Strictly Come Dancing: Week #10

Well, this week was sure to be a bit of a cracker, wasn’t it? After all, we’ve spent the last few days living through #Jameliagate and Ola claiming everything’s a fix- it’s certainly been stormy. As we get towards the end, it gets more exciting, right? There’s nowhere I’d rather be than on the sofa, being a smartarse on Twitter about people who are always going to be way better at dancing than me.

Alas, I was at a cricket club dinner with Benn last night (we NEVER go out twice in a month, so I’m not quite sure what happened there) which ended with me getting into a debate about the merits of Margaret Thatcher. I’m pleased to say that I stayed calm. It’s safe to say that I did miss Strictly. So, without further ado, let’s get going…

Kellie and Kevin- Salsa (I Want You Back)


Aw, I love this song- it’s cute and fun, which kind of sums these two up in my mind. In the same way I could never find a Kirsty fan, I’ve never met anyone who dislikes these two. This was fun and light (these Latin dances are always much easier to watch when the celebrity is a good dancer, no?) and I enjoyed it. I liked that you could see the cogs working when Kellie and Kevin were trying to work out Len’s ‘GR8’ comment, too.

Scores: Craig- 8  Darcey- 8 Len- 9 Bruno- 9 TOTAL: 34

Katie and Anton- Argentine Tango (Libertango)


You know how Anton has, like, super fans who will vote for him regardless? I never understand quite why- maybe it’s his longevity on the show, or his chin, or the fact he changed his name so that it’d sound a bit more suave or something- I’m not one of them. I don’t mind him, though, and last week’s American Smooth is one of my favourite dances of this series. I’m always a bit wary of him and Katie doing ‘sexy’ dances (although I appreciated that their rumba wasn’t smutty) so I’ll admit I came to this dance a bit reluctantly. I liked that someone in wardrobe decided that Katie should be dressed as a stroppy mermaid this week and that this was a proper, old-school Argentine tango (Anton is never going to jazz his dances up, is he?) with loads of kicks and flicks. I liked it.

Scores: Craig- 7 Darcey- 8 Len- 8 Bruno- 9 TOTAL: 32

Helen and Aljaz- Viennese Waltz (At Last)


I’ve given up comparing Helen to old film stars. She’s gorgeous and a brilliant dancer, but she never feels entirely natural. I’ve said before that she’s a bit like Peter in that I think she’s concentrating so hard that she can’t unwind properly when it’s needed (hi, Latin dances!) Interestingly, I think Helen splits the audience too, so it’ll be interesting to see where she finally places in the competition- I’m not as sure as I was that she’ll be in the final, but who knows? It’s getting quite hard to predict now that we’re getting to the end and when the celebrities have a bad week, they then have a habit of doing phenomenally the next week, as happened here. Anyway, this was beautiful and really played to her strengths- and who wouldn’t look that happy to be dancing with Aljaz?!

Scores: Craig- 9 Darcey- 10 Len- 10 Bruno- 10 TOTAL: 39

Jay and Aliona- Tango (When Doves Cry)


Jay appears to have had a stressful week- he’s certainly been saying some odd things on the telly, so maybe the pressure’s getting to him. Saying that, the tango should be his forte… and what a CRACKING song to tango to. I love it; all stompy beats and dramatic moments. This was brilliant; complex, spiky and menacing (Benn noted how brilliant their timing is and how perfectly in sync they are with one another.) A beautiful, sexy and dangerous tango that used that song to perfection. Thrilling.

Scores: Craig- 9 Darcey- 10 Len-9 Bruno- 10 TOTAL: 38

Peter and Janette- American Smooth (Sweetest Feeling)


I think we can all agree that last week’s jive was as bad (if not slightly worse) than watching all of My Former Neighbour’s Iceland adverts back to back whilst being force fed a prawn ring from said frozen food outlet. So this week, he’s back and he has a point to prove! This was certainly sweet, if a tad gimmicky. Could Peter’s days in the competition be numbered? He’s really starting to stick out now that the competition has ramped up a bit. Also, I just want to add that I HATE that open mouthed ‘surprise!’ face he does.

