Sophie Ellis Bextor at Jacques Townhouse

Sophie Ellis-Bextor on juggling motherhood with a pop career and a stake in a "soirée" venue in London

If any fantasy realm ever needed an ice queen, it's Jacques Townhouse, a pop-up hotel-cum-beauty parlour "soirée" venue in central London that looks like Alice's Wonderland on a sugar high, all candy-floss trees and frosted pink cupcakes. Enter Sophie Ellis-Bextor, who curated the project with hotelier David Carter and should be able to shake up this lavish fairytale with a blast of her trademark froideur.

If previous interviews are to be believed, talking to the west London pop star is like conversing with a cool breeze. So it's a relief when Ellis-Bextor, 31, turns out to be warm, chatty and animated by her surroundings.

"It appeals to my girly side," she says, surveying a landscape of powder-blue cakes. "And I think pop-ups are quite sexy." Does the promotional aspect bother her? (Jacques Townhouse is run by a cider company.) "I do find it a bit disconcerting when your name becomes a brand," she admits. "Some people are really good at packaging themselves, but that's not really me. I don't lie awake at night asking myself: 'Who is Sophie and what does she mean?'"

Right now, "Sophie" means a string of dancefloor hits since "Groovejet" early last decade, with a fourth album, Straight to the Heart, due in October. "I've been working with a lot more DJs, so it's very dance-y."

After the last album, Ellis-Bextor took time out to give birth to her second son. The only really difficult thing about juggling motherhood and pop stardom, she says, is lack of sleep. But she doesn't seem fazed. "You need to have a life outside your career. Overall, it's kept me enjoying it more," she says, contemplating a cupcake. "I don't take what I do for granted."

Soirées at the Jacques Townhouse, London W1 run until Friday. Book a place at


Killian Fox

The GuardianTramp

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