Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Another year, another birthday: Escape from Shepherd’s Bush.

Mummy on the Edge
Families North West London
Jan/Feb 2017



Many years ago (everything is a blur), I started writing a novel. A minor strand included a ridiculously inconceivable reality TV show called “Bed the Celeb”, the premise of which was that a number of plebs were marooned on a desert island with a d-list celeb and the winner was the one that did. And then whaddya know, Celebrity Love Island was born on ITV. (I know, you are blown away by my unparalleled prescience but where am I going with this in a magazine about kids. Stay with me...)

An equally preposterous strand that I could have myself invented ten years ago in the plot of a dystopian novel set in 2017 (had I got ON my backside and actually written a whole one) is the idea of an Escape Room as an immersive entertainment experience. Picture it: Donald Trump has been elected Governor of Texas or somewhere (-even I would never have guessed POTUS). Spoilt kids, addicted to little portable flat-screens, bored with reality, choose to be locked in a room and made to solve clues, find keys and decode erm… codes in order to escape.

Has the world gone mad?! Well, yes, it has. And have I, that I should spend money on this for Midi-Me and her friends? Yes but only partially, coz I got a deal on Groupon.

And before purchasing the offer, I carried out an extensive cost vs benefit analysis on turning my entire house into a multi-layered escape room: I could lock them in the bathroom leaving them to polish all surfaces of congealed toothpaste and they would be released once they had figured out how to use the electronic weighing scale that has 3 buttons, the pressing of none of which currently makes the machine tell me how much I weigh when I stand on it. Next, my bedroom. The task? To decipher manufacturing codes on all skin care and make up, throw away anything more than 3 years old and arrange all remaining items by colour with no gaps in the Muji drawers provided. Next, Midi-Me’s bedroom. Change sheets (including hospital corners) and duvet cover, organise bookshelf alphabetically and locate missing bank card. Et cetera around the rest of the house.

Anyway, this wouldn’t have worked for me because it would have required too much effort. I’m the type of person who has to pre-clean for an hour before the cleaner arrives and she still shakes her head as she enters. Having Midi-Me’s friends searching every dusty corner and top shelf for clues would send me over the edge. Escape room, here, take my money.  


Keep walking down Uxbridge Road away from Westfield and the tube station and as you pass the newish chain restaurants and the market, you edge closer to the less salubrious end of Shepherd’s Bush, where a drunk might (and did) whisper in your ear as they pass you, dancing to the beat of their own footsteps. This is the location of Escape London (escape-london.co.uk). The girls descended the stairs behind the black door and quickly shoved their stuff in the lockers provided. Nice Young Chap gave them safety spiel and basic instructions before locking them in the room which is serviced by two cameras.  

I sat in front of the CCTV next to Nice Young Chap, scoffing my Lebanese pastry, sipping tea, and chortling at the incompetence of Midi-Me and her friends rattling drawers, rummaging through papers and tapping keys on a manual typewriter. Every time they got stuck they had to wave at the camera and Nice Young Chap would feed them a part-answer which would appear on a screen inside the room. I felt like Big Brother. I wanted to grab the mic and say in my best Geordie accent “Midi-Me, you have been evicted. Please leave the room.” But there wasn’t one. By the time they had finished, I was qualified for a job at GCHQ. The girls escaped only with lots of help and some extra minutes. (So much for all the verbal and non-verbal reasoning skills they supposedly acquired during the 11-plus.)

The Da Vinci Room was tricky for these 14/ 15 year olds but they had a blast. If you plan to go with younger children you should probably opt for the Area 51 room and possibly go in with them (max 6 people).

Alternatively, you could always lock them in your kitchen.

On the radio Thursdays from 10am to midday on www.thepulsehr.uk *facebook.com/angelinamelwani * twitter @appleina * mynotesfromtheedge.blogspot.com *Instagram @mynotesfromtheedge *

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Angelina’s Dessert Island Discs Episode 1 – Sylvi Hussain

The Pulse Hospital Radio listen live Thursdays 10 to Midday

I still remember the occasion of my first driving lesson. With my driving instructor (a retired policeman) sat next to me, I turned the engine on, took my foot off the brake and immediately crumpled into convulsions of hysterical laughter. The instructor later told me that in all his years he had never seen that reaction before. When I finally stopped laughing and driving, I was overwhelmed. I thought: There’s no way I can look in all these directions, check all my mirrors and drive at the same time. By myself. There are so many things to remember – it’s impossible! 

