The former GBBO winner - who is now happily married to husband Abdal Hussain - shares her secret to a great relationship, three kids later.
What is the secret to a happy marriage? It’s probably the same for every relationship – nothing is 50/50. If you’re always trying to balance the scales, you’re always going to be fighting each other. At some point in your relationship, somebody is always going to be giving a little bit more and somebody a little bit less, but as long as you’ve got the full 100% together, who cares who’s giving more and who’s giving less?
How do you relax? After a really long day, my husband will text me and say, “Do you need to wash the day off?” It means I need to get all my clothes off, take all my make-up and jewellery off, switch my phone off and get in a bubble bath with some lavender and Epsom salts. It makes such a difference.
What is your most treasured possession? My wedding rings. Up until about three years ago, we couldn’t really afford “proper” ones – Abdal would just buy me very cheap ones every so often – and I have them all lined up in my jewellery box. Even though I’ve got a more expensive one now, those are the ones that mean the most to me because they each tell a story.
Best decision you’ve ever made? Having a child at the age of 20. I don’t think I thought it through very much, and the reality is that it’s hard; you’re a kid yourself and you’re still learning. But at 33, to have a 12-year-old who gets mistaken for my brother is great – I just go along with it now.
What is your biggest achievement? Keeping the kids alive. When I had my first son, I said to my mum, “So all I have to do is keep him alive?” And she said, “Yes – don’t lose him, feed him and keep him alive” – and you know what? All three of my kids are becoming really lovely human beings and I’m really proud of that.
What does success mean to you today?Going to bed knowing that I may have made a wrong decision, but at least I’m happy. That’s exactly what success feels like.
What is your worst quality? I’m negative central – I always think the worst in any given situation. If I drop a glass and break it or the washing falls off the line, I think “Someone’s going to die today” – there’s no middle ground with me.
What is your greatest fear? Not getting the chance to grow old. There’s so much I want to do still and I desperately want to see my kids have kids. I want to see it all.
What keeps you awake at night?Worrying about things I need to do the next day. When I’ve got a list of things that need doing – it could be the simplest things like the laundry – I just can’t stop thinking about it.
What is the most important life lesson you’ve learnt? Don’t listen to other people – listen to your gut. I’ve spent my whole life trying to take cues from people because I grew up in a society and culture where everyone says, “This is the right thing to do.” So now I tell my kids, “Don’t listen to anyone and when you’re older, if you think I’m wrong, don’t listen to me either.” Sometimes you do get it wrong, but at least you learn and you grow as a human being.
Nadiya’s Family Favourites by Nadiya Hussain (Michael Joseph) is out now.