Friday, 15 April 2016

Liverpool to Edinburgh and the madness inbetween!  💃

My Week

This blog has turned into a mishmash of three weeks, let me explain what happened. After the Easter break we started up again with a split week performing at the Liverpool Empire and the Edinburgh Playhouse.
So I decided I would write my blog on the four hour train trip Liverpool to Edinburgh. As it turned out my trip was not quite as straightforward as I thought. I hopped on the train in Liverpool and all was well, I had an hour to get to Wigan and so I started to write my blog.
I was very close to finishing the writing part, and I'd started to find the relevant photos etc on my iCloud, however both the phone signal and the wifi were terrible so before reaching Wigan I decided to save everything to my drafts as I usually do and continue once I was on the Edinburgh train in the hope that the connection would be better.
This is where things turn slightly for the worse. I was looking forward to this part of the journey as it meant I could finish my blog, read my book, eat and probably sleep. However as I got to the platform in Wigan I noticed quite a bit of commotion. Lots of people asking the train staff various questions and in return they looked back a little puzzled and slightly helpless, I knew things weren't good. The train to Edinburgh had been cancelled and I would have to get off at Carlisle wait for 1 hr at the station and then get the following train to Edinburgh. Luckily I had left Liverpool in plenty of time so I wasn't worried about being late, I was just frustrated that my journey turned out to be a bit more manic than I had hoped. To make matters a little worse, when I boarded the Carlisle train I thought I'd try carrying on with my blog only to find it was nowhere to be seen !! You can imagine at this point my frustration was growing. I searched high and low in every possible folder on my phone but to no avail. After quite some time of distress I eventually made the executive decision to let it go and leave it for another week. Even if I did try to start again with 4 shows in 3 days I would simply struggle with time. I decide to look at it as a positive, it meant I would have a bit more to write about this time round.

So now I can go back to the Easter break, I had most of the week off apart from the Friday and Saturday where Vincent and flavia I travelled to Dublin to do some PR and Perform on the Ray Darcy show for our week 7th till 11th June at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre. We don't often get the chance to perform in Ireland and Dublin is our only venue there on this tour so we hope to see lots of you there.

Because the week off was not a full week off, Jimi and I together with Pablo decided to make the most of our time and go away on a 2 day trip 'doggie friendly' of course. On the Tuesday we drove to a very pleasant oldie worldly hotel called The Powder Mills located just outside of Battle in Hastings. The hotel was set in 3.5 acres of land with its own lake. Luckily the weather was on our side and it was a glorious day so on arrival after a quick bite to eat we decided to explore the lake and beautiful surrounding grounds. As soon as we reached the lake and let Pablo off leash it was like he knew he was on holiday, he flung himself into the lake and decided to swim after 4 ducks who at this point were making a real racket and swimming for their lives. Once he realised he was not a duck and would probably be better off onshore with us he made a swift U turn and climbed back to dry land. During the rest of our walk round the lake the ducks followed us every step of the way, we even tried stopping and going the other was and they still followed, they were obviously protecting their lake from unwanted intruders and slightly nutty dogs.

We were loving the longer days and the signs of Spring, the sun was still shining and we decided to stay out and venture on a 45 min walk into the town of Battle across some beautiful pastures. We eventually got to what is a very pretty historic town with its quaint shops and cafes. We contemplated stopping for a coffee and have a break but by this time the day was getting on so we decided to head back to the hotel so we could all have a well deserved rest before dinner at 8pm.

The next morning we had a half hour drive to Camber Sands and the Gallivant hotel, we'd stayed here in November last year when it was very wet and windy but enjoyed it so much we decided to come back. Our room wasn't ready till 2pm and as we were a little early we decided to continue driving past Camber to the very edge of the map on our sat nav. About half an hour later we arrived in Dugness. I was probably the strangest surroundings we have been in, a little like what I imagine the set of a futuristic film to look like. The vast pebbled coast line was stunning as it was so immense but randomly placed all over the huge area were random looking houses and huts, some ultra modern and well kept next to some that were derelict and deserted. It was a slightly surreal place to be and I can't imagine what it must be like to live there.

