The Mad Hatter’s Christmas Tea, and other such things

Hello all! 
As I write this, I can’t believe my next blog will be about what I got up to over Christmas – where has the time gone?!  But before I get a head of myself here’s what I’ve been up to this past week…
Tuesday 13th I started the day recording the voiceover for the BBC Lifeline programme I’ve made about the amazing Giggle Doctors, if you missed it you can watch again here: http://bbc.in/rHF5Vw. Then it was on to lunch with the fabulous Ben Latham-Jones at the Charlotte Street Hotel, one of my favourites. It was gossips, invention, creation and maybe a bit of social chatter too, but overall a deep and meaningful lunch.  So with an afternoon in the office with Coco, Tully and Abi, the week ahead was off to a good start.

Wednesday was big and very exciting meeting about the new Starlight Express tour due to go out next year, I tell you it’s going to be incredible. Another meeting straight after, although this one was top secret, had something to do with dance (of course) and technology, but like nothing you have ever seen before… hmm…
That evening was my dream night out, to see the Nutcracker at the Colosseum in Covent Garden.  I took Abi and her friend Jaime, and Alana who was supposed to come was too ill, which was such a shame as I and the girls go every year, as one of our Christmas traditions. Sitting in front of me was Pearl Lowe with her beautiful family, and we got talking as we share the same agent for branding. We talked clothes of course, what else?! In the interval, I gossiped with the fabulous Brendan Cole. He seemed to have calmed down a little since the time I was working with him, I’m not sure I like it! I rather liked the ‘I don’t give a damn about what I say’ Brendan!

Thursday was another massive catch up in the office day, I can’t believe how much there is to do on a daily basis!  Coco really is a godsend. Late afternoon I made a dash for the hairdressers as I had a party that evening and my hair was in much need of some TLC!  Drinks at the wonderous house of Patrick McKenna, it really was something to behold.  I walked around in awe staring at the beautiful decor, and caught up with many old friends, made new ones, and talked work (well what else!) with Andrew Lloyd Webber.

An early appearance on Daybreak started my Friday, talking all about my Dance to the Musicals book and my opinion on the Strictly Final. I have to say I haven’t watched the series that closely this year, but what I have seen I’ve really enjoyed, including Russell Grant, who really can dance, of course the 3 finalists, of whom I’m particularly proud of Jason as I know how far he has come. As for people saying he’s too serious, I can tell he’s put his heart and soul in to the competition, improved beyond belief and that takes a serious amount of hard work! Despite the exhausting 5:30am start it was straight into the office for the morning, until the fun part of the day – the Planet Arlene Christmas surprise tea, for all in the office! We made our way to the Sanderson Hotel, to the Mad Hatters Tea Party from Alice in Wonderland, and not only was it a sight to behold, but it tasted beyond anything I have tried.  Lollipops that when you place them on your tongue feel hot one side and cold the other, delicious little cakes of the White Rabbit’s pocket watch, Eat Me and Drink Me labels on strawberry chocolate hearts and little bottles of layer upon layer of passion fruit jelly and pana cotta – the list goes on! Scones, rainbow coloured sandwiches, tea and Champagne cocktails topped the endless delights, and we all left feeling stuffed to the brim.  Of course the day wasn’t over for me and I had another two meetings to get through before I could finally climb into bed from what was a wonderful but very long day.

Saturday morning was a relaxing day, with just a brief telephone interview for Ireland’s Newstalk  
http://www.newstalk.ie/programmes/all/shenanigans-with-sile/ and then I was free to relax until my party that evening with Debbie Moore at Nick Mason – from Pink Floyd – and his wife Nettie’s house. It always surprises me when going to a party, and you think you will know hardly anyone, there were lots of people there from my past. My favourite was catching up with Anneka Rice who’s oldest son is the same age as Abi, so there was certainly lots to talk about. I try not to be a parent bore, but I think I am. There’s nothing I like better than talking about my offsprings. 

I’m happy to say Sunday was another relaxing day, with a delicious family lunch and much lounging about!

