Sleeping on Sunshine

 

Well I’ve spent the past few days days in the country getting some well deserved sunshine, although honestly it just made me just sleepy rather than revived, so here I am back to the grindstone with a forced smile on my face powering through the work I skived off for the sun! Here’s the perfect country garden.

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So what else have I been up to apart from lazing? Earlier in the week I walked the red carpet with Abi for the BBC 999 awards. 

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  An evening watching heroes reminds you of the bravery and selflessness of so many people, and it was a truly amazing night. BBC1 Thursday 16th August 8pm. It was also lovely to catch up with so many old Strictly faces from the judges Craig and Bruno to the contestants Matt Baker, Alex Jones, Chelsee Heeley, Chris Hollins and Letitia Dean, to the pros James and Ola. Shame there was strictly no dancing for me to watch!

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So who’s been watching Superstar? I dipped in and out it as I know many of the contestants and I am sure the winner Ben Forster will make a superb Jesus.  I worked with Ted Neeley who played Jesus in the original film and also with Steve Balsamo who starred in the West End revival.  Do watch Steve’s new song and video – and make sure you watch to the end!  It’s very moving http://bit.ly/O4IQNJ My final Jesus story is from when I directed Michael Crawford in the US concert The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber at Radio City.  He sang Gesthemene, and we worked for weeks on perfecting his performance. Michael is an absolute perfectionist, and never have I heard Tim Rice’s lyrics have more meaning.  The reward for all those weeks of hard work was the longest standing ovation I have ever heard.

 

Anyway I have a busy night ahead, will you be watching what I’m watching…  Then watch BBC1 Breakfast tomorrow at 7:20 to hear my thoughts.

I’ve just got time to tell you a bit about Save the Children UK’s Ultimate Dance Challenge! Gather your dance group, friends or family, sign up today at savethechildren.org.uk/dance and you could win an overnight stay in London and the chance to have afternoon tea with me! So get moving, have fun – and get that feel-good factor knowing you’re helping save children’s lives.

Finally, before I leave you for this week’s catch up, I want to wish the best of luck to all our athletes competing over the next few weeks, come on Team GB! 

 

Much love

Arlene x

Better Late than Never!

Hi all,

So it’s the start of the so called summer holidays, who’s stuck here in the rain and who’s managed to escape for some sun? And could someone please bring some back for me?

I’ve super busy this past week, and let me tell you finding glamorous outfits to wear in this weather isn’t easy!

Wednesday was the launch of The Big Dance 2012 http://www.bigdance2012.com/  at St Pancras station, where the fabulous choreographer Kate Prince had young dancers from all over the UK strutting their stuff and getting everyone around them up and dancing, including myself and the Mayor Boris Johnson!

Then it was on to fittings for my new Marisota collection that I had a shoot for later in the week (more about that to come!) and I know I always say it but I really am most excited about the latest designs.  It’s very different from anything I’ve done previously, and you’ll soon see why…

Thursday was office mania with Coco and Tully – it’s getting so hectic even my PA needs a PA!

Fri was an early start in Manchester where I was filming for a campaign I’m working on with Save the Children, that highlights the unimaginable poverty kids are living in right here in the UK.  We visited a young girl and her 2yr old son who lived just outside of Bradford in Keighley, and the steps she has taken towards making a better life for her and her son by using the help available from Save the Children is just fantastic, but still heartbreaking to see.  To find out more about how to get involved or donate click here  Bizarrely, it’s the second time filming in the exact same area in one month, as I was there only a couple of weeks ago with the Antiques Roadtrip, and not only that, until then I’d never even been there!

The weekend was great fun, on Saturday I attended a fabulous fundraiser dinner for the Jamie Oliver foundation, where we were entertained and scammed by Alexis Conran from The Real Hustle

I spend most of Sunday rifling through the rails at a local vintage fair, that I always get very excited about whenever it’s on, and this time was no exception!

Monday I was thrilled and very lucky to attend a private viewing of the Picasso exhibition at the Tate Britain that was arranged by the wonderful Margaret McCabe of Debate-Mate.  I learnt so much my brain was practically spinning, all of it utterly fascinating though.

Tuesday was the auction for Richard Hopkins, a young, enigmatic producer I had the pleasure of working with at the BBC for many years, who sadly passed away from cancer last year.  It’s tragic for someone so young with so much talent, and the support from all in attendance to raise money to help fight this so far incurable disease was really overwhelming.  It was at the Paramount club at the top of the Centrepoint building on Tottenham Court Road, where the views were simply breathtaking.  It was lovely to see so many familiar faces, and some of the prizes available in the silent auction were just mindblowing.

