HELLO! DIGITAL COVER STORY

Stacey Solomon reveals sons will give her away at summer wedding complete with 'sparkly' dress

The Loose Women presenter is set to release her book, Tap to Tidy, next week

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While many of us are taking each day as it comes and the future remains uncertain, for Stacey Solomon, there is one thing she is determined to do this year – marry her fiancé Joe Swash.

The Loose Women presenter, who announced her engagement on Christmas Eve, plans to walk down the aisle in July and say "I do" to the father of her one-year-old son Rex, even if it means not having her complete guest list there.

MORE: Stacey Solomon branded 'best mum ever' after shocking home transformation

"I'm trying to stay as positive as possible," Stacey tells HELLO! as she takes a break from posing for our exclusive photoshoot in north London. We're here to celebrate the launch of the star's new crafting book, Tap to Tidy, but it doesn't take long before we're sidetracked by Stacey's scintillating engagement ring and talk turns to her wedding plans.

Stacey Solomon stars on our March digital cover

As it stands under the government's proposed easing of lockdown, larger weddings with an unlimited capacity may go ahead from late June, which means Stacey and Joe could have their dream day with all their guests the following month. But the couple are adamant to still go ahead with a more intimate do if restrictions tighten again.

"There are people in our lives who we don't think we will, unfortunately, have much time left with," Stacey says. "So if worst comes to worst and we can only have a wedding of six, then we will get married with those special people."

During our exclusive sit-down, the former X Factor singer reveals her dream wedding dress, the role her sons will have on the day, her plans to have more children and of course, becoming the queen of 'Tap to Tidy' with four million Instagram followers and counting.

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WATCH: Stacey Solomon shares her top 5 crafting essentials

There is still a lot of uncertainty about whether larger weddings will go ahead this summer, despite the Prime Minister's roadmap out of lockdown. How is wedding planning going for your July do and are you managing to get excited about it all?

"It's going really well and I'm really enjoying it, I'm trying to stay as positive as possible. I know the reality of the situation is that we might not even be allowed to get married this year, let alone have the people that we want there. But me and Joe have spoken about it. There are people in our lives who we don't think we will, unfortunately, have much time left with. So if worst comes to worst, and we can only have a wedding of six, then we will get married with those special people because it's really important to us to have certain people there.

"Joe lost his nan during lockdown and you see what the funeral is like, you see how many people miss out and it's just not a nice situation to be in. It's hard and everyone has been affected by the pandemic in some way.

"But I am really excited. We're just waiting to hear what Boris says about the whole situation because if the vaccines and testing are going well then maybe there'll be an opportunity to have more people later this year. For now, we're planning a small wedding and then will do another ceremony later on when everything's settled."

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Tap to Tidy by Stacey Solomon, £11.55, Amazon

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Will your Loose Women co-stars be invited to your bigger ceremony if you end up having another one?

"I would have all of my friends, definitely. The girls at Loose Women are my actual friends. They're not just telly friends. I speak to them all the time, especially Nadia [Sawalha], Jane [Moore], Kaye [Adams] and Christine [Lampard]. We text each other every day. I would absolutely have them there. As soon as I'm allowed, there's so many people I want to celebrate with. But there are just special people I don't want to lose, waiting for everybody to be able to celebrate with us."

MORE: Nadia Sawalha reveals daughters' challenges and Loose Women secrets

You've also struck up a very close friendship with Mrs Hinch. Did you just click straight away?

"Sophie is such a lovely, incredible and sweet woman. And she's kind. She doesn't have a bad word to say about anybody. She just reminds me of my family. She reminds me of where I came from and where I grew up. We just immediately got on, we didn't even have to try. We talk on the phone every day. We laugh about things, we have really similar worries. Our partners get on really well, they both love Arsenal and they both think we're absolutely insane.

"Rex and Ronnie are the same age. Before lockdown, they had each other as little play partners which was really nice. We were saying the other day that we hope they remember each other. They see each other on FaceTime, but it's not the same, so that's quite sad. It's all those little things."

