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It great fun! I love exploring different parts of the country and meeting new people and getting the chance to sniff out lots of lovely antiques.

What is your favourite part of your role?

Helping guide the teams to buy their items at the fair is always enjoyable and completely unpredictable! But it the auction part I like best, when our combined instincts and knowledge are put to the test.

Why did you choose a career in antiques?

As the daughter of two artists, I worked in the family antiques shop and art gallery and attended lots of auctions while I was growing up, which started my interest in fine art and antiques. After a brief stint working in publishing in London I realized antiques was my true passion. I founded an auction house, Batemans, with my father, Ron Bateman, in the historic market town of Stamford in 2001 and haven looked back since. A few years ago I was lucky enough to land a book deal. Bateman, and writing historical fiction is a natural complement to my antiques work it just uses my historical knowledge in a different way. All my books feature swash buckling adventure, dashing heroes and feisty heroines, lots of witty banter, and (I hope) a modicum of historical accuracy! Bodices are very rarely ripped and there always a ‘happy ever after’.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to work in antiques?

Go for it! If you enjoy it and have passion and enthusiasm then it won really feel like work. Sadly, it not a career that regularly makes you stacks of money, but no two days are the same and you never get bored. Get experience at an auction house or antiques shop and learn as much about your chosen interests as you can. It knowledge that the key to spotting a bargain.

How did you get involved in Bargain Hunt?

The BH team came to film at our saleroom (quite a few years ago now!) and I was subsequently asked to join as an expert/team leader. I was already part of the Flog It! Team of experts, so I was used to the cameras, but Bargain Hunt is quite a different (and dare I say it, more challenging!) format. It a great show to be involved in.

Who has been your most memorable Bargain Hunt team?

I had a brilliant son/mother in law team who were a lot of fun to film with. They were bantering and snarky but the affection and respect they had for each other was a joy to see!

What has been your best ever Bargain Hunt find?

That a tough one. Usually it the amazing item I spot and try to convince my team to buy, which they subsequently ignore completely! There always one that gets away!

Which fairs do you particularly like shopping at when hunting like the huge Newark and Swinderby fairs, but they so big it sometimes better for Bargain Hunt purposes to go to smaller fairs where it not so easy to get distracted and end up buying nothing at all!

What the most profit / greatest loss you made at auction?

I can remember! I always thrilled to make any profit at all, and the day I received my first BH Golden Gavel was a very proud moment indeed!

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

I currently split my time between the UK and Chicago, USA, so when I come back to England I always pig out on things I can get in America like proper crisps, chocolate, and fish chips. I enjoy a nice G but that pleasure without the guilt! And I probably spend way too much on shoes, (according to my long suffering husband).

How do you spend your free time?

I have three lovely monsters/children and between them and writing my books I don have a lot of free time! My boys are in the Scouts, so we always seem to be out camping or hiking or taking epic road trips across America. I love to travel, so any free time I have is spent planning our next adventure or dragging the kids around museums, galleries, or antiques shops and markets!

Do you collect anything?

I don have enough money to seriously indulge in collecting my wish list of Russian silver, ancient Egyptian/Roman antiquities and Old Master drawings. I have to settle for collecting things I feel sorry for at the auction because they haven sold. I have an excellent collection of wobbly three legged chairs just waiting to be restored, and lots of lovely porcelain with cracks in! On the plus side, my children can ruin them. I also love portrait miniatures and small silver items like vesta cases and vinaigrettes.

Why do you think Bargain Hunt has such appeal?

The different personalities within the teams always make the show interesting, and the competitive aspect adds that extra edge to proceedings. There so much variety in antiques and collectables that there always something new to learn or discover. And of course, everyone loves it when we get it horribly wrong! It still such an unpredictable game that there always the chance of a surprise or upset.

Why would you encourage anyone to appear on Bargain Hunt?

It a great experience! Even if you don know much about antiques, come and have a go you have experts like me to help guide you, and who knows, you might just stumble across a priceless Ming vase and come home with a fortune!

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