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05 January
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Hello Everyone and a huge Happy New Year!!

I hope you all had a wonderful time over the Christmas period. Ours was really lovely with our family and friends coming and going throughout and then we spent the New Year in beautiful Whitby on the Yorkshire coast.

image1_1As much as I love Christmas I do also like to start the New Year. I think I must be one of the only people who actually looks forward to January and getting back to order. Like most people I tend to over indulge at Christmas and so look forward to putting my mind and body back together at the start of the year.

image9Now I never really tend to be one of those people who makes drastic New Years resolutions as I often feel it puts too much pressure on me and so I always end up breaking them, however James and I have made a pact that we are going to try doing dry January this year in order to give our bodies a detox.

I’ll let you know if we succeed!! Last year I spent the first part of January on the 5 day juicemaster juice plan which was fantastic and made feel great with the most notable benefit for me being mental alertness. Although I’m not sticking to a 5 day plan this year, I am incorporating fresh juices into my everyday diet as I love how clean and healthy they make me feel. Jason Vale (the juicemaster) has some fantastic recipes if you’d like to try them for yourself. www.juicemaster.com.

image8 Alongside detoxing my body during the first part of the year I also like to get back to keeping in shape. It can be so hard to keep up to it over Christmas as there’s so many parties, gatherings, Christmas shopping and last minute wrapping to do that the time seems to run away with you and so I know it’s a bit of a cliche but I like to set my goal for jan to start looking after myself again.

I’ve actually done very well this year though as I gently started back in the week between Christmas and New Year as I knew we were spending New Year by the sea which would be perfect for a couple of long walks in the fresh air, the best way to get back into the swing of things. I also took a couple of yoga classes at the gym in preparation for this week when I will be back to working out 3/4 times a week. The other thing I like to do to motivate me over Christmas is to buy some new work out wear. Now as a huge Victoria’s Secret fan I bought quite a few bits from there whilst in New York just before Christmas but I’ve also got some new pieces from online fitness retailer Zaazee.

I have to say I absolutely love the Zaazee Capri pants as they give fantastic support whilst you’re working out and they’re fun and feminine in their design. I’m actually really looking forward to getting back to the gym and to see if I can shake up my workout plan this year with a few new classes/ideas.

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your work out wear, I’ve put together a little edit of my fave pieces available to buy now.

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Clockwise from left to right:
Nike Bra Top £41
Adidas sweatshirt £49
Dorothy Perkins vest top £8.15
New look leggings £18
Adidas by Stella McCartney top £35
Nike Leggings £50

Trainers centre top to bottom
Nike trainers £48
Puma trainers £41
Reebok reflex trainers £44

As I mentioned earlier our Christmas was rather hectic as we had so many things to attend and then had friends and family over for the most part. Although I say it was hectic if I’m honest I wouldn’t want it any other way. One of the best compliments I had was “this is like being in home alone”. Now as Home Alone is one of my absolute favourite Christmas films, probably because at the time of it’s release I was the same age as Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) but also because I fell in love with the idea of huge family Christmases after watching it, I was absolutely thrilled that my family had likened our gathering to that of the McCallisters, although all of our members were accounted for!

Christmas morning itself was wonderful as James and I watched Freddie open his presents with absolute delight, it was amazing to see how much he’d changed since last year when he was only just beginning to understand the concept of Santa Claus. This year he kept shouting at our security alarms “thank you Santa, I’ve tried to be a good boy” as the red dot appeared in the corner (come on we’ve all done the Santa’s watching trick with the sensor on the alarm). His belief was magical to watch and it really made Christmas all the more special to see it through his eyes.

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Following on from Christmas we then made our way up to Whitby to see in the New Year with our friends who have a beautiful holiday home there. It’s becoming a bit of a tradition as we were also there last year. We had such a fantastic time and got to have a gorgeous new year walk on the cliff tops, which was so refreshing and started the year off perfectly getting the good old sea air into our lungs.

Whilst in Whitby I also managed to purchase a gorgeous new blanket coat which I totally fell in love with from a little shop on the harbour. I’m a bit of a collector of these coats as they are perfect for early mornings on filming locations and also for travelling as they double up as a blanket for transit and stylish coat for when you arrive. Needless to say I was thrilled with this one!

image6If you’d like something similar here’s a few I’ve found on the high street.

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Clockwise from left to right:
Joseph cost £745
Paul and Joe Black tote £250
Liberty coat £500
Warehouse £70
Over knee boots Kurt Geiger £115
Oasis Grey faux fur collar coat £35
New Look coat £35

Now I wrote in my last blog that just prior to Christmas I had two back to back filming trips with This Morning. Well the second of those trips was for a competition piece which is now being aired everyday on both This Morning and Loose Women. We filmed on location in the Maldives at the 5 star Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef resort and had the most fantastic time.

image3I absolutely love the Maldives, I think it’s perhaps my most favourite place in the world having firstly spent our honeymoon there in 2008. We’ve been back many times for anniversaries and birthdays and so have many special memories of the beautiful islands. I therefore felt incredibly lucky to have the opportunity of working out there.

Set in its own coral reef the Vivanta by Taj is quite a small island that you can walk around within 10 minutes. It houses beautiful beach villas on one side and over water villas on the other. I stayed in a gorgeous over water villa that had direct access to the lagoon and fabulous far reaching views of the ocean.

The hotel has 3 fantastic restaurants that serve the most wonderful food with my favourite being The Grill which is situated on stilts over the lagoon and has a starlight floor which mirrors the incredible views in the skies if you get a clear night.

The crew and I loved trying to work out which constellations we could see. It was such a fantastic trip that really pushed me out of my comfort zone as normally I’m a real scaredy cat and tend to always be very cautious however for our filming I tried snorkelling, travelling at high speed on a speedboat, venturing out over choppy waters on a dhoni (traditional Maldivian boat) and feeding stingrays on the shore.

image4I was so pleased that I tried everything as I now have some great memories. For filming I wore a variety of kaftans and cover ups alongside pretty beach dresses and wedges. My favourites however were my multi coloured floral kaftan and crocheted coral cover up both from accessorise. The colours work so well both on camera and against the backdrop of the white sand and turquoise sea, perfect for a bit of winter sun!

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Well I’m going to say goodbye for now. The awards season is upon us and so I will be scouring my eye over the best looks and gowns over the coming weeks. I wish you all a fantastic start to the New Year and speak
again very soon.

Lots of love

Natalie Xx

16 December
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A trip to New York, The X Factor and getting ready for Christmas!

Hello Everyone,

I hope you’re well, thank you so much for reading my blog. It’s been an even busier than usual few weeks with back to back work trips for This Morning, a visit to the X Factor and a Bliss charity event.

Firstly though I’ll start with my amazing trip to New York with the team at This Morning. It was such a fantastic experience as New York is one of my most favourite places having visited many times before, including a trip on  my 30th birthday and so it was a real luxury to have it as our chosen filming location. We worked with an American crew which was very interesting as I got to see both the differences and similarities in the approach to filming.

For the most part it was pretty much the same as working in the UK although there was perhaps a little bit more emphasis on making everything look picture perfect which was great for me as it meant we got to film a lot of pieces using a ring light. A ring light is an expensive piece of equipment that is often used in photography to create a bright effect and can light the face really well, which is very helpful when travelling across time zones as it helps you look less tired…hurray! It was a really jam packed schedule as we had so many locations to cover in a very short space of time, including Rockerfeller Centre, Greenwich Village, Times Square and Central Park, however because of the pace it was also really exciting.NatalieAnderson-a

Whilst we were in New York we stayed at the very beautiful Knickerbocker hotel which is situated just off Times Square. I absolutely fell in love with this hotel and would highly recommend it to anyone travelling to the city in the future. With its relaxing, spacious rooms featuring  walk in showers and huge beds, two gorgeous eateries and an incredible rooftop bar it’s an absolutely fantastic place to stay to discover all of the sights and sounds of the city.

 

As I mentioned earlier we had several locations to film at throughout our stay although I particularly enjoyed filming in Greenwich Village as we managed to do a few pieces outside of the house used as Carrie Bradshaw’s house in Sex and the City and at the famous Magnolia Bakery where during our break we sampled its famous fayre (well it would’ve been rude not too!). We also went skating at the Rockerfeller centre and took a horse drawn carriage ride around Central Park which was lovely although super cold as it was a really beautiful sunny day.

