All you need is…

Monday I went to meet with the creative producers of ‘All You Need is Sex” a sexy new musical . More to come! Then Monday evening the Pitman Painters – great play, my eyes glued to the stage. Go and see it.

Tuesday was a day packed with as much as I could possibly fit in! I started with an interview for Go City Girl that you can read here http://bit.ly/v2NQ3Z – and then it was on to Wizard of Oz rehearsals for the section they were going to perform on Children in Need. Of course rehearsals ran over as they always seem to do and I didn’t make it to the launch of the new Youngblood makeup collection I was meant to attend, which I was gutted about as I do so love their products. I just about made it home to change and then it was back in to town to watch Some Like it Hip Hop with my working crew. The show was phenomenal, let’s hope it comes round again!

Wednesday was another exciting and busy day, starting with a meeting for my clothing range that went really well I’m pleased to say, and then an afternoon of filming for two documentaries, the Ad of the year and the History of Toys. Talking all about the toys I used to have as child brought back so many memories and made me quite emotional! Its amazing how toys and what children want these days has changed so much, its like the simplicity that was once there has gone and been replaced by ipads and xbox. Names like Fuzzy Felt were brought up, and I always loved my paper dolls. What were your favourite toys I’d love to know.

Thursday was more clothing meetings, be sure to keep an eye on Marisota in next few months for exciting news http://bit.lypJ49pi. Later that day I went over to record an Xmas special of 8 out of 10 cats, and it was an experience to say the least! Jimmy Carr whom I adore was on great form, but I did feel the teasing of some of the contestants was at times a little merciless, maybe I’m just an old softie?!

Friday was Children in Need day, and myself and the cast of the Wizard of Oz were down at the BBC for the day. There was an exciting atmosphere, a real buzz in the studio and so many of my friends there it was just such a fantastic day. I have a massive thank you to make as well to all the following that signed my little Pudsey bears for me to auction: JLS, Ed Sheeran, 8 out of 10 Cats Xmas Special, Olly Murs, The Cast of The Wizard of Oz, Sir Terry Wogan, Gok Wan, Sian Williams, Alex Jones, Dara O’Brian… And here’s link to all of them on ebay http://bit.ly/uC0YXw I also want to say a huge thank you to my fantastic assistant Tully who tirelessly went around chasing all the above for signatures, and has been running the Ebay site and raising as much as possible for CIN, so thank you again.

I headed off for a cheeky weekend in country on Saturday morning – although it was not so relaxing as I had no internet, then no phone and one very sick Abi. It was however absolutely lovely to see friends and family, and secretly very nice to get away from all things electronic, but come the middle of the week I was chomping at the bit to get back to the madness!

Now make sure you don’t miss my book signing this Saturday in Waterstones Bentall’s in Kingston there from 2pm with Dance to the Musicals book:http://bit.ly/uR2pYw

If you can’t make Kingston, I will be on the Welsh Border in Leominster on 10th December at 11.30 at Border Books doing a signing. And, if you can’t make that if you’re luck you may still be able to nab a signed copy of my book at a very discount rate on QVC: http://bit.ly/v5ZPxf

So I hope you all have a fantastic weekend whatever you get up to, and I’ll will catch up with you all soon

Love Arlene x

Dancing in the Kitchen

Hi all!

So how has everyone’s week been?  I’ve been busy busy (of course!) since I last checked in, so here’s what I’ve been up to…

Wed was great day, starting with an interview on BBC Radio 4 for Midweek.  One of the other guests on the show was the very fabulous chef Antonio Carluccio, whom I was quizzing for cooking tips, and we had a great talk all about the benefits of beetroot! I then went and made made a total mess of the kitchen on Drop Down Menu which I mentioned last week, so much for the cookery tips!  A late night catch up with Coco ended the day, and I wanted to get a good sleep as I was not looking forward to Thursday morning…

I had the dreaded flu jab and the pneumonia jab at the same time!  Ugh it was horrible, pain in both arms, I spent the rest of the day working from home feeling a bit sorry for myself, and I didn’t sleep a wink that night. Poor me!  

Friday I had a lovely morning spent being creative with the gorgeous David Grant, and a gossip filled girls lunch in Hampstead with my dear friend Francesca Simon of the Horrid Henry books fame, a quick phone interview with Womans Own magazine, and a fabulous afternoon of well deserved pampering getting my hair and nails done. A blissful day all round I think.

