Something for your Sunday

Hello again after another crazy couple of weeks!
I’ve been a busy bee, running, dancing, hopping and yes even spinning around London and a little bit of Germany thrown in for good measure!
I’ll start with my wonderful Valentines day treat to see Atomos by Wayne Mcgregor and Anish Kapoor at Sadlers Wells. It was beautiful and vibrant, and made all the more wonderful because I got to share it with my parter, which as some of you may know is a bit of a rarity!
I had a fabulous time at the Roundhouse with Penny Woolcock for an upcoming project called The Only Place I Can Breathe, which I will tell you more about as soon as I can…
I am also beyond thrilled to announce that I’m working on a dance project with the divine Ed Watson, principal dancer and icon of the Royal Ballet. It’s going to be so exciting getting to create something new and different with a dancer who can move in ways I have truly never seen.
I had a great morning at the BBC for their Get Creative launch catching up with faces old and new. I’m always happy to see dance being championed, and you can bet your life I’ll be there cheering along! You can check it out and get involved here http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/sections/get-creative
I was so lucky to be invited to a special tasting dinner at the Westbury Hotel, which somehow I also managed to get my partner to come along to – that’s twice in one week! As you can see from my pictures, it was beautifully presented, and tasted like little bites of heaven. I will say though, I lost count after roundabout the fifth course and just sort of melted into a food coma! It was perfection all round.
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Make sure you book into the Dance UK conference, I’ll be compering at the launch with the amazing Ashley Banjo on Thursday 9th April to open the amazing programme of events! For more info here http://www.danceuk.org/conference/
I’ve just got back from a few days in Germany working with the new cast of Starlight Express, I swear they just keep on getting more and more talented every year!
I’m totally proud to say I rocked my first spinning class this week, no easy feat I can tell you with my knees, but nonetheless I powered through to sweaty glory.
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Finally, a couple of familiar faces I bumped into this week, the enigmatic Judge Rinder and the angelic Jaymi Hemsley from Union J, both firm family favourites in the Phillips house.
AP & Judge Rinder AP with Jaymi
I’ll be back in a few days with more glamorous gossip, so until then I’ll leave you with my new blog sign off I’m calling Arlene’s Advice…
This week is to make the most of every day!
Love Arlene x

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

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

Olympic Fever and HRH…?

So who’s got Olympic fever?  Love it or loathe it, the Olympics are upon us and I for one am somewhere in the middle.  Im loving the gymnastics as always, and the rest of Team GB are certainly doing up proud.  I am however a bit over it making front pages every single morning, has the rest of the world news ceased to exist?  Or maybe I should take it as a welcome break from all the heartbreaking headlines we see constantly…  Whatever your feelings on it, it’s here for the next few weeks so let’s go for gold and get involved!

 

 So who saw the morning after the opening ceremony bright and early on BBC Breakfast?  I was giving my views on what I loved, and what I wasn’t so sure about… The highlights for me were most definitely the opening industrial revolution section, and the beautiful contemporary piece by Akram Kahn that was a tribute to the victims of 7/7.  I also loved the children dancing in their beds with the nurses from Great Ormond St, and the things that go bump in the night.  The rest I felt was a little lacking in excitement and ‘wow’ factor moments, although it all came together at the end with the lighting of the very beautiful and original olympic flame.  It sure went on for a while though, and as I had to be up at 5am to get to the studios out at the olympic park, my eyes were closing before Paul Mcartney had even sat down.

I spent the rest of the day relaxing and watching the first day of events, until it was time to prepare for a dinner party I was having that evening with some very old friends including David Mallet, who directed all the powerhouse 80’s videos I choreographed many years ago. Such as Freddie’s BORN TO LOVE YOU  

We had a wonderful evening, telling stories and remembering those crazy times, and the craziness of working on the Kenny Everett Video Show together. 

 Sunday was a lovely family day, with the house being full of nieces and nephews, cousins and couples and lots of cupcakes for all to get stuck into!

 The following evening I was thrilled to be attending an evening at the Royal Academy in honour of the UK Creative Industries sponsored by Founders Forum where I was surrounded by personalities from the world of sport, art, fashion, film and television, and it was a truly fantastic evening that included a speech from David Cameron and an appearance from Kate Middleton, who looked stunning in a lilac shift dress.

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 I had a fabulous time catching up with vocal coach to the stars Yvie Burnett, Image

 

Aykut Hilmi,

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and getting all the goss from the lovely Ben Forster, who is soon be seen as Jesus in the new area production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

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The art at the academy is just amazing, and if you haven’t been it is more than well worth a trip.

So what’s coming up?  Well I’ve got an exciting photoshoot for the Times Body and Soul coming up, as well as getting involved in the following…

 THE ULTIMATE DANCE CHALLENGE! 

Were you born to dance? Could you keep going for a five-hour dance-a-thon? From ballet to ballroom, salsa to street, zumba or rumba – whatever your passion, just keep dancing! All over the UK this October, dance troupes, clubs, family and friends will be getting together to dance their socks off – all to raise vital funds to save children’s lives. Join them – be part of Save the Children UK’s Ultimate Dance challenge! Find out more right here

 You can also check out my lingerie here: http://bit.ly/Qmk37y as featured in Good housekeeping magazine!  Image

 

 So until next week, I hope you’re all getting around London as easily as everyone is reporting, and loving whats left of the sunshine!

 

 Much love, Arlene xx