Regardless of the outcome on May 5, Ruth Davidson has at least one thing to look forward to once the last door has been knocked and the final vote is counted.

The Scottish Conservative leader has been promised a puppy by partner Jen Wilson when the election is over, a fact she says she is "so excited" about.

In addition to a "cavalier" attitude to personal safety that has resulted in 10 or 11 broken bones and the fact she is "mad for crisps", it is telling that the 37-year-old is temporarily stumped when asked to reveal something that voters might not know about her.

"I wear my heart on my sleeve, so most things are out there," she says.

Such openness is perhaps one of the reasons why Ms Davidson's personal popularity is high despite her party remaining for many Scots a "toxic" brand amid David Cameron's continuing unpopularity north of the border.

The ebullient Scottish Tory leader built on plaudits gained during the independence referendum with an attention-grabbing general election campaign that saw her sitting astride a tank, playing bingo and having a go at the bagpipes.

A self-confessed "dreadful show-off", the former journalist's love of a wacky photocall shows no sign of abating, with recent weeks featuring a ski-doo trip on the top of Cairngorm and ice hockey practice.

Noting that hovercraft and hot air balloon remain the only modes of transport left unexploited, Ms Davidson says her aim with such stunts is to "make a serious point in a non-serious way".

Elected leader in 2011 just months after becoming an MSP, the Scottish Conservatives have since embraced Ms Davidson as by far their strongest asset.

The party will seek to capitalise on her relative popularity by putting "Ruth Davidson for a strong opposition" on the ballot paper for the regional list vote and campaigning under the slogan, mimicking the SNP tactic of prominently featuring Nicola Sturgeon's name.

Recognising the presidential-style approach, Ms Davidson says: "I feel ready personally, I feel ready to serve as the leader of the official opposition, ready to take on Nicola Sturgeon.

"I think that we'll have a team behind me that can make me confident that we can do a good job."

Edinburgh-born and a graduate of Edinburgh University, Ms Davidson is transferring her political base from Glasgow, where she was a regional list MSP, back to the capital, where she is contesting the Edinburgh Central seat.

The party hopes her presence will help to increase the number of Scottish Conservative MSPs returned on the Lothians regional list from two to three.

But the extent to which her personal popularity will translate into votes remains uncertain and Ms Davidson has already faced questions about her future if the party is thwarted in its ambition to beat Labour into second place.

Voters may indeed have warmed to the charismatic Scottish Conservative leader but there is little doubt that she faces her biggest challenge yet on May 5.