After another walk round Dugness we headed back to the Gallivant, checked in and ready for yet another walk on camber sands beach. When the tide is out here it goes back for miles and it's a stunning sight. On top of that there are the most beautiful sand dunes which are such great fun for Pablo and just as much fun for us too. 

Once I returned from our lovely 2 days away I had Thursday to get my things together for the trip to Dublin. Before I knew it I was heading up to Liverpool for our next 5 weeks on tour. I couldn't have asked for a better audience to return to, Liverpool and Edinburgh never dissapoint us they are always so lively and loud just the way we like our audiences to be.
We are currently at the Marlow theatre in Canterbury this week another of my favourite places to visit.

Pablo's World

I just love holiday's, when the next one???

Yes Flavia fell over again ! And as always Me and Jimi were there ready to snap away. It's so much fun watching her trying to get up while we laugh.


Another week, another town another market. This week 'The Last Tango' brings us to Northampton.
I couldn't remember for the life of me whether we'd already performed at the Royal & Derngate theatre with one of our previous shows. I caught the train from London Euston to Northampton on Monday morning, when I got to the train station I decided to walk to the hotel as it was only 12 minutes away.
As I was approaching the hotel I soon remember that I had not only been to Northampton but I'd actually stayed at this particular hotel, after all there are not many places that we've not been to. I also couldn't remember my way to the theatre at all so I used my phone for directions, unfortunately it led me astray, and half an hour later having walked round in a circle several times I finally found the Stage Door, having stopped off for a chicken pie along the way.
Memories came flooding back of us being at this particular theatre with midnight Tango.


I entered the Stage Door, signed In and collected my dressing room key as usual, I was then met by another door leading to the dressing rooms which was covered in photos of various past shows. Take a look at this and see if you can spot us!

On the Tuesday morning I popped into town as I had a parcel to post and other bits and pieces to do.
I came across the market right in the middle of the square, selling mostly fruit and vegetables. It made me think how much more appealing and appetising I find fruit and vegetables when they are presented and laid out in such a lovely fashion. I wanted to buy lots of bowls of various beautifully coloured fruit but instead i came away with just 4 bananas thinking that would be enough to keep me going for a while.

We have obviously now been travelling around the UK for quite some time, and it does make me laugh a little that I come across some of the same buskers everywhere we go? it feels like they are travelling on tour with us following our venues and set themselves up in the various towns and cities for our arrival. Last week in Cardiff I saw the tight rope walking violin playing man who some of you many remember from one of my earlier blogs. This week it's a band that has been to several of the same places as us, I think they are really good, their music always brings a smile to my face and has a lively vibe. So here's a short video of them, and yes, I was trying to look inconspicuous hiding behind a wall !!

Last year we were lucky enough to have a couple of short trips away. One of them was to Barcelona, I had never been to Spain previously and seeing as I'm Italian i have always been fascinated to see how similar these countries actually are. In my head I always imagined them to be very similar in both culture and lifestyle. We had a fantastic time and one of the things I was quite amazed at was how useful my Italian was. I found myself talking to many people on many occasions in Italian, they were able to understand me, reply in Spanish and I could pretty much understand them, It was fascinating. I came away thinking I would make it my challenge the following year to learn Spanish. Not long after we got back I came across an offer online of Rosetta Stone, and before I knew it i had snapped it up. It was only a week or so ago I actually managed to start lesson 1. It's very early days so I'm not sure how well I'll do or how much I will actually learn by the end, at the moment I feel a long way away from being able to have a conversation in Spanish with someone but time will tell. What I found interesting was as I started doing the first lesson on my iPad, with my earphones, using a touch screen to choose the correct answers I had flashbacks of when I was 5yrs old and learning English. It was very odd as I remember very little of that time but one of the things I do recall is being in front of a screen with big ear phones probably bigger than me, and having lots of pictures in front of me which I needed to tap on with a pen. I remember things like 'yellow bananas' and 'blue balloons'. I recall feeling anxious and worried about getting wrong answers as a big red X would appear and sometimes I'd cry. My first words in English were, paper, toilet and drink. I had a lovely teacher who was called Mrs Johnson and remember her taking me out of school and into town to walk around the shops. It's quite strange the things we choose to remember and the things we blank out. Unfortunately I have no memory of how it all came together, I only recall the initial struggle and then being able to speak quite easily. I'm so lucky that at home i continued to speak Italian with my family as it would have been such a shame to loose my first language. I'll keep you posted on my Spanish progress..