Scores: Craig- 7 Darcey- 8 Len- 8 Bruno- 8 TOTAL: 31

Anita and Gleb- Rumba (Read All About It)


Oh, a rumba. Do you know what fills my heart with more dread? The fact that it’s a rumba danced to Emelie Sande. In front of what appears to be a Kindle Paperwhite. Because nothing says sexy than a badly edited, free edition of Jane Eyre. As a rumba goes, I guess it was OK- lots of anguished facial expressions and wiggling about. I will never warm to this dance. I loved Len’s rant. A man after my own heart.

Scores: Craig- 7 Darcey- 8 Len- 7 Bruno- 9 TOTAL: 31

Georgia and Giovanni- Paso Doble (The Final Countdown)


Despite my better judgement, I have grown to really like these two and I think Georgia is a contender to possibly win- she’s been on one of those cliched ‘journeys’ that producers and viewers love and she has a great chemistry with her dance partner. This was brilliant- if a little unorthodox with the pro banging a drum at the start- and how brave is Georgia for doing all that bit on her own? This was FABULOUS and a properly dramatic paso. Loved. It. I mean, even if Craig is singing its praises, you’re onto a good thing, right? I did think the judges scored that a bit low, to be honest.

Scores: Craig- 8 Darcey- 8 Len- 8 Bruno- 9 TOTAL: 33

Group dance: Quickstep

Ah, this is when you can tell it’s really getting serious, innit? We start getting the fancy group dances and then two dances each a week. (Oh and don’t get me started on the ‘freeform’ dances.) Quickstep is a good choice, but there’s so many ways it could go wrong too… I did wonder-and Craig confirmed this- if the male celebrities have a harder time of it, as they lead and maybe don’t have experience of this kind of competition? Also, this is the one time when Len’s ‘final say’ is probably actually fairly useful, right?

Order of points:

7 points: Helen and Aljaz; 6 points: Georgia and Giovanni ; 5 points: Katie and Anton; 4 points: Anita and Gleb; 3 points: Jay and Aliona; 2 points: Kellie and Kevin; 1 point: Peter and Janette.

So we have HELEN at the top and PETER at the bottom-  I predict he my be going in the dance off…

Got any thoughts? Let me know in the comments or tweet me: @wuthering_alice.

Strictly Come Dancing: Week #9- Blackpool

Ah, Blackpool. It’s become a cliche that all the celebs taking part in Strictly say that this is the week they’re aiming for. We know it’s a blatant lie- they’re all desperate for the final (although, a thought… do they get paid more the longer they’re in the competition? Do they get a bonus for winning?) I am ambivalent about Blackpool. As a kid, I remember my parents loading us up in the car to look at the Illuminations and rides on despondent donkeys on days that felt like they were freezing. Even in July. That’s Lancashire for you.

Anyway, apparently this is the mecca of dancing and everyone who’s ever danced has wanted to dance at the tower. Unfortunately, Jeremy won’t be there; Jamelia was quite lucky that he was finally knocked out last week, although I confidently predict that this week is her last in the competition. Now, are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Jay and Aliona- Salsa (Cuba)


I’m hoping that, after a strong start, Jay doesn’t start going downhill and gets knocked out before the final. His little face every time he feels like he’s done badly and gets negative feedback makes my Twitter timeline go all a-flutter and I’m not sure that all of those women feel maternal about him. Tut tut. Anyway, the salsa is a BEAST of a dance and I was admittedly nervous; Jay hasn’t really repeated his excellent performance in the jive- although he’s always good- and I didn’t know how this one would go. Thankfully, despite the fact that he was the living embodiment of George Michael in the Club Tropicana video, this was back up there with Jay’s jive (although I’m not sure it was AS good, but hey, splitting hairs.) Thank goodness- and long may it continue.

SCORES: Craig-9 Darcey-9 Len-9 Bruno-9 TOTAL:36

Jamelia and Tristan- Quickstep (I’m A Believer)


This is one of my all-time favourite songs (shut up, I loved The Monkees TV show as a kid. It used to be the last programme on Nickelodeon), so of course I was waiting to see how the band would lovingly murder it.


