Bikers, Bed and Beyond…

Hi all,

So I left you last time with promises of a slightly more glamorous and eventful week, and although maybe not glamorous it certainly has been eventful!

My Wednesday started with  filming in Trafalgar Square in the pouring rain with the lovely Hairy Bikers.  Two chefs who’s mission that morning was to raise awareness of Meals on Wheels, a cause I wanted to help greatly partly as my Father received them for many years, and I think people don’t realise the impact and difference it can make to someone’s life.  It’s not just about the food, but having contact for some people is so important as it can give them something to focus on and look forward to.  For my part in the campaign I had to create a recipe, so I chose “Arlene’s energy salad”. I had a fabulous morning, despite the rain, and I wish the Hairy Bikers all the best with the rest of their campaign.

After filming was finished it was off to a meeting, a dash home, a quick change and a dash back out to the Ivy Club where my very close and long time friend Debbie Moore was celebrating her birthday.  It was such a lovely party, filled with familiar faces, delicious canapes, plenty of champagne and a beautiful montage of photographs of Debbie from her modeling days to look over.  I had such a great time that I was pretty much the last to leave, a sentence you will probably never hear me say again – I’m usually straight out of the door and running for my bed!

I have to say a couple of days rest in the country were very much on order, so me and the family packed up the car and it was off to the countryside, where I did nothing but eat.  It’s dinner party invite hell out there! As soon as I leave the North Circular my willpower flies out the window and as far as dinner parties are concerned it’s anything goes!  I do so love to see all our friends who all just happen to be the most wonderful cooks, so it was duck, venison, steak, the dreaded roast potatoes in goose fat, gravy, desserts – you name it I ate it!  Never a good thing I later found out when you have to do a photoshoot two days later and have to change your outfit last minute… more about that next!

So I finally got round to the filming part of my mystery project, which involved me in a very glamorous outfit (possibly the only other glam part of my week apart from Debbie’s party!) and yes I found myself changing outfits the night before as the one I originally wanted to wear felt just that little bit too tight, clearly due to my weekend of gluttony!  I wore a beautiful navy Philip Lim dress that was all floaty to the knees, with black tights and ballroom shoes…. another clue!  We were filming at Spring Studios, that fortunately for me had the most delicious lunch menu of soups and salads, so after a breakfast of fruit and yoghurt I felt quite virtuous and back on my diet that day.  I have to say it was a very long day and I felt quite exhausted by the end, plus I had a busy day of meetings the ext morning, followed by a nasty dental operation that afternoon, which is why I am infact writing this blog from the comfort of my bed where I’m propped up on lots of pillows, and probably will be for the next few days, secretly feeling sorry for myself!  I say secretly because I always tried to instill in my daughters the phrase “mind over matter” so obviously I have to set a good example…. but sometimes there’s no escaping the fact you feel rubbish!

I’d love you all to tweet of facebook me yours ideas on how you keep yourselves going, is there a particular film you watch to cheer yourselves up?  Or maybe a good book I should read?  Do let me know as I’ll certainly need to do something to keep me ticking over while I’m laid up.

One thing that always cheers me up immensely is my daughter Abi’s flowers, and it was the last day of her course yesterday so it was lovely to wake up to a house filled with the most beautiful displays she brought home from her final project, and now it’s onto the job search so if anybody knows any good florists wanted a beautiful and super talented assistant please get in touch. After one year of study and her diploma she’s ready!

Well I hope I’ll have lots to tell you next week as I’m sure I’ll be up and on my feet again in no time, I’m a bit of a Tigger.
Till then much love
A x

So You Think Its All Over

Hi all,

I can’t believe after 9 weeks, it’s finally all done!  Well I say 9 weeks, we started auditioning for dancers way back in October last year! So You Think You Can Dance finally came to an end on Sat, with Matt as truly deserving winner.  I’d also like to say congratulations to Luke who I thought was also sensational, and a massive thank you to all those involved on and off camera for making this such a fantastic series.  What do I do with my Saturday nights now? Well I could catch up with Louise and Sisco, or go to LA to meet up with Nigel and Cat.

Thursday and Friday before the final was spent running between popping in on the contestants preparing for the final, chatting about it on Lorraine, finding a glamorous outfit for the show and getting my hair done – all this around several meeting about other projects I’m working on… It was one heck of a busy week!

As they say, there’s no rest for the wicked, so after a fabulous family lunch on Sunday at one of my favourite restaurants La Petite Maison in Mayfair, it was off to QVC to film my jewelry show.  It was great to receive such lovely questions on air, and I’m glad you all liked the new collection so much – it was selling out faster than I could talk about it!

