Friday, 30 December 2011

It's never too late....

you've still got time.....

to get your hands on some tickets for the Oakeley Arms New Year's extravaganza!

There are still a few tickets available, so don't miss out! Contact us to reserve some for you, and come and join us for a fabulous party to welcome in the New Year. It's set to be a stonker!

image by vhujer on

We've even got a mini-bus running between Blaenau and Port, so you don't even have to worry about wobbling home!!

£20 advance or £25 on the door.

Contact us if you need more information about times, fancy dress or any other details.

See you there!!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas!

To quote one of our favourite festive tunes........

"it's Chriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiistmas!"

Yes, it's finally arrived! Happy Christmas everyone!!

image: johnnyberg on sxc

We hope that the turkey's stuffed, the sherry bottle's on its way to empty and the stockings are ready and waiting; all that remains to be seen is just who's been good and who's been naughty this year - or is it that Santa has just misplaced your wish-list???

To all our lovely customers, friends and family, we wish you a very merry Christmas indeed, and we look forward to welcoming you at the Oakeley in 2012.

See you soon, from all of us at the Oakeley Arms.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Community Spirit

The John Williams Cambrian Lodge

Here at the Oakeley Arms, we're lucky to be the meeting point for several community groups and organisations, and this week we'd like to pay a big blog tribute to one of our favourite local community groups, the John Williams Cambrian Lodge RAOB.

The John Williams Cambrian Lodge are the local arm of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB) or Buffs, as they are sometimes fondly known.

The charitable organisation was founded at the turn of the nineteenth century. Its intruigning name comes from the fact that tradtionally at every meeting, the popular song of the time "Hunt the Buffalo" was sang, and so the Buffs were born!

The organisation's origins are believed to have been on the stages and in the theatres of London, when a group of theatre hands and technicians formed their own brotherhood after being denied membership to an order for actors and artists. The earliest known meeting of the RAOB took place in 1822 in London, but as the theatre workers travelled all over the country, and indeed the commonwealth, for their work, RAOB groups, or lodges as they are known, popped up all over the world. They now have branches as far afield as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India.

The Buffs are a non political, non religious and benevolant organisation, which is open to men over 18.  Groups meet every week to discuss issues, converse and raise money for many different charitable causes, both within and outside the organisation. The RAOB very much believe that all men are equal; and in the power of charity, caring for others and helping those that are less fortunate or less able.

At a recent meeting, the John Williams Cambrian Lodge made donations to several local good causes, such as Portmadoc Scouts, St Twrog's Church, Macmillan Nurses and the Glaslyn Mountain Rescue Team.

Photo of the WP John Wall R.O.H of the John Williams Cambrian Lodge 10505 presenting a cheque of £100.00 to the Porthmadoc scout treasurer Mr M. Vellacott
Picture by Geraint Jones

The lodge is active every Thursday evening at 8.00pm at the Oakeley Arms, and anyone interested in enrolling with the RAOB please call in, you'd be most welcome.

For more details about the work of the RAOB, see

Monday, 19 December 2011

Strictly Final

Goodbye Strictly!
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! It's strictly the end of Strictly! What on earth will we do with our Saturday nights now?
In his final blog, our favourite Strictly dancer Russell waves goodbye to his friends, co-stars and his spectacular Strictly journey.
We'd like to say a big, big thank you to Russell for sharing his blog with us; we've absolutely loved reading it!

And so we come to the Grand Final in bonny, breezy Blackpool the capital of showbiz where I lived for many years!

Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom, the palace of showbiz is probably the only place in the country for such a fabulous entertainment extravaganza to be held. The huge ballroom has always been the people’s ballroom and it holds so many happy memories for millions of people who have danced to the melodies of famous bands and orchestras over the years, not to mention Reginald Dixon at the legendary Wurlitzer.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

What about the countdown to the final?

First of all we had to gather in London for group rehearsals early in the week and what fun it was to meet up with Nancy, Lulu, Audley, Edwina, Dan, Robbie, Holly, Alex, Anita and of course the remaining stars of the show Harry, Jason and Chelsee. We have all been on a wonderful 99 day long “Strictly” journey together and we have loved every nerve jangling, muscle straining, footsore minute.

Thursday brought a few more last minute practice sessions.

