Eligibles 2012: Top 25 women

1. Eilidh Macleod, 27 London.
1. Eilidh Macleod, 27 London.
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YOU voted in your thousands, and here they are. Welcome to Scotland’s 25 hottest single women.

View more images on the Eligibles website

1. Eilidh MacLeod, 27, London

Editor G3 magazine

Glaswegian Eilidh MacLeod, right, arrived in the editor’s chair of one of the UK’s biggest selling gay magazines by one crazy route. After two years at Edinburgh University she realised she should have gone to art school. She quit, moved to London and took a job in the marketing department of Breitling watches. Having saved some cash for a year’s foundation at Central Saint Martin’s, she could not face being a student in London for three more years. A stint at Banksy’s company Street Art Connect led to a graphic design position at G3.

One day they needed somebody to write something. MacLeod volunteered. Soon she was designing fewer pages and writing more articles. She’s still not quite sure how she became editor, in charge of a relaunch that saw the magazine buck industry trends by going from a freebie to a paid-for title on the newsagent’s shelf. Working there has been great for her social life and she finds herself covering most of the capital’s gay girl nights.

Dream date? Going to a massive branch of Sainsbury’s, buying food and going home to cook for each other.

Turn-on? Personality and great eyes.

Turn-off? Anyone obnoxious or big-headed.

Greatest achievement? Moving to London and doing everything I’ve set out to do.

Single and celebrating? Yes, I’m happy how I am. The right girl always finds me.

2. Rowan Julie Brown, 31, Edinburgh

Museum director

Growing up in Glasgow, visiting Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Rowan Julie Brown had the curatorial bug before she even went to school. She fell in love with museums and history and went on to pursue a stellar career. At her first curatorial job, with the

Museum of Transport, she was involved with the preparations for the move to the Riverside. From there she went to the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. When the National Mining Museum Scotland, based at the former Lady Victoria Colliery in Newtongrange, needed a new director, she was delighted to be offered the job at the age of 28, making her the youngest UK museum director. When she is not down the pit, or overseas on museum business, she can be found at a rugby match. A strict vegetarian, she also has a a major (ethical) shopping habit.

Dream date? A museum or art gallery – I like somewhere with a talking point.

Turn-on? Intelligence and ambition, generosity of spirit, compassion towards animals.

Turn-off? Arrogance, meanness and being under six foot. One of my sisters is 6’1” so it helps if he is not noticeably shorter than my baby sister.

Greatest achievement? I devised a project called Old Tools, New Uses, where we identified the duplicate sewing machines, hand tools and typewriters from the Scottish museums’ collections. These were then refurbished and sent to third world artisans.

Single and celebrating? I’m keeping my options open.

3. Sarah Kennedy, 35, Loanhead

Psychiatrist and musician

Not many psychiatrists spend their spare time singing Atomic, but then Sarah Kennedy is not your regular medical professional. As well as looking after the mental wellbeing of Lothian’s hospital population, she fronts Blondie tribute band Dirty Harry, retro-popsters Modus, and Hammond beat band Link Quartet. When not on stage, in the studio or travelling to a gig, she’s probably busy in the kitchen – her roast chicken took her to the Scottish finals of Britain’s Best Dish – or in the garden of her Midlothian cottage feeding the hens. Her next idea is to run her own supper club, at which dinner will be accompanied by beer rather than wine. An adventurous ale drinker, Sarah is currently working on her own brew.

Dream date? A ferry adventure to Islay, standing on deck, on the way to a remote pad with an open fire and the smell of logs and peat. Diving for scallops and collecting whisky en route, a deep hot bath before torch walking to the pub at night to listen to local music.

Turn-on? Someone who makes me fall asleep with a smile but wakes me up laughing. A man with great rhythm who can invent his own curry. I’m also a sucker for an Irish accent.

Turn-off? A whistling noisy eater with sub-optimal hygiene who doesn’t think I’m funny.

Greatest achievement? Not panicking about life past 30. My to-do list is of my own design and it still includes a lot of ambitious dreams.