I spend Wednesday running around in town trying to find all the bits and pieces one seems to need on a regular basis, until it was time for grand opening of my dear friend Fiona’s new beauty clinic Skin Associates on Wimpole Street.  It’s a one stop beauty shop with anything and everything you could possibly want.  From the the more lightweight options such as nails, tanning, lash extensions, massage and facials, the non surgical procedures such as the Indiba machine that I used to keep my skin firm, laser hair removal and some magical sounding weight loss laser (which I’ll be queuing up to get on!) and then of course for the more daring of your there’s all sorts of Botox and fillers, and even their very own top plastic surgeon Paul Banwell who can pretty much do anything you want! I’m am however most proud to say you’ll be able to book my very own personal makeup artist (and daughter!) Alana there for anything to do with makeup you could imagine.  Makeovers, tips, celebrity makeup secrets, weddings and more, book in with Alana to find your perfect look http://www.skinassociates.co.uk/

After I left Fiona’s I made my way across town to the screening of the upcoming BBC4 Kenny Everett biopic that’s showing this autumn, and is an absolute must see.  I sobbed all my makeup off, and was still going when I got home!   The drama is so true to life, and it brought back so many wonderful memories of my days working with him and Hot Gossip, and just what a special person he truly was.

Thursday was a long yet very exciting meeting with the Lord himself, Andrew Lloyd Webber and the rest of the creative team all about the new changes going into the upcoming touring production of The Wizard of Oz in Canada.  Then it was off to Milton Keynes to check in on Midnight Tango, and make sure the show is still looking as fantastic as ever, and boy was it!  Vincent and Flavia are utterly spellbinding, and if you STILL haven’t seen it then GO!  I was accompanied by the show’s director and my long time friend Karen Bruce, and of course the two of us not paying any attention managed to get on the slowest train possible, but filled the time with the fastest gossiping ever!

Friday was Youth Dance England’s U Dance festival, where dance groups from all ovet the country performed pieces they had choreographed themselves, the most powerful and definitely my favourite was a group from Cardiff, with kids aged from 8-18yrs called Unique that really blew me away.

Saturday was spent with my wonderful family, as being here there and everywhere during the week meant I didn’t get to see too much of them!

To finish off my week of dance I spend Sunday at the 02, judging the Dance Make You’re Move contest on behalf of the British Red Cross.  It was an extraordinary event where dance and storytelling was brought together by schools from all over the UK creating pieces depicting events that the Red Cross has been involved in, many of which moved me to tears.

So after such a busy time I’m going to pretty much hibernate over the next few days, and I’ll be back with more stories soon.

Enjoy the rain…

Arlene xx

Mellow Madness

Hello again!

So another week has been and gone, with a mix of madness and mellow.  The first part of the week was long days of catch up with Coco in the office, with an evening event to break it up where I was attending a screening of the new BBC documentary ‘When I’m 65’, which was in a word harrowing but absolutely brilliant.

Wednesday was a crazy day, starting with an early breakfast with my darling Russell Grant, talking all things Teen Angel, his new role in the touring production of Grease.  Make sure you catch him while you can here…  I watched a quick rehearsal afterwards, and my breakfast had barely had time to go down before it was time for another meeting at lunch!  It was with one of my very oldest friends Etta Murfitt, the brilliant associate to the utterly brilliant Matthew Bourne, and we talked all things dance for as long as we could.  Then I had to head home to prepare for the debate I was going to chair that evening (Yes, me, chairing a debate!) for Debatemate.   http://www.debatemate.com/news/item/15552  It was awesome and powerful, and involved what I believe to be many great speakers of the future.  It was watched by bigwigs from all over the world, as well as randomly, Nancy Del’ollio and Anita Dobson who I ended up at the Delaunay with, drinking pink champagne.

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CJ, Anita, Nancy, and I.

I think the theme of the week seemed to be once again food, as the two meetings yesterday, delicious nibbles at the Delauney followed on into my weekend in the country where I ate my way from one dinner party to the next!  It was a blissful few days off, and I totally recharged my batteries (allbeit on roast dinners!) and Sunday made my way back to London ready for another week to begin.  The train journey was horrendous as the train in front had sadly run over a deer.

Monday was auditions for the 12/13 cast of We Will Rock You, and I have to say it, once again, the boys are out dancing the girls. Come on girls! You can catch the show here.

I had a lovely lunch with Judy Cramer, the producer of Mamma Mia and now Viva Forever, and talk about gossip –  we were the queens of gossip.  Lots of talk about Viva Forever and the Spice Girls, although I’m not involved I think its going to be amazing.

Tuesday I travelled to a dementia care home to make a film for Bupa, all about how to deal with the effects of dementia and what to do when it comes to putting a loved one in a home.  It was a long, hard day, that left me too exhausted to go to the Katy Perry film premiere. I subsequently spent the rest of the evening getting cross with myself for not making the effort, it looks great!

Wednesday was more fittings for my new Marisota leisure collection. It’s getting very exciting, as I love clothes that can take me anywhere, or as my daughter calls them, clothes for getting loungey. I’ve got the shoot coming up next week, so it’s strictly a liquid diet for me this week… We’ll see how long that lasts then!

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week, and please don’t forget you can leave me comments about what you’d like to hear more of or about, I always read them and try to reply as soon as I can.

Much love

Arlene x