Apologies for my recent ‘blog silence’, I hope the pictures explain my where abouts. Normal service to resume this week.
We drank expresso martinis at Claridges, dined at Le Gavroche and looked at Maseratis at the Hurlingham Club
I did a lot of research for my novel, met family, visited the Botanical Gardens and snogged my husband on beautiful beaches.
Me and my man have been spending a lot of time getting fit which means we have been able to indulge in gorgeous food - and Barbados has a lot of wonderful food! I would highly recommend The Cliff and Mews.
I sunbathed and frolicked in the sea on wonderful beaches, took a boat trip to see the turtles and read a lot of books.
I also spent a lot of time posing. I think that was the most exhausting part…I am now in Tuscany working on my novel feeling rested and ready to write!
The Day We Met - Gemma Harris and Jessica Rose
A little background to help put this story in context - we met at my cousin Julie’s birthday party nearly 15 years ago as Julie was and still is dating Gemma’s brother Giles.
Gemma on Jessica -
We met at Julie’s 21st birthday party in Cirencester. I was 11 and Jessica was 13. I had never been to a 21st (obviously at the age of a 11) I’m pretty sure I had far too many glitter clips and Chinese chop sticks in my hair! I was so excited and Julie introduced me to watermelon Bacardi Breezers!
Anyway, I remember we were all dancing to Jackson Five - Blame It On The Boogie! I was learning the actions from Julie and I remember Jessica knowing the actions and thinking ‘Hmm she must be pretty cool!’
The first thing Jessica said to me was she fancied my brother! At first I did think she meant Giles and I was like, ‘Mate not cool he’s definitely going out with your cousin’ but she meant Grant and I still thought ‘- not cool.’ Ha! I honestly first thought ‘what an utter loon! Why the hell does she fancy that?!’ She told me to tell him she thought he was cute!
My main memory from that night was Grant kissing Jessica’s friend outside the football club that night and not her! I remember feeling sorry for her because she was much prettier than her friend. I honestly wish he kissed Jessica - because that would be oh so much funnier now!
The first time I knew we would be friends was a few years later when we properly talked and had a laugh and got to know each other in Cirencester with Julie! I remember running over to the cute guy that we liked - who deffo looked like Jude Law - and trying to get his number! I remember Jessica being very assertive and fun. It was an awesome night probably one of my most drunken too! I remember Julie putting me to bed at 6am and I Ianded on the bed with such force Jessica (who was asleep) ended up going flying in the air! What are friends for?!
Jessica on Gemma -
This particular ‘Day We Met’ was quite tricky. Gemma has been in my life for almost as long as I can remember so, many other memories cloud the actual day we met. This year after 14 beautiful years together her brother Giles is marrying my cousin Julie and we get to be bridesmaids! I had forgotten the details of that night at the football club but to be honest for all of my teenage years it was the story of my life that guys always fancied my friends and never me!
I do remember the chopsticks and glitter clips in her hair - she had a flair for fashion even then so I’m not surprised she had ended up working in styling at ASOS.
It’s hard to think of Gemma as just a friend, in some ways we are more like sisters - our families get on really well, we spent Christmas together last year, have lived together, she was one of the first people I called when I got engaged and is someone I confide in a lot.
I am grateful to every Angel in the sky that Grant did not ever fancy me because, as I am the Maid of Honour and he is the Best Man at Julie and Giles’ wedding this year that would have been mortifying and Gemma would have enjoyed my pain far too much. I wish I could remember more about the exact day that we met but I am so glad that we went on to have many more days and memories.
Last night we attended The Katie Piper Foundation’s Beautiful Ball. The pictures I have posted here are perhaps a little misleading as they give no sense of the purpose of the ball.
The Katie Piper Foundation help people with burns and scars to reconnect with their lives and their communities. Even that sentence can’t convey to you the incredible life changing work they do. To be permanently scarred or disfigured is the kind of horror most of us can’t imagine. I am so humbled by the inner strength of those that manage to rebuild their lives after this. It’s truly inspirational and put’s all life’s trivial worries into perspective.
So, last night at The Landmark Hotel in Marylebone The KP Foundation held their Beautiful Ball and a lot of money was raised for the most worthy of causes. It was, as promised, a beautiful evening and we had the pleasure of meeting some really wonderful people.
Even if you aren’t in the position to be able to support the charity I really feel everyone should be aware of them and the incredible work they do. If you wake up each day to a scar free face and body the least you can do is to be fully aware and informed of the hardship faced by those who’s lives are changed for ever. If the world see’s you for you, and not for something that has happened to you, you are truly lucky. People with burns and scars want to be accepted by society and often people don’t know how to respond to them. I think if we understood a little more about what they feel about the world we would feel better equipped to see past the scars and treat them as we would any other friend. Please, please take nine minutes to watch the video - it’s the very least you can do and you will be making a difference.
