Photography by Hannah Hillier

Your son, Larkin, is now two years old. How does your life now compare to life before?
I think my brain came out of the sunroof with him, so my memory of ‘before Larkin’ seems to be pretty patchy. More heels, more London, more going out, more lonely in some ways. Now there’s no such thing as an average day! I still have a broadcast career as well as my new shop Graceland, so on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday I can be anywhere from doing a TV appearance at Elstree studios  to presenting my Soho Radio show. Larkin is at nursery on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Reliably though every day starts with a cuddle in bed and toast and porridge. And maybe biscuits.

What have been the biggest challenges and rewards of motherhood – is it what you expected?
For better or worse I didn’t really have any expectations, and if I’m honest the whole thing has been a massive shock to the system because my lifestyle before was the polar opposite than it is now.

We moved from London to Hertfordshire while I was pregnant so I’ve quickly had to find my feet in a new community – which opening a shop has really helped with – but still it’s been monumentally hard work. I had this surge of creativity, or maybe it was desperation, when Larkin was about six months old, to do the shop and also a completely different arts-based charity called Fashion Salvation which I’m still keen to do. But I’m already spinning enough plates (possibly badly).

As someone who never been great at looking after themselves, I’ve found that having someone who entirely needs me has made me readjust all the things that were my priorities before because of work – like what I look like. I’m definitely a better and saner person for it all though, without question.

Sometimes women in fashion live that life because they think they have to – so when your head is pulled out of the industry’s arse, and your priorities change, it can be hard to go back to

What made you launch your own business and why Graceland?
I stopped styling so much when I got into presenting as styling can be a lot of hard work for questionable return. When I moved to the countryside, two years ago, I felt it was time to look at a different way of doing what I was good at doing, without having to be in London 24/7.

I have an amazing archive of things I’ve collected for shoots and celebrity clients and I thought as my life has changed so much it was time to change that up, too. Clothes only live with people in them, that part of being a stylist will never die in me; it makes me happy to see that look of joy on someone’s face when they’ve found something they really love and that makes them look great.

It turns out it’s the same as before but my new clients are slightly less demanding than celebrities and I’ve dipped out of all the industry politics, which I was never good at anyway.

Is there a bias in fashion against women having children; is it an all-or-nothing game?
It’s hard to speak for others but one thing sticks out: an editor on a newspaper fashion supplement I worked on once said something like ‘oh you’re not going to do something like getting pregnant are you?’ when I already was. He then realised how bad it sounded and backed up.

I think what happens a lot is that women in fashion live that life because they think they have to and so when your head is pulled out of the industry’s arse, and your priorities change, that can be hard to go back to. Personally I don’t think fashion is a particularly supportive industry in general but there are always exceptions which are lovely to hear.

What lessons would you hand on to other mothers thinking of setting up shop on their own? 
Childcare, childcare, childcare. Getting it right is so important. You need to be able to focus on the bit you’re doing that day, wholly. The days when I’m with Larkin I’m usually working from my phone constantly and it kind of stops me from doing anything well, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Know your market, I thought I had a good idea that would just work because it was a ‘good idea’ with Graceland; turns out I’m a London girl through and through and so is my idea, hence why I’m doing a pop-up in West London for two weeks from 18 November.

How are you finding country life?
Many moments of ‘ya know, this isn’t at all bad’ set within a constant dialogue of ‘this isn’t London’. I was born in London, it’s in my DNA, but I also know it’s great for Larkin out here and I love our house which we never could have afforded in the city.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
I’ve had a plan to move to LA for about 10 years, I seem to take one step forwards, two steps back with it. There are a number of reasons why I love it: the weather, the bright pop-py nature of everything… Whilst I’m a huge romantic, I feel I see the world through Jeff Koons’ eyes so why just visit the gallery? I want to live in that world.

America seems more likely to embrace the fact that I want to eventually be a chat-show host, they embrace older, ballsy women whereas here it only seems to work for gay men, which I am but in a woman’s body. Yeah that.

Graceland, purveyor of rare and fine fashion goods, is popping up at 199 Portobello Road, from 18 to 29 November

More in Features


By , 4th July 2024
‘A standout literary thriller.’ THE FT ‘Ingenious, intriguing, colourful and very entertaining, this is the ideal summer holiday novel.’ LITERARY REVIEW

From book to screen

By , 28th February 2023
Free resources and tips for would be screenwriters, from a complete novice - and some professionals - as I navigate the process of adapting my novels for TV and film

Observer New Review Q&A

By , 22nd March 2022
An interview with Stephanie Merritt about Edith and Kim, the perils of writing about family, and why female spies often get overlooked

Researching Edith and Kim

By , 17th November 2021
From a compendium of stories about life at the Bauhaus to a Modernist memoir by the founder of the iconic Isokon, here are some of the books that inspired my forthcoming novel