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Another highlight of the trip was our wrap dinner at Beauty and Essex in downtown New York. Again I can not recommend this place highly enough, beginning with its intrigue as you enter a tiny working vintage shop, selling antique jewellery, musical instruments and other such items, you are then escorted through a secret door into a large and very beautiful dimly lit dining room full of fresh flowers and with its own DJ playing both old and new r&b tracks. It’s feels very New York cool. Although it’s quite a laid back place the menu is very sophisticated offering delicacies such as crab ragoon and lobster tacos, which were delicious! We had such a brilliant time there as it combined all the atmosphere of a happening New York club with the dining experience of a Michelin starred restaurant. I will definitely be visiting again in the future.NatalieAnderson2-a

Although we were extremely busy with our schedule we still managed to do a very quick bit of shopping in our last few hours in the city. Although we now have it here I still paid a visit to Victoria’s Secret to pick up a couple of cosy track suits… I love a good bit of lounge wear, it’s so nice if you’re spending a day at home or need something to chill out in after a long day at work that’s not quite pjs. It’s also great for the plane if you’re travelling on a long haul flight, which we indeed had back to the UK and so I was suitably attired changing very quickly into my new purchases as we took off. It was a fantastic trip where I learnt an awful lot and managed to find a few new places to visit again in the future.

 

For the trip I took several outfits for filming with my favourite being my blue Abercrombie and Fitch jeans, Daniel fringed suede boots, black polo neck and Zara faux fur coat. I wore this outfit when we were filming in Greenwich Village, the home of Carrie Bradshaw and Times Square and so felt I could be a little more daring than my normal classic go to look. I also wore my hair in a messy top knot to give the look a relaxed feel. It was quite nice to be able to experiment a bit. I think that’s the refreshing thing about New York, in terms of style anything goes.

Shop the look!

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Prior to our New York trip I made a quick visit to the X Factor as I was appearing on The Xtra Factor panel. It was such a good night and great to see the final acts of the competition perform live. Obviously we now know that Louisa Johnson became the winner of the competition and so I was feeling very smug this weekend as I’d predicted her to win during my appearance on the show a few weeks before. Having seen her perform live I can honestly say she really is star! For a 17 year old her composure, talent and confidence on stage is staggering and yet she seems like a very lovely, humble girl who just really wants to follow her dream. I’m sure she has an incredibly bright future ahead of her and can’t wait to hear what kind of album she makes. Good luck Louisa!

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To attend the show I wore my new Lavish Alice playsuit. I really love this outfit as its so comfy and yet very festive due to its bright red colour. You can find it here. http://www.lavishalice.com/new-in-c20/red-open-sleeve-structured-playsuit-p1928

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If you’d like to go for something more classic than a playsuit then I’ve put together an edit of 5 of my favourite little red dresses available to buy now for the Christmas season. Pair with metallic accessories for a truly festive feel.

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Clockwise from left to right:
Lace dress £56 True Decadence
Shoe string strap £315 Zimmerman
Lace/satin prom dress £85 Karen Millen
Cutout mini £85 Elizabeth and James
Red lipstick £20 Estée Lipstick
Gold Sandals £165 Via Spiga
Gold Clutch £125 BCBG Max Azria
Red Hydrangea dress £640 Parlor

After the madness of X Factor and New York it was really lovely to be closer to home this weekend as I was asked to open the ‘Wall of Hope’ at Harrogate Hospital Special Care baby unit. The wall features photographs of grown children who were born prematurely either on their own or alongside their parents. I love the idea of the wall as I think it gives parents whose babies have arrived prematurely a sense of hope as they can see the development of other children born in a similar situation. It was such a lovely day and I got to meet some incredible children and their families and also got to chat to the fantastic staff on the unit, who were all so welcoming and kind.

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As its Christmas Freddie and I got into the spirit of it by making mince pies which was so lovely. Now I’m not the best of cooks so you can imagine I was thrilled to bits when they turned out to actually be quite nice. I will admit I did cheat a bit buying a jar of mincemeat to fill the pies with as opposed to making my own, but I didn’t want them to be inedible so I say it’s the thought that counts. We had such a nice time rolling out the pastry together and then cutting them into discs ready to be filled. Freddie decided he wanted to decorate a few of them and so he made a few little pastry shapes to go on top alongside an F so that we didn’t forget that one was his. It was so lovely, made even better by the fact they actually tasted good.

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Well I shall say goodbye for now as I’ve still got quite a bit to do for Christmas, every year I say I’ll be more organised but I never am! I hope you all have a really wonderful Christmas and speak soon.

Lots of Love,

Natalie Xx

17 November
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Barbados, Text Santa and Little Black Dresses…

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for reading my blog! As usual it’s been a pretty hectic few weeks as I had the most lovely birthday followed by an amazing trip back to Barbados with James and Freddie which was just fantastic. I also filmed several pieces for This Morning, including a very special item for Text Santa that will be aired on the show in December. It was such a wonderful piece to be part of and I can’t wait to see the final edit.

I’m one of those really annoying people that celebrates their birthday for as long as they possibly can! And so the festivities began with a little catch up with a couple of the Emmerdale girls; before having friends over to stay for my actual birthday; a family party the following day; and then leaving for Barbados the day after that. It was a bit of a party marathon and I was definitely ready for the rest I can tell you.

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We flew to Barbados with Virgin Atlantic who I’ve never flown with before but had heard great things about. As a nervous flyer I can tell you the experience was fantastic! Not only because Freddie was an absolute dream for the whole nine hour flight (he fell asleep for just over an hour and then watched movies and played with his trains for the remainder) but because the staff were brilliant and the aircraft felt really spacious, which allowed you to actually relax.

The experience was the same on our return journey, flying on the A380 airbus I actually enjoyed the flight which really says something coming from me. The staff were so accommodating, the food was great and the selection of in-flight entertainment had me laughing my head off as I chose to watch Spy starring Melissa McCarthy (anyone who’s a fan of Bridesmaids will love this film!) I would definitely choose to fly with Virgin again and can completely understand why I’d heard such great things in the first place.

It was amazing to be back in Barbados as I’d had such a brilliant time with the team at This Morning back in August, however this trip was even better as I had my family with me. I couldn’t wait to show James and Freddie all the great things about the island.

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Whilst in Barbados we stayed at the Tamarind by Elegant Hotels which was gorgeous. Situated on one of the most beautiful bays in Barbados, the Tamarind benefits from stunning white beaches which fall into turquoise waters, incredible views and in particular some of the most gorgeous sunsets I have ever witnessed in my life! Paynes Bay also houses Number 1 Sandy Lane, an exclusive property that is frequently inhabited by Rihanna. The hotel itself is relatively intimate having two pools each with their own bar and three restaurants which serve from an all-day menu.

The food was fantastic! One of my favourite things about Barbados is the food, I love eating fresh shrimp with rice and peas or blackened fish with caesar salad which you can pretty much get at most eateries as the fish, shrimp and lobster are freshly caught every day. The hotel has a really relaxed vibe and is fantastic for families – one of the reasons we chose it in the first place.

Pretty much all of the staff knew Freddie’s name by the end of our trip and even made sure he was never parted from his new BFF Woody (from Toy Story) who was nearly left behind several times after finishing up meals. It would have been an absolute disaster given that they are almost inseparable! Woody even made it onto the beautiful catamaran we took around the island.

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Speaking of sailing around the island we had the most incredible time aboard the Cool Runnings luxury catamaran. With its private chef and fantastic crew, it’s definitely a treat I would highly recommend to anyone visiting the island. The crew – in particular chef Mariel – were amazing with Freddie, allowing him to steer the boat, draw pictures in the beautiful air conditioned cabin and finally introducing him to the wonderful sea turtles….he absolutely loved it, as did we! We sailed back to our hotel just as the sun was lowering in the sky which created a beautiful backdrop to what had been an amazing day that I felt incredibly grateful and thankful for.

It was an absolutely fantastic holiday which ended with a cocktail party and BBQ held by the Tamarinds management and included live music, stilt walkers and a little audience participation during the limbo act…yes I did partake in a little limbo action. It was also a trip where Freddie really progressed with his swimming, spending pretty much all of his time in the pool and finally conquering the doggie paddle…hurray! We had such a great time and a really unforgettable holiday.

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Prior to going away I attended the RSPCA Animal Heroes awards in London with one of my best friends, Sharon, which was a fantastic event.

I had been asked to present an award alongside Danny-Boy Hatchard from Eastenders, who brought his beautiful dog along. There were many animals at the ceremony which was really lovely to see and it was amazing to hear their stories, from abandonment, to bravery, to intelligence and companionship, these animals were truly remarkable.