On Friday we all had to clamber on the coach for a marathon eight hour journey from London through rain, hail, snow and mist to Blackpool to meet up for a laugh and a giggle with Zoe on “Strictly It Takes Two” and a short burst of “We do love to be beside the seaside”. The rigours of the journey were soon forgotten when we all settled down in the magnificent ballroom to drink in the atmosphere of the place and for one or two sneak previews of what Saturday night holds for us all.

And what a spectacular it was - Harry and Aliona get the full forty points for their Quickstep and 37 for their show dance. Jason and Kristina with a terrific Tango earning them 38 points and a full forty for their scintillating show dance. While Chelsee and Pasha won 39 pints for a jumping Jive and 36 for their superb show dance.

Then we all had to bite our nails while the phones rang and the votes were cast ready for the final of the final!

The “Strictly” results show saw Jason and Kristina bow out with cheers ringing in their ears. They have both done so well and pulled off some remarkable and memorable performances, but as I’ve said before – it’s the nature of the show, someone has to win and it can only be one couple. Jason’s grace, generosity and emotion are always and have always been apparent to us all since September. Well done Jason – you are a Star!

It was great to dance with Flavia again when all the competitors got together on the floor for one last dance together. Robbie and Rory swinging me to and fro and then getting hoisted high by the dancers was a very special experience for me. But then the music, the lights, the crowd and all of us friends together made it a memorable moment for me.

Chelsee and Pasha, Harry and Aliona both treated us to marvellous, magical magnificent performance. They were stunning, spectacular, stupendous and it was hard to choose between them, but once again there can only be one winner and it was Harry who had captured all our hearts that finally held the triumphant trophy aloft.

I know I will miss everyone involved, of course my fellow competitors, but also Alisha, Bruno, Len and even Craig.

Tess, Zoe and our very own national institution, icon and treasure, one of nature’s true gentlemen and a wonderful entertainer our very own Sir Bruce.

Well that’s it from me – the end of the “2011 Strictly Come Dancing” Blog I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it for you.

Thanks for being there on our journey.



Friday, 16 December 2011

Christmas Pantomimes come to Gwynedd

He's behiiiiiiiiiiind you!

Here at the Oakeley, we think that one of the BEST things about this time of year is the promise of a brilliant panto performance! Pantomimes are to Christmas what hearts are to Valentine's day or a gin and tonic is to a holiday. The two just go together.

No-one's really sure exactly when the pantomime in the form we now know  and love first burst onto the stage, but around the mid 17th century theatres in London began to bill high energy performances, packed with dancing, music, colourful characters, acrobatics, comedy and tomfoolery to delight and amuse the audience.

But, pantos fell out of favour in the mid twentieth century and were often seen as amateur performances by local am-dram groups. These days however, the tradition is enjoying a huge revival. It is thought that a staggering 11 million people will rush to see a panto in Britain this year; and of course, no night at the panto is complete without booing, hissing and screeching so much that your throat is sore the next day.

What's your favourite pantomime tale? The story of poor Cinderella, her terrifying sisters and a giant pumpkin? Or the comedy caper of Aladdin and his adventures with the lamp? Or what about the old classic Dick Whittington or the sad tale of the Babes in the Wood?

There are brilliant pantomimes playing at theatres across North Wales this festive season, so don't miss out.

Catch Aladdin at the North Wales Theatre in Llandudno, Sleeping Beauty at Theatre Clwyd in Mold and Snow White at the Pavilion Theatre in Rhyl. 

And don't forget to practice your "booooooooooooooooooooooooo" before you go!
Have fun!

Image: Scott Liddell

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Strictly Semi- Final

Strictly Fantastic!
The competition on Strictly is reaching fever pitch! Here's Russell with an update on Saturday's show.
Remember, don't miss Russell's special guest appearance for the final next week. It'll be one to remember!!

It was Semi Final Night on “Strictly” and didn’t we know it?!

Saturday night’s show was a sheer tour de force from all five couples and that was reflected in the fact that we saw ten fabulous performances and TEN standing ovations. It truly was a night to remember.

Harry and Aliona gave us the Charleston and the Viennese Waltz and they continue to stun and surprise us all with their wonderful performances. “Exquisite”, “Perfect”, “Beautifully executed”, “Dancing Royalty” and “Take him to the Tower – Blackpool Tower” are just a few of the well deserved accolades that so deservedly came their way and to get 78 points out of a possible 80 is just fantastic.

