Wearing Spanx to the Brazilian Tea Party (with some Mormons)


Hello again,

 
I hope you’re all enjoying the seasonal easter, um, snow?  It’s clearly a great excuse to spend the weekend wrapped up eating chocolate!

 
Did you enjoy last week’s blog? I loved the pictures from the very special tea for the very special Shooting Star Children’s Hospice, Chase. 
 
Its been yet another crazy week of weird and wonderful events I can’t wait to share with you, but first of all… Who caught the LAST EVER One Show from the iconic BBC Television Centre at White City , that featured my recreation of the record breaking tap dance to 42nd St, originally performed by Roy Castle back in the 70’s  http://bbc.in/14nG4L4 Despite the fact that it was utterly freezing and pouring it down, we had 1200 feet enthusiastically tapping away! 


It was by complete coincidence a double whammy of 42nd St for me this week as I took part in the 42nd St Gala at the London Palladium, in honour of Caron Keating and her foundation. Here’s a clip of the number I was in, Dames, where I was partnered with the divine Matt Evers from Dancing on Ice.  http://bit.ly/10OCwP3

Wednesday I attended a fabulous event hosted by Save the Children, which was A Night of Funk & Soul at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm.  The performances were fantastic, and as for the guests –  I met Tim Burton!  He is such a hero of mine, and I found myself chatting away for what seemed like a lifetime, enthusing over our shared love of all things “different”.

Thursday was another epic event, in the opening night of the Book of Mormon.  The “opening of the year” so far , it truly is one of the most phenomenal things I have ever seen. And as for the the lead role, Gavin Creel is a revelation, and someone that everyone has to see perform at least once in their life!  The party afterwards was at the Natural History Museum, where I ate my way through several lobster rolls and mini burgers, as well as the naughty maple glazed doughnuts, which are so brilliantly referenced in the show.  I’m pretty sure tickets are like gold dust, but I can’t express the enough how much this show  has to be seen… 

 
While I was partying away amongst the dinosaurs, Abi and Angus went off to see the Eels in concert, and reported back on also what a fantastic night they’d had, so much fun was had by all!

Finally, Friday was here, and it was time for the Brazil showcase I’d been working towards over the past week. The performers were backstage being made up by Alana, I was out front alongside my “co-conspirator” on the piece Pamela Stephenson meeting and greeting our specially invited audience, and you could virtually see the butterflies in our stomachs. It was an intense, emotional, exciting and magical week that was all leading up to this point, and I am beyond thrilled to say it was a total success.  My special thanks to Harley, Ashley, Bras, Pamela and all my beautiful dancers and musicians, if you’re reading this – we did it! So what’s next? Well you’ll just have to watch this space…

Saturday brought another event, this time out at Silverstone races! “Dancing with Sky Stars” was a Strictlyesque competition for a wonderful charity that I was thrilled to take part in, and judge newsreaders and reporters alongside the very smart Brendan Cole and the hysterically funny Dan Lobb. I have to say the Sky Stars worked really hard and were a revelation in dance. 

 

It was another busy but fun day on Sunday, chatting to Clare Balding for Good Morning Sunday on BBC Radio 2. I loved chatting away to Clare, and you’ve got three days left to catch it on IPlayer here  http://bbc.in/108rHoJ  I also managed to catch up with my dear and longtime friend Nigel Lithgoe, where it wasn’t all just giggles and gossip… Watch. This. Space. 

As Monday and the next installment of craziness rolled around, it started with an appearance on Alan Titchmarsh, who as I’m sure you know by now as I always say, is a dream to chat with.  http://itv.co/XDnpDU  

Afterwards I attended a special tea for Save the Children, with some of the kids who have been helped by the charity, and some who won a five hour dance marathon to be there! We shared a beautiful cream tea at the Royal Garden Hotel, and talked dance dance dance, all my favourite things in one go!
 
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Tuesday was filled from top to bottom, starting with a long overdue catch up with Coco, who’d been away for a few days, and yes I admit it, I can’t manage without her!! I had a secret meeting about the Olivier awards, before heading over to Edencancan Towers, and the fabulous Spanx event hosted by my darling Nick Ede. I left stacked with Power Pants galore and stuffed with Red Velvet Cupcakes and Champagne! Next stop was the Mayfair Hotel for more treats at the launch of the very special Chocolate Tea Party initiative.  Woman’s Own have come up with the wonderful idea in conjunction with the Sick Childrens Trust, a charity that provides housing for families who need to be close to their children in hospital.  It helps take out the often several hours commute and other strains on the family going through something like that can bring.  You can find details of how to get involved below. I sipped on a chocolate martini, and caught up with the lovely Helen Fospero, and we listened to the stunning voice of Faryl Smith, who melted my heart with her rendition of Tonight, from my favourite musical West Side Story.  http://www.womansown.co.uk/celebrity-2/celebrity-gossip/womans-own-launches-the-big-chocolate-tea-party/