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Hosted by Amanda Holden, there were many other famous faces also in attendance, including Ricky Gervais and Brian May who were both awarded with accolades for their campaign efforts of animal rights and welfare.

Although difficult at times due to the video montages and stories of horrendous animal cruelty, it was primarily a night of celebration and recognition for our beautiful animals and their amazing owners. We had a wonderful evening and it was lovely to spend some quality time with Sharon as she has been on tour with Love Me Tender the Musical.

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To attend the event I wore a black midi dress with sheer panelling from BCBG Max Azria and my trusty Asos stilettos.

I’m a real fan of the little black dress as I think that it’s a real investment piece that can live in your wardrobe and be recycled year after year. It’s also a great piece for the festive season as you can use accessories to either add some sparkle or keep it cool and classic. Below is an edit of my fave LBD’s which are available to buy now ranging from high fashion to high street.

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Clockwise left to right:
Bandeau Prom: River Island £86
Clutch Bag: Coast £49
Belted Mini Dress: Balmain £2305
Sheer Panelled: TFNC £23
Shoes: Kurt Geiger £120
Feather and beaded mini: £490 BCBG
Feather dress central: Alice and Olivia £655

 

As I said at the beginning, no sooner had I got back from Barbados I was straight back to work for This Morning on a special piece that will be shown as part of a series for ITV’s Text Santa Appeal. It involved me heading up to Edinburgh to meet with the wonderful Neilson family. This years’ Text Santa’s chosen charities are, the Make A Wish Foundation, Macmillan and Save the Children.

We were there to witness a very special wish granted by the Make A Wish foundation to the Neilson family and in particular their nine-year-old daughter Morgan. I don’t want to spoil the surprise so I won’t go into any more detail. Hopefully you’ll be able to catch the piece when it airs, but it’s safe to say it was a huge honour and privilege for me to witness it and I really had a job keeping my emotions in check.

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As we’re nearing Christmas I’ve been keeping a look out for some of the best festive make-up lines, and coming in at the top spot is Chanel’s new take on their old classic rouge noir nail polish, Le top coat lame.

Originally made globally famous for being the stand out beauty look of Uma Thurman’s Mrs Mia Wallace in cult classic, Pulp Fiction, the line has been given a festive update with the addition of gold lame.

Now as far as I’m concerned every lady needs a bit of Chanel in her life and at £18 for the polish it’s the best place to start. I indeed did that very same thing at the tender age of 15 and it has been my go-to shade of cool ever since. I’ve also put together some other festive beauty buys that would either make a lovely gift for someone else or indeed a luxurious treat for yourself.

natalie-anderson4Clockwise left to right:
YSL Touch Éclat Christmas set £25
Bobbie Brown Bellini mini lip and eye palette £26.50
Lancôme Vernis in love 555 £13.50
Chanel Camelia de Plumes £42.30
Burberry Lip Mist in Oxblood £22.50

 

Well I shall say goodbye for now as I’ll be heading off to London later this week to present a Christmas item on This Morning followed by a quick stop at the X Factor studios. I’m very excited as I feel the competition is really hotting up now, anyway I’ll let you know how I get on and as always if you need any more information on anything I’ve posted please just let me know.

Love Natalie Anderson

20 October
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Halloween fun, Disney on Ice and Beauty Buys

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! Thank you so much for reading my blog. After a quick visit to This Morning to talk all things Halloween and an evening at Disney on Ice in Manchester I managed to spend the back end of the week at home in Yorkshire which meant lovely long walks and nice roast dinners! Yummy!

I absolutely love this time of year, I think the autumn colours make everything look so pretty. The yellow and red leaves and rich brown textures create such a warm feeling, twinned with the drawing in of the evenings it’s no wonder we all begin to hibernate a little bit. It’s the perfect time to bring out the candles and cosy blankets and watch your favourite films, which is exactly what we did this weekend, after screaming at the X Factor 6 chair challenge that is. The X Factor has become so brutal you have to have nerves of steel just to watch it never mind go on the show and next week seems to be even worse as the judges houses results take place live!! I don’t think I’ll be able to stand it, but nevertheless will probably still end up watching even if it is through my fingers.

The other thing I love about this time of year is Halloween. As my birthday falls just a week before it, I’ve had many Halloween themed birthday parties over the years with one of my favourites being my 13th with my best friend Mariesa whose birthday is exactly a week before. We regularly celebrate our birthdays together as that way we get to see all our friends at once as its often so hard to get them all together due to the fact they all live in different parts of the country.

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Anyway as someone who enjoys the fun side of Halloween it was great to present an item on This Morning covering it. I love working on This Morning as its so energetic. As it’s a live show there’s always an element of anything could happen and I think that’s quite exciting. I was presenting the item with the very gorgeous make up designer Bryony Blake who is just so lovely. We were creating a variety of looks with my favourite being the plastic toy soldiers from Toy Story, it was quite funny though as the green make up reminded me so much of my time at Wicked as you’d forever be seeing make up artists with green hands. I really liked that we presented costumes that weren’t necessarily scary as I think its a great way of introducing younger children into the spirit of the festivities without them getting scared. I did laugh to myself quite a bit though as whilst I was waiting for Holly and Phil to finish their link I had to wait holding a little dog called Ladybug who was dressed as a pumpkin. Now anyone who knows me will tell you that I really love animals but am perhaps not the best at handling them so the idea of me holding a dog no matter how small, live on national television had real potential for disaster. However Ladybug was gorgeous and really well behaved in fact it was me that was a bit naughty as I was giggling to myself at the idea of what could go wrong but thankfully we were all fine and the piece went really well. Did I mention there were also children in the item….and they say never work with children or animals!

As we were covering Halloween I decided to pay a little tribute to Wednesday Adams and wear a shirt dress with ankle boots. To complete the look the lovely Michelle at This Morning created a deep smoky eye and teamed it with a dark burgundy lip colour. A vampy lip is perfect for this season: Here’s a few of my faves!

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Clockwise from left to right

Nyx Simply Vamp lip cream £4.50
LA Splash Lip Couture £9.05
Tom Ford Lip Colour £38
Laura Mercier Creme Smooth lip colour £17

After the fun at This Morning, a day or so later we headed across to the MEN in Manchester to watch Disney on Ice and I don’t know who enjoyed it more….Freddie or Me! I do have a tendency to embarrass my family at these things as I insist on singing all of the songs in my best musical theatre voice…poor Freddie and James! It was such a good evening and really nice to see a few other people there too, particularly the gorgeous Cath Tyldsley who attended with her friend’s twin girls, perfectly dressed as mini Elsa’s from Frozen. Freddie absolutely loved it, especially the Toy Story and The Little Mermaid sections or as he described it “the bit with the Nemo’s mummy!”. I found myself taking more pictures of Freddie watching the show than pictures of the show itself as it was such a lovely experience to see his face light up at each new part of the performance. You could see his little imagination really working overtime and when his new favourite person ‘Woody’ skated onto the ice he was overjoyed…it was magical! I personally loved the Frozen section, most probably because I think I know every word to every song in the film (I don’t!) and that I can sing every single note (I can’t), but also because the ice setting really suited the film’s content and so it felt perfect. There are so many other amazing parts to the show and I would definitely recommend it to other parents, especially at this time of year as we move towards christmas, it’s a really special treat!

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As I said at the beginning I spent the rest of the last week having a bit of downtime at home in Yorkshire which I absolutely loved. I feel so lucky as there’s so many incredibly beautiful places on our doorstop such as Harrogate, Otley and my favourite Ilkley. Ilkley moor in particular is such an amazing place to walk, hike or just sit and take in the views. You can visit in any weather and it still maintains its magic. Being a proud Yorkshire girl it’s really important to me to get Freddie out and about in our local area and so over the last few weeks we’ve spent weekends walking up on the moor and having little adventures with him before heading home to a lovely roast dinner. I’m very passionate about children getting out in the open and learning about nature and thankfully Freddie really enjoys it. He’s got a very vivid imagination and so the more we make an adventure out of it the more he wants to do it which is really great.

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Obviously for walking up in the hills you need to be suitably attired and I have absolutely fallen in love with my new Old Harry sweater. It is so cosy and warm and I love that it’s oversized, it almost looks like I’ve stolen it from James which creates a really relaxed look. Depending on the weather I’ll either wear it with jeans and wellies (footwear I was once completely averse to until I had Freddie!) or if it’s dry and sunny my gorgeous new Carvela over knee boots. I love these boots so much. Because they’re flat they’re really practical but the soft leather and over the knee length gives them a sophisticated modern edge. They’re great for taking you from the outdoors to a country gastro pub.