Saturday was really exciting as I was doing a reading from the Alana Dancing Star books at the Royal Academy of Art, surrounded by my favourite paintings by Degas.  I felt honored to be asked to hold an event there, and I’m thrilled to say how well it went, and enjoyed by adults and children alike.  After the reading I did a Q&A session with Debbie Moore about dance, and there were some really inspiring questions from the audience about the future of dance.  I had a wonderful lunch with Debbie and the lovely Jennifer Frances who works at the Royal Academy, and then it was part two of the event about my new Dance to the Musicals book, which invited lots of intriguing questions…

On Sunday I had a wonderful lunch with Frances Ruffelle and her family, and my daughter Abi.  Frances and I go back a long way, in fact to the very first workshop of Starlight Express, and we laughed over lunch when she reminded of all her falls and of mine too. Abi and Frances’ daughter Eliza Doolittle of course gossiped about fashion and all things young and fabulous.

Monday was an early start for my appearance on The Wright Stuff, and somehow I managed to get my timings wrong, so when I told Alana to be at my house to start hair and makeup and half seven it’s because I thought the car was coming at eight.  No such luck, the car was coming at half seven to arrive at eight!  Poor Alana was literally throwing makeup on my face so I could arrive at least looking half ready, a few touch ups in the car and I was fresh and fabulous on arrival.  I had a great time with Matthew, and the other guests Miriam O’Reilly and of course my darling Craig Revel Horwood.  I made my way back to the office for an afternoon with Coco and several phone interviews about my new book, and before I knew it it was time for bed. She does work hard that girl! 

A couple of things before I leave you, I’m thrilled to say that the DVD of Midnight Tango is now out, and also there a a couple of signed copies of Dance to the Musical still available from QVC, so get them before they go! 

Love to all
Arlene x

She’s back!

I’m back – and boy has jetlag hit me hard! After an amazing couple of weeks in LA it was back to london and back to business, clearly no rest for the wicked… It’s been another week of go go go, but at least filled with really fun things.

I arrived back late on tuesday, but it was straight up on Wed morning to have a long overdue catch up with Coco about everything that had been going on while I was away. Of course that took up most of the day, and then after a quick trip to the hairdressers I was off to the 02 to host this year’s Newsroom’s Got Talent. My fellow judges were none other than Anton Du Beke and Christopher Biggins, and I can’t begin to describe what a hilarious night it was. Congratulations to all the Newsreaders that took part, and especially to the ITN team who won with a fabulous version of Chicago’s Cell Block Tango, brilliantly re-written about current events. A very late night did not make for a pretty start early the next day as I headed over to This Morning to talk about my new book with Holly and Phil. It’s always lovely to see them, although I think Phil is going to take a little more convincing that Holly to give the book a go! I think it will be a struggle to ever get Phil onto a dance floor… It was also lovely to bump into Mel C at the studios, she’s such a sweet girl and I can’t wait to hear her latest single, and wish her the best of luck with it! After my chat on the sofa I filmed a short piece for the Daybreak campaign about donating coats this winter. I gave two, and you can do the same just head to their website. The day ended with a meeting about an exciting new idea, but that’s all I can tell you about that for now…

Friday was a long but fun day, starting very early at the QVC studios, where I was launching my new dance book with the gorgeous Matt Flint to demonstrate. It was so funny as while they were showing clips of the dance DVD that the book comes with, we were all dancing away in the studiowith the presenter who was trying to follow the moves, completely unaware the studio camera was cutting away to us dancing (or should I say bopping around!) and we didn’t realise! It was a short but sweet appearance and my books were flying off the QVC shelves, so thank you to all of those that called in. If you missed the show you can still get one of the exclusive signed copies here… http://www.qvcuk.com/ukqic/qvcapp.aspx/view.2/app.detail/params.item.700115.cm_scid.KeywordSearch
Once we’d finished our morning workout, I went off to a press call to open the Big Dance, a new campaign for the London 2012 Olympics, and a discussion with the Arts desk about the future of dance in the country. You can join in the debate here http://www.theartsdesk.com/dance/theartsdesk-debate-dances-question-time and I know they would love to hear your views. A quick trip back home to catch up on some important work, then it was off with Abi to the Galaxy Book Awards at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge. I had such fantastic evening – despite it being a standing event and me turning up in super spike heels – the shoes were off and a good time was had by all!

The weekend was spent catching up on more work, and of course having family time, something I had enormously missed whilst I was away. I had my family, and the Leeds part of the family all round for brunch on Sunday, and then in the afternoon a late lunch with friends spend talking until it was time for dinner – yes another weekend again revolving around food!

