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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Left to Right
Kaftan: Steve Madden
Bikini: Miss Selfridge
Sunglasses: Oscar de la renta
Dress: Made in Italy
Bikini: Melissa Odabash
Wedges: New Look
Dress: Peace & Love
Bracelet: Links of London
Wedges: New Look
Sunglasses: As before
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!