ME…. AND MY HOUSEKEEPING! with Mishal Husain
BBC news presenter starts her early shifts with coffee, enjoys weeding and always carries cardamoms in her handbag
Mishal Husain lives in north London with her husband Meekal, who is a solicitor, and their three sons.
How tidy is your house?
I have different standards for the children’s rooms and my own. I like theirs to be tidy and the communal parts of the house to be organised. But my own desk and clothes are often in a mess. They tend to be the things I don’t get around to.
What is your signature dish?
Sadly for my waistline, it’s probably cheesecake. Or shortbread – I like a recipe that includes some rice flour.
Cook for friends or eat out?
Ideally both but neither happens as much as I would like, largely because of my working hours, which usually involve being in the newsroom late or having a 3am start the next day. I have got more used to the hours over time but when the alarm goes off at 3am, I always feel a bit sick.
What food could you not live without?
Apples, satsumas or clementines and cheese. Plus, in my handbag, I always carry a little pouch of cardamoms – very much a South Asian habit, I think, and I like the taste.
Who are your dream party guests, living or dead?
I would probably go right back to the 16th and 17th centuries and invite figures from the Mughal dynasty in India, including Mumtaz Mahal, who inspired the building of the Taj Mahal, Nur Jahan, another empress, and Emperor Akbar. They presided over a diverse empire with subjects of many religions. It would be fascinating to speak to them. Give us a tip to save time… I dread packing, so I keep a travel handbag ready with everything I would need on a plane.
What’s the best bargain you have ever found?
I love a bargain. I always try to make use of three-for-two offers when I do grocery shopping online. However, I suspect some of these might not
turn out to be bargains after all.
What is your health motto?
To live in hope that one day I will do the right amount of exercise for my health. The only exercise I have ever enjoyed is cycling, and I used to cycle to work. I know I should do more – I can’t rely on running around the park like I did when the boys were younger. They’re more in the age of Fortnite online video game now.
Where is your happy place?
A hotel we have been to in the Bavarian Alps for the last few years. It is in such a beautiful location – you gaze out on the mountains and can walk to the lakes. I get a huge feeling of peace being there.
What did your parents teach you?
They gave me a love of books, and taught me the importance of education and to be open to the world around me.
What advice will you hand down?
To treat others as you would like to be treated. If we all did that, the world would be a happier place.
What do you always have in your cupboard?
Earl Grey tea bags. I usually start the day with a cup, except on an early shift, when I have a cappuccino as soon as I get to work – that hits the spot.
What is your biggest extravagance?
Theatre tickets. There are great things to see in London, and I try to make the most of that.
What always lifts you out of a mood?
A great fragrance. It doesn’t have to be a perfume – the scent of a lovely hand cream called Farmers’ Welsh Lavender gives me an instant boost.
Are you a hoarder or do you throw things away?
Somewhere in between. I fight hoarding but I am not as clutter-free as I would like to be.
What is your favourite household task?
I quite like weeding because the results are immediately apparent and satisfying. ◆ The Skills: From First Job To Dream Job, What Every Woman Needs To Know by Mishal Husain (Fourth Estate) is out now
When the alarm goes off at three in the morning, I always feel a bit sick