Jumpers at Dawn

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 Hello again after yet another manic week, isn’t it Christmas and time off yet?! I can hardly complain though I’ve had a wonderful week, starting with a hilarious Monty Python meeting that had me rolling around in stitches. From there I went over to Pineapple Dance Studios for my Nest event, that I wrote all about in a mini blog last week. You can catch up on that here

From Covent Garden I whizzed across town to the city, and to the ICAP charity day, where I was raising money on the trading floor for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Everyone who was anyone was there, including Louis Smith, Cheryl Cole, Barbara Windsor, Clare Balding, Julie Walters, and Peter Andre.

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Lots of the bankers had come in fancy dress, and I managed to get some hot tips from a gorgeous group of Jockeys! I also managed to close two deals, and not crash the market, so yay for me!  

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Finally it was home time and after a quick change off to my fourth stop of the day, a trip to the new Rambert Company building, where we were shown around by head of the company and dance god Mark Baldwin. It was in a word, amazing. If that wasn’t enough to fit in my day, the fifth and final stop was the Fresh One wrap party for The Sound of Musicals, the series I was executive producer on. If you still haven’t seen it, despite my incessant tweeting, you can catch the final episode here  http://bit.ly/HQH3v. The final episode focusses on the challenge of keeping audiences coming year after year, once the glitz and glamour of opening night has been and gone.

 I managed to pop to the country for a few days of Christmas prep, which really got me into the spirit! This included finding a tree and stocking up on food and drink just incase we get snowed in… not unusual!

 Sooner than I could blink I was back in London, and back to glam! I had a fabulous morning at Selfridges in their beauty hall getting my hair put up at Hershesons Blow Dry Bar, my eyebrows tinted and threaded at Blink Brow Bar, and my nails exquisitely painted at the Paint Shop, it really is a one stop wonder. It was all, by the way, in prep for the event I was attending that evening, The Sun Military Awards. Before my “glamformation” could be completed I managed to swing past the Sky News desk to talk about the amazing promise made at the G8 summit in regards to Alzheimer’s research and the promise to pledge 100 million towards care and research his coming year. Home and into makeup with Alana, red Alexander McQueen dress at the ready, I was whisked away to the Imperial War Museum for what I always find one of the most amazing events of the year.

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 As well as meeting the serviceman and women there to be honoured for their incredible acts of bravery, I also had a very interesting conversation with no other than David Cameron. I had gone over to thank him for his pledge for Alzheimers research, and he turned to me and said “well it all came about from your challenge to me at last years conference”. Well I nearly fell over backwards, I couldn’t believe it! I am so proud to say that in my own way, I have made a difference. I spent the rest of the evening floating around on such a high, chatting with the charming stunning Amy Willerton and larger than life Joey Essex, both fresh from the jungle. 

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I was home so late, and up so early for another Python meeting, and I think I must have still been on a high from the night before as there seemed to be more hysteria than usual! After spending the rest of the day in the office doing a major catch up with Coco, I was more than ready to escape to watch the English National Ballet perform The Nutcracker at The Coliseum. I attended the Winter Wonderland themed party beforehand at the gorgeous St Martins Lane Hotel, where I caught up with the lovely Helen Fospero, the glamorous Liz Hurley, the charming Greg Wallace and the larger than life presence of Cherie Blair. I wept my way through the ballet, marvelling at the breathtaking performances, watching the dancers bring to life the characters in a way that I have never seen, and I have seen The Nutcracker probably every year of my life since I was a child! It truly is the most phenomenal production, and all I could do was stand in awe talking to Tamara Rojo, the company director, and offer nothing but heartfelt congratulations. A swift exit home to prepare for yet another insanely early morning, as this time it was all about the Christmas Jumper…

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It was finally the morning of the Xmas Jumper Flash Mob I had been organising for Save the Children, and it was an cold start at Westfield London when I arrived bright and early, wrapped up in my very own Xmas Jumper to keep me warm.

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Alongside my gorgeous “ Ashleys”, we led the crowd – who were dancing on the ice in their skates no less – through the routine to Kelly Clarkson’s new Christmas single Underneath The Tree. It was a fantastic morning, and I’m so happy also such a success.