Katie Piper Foundation Video - There are of course some distressing scenes - be brave, they had to be.
Clockwise - The Raven Quartet, me with Brooke and Jade Kinsella, Claire Sweeney and the gorgeous Katie Piper
Me and my gorgeous man
Hair and makeup by Sarah Burrows - who works magic with her brushes
‘Mrs White is a bitch’
I can still see those words written, in the back of my tattered blue English book, as clear as day. It wasn’t even me who wrote them. What started as the conversational ramblings of two fifteen year old girls turned out to be one of my most significant school experiences.
One day during an afternoon English lesson at secondary school me and my friend started a written conversation in the back of my English book. What started off as a quick note - about how dull my friend was finding the class, turned into a three page essay.
Being fifteen year old gossipy girls the height of our interest at that stage was talking about other people that we went to school with. Fascinating topics such as ‘Who is the most annoying person in the class?’ and ‘Who do you think is secretly gay?’ not forgetting ‘Who would make the most ugly couple?’ so this written conversation went on. We finished the english lesson, forgot about the conversation, I handed my book in and we went on our way.
The next day we arrived for English and took our usual seats. Mrs White, our English teacher, handed everybody’s book out to them and when she had finished handing out books I still hadn’t received mine. What happened next happened in slow motion so I have no trouble recalling Mrs White stood at the front of the class; whiteboard behind her, one hand resting on her desk the other carelessly dangling my English book.
“I’m sorry my classes haven’t been very interesting recently.” She said, staring at me and my friend “or at least that’s your opinion.” At this stage it still hadn’t dawned on me what she was talking about, so I thought she had slightly lost the plot, she continued “I think one of the worst characters traits is people who are two faced. I have here a conversation between ‘Claire’ and Jessica that I would like to read to you all.”
What went through my mind at this point is far too rude to repeat and then it happened - she started to read our conversation out loud to the entire class. I don’t think there was a single person in that class that we didn’t insult. Seeing the look on people’s faces as they turned to look at us was awful - a mix of anger and disgust. Then she got to the part where ‘Claire’ had written ‘Mrs White is a bitch’ and she snapped the book shut and ordered us outside the room to speak to us alone. It was a hideous experience which caused a huge amount of upset and embarrassment both for us and those that we had written about. It was wrong I know that and we were made an example of and lessons were learnt. We still had a lot to learn about friendship, loyalty and respect for authority and we made a very silly mistake. We didn’t consider the possibility of it being read or of hurting people’s feelings.
It was a humbling experience and one that taught me a lot. I am just fortunate to have been taught this lesson in an English class in the privacy of my school. Now with teenagers having access to the internet and expressing opinions - that they won’t even feel the same way about this afternoon let alone tomorrow - it makes me feel sympathetic towards them. It’s a difficult transition from child to adult and those of us without embarrassing photos on the internet or twitter feeds shared with the world were really lucky to have the space and privacy to grow up and make mistakes which are now forgotten about. I feel we could be kinder on teenagers that misuse the internet. I understand a lot of uproar is about the particular opinions that are being shared (e.g. racism and homosexuality) but that’s young adults - they say stupid things. A lot. It then becomes the responsibility of the adults in their lives to challenge and change these opinions. Have you ever said something you didn’t mean? Or even worse something you didn’t mean OR understand. Teenagers have instant access to a tool which publishes their opinion to the world and unfortunately for them they can’t take it back.
Those of us that understand the power of our words and actions are very considered about what we put into black and white. Those growing up in the internet generation don’t have the luxury of their ‘mistakes’ being forgotten about. So maybe we should be less judgemental and a little more forgiving when it comes to discussing these sort of matters. After all, he without sin…
One of the things that a lot of people comment on is what an extraordinary group of friends I have. I am so lucky to have such loyal, affectionate, driven and inspirational women in my life and I want to bring that more to the forefront of my blog.
I have created a new weekly feature for MoreJessicaRose called The Day We Met where myself and a friend will tell the story of the day we met.
As the first person I ever interviewed for MoreJessicaRose it made sense to kick off ‘The Day We Met’ with model, food blogger and, most importantly, my friend, Elizabeth Minett.
The Day We Met - Elizabeth Minett and Jessica Rose
Elizabeth on Jessica -
I was meeting a friend to attend the Vivienne Westwood show during LFW, and was told to find his friends “Nick Knowles and his pretty blonde girlfriend” at member’s club Home House and wait for him there as we would all be going together to the show. As a Canadian, I had absolutely no idea who Nick Knowles was; so there I was, searching through the grand rooms and hallways of Home House, asking every man in my heavy Canadian accent, “Hi, are you Nick Knowles?!!” (I’ve had finer moments…) Finally I came across a couple sitting quietly together in front of a large window, where to my relief Nick answered, “Yes, I am!” I soon learned his “pretty blonde girlfriend” had a name. Looking back, I’m sure Jessi was thinking, “Oh God, who is this blonde American coming up to my boyfriend!”
