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23 April
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Easter was the perfect family weekend – Freddie looked so cute trying to be a big boy!

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for reading my blog!! Please feel free to leave your comments.

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Easter and are not feeling too stuffed full of chocolate! I was lucky enough to have most of the bank holiday weekend off which was amazing and a real rarity with our schedule at Emmerdale and so I spent it having some quality time with my husband and family.

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Firstly James and I took ourselves off to the gorgeous Titanic Eco spa in Linthwaite in Huddersfield for the day which was lovely. When we arrived we had lunch and a glass of champagne before changing into the comfiest robes I have ever worn and slippers. I absolutely loved being able to wonder around in a dressing gown without anyone batting an eyelid as I spend so much time in Alicia’s tiny Lycra outfits, holding yourself in all day is a workout in itself!! We then enjoyed the Heat and Ice experience, which consists of visiting several different treatment rooms of varying temperatures one after the other, well I say enjoyed, standing in a freezing cold room and rubbing ice into your body most definitely wasn’t a highlight however was much needed after spending 10 mins in the steam room which felt as hot as Dubai. It’s fantastic for your circulation and getting all of the toxins out of your body apparently, I definitely felt better for it and was ready for our decleor hot stone massage. The massage was bliss!! Beginning with an aromatic exfoliation treatment and mask, the therapist then applied hot stones to my back and shoulders, which felt quite strange at first but then was amazing as the heat began to penetrate into my muscles. I really suffer with tension in my upper back and shoulders and so I can be quite sceptical with treatments as more often than not I find that although they can be lovely and relaxing they don’t tend to actually alleviate the tension, however this treatment definitely did as it was quite intense. Afterwards I was so relaxed I thought I was going to fall over! However we were then lead into a gorgeous chill out room with low lighting and huge bean bags where we preceded to fall asleep for AN HOUR!! An absolute luxury for any parent, is being able to have an hour’s sleep during the day. All in all we had a fantastic time and I would definitely recommend it to anyone in need of some chill out time!

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We then headed off to Whitby for the rest of the Easter break to spend time with our friends and family. It was fab!! All together there were about 10 of us there for the weekend, including my mum and her friends, our friends and us. It was so lovely as it reminded me of my own childhood holidays at the beach. My mum used to invent games for us to play when the weather was bad or she’d march us all down to the the beach armed with wind shields, towels, deck chairs and some form of bat and ball, ready to brave the English weather and make the most of our day by engaging in competitive sports and building sand castles. We’d then have a little picnic, which would always include sandwiches and biscuits and a huge hot flask of tea. We would eventually round of the day eating fish and chips out of paper bags before heading back home and falling fast asleep due to the amount of fresh sea air we’d had. Well we pretty much did all the same things except this time there was much more wine involved!! Freddie absolutely loved it!! He ran all over the beach, built sand castles and tried to join in with a very competitive game of French cricket! He’s becoming so independent he insisted on walking pretty much everywhere, up hills, along the sea front, around the marina. He looked so cute, bless him taking everything in and trying to be a big boy. It really was the perfect family weekend.

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Whilst we were there we also did a little Easter egg hunt for Freddie, which he enjoyed so much. The surprise on his face when he found each egg was priceless…”ooh there’s another one mummy!” “Basket please”. He did so well, he found every one! However now I’m stuck with about 10 Easter eggs!! Oh well. Yummy!!

Well as always I’ll say goodbye for now, I hope you had a lovely time time too!!

Love Natalie

14 April
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I’m really excited about my Emmerdale storyline that airs soon!

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for reading my blog!! Please feel free to leave your comments.