Monday it was back to work with an appearance on Loose Women, although I’d hardly call it work, I just turn up and chat.

Did anyone catch my supertroupers documentary on Radio 2 on Monday night?
http://bbc.in/vssZI1 All about the early dance groups like Pans People, Ruby Slipper and of course, Hot Gossip. That evening I’d attended the Christmas party of my dear friend, and Alana’s agent Carol Hayes. I met up with Alana for a drink, and as we made our separate ways, Alana called me excitedly saying “Mum you’re on the radio in the taxi I’m in!” Earlier that evening I attended a gathering for Vincent and Flavia. I’d intended to pop in and pop out to say congratulations as the show I’m producing with them has done record sales at the box office. Well, I can never pop in and out anywhere, as I was surrounded by Len Goodman, Mark Ramprakash, Robin Windsor, Brian May & Anita Dobson, and of course Vincent and Flavia, what a night! Darling Coco was so busy with the camera, she hardly had time for a cocktail! 

So as I head forward to Christmas I just wish everyone a fabulous and very Merry Christmas of your own. I’ll tell you all about mine next week.

Till then…
Love Arlene x  

The Mad Hatters Christmas Tea, and other such things

Hello all!
As I write this, I can’t believe my next blog will be about what I got up to over Christmas – where has the time gone?! But before I get a head of myself here’s what I’ve been up to this past week…
Tuesday 13th I started the day recording the voiceover for the BBC Lifeline programme I’ve made about the amazing Giggle Doctors, if you missed it you can watch again here: http://bbc.in/rHF5Vw. Then it was on to lunch with the fabulous Ben Latham-Jones at the Charlotte Street Hotel, one of my favourites. It was gossips, invention, creation and maybe a bit of social chatter too, but overall a deep and meaningful lunch. So with an afternoon in the office with Coco, Tully and Abi, the week ahead was off to a good start.

Wednesday was big and very exciting meeting about the new Starlight Express tour due to go out next year, I tell you it’s going to be incredible. Another meeting straight after, although this one was top secret, had something to do with dance (of course) and technology, but like nothing you have ever seen before… hmm…
That evening was my dream night out, to see the Nutcracker at the Colosseum in Covent Garden. I took Abi and her friend Jaime, and Alana who was supposed to come was too ill, which was such a shame as I and the girls go every year, as one of our Christmas traditions. Sitting in front of me was Pearl Lowe with her beautiful family, and we got talking as we share the same agent for branding. We talked clothes of course, what else?! In the interval, I gossiped with the fabulous Brendan Cole. He seemed to have calmed down a little since the time I was working with him, I’m not sure I like it! I rather liked the ‘I don’t give a damn about what I say’ Brendan!

Thursday was another massive catch up in the office day, I can’t believe how much there is to do on a daily basis! Coco really is a godsend. Late afternoon I made a dash for the hairdressers as I had a party that evening and my hair was in much need of some TLC! Drinks at the wonderous house of Patrick McKenna, it really was something to behold. I walked around in awe staring at the beautiful decor, and caught up with many old friends, made new ones, and talked work (well what else!) with Andrew Lloyd Webber.

An early appearance on Daybreak started my Friday, talking all about my Dance to the Musicals book and my opinion on the Strictly Final. I have to say I haven’t watched the series that closely this year, but what I have seen I’ve really enjoyed, including Russell Grant, who really can dance, of course the 3 finalists, of whom I’m particularly proud of Jason as I know how far he has come. As for people saying he’s too serious, I can tell he’s put his heart and soul in to the competition, improved beyond belief and that takes a serious amount of hard work! Despite the exhausting 5:30am start it was straight into the office for the morning, until the fun part of the day – the Planet Arlene Christmas surprise tea, for all in the office! We made our way to the Sanderson Hotel, to the Mad Hatters Tea Party from Alice in Wonderland, and not only was it a sight to behold, but it tasted beyond anything I have tried. Lollipops that when you place them on your tongue feel hot one side and cold the other, delicious little cakes of the White Rabbit’s pocket watch, Eat Me and Drink Me labels on strawberry chocolate hearts and little bottles of layer upon layer of passion fruit jelly and pana cotta – the list goes on! Scones, rainbow coloured sandwiches, tea and Champagne cocktails topped the endless delights, and we all left feeling stuffed to the brim. Of course the day wasn’t over for me and I had another two meetings to get through before I could finally climb into bed from what was a wonderful but very long day.