I remember thinking she was elegant and composed, yet somewhat reserved and unsure about this foreign stranger (rightfully so!) But we soon fell into easy conversation, where her cheeky smile brightened the room. Funny enough I didn’t stay friends with the original person I was meeting that day, but years on luckily still have Jessi! I suppose every person you meet in life brings you to someone else, its just finding out whether they are the messenger or there to stay!
I didn’t meet Jessica thinking I would develop a friendship with her, let alone a lasting one! But the best additions to one’s life are always unexpected. I knew we would be longtime friends when she and Nick invited me to their private Christmas dinner one year, yet again at Home House! It was a lovely table of close friends and family, so at that point I realised, “Hm, I guess she thinks I’m bearable enough to have Christmas dinner with…!”
My earliest memory of Jessi, aside from our first meeting, was when she would liken me to playboy bunny Kendra, and to this day I still haven’t forgiven her. Lovers quarrels…
Jessica on Elizabeth -
I met Elizabeth at Home House in London, I wasn’t aware she was joining us and so when this stunning blonde model arrived and plonked herself down next to Nick I felt decidedly inferior. I assumed she was a) full of herself and b) American - I was wrong on both counts.
I tried really hard not to warm to her but it was impossible - she has such a natural way about her and she laughs all the time. I think she won me round in about five minutes flat.
I think what makes this friendship such a strong one is that it lasts despite geographical distance - Elizabeth is now living in New York but she travels a lot for work too. We’ll always catch up when she’s back in London and we stay in touch via phone too.
My friendship with Elizabeth is so poignant because she was a real life example of ‘not judging books by their covers’ - in three years of friendship I’ve never seen her check a mirror and she’s always the first to a pay a compliment. She’s more than just a really talented Canadian that is incredibly good looking (and does not bear any resemblance to Kendra the playboy bunny… ) and I’m glad I got to find that out.
It has recently come to light that my cat is ‘bullying’ me - no, really - stay with me. It started last week, I exercise most mornings and during my stretching whilst I’m lying on the floor ignoring his protests for affection he has started to attack me. It was a little nip at first that didn’t break the skin but a week later and I have an arm that looks like a cross between a rabies rash and an accident with a bramble bush - the little shit.
I couldn’t work out what was causing this behaviour but alas I preempted such a time and have a book for such a problem ‘Cats Behaving Badly’. I turned to the back to look up ‘Biting’ and came across ‘Bullying (cats bullying humans)’. ‘What a concept’ I thought, ‘a bully!? Surely not my little Galliano’. To cut a long story short turns out that because I hand reared him as a kitten (his mum was a stray) and I have never said no to him, he is a brat. Cats learn boundaries from their mothers - if they nip when feeding or are too boisterous, they get told off rather sharply by mummy cat which teaches little kitten that life sucks - you can’t always get what you want and they learn to manage frustration. Kittens who are hand reared by soft touch humans don’t learn boundaries and as such my refusal to stroke him when he demands it, results in a full blown tantrum in which he bites and scratches me.
Cat psychology aside it got me thinking about how we often treat those that give us the most love and affection, the worst. It’s ironic isn’t it. Sometimes all that comes from being a wonderful friend, the hardest worker or an excellent spouse is a lack of respect and appreciation. So if you are lucky enough to have a friend or partner that usually puts your feelings first and is working very hard to make you happy maybe you could go easier on them if they have to cancel that meet up or your partner has to skip the lunch time phone call. It’s just a shame I can’t explain the complexities of this to my very spoilt cat - I’m considering sending him on a charity trip to Greece to meet the homeless cats out there - teach him a bit of humility. Oh lord, I’ve become the crazy cat lady haven’t I?
It’s a cold, grey morning in Liverpool when I meet Elaine Cassidy the award winning Irish actress (best known for her role as Abbey Mills in the CBS drama Harpers Island - although she’s also starred against Nicole Kidman and Cillian Murphy in major feature films). Despite staying up late for the BBC worldwide party last night we managed to miss each other for the entire evening - which I have come to believe was probably a good thing or I could have envisaged a much later night. I meet her at breakfast in the hotel instead, she’s bottle feeding her baby boy Lynott, whilst having breakfast with her husband Stephen, Stephen’s mother and her daughter Kila. Kila, 4, politely tells me she is feeling unwell before adding that I am beautiful and she is ‘going to go upstairs now’. I like Elaine instantly, for one thing she is feeding Lynott but we both have her full attention - as an awful multi -tasker I have no idea how she is doing this - but mainly she’s just really interesting. There’s an energy and enthusiasm about her which is completely infectious plus I’m a sucker for an Irish accent. She had me at ‘Hello’…
Jessica Rose: What does ‘success’ mean to you?