As I said last week, I’ve been pretty busy filming at Emmerdale for a storyline that airs at the beginning of May. I’m really excited to see the finished product and how everything pieces together as we’ve all had so much fun working on it over the last month. Everyone at Emmerdale works incredibly hard and I would really love to see us recognised at this year’s British Soap Awards. We’ve had an amazing year and there’s been some fantastic performances/episodes from our actors and production team. The heartbreaking moment when Lesley Dunlop had her head shaved as part of Brenda’s brain tumour story, Charlie Hardwick and Chris Chittell’s emotional portrayal of Vals HIV discovery and of course the edge of your seat, high octane scenes between Charley Webb, Lucy Pargeter, Mark Charnock and Dominic Power during our epic Storm and Siege week in October are just a few examples of how incredible Emmerdale has been over the last 12 months.

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I know I’m biased and fiercely loyal but I really am keeping everything crossed that we pick something up this year as I feel we deserve it more than ever! If you feel the same then you can visit www.britishsoapawards.tv to vote for us. This year’s outfit choice however will hopefully be much less stressful as I will be wearing a dress from our new Enais Chapman collection, which is extremely exciting. The only trouble I am having is deciding which design I’d like to wear as I absolutely love them all… ah decisions, decisions!

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I’ve been on the go quite a lot recently and so I have absolutely loved having a gorgeous, chilled out weekend at home with James and Freddie. Well I say chilled out, Freddie had me in the garden chasing him around with a rugby ball before I made the mistake of doing a showy off cartwheel, which then resulted in me having to go on to perform 7 more in a row!!! This I could do quite easily 15 years ago when I was a cheerleader, however now I’m afraid it’s a huge task, that requires the energy of a sugar crazed 6 year old or 5 consecutive red bulls. Needless to say I’m not a 6 year old and I hate red bull and so by the end of the seventh cartwheel I thought I was going to be sick. Definitely a party trick that is going back into the box, not to be brought out for a VERY long time! We also took Freddie to a lovely little country pub near our house where you can watch the aeroplanes taking off from Leeds and Bradford airport. He absolutely loved it and got so excited whenever one set off he shouted “Goodbye aeroplane, see u soon!” which thankfully the other diners found endearingly amusing as opposed to incredibly annoying… well it seemed like they did anyway.

After all that jumping about, I was definitely in the need for mummy’s treat time! This normally consists of a lovely relaxing candle lit bath with a glass of wine, followed by applying some gorgeous lotions and potions, (my faves being my Chanel Coco Noir perfume, Neostrata face wash and Elemis skin bliss capsules) then heading off to bed before 9.30pm… bliss!!

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This weekend also saw the return of Britain’s Got Talent, which I absolutely love! I’d even go as far as to say that it’s probably my favourite of all the talent shows as each year you just never know what you’re going to get. Last years winners Attraction, were absolutely incredible and had me in tears with their moving piece of shadow theatre and this years show opener definitely didn’t disappoint. Back were the fantastic four judges, Simon, David, Alesha and Amanda ( this is my favourite judging panel line up) alongside Saturday night faves Ant and Dec, who witnessed both the crazy and sublime from a vast array of auditionees. The acts ranged from the wonderful to the very weird and had me both crying and laughing in equal measure. My favourite acts from Saturday night were, gorgeous classical boy band Collabro who performed Stars from Les Miserable so beautifully, Soprano singer Lucy Kay and my absolute favourites Paddy and Nico, a 79 year old Latin dancing grandma and her somewhat younger dance partner. My eyes nearly fell out of my head, firstly at the unbelievable acrobatic moves they performed within their routines and secondly at how incredible Paddy’s legs were at 79 years old. She puts most 20 year olds to shame. She lost her husband when she was 70 and turned to dancing to fill the void. She is an absolute inspiration and a real testament to the fact that Britain really does have talent… of all ages!

Anyway I’m going to say goodbye for now and speak very soon.

Lots of love

Natalie Xx

07 April
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I’ve got a big story line on Emmerdale – stay tuned!

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for reading my blog!! It’s been another busy couple of weeks with filming, developing the dress line and of course being a mummy, I feel like my head’s in a spin.

