Filming, family time and a romantic weekend away
Thank you for reading my blog! It’s been such a busy few weeks filming various pieces for This Morning, Red carpet events, a family trip to the theatre and finally a romantic weekend in the lakes! I can’t believe it’s February already!
I have to say I’ve really enjoyed the start of 2016 as so far it’s been a lot of fun with one particular occasion being the National Television Awards held at the O2 in London. It’s one of my most favourite awards ceremonies as not only do you get to catch up with a lot of people you haven’t seen for a while it’s also very grand and so everyone really makes an effort with their outfit choices. This year was no exception! As awards season is in full swing having recently had the Golden Globes, Critics Choice and SAG awards I think many attendees of the National TV Awards took inspiration from the red carpets of Hollywood with their outfit choices.
A few of my favourites from the evening were, the stunning Kara Tointon who wore a beautiful, ethereal gown by Nevena Couture worn with a modern take on the classic chignon. Also wearing white, Holly Willoughby looked incredible in a stunning custom made Suzanne Neville dress that perfectly hugged her curves. I also loved that she kept her hair relaxed, choosing soft waves to avoid the overall look becoming too structured. My third favourite of the evening was Amanda Holden who I thought looked amazing in a dress by Jessica Choay whose signature style mixes elements of lingerie with evening wear. Amanda’s gown was just that as it encompassed a sheer bodice adorned with delicate lace pieces combined with a floor length skirt with a side split highlighting Amanda’s fabulous figure. I loved that her look was strong and fierce as she kept her makeup dark and sultry which emphasised its overall sexiness. It was very Parisian and therefore I loved it!
For myself I decided to opt for a bit of colour and chose a design by Elizabeth and James which was simple in its silhouette yet bold in its coral colour. I absolutely loved wearing it as it was quite a different style for me. I accessorised it with my beautiful gold Casedai shoes, (which I adore as they make me feel like Cinderella given the fact they are embellished with Swarovski crystals) my trusty Oasis clutch bag and jewels from Swarovski Atelier and Kate Spade. To complete my look I had my own glam squad which included Head make up artist at Benefit cosmetics Lisa Potter-Dixon and James O Neill from Paul Edmondson Salon in Knightsbridge. As I’d gone for a strong colour with my dress I wanted to keep everything else quite soft and so Lisa created a gorgeous bronzed look with my make up using products from Benefit and Urban Decay whilst James teased my hair into a low ponytail accentuated with delicate waves around my face. I loved the whole look and felt amazing on the night!!
The night itself was great fun, especially as I got to spend it with a lot of my friends from Emmerdale including Fiona Wade and Gemma Atkinson. It was also really lovely as Gemma was nominated for best newcomer at the ceremony and had asked me to design her gown for the evening which was a huge privilege. Gemma has got an amazing body and so I worked with her to design a dress that we both felt would accentuate that. The dress was in a shade of dark emerald and consisted of a high necked bodice with a full cut out back and full skirt with a thigh high split and train. She loved it and so obviously I did too. Its such an amazing feeling to see someone wearing your design, particularly if it’s bespoke as you’ve taken it from sketch, to fitting to reality and so you feel a real sense of pride when it’s completed especially when it’s worn to such a huge event as the National Television Awards. I was also thrilled as Gemma was on quite a few of the post ceremony best dressed lists too! It was a great night, especially in terms of fashion, I now can’t wait to see what the Oscars, Baftas and Brits bring!!
After the excitement of the NTA’s I went back to work for This Morning covering several fashion items in the studio and couple of features elsewhere, in particular Manchester where I presented a piece on the only northern state school which teaches the famous Montessori method. The method is currently seeing a rise in popularity in this country as Prince George recently started at a Montessori nursery school. As Freddie starts school in September it was a really interesting feature for me to present as I was able to see for myself how the method is applied to teaching and how the children respond to it and I have to say for the most part I as pretty amazed as I witnessed children who were excited and happy to be at school and who seemed to thrive in the atmosphere. It’s definitely given me a lot to think about with regards to how we teach Fred at home.
It was also quite handy that I was filming in Manchester as Mary Poppins was on tour there and so we all went to watch the show after I wrapped filming. I’m so glad we got the opportunity to see it as it was absolutely incredible I’d even go as far as to say it was one of the best musicals I’ve ever seen and given that I have a musical theatre background that’s really saying something. Zizi Strallen one of the younger Strallen sisters (the nieces of Bonnie Langford and highly acclaimed musical theatre actresses) was absolutely outstanding as Mary, literally ‘practically perfect in every way’. It’s such a hard role to take on as Julie Andrews was just beautiful and iconic as the original Mary, however Zizi really does and incredible job, I sincerely hope she is being considered for the rumoured remake of the original film.