Alex and James offered us the Waltz and the Salsa and were rightfully proclaimed “Totally brilliant”, “Full of gusto and personality”, “Top notch”, “The Belle of the Ball”, they should be proud of their achievement. They have given everything to “Strictly” and we loved them for it.

Chelsee and Pasha entranced the audience at home and in the studio with the Paso Doble and the American Smooth. Chelsee “Glowed like a pearl”, they were “Gobsmackingly good”, “Fantastic”, “Superb”, their performance left Alisha “Speechless”. Len likened her blossoming performances over recent weeks to the Chelsea Flower Show full of colour and truly beautiful. And from now on the Paso Doble will forever be the Pasha Doble!

Holly and Artem gave us a scintillating Argentine Tang and a totally new take on an old favourite – the Charleston which won them deserved praise from the judges. ”Beautiful”, “Stunning”, “Bad, dangerous and coiled to strike”, “Gorgeous” and “Seductive”. I was enchanted by their Argentine Tango and have watched it time and time and again on Saturday Night. 70 points out of a possible 80 is a score I would have loved to have, but it doesn’t seem to have been good enough.

Jason and Kristina gave us a tantalising Tango and a stunning Samba and the accolades flew thick and fast. The Samba was fabulous but the Argentine Tango was truly memorable and must go down in the annals of "Strictly" as something that may be matched but never beaten. It was as the judges say “Wonderful”, “Brilliant”, “Seductive”, “Incredible”, “Superb” and the “Best dance of the series”.

But….. and here comes the BIG BUT….. We have to wave goodbye to not one couple but two this weekend. Sadly it was Holly and Artem along with Alex and James that we have to bid a fond farewell to this week. Let’s not forget this is the nature of the show. Each week couples have been eliminated and to get to the semi final in a competition that has reached such extraordinary standards of performance is no mean feat and is a testimony to the dedicated devotion they have all shown to this competition. I can only stand back in admiration and respect. I know what long hours of exhausting and often painful training and practising lie behind each week’s show and as the tension mounts for the remaining three couples in the countdown to Blackpool I can only imagine how nervous and excited they will be.

We are all meeting up this week to practice for the big final show next Saturday. All the couples will be together again for what is sure to be truly a night to remember.

Finally, if you saw me denying all knowledge of the missing glitterball on Saturday’s show I can tell you that they’ll have to keep a close eye on me and a tight guard on the glitterball after Saturday night’s final.

And so the dance goes on….

Thanks for being there

Monday, 12 December 2011

2012 is on the way


image by Billy F Alexander on

Don't miss out on the Oakeley's best New Year's Eve party yet! Tickets are selling like the proverbial little hot-cakes, so come and get yours now before they all sell out!

It's a fancy dress theme (back to the 80s!) and there'll be music, dancing, fun, games and a delicious buffet, as well as a late bar and plenty of fizz.

Tickets available from the hotel.
£20 (advance) or £25 (on the door)

See you there!!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Welcome to 2012!!

New Year's Eve at the Oakeley Arms

All together now!
"Shouuuuuuld aaaauld aquaintance be forgot aaaaaaand, dah, dih, dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum, dah, dih, dum, dum aaaaaaaand auld laaaang syne......"

Hope you've got your vocal chords stretched, exercised and raring to go for the Oakeley's New Year's Eve party!

We will forgive you for not knowing all the words to Auld Lang Syne (let's face it, who does?) but we won't forgive you for not coming along to the best Oakeley Arms New Year's Eve bash yet!

We've got entertainment!
We've got fireworks!
We've got a delicious hot & cold buffet!
We've got a rockin' disco!

And there'll be plenty of fun, games and dancing along with a late bar and bubbles to see in the New Year with.

We know a party isn't a party if it isn't FANCY DRESS. So what's the theme, I hear you cry?! It's the good ole' 80s!

It is a ticket only event. You can purchase tickets in advance from the hotel or on the door (subject to availability).

Prices: £20 (advance) and £25 on the door.

Be there or be very square indeed....

See you there!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Strictly Update - Week 10

Quick Step to Christmas
We're all thrilled to hear that Russell and Flavia will be back for a fabulous Strictly Christmas Special!! We can't wait for that!
Here's Russell with another busy week........
Although I am no longer part of the Saturday night fun and games this has still been a very busy week for me and all the competitors, past and Present in the “Strictly” line up.

