Chasing The Week Ahead

Hello again,
So I left you last week on my way to the country for the weekend, I find escaping from the madness even for a couple of days makes all the craziness in London seem so much less, well, crazy! (That and all the local delicious Chase Vodka!)
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The week started with a rather long drive home, battling through traffic to make my way back for the launch of Kelly Hoppen’s fabulous new book, which was one of the most star studded events I have ever been to. Victoria Beckham, David Gandy, Jo Wood, Brix Smith Start, and looking fabulous as ever of course Kelly Hoppen, the list was endless, as was the glamour, and of course me being me and rushing there last minute was definitely anything less than! It was wonderful to catch up with Jason Gardiner, and the book itself has so many inspiring ideas everyone was talking about what they wanted to do next. As always I was home and in bed before midnight, just like Cinderella, before all the glamour around me faded away.
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Tuesday was the long awaited and top secret Monty Python meeting ahead of Thursday’s big press launch, which of course was also top secret, so I literally spent the week walking around on eggshells so as not to reveal my excitement!
One thing I’ve been drying to show you is the Christmas Jumper campaign I’m involved with for Save the Children, that was released last Wednesday, and so here it is! http://bit.ly/1g2HQ7X http://bit.ly/18d3JSc Just click on the links to see how you can become involved and learn the routine along with me and my boys. I also  that day managed to fit in a visit to my dear friend Phil Edwards, who I am sure you have heard me talk about many a time as we go way back to Starlight 1984! After being rather poorly, I am so thrilled so see him back on his feet and getting back to hi musical brilliance.
Thursday finally arrived along with the much awaited Python’s press conference and it was in a word, sensational. Also, I can now officially reveal I will be choreographing the show for the 02 next year, and I’m stunned to say that it sold out in 45 seconds! So of course more dates were added, that apparently took a further 9 minutes to sell out as well! I can hardly describe my excitement at being involved in such a huge event, and also at getting to work with the Pythons again after choreographing the Meaning of Life, and other projects for them all those years ago. Of course I will keep you posted on the progress, and you can look forward to some top secret behind the scenes pics next year… http://bit.ly/1fm52Ag
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Friday I was back doing my Starlight thing with auditions for the show in Germany. I always love seeing the familiar faces, as well as all the hot new talent and the amazing things people bring to their auditions. Casting is well underway, and again if you haven’t seen the show there it really is worth a visit for the sheer excitement of skaters flying past inches from your seats, leaping through the air and skating like you have never seen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1WRYoM6vRM
The weekend was filled with family and friends, with my sister Karen coming to stay, and having a divine afternoon tea at the Charlotte Street Hotel with and old friend who was in town from LA, Julie MacDonald. It was gossip a plenty and cakes and other delicacies sat temptingly in front of us, far too tempting that we ate the lot!  On sunday we cooked lunch for our friends Larry and Maryrose – I say we, my partner made the most heavenly fish soup with homemade croutons and roué, and Maryrose brought my favourite fruit salad she makes for dessert. I do love those weekends of filled with all my favourite things, and being able to start my weeks with a smile.
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If anyone missed the latest episode of The Sound of Musicals that I helped produce you can check it out here  http://www.radiotimes.com/episode/cqfxsp/the-sound-of-musicals–series-1—episode-3  Enjoy! x

Here there and everywhere!

 Another two weeks has gone by and of course it has been crazy busy as usual…

 I have been up to so many different and wonderful things and have finally found the time to put it all together…

 I drunk lots of champagne at the Beaufort Bar at the Savoy with Kathy Lette and Horrid Henry superstar writer Francesca Simon which was quite fabulous

 I spent a very special evening with my Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music director Jeremy Sams watching Le Weekend, which he composed the glorious music for, then eating an even more glorious dinner!

 I’ve been trying out a juice diet by juicemaster extraordinaire Jason Vale, and aside from a couple of slip ups (which I can explain!) I have done pretty well! I’ve been carrying my juice to all my meetings and events, and aside from a dinner out and long overdue lunch with my darling Molly Molloy, I have rocked this diet!

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 Having my juice to hand has meant I’ve taken some pictures of me drinking in some very strange places, for example at the final of Britain’s Best Cat that I was filming over at This Morning. As I mentioned last time, the cats who performed so well in all the rehearsals, basically refused to so much as glance in the right direction, which made for an utterly hilarious final of what was pretty much “Britain’s Most Useless Cat! To say that these cats unwillingly went where no cat has gone before is an understatement, but all made for some hilarious live TV. It was wonderful to work with fellow cat lover Tom Fletcher from McFly, and I’m looking forward to checking out the McBusted tour next year alongside my gorgeous Matt Willis, who I worked with in Flashdance a couple of years ago.

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 Another “juicy” filming day was me talking all about my work and friendship with Freddie Mercury and Queen for an upcoming show called “The Nations Favourite Queen Song”. It was such a rush watching all those old videos again, as the memories came flooding back of such significant points in my life, and just talking about Freddie and how flamboyant and fabulous he was, brought tears to my eyes. It strange even now after all these years how much I miss him. Of course I will keep you updated as to when it airs, and you’ll hear all the secrets behind some of the most famous videos ever made.

 Thank goodness I had finished juicing in time to attend the launch of Bakers Toolkit, the new business from Apprentice runner up and family friend Luisa Zissman. It was cakes and sweet things galore, alongside heavenly pomegranate vodka cocktails I was in my element! I met the gorgeous Francine Lewis, and would have met a whole host of other celebs had I not have done my usual early disappearing act, but it was a fabulous party nonetheless.