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http://www.kurtgeiger.com/pacific-black-suede-36-carvela-kurt-geiger-shoe.html?asrc=1&gclid=CL_Et93M0MgCFcRAGwodBXcKdg

Before I say goodbye this week I just have to tell you about a gorgeous new skincare product that I’ve found.

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Left to right

Time Bomb complexion cocktail £24
Elemis Quiet Mind Temple Balm £17.50

I’ve been using the complexion cocktails from Time Bomb for a couple of weeks now and absolutely love the results! The products are part of a range from Time Bomb that aim to combat ageing and as I turn 34 at the end of this week I’m very much open to trying new products. These skin cocktails are fantastic. My favourite however is the one with a shot of H2 Omega for parched, dehydrated skin. It also includes coconut and chia oils in its ingredients which release essential fatty acids and water soluble hydrators into the skin resulting in a soft and supple complexion over night. I loved the idea of the cocktails but wondered if it was just very clever marketing however I can honestly say I really love them and even James has commented on how much brighter my skin looks. I’m definitely going to have a look at the other products in the range as I’ve been so impressed with these.

http://www.timebombco.com/uk/complexion-cocktail-with-a-shot-of-h2omega.html

Another quick find I’d like to mention for anyone who struggles to get off to sleep is the Elemis ‘Quiet Mind’ temple balm. My husband James really struggles with his sleep sometimes but this tiny little blue bottle has really helped him over the last few weeks. It has essential aromatherapy oils that work with your senses to ease you into a lovely deep relaxing sleep. He has definitely benefited so much from using it as have I. You only need a tiny bit across your forehead and you sleep like a baby. For anyone who has a particularly busy mind that you’d like to switch off at bed time this really is amazing!!

http://www.elemis.com/quiet-mind-temple-balm.html?gclid=CKmbwvHO0MgCFWXnwgod1fQBuQ

Anyway I’ll say goodbye for now as I look forward to a week of celebrations and getting ready for my birthday trip away.

Speak very soon

Love Natalie Xx

Ps As always if you need any more info on any of the things I’ve talked about in this weeks post please leave me a message in the comments box and I’ll answer as soon as I can.

12 October
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My 5km survival race, This Morning and fittings with Gemma Atkinson

Hi Everyone,
Thank you for reading my blog! So yet again this last week was a bit crazy with 3 trips to London, a 5k obstacle course, filming for This Morning and fittings with the gorgeous Gemma Atkinson for her Inside Soap Awards outfit.

In my last blog I told you how I was going to be taking part in the first ever Bear Grylls 5k survival race as part of a team for This Morning and last weekend we actually set out on completing the challenge. Although I was extremely nervous due to the fact that for four days after the initial training session with the Marines I could hardly walk, I did actually end up having an absolutely amazing time.

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The 5k was one of a series of events that took place at North London’s Trent Park as part of an endurance festival headed up by survival expert Bear Grylls, with other challenges including a 10K and 30K race. The day began with our team consisting of Jeff Brazier, Sarah Howell, Anthony Brown and myself being briefed by Bear himself before taking part in the warm up. He’s an extremely good motivator and as someone who’s a bit a fan I was a bit over excited about meeting him particularly as James and I have watched numerous of his survival documentaries and so as he declared “remember heroes are made not born” I let out a very over zealous Ramboesque Yeah!! in agreement. Needless to say it was a little embarrassing! Nevertheless we were all raring to go and so as Bear declared the race open we all set off with the hundreds of others taking part. Our team split into two groups with a boys division and a girls one, each with our own cameraman and sound engineer. Our crew were amazing as they were doing the course carrying heavy equipment and so even though they weren’t actually taking part in the obstacles they still had a really tough job.

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Sarah and I started out at a really steady pace accompanied by our lovely Marine Aaron. I say lovely now however there were moments on the course were I was secretly cursing him for pushing us to our limits! We ran for a little while before beginning the obstacles which totalled 20 altogether and included climbing ropes, monkey bars, parallel bars and huge climbing frames. Although some of them were really difficult I really enjoyed doing them and I felt they broke up the journey as I’m rubbish with just straight running.

I also loved the outdoor element of the race as we were led through woods and fields and even into muddy rivers. Sarah and I were doing really well for time with me even completing a full set of monkey bars. I was so pleased with myself, I’ve never done it before and so felt a little bit like Lara Croft, although Lara Croft would never be so uncool as to whoop and shout ‘yeay I did it, I’m so chuffed!’. My Lara Croft moment was short lived though as with about half a kilometre left to complete the race I was taking part in the parallel bars challenge and I twisted my shoulder, aggravating an old injury. It was so painful and made me feel quite sick, however Aaron encouraged me to carry on and I didn’t want to let the team down so I tried my best to keep going. I did find it incredibly difficult though as we still had 3 obstacles left, all which required upper body strength and so as I completed each challenge I could feel my energy draining. With the finish line in sight and Jeff, Anthony and the other crew cheering for us to finish I pushed through with Sarah to cross it, only to immediately lie down on the ground with relief (and to stop myself being sick!).

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Even though that last kilometre was hard, I absolutely loved the experience and definitely want to do it again next year, albeit with much more training. It was such a great atmosphere after the events too as they had a huge stage with various live acts, bbqs and other activities for both children and adults including zorbing, bungee jumps and rope climbing for the little ones. I’m hoping next year we will do it as a family as they also have a Cubs race for very little ones. Although I was primarily taking part in the challenge for This Morning I was also able to do it for charity and so I chose to run for Bliss baby charity whom I’ve worked with for a very long time. The charity provides essential care for babies born too sick, too soon and too small and also provides support and assistance to families. It’s an amazing charity and so I was happy to have raised some more money for them. If you’d like anymore information on the charity please visit www.bliss.org.

A couple of days later our team then visited Philip and Amanda to let them know how we’d got on. It was lovely to see everyone, especially as we were all clean and shiny and not full of mud and sweat as we had been after the challenge. It really was a brilliant experience and one that I felt very lucky to take part in with such a lovely group of people.

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No sooner had I finished on the This Morning sofa I then had to quickly fly across London to meet the gorgeous Gemma Atkinson as I’d designed her outfit for this year’s Inside Soap awards. When we were at the TV choice awards a couple of weeks earlier she’d commented on how much she’d liked my red jumpsuit and so I’d said I can design one for her. About a week later she called and we got designing.

Gemma has got the most incredible body as she works out a lot, however as with most women their were certain parts she wanted to cover and others she wanted to flatter and so I designed a jumpsuit that I felt would do both. I suggested to Gemma that we expose her back for a very sexy yet sophisticated look but that would also mean your attention would be drawn to her amazing bottom. I would then tailor the trousers to create shape at the back whilst keeping a sleek silhouette at the front. I suggested to her a dark navy material as I felt it would make both her eye and hair colour pop and was also a move away from conventional black. She loved all of my ideas and so we began with our fittings. I absolutely loved the finished product and thankfully so did she. On the night itself she looked incredible and also made many of the best dressed lists which as you can imagine for me as the designer was amazing. It’s definitely one of my most favourite pieces to date.

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I was unable to attend the awards this year as I was working but it was incredible to see that Emmerdale won 8 awards including best soap and the lovely Michael Parr who plays Ross Barton picked up four including best actor. I’m sure everyone celebrated and had an amazing night and I felt incredibly proud and thankful that the whole team back in Yorkshire had been recognised for all the hard work they put in to make it. Well done Emmerdale!

I was working on another item for This Morning last week and was reunited with the crew from Barbados which was fantastic as we’d not seen each other for a month or so. It was so lovely to catch up with them all and find out what everyone has been up to as well as reminisce about our amazing time out there. I’m actually going back to Barbados in a couple of weeks with James and Freddie as its my birthday. I’m really looking forward to it as I can’t wait to show them all the fantastic places out there and amazing things to do, in particular I can’t wait to introduce Freddie to Bob the turtle!

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After filming for This Morning I then made my way to a private performance by Ellie Goulding at Kellogg’s Chime for Change event at the Hospital Club in Soho. The event was fantastic with Ellie giving an incredible acoustic performance of her greatest hits to an intimate audience.

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The event hosted by Rachel Riley took place in aid of Kellogg’s Bring Colour Back campaign which encourages people to take black and white selfies and place them on social media with the hashtag #bringcolourback. The campaign as part of Guccis ‘Chime for change’ aims to raise awareness of the plight of women and girls across the world who have been denied education, health and justice. It was an absolutely fantastic event and a real privilege to be there.