Well. Learning how to produce and present a radio show is like learning to drive a car. I did master it in the end and my reverse parallel parking is now… unparalleled. I’m being kind to myself by reminding myself that any new skill takes time and practice to avoid forgetting things. 

With that caveat I bring you Angelina’s Dessert Island Discs Episode 1 – Sylvi Hussain.

The knowledgable and velvet-voiced Sylvi introduces us to the world of Life Coaching. What is a life coach? Who can benefit from coaching? What does it take to become a life coach? Along the way, we listen to a few of her favourite tracks and find out what they mean to her. I forgot to press record so we start 30 minutes in but that still leaves you with an hour and a half of Sylvi's wisdom, good advice, brilliant professional insight and of course her excellent music taste to clean the kitchen to. 

I also forgot to mention Sylvi’s contact details, so if you want to follow or contact her, you can do so as follows: 
Email Address: sylvi@sylvihussain.com Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sylvihussain/ 
Twitter: @hussain_sylvi 
Instagram: sylvihussain 

Why Angelina’s Dessert Island Discs? Because my guests are not only choosing the songs they wish to take with them but the dessert that will serve as the only sustenance on this particular island that I’m marooning them on, forever… or until they are rescued. Enjoy, share the love and do join me next week! 

A x

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Angelina and Midi-Me go on a bear hunt. (Well, a walk.)

Mummy on the Edge
Families North West London
Jan/Feb 2017


It was the kind of gorgeous, sunny winter morning that would be photographed, superimposed with a corny platitude in a cool typeface and posted on Instagram. As we ate our hipster brunch of seeded toast, topped with spinach, parmesan, fried egg and chilli oil, in our sundrenched living room, my body tingled with let’s-do-somethingness and a cloud of fomo loomed large over my brow daring me to waste this gift of a day.

“How about a long walk,” suggested Midi-Me. I stared at her suspiciously and continued to chew my spinach. Not usually so enthusiastic about long-distance activity, Midi-Me had just signed up to the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award at school. It’s basically about trekking and plotting a course and eating cold beans and camping overnight in the back of beyond. I am guilty of neither lessoning nor encouraging her in this area of… I don’t even know what it’s called… outwardboundedness?? I feel this remissness on my part, I feel it deeply. Therefore I felt pressured to yield to her desire; my interpretation involved a pub linner (that’s an early dinner) and going somewhere not Bushey (where we live). “Let’s go to the Cotswolds! They’re far-ish but near-ish aren’t they?” No sooner than Midi-Me had agreed to this, I remembered we couldn’t leave the house till 1 as someone was coming over in the morning.

“I think it will take too long to get to the Cotswolds. How about the Chiltern Hills? They’re a bit nearer, I think.”  I consulted the google, looking at all manner of council and walking websites on the way that detailed walks with difficulty, the time they would take, and the area covered in each walk. The walks were long. And distant.

“Erm, I think it’s going to take too long to get to the Chilterns and we need to be back by nightfall. I need to be a responsible mother.”

And this continued. I looked at Lea Valley, which turned out to be further away than the Chilterns and then at Colne Valley. The area of our theoretical walk appeared to be diminishing concentrically, towards our house at its centre.

“I think we’re going to end up doing 3 laps of the garden, mum,” sighed Midi-Me.

We parked at Harrow View Point on Old Redding which is on top of a hill not far from our house and provides views across London. I would drive Midi-Me here to look at other people’s fireworks when she was little. It’s a place where snogging couples hang out. I’ve just looked it up on the google and someone has put in their review “It's like a movie scene right out of California.” Well no, not quite, but it’s no bad place to park your car before you commence an adventure.

On my little phone I had bookmarked the two really terrible maps I had found online of the 7km Bentley Wood Circular Walk, which would, in 2 and a half hours take us into the woods (da-da da-da, that we have daily over fourteen years driven straight past) from Grims Dyke down past Stanmore Hill and back past Bentley Wood High. We role played. Midi-Me was James Bond and I was James Bond’s sidekick who he finds out is his mother after she dies. I died pretty early on and then became myself as I couldn’t be bothered to role play. We chatted. We marvelled at nature. We sang Proclaimers songs. Midi Me got us to Stanmore Cricket Ground and then I panicked as the sun started to set and insisted we abandon the map and the woods in favour of getting back intact before darkness. To this day I don’t understand the route we finally took. It involved roads and also dipping back into the woods in search of shortcuts and then doubling back on ourselves when we couldn’t find anything except impenetrable trees. I shouted a few times (and may have stamped my foot) to make Midi-Me listen to me. (I know. I’m not proud of that.) By the time we returned to the car it actually felt like we had walked 5 hundred miles and 5 hundred more. But at least I redeemed myself on the outwardboundedness front.



