Birthdays and BAFTAS

So my week of being back in the real world continued with being busy busy as usual.  Thursday began with an appearance on the Vanessa show, which I have to say was so much much fun.  Vanessa I have known for a while and whenever we see each other we go in to full Jewish Mother mode and talk about is how all we want is for our children to get married and make us grandparents!  She was a delight to talk to, and for those who saw it I hope you enjoyed watching the show as much as I enjoyed being on it.
I went from there on to a catch up with the brilliant Stacey Haynes, who is an old friend I have also has the pleasure of working with, although how we ever got any work done I’ll never know as all we do is laugh.  From the minute we start talking till we have to say goodbye, we just laugh and it was a real treat to take the time out to get together.

So it was another So You Think You Can Dance Saturday at the BBC, and what a show it was!  As you all know, Nigel was unable to make it over to the UK due to the American Idol finals, so it was my turn to step up and take on the role of head judge…  The fabulous John Barrowman joined the panel for one night only, and I think the show really took on a whole new feel. Also for the first time all the couples had to perform two dances, so there was a lot of excitement all round.  I was so moved by Matt and Charlotte’s contemporary piece, choreographed by Mandy Moore who’s work I just love, I felt the level of commitment and understanding they brought to the piece was just breathtaking and I could have watched it several times over.  I also thought Luke did a great job, his personality is really beginning to shine through as he was someone with all the technical ability but no passion, so it’s really exciting to see his development in that area.  I had a great time with John, with whom I go way back, although of course I’m looking forward to return of the original Nasty Nigel and it will be interesting to see what he thinks of our choices on who left.  A huge well done to Katrina and Tom also, Katrina who threw herself into whatever style she was given with such conviction, and to Tom who despite our criticism week after week always came out wiht a smile on his face, and I wish them both the best of luck.
On to Sunday and it was… My Birthday!  After the lovely SYTYCD audience had all sung Happy Birthday to me the night before I was so excited to wake up and start the day.  I came down in the morning to find the table covered in flowers and presents all beautifully decorated, and laid out around a heart shaped wreath made by my daughter Abi.  I managed to wait until all the family were together to open everything, and I was overwhelmed by how thoughtful my gifts were.  Alana had arranged a surprise for lunch, so we all piled in the car and took a mystery tour to Mayfair.  The restaurant we went to was called La Petite Maison and for the record it was divine.  It was French cuisine, and with the beautiful sunshine streaming through the windows, exquisite food and charming decor I could have almost been in Cannes.  A quick trip to Louboutin and my day was complete!  Although it was my Birthday and I do love them to be family days, I couldn’t say no to an invite to the BAFTAS so it was back home after lunch to get hair and makeup ready.  I wore a LBD by Richard Nichol, and the lovely necklace Louise Redknapp gave me for my birthday, all in all I felt very special.  

The BAFTAS were so much fun, I sat with my good friend Debbie Moore who owns Pineapple,which was nominated but sadly didn’t win an award.  I saw all the people I love to catch up with at these events like Louie Spence, and I trekked over to the TOWIE table – not for myself but Abi who made me promise if I saw any of the cast from The Only Way Is Essex to get pictures, so there I was taking shot after shot with Mark, Arg, Amy and Sam and of course Mr Essex himself Joey.  They were all so sweet, and I I’ll definitely be watching the next series along with my girls.  Best of all I caught up with my friend Steve Coogan who I knew long before he became a star, and it was an absolute treat.

I was up early again on Monday to take Abi to the Chelsea Flower Show, where I was helping launch the RNIB garden, a beautiful and sensory experience.  I also introduced Abi to celebrity florist Simon Lycett who was greeting the lovely JLS, so lots of fun was had by all.

Tuesday morning I went to the QVC autumn winter collection press day, which was held at 33 Portland Place where they filmed The Kings Speech.  I saw the chair Colin Firth sat in and looked all around where they filmed, it really is an extraordinary house.  I was amazed by all the products QVC sell, such an enormous range and they have some beautiful bags and shoes that I hadn’t seen as of course I only ever really look at the jewelry. So that’ll be in my spare time then!  A long day of meetings followed, and an early night was definitely in order as Wed was to be another long but exciting day…

So this brings me to now, Wed morning. I’m writing this just before I get up to head to my first meeting, yes it’s about the mystery project and no I still can’t tell you exactly what it is yet… although this week’s clue is how many musicals can you name in a minute that I have choreographed…!