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Here’s my black and white selfie with the lovely ladies from Kellogg’s!

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#bringcolourback

As I’ve been dashing about a lot over the last few months this weekend I was able to have a really relaxing time at home and so I was also able to finally open my new treats from Neom. I’d seen the products when we were at Ribby Hall and as I wanted to create a spa like atmosphere at home I got quite a few products from the range. I love the range as they are created using gorgeous aromatherapy oils that help you relax including lavender, jasmine and Brazilian rosewood. With a lovely hot bath and a glass of wine they’re perfect for creating a home spa. I particularly love the candles and diffuser as the smell creates layers of relaxing fragrance throughout the house. I also love the the hair, face and skin oil which is perfect to use at night as the lavender promotes a healthy sleep.

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If you’re looking to purchase some treats for yourself of for someone else this month remember it’s breast cancer awareness month and many companies have included special lines in their ranges with a percentage of sales going to breast cancer care. A few of my favourite products are Crabtree and Evelyn’s Eveleyn Rose line, Elemis limited edition Illuminating flash balm, Jo Malone red roses cologne and GHD limited edition pink straighteners.

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Clockwise from left to right:

Crabtree and Evelyn body cream £28

Elemis Pro-radiance Illuminating flash balm £33

Jo Malone red roses cologne £89

GHD straighteners in pink platinum £165

I particularly love the Crabtree and Evelyn products as they are so luxurious and so even if you don’t want to splash out on yourself they would make a stunning gift for someone else with a sizeable percentage of the sale going to help people going through cancer treatment. The rose cologne in its gold ornate bottle looks beautiful and twinned with the delicately fragranced rose body cream you could make someone feel really special.

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Rose Eau de Parfum £45

I also really love the Elemis illuminating flash balm as its great to use under your make up to help lift tired skin.

Anyway I’m going to say goodbye now as I’ve another busy week ahead but as always if you’d like any more information on anything I’ve posted please just let me know in the comments box.

Speak Soon,

Love Natalie Xx

PS.

It was Paris Fashion Week last week but as I was working for This Morning I was unable to attend despite being invited to quite a few shows. As you can imagine I was a bit gutted however you can’t have it all as I love working with This Morning. Thankfully though with social media now you get to see the show reports very quickly. I love Paris Fashion Week as a lot of my favourite designers show there, including Chanel, Balmain and Valentino, and as ever I wasn’t disappointed. I loved how Chanel dressed their set as an airport, it’s so artistic and clever and really sets the scene for the presentation. Here are my favourite picks from my favourite SS16 PFW collections.

Chanel:

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Balmain:
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Valentino:
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30 September
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Short Breaks, Pride of Britain and Best Beauty buys!!

It’s been a pretty chaotic few weeks with me reporting on London Fashion Week exclusively for Hello! last week, attending various awards ceremonies and presenting fashion on This Morning! I was therefore thrilled to have some down time with my amazing family and friends this weekend which was fantastic.

Myself, James and Freddie along with my best friends and their children stayed at the gorgeous Ribby Hall holiday village near Preston and had the most wonderful time. There’s so much to do there for both adults and kids alike including family swimming with water slides, pony trekking, boating, nature trails and a 5 star spa which the girls and I totally took advantage of!

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Not only is there plenty to do activity wise there’s also so many lovely places to eat too such as a pretty little tea room serving speciality breakfasts and the most wonderful cakes and buns, Freddie in particular did a pretty good job of devouring a chocolate cupcake before having a bit of a sugar melt down that turned into tears and tantrums resulting in no further park action with the other kids! However he did eventually calm down once the sugar had worn off ready for us to enjoy dinner at the Tapas Bar which with the weather as gorgeous as it was this weekend felt like we’d gone away to Spain. The music, decor and food were all really authentic, we really enjoyed ourselves.

The following day we took the children swimming and to the soft play area followed by a nice long walk on the nature trail. I loved the nature trail as firstly it was outdoors and I love being outside as a family, camping is one of my favourite things to do with children and secondly the management had designed the trail to be really interactive. Wooden carvings of animals were cleverly positioned throughout the trail with the children given the task of tying to spot them, you are then encouraged to explain what the animals are and they’re surrounds with the help of information given in your welcome pack. Freddie loved spotting the huge carved owls and woodpeckers hidden in the trees.NatalieAnderson1-a

In the evening we then visited the Karaoke which was amazing, we had so much fun. The girls and I went to performing arts school together and have been friends for over 20 years, we spent the majority of our adolescent years singing together in choirs or shows and so it was lovely to have the opportunity to sing with them again albeit Karaoke style, by the end of the evening we had all the ladies up singing Never Ever by the All Saints a standard girl band song of our generation, it was brilliant, the experience that is not perhaps the singing. The following day whilst the children spent some time with the dads of the group we visited the beautiful spa.

 

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I have to say I’ve been fortunate enough to visit many lovely spas across the world and this was one of my favourites, the Aqua Thermal journey is a must! You can visit the rustic outdoor sauna, hot tub, thermal indoor jacuzzi, followed by the ice experience, I particularly enjoyed the rustic sauna as again it was outdoors and had gorgeous views. We were all then treated to our individual treatments which after the madness I had at Fashion Week earlier in the week was so needed and relaxing. To end our trip we all had a lovely dinner at The Restaurant followed by an early night in our beautiful cottage. It was fantastic, so much so that we are looking into going again in the winter as we had the best time together!

No sooner had we got back from our trip, James and I then headed to London for the Pride of Britain awards, which again was such an amazing event. I absolutely love going to this awards ceremony as its so lovely to have the opportunity to celebrate some of the bravest most incredible people in our country. It was such an emotional evening as one by one the fantastic Carol Vorderman introduced the winners of various accolades such as Young Fundraiser of the year, Outstanding Bravery and Child of Courage, each having their own remarkable story to tell. I have to say I think I spent the majority of the evening in floods of tears particularly when children or parents took to the stage.

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The last time I attended this event I was a new mum with Freddie only being a few months old and so was only just aware of the profound effect being a parent has on you, now that Freddie is 3 and has his own personality if at all possible my heart seemed to break even more as I listened to the strength of people who had overcome such adversity. I also had the privilege of meeting a few of the winners including Joanne and Dan Thompson who sadly lost their daughter Millie as her nursery school were unable to revive her following a choking incident at her nursery. After this tragic event the brave couple set up Millie’s Trust (www.milliestrust.com) which raises awareness in paediatric first aid.
I also met 3 of the young people who lost limbs in the horrific accident at Alton Towers, Joe Pugh, Leah Washington and Vicky Balch and was completely blown away by their maturity and strength, they are an absolute credit to their families. I met many more people who were all so inspiring, it made me feel very proud to be British and to have the opportunity to recognise them publicly for their achievements. It was a wonderful evening with lots of famous faces in the audience including the X Factor and BGT judges, Sir Ian Mckellen, David Beckham and the mayor of London Boris Johnson who in true Johnson style turned up on his bike. As it was such a special occasion it was really nice to see everyone attend the event wearing beautiful gowns and suits, I particularly loved Cheryl Fernandez-Versini’s blue velvet Victoria Beckham dress with back full zip detail.

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Another favourite of mine was Suranne Jones’ Emerald green gown with its midi front and full train

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and also Alesha Dixon’s backless embellished black outfit.

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I wore a dress from BCBG Max Azria which had three tiers of pleated chiffon, it’s a dress that is very special to me as I purchased it in New York on my 30th birthday trip in a very pretty woman style shopping spree in the Max Azria boutique, but I have had hardly any opportunity to wear it and so the Pride of Britain was the perfect event.

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As is quite a staple with me I chose to keep my hair and make up quite natural with the dress being so big in order to keep my look classic and not too over the top.

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I’ve just recently got a new eyebrow kit from benefit called Brows a-go-go which I absolutely love, the powders are fantastic and are not too heavy and so blend perfectly!
It also comes with tweezers and blending brushes which is perfect for keeping everything together and not having to root around in your handbag as I’m sure we all do! The other thing I love is its inclusion of a mini kohl eyeliner as I’m forever losing mine which is so annoying as along with my mascara I think a kohl eyeliner is perfect for taking you from day to night if you’re going from work to drinks. I also used my new Benefit That Gal primer which is fantastic for creating a really healthy dewy glow and keeping your foundation in place all night.