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 I had a truly wonderful evening at the Collars and Coats Ball for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, which was to raise money for the new dogs housing unit. It quite honestly broke my heart seeing the conditions some of these dogs have to live in, and to give them the love, care and attention they so deserve is all down to the generosity of the public. There were some of the dogs there on the night, and to say I fell in love with one or two is an understatement, and have not so subtly been begging my partner to head down there with me so we can pick out a new friend, so I’ll certainly keep you updated as to how that one goes…

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 Another awesome event I had the pleasure of attending last week was for, of course, Children in Need that I have been working with again this year. Gary Barlow was hosted a magnificent dinner at the Grosvenor Hotel in London, and it was about as star studded as they come. I was sat next to magical genius Dynamo, who made me continuously rub my eyes in disbelief as things flew across the table, cards swapped places in people’s mouths without them realising, hands and fingers bent into impossible positions, it really was an experience I will never forget, Among the other celebrities I caught up with were the divine Ben Shepherd, Louis Smith, Eamon Holmes, Dave Myers of the Hairy Bikers, and not forgetting one of the most hilarious conversations of the night with the one and only Louis Walsh. Watching the performances during and after dinner from artists such as Ellie Goulding and of course Gary himself was simply thrilling, and again an evening that will stay with me for along time. I’d also like to add my congratulations to Terry Wogan, Lizze Fee, and all the team who made this years Children in Need smash last years record by I think 5 million, bringing the total up to £31 million, which is just astounding.

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 Another charity event I was involved in last week was the recording of the flash mob dance I have put together for Save the Children, that will be going ahead on the 13th of Dec, so grab your Christmas sweater, get online, and get learning the dance so that you too can help break the world record for the most amount of people dancing together in Christmas sweaters – and raise money doing it! Me and my boys Ashley and Ashley show you how step by step, and we will be posting the link as soon as it goes up for you to get involved.

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 Filming over and sweaters laid to rest, I was off to experience another kind of dancing at Sadlers Wells with my dear friend Pamela Stephenson, to watch M’Longa, a tango show that was an absolute triumph and a joy to watch.

 I had bit of a brush with radio as I stood in for Vanessa Feltz on the panel at Radio London, and I have to say what an experience! I got into a rather heated debate with the, shall we say “mildly opinionated” Katie Hopkins, who really should as far as I’m concerned keep her mouth shut once and for all! Of course I’m all for people standing up for what they believe in, but to be that prejudiced in this day and age is just beyond me.

 So feeling much calmer, I made my way to Parliament to support a new venture I am involved in for the National Youth Arts Trust set up by my friend Fiona Laird, alongside patrons such as Grayson Perry and Ewan McGregor, that involves mentoring young people who want to be involved in the arts, and for various reasons are unable to do so due to lack of funds, It is such an amazing collective to be part of, and just seeing the hope and happiness it brings makes it even more worthwhile. I will introduce you all to the fabulous girl I am mentoring soon, and I can’t wait to keep you informed of her progress.

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 So there you have it, my last two weeks, and hopefully the last time I will be so behind on the blog for say, another how many weeks…!

 Just kidding, so until next week…

Much love,

Arlene x

 

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Better Late Than Never

Here it is, only a week or so late, but read on and you may understand why…

So I’m back from my travels, and finally back on British time! I was forward 10 in Hong Kong, then back 15 to New York, then arrived home and was forward 5 again… ugh.

The Friday I arrived back home I went straight to my bed and joyously slept there for what seemed like forever. I managed to drag myself downstairs for a delicious homemade dinner, and then was back up in bed and fast asleep again before I knew it.

The following Saturday was the memorial for my dear friend and colleague Mark Fisher, who I mentioned sadly passed away a couple of months ago. It was the most beautiful and moving evenings, and one that will stay with me for a long time, and certainly a starry memorial if there ever was one. With performances at Circus Space by U2, circus acts, legendary architects and many wonderful speeches from the world of theatre and rock events by all those that Mark had designed for, it truly was incredible.

If anyone has been watching me on This Morning you’ll have seen the section on Britain’s Best Cat I’ve been filming, and it has honestly been nothing short of hilarious. They say that dogs have owners and cats have slaves – I can verify this is only too true. I’ll fill you in next week on what happened at the final to prove this…
Whilst hanging out at the This Morning studios I bumped into the gorgeous boys from Union J, and was especially excited to see Jaymi, who honestly has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. I am loving their new single, and have just downloaded it and the album, so follow suit people!

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Another show I had a fantastic time filming was Countdown. If you missed it you can still catch up here on 4 oD http://www.channel4.com/programmes/countdown/4od#3587134

Also you can have a listen to me on Radio 4 for A Good Read http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03cn50j   along with Jocelyn Jee Esien, comedian and star of the BBC’s Little Miss Jocelyn, talking to presenter Harriett Gilbert about the books we love!

I had a fantastic night out at the press night for From here to Eternity, Tim Rice’s new musical which was exciting and beautifully staged. I saw many familiar faces at the party, but it was so crowded I decided after having enough of the wonderful cocktails it was time to make my exit.

I managed to sneak off for a bit of R&R in the countryside where after spending a beautiful week in Herefordshire I crossed the country over to Somerset to stay with some friends for the weekend, and after two days of long walks and even longer dinners, I was ready to face life in London again.

Make sure you check back in a few days time to hear all about my adventures last week from crazy cats to Queen! xx