Single and celebrating? Celebrating single has a ring about it but I’d rather bring in the bells with a double.

4. Cara Richardson, 41, Insh

Caterer and host

Cara Richardson has been on and off boats on the west coast of Scotland since she was a week old. The outdoor life has such a strong pull that she packed in a hospitality course at Robert Gordon Institute of Technology in Aberdeen to crew a creel boat for two years (and, yes, she was the only woman on board). From there she worked at the Crinnan Hotel before finding her niche in the field sports community, running estates and shooting lodges across the north.

Now freelance, she might spend an afternoon loading shotguns for a billionaire, or four days making sure a high-end wedding goes exactly to script. Her base, a cottage in the Cairngorms National Park, is within a two-hour drive of most of the country. On the rare occasions she is there, she is off out again – running, mountain biking, painting in the woods, or shooting clays if it’s not the season for game.

Dream date? A walk and a really good lunch in a pub, maybe by the sea, with a gentleman who is easy on the eye and easy to chat to.

Turn-on? Someone genuine, honest, with eyes that smile. And an estate would be good.

Turn-off? Bad manners.

Greatest achievement? Yet to come.

Single and celebrating? Yes.

5. Farah Haq, 32, Glasgow

Process engineer

As an ambassador for the Chemical Industries Association Young Persons’ Network, Farah Haq has been exposed to all the anti-engineering prejudices going. Schoolchildren, she soon discovered, thought all engineers were like Homer Simpson in the nuclear plant, pressing lots of buttons and causing pollution. She designs gas plants and oil refineries and, though she is mostly office-based, she does have a boiler suit and hard hat for site visits. She enjoys the challenge of working in a male-dominated industry, and is happy to be “one of the lads”. Back in Glasgow after ten years in London, she appreciates the city’s night life and art galleries. Haq attempts a few charity 10Ks each year and is working up to her first half marathon.

Dream date? It would have to be with a Johnny Depp lookalike, in full Captain Jack Sparrow outfit, on a Caribbean island. That’ll do me.

Turn-on? Someone with an optimistic nature who makes me laugh.

Turn-off? Ignorance, intolerance.

Greatest achievement? Having the support of my family and friends.

Single and celebrating? Yes, but very much on the lookout.

6. Maggie Ramage, 63, Glasgow

Artist and teacher

Having allegedly retired from the art department at Clydebank College, Maggie Ramage finds herself busier than ever. She is still teaching, at Glasgow University’s Department of Adult and Continuing Education, as well as painting commissioned portraits, landscapes and illustrations. She recently designed a poster for Les Enfants Du Paradis, one of the centrepieces of the London Film Festival. Her watercolours have appeared in children’s books and women’s magazines.

Born in Tillicoultry, she has lived in Glasgow since studying at the city’s famous School of Art. In the summer she decamps to Menton in France, where she has a studio apartment and loves to paint in the Cote D’Azur sunshine. Tuscany is her other favourite destination, and she speaks French and Italian.

The latter is a huge help when she is at the opera. When the fat lady is not singing, Maggie likes orchestral concerts and theatre. And, obviously, art.

Dream date? I do like Alan Rickman, even when he’s being really horrible in Harry Potter. And Alan Davies has a good sense of humour and is cute with it. But I’d just like someone nice and open-minded who would enjoy going out for a meal and then to the opera. Someone who is enjoying his retirement. And he has to have hair.

Turn-on? A dog-loving man who enjoys music and the arts.

Turn-off? IT specialists, anyone who uses jargon, boring people.

Greatest achievement? Being recognised as an artist by my peers. I still think that’s quite an achievement for a woman.

Single and celebrating? I have got lots of pals but they are all married with their own homes and families. I like being single – it means I can do whatever I like, whenever I like, but it would also be nice to go out in the evening with someone of the opposite sex every now and then.