Actually, when I thought about it, it’s a good fit for a quickstep. Tristan looks like a fella who’s expecting to go every week and delighted the week after that he’s still there- hence the reason he keeps hold of Jamelia so tightly. Plus she’s a bit all over the place when left to her own devices. Thankfully, Jamelia was in hold most of the time and looked OK, even in the side by sides- she’s definitely improved. I loved her dress, too. But I don’t think it will be enough to save her from her FIFTH dance-off. It’s tricky at this point. And, Len, word of advice: never compare a woman to a tram, even if you’re trying to be nice.

SCORES: Craig-7 Darcey-8 Len-8 Bruno-8 TOTAL: 31

Anita and Gleb- Paso Doble (Malaguena)


I always have high expectations of these two, but always with a slight cringe of ‘oh, PLEASE don’t do something wacky!’ The paso is always a great dance to see on the Blackpool floor, as the setting fits the high drama demanded of the dance. This was definitely dramatic- and passionate and sexy, too. I wasn’t keen on all the extra dudes (but then, I’m not a fan of all the extra dancers anyway) and the weird body stocking-ness of their trousers, but I appreciate that they highlighted Anita’s brilliance. A fantastic paso.

SCORES: Craig-9 Darcey- 10 Len-9 Bruno- 9 TOTAL:37

Katie and Anton- American Smooth (Ain’t That A Kick In The Head)


Anton’s back on familiar territory here and it’s the first time he’s made it to Blackpool with a decent partner in YEARS, so I was expecting him to make the most of it. It was nice to Erin Boag too! I was predisposed to love this, as I love all the Golden Age of Hollywood glamour and this was beautiful, properly classy and just like something out of a musical. And you can’t go wrong with a bit of Dean Martin, can you?

SCORES: Craig- 8 Darcey- 9 Len- 9 Bruno-9 TOTAL:35

Peter and Janette- Jive (River Deep, Mountain High)


DING DING DING! This week’s odd music choice goes to this one. I mean, a JIVE to River Deep, Mountain High? What? It’s a brilliant song, but hardly ‘jaunty’. Mind you, Peter’s been having a bit of a renaissance of late and so I have thought he’s back in the game. I was thinking wrongly. This was OK, although I worried that Peter was spasming at one point, but then I realised it was part of the dance and maybe he was just meant to be looking a bit sexy? Who knows. And let’s not get started on his mouth hanging open with the tongue out, like a labrador who’s just rolled in fox poo.  Also, it’s nice to see Tweety Pie as a sartorial influence.

SCORES: Craig-6 Darcey- 7 Len- 8 Bruno- 8 TOTAL: 29

Georgia and Giovanni- American Smooth (I Have Nothing)


Well, last week Georgia knocked the socks off the judges with that Charleston and I wondered how they would respond this week- would she be the golden girl, or would they be super picky? I get the impression that she’s not one of the judges favourites (oh, hi, Helen and Kellie!), so I wasn’t sure. Plus we’ve seen couples tumble from top of the table to mid-table obscurity before. Benn will be so proud I’ve managed to shoehorn a football reference into this. I’d just like to add that these two have grown on me- Georgia’s “‘Ave ya finished?” to Giovanni in the kareoke booth was great. The dance was beautiful, but I found it tricky to concentrate with all the other dancers on the floor.

SCORES: Craig-9 Darcey-9 Len-10 Bruno-10 TOTAL: 38

Helen and Aljaž- Charleston (Anything Goes)


Helen is a beautiful dancer, but she’s a bit like Peter, I think. I worried that she wouldn’t be able to let it go (Ha! Another Helen/Elsa reference. I’m here til the bitter end of this competition, kids! But if wardrobe will insist on dressing her in pale blue…) enough to give the Charleston the relaxed feel it needs. This was light and fun, with elements of screwball comedy. Benn was a bit underwhelmed and I wonder if Helen really was as relaxed as she seemed. I don’t think this is Helen’s best dance and I think that, in a year of strong Charlestons, it wasn’t the best.

