The actress recently returned as a regular to the BBC One series in her role as Sonia Fowler after leaving the show in 2007. She made her debut way back in 1993.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast today, she said: "I was so grateful and honoured to have been asked back. It's like going home again. It really is like a family as much as that's a cliché. We do all really get on."
"There is a lot of excitement surrounding the show," she added, "and that's how it should be. EastEnders should be like that. People are talking about it again and that's how it should be."
Natalie also said it was great being back among her former castmates again, including Patsy Palmer, who plays Bianca Jackson.
"We've got kids who are the same age so it's really lovely to just go round to her house," said Natalie. "The children play and it's just really lovely."
Natalie's character Sonia has had a high profile return to the show, including a lesbian kiss with fellow character Tina.
"I don't know where it is going to go but at the time it felt right for Sonia to do that. She has dabbled with women before in the past. When I was younger, 21 or 22, I think I was a little naïve thinking, 'Sonia wouldn't do this.' Now, it's lovely as I have that past and that background and it's why it works."
Got an iPad or iPhone? Reveal Mag is specially designed to fit!