Hooray for Liz!

What we need, in these dark and dreary times, is something to lift our spirits. Something light, bright, white and totally divorced from reality. Preferably Spanxed up to the eyebrows, dripping with diamonds, and on the cover of Hello! magazine, arm in arm with a pristine, linen-clad Shane Warne. Bring on Liz Hurley. Oh, Liz, you may be bonkers, but we’ve missed you. Welcome home.

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When I say ‘bonkers’, I do of course mean highly intelligent, fiercely ambitious, attractive, successful and admirably single-minded. Liz wants to be a rich country lady, living on a big estate with animals and crops and stuff, and jetting off for lovely holidays in palm-fringed places. And I don’t think there’s a box she hasn’t ticked, so all power to her elbow.

No doubt 21 pages of her, Shane and their children, dressed always and only in crisp white vacation wear across the middle of Hello! will fund the odd chicken, villa somewhere nice and feed for the horses. Not only that, but it gives them a chance to air their side of the story about their whirlwind romance, the marriages that didn’t seem to be over at the time (but apparently were) and the real chain of events behind Shane’s new eyebrows. They sort of look, in these pages, as if they’ve died and gone to Hurley heaven. I’m not sure that’s quite what they were going for, but whatever.

She is, uncannily, what would happen if you crossed Katie Price with Joan Collins (not that I would recommend crossing either of them, frankly). If you turned the glamour up to 11 and removed any shred of privacy or normality. She is the celebrity Hello! was made for. And Shane Warne ….? Oh, the bonkersness of the whole thing is fabulous.

I feel a bit sorry for famous people who value their private lives. It must be hard to explain that actually you don’t want any attention when you’re not working, when for Liz, being on holiday with the children is work. However, nobody can complain that she doesn’t take this work deadly seriously. 21 pages! Plus the cover! All colour-co-ordinated and everything.

I mean – hello?

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Don’t Mizz Out

Well, I knew it existed because a fan told me it did and I’d seen it on eBay. But now I know it exists, because I saw it with my own two eyes at Victoria Station. (And, Reader, I bought it.)

The latest edition of Mizz magazine comes with a range of lovely goodies, and if you’re lucky – which you would be if you bought it from Victoria Station today – one of those goodies is Threads. The slightly smaller version that I love because it just so cute and cuddly.

So there I was, in WH Smiths, with my friend Sophia (honestly, she’s called Sophia – Soph for short – and she pronounces it the same way as me, too, which is SEW-fia) and there was my book, on top of Jessie J’s face, within spitting distance – not that it would, of course – of Company, Glamour, Bliss and Vogue. Nonie would be so happy if she knew. A part of me thinks she does know.

Soph asked me how I felt, seeing it there, but to be honest I was too busy taking this photo to really notice. I think I felt nervous. Nervous that the next book is proving so tricky to write. (Second album syndrome, except it’s my fifth, and it’s a book.) Nervous for The Look. Have you bought your copy yet? Nervous that maybe loads of girls will put my GORGEOUS, PERFECTLY SIZED little book aside and not read it and fail to find out how much they might have enjoyed it.

I think I’ll probably enjoy the moment more when I come back to this blog, much later, when the new book’s going smoothly at last and I’m confident that The Look has found its place, and I can just be proud of how far Threads has come, and grateful for my lovely publisher, Rachel, for getting it shrink wrapped under some free makeup, and on top of Jessie J.

Happy Easter

Have you come across the story of Voker Kraft yet? He started decorating the tree in his garden in Saalfeld with Easter eggs in 1965 – when his children were young, the tree was just a sapling and it took 18 plastic eggs to decorate it.

10,000 eggs later … Herr Kraft’s tree is a national wonder.

I love these pictures.

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Happy Easter, everyone!

 

Roman mummy

So, after the blog tour came … the Actual Tour. I spent a couple of weeks in March travelling toย  schools in London and talking about writing books, creating characters, choosing book covers and other fun stuff. I mostly met girls (perhaps unsurprising given the current pinkness of my page edges), and they were – all of them – quite lovely. By which I mean very lovely, not quite lovely.

They also had extremely good names. Many of which I will be stealing for future books. There were, for example, two Tigerlilies. And a Candy Darling (that was her first name – I love her mother already). But mostly, they were just charming and delightful young people. I really enjoy my tours.

Then came the Even More Of A Tour Tour. I’d been promising my 11 year-old for ages that if he worked hard this year, I’d reward myself – ahem, I mean him – with a trip somewhere interesting. And as I’ve spent loads of time in Italy over the years and he’s just started learning Latin, Rome seemed like a good idea.

So I booked it, assuming the March weather would be rainy and yucky, but at least we’d miss the worst of the summer heat and the summer crowds. And then the weather went and got ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS for the four days we were there. Not a cloud in the sky. Not one. Once. And we had a wonderful time.

We took 319 photos. I will spare you most of them, but here are some. Check out the sky.

Blue. It was March. Sometimes you just get lucky.

Piazza Navona. Just - wow.

If you go in March, the forum is full of wisteria and cherry blossom. Go in March

Travelling with an 11 year-old, it is hard to resist the charm of a well made, antique horse's bottom in the Colisseum

Mummy writing. (In a cafe on the terrace of the Victor Emmanuel Monument. Which I recommend. Because from it, you can't see the Victor Emmanuel Monument.)

Roman lunch

This is what happens when you let the 11 year-old take the pictures. (It's remarkably lifelike, actually.)

Not. A. Single. Cloud.

If you haven't been, Rome looks mostly like this from high up. Note the complete lack of the Victor Emmanuel Monument in this picture.

And this.

At the Capitoline Museums. My favourite foot.

The head of Constantine. Also enormous and fab.

Ditto

Can't remember which goddess this was. Sooooo beautiful.

Bridge statue near Castel Sant'Angelo. Did I mention the sky was cloudless?

Louis Vuitton's shop window in the Via Condotti. A rainbow quiver of arrows. In honour of The Hunger Games, we assumed.

Threads goes mini

I got back from Rome a couple of days ago (ah – Rome … more on that later), to discover a little parcel from the lovely people at Chicken House. Inside was a copy of Threads.

‘But you’ve already seen it!’ I hear you cry. ‘So often you must be sick of it by now!’

Well. Not this one. This is a slightly smaller version of the original (inside the margins are smaller, but otherwise you’d hardly know it was different), and it has the opening chapter of The Look at the back. It’s a special version that’s being given away with copies of Mizz magazine this month. Thousands and thousands of them. I’ve never felt so ridiculously excited about giving away thousands of free copies before.

Look out for it in newsagents. It’s very cute. I think I just might have to buy a copy of Mizz …