Elaine: Success to me means being happy with what you have achieved more than what you have achieved.
Being in the entertainment industry I imagine that starting out you may have come across rejection? How did you find it in yourself to pick yourself up and carry on - did you ever doubt your ability?
I think ‘rejection’ was easier to take at the beginning of my career because at the beginning you are dabbling but as time goes on and it becomes your job officially and as you get older and gain more responsibilities - like children - it grates and hurts a little more. I’ve never viewed not getting a part as rejection though because it was never mine to lose, more mine to gain. There are a hundred and one reasons why you get a part and and a hundred and one reasons why you don’t. It’s so subjective, sometimes it can be a fickle as not being tall enough - that’s the industry and I’m fully aware of it!
Acting is a competitive industry, how do you find a balance between being compared to and competing against other women for roles but also being supportive of them?
It’s easy to be supportive of other actresses I admire, if I lose out on a part to an actress I rate then it’s easier to swallow. Also, if they then give a great performance I can appreciate that and give credit where credit is due.
If you could have woken up any where on earth this morning where would you have woken up and what would you have had for breakfast?
I would have woken up in Éire (Ireland) and I would have liked to have had eggs benedict but probably would have had toasted batch bread with butter and jam and a cappuccino.
How do you stay motivated?
By being inspired by art.
What is the one thing you know now about men and relationships that you would tell your younger self?
Men have different eyes to women, they seem to see things in a different way, they tend to blur out the mess. They are for forgetful and less observant - well, that’s all in my experience. (She laughs)
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Expect nothing, accept everything.
What would you spend your last £10 on?
Gosh, that’s a good one - maybe mangos. I love mangos and so do my family.
Speaking of her family I look across the table at my husband and Elaine’s husband Stephen who have been merrily chatting away and at her baby boy who has patiently fed and burped his way through the interview with out kicking up a fuss. We’re told if we don’t order breakfast soon we will miss it and I for one am too hungover to go without so I thank her for her time and leave really pleased to have met the sort of real life Wonder Woman that MoreJessicaRose is all about.
I often think the most beautiful things were created a long time ago. Wandering around european cities is truly astonishing - we just don’t do modern architecture like it. I was in Prague recently and visited St Barbara’s Church and was totally astounded to see what people back then were up against in constructing such a building - the craftsmanship is out of this world. People worked on that building knowing that in their life time they would never see it completed - it took over 150 years. There isn’t an ounce of detail that has gone un noticed or un thought of - the finish was exquisite. The building has stood the test of time and is still used and loved today.
Now, with all the tools and skill available to us we have chosen to build predominantly for practicality as can be seen in the high rise flats, grey buildings and modern residential homes with no decorative flourishes to speak of what so ever. Largely, it seems, we don’t take pride in our buildings in the way we used to. They go up quickly and are purpose built and, if need be, demolished and the process starts again. In London there are buildings going up whilst vast buildings remain unused - we have become careless and wasteful. It’s not just buildings - it’s food, it’s clothes, its ipads - everything is disposable. We’ll buy a ready meal rather than cook from scratch. We’ll buy a child labour top from primark instead of saving for a top that was ethically made. We update our perfectly functioning phones for the next model. We want everything now - even if that means taking the cheap, easy option.
It feels like we value little and take pride in even less - I can’t imagine many people nowadays taking part in a project that they would never live to see completed. We know the value of nothing because we can get it and replace it so easily and we wonder why we are often unsatisfied. What is there to love, cherish, appreciate and desire when we can literally have it all. Maybe the key is limiting our own excess - knowing when we’ve got enough; buildings, food, clothes, gadgets. After all how many more buildings can we need when so many sit empty? How many shoes do you need when you can only wear one pair at once? How much extra food do we buy and waste just because we are afforded the luxury of being choosey about what we eat?
There was a real sense of joy and pride about the way people made and used things in times gone by which sometimes I feel we miss out on when we opt for the mass produced option. It would be great if we learned to say enough is enough and stopped putting a sell by date on everything. Indeed many things get better with age…wine, for example.
My husband is impossible to buy presents for so this year I didn’t give him a ‘thing’ I gave him a journey. He’s always wanted to go to Prague, so go we did…
A street view of prague, the astronomical clock in the Old Town Square, a beautifully decorative door (of which there are many) and my favourite restaurant - which looks like a disney castle.
The Sedlec Ossuary in Kutna Hora, is a small Roman Catholic chapel. The ossuary is estimated to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, whose bones have been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel. Has to be seen to be believed. Proper freaky.
Mulled wine in the Old Town Square listening to a very cool local band.
Dinner with my love.
Homeward bound - London at night from the air.