SCORES: Craig- 8 Darcey-9 Len-8 Bruno-9 TOTAL:34

Kellie and Kevin- Quickstep (Nine To Five)


OK, I get the pairing and the music- and we all expect Good Things every week from these two. I just… wish they didn’t rely on props so much. This wasn’t prop-heavy, but did take a while to get cracking. Oncec it did start though, a lot of it felt… static and I’m not sure the extra dancers added anything apart from that bit dragging Kellie across the floor that ended in a lift. The steps were good and clean though and the judges loved it. They’re charismatic and everyone loves them, so they’re guaranteed to be forgiven.

SCORES: Craig-9 Darcey-9 Len-9 Bruno-10 TOTAL:37

So to end- GEORGIA is at the top of the leader board again and PETER is at the bottom. I reckon Jamelia and Peter will be in the bottom two- but will Jamelia live to see another day? Who knows? I’ve given up trying to work out what’s going on in my own life, let alone a bonkers celebrity talent contest. See you next week!


Ten years in Brighton

Ten years ago today, I packed a few bags and a couple of small boxes of belongings into my aunt’s teeny tiny hire car and drove from Lancashire (I’d been at my cousin’s wedding the night before) to Brighton, unsure of what would happen to me once there. I’d had a really rough couple of months- the details are not interesting- and had managed to get a compassionate transfer to the Brighton office of the arm of the Civil Service I’d been working for in the six months since I’d left uni. I started applying to study for my PGCE at the Brighton universities. I was certain this was what I wanted.



Brighton had seemed, to a lot of people, an odd choice. Surely I should have gone to my other favoured city, Manchester? It was near to my home city of Leeds and it was just, well, northern. But I’d been to uni in the North West and, although I’d enjoyed my visits to Manchester and generally loved everything about it, I didn’t know anyone there. I also didn’t know it as well as Brighton, where my aunt had lived for a few years and where I’d been on holiday a few times. I also knew I wanted to live near the sea.

I came down here with a vague idea that I’d stay for six months. I’m still here. I have friends, family (my aunt is still here!) and a whole support network that I’ve made from scratch. I met Benn on my first day in the office and in two weeks we’ll be celebrating being together for ten years. I no longer recognise Leeds when I walk around and feel like a fish out of water whenever I visit; I used to be able to navigate its streets at 3am on a Saturday night with no problem, no matter how much I’d had to drink. I could only do that now in my adopted city.

I’ve lived a third of my life by the sea (although, ironically, I rarely get to go and actually look at it!) and my life has changed completely and utterly. I’m still sometimes as sad as I was when I arrived, but I know that I have so much to help me get through it. If you’d have told me, when I moved here, that I’d be married with a kid, a job I’ve been in nearly nine years and a group of excellent friends, I wouldn’t have believed you.

And although the city sometimes drives me mad and I threaten that I’m going to move back up north, I still love it.

Here’s to the next ten years, Brighton.


Strictly Come Dancing: Week #8

Morning all. I’m blogging this the morning after the night before, as I was at a fancy dress party last night, drinking gin and lemonade. It’s quite weird writing this the day after, as I’ve sort of seen bits about last night, but I’m going to approach this the way I do if I’m watching live. Except I can fast forward those annoying VTs. We’re over halfway through! Next week is Blackpool! (Never, ever play a shot based game in the week before Blackpool, in which you drink every time its mentioned. You will have a stinking hangover the next day. Ask me how I know. AHA- TESS AND CLAUDIA MENTIONED IT LATER ON! I write my intro before watching, so you can imagine my delight when I saw this skit.) I’m also OBVIOUSLY gutted that The Nicest Man In The World, Pasha, is now longer in the competition.

Enjoy! Or not. I’m not the boss of you.

Anita and Gleb- Quickstep (Don’t Get Me Wrong)


This is a good song for the quickstep- light and bouncy (and I have a feeling it’s been used before?) I continue to love Anita and feel ambivalent towards Gleb… is it because, in the words of Derek Zoolander, he’s ‘really, really ridiculously good looking’ and he knows it? Perhaps. I mean, what must it be like to go through life with that face? (See also: Aljaz, Artem.) This was pretty, accomplished and lovely to watch- a bit like Anita herself!