Her performance totally exudes the grace, elegance and precision of the entertainers of a bygone era, I honestly felt like I was watching a modern day Ginger Rogers. Although for me Zizi was the star of the show the other cast members were also fabulous, particularly the children playing Jane and Michael banks, they were so accomplished despite being so young. I loved the production as a whole with one of my favourite numbers being the Chim Chiminee tap routine which was just incredible as was ‘Supercaligfragalisticexpealidodious’ (that’s so hard to spell, nevermind say!) we all had the most wonderful evening, with Freddie trying his best to sing all of the songs the following day! As its a touring production it’s covering the majority of the country and so would highly recommend going to see it if it comes to a theatre near you.
Whilst I was in Manchester I got completely soaked with this never ending rain and so managed to quickly pop into a little place called Kara’s blow dry in the hope I could have my hair rescued and avoid looking like a drowned rat on our night out at the theatre. Thankfully my lovely stylist Chloe managed to rescue me and gave me a gorgeous bouncy blow dry that I absolutely loved!
I’ve since been able to recreate the look at home after I got a few new hair tools due to the fact that my hairdryer pretty much died on me after such repetitive use! I’ve now replaced it with the Ghd air hairdryer which is fantastic and saved me literally from the worst hair days as having naturally curly hair I’m extremely prone to the dreaded frizz! Again not helped by this incessant rain! However this hairdryer uses heat technology to dry the hair from the root downwards and so it dries sleek and shiny, it’s absolutely brilliant and has halved the time in which it used to take to dry my hair. In order to re create the bouncy look from my blow dry at Kara’s I use the Ghd curve to curl the ends, before brushing it out and spraying with Loreal Infinity hairspray. I’ve always been an Elnette girl but I find the Infinity actually keeps the curl just that little bit longer. I love that I’ve found a way to create this style at home and in such a short space of time as it creates a very polished overall look which is perfect for filming on location or if your going anyway nice.
After filming and theatre madness, James and I headed to the lakes for a post Christmas/pre Valentines weekend away (our Christmas present to each other) and it was gorgeous! We stayed at a beautiful hotel called Brimstone which is part of the Langdale Estate and situated near the Langdale pikes. If anyone is wanting a last minute trip away for Valentines, again I would highly recommend you check this place out as its fantastic. James and I stayed here 3 years ago when Freddie was very little as I didn’t want to be too far away from him on our first trip away without him and we absolutely loved it and our second visit was just as good! Built in the style of an alpine lodge, Brimstone exudes relaxed luxury. From the moment you park the car in an under ground bunker and are then escorted directly to your room (no checking in here) via a gorgeous entrance lobby complete with exposed slate and a roaring wood burning fire you feel like you’ve stepped into a secret hideaway.
The rooms at Brimstone are beautifully decorated in muted colours of green, grey and copper accentuating the natural surrounds of the hotel. Each room houses a huge ‘in room’ bath from where you can watch TV or listen to your own personal playlist on the apple docking station whilst bathing in Orla Keily products. Signature rooms offer wood burning fires and mezzanine levels, with all guests benefiting from the gorgeous reading room where you can sample afternoon tea and a selection of fine wines, beers and coffees. It makes for a super relaxed stay!
One of my favourite things about Brimstone is the Wainwrights Inn which is a little pub at the end of the main hotel complex which serves traditional gastro pub food and drink however there’s no need for messing around with bills and money as you can just charge everything back to your room. The atmosphere at Wainwrights is great as there’s a real mix of honeymooners, families, walkers and locals and even the odd dog or two who tend to take residence in front of one of the gorgeous roaring fires. I love it! As its part of the Langdale Estate Brimstone also benefits from the use of the spa facilities at the main hotel building which can be so nice after a long day out walking, which James and I did despite the fact we got hailed on, rained on and nearly blown away! Another nice little perk of the hotel is the use of its Berghaus room which houses walking boots, coats, waterproofs, rucksacks and torches all for loan (free of charge) to its guests. It’s such a great addition to the hotel as you know you can pack lightly given that you can borrow all of your walking gear when you get there. All in all I absolutely love this hotel and we had the most lovely relaxing time together without having to travel to far from home. It’s definitely a must for anyone planning a romantic mini break.
Speaking of romance as we near Valentine’s Day I wore a valentine inspired outfit to present a makeover feature on This Morning just recently. The dress is from Karen Millen and is a couple of years old but it just shows you that a staple little red dress is always current! I’ve put together a little edit of my favourite Valentine inspired pieces which are perfect for celebrating the day itself.
From Left to right clockwise
Beaded bag £11 Accessorize
Red Heart Dress £930 Christopher Kane
Heart Bag £110 Marc Jacobs
Black dress with mini hearts £125 Essential Antwerp
Shoes £110 Vivienne Westwood
Heart watch £40 Oasis
Gold heart bag £18 Simply Be
Heart Earrings £65 John Lewis
Heart Shoes £445 Charlotte Olympia
Dress £200 By Sun
Well I’m going to say goodbye for now as I’m filming a few new pieces for This Morning alongside looking forward to London Fashion Week in the next couple of weeks. I’m so excited! I can’t wait to see the new collections for AW/16.
Anyway lots of love and speak soon,