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

Hong Kong Crazy

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A very long and overdue hello to you all! I have been on a whirlwind trip all over the world this past few weeks, and aside from barely being able to find any internet anywhere, I wouldn’t have had a second to post anything anyway, it has been madness! As there’s so much to “show and tell” I’m writing this blog firstly in two parts, and secondly as more of a picture diary, so look on and enjoy…

I arrived in Hong Kong after massively delayed flight (three hours, thanks British Airways!) but arrived safely at the beautiful Hyatt hotel in Hong Kong, where my view was exquisite.

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There’s no rest for the wicked as they say, so it was straight to work on Starlight Express getting the show ready for opening night, and the work clearly paid off as Hong Kong took us into their hearts. Here’s a little clip.

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Of course it wasn’t all work, and I managed grab few hours sightseeing…

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One evening I hopped on a train and headed out to the ladies market which was full of goodies, most of which I didn’t want, but I did find a fair few fabulous bits and pieces…

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I had found a good friend in Shen, my interpreter for the night, who knew what prices to pay, and if they weren’t good enough she marched me along, away from the beautiful scarves I so desperately wanted!

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Another evening, I was taken out for a glorious dinner with some of most powerful people in Hong Kong, where we ate the most delicious sushi,i and enough Kobi beef to feed an army! It was truly delicious, and I am not ashamed to say I have been dreaming of it since…

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ON my last morning I took the peak train to the highest point in Hong Kong, where the views were simply breathtaking.

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Although as well, there is a view  of Hong Kong Harbour with all the smog and pollution which is such a shame to see

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So finally after am amazing week, I left Hong Kong with memories of Starlight Express and the “piggie blessing” they gave to welcome us fading away

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I left Hong Kong for a 16 hour flight to New York where I arrived 12 hours before I left! In a daze, I headed straight to my favourite Manhattan deli to eat the best matzoh ball soup in town. Who doesn’t love a bit of comfort food!

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The Adventures Before My Adventure

Hello from Hong Kong! Yes it’s finally arrived and here we are ready to open the international tour of Starlight Express! Despite the final rehearsals running from morning till night I’m hoping to be able to get out and see some of the city before I head on to my next port of call, New York! I’ll tell you all about HK, and what I’m doing in NY when I check in next week.

But first let me tell you all about last week’s adventures. It was pretty busy as I was doubling up between The Wright Stuff every morning, and Starlight Express rehearsals all afternoon and evening – however I did manage to fit in a few other exciting things….

Did you catch me on the Wright Stuff? If not there’s a few episodes here and you can see me in action, so to speak! I had such a great time, and loved meeting Jolly Olly, Ana Matronic, Louis Emerick and Cian Ciaran!

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Tuesday was the only day that week I didn’t appear on the show, and that’s because I was in Leeds for a very special 100th Birthday party! My brother in law’s Aunt Rose, who is, at 100, still the sharpest, most switched on and fabulous lady I have ever met. She really is an inspiration in the truest sense of the word, and I can only hope to be laughing away as brightly as she was in years to come.

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Wednesday I managed to fit in a wonderful couple of hours between The Wright Stuff and Starlight, attending the Arts Lunch at the Science Museum, hosted by Christopher Hastings. The guests included Reece Shearsmith, Terry Gilliam, Janet Suzman, Michael G Wilson, John Sessions, Margaret Drabble, Imogen Stubbs and Miranda Richardson The food was divine, the conversation scintillating, and the exhibition that was to follow after lunch looked incredible. Unfortunately I had to dash back to rehearsals so couldn’t stay to see it, but I will be there as soon as I get back from my travels.

Thursday we had our final run through of the show before we left, and it is looking truly phenomenal, if I do say so myself! Now let’s go show Asia what we’ve got!

Friday afternoon after my final morning on The Wright Stuff was just meeting after meeting and an intense catch up with Coco as it was the last day I had with her, and I’m not back for three weeks… So you can imagine it was rather hectic. After getting everything pretty much sorted I was looking forward to a lazy Saturday of packing, when disaster struck…

As I mentioned earlier after my trip to HK I’ll be winging my way to the US, where for the first week I’ll be rehearsing for the American tour of We Will Rock You somewhere in upstate New York called Utica. (Anyone? No, me neither!) So there I’ll spend my first week, then of course it would be silly to be so close and not get to one of my favourite places in the world, New York City baby! Anyway, as I was glancing down my itinerary, I realised that my hotel dates for staying in NY had been booked for September! Panic set in, how had I not seen this before? How had no one spotted it? I was beside myself having managed to find a fabulous deal on a hotel right there in midtown, would they even have any rooms left and worst of all had I lost all my money?! I’m happy to say that there was another room for me, and thankfully was only charged for one night cancellation, or you would have heard me screaming all the way to the city!

That being resolved I was able to head to dinner that evening with a smile on my face. It was my Abi’s 23rd Birthday, and we were celebrating with dinner at the fantastic new restaurant Chotto Matte on Frith St, where I swear every dish they brought out was more divine than the next. We had the most wonderful evening, finished off with desserts from heaven!

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Sunday and leaving day seemed to arrive so soon, and I spend my final hours at home surrounded by my wonderful family having a delicious Birthday brunch of blueberry waffles and pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, all homemade by my better half! After a few tearful goodbyes – yes I know I’m only away for three weeks! – you’d think after all the drama on Saturday I’d have had my share, but of course I couldn’t get off that easily – after a traffic free ride to the airport, there was me thinking I was out of the woods and on my way… but of course the flight was delayed from 10:30pm till 1:30am, how boring!

Still we arrived safe and sound, and here I am! So until next week where I’ll be writing to you from Utica (again, anyone?) for now it’s Zai Jian from me!

Love Arlene x