Monday was an exciting day putting the finishing touches to my mystery project… although I think the most exciting part was at the end of the day going to see the Matthew Morrison concert at the Hammersmith Apollo!  Being a huge Glee fan, as well as having seen Matthew in several productions on Broadway I was very much looking forwards to seeing what he would bring to his own show.
There were songs from his new album, songs from Glee and a few covers from the various artists including the Beatles and an incredible medley of songs from one of my favourite musicals West Side Story. The highlight of the night I think had to be Matthew singing with NSync star JC Chasez, what a voice! I went with Alana who was beside herself with excitement, as well as my friends party animal Sam Dowler, and PR extraordinaire Lesley Land. I was sitting behind the delightful Sarah Brown who I had a lovely chat with, and of course got to meet Matthew after – the pics are all on twitter, and yes he really is divine!
I have to admit I ducked out of the afterparty at Boujis as I had to be up early for a shoot, but left Alana and the gang to chase down Mr Schu… 

Early Tuesday it was back into hair and makeup for a quick shoot, and boy was I tired – never mind getting to bed by midnight, Alana was feeling slightly sorry for herself after partying a little too hard, I blame Party Animal Sam! Then off to another day of meetings… and I’m afraid that’s about all I can tell you for this week, sometimes it’s not always showbiz and glamour, but always exciting and fun!

I do have some fun events coming up, including a morning with the Hairy Bikers, and Debbie Moore’s Birthday party which I know will be fabulous, plus so many exciting meetings, so promise to tell all next week.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and thank you again to all my followers on Facebook and Twitter, your lovely comments always mean so much to me.

Love A x

OK, You’re Fired!

So where did I leave you last week… Oh yes, it was a Happy Birthday to the shows and promise to keep it interesting – and boy has it been an interesting week!

On Wednesday it was off to Salisbury festival where I met so many amazing children, as well as their Mums, Dad’s and even Grandparents!  I was asked so many different questions, the kids all wanted to know what was my favourite dance, the Dads all wanted to know about Hot Gossip (of course!) on the Kenny Everett Show and the Grandparents all told me how much they missed me on Strictly, which is always truly lovely to hear. I suppose when you look at it all it’s a pretty varied life I’ve had…

Thursday was quite a busy day, starting with a breakfast meeting at one of my favourite places the Covent Garden Hotel, although as usual I was being good so settled for fruit and green tea, and just eyed up everyone’s full English wafting past me!  I was excited to get to my next appointment as I couldn’t wait to catch up with an old friend who I knew would be there…  OKTV was my next destination to talk about the upcoming final of So You Think You Can Dance and as much as I was looking forward to meeting the divine Matt Johnson, it was my old friend Charley McEwen I couldn’t wait to have a gossip with.  I met him when he was the hair designer on Strictly, and I’m very proud to say he’s now in charge of all things hair at Channel 5, and was there making Kate and Matt look as gorgeous as they do.  From the minute I got there we were like naughty schoolchildren it was chat chat chat till the minute I left!   I’m pleased to say Matt was every bit as lovely in the flesh as he looks, and Kate was so sweet it was a really fun interview.

After that it was off to get my nails done – and I wish I was one of those women that loved the salon, but I’ve always seen it as something to get out of the way because I have to, not like Alana who could happily sit and get pampered all day.  I suppose I just don’t really have the time, I’m always thinking what else could I be doing!

Friday morning I was up to film for a really interesting documentary about British Musicals that will be on BBC4 over Christmas, talking about some of the West End Musicals I have choreographed, then it was over to Radio 2 for the first of my series on dance groups such as Pan’s People and of course the legendary Hot Gossip, if I do say so myself!  I’ll let you know when the series I am presenting begins. It will be great to take a look back over the years and at all those fabulous routines and even more strangely fabulous outfits!

So You Think You Can Dance was of course my Saturday, and it was such an exciting semi final.  Firstly I have to say how sad I was to loose the truly enigmatic Lee B, one of the dance world’s truly unique characters.  It was lovely to see how far he came, and that his self expression was so accepted.  I know he will go on to great things, and I wish him all the best of luck, and as well to Bethany Rose who I thought also did a fantastic job this season.  I have to say the funniest thing about Saturday was the amount of production creeping round the building in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the gorgeous Matthew Morrison aka Mr Schu from Glee who was performing on the show that evening.  Alana was falling over herself when she got a smile, and it was all I could do to stop her storming the stage!  Some wonderful dance pieces and of course another interesting outfit from Sisco led to another Saturday done and dusted… So let’s see what the final has to offer next week!   After the show that night I went with Louise, Sisco and some of our producers for a meal in Holland Park, and it was great to let our hair down and just have a laugh together about everything.  The wine and gossip was flowing, although after dinner it was home for me, but I’m sure the party carried on elsewhere with out me as it so often does – I’m just raring to get home to my bed these days!

Sunday was finally lazy lazy lazy, and that’s all I have to say about that!