Scores: Craig-8 Darcey-8 Len-8 Bruno-8 Total: 32 Mentions of Blackpool: 3

Jay and Aliona- Foxtrot (Lay Me Down)


Obviously there are high expectations here, as usual. Jay is a good, technical dancer- although I was a bit disappointed by the Argentine Tango last week (not flicky enough for me.) But then, I’m often the only person who thinks this and who cares what I think? Anyway, the choice of song was a bit rumba-y for me- I like a cheery foxtrot, personally- but you could tell Jay was really trying to incorporate the judges’ advice from last week. Benn noticed the trip, but at least Jay was able to recover quickly. His little face though after the dance had finished :( Still my favourite though. Also side note: I LOVE IT WHEN DARCEY GETS ALL ANGRY.

Scores: Craig-6 Darcey-8 Len-8 Bruno-8 Total:31  Mentions of Blackpool: 0

Jamelia and Tristan- Samba (A Little Respect)


I love this song. (Fun fact: after showing my media students the Scrubs episode where the song ‘infects’ everyone and they can’t stop singing it, the same thing happened around the school where I work. I heard snippets of it in the staffroom for WEEKS.) Anyway, Samba doesn’t have a good track record and I was expecting that Tristan would be holding on to Jamelia for dear life. Also, why is she dressed as a three-year-old at a princess party? Do wardrobe hate her? I like that this dance basically told the story of the Wheatus version of the song’s video (geeky lad pulls popular girl.) Not bad for Jamelia, either- a few clunky bits, but overall good- even if, according to Craig, some of the grinding was ‘unnecessary’…!

Scores: Craig-5 Darcey-7 Len-7 Bruno-7 Total:26  Mentions of Blackpool: 1

Helen and Aljaz- Tango (Hold Back The River)


OK, before watching this, I was expecting high drama and lots Serious Tango Face. This week, Helen is giving serious Jean Harlow vibes (I think it’s the hair.) But why was Aljaz dressed like a room designed by Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen? As expected, a competent tango, although a weird song choice (but then, hey Georgia danced a tango to Ghostbusters, so what do I know?)

Scores: Craig-8 Darcey-9 Len-8 Bruno-9 Total:34  Mentions of Blackpool: 1

Katie and Anton- Rumba (Never, Never, Never)


Firstly, I’d like to point out I’m not a fan of the picture above. But hey, you get what you’re given. Also, at this stage in the game, I am tolerating the rumba and hoping it dies out quite quickly as everyone ends up having danced it. I just then have to hope that no one chooses it as their choice in the final (unlikely?) However, this is the highest scoring rumba of the series, which shows how annoyingly difficult it seems to be. Anyway, Katie had a definite sexy Audrey Hepburn thing going on and this almost had a bit of a tango feeling (or am I going mad?) I didn’t actually mind this too much, as it wasn’t raunchy and in your face; as Katie and Anton said, it was a grown up rumba. God, I’m such a prude.

Scores: Craig-7 Darcey-8 Len-8 Bruno-8 Total:31  Mentions of Blackpool:1

Kellie and Kevin- Samba (Boom Shake The Room)


So when I was putting this together, I made sure I didn’t see the scores, but just grabbed pictures from the Strictly feed- I’d guessed that, by this comment it wasn’t Kellie’s best. After her shocking place in the bottom two last week, I wondered whether her confidence was low (and I’ve talked about the awkwardness of having a samba/salsa- the dances of death- the week after a dance off before.) I’m not ashamed to admit that I got it wrong! I love the relationship between these two and their sense of humour was a lot fun to watch, I even found the mauling of the song by the singers funny. I’m pretty sure I had a Barbie dressed like Kellie was last night.