7. Claire Cunningham, 35, Glasgow


When Claire Cunningham took her touring show ME (Mobile/Evolution) to Naples two years ago, she arrived to discover they had built a theatre just for her – a 400-seat auditorium inside an old factory where she performed for three nights. That stands out as a highlight in a career that began in 2007, crafting a form of dance that is unique to her body and how it moves with her crutches, combining movement, spoken word, song, aerial work, sculpture and puppetry. Her guilty pleasure is a DVD box set binge, and she has recently taken up kayaking again.

Dream date? Wandering around the Mauerpark flea market in Berlin.

Turn-on? Someone who is passionate about

their work.

Turn-off? Liking any reality TV shows.

Greatest achievement? Having made a large-scale theatre piece with the National Theatre of Scotland about being single, in which I state: “I am ineligible.” A month later, here I am.

Single and celebrating? Not really. I’m bored with doing things by myself now. I’m good at being independent but I’d like someone to share life with.

8. Joanna Bolouri, 34, Glasgow

Writer and blogger

Despite having lived in France, England and Ireland, Joanna Bolouri

always finds herself gravitating back to Glasgow. She is currently living in the city with her daughter, while studying creative writing at City of Glasgow College. Her blog and a regular column in a glossy magazine are full of stories, poems and reflections on disastrous dating experiences.

A demon tweeter, she has forced herself beyond the 140-character limit with her first novel, The List, the story of a woman who sets herself a series of challenges to improve her love life. Bolouri worked in media sales before reviewing films for a city guide convinced her to try writing for a living.

Dream date? One when the other person turns up.

Turn-on? Someone who can make me laugh and who doesn’t take themselves too seriously.

Turn-off? Narcissism.

Greatest achievement? Managing to raise a brilliant child whom I hope will have no need to ask me to go on Jeremy Kyle with her. And winning a BBC comedy script competition, which opened a lot of doors.

Single and celebrating? I like being single but it’d be nice to meet someone.

9. Amanda Hendrick, 22, London


Busy does not even begin to describe life for Coatbridge’s most famous export, Vogue cover girl Amanda Hendrick. After

being spotted at Glasgow Central Station, aged 15, she has walked for Alice Temperley, Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier, Oscar De La Renta and shot for Alexander Wang and Calvin Klein in New York. In between there’s a quirky picture-based blog (full of her tattoos and sarky bits from Twitter) and the funky T-shirt label Wink Peace Pout she runs with friends Claire McInally and Holly Hmiddouche. Since moving to London she has spent most of her time in New York and reckons she has managed two flying visits to Coatbridge this year. After so many hours of airport lounges, there’s nothing better than North Lanarkshire.

Dream date? Something fun like a theme park. With Ryan Gosling. Or One Direction. All of them.

Turn-on? Someone who interests me and makes me laugh, with great shoes.

Turn-off? Someone who doesn’t know how good looking they are.

Greatest achievement? Moving to London and funding it all myself.

Single and celebrating? I’m content and happy.

10. Emma Little, 34, Edinburgh


Emma Little started in sales the hard way, selling vacuum cleaners door to door. She lasted 19 months. From there she went on to sell IT, then mobile phone business contracts. When her bosses pushed her to move to London she realised it was time to set up on her own. In 2008, aged 29, she set up Execspace in her home city of Edinburgh. When she came up with the idea for a one-stop-shop for conferences and business accommodation, she thought it was a revolutionary one. She now employs eight people. It does not leave much time for fun though; she spends what little spare time she has with her friends and family.

Dream date? A cold, sunny December day. We’d go Christmas shopping then have lunch in a real pub with a fireplace. We’d spend the afternoon in a Winter Wonderland, then go home, eat pizza, drink mulled wine and watch fireworks.

Turn-on? A kind heart, nice eyes, someone who is close to their family.

Turn-off? Negativity, grumpiness, laziness.

Greatest achievement? Building the business. It’s taught me how strong I am.

Single and celebrating? I’m always celebrating.

