“The idea for writing my first book was really all thanks to my amazing agent Becky. She emailed me when I was at Tatler saying: ‘I love your writing and have you ever thought about writing a book, because I think you could?’ That was the carrot that I needed to come up with the faintly autobiographical story of a girl who works at a posh magazine!

My idea for The Wish List came from a dinner I’d been invited to in Notting Hill by a former editor of mine. She’d gone to work for a tech company who’d launched a new range of designer vibrators, so it was a table of all women. I sat next to an amazing lady who told me her life story – her ex had left her while she was pregnant, and she was completely heartbroken. She wrote down a list of everything she wanted in a man, and then suddenly she met the man of her dreams and she’d never been happier.

I mentioned this storyline concept to my step-mum, and she said: ‘Well yes darling, I did the same thing before I met your father – I wrote tall, English and has to be a rower!’

The wonderful John Sandoe let me work at the bookshop for research purposes, and I was completely useless. I don’t think I sold a single book. The lovely thing about John Sandoe is that the staff are on first-name terms with the customers, and instantly know exactly what to recommend. As much as I love going into a Waterstones, going into John Sandoe is just so cosy.

I do much of my writing at the Pret on the King’s Road and the top floor of Peter Jones. It’s calm, with great views and excellent coffee. I’m 35 now, and it somewhat takes me back to fond memories of my illicit teenage youth, going up and down the King’s Road and going out at Crazy Larry’s [now Jak’s].

When I was writing a piece to publicise the book, I interviewed several life coaches, as I wanted Gwendoline in the book to be this quite mad, outlandish character. They turned out to all be quite sensible. Whether it’s romantically or professionally, I realised confidence is what they are trying to teach people.

One of them actually gave me a proper coaching session over Zoom, and he gave me some really useful tips on my Hinge profile! The one thing that I haven’t done yet, is sit down and write my own list. At some point I will get it down on paper, but to do it seriously is quite an undertaking.

For writers, life wasn’t hugely different during lockdown. It’s a running joke amongst my friends, because I do my writing in the mornings, that I like being in bed by 10pm. I’m the one slipping away from dinner parties.

For writers, life wasn’t hugely different during lockdown. It’s a running joke amongst my friends, because I do my writing in the mornings, that I like being in bed by 10pm. I’m the one slipping away from dinner parties.

I feel really lucky that I could still work [in lockdown]. Having said that, my brother [the magician Drummond Money-Coutts] just had Covid. He’s young, fit and doesn’t drink and luckily he’s alright now, but there were moments when his chest was tight and it was horrible. Once someone close to you has been through it, it makes you a little bit less relaxed about the whole thing.

I also went through the process of egg freezing during lockdown, which was quite a good use of time because you need a month of not doing very much. So I didn’t have any FOMO while I was sitting at home injecting myself with hormones every evening, lying on my mum’s sofa in Sussex with the dog.

I talk about it on my podcast. All my family are divorced so I’m quite pragmatic about relationships, and I think egg freezing means women can relax a bit. It definitely made me feel like I didn’t have to constantly be sifting through Hinge.

Luckily the reaction to the podcast [Freezing Time] has been really positive. I’ve been trolled quite badly a couple of times on Twitter for things I’ve written, so I never google myself. As a journalist I probably shouldn’t be so thin-skinned, but I don’t like it when I see abuse online. It’s probably incredibly wimpy, but I think it’s better not to go hunting for bad stuff.

Currently, I’m about a fifth of the way through my fourth book, which is all about first love. I’m basically spending the next two months solidly working flat out on finishing it so, in fact, I’m probably the only person who doesn’t really mind if we go into lockdown again.”

The Wish List, £12.99, is available at John Sandoe, 10 Blacklands Terrace; and Waterstones, 158 King’s Road
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