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Stacey looks stunning in Coast's organza puff sleeve dress

You must be so excited that she's having another boy.

"She rang me straight after she found out. When you have children, and you have a certain gender, people always assume you want the opposite gender next. I don't think it's in a malicious way. I think people just assume, 'Oh, you've got a boy. So you want a girl.' Like it makes any difference!

"So that's why I've never revealed my genders because I almost feel like it would disappoint people to know I was having another boy! But actually, I don't think there's a parent in the world that cares what the gender is, because brothers and sisters, what difference does it make? They're siblings and amazing and incredible and they're all going to be their own person anyway. Not one of them is going to be the same."

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Stacey's new crafting book is out on 4 March

Will your boys Zachary, Leighton and Rex, and Joe's son Harry have special roles at the wedding?

"We've got four boys and they will all just be our page boys. We didn't want to make one the best man or give one a special role. But I would like them all to walk me down the aisle with my dad.

"Our dogs Theo and Peanut will of course also be involved! They're getting suits made and they'll have bow ties. I made a wedding planning book and a whole double page is dedicated to the dogs."

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The bride-to-be wearing Coast's tulle bandeau mini dress

You'll be wanting to keep your dress a secret until the day, but what can you tell us about it?

"Because of lockdown and restrictions, I haven't been able to have any fittings. I've been speaking to a lady who makes dresses and I've sent her my measurements. I've been sending her ideas, but that's all I can do for now. When we're allowed to go in for fittings, I'll try on different shapes. I don't know exactly what I want and she recommended I try on different styles, because the most likely scenario is that I'll try on a style I would never normally choose and actually love that one the most.

"There isn't much I can do at this stage – we might even have to do FaceTime fittings and then hope for the best on the day! But I do think I'd like capped sleeves and a lot of tulle, I don't like thick material, and I'd want something fitted but not corseted like Bridgerton, although I am obsessed with Bridgerton!

"I'm also obsessed with the brand Berta. Everything's made out of glitter. I don't want the dress to be all glittery, but I definitely want sparkle!"

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Stacey sparkles in Pretty Lavish's sequin Fifi dress and white boots by Dune

Will you change into a second dress?

"I might have a shorter dress for dancing, but no, I think I'll want to wear my dress all day!"

You're the queen of crafting and you've already made so many things for your wedding, like your coasters, confetti cones and guest book. How much DIY are you doing for your wedding?

"I'm not making everything! I'm getting lots from little businesses and a couple of big businesses and then I'm just making the little things that I enjoy. I'm making table numbers and I'm going to stamp my invites.

"I had a bit of a disaster though. I bought a wax seal that you could personalise, so I added a 'J' and an 'S' and underneath there was another option to put your design in, but I'd assumed I had already done that in the first box, so I now have a wax seal that says, 'J, S, Your design goes here.' You'd think they'd check and say, 'Are you sure you want this on your metal wax seal stamp that you can't return because it's personalised?' I'm going to try and file it off with a nail file and see if that works. But that really put a dampener on my stamps!"

MORE: Is this Stacey Solomon's wedding dress? See photo

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The TV presenter rocks a red suit and heeled sandals by ASOS

Your fans have been keeping up with all of your lockdown home improvements, like your pink laundry room! Is this your forever home?

"If we have more children, then no. We've got four boys at the moment. Zach and Leighton share a room, Rex has a room, and then Harry has a room. But they're all very small box rooms. It's a big house compared to what I grew up in so I'm not saying it's a small house. But I think if we decide to have any more children, then we would like to have a bit more space. So we would probably have to move further out of town to get some more space because it's too expensive. I would like more children in the future and I would like to be more in the country anyway, just be surrounded by trees and fields."

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Stacey cosies up in a lilac OutDazl knit co-ord

Have you and Joe talked about plans to have more children?