Scores: Craig-9 Darcey-8 Len-7 Bruno-9 Total:33  Mentions of Blackpool:0

Peter and Janette- Viennese Waltz (You’re My World)


Ooh, I do love an abundance of tuille. After last week’s fun Charleston, these two must have been riding high- has Peter put himself back in the game, I wonder? Based on this dance: quite possibly, but I’m not convinced. We’ll see, eh? This felt a bit ‘modern’ for a Viennese waltz, so I did wonder what the judges would say about it… and yep, more hold seemed to be the main feedback.

Scores: Craig-8 Darcey-9 Len-8 Bruno-9 Total:34  Mentions of Blackpool:3

Georgia and Giovanni- Charleston (Hot Honey Rag)


OK, I already know that this is the highest scoring dance of the series, beating Peter’s Charleston last week- this year really does feel like year of the Charleston and I love it. This fizzed with flapper-ish energy and pizazz; they made it look easy. LOVED IT.

Scores: Craig-9 Darcey-10 Len-10 Bruno-10 Total:39  Mentions of Blackpool:4

Jeremy and Karen- Quickstep (Going Underground)


I predicted a couple of weeks ago that Jeremy will probably make it to Blackpool and then leave at that stage; the ‘comedy’ acts usually do as well as that and then afterwards, it gets properly serious as we move towards the final. Karen is basically having fun coming up with more and more outlandish storylines each week, so God knows what she’ll come up with next week if they do make it. I’m not sure how much of this was dance steps and how much was just Jeremy walking/running. Bless him. I liked the ‘Wheels On The Bus’ section especially.

Scores: Craig-4 Darcey-6 Len-6 Bruno-5 Total:21  Mentions of Blackpool:6

So we have GEORGIA at the top of leaderboard and JEREMY at the bottom. Jamelia, Katie and Jay (boo!) are all at risk. If you’d been taking shots, your liver would be shot and you’d be pretty much dead…

The madness of making Christmas presents

Oh, Reader, I’ve done a mad thing. I’ve started knitting Christmas presents.


Every year, I make vague plans to knit at least a few presents, but this year a lack of money has led me to raiding my beautiful, beautiful stash of excellent yarns and planning to make presents for three of my friends. I must really like them to a) knit for them and b) use some of my carefully collected yarn on them. Also, I’m knitting socks for one of them and she has bigger feet than me. Other knitters will tell you that this is a big deal (I only usually ever make socks for people who have the same sized feet or smaller, otherwise the maths is just a headache. So, like I say, it’s LOVE.)


Thing is, people can get sniffy about handmade gifts, or wonder if they’re as valuable as shop-bought. But the thing is, handmade is a GOOD THING. If I make you something, I’ve made a very clear choice as to what I’m going to make you and what I’m going to make it from. I’ve thought about colours you like and that look good on you; I’ve considered where you live- yarn choice can make or break a gift; I’ve also thought about what I should make for you. And all this is even before we get into how much time it’ll take to make it for you. Even a basic pair of socks can take anywhere up to 20 hours to make by hand, on needles (I don’t have a knitting machine.) That’s without factoring in other stuff, like the fact I have to work and make sure my three-year-old isn’t hurting himself on his frequent kamikaze missions around the house.

My theory, then, this year is to keep it simple. Stocking stitch and garter stitch items done well, in beautiful materials are just as good as any fancy lace work, but don’t require mass concentration or tantrums when I frequently muck up more complex designs. This plan also means that I can manage my time a bit more effectively and that I’m not still making stuff on Christmas Day (as happened last year with my friend Marine’s fingerless gloves. She was very sweet and diplomatic about it, though.)

So, if you see me in the next few weeks looking harassed, bits of fluff stuck to my clothes and knitting needles poking out behind my ears as I frantically search for them, pay me no heed. I’m just trying to meet self-imposed Christmas knitting deadlines. Again.

Strictly Come Dancing Week #7

Ah, another week, another Strictly in which we all watch for sequins, Claudia and general ‘wtf?’-ery. Last week, The Lovely Carol’s fans saved her from certain elimination in the dance-off and Kirsty finally bowed out. Because Carol and Jeremy clearly have quite big fanbases, this means that pretty much anyone is at risk- although poor Jamelia seems to be bearing the brunt of it at the moment. Is it the week she finally leaves?

