From first day of school to London Fashion Week!
I hope you’ve all had a fabulous summer! It’s been an extremely busy one for me as I juggled playing the role of Tara in Exposure the Musical at the St James Theatre in London alongside working on This Morning. It was eventful to say the least but also great fun and an adventure as we made the move down to London for 3 months! However we’re back at home in Yorkshire now as this week Freddie made the huge step of starting primary school. I’ve been told so many times by parents that it’s a really emotional day and boy were they right! Freddie was amazing, he was really excited and went straight into his classroom and started chatting and making friends at which point I said, “Ok goodbye now Freddie, Mummy and Daddy are going now,” to which he replied, “Ok see you later, Mummy.” There was no hesitation or unease which of course was wonderful, but in my heart I suddenly realised he’d taken another huge step towards his own independence and that he was beginning his own life away from us, in short he didn’t need us to stay and so I left the school feeling quite overwhelmed and emotional. In fact there were definitely more than a few tears as I peered in at him through the window of his class, being careful that he didn’t see me. He was playing and chatting so confidently, that I cried as much with pride as sadness. Thankfully as we left him, a few of the other parents suggested we all go for coffee for a bit of a breather which was really lovely. It was so nice to chat to other parents who were in the same boat and discuss our hopes and worries for our children. Thankfully it’s been just a week now and Freddie is loving school, already he’s told me that he’s made great friends and that he really likes his teachers and that today he was really proud of himself as he was awarded a sticker for being one of the best at tidying up the classroom! This is a lesson I’m really hoping he can put into practice at home as I seem to be forever clearing up after him…saying that, when the day finally comes where I no longer have to do it, I’ll probably cry even more! Ah the joys of being a parent!
So after a summer of London madness including parties, performances and numerous museum and theatre trips it’s been lovely to catch up with our friends and family at home. Over the bank holiday weekend we visited the brilliant Flamingo Land Resort in North Yorkshire. It was a fabulous trip not only because we got to partake in incredible experiences such as feeding the giraffes at the resort’s wildlife park but also because we spent the weekend with some of our closet friends Donna, Danny and their little girl Emily. Donna is one of my best friends from school and we’ve been friends for over 20 years. I think it’s safe to say we pretty much know each other inside out as we’ve gone from sitting next to each other in class through first loves, heartbreaks, marriages and now children. As Emily is only a year younger than Fred, Donna and Danny are only a year behind us on the parenting journey which makes for many hilarious evenings of swapping parenting horror stories. We’re very much friends who say it as it is…warts and all! I think that’s so important though, being a parent can be so challenging and so it’s great to have friends who aren’t afraid to discuss their struggles too. We put enough pressure on ourselves to try and be the best parents we possibly can be without having to keep up a pretence with our friends, especially when you’re not perhaps having the best day! It was a fabulous trip with one of the highlights being our ‘feeding the giraffes’ experience. We were given the opportunity to actually go into the giraffe enclosure and touch and personally feed the animals ourselves, under the supervision of one of the zookeepers of course. It was amazing, I couldn’t believe just how big the giraffes actually were. For example the male giraffe George’s head was so big that one swift turn could’ve knocked me over. And yet they were so placid, gently feeding from James and Fred’s hands. It was a fabulous experience and one I certainly wouldn’t have imagined possible in North Yorkshire.
And so after a little bit of downtime it was straight back to work this week with filming for This Morning and then a trip to London Fashion Week. Now I know I say this every season but fashion week is so manic! Its so hard to stay on top of things and keep your energy levels up as you dash from show to show often travelling from one side of town to the other with very little time in between. I’ve therefore put together a little survival kit that I swear by when I’m on the go. First up protein bars. As you often don’t get time to sit down and have a proper meal during fashion week, these bars are a great way of keeping your energy levels up whilst on the go and they easily fit into your handbag, although they’re obviously not a meal replacement they’re really handy for times during the day when you might be run off you’re feet! Secondly Elemis skin bliss capsules. These capsules are amazing at rejuvenating tired skin over night as they are made with essential oils that work deep into the layers of the skin, the lavender night time ones also promote a good night’s sleep which is essential if you can get it during fashion week!. Thirdly, coconut water. I love this stuff! Not only is it super healthy and natural (it actually helps to put electrolytes back into your body if you’re tired or have worked out particularly hard) it also tastes gorgeous and therefore makes staying hydrated a lot less boring, because lets face it as much as we all know water is absolutely the best thing for us it can get a little boring trying to guzzle through 8 glasses of still cold water every day especially when its raining outside. Coconut water is a perfect alternative. Last in my survival kit is my new urban decay brow pencil and brush. I absolutely love this pencil, it’s so perfect for defining and brushing brows to give a really polished look even with very little make up on. This has also been particularly handy in the mornings doing the school run. I’m a fan of anything that makes you look put together when you have very little time!