Saturday morning was a relaxing day, with just a brief telephone interview for Ireland’s Newstalk
http://www.newstalk.ie/programmes/all/shenanigans-with-sile/ and then I was free to relax until my party that evening with Debbie Moore at Nick Mason – from Pink Floyd – and his wife Nettie’s house. It always surprises me when going to a party, and you think you will know hardly anyone, there were lots of people there from my past. My favourite was catching up with Anneka Rice who’s oldest son is the same age as Abi, so there was certainly lots to talk about. I try not to be a parent bore, but I think I am. There’s nothing I like better than talking about my offsprings.

I’m happy to say Sunday was another relaxing day, with a delicious family lunch and much lounging about!

Monday it was back to work with an appearance on Loose Women, although I’d hardly call it work, I just turn up and chat.

Did anyone catch my supertroupers documentary on Radio 2 on Monday night?
http://bbc.in/vssZI1 All about the early dance groups like Pans People, Ruby Slipper and of course, Hot Gossip. That evening I’d attended the Christmas party of my dear friend, and Alana’s agent Carol Hayes. I met up with Alana for a drink, and as we made our separate ways, Alana called me excitedly saying “Mum you’re on the radio in the taxi I’m in!” Earlier that evening I attended a gathering for Vincent and Flavia. I’d intended to pop in and pop out to say congratulations as the show I’m producing with them has done record sales at the box office. Well, I can never pop in and out anywhere, as I was surrounded by Len Goodman, Mark Ramprakash, Robin Windsor, Brian May & Anita Dobson, and of course Vincent and Flavia, what a night! Darling Coco was so busy with the camera, she hardly had time for a cocktail!

So as I head forward to Christmas I just wish everyone a fabulous and very Merry Christmas of your own. I’ll tell you all about mine next week.

Till then…
Love Arlene x

The Xmas countdown

This past week has been a bit of a mix between insane and idle. Tuesday I was up early to pick the final deigns for my new Marisota collection, which I am so excited about! It’s all new colours and shapes, as well as a couple of pieces I know you all love from previous collections but with a twist. I’ll keep you posted with details of when it’s going to be out, but for now have a look at the winter styles now in, with many amazing pieces on sale too http://bit.ly/rIhvlF

After my meeting I attended a fantastic lunch with the QVC Breast Cancer Auction winners Francine and Angela at the Sanderson Hotel, which was very glamorous – and very delicious! We knew a glorious afternoon gossiping and discovering how many people we had in common. Francine has also set up her own charity in the north of England, making wishes come true for children with cancer, it was a truly inspiring afternoon.

That evening I went to the opening of Pippin at the Chocolate Factory with Abi, which was nothing short of sensational. The cast were outstanding, and I would recommend you to go and see it asap. It was lovely to see so many of my friends up on stage, backstage, and in the audience. One face in particular I was thrilled to see was the Director Mitch Sebastian, who was in Starlight Express Japan way back in the early 80’s. The story goes that after months of Skate School and rehearsals, he fell and broke his leg 5 minutes before the curtain went up on opening night! Also the divine Francis Ruffelle who was in the original Starlight Express in London was starring in the show, and as always it was a dream to watch her perform. It was lovely to see my dear friend and fellow choreographer Anthony Van Laast in the audience, and we sat through the interval talking dance dance dance. All in all it was a brilliant show full of supreme talent and astounding visual effects.

Wednesday I was up super early to get to the dentist before Wizard of Oz auditions, where I was for the rest of the day until it was time to dash home and get ready for the Macmillan Christmas Stocking Auction. Again I had a wonderful night with Abi as my date, and a great catch up with the talent that is Rick Astley, wow what a voice that man has!

Thursday and Friday was spent relaxing in the country, eating delicious dinner and catching up on sleep, a lazy couple of days and I loved it.