11. Gillian Pauling, 39, Glasgow

TV production executive

Even the most glamorous industry needs someone to write the budget and get everyone out of bed in the

morning. At Objective Productions’ Scottish office in Film City, where they make Real Hustle, kids’ show Incredible Edibles and are currently busy with a Rory Bremner quiz show for Channel 4, that job falls to Gillian Pauling. She worked across Scotland’s TV industry before arriving at Objective, which, nationally, makes Peep Show, Fresh Meat and all Derren Brown’s shows. When Objective opened in Scotland in 2010 and asked her to join, she jumped at the chance.

When she’s not in Govan she will be shoe shopping, weekending in Mallorca or home in Troon to see her parents and stroll along the beach.

Dream date? A walk along a lovely Scottish beach, a good meal, good chat.

Turn-on? An alpha male with a wicked sense of humour.

Turn-off? Arrogance, narcissism, spitting in the street.

Greatest achievement? Working throughout the industry with so many different people is something that makes me feel proud.

Single and celebrating? I have been celebrating, and I do love being independent, but it would also be nice to have someone to take the bins out.

12. Andrina Greig, 27, Glasgow

Bridal alterations expert

Andrina Greig’s haute girly alterations salon in Partick has become the go-to destination for brides in distress. Some have bought ‘bargain’ dresses on Ebay. Others have flagged on the pre-wedding diet plan and can’t get the zip up. With a mixture of calm, patience, hidden panels and forgiving lace-up fastenings, Greig makes sure they all look fantastic for their big day.

Having studied fashion at Glasgow’s Cardonald College, she worked in retail, then at a vintage store. Altering the dresses of the past to fit the women of the present gave her the idea of expanding into the wedding market. After a stint of seeing brides at home, she wearied of pins on the floor and a hall cupboard and opened her shop in the west end earlier this year.

Dream date? I’m happy having a pint down his local as long as I’m having a good laugh.

Turn-on? Charisma, nice hands.

Turn-off? Shy slackers.

Greatest achievement? Turning a building site into my beautiful shop.

Single and celebrating? I’m very content with the life I’ve built up but the extra piece of the puzzle would not go amiss.

13. Jennifer Celine Coyle, 27, Glasgow

Fashion designer

Jennifer Celine Coyle was eight when she first got to wear her own designs. She drew a pink frilly trouser suit and her aunt ran it up for her. Her main influence, she says, was Barbie. It still is. She met Lyndsay Pagan, the other half of Obscure Couture, at college in Galashiels. They knew from freshers’ week that they would work together, and after a crazy round of interning in London, making dresses for ex-pat ladies in the Middle East and working in Sydney, she came back to Glasgow in 2009. The pair finally set up their own label in 2010, making outrageous frocks for the kind of chick who likes tight and full-length in black and gold stripes, or something in peach leather with studs.

If they’re not pulling an all-nighter in their studio in the Barras, Coyle and Pagan can be found clubbing at Nice ’n’ Sleazy. Quite probably wearing Obscure Couture.

Dream date? Nothing too try-hard or fancy. A couple of drinks or dinner.

Turn-on? Someone with their own stuff going on, who can have a laugh.

Turn-off? Little neck beards. Low V-necked vests. He has to be stylish.

Greatest achievement? Seeing Obscure Couture in Vogue.

Single and celebrating? Yes I am.

14. Charlotte Bray, 34, Stirlingshire

Charity fundraiser

Charlotte Bray counts a lot of animals: puffins, seals, bats. As a volunteer for various wildlife charities, she is often out on a boat on the Forth or poking around woodland at night. For someone who always wanted to work in the third sector, she has a great job: capital manager at Camphill Blair Drummond, the centre for adults with learning disabilities beside Blair Drummond Safari Park. Originally from Devon, Bray puts her desire to travel and save to world down to a childhood love of Doctor Who (Tom Baker incarnation). She loves camping in the Scottish countryside. She also plays flute and saxophone in a concert band, and has written five novels.

Dream date? I wouldn’t drag him out bat counting, that wouldn’t be fair. But we would do something outdoorsy followed by a cosy, romantic meal.