Peter and Janette- Charleston (Do your Thing)


This is a fun pairing of dance and song! With Janette’s manic energy, I was expecting a lively, frantic dance- I did wonder, though, if Peter’s perfectionism would allow him to get a bit messy. The Charleston looks painful if it’s not loose and free. This was a fun, high energy dance that I enjoyed loads- Peter’s clearly taken the judges’ comments from last week on board. A well deserved high score. (It was nice to see the BBC committing to budget cuts by re-using Anita’s Ghost wig on Janette, mind.)

Scores: Craig- 9 Darcey- 10 Len- 10 Bruno-9 TOTAL: 38

Jamelia and Tristan- Viennese Waltz (Trouble)


I love this song and can sort of see how it would work for a Viennese Waltz. Jamelia has suffered at the hands of the voting public and it’ll be interesting to see how she does this week; she’s good in hold and last time she was in a ballroom dance, she was spared the dance-off. This was a fairly nice, inoffensive Viennese Waltz- but will that be enough to save her? (If she’s in the dance-off again, unless she’s against Carol or Jeremy, it’s a good chance she’ll go.)

Scores: Craig-7 Darcey-7 Len-7 Bruno-7 Total: 28

Carol and Pasha- American Smooth (Man! I feel Like a Woman)


Pasha, I LOVE you, I truly do. But this is a weird-ass song choice for the American Smooth. Are you past caring at this stage, knowing that The Lovely Carol’s band of BBC Breakfast fans will see you through whatever? Just what ARE you doing? I mean, this took what felt like centuries to get started and felt like trudging through treacle. If I didn’t LOVE PASHA, I would seriously wonder if he’s given up a bit. I still love these two though.

Scores: Craig-3 Darcey-5 Len-5 Bruno-4 TOTAL: 17

Helen and Aljaz- Rumba (Hello)


“How can we be cool and trendy and generally give X Factor a kicking?”
“Let’s let the band loose on Adele’s new song and see if we can get away with murdering it!”

And lo, this rumba came to pass.

It was a good rumba (and we know how I feel about the dance), but was not going to get Strictly’s first full marks for the rumba. Oh- and Helen was back as Elsa from Frozen, but the one from the saucy grown up re-make,

Scores: Craig-8 Darcey-8 Len-7 Bruno-8 TOTAL:31

Jay and Aliona- Argentine Tango (Diferente)


I it when we start to see Argentine Tango performed. It’s probably my all-time favourite dance and I had high hopes when I saw Jay was dancing it. It’s funny how he seems quite sweet and then suddenly can go all ALPHA HULK SMASH as soon as the music starts. It was good, not as jerky and pointy as I usually remember, but nice job- as per, of course!

Scores: Craig-8 Darcey- 9 Len-8 Bruno-9 TOTAL: 34

Katie and Anton- Quickstep (42nd Street)


This is Old-School Anton, doing what he does best and something we’ve not seen him really do properly for years. He really is excellent at putting together routines that wouldn’t look out of place in a Fred ‘n’ Ginger musical and it’s nice to see this showcased with a dancer like Katie. This was lovely and properly Old Hollywood. I don’t even care that there were bits when it went wrong.

Scores: Craig-6 Darcey-7 Len-7 Bruno-6 TOTAL: 26

Anita and Gleb- Jive (The Boy Does Nothing)


Remember when Alesha was first the winner and then the judge of Strictly? Yeah, I’d kind of forgotten too, but this song was released after she left to judge Britain’s Got Talent. (Do you think she ever regrets that move? Anyway. When I heard that Gleb had been choreographing another ‘insane move’ I was all like:


I did not waste my eyeroll, after seeing him catapult his nether regions towards her face. Anyway, this was great, if a little showy at times- but that seems to be Gleb’s calling card at the moment.

Scores: Craig-8 Darcey- 8 Len-9 Bruno-9 TOTAL: 34

Kellie and Kevin- Waltz (Love Ain’t Here Anymore)


Meh, I’m not inspired by the choice of song, although we all know that whatever these two touch turns to gold at the moment. As everything they’ve danced so far, this was classy, spot on and accomplished.