Saturday was the opening of Border Books in Leominster and there I was signing copies of my new Dance to the Musicals book, and I was really overwhelmed by the turn out. I know I always say it, but I love to get the chance to meet all of you, and thank you all for your continued support. Here’s a link to the book’s website with news and info http://bit.ly/u8gqJZ. That evening was very exciting as I was linked up by Skype to the Xtra Factor to judge Dermot’s dancing, and I have to say he was nothing short of brilliant, if in confidence only! Really though he did a great job, and I really enjoyed being on the show.

By the way, my office elves have been busy teaching me the tricks and clicks of Facebook, so my NEW fanpage is now: https://www.facebook.com/thearlenephillips so head over there now and click LIKE to keep up to date with all my pics and competitions!

Sunday was the long drive back to London, and the rest of another lazy Sunday before the next week of craziness began. Monday was another early wake up call to get in to hair and makeup for my appearance on Live With Gabby, which went really well. I was on with Jai Mcdowall who won Britains Got Talent, and boy has he got talent! He was singing in the studio, and I had goosebumps from his beautiful voice. I will definitely be buying his album, and I wish him all the best of luck with it. I was home for a few hours in the afternoon with Coco to catch up on emails and Christmas card writing before I headed over to the QVC building for my Jewelry show, which I am thrilled to say went really well. A third quick change later and I was on my way to a special screening of the Downton Abbey Christmas special at a cinema in the West End, and it was utterly brilliant. I’m actually excited to watch it all over again at Christmas! In true Arlene tradition I didn’t stay too long at the party, as I was shattered from the day and it was a busy week ahead…

So until next time…
Love Arlene x

Wogan, Winners, Children and Dinners

Firstly I have to say a massive thank you to everyone who voted for me on the Broadway World website, I was thrilled to win Best Choreography for The Wizard of Oz, and I’m so proud of all the cast. I also have to say a huge well done to the other winners Danielle Hope, Michael Crawford, David Cullen for his orchestrations, and of course the award for Best Musical. See all the winners here

Thursday was Dec 1st, and I can’t believe a year has gone so quickly! It was a day of meetings, my favourite being not a work meeting but a lovely lunch with one of my dearest and oldest friends Chrissy, who was one of the very original Hot Gossips, at Richoux, where we sat and talked over memories of years ago. After lunch I attended the Good Housekeeping Carol Concert where I did a reading of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’, but with the words changed to reflect dance. It was lovely to see so many good friends and I was delighted to chat to Lulu and Fern Britton, who were also doing readings. I was beside myself with excitement as I was going to watch the dance god that is Rafael Bonachela’s new creations for the Sydney Dance Company at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, in a word it was breathtaking. A truly special 1st of December I’d say.

Friday I lost Alana to Mexico, who was going to make me look fabulous now?! Help was at hand in the shape of the fantastic celebrity makeup artist Debbie Gallagher, who made me look totally glam as I set off for Brighton with Coco to record BBC Lifeline – make sure you watch on BBC1 Sunday 18 December at 16:20, and then BBC2 Wednesday 21 December at 10:50. Its about the most amazing Charity, the Theodora Children’s Trust who help fund Giggle Doctors to visit sick children in hospital. Its so important for kids and their parents alike to help them through some of the most difficult times they will ever face, and just bringing a smile can help no end. http://theodora.org.uk/
I met some amazing kids and giggle doctor Polly, and we spent a wonderful day together laughing and gossiping, a truly moving experience.

Saturday was a well needed lazy day with Angus, lunch, papers and even a cheeky nap! In the evening I attended Betty Laine’s birthday gala. Betty was the founder of one of the top theatre schools in the country Laine Theatre Arts, who’s students I have worked with in just about every musical that I have been involved in. The event at Simpsons on the Strand and it was very theatrical affair and I spent a great deal of the evening chatting to ex-students Kerry Ellis and Ruthie Henshall!

Sunday was radio radio radio! I recorded Inheritance tracks for Radio 4, and went on Sir Terry Wogan’s Weekend programme live which you can listen to again here: . It’s always good getting a smile from the great man!