IT was wonderful to be invited back for The “Strictly Christmas Special” and for Flavia and me to be announced as ‘special guest stars’ was just so amazing. It is going to be an essential “Don’t Miss” in the festive Christmas TV schedule. There is so much skill and dexterity to admire mingled with a few laughs along the way. So don’t miss it – you’ll love it.

Once again I cannot write the blog without mentioning all the drawings that are flooding in from the four corners of the country. I am surprised and touched by all the youngsters who are taking the time to draw pictures of Flavia and me and then send them to the BBC.

I don’t know if this sneezy, chill and coldy-fluey thing is down your way, but I think I might have picked up something nasty while I was down in London. I got home to Wales in the middle of the week, headed for the Lemsip, lit the fire and put the telly on.

One thing is certain the cool, clear, mountain air of Snowdonia will do me a power of good.

Now, what did you think of Saturday’s show? It was full of surprise and, of course, the expected. I think many people could have predicted that Harry and Aliona’s Paso Doble would be top of the leader board after that sizzling, sexy performance, but maybe quite a few folk were surprised that Jason and Kristina came so far down the board after they produced such a special moment to entrance and enchant us.

Chelsee continues to go from strength to strength although I much prefer Pasha without the green tinge.

With so few couples left in the contest the scoreboard gets shorter and shorter each week so even the very best that any couple can produce means it has to find its place on the board.

And so Robbie and Ola’s Quickstep after having reached such a high standard of energetic, entertaining performance and winning so many new friends and fans bow out of Strictly. Of course we shall all be meeting up for the final on December 17th in Blackpool and there’s the “Strictly Christmas Special to look forward too.

I don’t know about you, but I think the standard of dancing and performance is getting stratospheric. I know firsthand just how much time, effort, energy, concentration and stamina goes into each of the week’s training and performance. I take my hat off to everyone who is pulling all the stops out to make our Saturday night’s viewing complete.

And so the dance goes on….Thanks for being there



Thursday, 1 December 2011

St Twrog's Church

Church Life
As you may have noticed by now, we have covered a million and one different things on the Oakeley Arms blog, and we didn't want another week to go by without a mention of the fabulous community spirit here in Maentwrog.

Traditionally, the church would have been at the heart of village life, and we're lucky that this is still very much true in Maentwrog.

File:St Twrogs Church.JPG

There is thought to have been a church here since the 6th century, when St Twrog built a place of worship on the lands that would have been marshy and boggy back then. The legend goes that St Twrog climbed to the top of the Moelwyn mountains, grabbed an enormous boulder and hurled it down on top of the site of a pagan altar, and so physically, and metaphorically, crushing the pagans that were there.

The legendary stone still stands outside the church, complete with the imprint of Twrog's hands, and is indeed what the village is named after. Maen is the welsh word for stone, so Maentwrog literally translates to Twrog's Stone. Legend has it that if you rub the stone, then fate will certainly draw you back to the village sometime in the future!

The church that stands today was built in 1814, with a new chancel and stained windows added in 1896. One of the vestry windows is in memory of William Edward Oakeley, of Plas Tan-y-Bwlch. He was a local businessman, land owner and benefactor to the village and church. Celtic crosses in the graveyard are further memorials to other members of the Oakeley family.

Maentwrog Church certainly has a fascinating history, but it is still used today as a place of worship and for village events, and is open most days for visitors. Pauline Richardson is a village resident who helps to care for and maintain the church grounds and surroundings, and we think she does a fabulous job! As well as editing the church magazine, she can often be found planting flowers nearby and weeding the cenotaph.

Pauline has filled us in on some great events at the church this coming month, so don't miss out! It'd be great for us all to show our support for our brilliant local church.

Thursday 1st December: 6.30pm
Carols & Cheese & Wine Evening at Cors y Gedol Hall, Dyffryn Ardudwy, to raise funds for Shelter Cymru, Hospis yn y Cartref and Christian Aid Famine Appeal.
Tickets are available from Pauline or at the door on the night for £5.00.

Friday 16th December: 8:00pm
Carolau a Cwrw and Christmas raffle.
There is no charge, but donations will go towards church funds.
Sunday the 18th December
Church Carol service, and the Royal Oakeley Band will be playing as well

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Strictly Update - Week 9

Happy Memories
Russell may have sadly been evicted from Strictly Come Dancing, but that doesn't mean he has time to kick back and relax!

