Fearne Cotton on how her partying style has changed with age

Why Fearne Cotton has swapped alcohol-fuelled late night house parties for daytime affairs with Pinterest-friendly decor

Fearne Cotton
(Image credit: Alex Cameron)

Over the years I've thrown some cracking house parties. I would cram my first flat with as many humans as possible back in the day, music blaring, vodka flowing and very little food. Then in my first little cottage I threw a fifties night where my males friends turned up with slicked back hair and ankle swinger trousers and the ladies all sashayed in in voluminous skirts ready to dance the night away. In my late twenties and early thirties, I would have huge Christmas parties that started whilst I was live on Radio 1 and would finish when the neighbours started complaining in the wee hours. 

More recently I have changed how I approach house parties as my values, energy levels and desires have shifted with age. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I am not a night owl. I start to physically twitch if there are still people in my house at 9pm. I also hate mess. In my twenties I would happily wander off to bed with beer bottles in the sink and even actual humans sleeping on the sofas, there is no way I would sleep knowing I had an overflowing bin bag and crisps ground into the rug. I'm also pooped most of the time. If you're my age, or have kids, or both you may well feel the same. I don't have it in me to dance on the sofa singing along to Craig David songs like I used to, yet that doesn't mean I can't throw a mean party. 

Pastel paper party decorations strung over a vintage floral picture with steel lantern

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

Here's what I've changed to suit who I am today. Parties are daytime events - the ideal being on a sunny day in the garden with friends bringing their kids and dogs along. The music is still blaring but it most definitely gets turned off at 6/7pm as a warning sign that people should leave (my Dad's tactic back in the day was to come downstairs in his dressing gown).

And there is food. While makeshift cocktail making was the crux of my parties of yesteryear, today decent grab-able food is where it's at. Snacks that will keep adults and kids happy like homemade veggie burgers in buns and fruit kebabs alongside glass drinks dispensers filled with juice, water and fresh fruit. 

I also love to have something for the kids to do so that those with kids can relax somewhat. Sometimes a good old fashioned bouncy castle does the trick or even a table out with multiple pots of playdough and cookie cutters. 

Animated pull quote from Fearne Cotton

(Image credit: Future)

Decorations have become a new addition to my parties, too. In my twenties I was purely focused on having enough alcohol options and glasses to facilitate the incomprehensible number of humans I would cram in through the door. These days, I instead spend hours happily browsing Pinterest for decor inspiration.

Last year I constructed tens of paper flowers which I pinned up all around the garden, with paper lanterns in the trees. I almost prefer decorating to the party itself!

Partying can change as you do. I still love a good party, just as long as I can be in bed by 9:30pm.


Fearne Cotton
Contributing Editor and Wellness Expert

Fearne Cotton is one of the best known and most popular broadcasters in the UK and is most recently known as the Founder of the wellbeing brand, Happy Place. The brand was created from her first book released in 2017, Happy, which was a Sunday Times Bestseller and a silver Nielsen Bestseller. This was the first in a series of books talking about her own, and some of the not so positive, experiences with happiness. This was also the premise for her podcast launched in 2018, Happy Place, and has featured an array of guest such as Ellie Golding, Hilary Rodham Clinton, Jada Pinkett Smith, Russell Brand, Gary Barlow, Alicia Keys, and Elizabeth Gilbert amongst others. To date, the podcast has over 59 million downloads and continues to top the charts. 2019 saw a further extension of the brand into the live space, with over 10,000 people attending two Happy Place Festivals, one in the north and one in the south of England. The Festival went virtual in 2020, running over for month featuring around 150 pieces of content. The Festivals return later on this summer to Chiswick House & Gardens and Tatton Park.

Her third children’s book Your Mood Journal was published in the November 2020, and her most recent book Bigger Than Us, was published in January this year. In 2021 Fearne also launched Happy Place Books, which has already published some amazing works by Lawrence Okolie & Dr Olivia Remes.

Fearne is a mother of two, and step-Mother of two, and closely supports a range of charities - most notably mental health charity Mind, The Prince’s Trust and Coppafeel!, the latter of which she curates the charity’s music festival, Festifeel.