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I then used my boi ing concealer to cover up any dark circles or blemishes. It’s such a great concealer, I was introduced to it by one of the lovely make up team at Emmerdale and I was so impressed with how it doesn’t crease and how it blends so well.

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I kept everything very clean and so finished my look with lashes from Ardell and a nude pink lip balm from Rimmel which has a really lovely minty smell and taste to it. At the end of the evening when id taken all of my make up off I then used my new favourite wonder product from Pai skincare which is their rose hip oil with added omegas 3,6,7&9. I was introduced to this product at a beauty event and wondered if at £22 it was too good to be true but I have to say it’s incredible at reviving your skin if it’s fatigued, allowing you to wake up with soft, supple and bright skin, it has now very quickly become part of my beauty regime. I love it!

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After a pretty mad few months I’ve now got a bit of down time coming up which is lovely but not before taking part in the Bear Grylls endurance challenge this weekend which I’m taking part in for This Morning. I’m sure its going to be very tough nevertheless I aim to do my best and push myself as much as I can and after the incredible stories I’ve heard this week at the Pride of Britain I have absolutely no excuse!

Anyway I’ll let you know next week how I get on and keep you posted with my weekly beauty finds!

Speak Soon

Love Natalie

PS if you missed my exclusive London Fashion Week Hello! Diary you can catch up here.

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Day Six

11 September
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Marines, make-up and Meryl Streep!

Hello Everyone!

It has been such a jam packed week, but incredibly fun too! I’ve had film screenings, awards ceremonies, training with the Royal Marines and a little trip to see the lovely Lorraine Kelly.

Firstly I was invited to a gala screening of Meryl Streep’s new film Ricki and the Flash, which was brilliant. It was such a fun night as firstly I thought the film was great and secondly I got to spend it with my best friend Lauren. I have to say I don’t think there’s a single role that Meryl Streep can’t play! Now I know Im little bit biased as she is literally my favourite actress, but I think the variety of roles she’s played and played superbly well just proves my point. For example 15 mins into the film, I turned to my friend and said that’s Margaret Thatcher rocking out and singing like she smokes 40 cigarettes a day! Meryl literally transforms and not just with clever prosthetics but with just fantastic acting technique! For the part of Ricki she lowered her voice and created a sultry rasp when she sang and in her physicality she created a really sexy laid back swagger highly suggestive of a rock n roll lifestyle. This transformation was a million miles away from the portrayal she did of our former prime minister! The film itself is fun, basically depicting the return of an estranged wannabe rock star mother to her grown up family as a result of her daughters tragic marriage break down. It has lots of laughs, a few tears and tackles various issues such as the politics of parent vs step parent. All in all id highly recommend it for a fun, light night out with friends or family. The dress I wore to the event was by Latvian designer Katya Sheurina. I love her designs, my dress was from her latest collection, Venice. The gold and black lace works really well for this transeasonal time of year and will also work well for Christmas. To avoid looking over dressed for the event I kept my hair and make up quite minimal and opted for a black cropped leather jacket to toughen up the look.

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There’s lots of lace around for AW15, I’ve put together an edit of my favourite 5 dresses ranging from designer to high street.

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Clockwise from left
Self Portrait red lace £250
Elie Saab Purple £5,175
Topshop £68
Monique Lhuillier £2,265
Topshop £85

Next up was a training session with the Royal Marines for a piece I’m doing for This Morning, alongside Jeff Brazier and Sharon Marshall. The training session was to prepare us for the Bear Grylls Endurance Challenge which takes place on the 3rd-4th Oct. There’s a series of challenges across several assault courses that are meant to test your strength and Endurance.

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I am taking part in the 5k event. The training session was so unbelievably hard! I thought I was relatively fit as I go to the gym and do at home workouts, how wrong was I! I’ll admit I did really struggle, especially with the strength tests which included sprinting 5 laps with a 20KG weight on your shoulders, in the end I had to share my pack with the personal trainer Freya in order to complete my set, nevertheless I wasn’t willing to give up. I think that’s also how I’ll approach the event itself. I know it’s going to be tough but once I’ve completed it I know I’ll feel like I’ve really achieved something….wish me luck.

On the same evening as the training day I then attended the TV choice awards…feeling a little stiff and sore I can tell you. It was such a lovely night and so much fun as I got to catch up with some of my Emmerdale colleagues. Lenny Henry was the compare for the night and literally had me in stitches all the way through.

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To attend the event I wore a new design from our Enais Chapman range the Penelope Jumpsuit. I absolutely loved it as it was so comfortable. The jumpsuit has a real 70’s vibe as it has a matching skinny neck tie, a staple piece you’ll find in most AW collections this seasons. For myself to allow the jumpsuit to be the standout element of my look I kept my makeup very minimal and chose a messy side plait. There were some gorgeous outfits on the red carpet, but I think my top 3 stand out looks were Sair Khan (coronation street) for her super polished yet sexy look. The khaki green dress accentuated her figure perfectly and the colour worked beautifully with her skin. Brooke Vincent looked uber cool with super sleek hair and a standout lip colour that matched her cut out dress to perfection. Finally I absolutely loved Amanda Byrams plunging Pat Bo mini dress for it’s highly embellished detail and sense of fun.

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It was such a lovely night topped off by the fact that the gorgeous Danny Miller, Emmerdales Aaron Livesy, took home the prize for best soap actor….congratulations Danny!

To end my mad week I then paid a visit to ITV to see the lovely Lorraine Kelly to chat about my Emmerdale exit. I love going in to see Lorraine as she always makes you feel so comfortable.

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I chose to wear an oversized white shirt and cigarette pants with my new favourite purchase, my Carvela @Kurt Geiger shoes. I absolutely love them and I got some lovely comments on them on the day too. Shoes with ties and laces are another big trend for AW15.

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In and amongst all my travelling I also got to try out a few new products. The cream contour palette from Contour cosmetics and the O from Cloud 9 hair. I have to say as a bit of a novice to contouring I thought the palette was amazing. Personally I prefer my make up to look quite fresh and natural and so I’ve always been a bit wary of the contouring trend however I found this kit to be brilliant at letting you create the look that’s right for you. The creams blend so easily that you can define your features whilst still remaining very fresh faced. I loved the final result and have definitely added the palette to my core make up kit.

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http://www.contourcosmetics.co.uk/products/contour-multi-use-face-contouring-set

I then tried out the O by cloud Nine Hair volume creating kit, which I thought was wonderful. Now I’ve had the O Velcro rollers used on my hair before by various make up artists and really loved the bouncy, blow dried look it creates, however I wanted to see how easy it was to do for myself and I have to say the answer was very! Unlike the old heated rollers that you had to wait quite a long time for to warm up and then you couldn’t get them in your hair without burning your fingers, the O heats the roller in seconds and alerts you that it’s ready by a red dot appearing on top of the roller, much like when a ceramic pan when it has reached the optimum temperature. You then roll it into your hair and secure with easy to use clips, that again don’t burn your head. You then repeat the process until all of your hair has been put in and then wait until the red dots on all of the rollers have turned back to black before taking them out again. All in all it took roughly 20 mins to create a really volumous look without the need for blowdrying. I loved it and can’t wait to use it for my next event!

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http://www.cloudninehair.com/the-o

Well I’m going to say goodbye for now, but as always if you have any questions or want any more information then please just leave a message in the comments box and I’ll get back to you.

Lots of Love,

Natalie. Xx

03 September
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Leaving Emmerdale, working on This Morning and Freddie’s 3rd birthday

Hello Everyone,

Thank you so much for reading my blog! Its been quite an emotional month this month, as after five amazing years I said goodbye to Emmerdale and my character of Alicia, which I’m sure you can imagine was quite difficult and I shed a lot of tears. We also celebrated Freddie’s third birthday, which was a fantastic day, but still a little bit sad as it was such a reminder that my little baby has definitely grown up into a big boy! It’s also been an incredibly busy month as no sooner had I left Emmerdale, I then did a few presenting jobs for This Morning including jetting off to sunny Barbados for a piece that will be shown on the show mid-Sept. Now that was amazing!!

Bidding farewell to Emmerdale was extremely hard as I’ve made some wonderful friends there and it has been such a huge part of my life over the past five years and so the build up to it was really strange. On the one hand I was extremely excited to be able to spend more time with my family alongside taking on new challenges, but on the other I was very nostalgic about it all. The last two weeks seemed to be on a countdown and filled with thoughts of ‘that’s the last time I’ll work with that person, the last time I’ll be on this set, the last time I’ll wear that’ etc. and so by the end I’d worked myself up to the point where after crying pretty much non stop on my last day, I actually couldn’t cry any more for my last scene, which was actually quite ironic as playing Alicia over the years I’ve done A LOT of crying.