Although he's busier than ever, Russell still finds time to write up his fabulous blog, and here's what he's been up to this week.....

Although I am no longer dancing the light fantastic with the rest of my friends this has been a far from quiet week.

Monday evening saw me once again on the couch with Zoe for “It Takes Two” and a chance to talk about Saturday night’s show. The Golden Shot from the big cannon and my flight through the air on what felt like a very small tea tray! Big hugs, big kisses. I love Zoe and I enjoyed every minute of our time together on the show.

Later in the week I was signing the new “Strictly Come Dancing” book in a West End bookshop and we were all amazed by the sheer numbers of people who turned out to snap up a signed copy.

More interviews, more photo-shoots and I think you’ll be amazed by some of the stuff the glossy celebrity magazines had in store for me.

I spent time with the Daily Mail who wanted to talk to me about my career and all the wonderful things I have done in the theatre over the years. It really is amazing when I pause for breath and look back over the years and think of all the wonderful people I have met, the places I have seen and the things I have been up to.

One of the wonderful things I simply have to mention is the number of children who have sent me their drawings of Flavia and I strutting our stuff. It’s so kind of everyone to send those lovely drawings in especially as they all show Flavia and me getting 10 points from all the judges! They are all on my fridge (I have a very big fridge!)

Lots of texts and calls from the gang on Saturday afternoon. Everyone is being very nice and saying how much they miss me, but “Strictly” is a competition and the standard is soaring to stratospheric levels that only the very best can hope to achieve and maintain.

So what did you think of Saturday’s show? Just as good as ever, in fact it just gets better and better doesn’t it?

I loved Alex’s cheeky Charleston and thought Holly was just mesmerising. Robbie and Ola pulled off an exciting Samba in more than one way while Chelsee delighted us all with a wonderful performance. What can I say about Harry and Jason? They are just so good, such great energy and movement, such entertainment. Just marvellous.

I thought Anita and Brendan’s cha-cha-cha was simply spectacular. Anita is such a lovely person her exit from the show will leave heart-shaped hole in the “Strictly” line up. Nevertheless, it is the nature of the show that one couple must leave the competition every week.

I am meeting all the gang again next week because we are all starting our rehearsals for the “Strictly Christmas Special” It will be fabulous to see everyone again and it will definitely be a “Must See” in everyone’s Christmas viewing schedule.

Thanks for being there

Thursday, 24 November 2011

A Coliseum Wrestle!

A Wrestling night to remember!

The Oakeley Blog has already shown its support for the brilliant Save The Coliseum campaign and it's most recent fundraising venture, the fabulous Halloween party (which was a huge success by all accounts - more on that later!); and now we want to help spread the word about their latest mega event.

The Friends of the Coliseum are going bigger, better and burlier than ever before with their Fight for the Coliseum live wrestling extravaganza.

If you think you're tough enough to handle it, the night promises to be action packed and full of boisterous fun and games. The main event is a massive Rumble, and there's also the World Championship title at stake, in what promises to be a belter of a match.

You won't want to miss appearances from top wrestling stars, as this brilliant event comes back to Porthmadog. We all remember that this is where WWE legend Mason Ryan began his career - so don't miss out on this amazing night where heroes will be made!

This Saturday 26th November at The Ganolfan is the place to be. Be there, or be very square indeed.....

Prices: Adults £7; Children £5 and Family (2 adults + 2 children) £22
Doors open 18:30; event starts 19:30
Tickets available online at or from Cob Records, Porthmadog.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Strictly Update - Week 8 Show

Strictly Come Cannon!
What a show it was on Saturday! Russell, we really thought that was the best yet - what an entrance, and we agreed with Alisha!

We're so so sad to see you leaving the show, but thank you, thank you, thank you for entertaining us and lighting up our Saturday evenings. It's been a joy, and it seems you feel the same. Please pop into the Oakeley soon and teach us some moves!

Over to you to say Strictly, farewell.....

Well…. There we are - all good things must come to an end.

Saturday’s Wembley show was an exhilarating, exciting exit for me and I couldn't have asked for a better send off.

The Big Bang theory saw me flying through the air with maybe not the greatest of ease and then landing to jive with the fabulous Flavia. It was all great fun, but you know and I know that each week one couple flies through the air and lands with a bump!

