Monday 1 January 2007

Mummy on the Edge Families Magazine Jan/ Feb 2007

Angelina Melwani on embarrassing gadgets, clearing crap and panache-ful event planning.

“Happy”, “new”, “year”. God, don’t those words fill you with dread and fear? Can’t you just taste the disappointment of thousands of unfulfilled dreams and hopes, pushed back by months to this very point in time? As if assigning them to January is any assurance that they will come to fruition? I blame the Sunday supplements with their diets and de-toxes and botoxes. We make these New Year’s Resolutions (so important that they deserve capital initials,) cogitate and confabulate on them and then, like the uneaten gozho berries that we rushed out to buy coz Sunday Times Style Magazine said they were gonna change our lives, they wither, fester and die before our very eyes.

I’m the guiltiest of all. This is the year that I will be offered a 6 figure publishing deal on the strength of my as yet unfinished novel, develop an intelligent understanding of all world conflicts, reduce my carbon footprint by half, secure a regular column in a national paper, run the marathon (ok, do a long sponsored walk) achieve nirvana by way of daily meditation and locate my inner Nigella (I know she’s in here somewhere – what is she but a mutant anagram of Angelina?) But resolutions are like plants; you need to tend them, nurture and feed them in order for them to prosper.


In terms of turning my home into that which would suit a domestic goddess and her mini-me, a little Spring cleaning would not go amiss i.e. getting rid of crap… ergh. Coz it’s no mean feat when you have great heaving piles of it. Mini-me has just about reached the elevated understanding that she cannot keep every tissue-paper-and glue asphyxiated being, mummified in sellotape, that she brings home from Reception, even if each has been attached to a lolly stick and named with love. So it is me with my ingrained habits and unfortunate predilection for unsuitability that is the problem. Seeing crap for what it is, is the first step…

In one of her regular debriefings, my oracle (aka Best Friend Fashion Buyer) advised me to stop seeking short term solutions. Actually, what she said was, “Stop buying crap. For God’s sake, woman, when are you going to learn, no electrical item is going to change your life!” Okay, I admit I have made some unfortunate purchasing decisions under the misapprehension that they may make my life better. For example the electrical ab toner which, at the time of purchase around 8 years ago was going to make my tummy indistinguishable from that of the then 16 year old Britney Spears; the home electrolysis machine, (the less said about that the better); most recently, purchased from Argos (!), a home laser hair removal machine (I returned that, terrified after pondering on the dizzyingly infinite scope for irreparable self-harm - that, and it was making a very dodgy humming noise). Not to mention my life-changing-phone-gadget-thingy which was going to streamline my workload by allowing me to reply to Sing and Sign e-mails and check availability while on the move - this turned out to be incompatible with AOL and hence pointless, not to mention unnecessarily bulky. (Hmm, pattern here… incompatible, pointless and bulky, much like corpulent, despotic ex.)

There is one recent acquirement, however, that I will not be consigning to the dump. It fits in the palm of my hand, runs on batteries and after five minutes of use provides instant gratification . It hasn’t quite changed my life, but my sweater bobble remover has saved my wardrobe. I no longer look like I’ve been sleeping under a bridge when I pull on my favourite knitwear... Actually I probably still do but it’s not the knitwear that lets me down, just my messy hair and dark circles.


And so, on to the next Big Deal. For me it is Mini-Me’s 5th birthday party to which she had already invited about 35 people by the end of September of last year. Planning this party is a breakdown-inducing task of epic proportion. Organising a military coup in Thailand would be easier. However I am clinging to the vain hope that my inner Nigella is about to make an appearance and help me plan with panache. I’m going to attempt a traditional jelly & ice cream party like we used to have when we were kids; pass the parcel, musical chairs and Lazy Town CD disco. Mini-Me will enjoy this much more (I, much less) and it will provide her with fond memories that she will cherish in years to come. Ok, basically, it’s much cheaper than a play centre. Dunno yet, but depending on my state of fragility nearer the time I might draft in a magician at the last minute. Assuming, of course, corpulent despot hasn’t bled me dry by then. We shall see.

And now, I will leave you with the words of those wise sages of yore (a.k.a. Abba), “Gimme, gimme, gimme a man for the midnight”. No, that’s not right, is it? That would be fab, but what I meant was, “Happy new year, happy new year!”.