"We talk about it all the time. I think those are the life decisions you have to be having conversations about from early on, because why keep going years and years down the line if you've both got different plans, but luckily, we're both on the same page. He wants more children, I want children, we both would love a bit more space and a bit more fresh air. And equally, if he said, 'I don't want any more children,' that would be a big conversation that we'd have to sit down and discuss. It's better to get it out of the way early."

Rex, your youngest, is turning two in May. Would you like him to start nursery soon?

"I would love to have Rex in nursery, meeting other children and interacting. His brothers are much older than him so it's a very different type of play and stimulation. But I don't feel like I can put him in nursery non-essentially, so hopefully he'll go to nursery soon. It's going to be a challenge because he's had both his parents and his brothers at home for the last year, so to leave us all… Honestly, I know what it's going to be like, he's going to be sobbing every time I drop him off at school!"

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The mother-of-three wears an Olivia Rubin pink jumpsuit

You rose to fame because of The X Factor. Did you ever imagine that 12 years later you'd be releasing a book about your biggest hobby – crafting – with four million Instagram followers?

"I think it's ridiculous! Me and my mum were talking about it the other day and genuinely, when I did The X Factor, I was so grateful just to have done the show. They had masterclasses when singers would come in and give you a masterclass. I got to meet Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and George Michael, people I grew up adoring. The whole experience of X Factor was more than a dream. I couldn't have imagined ever finding myself in that position. So when I was doing the show, all me and mum said was that if this is it, if this is all I ever get out of whatever this world and this life is, I'm good with that. I'm happy with that, it's amazing.

MORE: Stacey Solomon proudly shows off stretch marks as she models crop top

"So to be here 12 years later, still in the industry that I absolutely love, doing what I love doing… Honestly, it feels incomprehensible. The industry is difficult. Nothing's guaranteed, and nothing's for sure. So I genuinely just feel like the luckiest girl in the world to still even be remotely doing something that I enjoy.

"My agent hates it when I say this but I have also been lucky. I've been lucky that people have believed in me, that channels have believed in me, commissioners have believed in me and given me opportunities. And I'm not saying that I haven't worked hard and taken those opportunities and done everything I can to make the best of them. But I have also had opportunities, which isn't granted to everybody. It's been a privilege, and I've also worked really, really hard."

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Stacey plans to have a tulle wedding dress

Your fans love you as a panellist on Loose Women. Would you ever want to step up to become an anchor?

"Oh god no, it's too much pressure for me! I like just coming on and giving me two pennies worth. I love doing little bits like the Feel Good News, but to anchor the whole show is a real skill. I'm not saying I couldn't do it. I just love not having the pressure. Being able to just go with the flow and chip in whenever you want – it's much more fun than having to completely drive the entire show, and make sure you get the timings right. I mean I'd cover if it was the worst-case scenario!"

What did you make of the recent departures, of Saira Khan and Andrea McLean leaving the show? Were you surprised?

"I get surprised when anyone leaves because we have so much fun. And Saira and Andrea, we've been on holidays together. We've done so many lovely things together. So when someone leaves it's always sad, because it's like the end of an era. And both of them were quite surprising departures. I didn't know they were happening.

"But I'm really happy for them because they want to pursue other things. Andrea's got her book and feels so passionately about the menopause, spreading the word and raising awareness for it. And Saira's got her skincare range that she's absolutely put her heart and soul into. I think that if you ever want to move forward and do something different, why the hell not? Good luck to them and I hope they get what they deserve because they're good people."

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The author is hoping to have more children with Joe Swash

Speaking of getting what you want, your new book Tap to Tidy must be a dream come true?

"It's so exciting. It's a weird, exciting feeling because I hope people actually like it. I was just saying what if people get the book and go, 'Oh is that it?' I've never written a book like this before. I've done my autobiography and little memoirs, but I've never done anything about my hobbies or things that I enjoy doing. So there was something really special about getting the book and then seeing all my little creations in drawings."

In the introduction, you talk about being naturally organised because you were a teenage mum. Did having Zachary at a young age make you even more responsible?