Even so the audience gave us a standing ovation. Sir Bruce claimed I had “Done it again!” Alisha said “Just when you think you’ve seen it all – that was the best ever entrance on Strictly” Bruno claimed it as an “Incredible or bit of madness” and he “Loved it!”

Craig was reduced to a “Revolutionary!”

Len added that whenever people talk about the history of “Strictly” they will always say “Do you remember when Russell Grant flew out of that cannon at Wembley?”

In many ways it is sad to go; I will miss the other dancers and all the wonderful people who have helped me backstage and away from the camera’s lens in production, wardrobe and make up. In other ways it will be nice to catch my breath before the final show and spend more time at home in the mountains of Wales and of course in the Oakeley. I must also start learning the lines for my pantomime season in Milton Keynes.

We have waved goodbye to some lovely people and there will be more sad moments before the final in Blackpool but that’s what the show is all about.

Well Good Luck to all those still on the floor. They are all fabulous dancers. Each one of them deserves to win. I will miss you all, but I won’t miss those long practice sessions or those nerve racking results shows!

Finally I have to say a sort of goodbye to all you faithful followers of this blog from now on the blog will have to be once a week just after the show. It has been a joy to write for you and I know by the many messages you have sent in that you have enjoyed reading it.

I shall end where I started – All good things come to an end! See you soon my friends


Friday, 18 November 2011

Strictly Update - Week 8

Wales at Wembley!

Well, the big day has very nearly arrived! As we speak, we're sure Russell is super busy with some last minute preparations and practices!
We think it's brilliant that Russell is flying the Welsh flag for all of us, and we wish him ALL the luck in the world for Saturday evening.

We'll be watching, and cheering, as always. Have a ball Russell, or should that be, a jive?
Over to you for an update on your hectic week.......

This week I have spent all my time down in the Big City rehearsing for the Wonderful Wembley Whizz Bang! Of course every silver lining has a cloud and my cloud this week has been not being able to go home again to Wales and catch up with all the local news.

Now, I must start the blog with a big thanks to Billy and Ezra. Who are Billy and Ezra you might ask? Well they are the guys who were waiting behind the screen on last Saturday’s show with the golden glittery “Ferrero Roche” suit. That quick change was a real show stopper! Thanks guys.

As you might expect its been another busy week practising for what looks like being a real blast. Flavia and I have been getting into jive mode and the Wembley show needs a much bigger performance to fill that huge space.

The press interest has been phenomenal so there have been loads of interviews and photo shoots for Flavia and I to get along to in between our jive sessions and the most wonderful news of the week for me was that Radio 2 are putting together a special “Strictly on the Radio” show I will be presenting the show and you can hear it at 10.00pm on December 30th so reach for your diaries now and make a note.

Wednesday night Flavia and I were off to catch up with Zoe on “Strictly It Takes Two”. We always love dropping in on Zoe because we have such a good time.

I listened to Ian Waite and took on what he said about my head and kicks. I know I can sometimes have a bit of a nodding dog look when I am on the floor so I appreciate what he had to say and I aim to get a thumbs up from Ian for Saturdays show.

The real high spot of the show was the wonderful message from the fabulous Kylie. I have been a fan of hers for years and now, it seems, she is one of mine! Simply stunning and such a surprise I found myself welling up. Thanks Kylie.

Thanks too to Alex from Surrey for her lovely message of support and encouragement. It’s great to know the next generation are enjoying “Strictly” and that I am putting a lovely smile on their faces. Another very BIG thank you to James from Stockport and Madeleine from Retford who both sent me their drawings of me and Flavia. James seems to think all the judges are about to give me 10 points. Let’s hope that’s an omen for this week’s show.

More from me on Monday about how the Wembley show went.

Thanks again for all your wonderful messages and the encouragement you send. It means so much.

If you are one of those who have sent me a message I must ask for your patience. Usually I deal with them all straight away, but the BBC have sent all the messages to my home and because this week has been so busy I have had to stay in London so I won’t be able to deal with the post until I get home again hopefully next Monday.

“Thanks for being there!” and Keep Dancing!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Sunday Treats

What are you up to on Sunday?
As regulars to the Oakeley Arms will know, Sunday is one of our favourite days. And that's because Sunday is CARVERY DAY!

We've been told by many of our regular diners that the Oakeley Arms carvery is one of the best in Gwynedd. A bold statement we know, but we thought we'd let our happy, and full, customers  speak out for us!