Turn-on? Skinny geeks with a sense of adventure and lots of hair.

Turn-off? Patronising football fans.

Greatest achievement? Writing a column, Tea and Cake, for Third Force News (a charity newspaper).

Single and celebrating? Yes, I love discovering all the things I enjoy.

15. Danielle Murphy, 39, Glasgow

Whisky seller

Aged 17, Danielle Murphy started going to pubs. To wash glasses – her father had several bars and she was put on table-clearing duty. Something rubbed off because she is now business development manager at Iain Macleod Distillers, selling its malts and blends to hotels, bars and restaurants across Scotland. As her clients include Gleneagles, Blythswood Square and Lake of Menteith Hotel (which is also her favourite weekend hideaway), this is not unbearably hard.

As part of her ongoing product education, she even does the odd Saturday shift at Glasgow’s Pot Still. But if she’s not behind the bar, or lecturing on the joys of malt whisky, she’s in the gym. She trains hardcore, thinking nothing of a 10K survival assault course to shake off the cobwebs. Life is too busy for her to have a pet of her own, so she dog-shares with her mum.

Dream date? Up a mountain in Glencoe, hip flask of 20-year-old Glengoyne in the back pocket, ending up in front of a wee coal fire.

Turn-on? Fitness. I want someone who can keep up with me, not flag at the bottom of the hill.

Turn-off? Smoking and bad manners.

Greatest achievement? Working in the whisky industry – it’s my dream job.

Single and celebrating? Yes, I’ve got a great life, a great family, great friends. Anything extra would be a bonus.

16. Jill Davidson, 27, Edinburgh

Events organiser

To get an idea of Jill Davidson’s calendar for the next year, simply consult the SRU fixtures list. As an account manager she looks after corporate sponsors, plans the branding within the stadium, and of course screams herself hoarse from the stands on match days.

She always wanted to work in sport, and as a devoted rugby fan this pretty much counts as a dream job. It also makes up a big part of her social life: her office is at Murrayfield, so if she’s still around when an Edinburgh Rugby match kicks off, she’ll stay to watch. A trip to the Borders for the Melrose Sevens is another favourite. She spends her down-time reading and seeing family and friends. Having skied for the first time this year, she plans to do some more work there.

Dream date? I don’t mind what I’m doing as long as I’m doing it with the right person.

Turn-on? Someone taller than me – I’m 6ft.

Turn-off? Smoking, boring people.

Greatest achievement? Running the Help for Heroes masquerade ball earlier this year. We raised £6,000.

Single and celebrating? Lots of my friends are coupled up but I’m not willing to settle for less than Mr Perfect.

17. Chelsea Charles, 36, Edinburgh

Digital manager

The Ryder Cup. Homecoming 2014. These are events with the potential to bring thousands of visitors and millions of pounds to Scotland, and the Visit Scotland websites that tell the world all about them are overseen by Charles. She has been with the tourism body for six years, though it is, sadly, an office-based job. She waves her colleagues off to the Brave premiere, or Illinois for this year’s Ryder Cup, and stays at home worrying if the website is going to crash. Charles makes up for it by sloping off to Barcelona (she has a Spanish degree) or Amsterdam for the odd weekend. Coming from Stirling, and having lived in both Glasgow and

Edinburgh, she enjoys shopping in both Byres Road and George Street.

Dream date? Barca player Gerard Piqué would show me the sights of the city. Then we’d have a few cocktails, a meal and go clubbing.

Turn-on? Style, sense of humour, stubble.

Turn-off? Bad shoes, bad manners.

Greatest achievement? Despite my fear of flying, I managed the 14-hour flight to Thailand.

Single and celebrating? I sure am.