Monday was a day both Alana and I had been really looking forwards to as it was a shoot for the Celebs on Sunday Magazine for the Sunday Mirror, but this time it was both of us being photographed.  We arrived and it was straight down to getting ready, as obviously Alana was doing my makeup as well as her own so it was a fight for the mirror.  The shoot went amazingly well, and I felt so proud of Alana as I know she isn’t the most camera confident person!  One thing I will mention – as I have said before my life revolves around food – the lunches at Spring Studios are out of this world!  Organic pea soup and goats cheese salad, yes please!

When we had finished shooting it was over to Hammersmith and the Riverside Studios to film The Apprentice You’re Fired. I won’t say anything about it other than make sure you watch tonight after the main show on BBC2 at 10!

Tuesday was a busy day of errands and catching up with with my amazing PA Coco, and that took me up to the evening where I attended the UK Music Summer Reception in St James Park, hosted by the supremely energetic Feargal Sharkey.  With great performances from Boy George and Newton Faulkner, it was a lovely evening, allbeit a little chilly so truthfully I was happy be home and back in my bed by half 9 once again!

I’m so excited for this weekend, make sure you watch the final of SYTYCD and look out for the amazing special guest star, I’m sure you will all be as excited as I am to see her perform…

Until next week

Arlene x

Cocktails and Crazy Horses


So as I left it last week I was off on a glamorous night out.  First stop was my lovely friend Dean Piper’s party to celebrate his two years as showbiz columnist at the Sunday Mirror, and accompanying me was my daughter Alana, the quick witted and gorgeous actor Gerard McCarthy, and my fellow dance diva from SYTYCD Sisco.  There we met up with the adorable Sam Dowler, Now magazine’s party animal and the evening was underway.  When we arrived at the venue, the Cuckoo Club in Piccadilly, there were rows of beautiful boys holding even more beautiful looking drinks, which for some reason I assumed was some sort of lovely fruit cocktail.  Now being someone that doesn’t drink I should have tasted the fact that they were loaded with gin, but so cleverly disguised it was that two along I was feeling somewhat out of sorts, much to the amusement of my friends!  Dean did a fabulous star turn singing Baby When You’re Gone with Mel C, and a great performance from Claire McGuire made it a great start to the evening.

Bearing in mind I still had another event to get I was guided outside for fresh air and plied with water as I stumbled my way towards the taxi to take us on to Supperclub and the Girls of the Crazy Horse Paris.  Arriving at 9:15 to what I was told would be dinner at half past, the show at 10pm, my cab home firmly booked for an 11pm finish I was somewhat dismayed to find myself still standing at the bar with my guests at 10pm, and the start time still nowhere in sight.  Having promised everyone dinner and knowing what an early start I had in the morning, it was back in a taxi to town and time to find some food to sober me up and I just couldn’t stand there any longer!   We all ended up at one of my favourite places the Gaucho Grill, and what better than steak to soak up all that gin!  We had a delicious dinner, and then it was time for me to leave the party animals to the rest of their night, and I heard it was a wild one…!

So up early I was and off to the start of a two day photoshoot in Hoxton for my mystery project!  As always Alana was with me to do hair and makeup, and also there was my long time assistant and good friend Giorgia Barberi who has been helping me on this from the start.  I was feeling a little fragile from the night before, so it was nice to not have to go straight into hair and makeup, and just watch some of the other people being photographed first. Two long days, made longer by the fact I got lost driving on the way there and back both times – but overall a very productive and exciting couple of days. All will be revealed soon…..

Saturday I was up bright and early again to head to the BBC for another day of So You Think You Can Dance, and I was really looking forward to seeing who would make it into the semi finals next week.  This was a full on show packed with solos, girls and boys routines, couples dances and a whole group routine as well, so there were several chances for the contestants to show us what they could do and make sure we put them through to the next round.  I especially loved the boys routine with fabulous choreography by Mandy Moore, and the outstanding effort of the boys who got a standing ovation from all of the judges.  It was sad to say goodbye to Israel and Charlotte, who I felt really grew throughout this competition, Israel probably more than most, and I hope they both go on to keep studying and working and really turn themselves into the powerhouse dancers I know they can become.  So semi finals and we’re left with Matt, Luke, Lee, Bethany, Katie and Kirsty.  I’d really love a boy winner this year, just to make it different, but the truth is it’s anyone’s game at this point so we’ll just have to wait and see!

Sunday I was up bright and early AGAIN but this time to head off to the country for a couple of days peace and quiet over the bank holiday. It was just me and my partner as the girls were staying at home with friends, so a couple of days of dinner parties and sunshine were just what I needed.

Tuesday if you can believe it was We Will Rock You London’s 9th birthday, and Starlight Germany’s 23rd! And both still going strong I’m proud to say.  Make sure if you haven’t already to try and see them, as they really are both truly amazing shows, if I do say so myself!

So I hope the rest of the week is as enjoyable for you as I hope mine will be, as always lots coming up and lots more to report next week so make sure you subscribe!  Also a big hello and thank you to all my lovely new Twitter and Facebook followers, I promise to keep it interesting!
TIll next week….

Arlene x