Join me on the radio!! Thursdays from 10am to midday on www.thepulsehr.uk. Send your song requestst to: facebook.com/angelinamelwani * twitter @appleina * mynotesfromtheedge.blogspot.com *Instagram @mynotesfromtheedge *

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Playlist for Thursday 12 Jan 2016

How's this for a pic n mix of tunes to transport a forty-something back to her salad days when a packet of crisps was 12p?! 10 - 12midday every Thursday on The Pulse HR. Listen on the TuneIn app or HERE:  (Please excuse haphazard lack of capital letters.)

Lisa lisa - I wonder if I take you home
Janet Jackson - Nasty
Joyce sims - come in to my life
Loose Ends - hanging on a string
Terence Trent D’arby
Ashford and Simpson - Solid
Imagination - Body Talk
Shannon - Let the music play
Mantronix Got to have your love
Nu Shooz l- I can’t wait
Maxi Priest - close to you
Cheryl Lynn- Got to be real
Oletta Adams
U2 - Still haven’t found
Culture Club - Victims
Bjork - play dead
Simple Minds - Don’t you forget about me
Madonna - Borderline
Tears For Fears - Mad World
Luther Vandross - If only for one night
Kylie Minogue Where the Wild Roses Grow
Elton John - Your song
Belinda Carlisle - I feel free
Stranglers - Golden Brown
Bananarama-Cruel summer
David Bowie - Life on Mars
David Bowie - Modern Love
Queen - Killer Queen
Neneh Cherry -Woman’s world
Duran Duran - save a prayer
Billy Joel - Allentown
UB40 - Don’t break my heart
Pet Shop Boys - What have i done
Scritti Politi
The Police - So Lonely
Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Two tribes
Howard Jones - new song
Billy Idol - Eyes without a face
Abba - Slipping through my fingers
Janis Lan/ Ian - At seventeen



Train of thought on today's events.

I read this http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/veteran-spy-gave-fbi-info-alleging-russian-operation-cultivate-donald-trump at the end of October last year. Why is it only just coming out now and why is everyone acting surprised? They sat on this info and let the election happen without releasing it.

This whole showergate thing is good for Trump. Looking at twitter this morning, looks like it’s just be something else for everyone to laugh at and will detract from any present deals/ appointments/ changes/ repeals he's announcing. And it’s possible that it won't lead to any real consequences for him. If this is all they had over him, it wasn't much, really, in and of itself. I don't believe he would actually give a toss about it. We could assume that now it's out, it reduces Putins leverage but maybe it's just a bait and switch distraction. The world thinks that's all there is so the heat is off him. However they probably have something far more powerful in the bank to keep him acting in their favour. How he gets his kicks doesn’t really matter to me. What matters is the mentality of someone who is doing it out of pure venom for a perceived “enemy”- as Richard Branson said when he was recounting a lunch he had with Trump (http://edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2016/10/25/rciahrd-branson-entrepreneur-erin-burnett-out-front.cnn).  

Also, as several people have stated on twitter: "The scandal isn't about pissing on a bed. The scandal is treason. And Russia, via Donald, pissing on the world."

"It's simple. Getting gratification from a kink - Not bad  Paying women to defile a bed a man you're obsessed with once slept in - Very bad"



I'm not shocked at all. It's not even making me laugh as this whole thing has turned me into a humourless freestanding shoe cupboard. I can just about do what I'm supposed to in terms of storing a certain amount of pairs of shoes. But I now feel like someone has tried to stuff too many pairs piled up untidily upon each other and it's too much. The door won't shut properly; random individual shoes keep falling out and being stuffed back in. I cannot, as a self-respecting shoe cupboard that needs to stay mentally on point to deal with a daughter that I have brought up and deposited into the world through no fault of her own, serviceably  engage with any more shoes. In this way my usually capacious appetite for digestion of current affairs (of all flavours variously- bonkers, disastrous, tragic) is impaired. I'm turning away when I shouldn't be. I shouldn't be burying my head in the collective bosom of of Real Housewives in active avoidance of engaging with current affairs. This scares me.