18. Amy Drewery, 38, Bridge of Allan

Medical sales rep

The first time Amy Drewery watched an operation, she passed out. When you sell cardio-thorassic drainage devices for a living you have to scrub up and make sure the surgeons are using the pumps properly. In her case, this meant observing a major op on a 25-stone man. Her colleagues are still teasing her about it. Originally from Cheshire, she moved to Bridge of Allan to be near her

older sister. Her mother and little sister have now joined them in a set-up she describes as not unlike The Waltons. Having set up the Bridge of Allan Events Association, life is now a mad whirl of Christmas fairs, cake and wine banquets and guerilla film shows in front gardens. A devoted auntie, Drewery loves watching her niece – or Scotland – play rugby. She’s learning to ski and her marble cup cakes are the stuff of legend.

Dream date? Being at home is nice, with someone to bring the food and wine and cook.

Turn-on? Beautiful eyes; they always tell you what’s going on. And someone who is passionate about what they do.

Turn-off? Narrow-minded, bigoted liars.

Greatest achievement? Crossing the Atlantic on a 72-foot ketch when I was 17.

Single and celebrating? I’m happy with everything I’ve got.

19. Shona Clelland, 49, Edinburgh

General manager, Assembly Rooms

When Shona Clelland took a summer job in Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms box office in 1987, she had no idea that, decades later, she would be overseeing a complete refurbishment of the magnificent Edwardian building. In between selling tickets for Harry Enfield and the National Theatre of Brent and returning as general manager, responsible for making the place wash its face financially, she had a long stint in London before moving back to her home city in 2004. Just in case the Assembly Rooms are not all-consuming enough, she and her sister bought a house in 2007 and used their extensive experience of the world’s finest hotels and restaurants to turn it into a boutique B&B. So in the unlikely event that everything is running smoothly in George Street, Clelland can be found in the kitchen at Millers 64, crisping the morning bacon or ironing the sheets. Holidays involve more “research” – Barbados and Australia are favourite destinations. Her idea of climbing is making it to the fourth floor of Harvey Nichols for cocktails.

Dream date? The W Hotel in Barcelona for a few cocktails, then dinner somewhere in the back streets. With George Clooney if possible.

Turn-on? Independence, great dancing, a sense of style.

Turn-off? A self-absorbed smoker who can’t dance.

Greatest achievement? Reopening the Assembly Rooms.

Single and celebrating? Absolutely.

20. Michelle Mone, 41, Glasgow


Last year Michelle Mone, Ultimo lingerie’s founder and sometime model, took 202 flights. Dividing her life between London, Glasgow and Hong Ko ng, she lives at 100mph. Since splitting up with her husband of 22 years at the beginning of 2012, she has thrown herself into work, and last year the company turned over £10.2 million. Mone runs between five and eight miles a day and reckons she has a better figure now than when she was a teenager. But it’s not all salad: she loves dinner in a restaurant, karaoke or a football match. Especially if it includes a pie at half time.

Dream date? I’d like to have an absolute blast, with someone who can talk about politics, business or bras.

Turn-on? Confidence – but not too much.

Turn-off? Someone who fights me for the mirror. Men with spray tans and long hair.

Greatest achievement? Starting ten brands from scratch. Julia Roberts wearing Ultimo in Erin Brockovich. Getting my OBE from The Queen.

Single and celebrating? I’ve had lots of offers, but I’ve got major plans for the business.

21. Gail Rankin, 43, Linlithgow


Scotland’s up-do queen, Gail Rankin, is responsible for making sure the nation’s most gorgeous brides look their best for their big days. After a glittering hairdressing career that has seen her train with the Rusks, then at Cheynes in Edinburgh, she has become the go-to stylist for weddings, special occasions, photo shoots and red carpet appearances. Her work has been published in magazines from Cosmopolitan to Hello! – and of course, here in Spectrum. She’s given tickets for all manner of glamorous events but can rarely take up the opportunity because she’s so busy working. And on the rare weekend she is at home, she can be found going out for a long walk with her seven-year-old son Alexander and other friends with children the same age.

Dream date? I’d like to be whisked off my feet to somewhere I’ve never been before, maybe Paris, for the most romantic night ever.

Turn-on? Someone down to earth, successful, funny and caring. Perfect, actually.

