Editor Karen Pasquali Jones runs us through her week at love it!
I’m very excited as I’m going to lunch with Cilla Black, love it!’s agony aunt.
Wednesday is press day, so our first pages appear on Karma, our electronic proofing system. We don’t have chromalins, every page from repro is checked on screen instead.
It means art director Mark Setchfield and I can instantly change the images and text, and see a new page within an hour.
After a quick slick of lipgloss, I head for Le Caprice with editorial director Judy McGuire. She and I have become close after creating love it! over a glass of rosé in her club, Century, one lunchtime last August.
We sketched out a rough flat-plan, laughed a lot about men, plastic surgery and sex, and — voila! — six months later, we’re Britain’s fastest-selling new real-life weekly. Judy and I laugh that we had the blueprint for love it! in half an hour. ‘Imagine if we’d really thought about it,’ we joke.
Cilla’s in a great mood and keeps us entertained with stories of showbiz parties and evenings out with mates Paul O’Grady and Dale Winton. Cilla is teeny-tiny, and so is Judy, but they out-scoff and out-drink me. Now I know why Judy’s known as ‘Two-lunches McGuire’.
I give up trying to match them glass for glass as I have a party tonight for love it!’s sister magazine, Inside Out — headed by the hilarious Lisa Helmanis.
The party is a great success. I’m A Celebrity’s Lord Brockett (Charlie) wanders in, shrieks "hello" as if I’m his long-lost best friend and kisses me. I don’t know why, but everyone thinks they know me. I’ve got one of those faces.
I’ve been invited to judge Mr England 2006, and ask our readers to nominate their boyfriends through the magazine.
We pore over dozens of torsos before deciding on the right one for our holding shot. Tough work, but someone has to do it.
For once, I leave early as my husband, our three-year-old son and I have to be vaccinated for our upcoming press trip to Cuba. Three injections later, my arms are temporarily paralysed. I alternate between comforting my screaming son and delving into the huge love it! postbag.
It’s morning conference and we debate which stories we should be chasing for next week’s issue. With only a week’s lead-in time, we’re fleet-footed in the real-life market. Most magazines work between four and eight weeks in advance, so we can beat the competition on topicality. I was delighted to hear rival companies have held emergency meetings to come up with strategies to try to compete with us.
We’re co-hosting the Colin and Edith Show on Radio 1 this week. We draw straws to see who will take which day — I groan when I get Wednesday: press day.
I head off to a Japanese restaurant, Zuma, for a business lunch. I’ve put on a stone since launching love it! — that’s a lot of lunches. I now do a lot of talking and very little eating.
It’s an early start as I have to do a live interview about the magazine on breakfast radio.
I’d explained to the producer that my son, Deme, would be running around in the background as I’d have to go on before taking him to school. But neither I nor the presenter was prepared for him locking himself in the bathroom. I kept calm while answering questions about this week’s issue and picking the lock with a kitchen knife.
Deme had the final say when he demanded at the top of his voice: "Mama, come and wipe my bottom." But they still asked me back for another time.
I arrived in the office to find stories dropping off the flatplan at an alarming rate. Two have gone because of legal issues, but the love it! features team soon plugs the gaps. But it’s a war out there. We’ve even had one of our team jostling on the doorstep with her freelance boyfriend for a story.
Pillow talk must be a bit frosty in their house tonight.
I pop into all the shops and newsagents on my way to work.
It’s still a thrill to see love it! on the shelves. This is the third launch I’ve worked on — I helped create Real and Pick Me Up — but it’s definitely the best, and it has my DNA on every page.
I have only a few minutes to research what I’m going to talk about on Radio 1. Luckily, Peaches Geldof has spoken out in The Sun about how she wants to call any daughters she has Angel Delight and Cherry Vanilla.
With a surname like Pasquali Jones and a son named Demetrio Henri, it’s a no-brainer for me.
Unfortunately, Colin and Edith have heard I once auditioned for The X-Factor and was told by Louis Walsh that I had absolutely no star-quality.
They make me re-enact the entire scene live. I screech my way through Blondie’s "Heart of Glass". Later, my mother rings to say I was fantastic. Just goes to prove love is deaf as well as blind. And Colin and Edith have booked me again for Friday.
I spend all afternoon doing the cover. Who could fail to be intrigued by the girl who paid £900 to sleep with Batman, or the woman arrested after bigamously marrying her uncle?
An easy day. No lunches, no parties, but some exciting news.
We’re getting a love it! van. It’s bright pink with a big logo and the latest cover on the side.
We’re all celebrating until someone points out that The Sun has an open-top double-decker bus. Oh well, we have to start somewhere…