Our busy month of birthdays is over till next year, on Sunday it was Jimi's turn and we had a lovely walk with Pablo by the river and a very nice meal at one of our favourite Italian restaurants in Guildford called Positano. It was a delicious meal once again, up until Jimi decided that the sweetners for the coffee were actually mints and ate several of them in one go !!! I must say this was after a very nice bottle of wine. Looking at the expression on his face and for quite some time afterwards I would definitely not recommend trying that. It took a long while for us to stop laughing, the poor taxi driver must have thought we'd had 3 bottles of wine rather than 1..

I was missing Pablo terribly this week, but managed to get a cuddle with 2 friends, meet Merlin a 4 month old puppy, he could fit in my handbag and no one would know.

And Reily, who works with Bernie Keith everyday at BBC Radio Northampton. I've always had a soft spot for miniature Schnauzers.

Pablo's World

So excited this week, I've been on holiday at Dog Trouble. I love it there, get to see all my friends and go on bike rides, walks, we play fetch and they've even got a swimming pool for us. It's brilliant!! Looking forward to next week too as Flavia and Jimi have a week off and they are taking me to the beach so I can get covered in sand and run around all I like. Yipeeeee I'm so lucky.

Not long ago Flavia was choosing some costumes for a show and she asked me for some help, I couldn't choose between the yellow or peach !!


Then she was sewing and doing all sorts of things, by the end I was absolutely exhausted and had a good snooze, accidentally on one of her costumes.. Oops !

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Cardiff, So Many Birthdays and the Miracle Twins

This week the last Tango tour takes us to the vibrant and colourful city of Cardiff. So many people from so many different walks of life decorate the city, there never seems to be a dull moment on the streets. Artists painting, musicians and singers using the street bins as drums to entertain passers-by, and the many traditional and talented buskers singing their hearts out. 

The city must have known we were coming as on Wednesday to add to the colourfulness already there, an Italian Food Market set up right in the centre minutes away from the theatre, perfect. 

I do enjoy my walking around the city centres when on tour and always look forward to the quirkiness of the many arcades in Cardiff. The indoor market is fun to have a browse in and I always find something silly to buy and take with me. This year I came across a fabric stall and came away with something not so silly, £88 of georgette in various colours. Let me explain! Jimi bought me a fantastic sewing machine for Christmas as I have always wanted to properly learn how to make my own clothes. I have in the past, many moons ago made a few bits and pieces for myself. I remember one time I even made Vincent a pair of trousers which he actually wore on the TV show 'Dance Fever' when we performed. Luckily they somehow stayed on lol. 
As soon as I have some time to invest I am going to learn some basic skills and hopefully make myself some new costumes, if they look ok maybe I'll share the results with you all.

March is always a particularly busy month for birthdays, and this year it was even more so than usual. Pablo's birthday on the 7th mine on the 13th Vincent on the 15th and Jimi's on the 20th. 
Thank you so much for all my lovely birthday messages, I received so many cards, presents, flowers and various gifts from family friends and our lovely cast and production team. 