I’m really looking forward to tonight, my good friend Dean Piper’s showbiz party to celebrate his first year at the Sunday Mirror, and then the opening of the Crazy Horse burlesque show later on tonight, which I will tell you all about next week!
Till then…

Much love 

So You Think You Can Eurovision

Hello all,

Firstly I would like to say thank you to all my new subscribers! I hope you enjoy reading this week’s entry and the many more to come…

Also, a big well done to the 5 competition winners who won my VIEatHome Dancing with Colour make up kit Make sure you follow my twitter for more competitions coming up soon.  So, as I said last week once I was back in London it was back to life as we know! Thursday was a trip to Woking to see my show Midnight Tango, I just wanted to head down to make sure all was running smoothly, and I have to say Vincent and Flavia still blow me away – even though I have seen them dance countless times it’s like I’m watching them for the first time and they always give me chills.Continuing my week of all things dance, on Friday I went to the ballet at Royal Opera House called Ballo della Regina, a triple bill.  I don’t think in all my years of watching performances here I have ever seen anything so breathtaking.  I took my eldest daughter Alana, and as we were heading back to our seats we saw a figure purposefully striding through the crowds, and although we didn’t see the face we both knew instantly it was Jeff Thacker, executive producer of So You Think You Can Dance, old friend and another who lives life through dance.  He had run straight from rehearsals to catch what he could of the ballet, and it was lovely to catch up out of work hours and just enjoy talking about what we love best.

This leads me on to Saturday and of course it was up early and off to the BBC for another day of So You Think…  It had been a tough week with 4 people leaving the competition, and the tension in the air was palpable.  As always it was a surprise who ended up having to dance for their lives, and I think the toughest choice was between the girls as all three of them were brilliant.  We chose Katie to stay in the end as she still has a lot more to give, and it will be exciting to see her come back this week with all the personality of a fireball, and her beautiful technique. I think she’ll be one to watch.  Luke was a clear standout to stay after he danced with more raw emotion than any boy in that position has done so far.  He made sure he wasn’t going anywhere, and again I’m looking forward to seeing what he brings to the show this week.  

It was straight home after the show for me as I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss Blue sing our entry for Eurovision, and of course they did us proud. The show overall was great fun to watch, and having been there with Jade Ewen a couple of years ago brought back great memories.  Some may say it’s all about tactical voting, who knows?  I’d just like to say congratulations to Blue, and wish them the very best of luck with their single now they’re back.

Catching up was my priority over the next couple of days, and after spending Sunday with my partner and two girls, I went up to Leeds to see the Atkinson Grimshaw exhibition at the Mercer Gallery in Harrogate. Of course popped into my favourite vintage shops there too. It was only a short visit as it was back to London and work the next morning.  I had a great meeting with a dear friend I’m lucky enough to work with, Karen Bruce, who just happens to be the director of Midnight Tango.

I promise my new secret book project will soon be revealed… Just a few more weeks now…

Finally, make sure you check out the new events page on my book website: and come and see me in Salisbury at the International Arts Festival on the 1st of June (17.30-18.30) hope you all have a great weekend, I know I will as it’s my birthday on Sunday and I can’t wait to see what my family have planned, so I’ll tell you all about it next week, as well as what promises to be a WILD Sunday night event!

Until then…

Love Ax

A right Royal affair

Hi all,

Firstly, I’m really excited to announce the website for my Alana books is now up and running – where you can see all the books in the series and read about all the upcoming news from ‘Alana’.

I have to say for the first time in the (short!) history of my blogs I don’t actually have that much to report this week as… shock horror I’ve been taking it easy!

Obviously with So You Think You Can Dance in between, I’ve spent the past couple of weeks in the countryside with my family doing all manner of lovely things. Visiting friends for barbeques and having dinner parties, yes I know my lovely things all seem to revolve around food!