The highlight though was definitely Mother’s Day. Freddie woke me up with the words “Happy Mummy’s Day”, whilst holding (very carefully with both hands) a plate of toast and jam. He’d obviously been practising with his daddy and was so proud of himself that he’d got it right that he kept repeating it at the top of his voice. It absolutely melted my heart, to hear my little boy speak so clearly in his little voice was so lovely, it made me cry! I had such a gorgeous day.

After having breakfast in bed and opening my cards, my favourite being one that Freddie had made at Nursery, I came downstairs to find a present waiting in the kitchen. I opened it to find a gorgeous framed poster that had all my favourite things written on it. Old Hollywood films, roses, and Audrey Hepburn were just a few of the things featured in there. It was so personal to me and so thoughtful… I absolutely loved it! We then paid a visit to both my mum and James’ mum before heading off to one of our favourite restaurants in Ilkley, which again was another surprise. It was the perfect Mother’s Day, James definitely earned brownie points for his efforts this year ha ha!!

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I’ve also been very busy filming at Emmerdale over the last month as I’m part of quite a big storyline that airs in May. As always because we are filming quite a few weeks ahead I can’t give away too many details but I can say that’s its very funny which has been so lovely as the last year for my character Alicia has been very dramatic. I’ve also been working with my fantastic on-screen family, Roxy Shahidi, Joe Warren-Plant and Matthew Wolfenden, which to be honest doesn’t feel like work at all as we have so much fun together. We’ve also been filming quite a lot on location and thankfully the weather has been relatively good with even a few sunny spells. As the village at Emmerdale seems to be at a permanent 0 degrees, I can’t tell you how much of a blessing it is when the sun finally shines. Nevertheless I always love filming on location as quite often we have all the big filming rigs, lights and cranes and you’re really reminded of the fact that you are making a TV programme. It’s really easy to forget when you are in the studio a lot as everything is filmed so quickly and it runs like clockwork, there’s hardly any downtime. As I said the episodes we’ve been filming will air in May and I can’t wait to see how it all looks as we had so much fun filming everything.

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I’ve also been busy with our Enais Chapman dress line. Our first collection of dresses is currently in production and we are shooting the images for our first lookbook in May which is incredibly exciting. As all of our dresses are “made in Britain” by our team of seamstresses and pattern cutters it means myself and Kate have been able to oversee every step. I have absolutely loved the whole process so far, as dress design has always been a passion of mine. So much so that when I was 8 my mum bought my a mini singer sewing machine and gave me an old pair of net curtains with which I made wedding dresses for my Barbie dolls!!! It’s amazing to see the dresses come to life, from sketches to toiles and in a few weeks the final versions that will eventually go on sale in our online boutique….eek!!!

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Well anyway I’ll say bye bye for now and speak again very soon.

Love Natalie xxx

P.S. I still managed to find the time for the odd girls’ night and date night with the hubs!!! Well, work hard, play hard I say ha ha!! Xx

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25 March
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The Mum of the Year awards was so inspiring – I can’t wait for you to see it all

These last few weeks have been super busy!!

Firstly myself and a few of the other Emmerdale girls went to the Harvey Nichols Spring/Summer fashion show in Leeds and it was brilliant!! As I’m working on the Enais Chapman line at the moment it was a bit of a school trip as I was able to observe not only the clothes but the production as a whole. The models, set, choreography and music were all fantastic and definitely gave me some food for thought as we are obviously in the very early stages of planning our first showcase.

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However it wasn’t just an evening of learning it was definitely an evening of fun too as me and the girls enjoyed a gorgeous post-show dinner followed by some very lovely and decadent cocktails. I seem to have developed a thing for French martinis at the moment!! In fact I seem to be going through a whole French phase as my favourite saying for everything I like is “Oh it’s very French”!! Needless to say I’m extremely excited to be going to watch YSL, the Yves Saint Laurent movie with Roxy Shahidi next week as firstly it’s all about the world of fashion and secondly it’s in French!!