 
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Yesterday I had a gorgeous breakfast with my longtime friend CJ at The little house Mayfair. I hadn’t been before, but I will most certainly be going again! I spent the rest of the day continuing my Coco Catch Up, before it was time to head off to Baker St to launch a new range of anti ageing products from Nivea, where I was talking about what it feels like to be an older woman in the media.  In truth, it’s hard, and you can be accused of anything from looking too old, to being laughed at for trying to look to young. I say look how you want to, look after your skin, and you’ll look happy no matter what. 

Finally, a big ask, but please please sponsor me (http://bit.ly/APLBTL) or my darling daughter Abi (http://bit.ly/16Xwnmp)  or Team Arlene (http://bit.ly/ZXHjfF) in our challenge to live on just £1 a day for a week, that’s just 33p a meal so please donate even if you can only give £1 every penny will go to Malaria No More UK an innovative charity working tirelessly to end suffering and deaths from malaria. 

So all i have now is to wish you all a Happy Easter!  Tweet me your plans, and I’ll tell you all about mine next week.

 
Until then
Arlene x
 
 
 
 

Tully’s Takeover

Hello World. Tully, Arlene’s assistant here. I’ve hijacked her blog to tell you about this week’s happenings on Planet Arlene. Last time Arlene brought you what can only be described as ‘the longest blog ever’, so I’ll attempt to keep it short and sweet!

Last week you were left with Arlene’s emotional goodbye to the amazing BBC Television Centre.  But since then a new ‘top secret’ dance project has cropped up involving the iconic ‘donut’ of the building.  I can’t say any more but make sure you watch the One Show on BBC1 tonight from 7pm!

In other news, I have just finished putting together a showreel of all Arlene’s musical shows.  Hoping to be able to show you all fairly soon. It should coincide with Arlene’s brand spanking new website which is being launched in the very near future. Watch this space!You can still see the old website here: www.arlenephillips.com.

But this isn’t the only film for you to see.  Arlene has been busy working on various other videos too. The first is a brilliant new advertising campaign for the RNIB. The cleverly crafted CGI advert will be making its way into cinemas across the country from this weekend. But if you can’t wait that long, you can watch it here first. And remember, please pass on the message to help people spot the signs of AMD.

As well as the RNIB video, Arlene took a trip back to the Dominion Theatre to film an exclusive ‘Behind the Scenes’ video for the global hit musical We Will Rock You for Time Out.  Take a look at all the secrets Arlene uncovered about the show here.

Of course a good blog requires a few pictures!  Here are a few showing the amazing things Arlene has been up to this week and inevitably, the brilliant people she met.

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Arlene & Phillip Schofield.

ImageArlene and the one and only Simon Cowell.

ImageArlene and JLS’s Aston.

ImageArlene and former TOWIE star Amy Childs.

After I sign off, I will be heading into town to meet Arlene for an exclusive viewing of her new dance show ‘Brazil’. She’s been slaving away for weeks and I can’t wait to see what she has been up to.

BUT. And it’s a big but. The main reason I am here, is to tell you all about our efforts for Live Below The Line. Arlene, Abi, Coco & I are coming together to form the super ‘Team Arlene’ and are taking on the LBTL challenge of living on just £1 per day to raise money for Malaria No More UK. Please, please, please give whatever you can to help this life changing charity, and also to watch us all suffer a diet of rice, porridge and water for a week! You can sponsor us here.

In the unlikely event you want to know more about anything else that happens in my life, best bet is to follow me on Twitter – @tullybloom.
Don’t worry, Arlene will be back next week! But for now, it’s goodbye from me.

