The Back-Up Plan Party

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to have a book launch party. Way before Carrie Bradshaw pranced around hissing at Samantha for having a chemical peel before her shindig, eons prior to her arrival at a lonely Parisian restaurant. I wanted my Carrie Bradshaw moment before Carrie Bradshaw even had one.

OK, so there may not have been kids serving the drinks at Sex and the City’s inaugural book release event like there were at mine, but we had many other parallels to our stories. Like, there were books and booze involved at both parties. And isn’t that what it’s all about?!

Book release day – last Thursday – was a day like I’ve never known before. I woke up feeling like it was Christmas morning, such were the anticipating butterflies in my tummy. I logged straight on to Instagram to see a barrage of messages from those who’d ordered the book on Kindle (and some who’d read it already!). Even after signing a book deal, writing a book and releasing it to the public I still wasn’t sure if I was ready for people to actually read it.

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I got dressed that morning in one of seven outfits I’d purchased for the day (I’ve returned the rest – honest!), and decided to match my dress to the drinks we’d be quaffing on that evening – Gin and Tonics made from the brilliant Collagin, by Young in Spirits drinks. A small female-led company from Oxford, they are the first alcoholic drinks company to combine spirits with pure collagen, with their drinks distilled in the midlands and bottled in Lancashire.

Collagin (and tonic) is amazing when served with grapefruit, so I chose a citrus-themed wrap dress from & Other Stories and paired it with some years-old block heels from Boden that I knew I could walk for hours in without getting blisters.

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I met up with my gorgeous friend Carlina for a nerve-steadying drink pre-party, before jumping in a car together down to Chelsea Waterstones, where the party was to be held.

The children were meeting us at the Pizza Express next door (my parents brought them – they didn’t arrive alone ;), a beautiful building with a massive outside terrace where we could spread out and enjoy pizza before the guests arrived. It was so lovely to sit and chat with my family about the book and the evening, and it really helped ease those butterflies before the guests started arriving.

On a day that was hotter than the sun it was brilliant to arrive at the Waterstones and realise it was air conditioned. We were on the lower floor of the shop, and soon after our arrival we were joined by my fabulous agent Rob and Emma, Publicity Director of Hodder & Stoughton (who brought with her two MASSIVE Back-Up Plan cutouts that I carted around for the rest of the evening). We all cracked on with laying out the gin and the Prosecco before getting to the important job of, erm, drinking it.

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I’d invited what I felt was a really amazing mix of women to the event. Women who empower me and inspire me on the daily, women I love spending time with. There was women there I’d never really met before; some I knew just from Instagram but who I knew I’d get on like a house on fire with in real life (hello, Gabriella, Charlie and Liv!!). My favourite networking group, the Southwood Social Hub, was represented by some of my all-time greatest business inspirations, and I was delighted to have my author friend Laura, she who has inspired and supported me such a lot through this process, by my side.

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And of course, my parents, my friends and my kids. Even my ex-husband! It felt amazing to have all these people in the room who have been so key to milestones in my life.

We were quite rightly turfed out of the shop at 9pm, and wandered over to the Chelsea Potter pub over the road, where I’d reserved a table for our continued merriment. More gin and Prosecco was quaffed before we departed for another bar, which is where my memory gets hazy.

Suffice to say I found myself squeezing on to the 23.30 from London Euston to Milton Keynes Central with a full heart and two absolutely massive bits of cardboard bearing the front cover of my book (which you better believe I told all the tipsy commuters about on the train).

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I can’t thank everyone who supported me on the day enough. From all the amazing women who came to drink gin with me at the party to the staff at Waterstones who kindly hosted us, to my brilliant publishers Hodder & Stoughton/Coronet and my agent Rob. My parents who so kindly brought the kids all the way down to London so they could ferry gin and tonics around for their over-excited mother, to my ex-husband who has been nothing but gracious and understanding about the release of my book.

Proper dream come true stuff! If you want me in the coming weeks, just shout for Carrie Bradshaw.

You can buy the book on Amazon here, listen to me discuss The Back-Up Plan with Alison Perry on the Not Another Mummy podcast and delve into my thoughts on feminism and self-care on Kate Taylor’s Practical Magic podcast here

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