Monday I was up early to chat to
BBC Hereford and Worcester to promote my exciting event in Leominster where I’ll be opening a new bookshop and signing my Dance to the Musicals book. Its this coming Saturday 10th Dec at 11.30 at Border Books (9 School Lane, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 8AA) If you can’t make it there may be some signed copies here just in time for Xmas! Then I was on the charming Ray d’Arcy’s show in Ireland he certainly is a fascinating character. You can listen here We talked about stories old and new, from the film Annie to the wild days with Freddie Mercury to Strictly and beyond. That evening was the Christmas party for the charity Fight For Life an incredible children’s cancer charity that I was really proud to attend, and had an amazing time dancing away with the kids and patrons Nicky Clarke and Duncan from Blue. You can see all the pics on my Facebook Fanpage: and don’t forget to LIKE my page!

Well that’s all for another busy week, and I hope to see lots of you at my event on Saturday, so until next week…

Love Arlene x

A lovely line of Nurses

Hello all!

So I arrived back in London from my mini break away in the country and went straight to an interview with Sky news talking about care of the elderly in the UK. It’s crying out for a major re-structure. This was followed by interviews about the Big Dance 2012 to get the nation dancing during the cultural Olympiad. You will soon find out how you can join in. http://www.bigdance2012.com/

Thursday was my big reveal to the Macmillan nurses. I was going to be helping them with a routine they were performing the following week at the Macmillan Charity Gala at the London Palladium. It was a huge surprise when I turned up at their rehearsals!

I am so excited to say I can now finally reveal that Starlight Express will be touring the nation once again. Friday morning I was given the go ahead to tweet, facebook, shout and share the news, and I hope you are all as excited as I am. So many people always tell me what a huge part of their childhood it was, and its great to be able to introduce a whole new generation to the show.
The rest of the day was taken up with meetings, including a quick nip into QVC Towers to go over my items for my show on the 12th Dec at 6pm, all very exciting and just in time for Xmas! I am absolutely in love with the new collection, I definitely feel its my best yet, and have been wearing a few of the items on various TV shows recently, see if you can spot them! They’re not all online yet, but check out what is here: http://bit.ly/htme9Q Also did you know about my QVC blog on Strictly? If you missed it, you can read my comments on the show right here. http://bit.ly/vwOB4m
After my jewellery meeting it was across London to a shoot for the Express about my five favourite things. I had Alana in tow, and was thrilled to see the stylist was Marie Mckeever who always has the most gorgeous array of dresses laid out for me, and this time was no different. A quick change and a couple of pics later I was on my way home and ready for my bed.

Saturday I was up early for a meeting with the lovely Pamela Stephenson, a passionate dancer if ever there was one. Then I headed off with Abi and Tully to Kingston for my book signing. It was great to see so many of you there, so thank you for your support.
I also want to thank you for all your bids on the signed Pudseys, lots more money and help towards Children in Need. In total we raised £450, so another big thank you to all the celebrities who signed the bears.

Sunday was lazy, lazy, lazy, and that’s all I’m going to say about that!

Monday was all about the Macmillan Gala I mentioned earlier, and what an exciting evening. The Palladium concert hosted by Graham Norton, with a couple of cameo appearances from yours truly, as well as Katherine Jenkins, John Barrowman, The Nolans, Miranda Hart, Jason Manford, the cast of Jersey Boys, Chicago, the Lion King and many more – and of course my nurses. They learnt a routine to perform to One from A Chorus Line, complete with top hats, and they danced to a full band conducted by Mike Dixon, and I have to say they did me proud. It was the highlight of the night for me, well done to all those involved! Sharing a dressing room with Miranda Hart was delightful, she entertained me all night.

Tuesday and Wednesday are top secret, what I can tell you is that I spent them in Weymouth, but you’ll have to wait until February to find out exactly what I got up to…!

FOR THE DIARY!
If you live in the area, 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

Any news or a quick way to update me on whatever you are up to, or your thoughts for the day, you can Tweet me.

Love Arlene x