Thank you so much for reading my blog!!
This last week or so has definitely been about catching up with friends and family before I start to get really busy again with Emmerdale.
As I’ve said before, I have a really close group of friends that have been with me since my school days and although the time we spend together is limited, itâ€™s incredibly precious.
It was Sharonâ€™s birthday last week, but because she is starring in the hugely successful production of ‘The Book of Mormon’ we were unable to celebrate with her on her actual birthday, and instead we had a belated tea party at my house. I even baked cupcakes…..well I say baked, I actually mean James mixed the contents of the Aunt Bessieâ€™s DIY cupcake box I bought and baked them…but I displayed them very nicely on a cake stand!
Me and the girls!
It was such a lovely day as it was the first time all of our children were together since my other friend Donna had her baby. It did make me feel very grown up though – prior to this Sharon’s birthday celebrations have always normally happened over the August bank holiday weekend and involved lots of cocktails, high fashion and nightclubs in a very ‘Sex and the City’ way. So it was quite a change to be celebrating in the middle of the day, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt while chasing the little ones around the garden. Nevertheless our conversation was the same as ever, fun, free and full of laughs!
I’ve also been busy this week rehearsing with the Emmerdale band as weâ€™ve got a charity gig at the end of September. Sian Reese Williams (Gennie) and Tom Lister (Carl) normally sing with them, but they are both busy at the moment and so myself and my gorgeous friend Michelle Hardwick (who plays Vanessa in the show) have stepped in to cover. It’s been absolutely fantastic because Iâ€™m not only getting the opportunity to sing again after ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar’ but I’m also getting to spend some time with Michelle.
Like my other friends I’ve known Michelle for nearly 20 years now; we started off at the same drama club when we were young, and then more recently we worked together on another ITV show called ‘The Royal’. I was devastated when I left the show as we’d shared a dressing room and pretty much lived in each otherâ€™s pockets for the whole time.
As you can imagine, I was thrilled when she was cast in Emmerdale last year, thinking it would be just like old times, but I hardly ever get to see her! I know that must sound crazy as you’d probably think I see her everyday, but as our charactersâ€™ paths rarely cross we actually don’t get to spend much time together. So to be singing together with the band has been really lovely and we’ve had such a laugh – it definitely feels like old times!!
Me and Michelle
Speaking of singing I am absolutely loving this yearâ€™s X Factor!!!
I really didn’t realise how much I missed Sharon Osbourne as a judge until she returned to our screens this weekend. She is so fabulous and fantastically funny and seems to bring out the best in everyone. Gary Barlow has reportedly said that she brings the fun factor to the show and that she’s inspired him not to take himself too seriously, and having watched the first two shows I can see exactly what he means. I laughed so much just watching the other judges laughing together like naughty school children in an assembly, it was so contagious!
I also like that Sharon is a real matriarch and as much as she gives a lot of love to the contestants she also gives a lot of truth. I think the line-up in general is brilliant as you have two artists and two managers and each individual judge brings something completely different to the table. The talent has also been fantastic, with the standouts for me being Sam Bailey, the police officer, and 16-year-old Tamera.
Samâ€™s voice is truly incredible but in terms of being a ‘popstar’ I think Tameraâ€™s potential is massive. She’s extremely beautiful with an amazing voice and you can already see the beginnings of a performance attitude, which could grow into a Rihanna/Rita Ora style. If this is what we get in week one, I can’t wait to see who the other weeks are going to reveal!! Roll on cosy Saturday nights in and the unofficial countdown to Xmas!!
Love Natalie xx
PS. Don’t think I’m going to bother getting Freddie any presents, the only thing he loves at the minute is theÂ sweeping brush!!