So what did you think of the Royal wedding?  I thought Kate looked every inch the beautiful and elegant princess she is, and William her fairytale prince.  My favourite part was when they drove off in Prince Charles’ 41 year old Aston Martin, which if you can believe runs on wine!  It was such a lovely day, and of course we all sat around watching the outfits, wishing we were there and wondering what on earth we would have worn?!  In my defence, when I tweeted “the queen looks like a canary” I still thought she looked fantastic, it wasn’t meant to cause any offence and from the way several people reacted I didn’t feel the comments made were justified, but then I guess you can’t please everybody… and I’m sure me in my imaginary outfit would have caused just as much division.  (She may be the Queen, but then I’m still the Queen of Mean after all!)

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve blogged so that’s two couples now gone from SYTYCD, Stephanie and Gian Luca, and Alice and Charlie.  I think I was most upset to see Steph and Charlie go.  Steph was an all round beautiful dancer, but I don’t think had the confidence to bring out her personality and I would have liked to see her stay and really come out of her shell, where as Charlie was totally the other way round with all the personality and spark of a spitfire, but no technique and again would have loved to see him stay and develop that and really grow as a dancer.  I hope they all continue on in their dance journeys and wish them the best of luck. I wonder what it is that keeps putting Ritchie and Shane in the bottom two, and is it one bringing the other into it? I suppose one has to remember that it’s Britain’s FAVOURITE dancer, so that can mean any number of reasons why…  Well this coming weekend there’s a shock double elimination so the pressure is really on!

Thank you all that came to Shrewsbury festival, it was as always so lovely to meet everyone there, and really looking forward to seeing everyone in Salisbury on Wed 1st June.

So much for taking it easy, as soon as I got back to London it was business as usual. Monday was a great day, starting off at the Wright Stuff, hugging Matthew and then giving everyone my opinion on lots of different pieces of news, followed with a fantastic morning at Kensington Prep doing a reading from my Alana Dancing Star books, followed by a fascinating Q&A with VERY smart 7 year old girls! 

It was go go go the next day too! From a meeting with Andrew Lloyd Webber, to a meeting with Feargal Sharkey (blast from the past!) and then, still running to a meeting  with Chairman of Sadlers Wells! Phew, so much to think about, so much to do but with inspiring people like these, time just flies by!

I’m going to leave you with a hint of what all the secret meetings I’ve been having are about… It’s dance based (obviously!) it involves fitness… and you’ll have to wait a little bit longer for all to be revealed…
Until then have a fabulous weekend and don’t forget to tune in this week before Eurovision at the earlier time of 5:30 and then stay tuned for the results show at 7:20 when the amazing Jesse J will be performing, oh and and don’t forget to vote for Blue!

Love Arlene x

Part deux

So I know I promised to reveal all this week about my secret photoshoot… but you’re going to have to hang on a bit longer as I’ve just found out I still can’t tell you quite yet! What I will say though is that it all went amazingly well and I’m absolutely thrilled with the shots, so excited for you to see them.

Did anyone make it to Cambridge Wordfest on Sunday and did you enjoy it? I always love those events, getting the opportunity to interact with all the kids that have read my books and getting great feedback about other styles of dance and adventures they want to read about. I’ll be at the Shrewsbury Festival this coming Sunday and as always would love to see some of you there! Click the link for details

So You Think You Can Dance had it’s first elimination show on Saturday, and what a show it was! There was so much nervous energy flying around the building, even the judges were feeling the pressure. What did you think of the final decision? Pleased or not? For me Steph and Gianluca clinched it over Paige and Ryan for their outstanding technique and performance ability when it came to Dance for you Life, but it was a close call. I’m really looking forward to seeing how those two come back this week, how they tackle the dances they have and prove to us why we chose for them to stay. Make sure you tune in on Saturday to see how they all get on…

On Sunday I made sure I was up bright and early as I wanted to spend Easter in the country with my family and friends, so I jumped on a train and spent the subsequent 3 hours dreaming of what I was going to do when I arrived. It was a totally relaxing and idyllic few days of dinners, catching up, long walks and lying in the sun, bliss. Just counting down the days till it’s back to London and back to work!

It seems every week I’m trying to avoid eating something bad, and of course yet again this week it’s my daughter Abi’s magnificent cupcakes, I mean I’m all for being supportive but maybe I should have had just the one not most of them! What with that and all the fabulous dinner’s I’ve been invited to this Easter it’s been a hard week for my diet, but I’ve managed to avoid the chocolate eggs so surely that counts for something?!

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter, and a fabulous week ahead!

Love A x