The Megablog

Hello again,

It’s been an absolute whirlwind of a week, and I have been super snaphappy along they way! There’s so many pictures to share with you of all the fabulous and totally diverse places I’ve been, and I thought it would be a great way to start the week…

So this blog begins last Friday night, and dinner with the family at one of our favourite places to eat, HIX in Selfridges.  I think the madness started when Abi and I (who are total non drinkers) were seduced by the very exotic looking cocktail menu, and decided to order ourselves a couple. Well Abi took one sip of her Cosmopolitan, me one of my Chocolate Martini, and we were away with the fairies. After sliding the drinks over to Alana to finish we floated off to the second floor to look  for something I could wear for Let’s Dance the following evening, a dangerous combination when intoxicated and credit card to hand… We had left Angus and Alana’s boyfriend in the men’s shoe department, when Alana got a text saying “”I think Justin Bieber is here, he just picked up the shoes next to me” Well Abi who had been wobbling along through DVF, was off like a shot! Sadly she didn’t find him, but she still had Tuesday to come…

Saturday morning, feeling slight fuzzy headed, I wandered down the road to the hairdressers for phase one of operation “Saturday Night TV Glam Over”, to be completed by Alana on arrival at the BBC. I was off to be a judge on Let’s Dance for Comic Relief, alongside Radio 1’s Greg James, and comedian Lee Mack.  It was a hilarious evening, the highlight most definitely being Vanessa Feltz’ Cher costume, she looked amazing!  The winning performances from Jodie Prenger and Lee Nelson were genius, and the standard of the show overall was fantastic. You can catch up on the show here.  It was strange knowing that’s the last time I’ll be a judge at BBC Television Centre, as it closes it’s doors at the end of this month, and I felt a real mix of emotions thinking about all the times I’ve had there.

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My judging partners in crime, Greg James and Lee Mack.

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Two comedy legends, Richard Curtis and Basil Brush!

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A sad goodbye to the magical Television Centre.

Sunday morning I was up and at ’em early again, getting ready for the Tesco Mum of the Year awards, that I was attending with Abi, and also presenting one of the awards. It was a truly moving afternoon, and the stories of courage and truly selfless acts of some of the women told were just incredible.  I was truly honoured to be there, as were some of the people I managed to snap along the way.

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My darling Abi and I at the awards.

Monday came around again, and it was an exciting start to the week with a meeting at Candoco, a disabled and non-disabled dance company I am going to be a patron of – so watch this space for upcoming news of their latest projects. Later that afternoon I headed off to Radio 2 to chat with Nation’s favourite Claire Balding, where I also met Phillips family idol Mary Berry. The amount of times I hear “but that’s not what Mary Berry would do” is enough to make you never set foot in the kitchen again!

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The fabulous Claire Balding and I.

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Everyones baking hero, Mary Berry.

Tuesday was all about the Loose Women, and I was thrilled to be a guest, talking all about my upcoming challenge for Malaria No More called Live Below the Line.  Me and my Team Arlene – which includes Abi, Coco and Tully – are all going to be living on £1 a day each for a week to raise money and awareness on just what can be done to help prevent this terrible disease.  Please please sponsor us whatever you can, it will be so appreciated, and help motivate us for the challenge! Click here to find out how.
I had all of half an hour back home after Loose Women before I was back in my comfy shoes, and off across London to the O2 with Abi for, yes you guessed it, Justin Bieber!  One of my oldest and dearest friends Tony Selznick was here to join us, and as he’s close friends with Justin’s hairdresser, we had backstage passes, VIP, the lot! Although as I’m sure you can guess not so much my scene, Abi was in her element and we did all have the most fantastic evening.

Brazil was Wednesday’s theme, and I was in meetings all day about the new Brazilian dance project I’m working on with Pamela Stephenson, and although I can’t say too much at this stage, I can say it going to be dynamite!

Thursday I started my day with a breakfast meeting with my darling Richard Roe, assistant extraordinaire, and Wizard of Oz partner in crime.  We talked all things dance, all things gossip, and laughed hysterically at all our memories of Canada. Then it was back home to pick up my case, and get on the train to Manchester with Alana for a very special charity night “Dancing with United”, a Strictly themed night with stars from football, showbiz and Strictly all strutting their stuff for Man Utd’s very own charity.  It’s an amazing programme helping kids get out of gangs and off the streets, many becoming mentors themselves to help other kids in their position. I was amazed hearing the some of the stories, and felt very honoured to be helping such a great cause.  There were some real legends from the footballing world there, including my fellow judges Gary Neville and Nicky Butt.  Of course there were my fellow dancing superstars Louie Spence and Strictly’s own Camilla Dallerup, who joined us on the panel at the last minute after her partner Peter Schmeichel was taken ill earlier that day.  The dancers included current football hero Fabrice Muamba, Quinton Fortune, and Coronation St stars Anthony Cotton, Shobna Gulati, Jenni McAlpine, and Lisa Riley, and finally Sky Sports presenter Jacquie Beltrao. The standard of dancing was fantastic, and honestly one of the best events I have been to, with amazing attention to detail, and real northern hospitality. One of the funnier moments of the trip was me remembering as I arrived at the station I hadn’t brought any jewelery to wear, so it was a – literally – 35 minute dash round Harvey Nichols to find a necklace while the car was waiting outside!  This was only made funnier by getting it back to the hotel, realising it totally didn’t go, and doing the same crazy trip back to return it before running madly to make the train home the next morning!