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This weekend I was thrilled to be invited to the Tesco Mum of the Year awards held at the beautiful Savoy hotel. It was an absolutely wonderful day and I met so many amazing and inspiring women. All of the winners were so deserving and had overcome so much in their lives from beating cancer, campaigning for change within European law, channelling profound grief and selflessly giving to others who need the most help, I felt truly privileged to have spent the day with them. I was also extremely honoured to have been asked to present the Lifetime Achievement Award alongside my cast mate Jason Merrells (Declan Macey) to a wonderful Yorkshire lady. I don’t want to give too much away as the awards will be screened on Channel 5 on Mother’s Day and so you can see for yourself just how special and inspiring this particular lady is. Nevertheless I can say I was absolutely thrilled to be able to give her the award and to have had a lovely chat with her and her husband. She definitely had a few lessons for me!

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The event was absolutely amazing and highly emotional topped off by a stunning performance by third time mum-to-be Sam Bailey. She performed her version of Shania Twain’s From this moment (one of my all-time favourite ballads) and Jennifer Rush’s Power of love. I shed quite a few tears as Sam’s voice is just so powerful and emotive and she gave one of the most incredible vocals I have ever heard. Needless to say the audience were up on their feet for standing ovations after each song!!

We’ve had some really gorgeous weather over the last week or so and so Freddie and I have taken advantage of it and got out in the garden and to the park. I can’t believe how big he’s getting so quickly!! He’s nearly 20 months now but it seems like yesterday that he was a little tiny baby. James was trying to teach him how to play rugby in our garden and I managed to get a picture of him. I couldn’t believe it when I looked at it though as he looked about three!!! Far too grown up for my liking!!

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Anyway I’ll speak to you guys again soon!!

Love Natalie Xx

03 March
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It’s all about the Oscars!!

Last night saw the 86th annual Academy Awards and with Ellen DeGeneres holding the fort it was sure to be an entertaining evening. Pizza delivery, selfies, fancy dress and Pharrell, it seemed like an awful lot of fun and somewhat less formal than previous years. There were some big winners and losers on the night. I was absolutely thrilled that Matthew McConaughey took the prize for best actor for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club as I’ve always been a huge fan of his, but at the same time so disappointed for Leonardo DiCaprio who lost out on the accolade for the fourth time despite being what I believe ‘one of the best actors of his generation’.

Cate Blanchett won the Oscar for Best Actress for a second time for her role in Blue Jasmine and looked absolutely stunning in a nude embellished creation by Armani. It was a huge night for newcomer Lupita Nyong’o who after being beaten at both the Golden Globes and the Baftas by American Hustle star Jennifer Lawrence, took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for 12 years a Slave. Former teen heartthrob Jared Leto (anyone over the age of 30 will forever be in love with him after he played the role of Jordan opposite a very young Claire Danes in 90s teen angst series My So Called Life) won the award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Dallas Buyers Club. The oscar for Best Picture went to British director Steve Mcqueen’s 12 Years a Slave which was also produced by Brad Pitt and depicts the true story of Solomon Northop, but the biggest winner of the evening was Gravity which picked up 7 awards including Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron.

I personally feel that the Oscars is traditionally the most glamorous event of the awards season and as I’m launching my own design label this summer with my friend Kate Chapman I couldn’t wait to see what everyone was wearing. I have to say I felt most people played it quite safe on the red carpet last night as there were lots of column dresses, black, navy and nude and very few what I would call show-stopper gowns. I’m so old fashioned, I love to see a huge dress on the Oscars red carpet a la Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior and Givenchy. My personal favourite from last night was Kate Hudson who looked absolutely stunning in a vintage inspired Atelier Versace creation, with its plunging neckline, exquisite beading and soft cape. Kate definitely channeled the old school Hollywood glamour that I’m a huge fan of. Kate clearly gets her style from her mum Goldie Hawn as I thought she too looked fantastic in a classic gold satin gown. My other favourite was Lupita Nyong’o custom made baby blue, pleated Prada dress which showcased her amazing physique.

