Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Going Boho in ShoHo...

Families NW Magazine
May/June 2014

Angelina Melwani and Mini-Me go boho in ShoHo (- and Brick Lane... but that don't rhyme, innit.)

It's not unusual to find me hopping up and down while teaching my Sing and Sign baby signing classes (in Harrow, Bushey, Ricky and Stanmore) pretending to be a rabbit or pretending to need the loo. But it is rare for me to do so AFTER I have actually finished teaching for the morning and while everyone is leaving the hall; and especially while grinning like an idiot, punching the air, shedding a tear and making whooping noises. Well. That would just seem rude.

On the one occasion when this did happen however, there was a HUGH (sic – you'll get it soon) reason for my vocal and physical display of joy. Prima Donna of Positivity, one of my best mates in the whole world, had just informed me via gadgetphone that her 11 year old son (I will call him Futurestar) had won a part in the upcoming Peter Pan movie with Hugh Jackman! It all started at school in the lunch queue for chicken pasta, a non-vegetarian dish that Futurestar would not normally eat but just fancied on the particular day when people casting for the film happened to be walking around the school. There followed auditions and screen tests. Prima Donna of Positivity and I had both decided that the best thing to do was to put it to the back of our minds and not obsess about red carpets and going on a date with Hugh Jackman, when out of the blue she received the call. It was Just Meant To Be.

Prima Donna of Positivity and I decided to take Futurestar and Mini-Me for a day out since we are both are the type to feel stifled if left to stew too long in the suburbs. Our destination was the Geffrye Museum and we hoped to catch Ceramic Painting, the free holiday activity for 11 – 16 year olds which was to start at 2.30 and go on for 2 hours (IF we turned up and queued from 1.30.) And no, in case you are wondering, we had no intention of using those two hours to wander the streets of ShoHo (Shoreditch/Hoxton) and locate a hip hang-out where we could consume a daytime cocktail and honour our inner lush. We would of course have come back after an hour and a half to cheer as our high-achievers finished their pieces of art.

“Would” being the operative word. Unfortunately, after half an hour of VERY fruity language that Mini-Me had previously never heard exit these angelic lips (-because she has never before seen me try to park someone else's big black tank in a tight spot between two vehicles on a side street near Canon's Park tube station-) it became apparent that the children were not going to do any Ceramic Painting. Because it was Not Meant To Be.

By the time we arrived at the Geffrye Museum, all the places had been filled so we ate lunch together and walked around looking at roomsets from various points of time, Futurestar making very loud and repetitive electronic noises with his mouth (a role in Star Trek surely beckons) and I gaining understanding of the true nature of the difference between having a son and a daughter. I spotted Edwardian chairs that I swear I've seen starting at 15 quid recently on Ebay and items I remembered from my childhood living room. Although perplexingly, the 70s roomset did not contain a feature-lamp depicting a semi-naked statue having a shower in a gazebo.

After all that we were not feeling enthusiastic about going home and fixing dinner so we hopped on a bus to Brick Lane where we mooched around kooky shops, looking at up-and-coming-designer dresses and vintage clothing. Feeling the hipster-happeningness of Prima Donna of Positivity permeating my pores by osmosis, I invested in two vintage Italian handbags that will one day be bequeathed to Mini-Me. Unable to avoid the subject of dinner, and consulting Tastecard we found Loco Mojito where we stuffed Futurestar and Mini-Me's faces with burrito and nachos at 50% off. What's more, Prima Donna of Positivity and I got our cocktail after all. We took pictures of the kids which were photobombed by a well-meaning guy having dinner with his misses behind us.

Poorly planned but perfectly executed; it was a wonderfully chilled day that was surely Meant To Be.

More from the edge at mynotesfromtheedge.blogspot.com. Twitter @appleina

Angelina runs Sing and Sign award-winning baby signing classes in Harrow, Bushey and Rickmansworth. www.singandsign.com.


Monday, 12 May 2014

In praise of Real Housewives. Wherever they are.

Bla. This is the first day of the rest of my life. Bla bla. Many drips will eventually fill a jug. Bla bla bla. Eckhart Tolle says stay in the present and all is well.

Insert any other platitude you have read on facebook lately, turn it upside down and you will come to my current way of thinking which is: Nope. I can't do anything. Nothing I can do is worth anything. I will never do anything. I will only talk about doing things. And I will talk about doing things AFTER I have spent half an hour reading The Guardian on my phone; BEFORE I send my emails that I'm supposed to send for Sing and Sign and AFTER I have streamed the latest episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Except not that. Because the season is over and I am somewhat bereft with the rude departure of Nene, Phaedra, Kenya, Cynthia, Kandi et al from my life. They had become part of my extended family and their weekly visits never failed to cheer me when I was having a Bla moment.

No longer do mine ears delight in their colourful Atlant(ic?) vernacular that paints my inner commentary with its myriad rainbow hues, and swear beeps. But the memory of these high achieving women lives on in my heart and in my mind. Just today I was reminiscing about last season's conflict between Phaedra (a well-known celebrity lawyer) and Kenya (former Miss America - or Maybe Miss USA I can't remember) and their competing bottom-shaping excercise dvds. Phaedra's was called "Donkey Bootie", whilst Kenya's was termed "Stallion Bootie". I called this "Star-arse Wars". Incidentally, I'm about to release my own excercise dvd, callled "Cow Bootie". It comes with a special bonus feature: "How to achieve an udderly beautiful bust" and a free packet of Hob Nobs.

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is also over. I realised that I was talking about it too much when Midi-Me made this Mothers Day card for me back in March, complete with pop-up bit on front:

All I have left is New York. That only started a month ago or so. I have a couple of months left of that at least. My favourite character in RHONY is Carole Radziwill. She seems to have her head half screwed on and is a journalist and writer (of course). After suffering a terrible loss, she wrote a book called What Remains which I have not read yet but will. Eventually.

Anyway, I don't watch Towie. I don't watch Made in Chelsea. But I do watch Real Housewives. It ACTUALLY brings me JOY. I'm 41. I don't care. I don't have to impress anyone. I love it. It is a form of meditation in that, for 45 minutes, it expels all worries associated with running my own business, looking after my 12 year old and not writing my novel (...although, if I'm ever at a loss for plotlines...)  In those brief and precious televisual moments, I focus purely on the present. 

Eckhart Tolle would surely approve.