I share. It's a lot but I prefer to go for location rather than space.

Where did you go on your last holiday and how much did it cost?

A few years ago I went to Mauritius with my mum. It cost about pounds 1,200. I haven't been on holiday since as I'm concentrating on my career.

What's the most overdrawn you've ever been?

I haven't because I lived with my parents when I went to uni so I didn't incur any debts.

How much do you spend on food a week?

About pounds 60. I have a Sainsbury Local at the top of my road so I can pop in every night.

How much do you spend on eating out?

I like to go out to restaurants about three times a week, but I only spend about pounds 40 altogether. I normally go to cheap noodle or sushi bars which keeps the cost down.

How much do you save?

It varies but I try to put away as much as I can.

How much do you spend on clothes a year?

Around pounds 1,500. I buy the occasional designer item like Gucci, otherwise it's just ordinary high street stores like Topshop, Zara or Mango.

What are your favourite shops?

I think Zara's my favourite.

How much do you spend on hair and beauty?

I have highlights for pounds 60 a month. I don't spend much on cosmetics because as a student I worked on a beauty counter so I got loads of free stuff that I'm still using up.

What's your favourite indulgence?

Chocolate. I used to eat eight bars a day but have cut down. My fave is Dairy Milk.

Where does most of your money go?

On rent and bills.

What's the most expensive present you've ever bought?

I bought my mum a designer bag from Miu Miu for pounds 200.

What's the most expensive present you've ever received?

A Gucci watch from my mum for my 18th birthday. It was about pounds 700.

If you had to give up any luxury, what would it be?

Eating out.

What was your worst-ever buy?

A cowboy hat from Miss Selfridge. It only cost pounds 15 but it was extremely hideous.

COUGH UP the facts

Name: Lara Lewington

Age: 23

Occupation: Weather girl for Channel Five

Salary: pounds 20,000 a year

Lives: In a shared flat with her best friend in Central London. She pays pounds 600 a month in rent

The most expensive present she's ever bought? A designer bag for her mum from Miu Miu. It cost pounds 200
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Title Annotation:M on Tuesday
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 20, 2003
Words:641
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