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I was lucky enough to film my final scenes with my amazing on-screen family and so in between all the crying, I did actually laugh a lot too, especially with Roxy Shahidi who plays my sister Leyla. It was such a hot day which was again quite ironic as I’d spent the previous five years freezing to death due to the fact that the village itself pretty much has it’s own climate and the majority of the time it’s cold! Anyway luckily for me it was lovely and hot, however Roxy decided to have an umbrella as a parasol to keep her in the shade (she’s great at protecting her skin from the sun) and huge sunglasses which made me really laugh as she looked like a 1950’s movie star who had stumbled into Emmerdale village! I loved her for it though, as it kept me smiling. I had a great time too on the night of my leaving drinks which resulted in lots of food, drinks and dancing! I’ve had an amazing time at Emmerdale and am so incredibly proud to have been part of such an iconic show and one that I’ve been a fan of since I was a child. There’s absolutely no doubt that I will miss my friends there but I’m also very much looking forward to the next chapter now.

Speaking of which, only a couple of days after finishing up at Emmerdale I was asked to present the fashion segment on This Morning, which I absolutely loved! As many of you know I love styling and fashion, and so I was thrilled to have been asked. As This Morning use real woman as their models it was lovely to meet the ladies that we styled, they were all so different and so it was great to explore styling for different body shapes and ages. One of my favourite sections was the ‘suede effect’, where we styled our beautiful model Kerry in a really gorgeous suede effect midi skirt and teamed it with suede sandals and a gorgeous khaki green knitted vest. She looked stunning, so much so that both Marvin and Rochelle (who were presenting that day) and myself couldn’t take our eyes off her gorgeous bottom, it looked amazing in the skirt. I loved the look we created and it was perfect for late summer but as I said on the show, it will look equally good with a roll neck jumper and knee high leather boots for a take on the 70’s trend that’s set to be big this winter.

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I’ve also put together another couple of outfits as 70’s trend alternatives below, hope you like them! I really enjoyed presenting the segment and it was lovely working with Marvin and Rochelle who were both fantastic and really welcoming AND my gorgeous friend Gaynor Faye was also on the show that day so I got to spend some lovely time with her too.

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Shortly after presenting in the studio for This Morning, I then went on to cover a couple of travel pieces for them. One in beautiful Clovelly in Exeter which you may have already seen as it aired a couple of weeks ago and the other in Barbados which was incredible and will be aired mid-September. Even though we were working we still managed to have a really great time, and I experienced some amazing things, such as swimming with turtles! Well I say swimming, in my head I was totally up for it and so got myself in the water all ready to swim with cute little disneyesque types, however I got a real surprise when I saw one of the real ones swimming towards me, they were huge and really fast and strong and so like a baby I scooted back up the steps of the boat we were on and interacted with him from there, I say him as I decided to name him Bob! He was such a gorgeous creature!

Whilst we were in Barbados we stayed on a beautiful exclusive estate on the west of the island which boasts incredible villas and colonial townhouses and has it’s own stunning golf club. We also chartered a luxury four-bedroom catamaran which had its own private chef and we sailed to some of the most beautiful spots on the island. The captain of the catamaran was a lovely man called Robert who owns one of the most popular cruise companies in Barbados. He and his wife set up their business 18 years ago and are the only husband-and-wife team who run a cruise company out there, which I thought was lovely and really romantic. I absolutely loved sailing on the boat as unlike flying I actually really enjoy being on the water and found it so peaceful looking out onto the horizon as the sun glistened onto the turquoise water.

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Another highlight of the trip for me was Oistins fish market which we visited on our final eve. It’s an amazing place, filled with music, dancing and wonderful smells of freshly cooked fish and barbecued chicken. I absolutely loved how rustic and alive it was. The rum punch was flowing amidst families laughing and eating together at the jam packed fish stalls, each running into the next. It was such an amazing experience and the atmosphere is so contagious that you can’t help but join in. I definitely couldn’t help but have a little dance myself! All in all it was a fantastic trip, where I learnt an awful lot work wise, whilst still having the opportunity to take part in some wonderful things and with a wonderful crew.

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Filming in Barbados meant I had to be equipped with the right clothes and the right beauty products to avoid becoming a sticky hot mess in the 32 degree heat with at times 80% humidity! It was hot I can tell you….but here’s a few of my favourite outfits and essential products if you’re taking a late summer holiday.

Barbados Style Diary

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Left to Right

Day 1
Kaftan: Steve Madden
Bikini: Miss Selfridge
Wedges: Zara

Day 2
Sunglasses: Oscar de la renta
Dress: Made in Italy
Bikini: Melissa Odabash
Wedges: New Look

Day 3
Dress: Peace & Love
Wedges: Zara
Bracelet: Links of London

Day 4
Dress: Zara
Wedges: New Look
Sunglasses: As before

Beauty Essentials

NatalieAnderson7-a

Clockwise

John Frieda Beach Blonde Sea Waves:
This is amazing at giving your hair an all day beach look that can take you into the night with a gorgeous textured fish plait! Fights the frizz and humidity!

Max Factor Miracle Touch Foundation:
I absolutely love this as it’s such a light foundation but has really good coverage. It’s so light that you don’t have the feeling of being caked even though I had several applications throughout the day as I was on camera. I would definitely recommend this if you’re planning a wedding abroad as it will look great on your pictures and gives a really natural finish.

Clarins instant Light Lip Balm Perfector
Another complete favourite of mine! This balm has a way of catching the light to make your lips look instantly full and luscious, however it doesn’t have the same sticky consistency as a lot of other balms and glosses, and so you won’t find yourself getting your hair stuck to it every two minutes. Pair with a nude matte lip liner for a deeper look to take you from day to night.

Urban Decay Naked Palette:
I swear by this palette as it’s amazing for all occasions! The shadows can be used in isolation for a gorgeous natural look or with each other to create darker more dramatic looks. I literally take it everywhere with me as there’s no need to pack any extra eyeshadows. I also use the lighter shimmery shades as highlighters, which is great for creating the strobing look which is such a current beauty trend. You can also use the darker shades to fill eyebrows. I really think this palette is such a great investment, the shadows are really good in the heat too, I very rarely had to reapply them throughout the long filming days.

Max Factor 2000 calorie mascara:
I have been using this for near on 10 years now and despite trialling other mascaras I still say this is the best for volume and durability. I’ve worn this mascara on the majority of jobs I’ve done as it very rarely slips off and so doesn’t give you that unpleasant panda eye effect that can really undermine your look. Again this is especially true in the heat, when often mascaras can seem to literally melt onto your face. I’ve never had that experience with this mascara and at less that a fiver it’s an absolute bargain!!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post, please let me know if you want any more information about any of the things I’ve talked about. You can leave your questions in the comments box and I’ll get back to you but for now I’ll say goodbye and speak soon.

Love Natalie Xx

Ps we had the best time at Legoland in Windsor celebrating Freddie’s birthday! I still can’t believe he’s 3….growing up far to fast for my liking! It was an amazing day and there was so much to do, especially for kids Freddie’s age…including passing his 1st driving test in the Lego cars. We then took a train around the resort, which being a bit train obsessed he loved, before watching one of the most entertaining and energetic performances ‘The Pirate Show’. It is such a great day out for kids and grown ups alike, I highly recommend it!

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Xx

28 July
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My summer parties

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’re all well! Another busy month for me including filming, a visit to Goodwood festival of speed, ITV’s summer party, Wimbledon men’s final and Ian Bothams 60th birthday charity cricket match.

Not many people will know this but when I was younger I was a massive Formula 1 fan and went to several Grand Prix with my family. Although not quite as intense as when I was younger, ( I was a full on Ferrari girl, with branded hat, T-shirt, jacket etc) my love for motorsport still remains and so I was thrilled to be invited to Goodwood festival of speed just recently. We were incredibly lucky to have been invited by Williams Martini racing and we had the most fantastic weekend.