See who you can spot in these pics:

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I managed to get a couple of hours rest that afternoon, between trying to get through the endless emails I had been too busy to do all week, and then I was ready and out the door for the opening of Ballet Boyz, the talent was truly breathtaking and it was a beautiful production.

The weekend finally came, and it was absolute R&R, which included being cooked the most delicious Mothers Day meal by Alana, with Abi arranging the most beautiful flowers and decorating the dessert with tiny dried purple flowers and petals strew all around the cakes, it was all just exquisite.
I can barely keep my eyes open as I look at my diary and the mad week to come… So until then…

Much love
Arlene x

A Fabulous Grindstone

What a week it’s been, and it’s only going to get busier!  Work this past week has been like a box of Pic & Mix, crazy, fun, and each experience totally different!
It started with a bit of filming at home, featuring me and my “best friend”… our dog Polly!  It was an experimental film about celebrity dog owners, and the relationship that they have, so of course I jumped (Polly literally…) at the chance.  I though the fact that Polly is not only ridiculously untrained, but also clearly in a world of her own, would make for rather hilarious viewing.  In fact (and I’m sure just to show me up) she was as well behaved as can be, sitting, following, and generally obeying all orders perfectly.  Dogs hey!
Then it was off to the other side of town (London Bridge to be exact) to film a short interview about my dear and long time friend Michael Crawford. It was wonderful talking about my memories of all the projects we’ve worked on together, from the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber tour where we flew around the world, his magic extravaganza EFX in Las Vegas, to the Wizard of Oz right here at the London Palladium.  All that from our first meeting teaching him to dance at his home in South London in the early 70’s!

I had a very nerve wracking day filming my first cinema campaign for the RNIB, that basically involved me, in extreme close up, wearing virtually no makeup! Eeek! Honestly it was one of the most terrifying things I have ever done, feeling so exposed and at my age… It all went great though, and I can’t wait for you to see it.

Over the weekend I had a wonderful lunch at the Delaunay to celebrate my CBE (again!) with all the people close to me I have to thank for my career.  The food was perfection, with everyone barely being able to walk out the door after three courses and petit fours! It was a real walk down memory lane, and really did make me well up at one point thinking about everything my family sacrificed so I could dance, to the many people who helped me along the way. It was however a truly joyous occasion, and something I know will last in my heart for a long time.

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Me and my Alana at lunch!
Monday came around again, and it was back to the grindstone, although a fabulous and theatrical one! I got to talk all about my dear Andrew Lloyd Webber, and our experiences of Starlight Express for a special show being made about him, which I filmed at the Apollo Victoria, the very theatre Starlight opened in back in 1984.  I also did some filming over at We Will Rock you for the Time Out audience award at this year’s Oliviers, so if you haven’t already voted you can do so online! Continuing in the theatrical vein I also popped in to see my show Midnight Tango, with the divine Vincent and Flavia, and the enigmatic Russell Grant. It was as breathtaking as ever, and as always wonderful to see everyone.
AP & Russell Grant
With my darling Russell Grant
I went to a lovely gathering at the home of a very old friend, John Reid, and spent much of the evening in conversation with Michael Cashman, one of the founders of Stonewall.  It was so fascinating hearing all about how and why he set it up, and I was really touched by the story.
I had a wonderful breakfast at the Ivy club, hosted by my fabulous agency, for me and some of their other clients, including the Olympian Peter Wilson, who let me wear his gold medal! It was great  for everyone to meet up, swap numbers, gossip and experiences!  It was such a lovely morning, and I really felt part of the ROAR family, and I’m so excited to be working with them.  Another great meeting I had was afternoon tea at the Ivy Club with Katie Taylor, one of the heads of entertainment at the BBC. It was again non stop gossip, and much fun and cake was had by all.
Medal!
Olympic Double Trip Champion Peter Wilson, and medal!
A minor gripe next, but Apple you are in my bad books! I can’t even tell you how many times my computer has been in and out of “Apple Hospital” and each time it returns with a promise it’s all better, and lo and behold it’s sick again! Grrrrr
Finally, please do check out this very exciting dance announcement http://danceamatic.com/announcement-3/ where you can enter a very special competition for which I am one of the judges
Until next week then…
Love Arlene x