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Our label ‘Enais Chapman’ has its roots firmly set in the golden age of cinema and combines the elegance of a bygone era with modern femininity. All of our dresses blend traditional techniques and luxury fabrics with classic tailoring. My friend Kate and I are inspired by the red carpet dresses of the 30s, 40s and 50s and have designed all of our dresses with the screen icons of this era in mind. I’m a huge lover of Audrey Hepburn and Joan Crawford and Kate adores Marilyn Monroe and so our dresses combine both sexiness and subtlety. I hope that anyone who wears our dresses will feel super glamorous and like they are walking their own red carpet.

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Kate and I are real perfectionists so it’s a good job we are such good friends as we both have very definite opinions about our designs, however nine times out of ten we completely agree on everything as our inspiration totally comes from the same place. I’m so excited to launch the collection later this year as we’ve worked so hard on all of the designs.

Anyway as always I’ll keep you posted with how everything is going.

Lots of love,

NatalieXx

PS Freddie decided he’d like to join the likes of David Beckham and get a tattoo!! What do u think?

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And I celebrated my sister Leah’s 26th birthday!!! We had a night of fun and French martinis!!!

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17 February
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I can finally reveal what my secret project is…

Well February is definitely turning out to be an extremely busy month!!!

Last weekend I filmed an upcoming episode of The Chase, which although absolutely terrifying in parts, was extremely good fun!! I can’t say who was on my team or the outcome just yet, but I can say we bonded really well and had a great time and I even surprised myself with some of my answers. I’ll let you know when the episode is due to air as there are some real laugh out loud moments. The other contestants, Bradley and The Chaser were so funny!

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As we we were in London, James and I took advantage of spending some quality time together to celebrate Valentine’s Day as unfortunately I was working on the day itself. We enjoyed a night on the tiles drinking French martinis followed by a lovey stroll around Covent Garden and a gorgeous lobster lunch the next day. It was really lovely, although we were both thrilled when we got back home as even though we’d really enjoyed our time together we’d both missed Freddie like mad.

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This weekend I performed at a Valentine Ball in Durham to raise much needed funds for the “Fraja Ellie Appeal,” which is a charity that raises money and awareness of children’s cancer. Fraja is a little girl who has been diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer called Neuroblastoma with MYCN amplification which places her in the very high-risk category. Even with the multi-modality therapy that she is currently receiving, there is a relatively high chance that her cancer could relapse. Should this happen, there is generally a very poor long-term prognosis.

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Sadly, around 80 per cent of children with Neuroblastoma will relapse, and there is currently no UK relapse protocol. However, there are options available abroad. These treatments could cost in excess of £500,000 and therefore the charity was founded so that her family can be ready to send Fraja at a moment’s notice should this happen. Fraja is an amazing child who despite fighting such an aggressive form of cancer remains bright, energetic and full of fun. If you would like any more info on the charity then please visit www.facebook/frajaellieappeal.

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So a few weeks ago, I mentioned I was working on a secret project. Well I’m thrilled to finally be able to say that I will be joining forces with my good friend and couture bridal designer Kate Chapman and launching our own design label this summer. Over the last few months we have had endless meetings to discuss sketches, fabrics, embellishments and patterns and I have absolutely loved it! Our first red carpet collection is scheduled to be ready for early summer, which is extremely exciting and yet nerve-wracking at the same time. I will definitely keep you posted over the coming months with how everything is going….eek!

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Speak soon,

Love Natalie xx

06 February
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Denise van Outen was brilliant in her new play

Last night I went to the national premiere of Denise Van Outen’s new one woman play, Some girl I used to know. I went along with a few of the Emmerdale girls and we had a really great night. Denise has co written the show with Terry Ronald and last night it proved to be a real success as the audience thoroughly enjoyed it.