As well as piling your plate with delicious local meats, vegetables and all the trimmings from the carvery, we also let you in on another secret and a fabulous Sunday treat. Special guest singer Mared Emlyn charms Oakeley diners every Sunday with her selection of chilled out modern and classical songs. From show tunes to folk songs to classical ballads, at the tender age of 15, Mared has mastered them all.

Mared, who's a pupil at nearby Ysgol y Gader in Dolgellau, has been singing since she was five years old. She's won numerous national Eisteddfod prizes as well as countless local recital and musical competitions. In a few weeks time, she'll be trying the Grade 7 Singing exam at the prestigious Royal College of Music. And not only does she sing, but she plays the piano, harp, guitar and drums.

She certainly is a talented young lady. So what are you waiting for? Come along on Sunday for Gwynedd's best carvery and a magical musical treat.
See you there!

As well as appearing at the Oakeley every Sunday, Gwynedd based singer Mared performs at private functions, parties and weddings. For more information, you can contact her at


Monday, 14 November 2011

Strictly Update - Week 7 show

Way to Wembley!
Well, Russell has only gone and done it! He's made it to the fantastic Wembley show next Saturday, and we are thrilled to bits for him.
He totally deserved it after his excellent performance on Saturday. Over to you Russell for a glimpse into your busy week..... and good luck with the rehearsals for this week's coming extravaganza. When you've a spare minute, you'll have to pop to the Oakeley Arms to teach us some moves!

It’s been a busy time since I last had a chance on Thursday to update my blog. A busy, but an exciting and even exhilarating time.

The days have passed in a melee of press interviews, practice sessions and preparations for the big show on Saturday. I have even had a couple of photo shoots for the glossy, celebrity magazines so I hope you’ll have as much fun seeing the photos as I had during the shoot.

Saturday night was a real high. Great dancing and great scores for Harry and Aliona and don’t they deserve their place at the top of the scoreboard. They are just so fantastic on the floor the rest of us just look on in admiration.

Chelsee and Pasha’s Foxtrot was “Elegant, graceful, gorgeous and sophisticated” and it earned them a well deserved second place with only one point behind Harry and Aliona. Holly and Brendan shared third place Jason and Kristina and once again they bring that special starry something to the evening.

It fell to me to bring the show to an end with one of my favourite songs “I am what I am” from the hit show - La Cage aux Folles. Well I was what I was and I had the greatest time dancing the American Smooth with Flavia and I think I did pretty well all things considered. Did you like the quick change? I have never been in and out of my clothes quicker! A standing ovation thrilled me to bits. The audience loved it. I loved it and I hope you loved it too.

Len dubbed me “The Giant Ferrero Roche” and followed it up with a “Well Done!”

I took Alisha to a “Fun Place” and Bruno thought I “Couldn’t wait to get out of the closet”

A single “Immortal” from Craig crowned my night.

Did you like the video before the dance with multiple me’s coming out of the woods to serenade the fabulous Flavia. We had some real fun and laughs doing that with the BBC crew up in the beautiful hills of my home in Wales.

Sunday brought us together for the results show and we had to say good bye to the Big Man with the Big Heart. Audley and Natalie bowed out with their usual grace. We will all be sad to see them go, but that’s the way the show goes and sooner or later we will all go except for the wonderful winner of this year’s show.

Now I have a very busy week ahead of me. The Wembley show looks like being a true extravaganza. There are extra practice sessions built into the schedule. In between rehearsals there are more interviews and photo shoots to keep me busy. Whatever you do don’t miss Saturday’s show I can promise you it will be something special and you’ll see things you never thought you’d see and I can promise you, you’ll never see again! Intrigued? Tune in and watch!

More from me on Thursday about how the week has gone.

Thanks to everyone at The Oakeley Arms, sorry not to see you this week - The BBC film crew will miss the special ribs that are the talk of the BBC.

If you are one of those who have sent me a message I must ask for your patience. Usually I deal with them all promptly and reply straight away, but the BBC have sent all the messages to my home and because this week is so busy I have to stay in London so I won’t be able to deal with the post until I get home again next Monday.

Just one special mention – thank you to young James in Stockport for his drawing of Flavia and I getting 10 points from each of the judges and thanks to Madeleine and Violet Karczewski for her drawing and her kind words. They are both up on the fridge!

“Thanks for being there!” and Keep Dancing!