On Tuesday night seeing as it was Vincent's birthday we celebrated both our birthdays with two delicious cakes. We went to a bar opposite stage door called 'Barley and Rye' which was very pleasant, we enjoyed good food, drinks and were armed with our cakes, It was a lovely evening shared with everyone. 

I have to say Vincent had one of the most amazing birthday presents ever on Tuesday morning. Wynne Evans who presents BBC radio Cardiff sang him happy birthday live during our radio interview. If you haven't put 2 and 2 together, Wynne Evans is the man from 'Go Compare'. It was brilliant, he's such a lovely man and it was a pleasure to meet him. What a voice. 

We are often asked to help and support various charities out there and we always do our very best to help as many as we can in some small way. 
Occasionally a charity will come along that has a deeper meaning to you, simply because you have had a particular experience in your own life or know someone close to you who has. 
In this case I would like to share with you the story of my sister and her miracle twins. 
I am very lucky and blessed to have a very large family. I have a total of 14 beautiful nieces and nephews, yes 14 ranging from 1 year old to 20 yrs old. 
In 2005 one of my sisters gave birth at 24 weeks and six days to 2 very tiny twin boys. They were 3 months premature born on the 27th June 2005. Paolo weighing 950g and Zion weighing 915g. 

They were both kept in an incubator till they were strong enough to go home which wasn't till 5 long months later on the 5th of October that year. I remember going to visit at the hospital and feeling very hot and queasy, they were so tiny and fragile.

As my sister was sending me the photos the other day she said "gosh brings back all sorts of memories". Its such a difficult time for anyone in that situation to go through. 
Luckily Paolo and Zion are 10 years old now, strong, fit and healthy thanks to the amazing support given to them, and also to my sister and her husband at such a crucial time in all their lives. 

I'd now like to introduce to you the below charity and event and ask if you can share and support in any small way you can. Thank you very much. 

Think you have what it takes to help Sheffield’s tiniest patients? Join our Buggy Push hero squad and take part in a 5k family walk around the lakes at Rother Valley Country Park on Sunday 22 May 2016.

This year it’s a superhero theme so there will be capes provided to everyone purchasing a ticket and we want to see lots of fancy dress too!

The walk will start at 11am and we’re hoping the sun will shine so you can join us for a picnic on the Green afterwards. Everyone is welcome and you don’t need a buggy to take part – bikes, trikes, scooters and space hoppers are all welcome!

This is the third Buggy Push for the Charity, once again it is being kindly supported by DuoCall. We’re hoping this year will be even bigger and better than last. 

Tickets for the event cost £12.50 for adults and £5 for kids aged five to 15. A family ticket for two adults and two children under 16 is available for £30. Each paying ticket comes with a free superhero cape and under-fives are free.

All of the funds raised will go to support Sheffield’s tiniest patients and their families at the Jessop Wing. So why not make it a sponsored walk and collect sponsorship for taking on the challenge?

Sheffield hospitals charity - More than 7000 babies are born in the Jessops Hospital in Sheffield South Yorkshire every year. The hospital supports families through all stages of pregnancy, from conception to care after birth. This includes caring for critically ill and premature babies in one of the largest and most specialist, Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the country.

Babies being treated on the Unit require constant 24 hour care, sometimes for weeks or even months. Each day can be a struggle and your support can help these families, during what can be one of the most stressful times of their lives.
Donate and support
text JESSOPS to 70660* to donate £3 to support babies and their families at Jessops.

*Text costs £3 plus network charge. Sheffield Hospitals Charity receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payer’s permission. Customer care 0114 2711351. Registered Charity No. 1059043

Pablo's World!

Looks like Spring is round the corner, I love lying in the sunshine, hope that means a lot less baths for me!!!

Went on a lovely walk for Flavia's birthday, I got to paddle in a big lake which is one of my favourite things to do, hope it's someone else's birthday next week I love all the wrapping paper and especially chewing up the cards!!!