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The show is basically played out over a few hours in the life of successful lingerie designer Stephanie Canworth (played by Denise) and revolves around her reminiscing on her carefree past whilst dealing with her present troubled marriage and features well known pop hits of the 80s and 90s. It’s incredibly funny in parts, particularly when Steph tells anecdotes about her friend ‘slaggy Sue’ and her ex boyfriend’s mother.

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Denise plays Steph brilliantly, her blend of comedy, cheek and vulnerability really allows you to jump on board with the character as she journeys down memory lane. It’s a huge feat taking on a one woman show and I think Denise did a fantastic job and kept the audience thoroughly entertained for two hours by belting out huge pop songs and portraying the colourful life of Steph. All in all I think Denise deserves a huge well done and I really hope the show goes on to achieve so much as she seems to have put her heart and soul into producing an entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable piece of theatre. I loved it!!

It was lovely to have a night out with the Emmerdale girls and I also managed to have a good old natter with Kimberley and Amy Walsh who were there supporting Denise on her big night.

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I’m feeling slightly nervous for this weekend as I will be filming an up coming episode of ITV’s The Chase!! Although I wouldn’t say I’m completely brainless I’m also definitely not a mastermind and unfortunately for me the game relies on your general knowledge being somewhat more than average…eek!! Obviously as with everything I do I will give it my best shot and hope for the best and fingers crossed I’ll be able to raise a good amount of money for my chosen charity Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Speaking of gameshows, this weekend will see my family taking on Sir Steve Redgrave on All Star Family Fortunes. We filmed the episode in November last year and had such a fab time, so much so that I thought we were going to have to bring Sir Steve’s daughter Sophie home with us as Freddie took a real shine to her. I can’t let you know the outcome of the game, however it will be shown at 8pm on ITV1 on Sunday and it’s fair to say there were definitely a lot of laughs…..particularly at my mum and dad….oh dear!

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Anyway hope you all have a lovely weekend and speak soon,

Love Natalie xx

27 January
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I’m working on a secret project so watch this space!

Hello everyone,

Well it’s been a really busy week of work and play!!

I’m still cracking on with my January detox and have been trying out Raw Food. At first I was convinced that it was going to be a crazy fad diet that consisted of wet lettuce and carrot sticks and was therefore extremely boring, however my best friend Mariesa, who has just started a raw food business, has actually managed to change my opinion by treating me to a raw food buffet at her house.

I sampled kale crisps, homemade hummus, vegetable wraps and cheesecake made from cashew nuts! It was delicious, so much so that I’ve jumped on the bandwagon a little bit and she’s even been delivering lunches to me at work.

I don’t intend to completely change my diet and become 100 per cent raw as I don’t believe in cutting out food groups, however after a week of adding in a few raw snacks and one or two meals I feel so much more energised and my skin seems a lot brighter. I’m definitely going to stick with it for a while, especially as every time I see Mariesa she seems to look more and more radiant. Yes I’ll definitely be having some of that ha ha!

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The past week has been really lovely as I’ve been able to catch up with my fantastic friends. From girly lunches to cosy evenings in and nights on the tiles with the ladies and husbands – we’ve had a lot of laughs!

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This week has also been extremely exciting as I’ve started working on a secret project with my good friend Kate. I can’t say what it is just yet as it’s still early days, but what I can say is we’ve gone through A LOT of pencils and paper already! Definitely watch this space for more details over the coming weeks.

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Anyway I’ll say bye for now.

Lots of love,

Natalie xx

15 January
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Little Freddie’s helping with my fitness regime!

Well after a very indulgent holiday followed by a nasty bout of the winter sickness bug I am definitely getting into my January detox, a little late I know, but better late than never I say and so I’m back at the gym, eating healthily and feeling motivated. It helps that my on-screen husband and sister happen to be an ex DOI champion and Yoga instructer!!

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They are both super fit and so have been instructed to keep me on the straight and narrow. I’m such a firm believer in a little bit goes a long way and so rather than feeling like I’ve failed just because I didn’t get going on the 1st of January, I’m cracking on now and trying to make small changes for a healthier lifestyle.