Monday was a really exciting day as it was finally time for my official book launch! The day was spend doing radio interviews and preparing for the event, and come 6:30 the doors were open and it was time! It was a wonderful turnout with all my friends and family there to support me, you can see all the pics and catch up on the gossip from the event here http://bit.ly/u8gqJZ It was lovely to see everyone, and I’d like to thank everyone for being part of the event, and most of all I hope you love the book as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Tuesday started off with a very important top secret meeting, but what I can tell you is that it went very well and the news is to be revealed soon…. and then it was off to interview my dear friend Louie Spence on his new autobiography. Having read the book I can tell you it’s very endearing, and you get to know a side of Louie away from the high kicks and and boundless energy, and I found it a very touching read. Of course interviewing was nothing short of hilarious, and I’ll let you know when it’s gong to be aired. I had an exciting evening, the first stop being an event at William Vintage in Marylebone, where I very cheekily purchased a beautiful black Jean Muir dress that was nothing short of divine. It really is a treasure chest in there, and would highly recommend it for that perfect one off piece. After that it was over to the BBC to film a special edition of Never Mind the Buzzcocks for Children in Need, that was so rude I’m not sure how much of it they’ll be able to show – if any! Myself and Harry from McFly were on Phil’s team, and Claire from Steps and Shaun Williamson aka Barry from Eastenders made up Noel’s team, hosted by the very naughty Katy Brand. Make sure you tune in on the night of Nov 18th to see it, and more importantly make sure you donate! Children in Need is such an amazing charity that needs our help year round, and I am so thrilled to be involved, so look on the website to see how you can get involved too.. Did anyone manage to catch me on the TV yesterday first on Drop down menu making a hilarious attempt to cook Welsh cakes, and the on the Alan Titchmarsh show with my new book and having a great gossip with the lovely Alan.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of the week, I’ll be at the Royal Academy this weekend with my Alana Dancing Star books – http://www.alanadancingstar.com so make sure you come down and say hi!

Until next time…
Love A x

Its all Hollywood

HELLO FROM HOLLYWOOD!

As I sit and write this on my last day in LA I’m looking back at what has been a whirlwind of a week. I flew out with Debbie Moore for a week packed full of meetings, vintage shopping trips, theatre trips, sourcing and scouring for inspiration – so where to start??

Of course the first person I met up with the night I arrived was Nigel Lythgoe, my SYTYCD partner in crime. He took me for a wonderful dinner at Sur and a cocktail or two at Soho House, and then we spent the next day bouncing ideas around and taking in the sun at his beautiful house in Bel Air. Of course I couldn’t wait to hit the shops to see what all the LA fashion is about, I wanted to soak up ideas for my new Marisota collection, so off to Century City it was. Throughout the week I also managed to hit the Beverly Centre, The Grove, Rodeo Drive, all the vintage stores on Melrose, pretty much anywhere you could shop I went. I bought beautiful vintage jewelry to inspire my QVC collection from the most incredible market on Fairfax, and even managed to storm through Sephora a few times over looking at amazing new makeup with Alana.

I managed to meet up with some friends I’ve known since way back in the 70’s and 80’s, my oldest friend Lavinia who was in the original Hot Gossip, and my darling Richard Wenk, who worked on the film of Annie with me and has now gone on to become a huge Hollywood script writer. Getting to see both of them was a dream come true, as well as meeting with the wonderful Jeff Thacker also of So You Think You Can Dance, and my dear friend and top Hollywood agent Tony Selznick to see what plans we could come up with… but you’ll have to wait to hear more about that! A lovely dinner with famous Hollywood director Michael Apted, and a milkshake and catch up with the truly inspiring Deborah Seigel made it a real week to remember.

I went to see some fantastic theatre as well with my friend Louanne who drove over from Las Vegas, we saw Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly With Me, a truly stunning Cirque du Soleil production at the Kodak Theatre called Iris that literally took my breath away, and the opening night of the So You Think You Can Dance tour which was fabulous.

Of course I have to talk about food. The one thing I will say above and beyond all else was the size of the portions! Enormous! I ate at some of the most fantastic restaurants The Palm, The Ivy, Cecconis, also at places including Mel’s Diner and the Cheesecake Factory, and no matter where I was one portion could feed at least three. Needless to say it’s back to the chicory and grapes when I return as I have a whole host of television appearances coming up and I want to look my best!

Through the haze of jetlag, sunshine, meetings and more it has really been an incredible week that has literally flown past. As I write this sat waiting to board my flight the butterflies are going round my stomach, and I realise despite being in the Sunshine State I can’t wait to get back to rainy London and my wonderful family. As I wrote to my friend Richard in 1982 “It’s all Hollywood”

Till next week…
Love Arlene x