One of my many birthday presents, Flavia took it away as I accidentally chewed off an ear, it just fell off and I accidentally ate it. Hope I get to play with it again!!

You can see our Tour ScheduleBuy Tickets and meet the New Cast for "The Last Tango" here
Tweets Of The Week
What an amazing cake !!!
First tweet of the week goes to 
MrsRachelWhitmarsh ‏@rjwhitmarsh10
@FlaviaCacace @vincentsimone @VFVincentFlavia come to see you tomorrow this was my surprise from my hubby xx

Second tweet of the week goes to jamie hughes ward ‏@jamiehughesward

It's such a small world isn't it, jamie helped me and Louis with our dirty dancing lift during Strictly 2012 and now he is one of our amazing cast members in 'The Last Tango'. 

Monday, 14 March 2016

Woking, Lots of Food and Pablo!

This week we were lucky enough especially for me to be in Woking with 'The Last Tango', the closest of the venues to home, and after a week off it is a true bonus.

When I saw the outside of the theatre I wasn't sure if we were starting in a film or onstage, love it!

I do love the Woking Theatre especially because I believe it has the best seating layout for the audience. There are not many theatres where all the seats have a great view.

I guess the reason I am so aware of this is because we have so many family and friends and past students coming to watch the show, it is always very exciting receiving text messages of people from the past to let you know they will be at Stage Door to see you afterwards. I always find it a little bit emotional remembering back to the days where teaching was a part of our daily routine, but then I find most things emotional.

It was also the first time that many of my family came to see the show. I tend to get quite nervous beforehand when I know they are in, but then once the show actually starts I remind myself that I will be doing another show tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that so what's the point of getting nervous lol. I try mostly to focus on the story we are telling, rather than the dancing and allowing myself to become wrapped up in the music and nothing else. Which is sometimes easier said than done!!

One of the great bonuses about being home is I get to eat some fantastic food made by Jimi. Some of this weeks delights.

Flaky pastry open tart with spinach and mushroom, pinenuts and fontina cheese.

Salad Tiéde with poached egg and sourdough croutons, delicious!

I have also noticed a real positive change in Woking since the building work at the back of the theatre has been completed, a very pleasant square has been created with plenty of shops, great places to eat and obviously the very convenient Peacocks shopping centre.

Continuing on the food theme, because food is very important to me, two of my favourite places to eat are located minutes away from Stage Door, perfect!

The first is 'Carluccios' one of my favourite Italian restaurants, it is located in many of the cities and towns that we go to and I'm always hunting them down. My favourite thing on the menu is scrambled eggs and mushrooms on sourdough bread a cappuccino and a plain croissant.

Another of my favourites on Tour is 'Pret', there are so many around, I like the organic coffee they have together with the natural food. My favourite thing there is the avocado and crayfish salad, chocolate rice crackers and the lemon and ginger drink.

It wasn't till someone mentioned the other day that I realised that my dressing room is like a little supermarket, I'm always afraid of being hungry and to avoid that I always have a variety of things I like in case I get peckish and I can't get out in time. It's a horrible feeling dancing on an empty stomach so always good to have bits and pieces to hand. I often end up feeding Vincent who is not quite as well organised as I am.

All in all Woking has been a fantastic week, thank you to all our friends and family and audiences who have come to support us. It is quite unbelievable that we have been back to this theatre six times. Hope to be back again soon.

Pablo's World

Well this week I go from puppyhood to manhood, yes I am 1 !!

Flavia keeps telling me that I am a puppy till I'm 18 months but I don't believe her.. I was allowed to get very very mucky the day before my birthday which was really fun..


I am so happy to announce that my Tanning Mist will very soon be available online, it is one of my very favourite products. It gives you a beautiful deep rich tan, which is easily applied as a mist onto the skin and blended with a mitt. If you love your salon spray tan you will love my tanning mist.

Also check out the below link if you happen to be in or around Harrogate on the 6th May

Final thought