Waking up at 6am and seeing it’s dark is incredibly depressing and so it’s very easy to start the day feeling lethargic and if you’re anything like me, reaching for the tea and biscuits as soon as you get to work only to suffer from the dreaded sugar crash at 11 am. This little cycle would normally repeat numerous times during the day for me as I love the comfort of a hot drink and something sweet when we are working outside for such long hours, which means that by the time I get home I feel sluggish and not in the mood for exercise. However I aim to be fitter and healthier in 2014 and so have been replacing (some of) my Bourbon biscuits for nuts and fruit and reduced my caffeine and alcohol intake and I have to say I’m starting to feel the benefits already and am feeling a lot more energised.

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This is proving to be extremely helpful as Freddie now insists on us either dancing to Little Mix or doing about 20 verses of ‘The Music Man’ as soon as I walk in from work at the moment. I have to pay particular attention to the piano verse and sing along with him whilst doing all the actions at full force otherwise he gets quite cross and says, “Again mummy”… He’s obviously destined to be a very strict director!

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Anyway I’ll keep you posted as to how I’m getting on, I’m hoping to be able to bend my body like a contortionist by the summer with all Roxy’s expert yoga teaching… one can only dream ha ha!

Love Natalie xx

05 January
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I’m loving my winter holiday in Tenerife!

Hello all,

Happy New Year!!

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After an extremely busy autumn and Christmas at Emmerdale, James and Freddie and I decided to go on a much-needed holiday and so we’ve jumped on a plane and headed to western Tenerife to find some winter sun and I have to say, thankfully we found it and it’s boiling!!

 

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The run up to Christmas was so busy as not only was I filming Emmerdale but I also sang on ITV’s Christmas Carols and at TV Times ‘ Christmas Carols with the stars at The Royal Albert Hall in aid of leukaemia and lymphoma research and then filmed for Daybreak and This Morning with Matthew Wolfenden and that was all before we got to Christmas itself where we had friends and family coming and going the whole time… (just how I like it though!) By the time we got to New Year I was shattered and so ended up spending it watching Gary Barlow on the TV in my onesie and drinking red wine with James. It was perfect!

 

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This Morning with Matthew Wolfenden

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ITV’s Christmas Carols

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Happy New Year!

The day before New Year I had the fabulous opportunity of filling in for the very lovely Richard Arnold as Daybreak‘s Guest Entertainment Editor. I’ve held the fort before for Richard and I have to say the Daybreak team do such an amazing job of making you feel at home, especially when you’re out of your comfort zone. Presenting on live television is a totally different skill to playing a character in a drama and so I always get a touch of nerves. However I always think if you’re not a little bit nervous then you might not do as good a job as the adrenaline helps you focus. Anyway suffice to say I did my spot and thoroughly enjoyed it, I really enjoy new challenges and learning new skills and I have to say being bright and bubbly at 6am is definitely a skill, hats off to the whole Daybreak team who make it seem so effortless!

Well it’s back to the day job at Emmerdale next week and after a lovely long break I’m very excited as my characters sister Leyla played by my gorgeous friend Roxy Shahidi has returned to the village and is causing chaos for Alicia and so there’s exciting new storylines to film and get my teeth into. I can’t wait! It’s been two years since Roxy left but it feels like she’s never been away. I absolutely love working with her as not only is she such an amazing actress, but she’s one of my best friends. It’s funny because I never actually screen tested with Roxy before I started playing Alicia, our then producer (the late Gavin Blythe) said, “I know 100% you will get on and work as sisters,” and so the first time I met her was on my first day on set when I said, “Hi I’m Natalie, I’m playing your sister”, and he was totally right we instantly clicked and over the last two years I’ve really missed her.

 

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Me and my beautiful friend Roxy Shahidi (Emmerdale‘s Leyla)

Anyway that’s enough from me as I have a very mischievous 17-month-old who is trying to splash me and do I have to run away.

Speak soon.

Love Natalie

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