 

image1We met Felippe Masa who drives for the Williams team and the legendary Stirling Moss. The day itself was so much fun as we spent a lot of time with the team sponsors, I was taught how to make cocktails (although, I secretly already knew a lot of the recipes from years of working in cocktail bars) and we made a little video of James and I driving through the streets of Rome in a vintage car, which was hilarious! I actually thought I was a 1950’s screen siren. As fantastic as the day was, the evening was even more amazing. The festival ball was so gorgeous and unbelievably thrilling. After we had a beautiful dinner at Goodwood house which is owned by Lord March, we were then treated to one of the most spectacular fireworks displays I have ever seen. It was about 30 minutes long and was very reminiscent of Cirque de Soliel as the fireworks accompanied the most incredible theatrical scenes involving tightrope walkers, acrobats and opera singers. As the display drew to a close, I thought what a wonderful way to end the evening, however we were then treated to a surprise set from the Kaiser Chiefs. The band performed amazingly and although everyone was dressed in cocktail dresses and suits we still rocked out sufficiently. It was such a brilliant weekend, with so many surprises and highlights, it made the scary flight back to Leeds very much worth it!

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After Goodwood I attended the ITV summer party, which is such a lovely event. It basically celebrates all the work we’ve done as team over the year, but it’s also a great chance to catch up with people you might not have seen for a while. Thankfully the weather was lovely and so I was able to wear a nice little playsuit with heels. One of my favourite things about the whole evening was getting to catch up with the very gorgeous Sammy Winward, who played Katie Sugden in Emmerdale. Sammy left earlier this year and we’ve all missed her a lot, however she has been extremely busy as she’s just finished filming Prey for ITV with Philip Glenister as well as writing her first children’s book “Princess Phoebe Meets the Tudors”. It’s so fantastic to finally see the book on the shelves as Sammy has worked so hard on it and I can’t wait to see what other stories are set to follow. It was also lovely to catch up with Leanne Brown who is currently appearing in The Real Housewives of Cheshire, which I absolutely love! Myself and Roxy Shahidi are a little bit addicted to all of The Real Housewives series and so we were thrilled when they began filming the Cheshire version. Leanne told me they are currently filming a new series for ITVbe and so I’m extremely excited to see the next instalment of the fabulous lives of the Cheshire wives.

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This month I was also lucky enough to attend the Wimbledon men’s final with my lovely friend Karin, which was amazing. I’ve never been to Wimbledon before, having normally watched the tournament at home and I have to say it is a very different experience actually being there. I really enjoy watching the tennis and so felt incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to watch an absolutely world class match between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. The thing I found most astounding was how quiet the court became when the players began to play, you could literally hear a pin drop and then the moment the play stopped it was as if someone had turned the volume up as the crowd erupted. My favourite part of the match was the second set which was fantastic, I’ve never seen tennis like that before, literally rally after rally, I found myself holding my breath until someone finally won the point. In the end it was Djokovic who got to claim the victory, even though I thought Federer played fantastically. It really was such a memorable match and one I was so privileged to witness.

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Finally this weekend, James and I attended Ian Bothams 60th birthday charity cricket match, which was so much fun. The match was played by two teams of all star cricketers including Darren Gough, Piers Morgan and Shane Warne and it was great to watch. The day was held at Wormsley cricket club near Thame in Oxford which was one of the most beautiful settings I’ve ever been in for a day of cricket. Ian was hosting the event to raise money for Beefy’s charity foundation which is made up of five wonderful charity’s including leukaemia and lymphoma research who I also do a lot of work with as my grandad passed away from lymphoma in 2011. It was a fabulous event with the auction alone raising over 100k for the foundation. Ian is such a lovely man, who dedicates so much of his time to raising money and it was so nice to see him surrounded by his family and grandchildren on such a special occasion. My friend Peter will actually be joining Ian on 100km trek across South Africa raising money for the foundation ( If you’d like to help please visit https://www.justgiving.com/PeterSwannSUFC/ For more details). Even though the day was really about the cricket the highlight for me was watching Eric Clapton play a special set to Ian’s guests. I was literally reduced to tears as he performed one of my favourite songs ‘wonderful tonight’ and thought of all the people who must have beautiful memories of that song, be it from a first date, first dance or first kiss and there he was singing it live only a few meters away from me, I felt extremely lucky. It really was a brilliant weekend, filled with lots of laughs, amazing performances and great cricket!

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Well the next few weeks look to be just as busy for me as we hold Freddie’s 3rd birthday party (where has the time gone!) and I prepare to leave Emmerdale and look to the future…eek!

Speak very soon,
Love Natalie Xx

22 June
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My whirlwind month

So again it’s been a whirlwind month, with numerous trips to London and events to attend. I attended the Lorraine High Street fashion awards which was such a lovely evening, particularly as I got to catch up with ex-emmerdale actresses Adele Silva and Suzanne Shaw who both looked gorgeous! Suzanne is pregnant and looked incredible in a body con dress showing off her bump and Adele who is a new mum looked beautiful in an orange shift dress. I wore the mini Jennifer caped sleeve dress from our range to attend the event. It was lovely catching up with the girls and talking about fashion and our children and what we’ve all been up to as it was some time ago that we were all in Emmerdale together. It was a great night all round and I was particularly proud of myself as I pretty much got all of the winners right, much to the girls amusement. Well we all know I love any kind quiz!

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I then attended my friend Carolynne Pooles album showcase in Manchester which was brilliant. Carolynne and I went to school together and so have known each other for many years, hence I know how hard she has worked as a singer/songwriter, travelling back and forth to Nashville, appearing on the X Factor and Fame Academy and so to see her performing material from her self penned debut album, live on stage was fantastic. What was also lovely about the evening was so many of our school friends and their parents were there and it was actually really nostalgic. Our school was an amazing place but also incredibly strict. There were only 30 places a year for the performing arts course and as we were the only school in the area offering a performing arts course to rival that of the big London schools, competition to get in was quite fierce. It also meant that your grades in your other subjects couldn’t drop below a C and so it required a lot of hard work, time management and discipline to stay on the course. However I think that level of training at such a young age was great preparation for working professionally in the industry. Watching Carolynne made me and my friend Vikki quite emotional as we reminisced about us all performing in our school productions. We were all so young and desperately wanted to perform professionally and now here was Carolynne doing exactly that with her band and she was amazing!! It was a really great night and James and I also managed to have a good old chat with new mummy and daddy Cath Tyldsley and her lovely fiancé Tom. If you haven’t heard it yet Carolynnes debut single “I Love You but Shut Up” is available now on iTunes.

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This weekend I attended the Royal Television Society-Yorkshire region awards which was again a really great night. I’ve had a few weeks away from filming at Emmerdale and so it was lovely to see everyone. Being a proud Yorkshire girl it was also lovely to celebrate the regions talent and achievements. I personally was nominated for Best On Screen Performance for the Emmerdale storyline I had with Lachlan (played by Thomas Atkinson) earlier in the year. The nomination was a huge honour for me as I was nominated against Sarah Lancashire and Harry Gration, whom I have both hugely admired growing up and in particular Sarah Lancashire who has been a massive inspiration to me through the years. Needless to say the award actually went to Sarah for her incredible performance in Happy Valley however I was more than thrilled at simply having my name announced alongside her on the evening and so I went home very pleased and with the event programme as a memento. Happy Valley were the big winners of the night which was a bit disappointing for us at Emmerdale however I think the biggest winner of the evening was Yorkshire itself. It was fantastic to see how many productions were either made in the area or featured the region as their backdrop and it made me feel incredibly proud as when I graduated from drama school I was told that the only place i would get work was in London, however I can definitely say that is no longer the case, only last night ITV’s latest drama Black Work starring Sheridan Smith used Leeds as its location. It’s fantastic that audiences get to see what I love so much about living here.

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Finally on Saturday I attended Royal Ascot. Again another fun filled day, however this year I was not so lucky with my betting. I think I got a little bit too cocky with myself at having done so well in previous years and started to veer away from my usual method of picking horses based on the colour of the jockeys shirt or the name of the horse and started looking at things like form and trainers as if I was John Mcruick. Needless to say I only won on one of the six races of the day and therefore i will consider it a lesson learnt, that ‘Nanna knows best’ and so in the future I will definitely go back to my grandmas more traditional methods. However we still had a lot of laughs and I really loved getting all dressed up for the day. I decided to go for quite a different look this year as last year I worked with a fab stylist on a shoot I did with Hello! about Ascot style and she really opened my eyes to dressing for the occasion, which can often be problematic as the dress code can be quite strict. I really loved wearing a smaller hat and a bit of colour although Freddie decided to tell me my hat made me look like a clown! Oh well I still liked it and more than anything it gave me less of a headache then hats I’ve worn in previous years.

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Anyway I’ll say goodbye for now and speak again very soon.

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Love NatalieXx

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