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Yes, that's right. We are VERY excited to reveal that that Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain is our new blogger!
As huge (and well documented) Bake Off fans, we loved to watch Nadiya from the very beginning, with her amazing sense of humour (and facial expressions!), incredible baking creativity and seeing her grow in confidence every week - she was always the winner in our eyes (see 18 reasons Nadiya was always going to be the winner of GBBO, if you don't believe us!).
We'll also be featuring an exclusive recipe from Nadiya every month, which you can see first in our sister magazine, Essentials - so WATCH THIS SPACE!
This month, Nadiya gives us a peek into her now super hectic baking schedule (and what she has still baked for fun!), her plans to budge the 7lb she put on in the Bake Off tent and what happened when she took her family ice skating for the first time in 12 years...
'Since life has changed so much, I have learned some things go to plan and other times they don't. But persevere. Always persevere.'
I have spent the last few weeks baking and typing. Then typing and baking. Then baking, more typing and then baking again. So it has been a month of repeating the same things over and over again. But it has been a month of possibilities and dreams, slowly flourishing. I am writing my cook book that will be out in June 2016, so working very hard on what is the biggest dream come true.
'They just wanted what they wanted, and they wanted brownies!'
I have been baking for work, but I have also been baking for pleasure - mainly because my very disgruntled brother and sons had me cornered. They wanted me to bake their favourite chocolate raspberry puddle brownies. Although they have loved all the other fancy things adorning the kitchen tops, they just wanted what they wanted, and they wanted brownies!
I have had the best time tinkering away in my kitchen and I have spread myself out all over the house. My family has benefitted from the fruits of my labour, as has my lovely agent, Anne - in fact, we had a great lunch at her house with her family. She is my agent but she is also my friend and we have realised our love for getting stuff done has made us a match made in heaven, not to mention we can talk about food all day, every day, between every meeting!
As I have been lucky enough to have had a few days off, I now have bags of fudge wrapped in cellophane and tied in ribbon waiting to be delivered. I have just made a dozen cookie and cream cupcakes, with an Oreo base, chocolate cake, cream cheese vanilla frosting, a cookie crumb, topped with half a cookie.
'The kids had a blast and were like adorable little bambis on the ice'
One of the best things I have done this month is taken my kids ice skating at Westfield in London. I have not had a great deal of time with them recently. Our time together has been sporadic, short and sweet, so it was lovely to take them skating and spend some time on them and spoil them for being so patient with me. It has been 12 years since I skated so it was a miracle that I didn't fall flat on my face or worse still, my bottom! The kids had a blast and were like the most adorable bambis on the ice. We had laughter, tears and some very nervous faces.
I have a to-do list the length of my arm and I am ploughing through. I had a house ready to buy and that fell through, so that's another thing on the list. I also need to start working out some time soon and take off the 7lbs I put on in the tent. I would love to plan a much deserved holiday for my family to say thank you for putting up with my madness; my late night baking, my sporadic shopping trips and my awful sense of humour. Since life has changed so much, I have learned some things go to plan and other times they don't. But persevere. Always persevere. I might even catch up on some sleep soon. I mean look at these guys. I want to be driven AND sleep!