And so to the shows themselves. First up for me on day 1 was the Teatum Jones show. Fresh from winning the international Woolmark prize Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones created a fabulous collection to the soundtrack of Scotland’s human stories. Staying true to the label’s ethos of being driven by human narrative the designs were inspired by Scotland’s Rennie Mackintosh’s early 20th century romantic watercolour paintings of botanic flowers and landscapes combined with late 20th century Glaswegian house ravers whose laser lights created excessive visual geometry. The collection was a vibrant mix of delicate floral satins and toughened paint splattered canvases with geometric jaquard in between. I really loved the collection and I felt that the duo, who are often referred to as ‘method designers’, completely encaspulated all of the elements they had been inspired by. My favourite piece was this gorgeous structured dress with its leather bust and waist detail in the strong geometric jacquard I mentioned earlier. I liked the the collection was wearable whilst still allowing the designers to showcase their artistry.
Moving on from the main schedule my next show took me across to the fashion scout at Freemasons Hall to watch the Barrus show. Described as ‘a collection delicately veiled in grandeur and elegance’ by its Turkish designer duo Neslisah Yilmaz and Nur Caglayan the designs were a mix of heavy embellishment juxtaposed with flowing silk chiffons. Inspired by the works of Gustav Klimts the collections colour palette focused on rich jewel tones of bronze and rose gold whilst the silouhettes relied on voluminous draping to recreate the artists spherical lines for which he was famed. Remaining true to its Turkish roots the collection contained the old turkish art of marbling in many of its pieces which is a process of sprinkling and brushing paints in a pan of water to create colourful patterns which could be said to be ‘as unique as fingerprints’. As I have a love of the rich textures, designs and colour palettes of many of the bigger middle eastern designers such as Zurhair Murad and Elie Saab I was really impressed with the Barrus show and enjoyed seeing designs that were luxurious and rich in texture, colour and inspiration.
After the Barrus show I then went along to the Ong Oaj Paraim show which I was extremely excited about as I loved his last collection. Held in the intimate setting of the Swiss Church Building in Covent Garden to a soundtrack of western themed classics such as Jolene and I shot the sheriff the collection had a significant air of prairie chic. Alongside Anna Sui and Ralph Lauren who also looked to the mid west for inspiration for their SS17 collections, Ong incorporated fringing, tassels, ruffles and the classic shirt into his mix of couture. For me the collection was a fusion of little house on the prairie meets dreamy romanticism via a little ’80s Dolly Parton. For me the stand out piece of the collection came in the form of a signature Ong couture gown complete with ruffles, layering and structure. The bold scarlett colour created a dress that was filled with drama and passion, whilst the tiny ruffles projected subtle movement as the model made her way down the runway. I loved it!
Following the drama of the Ong show I made my way across to the Brewer Street car park BFC show space to catch the Ashley Williams collection which was an altogether different affair. Firstly I loved the introduction to the collection which was inspired by Williams love of late teen heartthrob River Phoenix. Set in a late 80s early 90s girls bedroom, complete with Madonna’s bedtime stories cd, tv with built in video player ( ah the days before on demand) giant teddy bears, candy coloured balloons and the theme tune from Jurassic Park on loop, I was instantly transported to more care- free days when the closest you could get to your idol was via a poster from Just Seventeen or Sugar magazine. Sweatshirts, T-shirts, dungarees and billowing sleeves made their way down the runway adorned with waist cinching belts complete with classic diamante buckles. This was a collection that harked back to the late 20th century as Williams tailoring incorporated charcoal grey box suits and grandma floral prints combined with crystal accessories and wrap around silver shades worth of any laser quest battle. It seemed to be a celebration of her adolescence with many details such as the crystal hair slides worn by many of the models evoking a strong feeling of nostalgia. It was an eclectic collection that left me feeling excited that a new generation would be coveting the Saved by the Bell Kelly Kapowski sweatshirt and Zak Morris baseball jacket and thinking of a time that I used to wish that Macualay Culkin was my boyfriend.
It was a really full on few days in the capital, so much so that I can’t really fit it all into one post so stay tuned for the second instalment of this post later in the week where I’ll be commenting on all of the highlights from the Jasper Conran and Julien MacDonald shows. Before I go though, I wore several different looks for fashion week this season with one of my favourite outfits being this cold shoulder shirt dress from Asos. Heres a couple of other looks I put together.
Dress Asos £38 http://www.asos.com/ASOS/ASOS-Cold-Shoulder-Frill-Sleeve-Cotton-Shirt-Dress/
Shoes New Look £27.99 http://www.newlook.com/shop/shoe-gallery/view-all-shoes/pale-blue-suedette-ruffle-trim-ankle-strap-heels-_384344745
Bag Osprey London www.ospreylondon.com
Jumpsuit Asos £45 www.asos.com
Shoes Asos Highbury £42
Bag Juno http://www.junoaccessories.co.uk
Dress Warehouse £45 www.warehouse.co.uk
Shoes New Look £27.99 (as above)
Bag New Look www.newlook.com
Anyway hope you enjoy this post and I’ll be bring the second part very soon.
Love Natalie XX