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From there I jumped in my car across town over to ITV, where myself and Fiona Phillips were on This Morning talking about the Alzheimer’s Pledge, and again just how important it is to understand this truly awful disease, that affects so many of us in the most heartbreaking ways, watch here. I spent the rest of the afternoon replying to all the incredible tweets of support and thanks I had received over the past couple of days, reading peoples tragic stories of their experiences with loved ones, and it really did warm my heart to see the difference I can hopefully make to so many people’s lives.

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So I leave you with one week to go before Christmas, and I have to ask, are you ready?!

 

Bubblegum, Brighton & Other Adventures

So it seems once again my life is running away with me!  I managed to disappear to the country for another couple of weeks, before I knew it I realised I hadn’t checked in again for ages! When I’m surrounded by fields and flowers and family, time just has no concept to me. So here I am, back in London and back to life as we know it…
 
I spent my time in the country scouring the vintage shops, socialising with our friends and eating glorious meals at our favourite restaurant The Stagg. One particularly memorable outing was to Ludlow, where we ate the most divine bubblegum ice cream, clearly along with time I had no concept of diet either!
 
Since I’ve been back there’s been a lot of the usual office catch up, as well as some exciting meetings, including talking over the upcoming Starlight Express worldwide tour. I had brunch with the gorgeous and talented Robin Cousins at Soho House where every mouthful was gulped down to make way for our non stop chatter, and also a top secret meeting at the R.U.G offices to confer with the Lord who is Andrew Lloyd-Webber himself.
Wednesday was an exciting start to the day, filming an interview for the new London Lifestyle TV channel up at the top of the Gherkin. The views were spectacular, and I could have happily stayed up there for hours. That evening however was a party to end all parties. The ITV Summer Party was in a beautiful and exquisitely decorated garden. There was food and nonstop champagne with guests so familiar as TV faces I thought I knew them all when actually I didn’t! The highlights for me were seeing Olivia Coleman from Broadchurch and Kevin Whately from the family favourite Lewis. I also chatted to old friends Ant and Dec, Holly Willoughby, Emma Bunton, Louie Spence, Ben Shepherd, Dermot O’Leary, Ross King (who had hot-footed from USA for the party), the surprisingly calm Keith Lemon, the sweetly adorable Matt Lucas and the beautifully kind Helen Fospero. Of course there were many more including the usual gangs from Essex and Chelsea, and it was wonderful to see everybody mingling and mixing. Sadly my phone decided to die on me as I was leaving the house so I couldn’t take any pictures, and I woke up the following morning with my head banging wondering if it was all a dream…
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The weekend was a belated birthday treat from my Sister and her husband, who took myself and my partner to Brighton for the day on Saturday. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and I was in my element wandering through the Lanes. The vintage shops there are some of my favourites, and I made sure I really scoured them thoroughly! We ate at Riddle and Finns, which I have to say was just heavenly. The day was superb from start to finish, only marred by the time I got home feeling a little worse for wear due to getting a bit of sunstroke. Hence Sunday was spent in bed drinking lots of water and catching up on my stack of magazines by the bed.
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Feeling much spritelier and continuing in the birthday spirit, we took my partner to Odette’s in Primrose Hill on Monday to celebrate his birthday, and I have to say the food was out of this world. Light and fresh, and incredibly good value, I would highly recommend it to anyone local or otherwise, and I can’t wait to go back soon.
 
One thing I did want to share with you all is that this year, I’m really excited to have been asked by Save the Children to be part of their fantastic dance event the Ultimate Danceathon, taking place this October. Last year’s event was a huge success and it was great to see over 9,000 people all over the UK dancing to raise money for such a great cause. There were so many different styles of dance involved – from professional clubs to groups of friends who juts get together and dance in their living rooms! It just goes to show how great dance is at bringing people together! What’s even more exciting is that this year anyone who raises over £300 with their event will be entered into a prize draw to have tea with me – I’m really looking forward to a lovely afternoon chatting all things dance! If you love dancing and think that you’ve got what it takes to host a five-hour dance event then why not sign up this year? It’s really easy to get involved, you just register online at www.savethechildren.org.uk/dance and then get everyone together to dance for five hours and raise sponsorship money to help vulnerable children. Save the Children will even send you an organisers pack with everything you need to organise an event. 
 
So it’s another busy week ahead, and I’ll be sure to check in next week without fail to tell you all about my adventures with dogs, The Apprentice runner up Lusia Zissman, and WAG the Musical…
 
Until next time…
Love Arlene x