Scores: Craig-8 Darcey-8 Len-8 Bruno-8 TOTAL: 32

Jeremy and Karen-Tango (Go West)


If someone asked you what the most unlikely song and dance pairing could be, I reckon you still wouldn’t have come up with this. It’s just… weird. I get that Karen’s trying to capitalise on Jezza’s kitsch popularity, but I wonder if this is a step too far? I dunno- the dance seemed to have a lot of love on Twitter and was SO BONKERS that  reckon people will vote for it. Seriously, it’s one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen and I spend a lot of my time on the internet.(Also, if you happen to have made a gif of Craig doing an impression of Jeremy’s bottom, please do give me a head’s up.)

Scores: Craig-4 Darcey-6 Len-6 Bruno-5 TOTAL:21

Georgia and Giovanni-Samba (Volare)


I’m not sure that, a week after topping the leaderboard, you want to then go with the dance that has been the kiss of death for so many couples in the history of Strictly. However, despite my general ambivalence about this pairing, they do seem to work well together. Plus, I love me some Gipsy Kings. I don’t think this will see them in the dance off- it was a fast, fun dance (even if Giovanni had nicked a bit of the Mararena at one point!)

Scores: Craig-8 Darcey-9 Len-9 Bruno-9 TOTAL: 35

And so another week ends. This week we have PETER in the top spot and CAROL in the bottom. I think anyone in the middle band is at risk.

(ALSO: next Saturday I am going to a party. Benn and I will be going as Mulder and Scully- it’s a 90s themed fancy dress party. We don’t go around dressed as famed TV duos for fun or anything. Anyway, this means that my blogpost will go up on Sunday as soon as I’ve watched everything, but it will be before the results show. Handily, this means I can fast forward those cringey VTs!)

#PaperHaul: Featured- Rory J. Murphy

It was a stormy grey day when this month’s #PaperHaul landed in my mailbox. I tried to resist it, but as any stationery lover knows, these little boxes are as hard to resist as a dame in a silk dress. What would the box yield to closer inspection, I wondered?

Oh, Ava Gardner, I love you.

Oh, Ava Gardner, I love you.

And then I had it. It was a collaboration between #PaperHaul and Rory J. Murphy. I knew then that all hope was lost; that I was drawn in to something beyond my control. You see, this box held something inspired by a weakness of mine- a love of film noir, of broads and dames, detectives and bad guys; of Bogey and Bacall.


Let’s examine the evidence, shall we?

ITEM 1: The Whole Shebang


Here you can see all the evidence together, clear as day. Paints a pretty picture, don’t it? It’s Film Noir with a bit of Frank Miller (but without the violence.)

Item 2: The Notebook


Every detective needs a book to keep a note of hoodlums, dames need a book to keep track of conquests. I just need a book to keep track of boring things like budgets and how many rows I’ve knitted. Whatever, I’m channelling my inner crimefighter with this.

Item 2: The Calling Cards


Everyone has a vice. What’s yours? Liquor? Lipstick? A pistol? Your calling card is here, my friend, in the form of these mini-cards.

Item 3: The Main Event


Film noir needs its femme fatale and this one appears to be influenced by Rita Hayworth in Gilda. Is that a stocking brandished sexily or… with murder in mind? Only you and the recipient can decide.

Item 4: The Mugshots


That bobby pin shows that a woman’s been in the interrogating room… has she been up to NO GOOD?

You’ll never get anywhere in this town if you’re not good with faces, kid. Helpfully, you can stick these wherever you like. And the cards are cool; the top one reminds me of Ava Gardner and the bottom one, of course, has more than an air of Bogey and Bacall.

Item 5: The Tape


Tape’s important. It seals crime scenes and holds your anatomy in its place when needed. This tape will declare your love of the hard stuff AND stick paper together. What more could you want?


You can register for #PaperHaul here.

Disclaimer: I get my box at a discounted rate, but my reviews are honest and reflect my own opinions.