Since winning Great British Bake Off in 2015, Nadiya Hussain's career has gone from strength to strength with a number of hit TV shows, book deals, and now, a brand new campaign with high-street fashion brand Next.
Despite her success, the 36-year-old is first and foremost a doting mum to three children; sons Musa, 14, Dawud, 13, and daughter, Maryam, ten, whom she shares with husband Abdal.
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The couple, who have been married for nearly 16 years, found themselves among the thousands of parents who have had to navigate through the perils of homeschooling during the three nationwide lockdowns.
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Now, in an exclusive chat with HELLO!, the 36-year-old has opened up about how her family made lockdown life a little bit easier. Reflecting on the past 12 months, she shared: "I think we've all learnt lots of lessons. But equally that being said, we all just want to get back to something that's normal. We don't really know what normal is going to be like anymore after all of this.
"I think in the last five or six years and certainly since having children, it's been go go go as I had my children in quick succession. And now I have realised how my nest is going to leave as quickly as they came into the world."
The celebrity chef has teamed up with Next
Having sacrificed so much this past year, Nadiya believes everyone should be kinder to themselves and give themselves a break. "It's about kind of taking stock of what is around me right now," she explained. "I realised that in the last few years. I've really enjoyed the madness of being at home with them and being able to just stop and say, 'Can I just look at your face for a second?'
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"It's just nice to be able to do that because once we do go back to normal, we are going to go at it. Ten times harder and ten times faster because we're all desperate to go back to normal."
She added: "I just don't know that we're going to remember all the lessons that we've learned. We may forget them very quickly, so I just want to take this opportunity to kind of enjoy my family and my kids because I'm not going to get this moment back again.
Nadiya is a doting mum to three children
"[I'm happy] about the fact that we're all healthy and happy. Hopefully, we will come out the other end better, that's the ideal scenario. So yeah, just spending time with them has been a treasure."
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Asked about homeschooling, Nadiya replied: "For the most part, the boys feel great. They just went off and got on with it. My little girl is ten. She needs a little bit more [help] and she spends a bit more time with me.
"The other two are quite independent. They just go off and do their own thing. They come downstairs, and they make lunch themselves - I don't have to do it.
"What I've loved about having them at home is that they've actually become really confident in the house. They don't rely on me entirely to do everything for them. Homeschooling has not been that bad."
The TV star has been married to Abdal for 16 years
Since her children are slightly older, Nadiya sympathised with those who have younger kids. "I really feel for people who've got really little ones at home right now because keeping them entertained is really tough."
With the house now constantly full, date nights for Nadiya and her husband Abdal have taken a backseat. "That's a no-go," she said when quizzed about finding some time alone with her partner. "I want to say that it's almost impossible because the boys are a lot older now, so their bedtimes are a lot later."
But once lockdown is over, the mum-of-three will never say no to a date again. "I've got to say one thing I've learned is that when we used to have date nights before, we would go out once a month - if that - we'd go out once a month together and even then I would be riddled with guilt," she shared.
Nadiya has showed off her favourite footwear
"I would feel so bad for leaving the kids behind or leaving them at my sisters' or leaving them with a babysitter. I feel really guilty and that's what I said to my husband. I said never again, I'm never going to feel guilty again.
"The time we spend together is so important for us to create a happy home for our kids, we have to be happy. That means spending time together without the children and that is so valuable. I've definitely learned that this time around and that's quite nice because I still quite like my husband which isn't that bad, I think that's pretty good."
Meanwhile, Nadiya has found herself busy during the latest lockdown. She has partnered with Next to curate the 'Nadiya Forever Comfort Shoe Edit', featuring her favourite pieces from their footwear collection.
The more comfortable the shoe, the better
"I kind of like the affordability and comfort of these shoes," she noted. "I remember as soon as I had children, we would naturally just go to Next to buy their shoes, clothes, and things like that, because you get really good quality for a really good price. They have the styles and colours. I love shoes, so to be able to do a shoe edit with them is pretty cool."
The Nadiya Forever Comfort shoe edit comprises 11 pairs of shoes, trainers and boots that will all fit seamlessly into your Spring wardrobe. Available in sizes 3-9 and ranging from £29-£60, all styles contain Next's Forever Comfort padding, ultra soft feel cushioning and dual-layer foam padding under foot to absorb impact and soften each step you make!
The TV star is a whizz in the kitchen
"I love heels but whenever I wear them I kind of think about the situation and I ask myself, 'Would I be standing up loads?'" the TV star remarked. "If it's a situation where I'm sitting down loads, I'm happy to wear heels, but I always have a pair of comfortable shoes with me for the switchover."
But lockdown has meant no heels for Nadiya. "I don't think I’ve worn shoes properly for the past year," she revealed. "But it does make you realise actually, especially after having children, it's hard to find - well for me as a mum - I struggled to find comfortable shoes that don't suit my style and that's been the tricky thing.
"That's why I'm doing this shoe edit. It has been a lot of fun because you get the comfort as well as the style and you don't compromise on either."
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