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?!

 

Hello again!

I feel like the past few blogs I’ve posted have been filled with promises of more frequent updates, and yet every time I do it’s always a good couple of weeks until the next! Somehow my life currently seem to be moving faster than I can keep up with it, and so although my blogs are fewer, there’s certainly more to talk about in each one!

I managed to get back to my hideaway in the country for a week, which was wonderful as ever. We were also joined for a couple of days by our long time friends Flea and John ,who arrived in spectacular style! John is the drummer for Spandau Ballet, so there was lots of rhythm and music the whole weekend. There’s some lovely pics of the weekend John posted to my twitter so make sure you have a look @arlenephillips

Between long walks, long dinners with friends, and dare I say it one or two longs naps… I was refreshed and ready to hit London and the long week ahead.

I arrived back to Alana in the office as Coco was away on holiday (goodness knows she needs one after running my crazy life!) so we hit the ground running with the piles of emails I had tried to ignore whilst away. I’d just like to add it’s not that I ignore them through choice, my family usually try and hide my computer so that I do actually take a break!

The week was filled with so many different and exciting things, starting with a hilarious mornings filming at the ITV This Morning studios. I’m not allowed to tell you what it’s about yet, but I can give you a clue…
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Whilst I was there I bumped into a couple of celebs in the form of the adorable Shane Filan from Westlife, who was debuting his new single, and also the wonderful Ruth Langsford who so brilliant supports the Alzheimers Society alongside me.
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As always I do love trying out new places to eat, so this time it was the turn of Cicchetti in Picadilly, the sister restaurant to family favourite San Carlo in Manchester, which I wrote about last time. The whole family came with to celebrate Alana’s birthday, and after feasting on a variety of mix and match dishes including mini pizza and lobster pasta, The Dessert arrived. A wonderous plate of miniature Italian pastries, Tiramasu and Ice Cream, we left feeling suitably stuffed and ready for a lie down!

I managed to get in some theatre (of course) and watched The Colour Purple at the Chocolate Factory, where I cried my eyes out for at least three quaters of the show. It was brilliantly done, with a truly outstanding cast although I think it is sold out, beg, borrow or steal a ticket and get yourself down there. I was also lucky enough to bag tickets to see Lady Gaga in concert at the Roundhouse for the Itunes festival, which was a sumptuous theatrical feast in itself. Her voice live is as powerful as you would expect, with an array of costumes like you had never seen. It truly was a once in a lifetime experience and I loved every second.

On a complete whim on Friday evening, myself and the family decided to head down to the cinema for a bit of Alpha Papa action, starring the brilliant Steve Coogan. Having loved Alan Partridge since the early days it was great to see a whole movie dedicated to his self obsessed idiocy, and the film didn’t fail to deliver it. I’ve also worked with Steve on a couple of occasions, and find his genuis quite staggering. Although not the most fast paced of films, I found myself laughing out loud alongside the rest of the cinema, and was still laughing all the way home.

All of a sudden it was the weekend again, and it started off with a brunch for 20 members of my family, who had arrived from Leeds, Cheshire, some had even come all the way from the Kings Road, which when you live in North London even seems far!  Fresh bagels wiht cream cheese and smoked salmon were piled high, along with a giant box of cupcakes from Dixie’s, owned by Apprentice finalist (and daughter’s best friend) Luisa Zissman. Of course they were too delicious to resist, but I only had the one. (Ok two…)

As I had family staying for the rest of the weekend it was pretty much taken up with trips here and there around London, a gorgeous dinner up in Hampstead, and a wonderful home cooked Sunday lunch. After saying my goodbyes, that evening I said a very big hello to my darling Patrick Murphy who is visiting from his new job in Australia, and I have been missing him so much! We gossiped and laughed as much as we possibly could, as I know it’s gong to be quite a long time till I get another chance.

I was bursting with excitement about a very special dinner with my dear friend Jerry Nadel, who currently runs all the incredible Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas. We met many years ago when Starlight Express was there, and have remained friends ever since. We ate delicious sushi at Roka, and pretty much tried everything on the menu!

So it’s now Thursday, and Coco is back, and here we are in the office, still since Monday doing crazy amounts of catch up and sending lots of love to you all and hoping the rain isn’t getting everyone down!
So until next week…..

Love Arlene x