Wednesday 8 May 2013

Mummy on the Edge

Families NW Mag MAY/ JUNE 2013

Having stayed abroad for five years in pursuit of permanent residency in his chosen country, Mini-Me's father was finally able to return to see her. The happy reunion was at our house and we also met Mini-Me's step-mother for the first time. It was very pleasant and we all went out for lunch together (as one does in that situation. Doesn't one?)

The choice of restaurant was Mini-Me's and she chose Jimmy's World Grill which has recently shared in the creation of Watford's pseudo-gentrified “Met Quarter” along with Carluccio's, Wagamama and a new Nandos. Jimmy's is a huge buffet restaurant that serves Italian, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Mexican, French and any other world cuisine you might care to mention. It's a bit pricey in the evenings and at weekends but during the week it's just £8 for adults and £4 for kids. They have a dosa station, a noodle station and a tandoor oven right there on the floor where they make the lightest, butteriest naan breads to order. (Seriously, it's like eating hot, fluffy clouds and I could just happily stand there eating them as they come out, one after another.)
It is all-you-can-eat, which is a dangerous proposition because people do, which I learned with disastrous consequences the first time I visited, when I stepped in a puddle of freshly prepared child-puke. I consider the fact that it was not so expediently dealt with almost reassuring – hopefully it was not a regular occurrence. The dessert station features a chocolate fountain and ice cream tepanyaki (where they adulterate a perfectly acceptable block of ice cream with unnecessary toppings -glacĂ© cherries and Murray mint anyone?-and bash it to infinity.) I've never been on a cruise but I'm guessing the Jimmy's World Grill experience is not unlike dinner on a cruise ship – minus the Noro Virus (um... hopefully). It's the perfect place to go if your friends all have different tastes in food; or if you happen to be going out with people that you don't really like; or if you are a misanthropic hermit for whom spending prolonged time with other people has proven painful in the past. You can use the pretext of getting more food to leave the table, see? Luckily I didn't need to in the end, but I can't say I wasn't glad to have the option. At the end of our momentous reunion meal, Mini-Me sweetly took her father's hand and mine and kissed them both in succession, saying, “My Daddy; my Mummy,” and, not wanting to leave anyone out, “My Stepmother!” The people on the next table looked amused.

So, overnight Mini-Me was converted from OCAF (only child with absent father) to OCTPFWITHOLO (only child with temporarily present father who is taking her on lots of outings). She had a whirlwind week of tourist activity with her dad and his wife including Madame Tussaud's, London Eye, London Aquarium, We Will Rock You, London Bus Tour, Potted Potter, London Bridge, Covent Garden and goodness knows what else.

While Mini-Me was away on her paternal tourist trail, I treated myself to a solo spa night away at Sopwell House Hotel in St Albans. For £135 it included a full 24 hour's use of the spa facilities, including fitness classes (pilates – stomach killing me now), two 25 minute treatments (mmm...) dinner, breakfast and lunch (totally yum actually). It was rather odd to be without kid, being that she's my best mate as well as my constant companion now (and is the only person that truly understands my lexicon of ding-dongs, doo daas and thingumybobs) but hey, I made it work. I dragged my heavy pool lounger round so that it was in the opposite direction to all the rest and the only one facing the external glass wall so that I could top up my vitamin D. At dinner I sat alone, consuming my delicious beetroot feta salad that I sent back first time because it had no beetroot in it, followed by chicken confit on a bed of hot, melty and delicious risotto. Helpfully, my table was located opposite a column upon which was fixed directly in my line of sight (and just where Mini-Me's fringe would bob) a fire alarm box that now and again flashed appreciatively, as if in response to my witty but tacit commentary.

I can do this, I thought, as I returned to Bushey relaxed and refreshed, ready to face the week ahead sans Mini-Me (sob!)

For more Life on the Edge with Angelina visit Angelina runs Sing and Sign award-winning baby signing classes in Harrow, Bushey and Rickmansworth. More info at