The nation's sweetheart Cheryl Cole gets into the party spirit in a sheer-fronted mini

With the next round of X Factor auditions keeping her busy and a new disc to record, nights out are few and far between for Cheryl Cole.

The Girls Aloud beauty made up for the recent focus on work with high-spirited celebrations for her 26th birthday.

Accompanied as always by plenty of friends and family, including her favourite guy, footballer husband Ashley Cole, the nation's sweetheart set out to have some real fun at London's Vanilla Club.

To make sure she was the undoubted star of the evening Cheryl had chosen a sensational traffic-stopping mini-dress.

The £4,000 Alexander McQueen number featuring a sheer front panel that allowed observers an ample view of her toned assets and a playful fringed hem.

Guests joining the party included her bandmates Kimberley Walsh and Nicola Roberts as well as Holly Willoughby, taking time out from first-time motherhood after the birth of her baby son seven weeks ago.

The X Factor crowd were out in force, with judges Louis Walsh, Dannii Minogue and Simon Cowell on hand. TV impresario Simon had a surprising companion along with him, his ex Terri Seymour.

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