"At first, it was a real challenge. I had to get organised, there was just no room for error. I didn't have enough money for most things. I had vouchers that I had to collect and I had a Giro that I had to get and that had to last me a certain amount of time. I was quite a scatty teenager, I still am quite scatty, I'm a bit all over the place and forgetful. So I have to really drum it into myself that if I need to get something or if I need to remember something, or if I need to save, or if I need to make things stretch, I have to be organised.

"And definitely, when I had Zach, I had to find a way of getting by every single day with enough stuff, and to not lose things because it just wasn't an option. It's not like I could have just gone and bought more nappies, I had to just have what I had. It definitely made me more organised. It might have taken a while, but it did definitely push me into being more thoughtful about the things that I do and what I buy and where I put them and where I store them."

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Stacey's new book is all about crafting and organising

In your book you also talk about drawing a little dustbin and throwing all your worries into it. Are you a natural worrier?

"I am a natural worrier. I have a weird fear of death. I don't know what it is, but I'm always scared that I'm just going to die! I have these really intrusive thoughts sometimes. And the only way to get rid of them is to just focus on other things. If it gets bad, then I'll just try and do something else that completely occupies my mind and focus on the task at hand.

MORE: 5 of Stacey Solomon's best DIY projects

"And I draw those brain junk bins because I genuinely lie awake at night, just going over all the stuff I've got to remember, all the stuff that's bothering me or worrying me. I can be lying there for two hours and by the time you know it, it's 11 o'clock and you've just sat there and thought about absolute rubbish for hours and hours. So I write things down, get all the rubbish that's in my head onto the page, then put that page in my bedside drawer."

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Stacey has been making bits for her DIY wedding

Did you have any worries or wobbly moments when you were writing the book?

"Sometimes you say things and actually in print they sound a bit different. I found that when I was recording the audiobook out loud. I would sit there and think, 'Oh, that doesn't sound like how I meant it to sound.' And so there are a couple of things in there that I hope don't come across the wrong way.

"Because I am so conversational, as I was writing it, it is conversational. Every time I read it back, I thought, will people understand what I'm saying because it's very conversational? But I don't know how else to talk! We're all critical of ourselves though, aren't we? So I can sit and pick at every little bit, but actually, there's nothing in there that I'm not proud of."

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Stacey's sons will walk her down the aisle along with her dad

You had the idea for the book for a while and then it actually took about a year to create. How supportive were Joe and the boys throughout the whole process?

"The boys just thought, 'Cool.' They really don't care! The other day I was doing a Live with a Tik Tok person who they absolutely love. That's when they'll perk up and they're interested but outside of that they're just like, 'Whatever.'

"But Joe was really good. I would sit there for hours and hours just reading every single word, making sure there was nothing wrong and I picked it apart for months. And sometimes he'd be talking to me and could tell I wasn't listening properly, and he'd say, 'Stace, where are you?' Honestly, he was so good, because he lost me for a few months when my head was just in the book. So I'm very grateful for Joe and his support."

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Stacey during our exclusive photoshoot in north London

We're coming up to a year since the start of lockdown. What has this past year taught you?

"Lockdown has really reiterated to me that absence certainly does make the heart grow fonder! I love my family to bits, but they are always around! I find myself hiding in cupboards or in the toilet, just sitting there. Trying not to breathe so they can't hear me. It's taught me that a break away from the ones you love will do you the world of good. I do love them though!

"Ultimately when I think about lockdown for us, thankfully we've stayed well, the kids have been well, we've got a garden and I've got help with childcare when I need it. So we've been really lucky in lockdown compared to so many people."

SHOP STACEY SOLOMON'S SHOOT:

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Black animal jacquard silk-satin jumpsuit, £396, Olivia Rubin

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Tulle bandeau mini dress, £48, Coast

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Organza puff sleeve dress, £76.30, Coast

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Fifi sequin dress, £78, Pretty Lavish

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Shrunken dad suit blazer, £38.40, ASOS Design

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Knit co-ord set in lilac, £49, OutDazl

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Tap To Tidy by Stacey Solomon is published March 4th (Ebury Press).

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