Turn-off? A lack of personality.

Greatest achievement? Having Alexander.

Single and celebrating? I am looking for someone special, but I’m very happy being single at the moment.

22. Vidya Sarjoo, 35, Edinburgh


When Vidya Sarjoo gave up the London nine-to-five to move to Scotland and open a bakery with a friend, her family dismissed the idea as cuckoo. She liked the name, which is how Cuckoo’s Bakery, in Edinburgh’s Dundas Street, came to be christened.

Two and a half years later, her life revolves around red velvet cupcakes and afternoon tea, and she, despite being born in London to Guyanan parents, feels perfectly at home in the capital. Although she is still looking for a marching kazoo band to join – down south she was part of Masters of the Kazooniverse, an annual fixture at the Glastonbury festival. Sarjoo collects fake Fabergé eggs – she has more than 30 – and hopes one day to incorporate their intricate designs into her beloved cupcakes.

Dream date? A day trip to some remote location. We would discover a quiet country pub or have a luxury picnic if the weather was good.

Turn-on? Someone who makes me laugh, can cook and can tell a great story over a pint.

Turn-off? Arrogance, bad manners, selfishness.

Greatest achievement? It was hard to leave my family and friends to move to Edinburgh and set up Cuckoo’s but I wouldn’t have appreciated or enjoyed it all if I hadn’t made some sacrifices.

Single and celebrating? I’m always celebrating life but it would be great to have a partner in crime.

Lynsey Sharp, 22, Edinburgh


With parents who competed in the Commonwealth Games and Olympics, it’s hardly surprising Lynsey Sharp, right, is a full-time athlete. She has been running at Meadowbank since she was eight years old, won her first title at 15 and won a Euro silver medal this year, as well as being an Olympic semifinalist at London 2012. She combined training with finishing a law degree at Napier University and is now readjusting to normal life. But training does not stop and, after powering around the track at Meadowbank, Sharp changes out of her tracksuit and takes her Yorkshire terrier Betty for walks. While heavy partying is not compatible with athletics, she does make a top pear and chocolate crumble.

Dream date? Good food, good chat. Other than that, I’m open to suggestions.

Turn-on? Good manners, good body.

Turn-off? Smoking. Beer bellies. Men who feel threatened by my commitment to my sport.

Greatest achievement? My European silver medal, my law degree, being an Olympian.

Single and celebrating? I’m not celebrating it.

24. Emma Dixon, 35, Edinburgh

Miss Dixiebelle

Spending your days surrounded by frilly knickers, you become pretty unshockable. And since setting up her burlesque boutique two years ago, Dixon has sold intimate apparel to men and women – for gifts and for personal use. Originally from Berwick-upon-Tweed, Dixon arrived in Edinburgh aged 17 to study interior design. Her first stop, though, was the tattoo parlour. She is extensively inked.

Dream date? Dinner at a fabulous restaurant, then a mulled wine nightcap.

Turn-on? A cute smile and an open mind.

Turn-off? Over-confidence.

Greatest achievement? Creating and opening Miss Dixiebelle. But I hope there’s more to come.

Single and celebrating? I’d be lying if I said I was happy to be single forever.

25. Suzanne O’Connor, 35, Edinburgh,


Despite having lived in Australia and the US, Dubliner Suzanne O’Connor has been unable to escape the lure of Edinburgh. Twelve years ago she came for the summer – and she’s lived in the capital ever since. She did time at the Forth Floor at Harvey Nichols and Tiger Lily before landing at the new restaurant within the National Gallery of Scotland, The Scottish Cafe and Restaurant. n

Dream date? Good food, good wine, Mr George Clooney.

Turn-on? Optimism, self-reliance, someone who likes an independent woman.

Turn-off? Someone who takes themselves too seriously, is mean with their cash and has a bad relationship with their friends and family.

Greatest achievement? Being a female head chef in a male-dominated industry.

Single and celebrating? Very much so. I don’t have to hide the boxes when I buy new shoes.