Feminist Lessons From Nadiya Hussein


I’m never going to put boundaries on myself ever again.

I’m never going to say “I can’t do it”.

I’m never going to say “maybe”.

I’m never going to say “I don’t think I can”

I can and I will.

– Nadiya Hussein

This is for anyone out there who doubts themselves, who worries they’re not good enough or they’re not living the life they should be. For anyone who measures themselves against others, who frets their lives aren’t like Instagram or doesn’t feel like the perfect mother. For anyone who feels unmotivated, uninspired, talentless, who doesn’t know which step to take next. For anyone who thinks Mercury in Retrograde and the changing seasons are getting to them or is feeling rubbish because they had their first ever car accident this week (just me then?)

The way Nadiya reacted to winning last night’s Bake Off final touched me in a way I haven’t remembered feeling in ages. I think it was a story that all women can identify with; going into a situation feeling as if you don’t deserve to be there and slowly earning your confidence. It’s happened to me as a mum, at work and at home. And will continue to happen to us as women way more than it should.

Sometimes when you look around you it seems that everyone is so much more successful than you. That colleague with the bags of confidence or the school mum who always looks immaculate at 8.30am. But remember – those who shout the loudest are not the most successful, they are just more vocal. I can guarantee for every good hair day you covet at the school gates there’s someone else thinking the same about you. If you believe you’re a failure as a parent because your 5 year old doesn’t sleep through the night know that you’re not – mine doesn’t either, but we just don’t talk about it. 

My friend Laura Jane Williams has the most perfect tagline to her blog that I think sums up how to be a modern woman brilliantly: “basically none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what I’m trying to say.” It’s something I try to think about every day, when I wonder what I’m doing in life, where I’m going or just basically WTF. Nadya’s story on the Bake Off should be a lesson to all of us who have ever felt like we’re fucking up – by imposing our own boundaries and saying “I can’t” we are only hurting ourselves.

You are successful, that is a great hair day, you are a wonderful mum. Don’t doubt it.

And come on now, if Nadiya made Mary Berry cry you know this woman is the real deal.

Next time let’s say, “I can and I will”. Who’s with me?


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  1. Karlyn wrote:

    Hear hear!! I cried buckets last night as every word rang true with me!
    I’m with you?x

    Posted 10.8.15 Reply
  2. Lori wrote:

    Such a good post and so true, it all comes down to self belief, something i’m actively pushing myself to learn and believe. Even then I hear myself saying why can’t I think this, why can’t I ….(insert whatever the f*@k i’m supposed to be insterting here)and then I think how about I just say yep actually that’s ok. Totally loved hearing (most) of the headlines of the GBB winner – obviously not that ridiculous one in the DM – but yay to women saying they can everywhere. x

    Posted 10.8.15 Reply
  3. Pen wrote:

    Great morning read. We hold ourselves back too often by telling ourselves we can’t and that we are not good enough. It’s all in the mind. I am reading Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘lean in’ at the moment. It’s good.

    Posted 10.9.15 Reply
  4. Karin Joyce wrote:

    What a wonderful post! And what a JOY dear Nadiya is! I cried actual tears when she won and that speech…well, all the feels.
    I really need to embrace my inner Nadiya!

    Karin xx

    Posted 10.9.15 Reply
  5. Sarah-Louise Kelly wrote:

    This blog post has set me off crying in work! Beautifully said, as was her lovely speech.

    This was excellent timing for me, thank you.


    Posted 10.9.15 Reply
  6. Katy wrote:

    Great post! I loved watching Nadiya win GBBO and hearing her thoughts about the process. I can really identify with suffering from ‘imposter-syndrome’ – not feeling qualified enough, talented enough, skillful enough etc etc. Something to reflect on and try to be more self aware about so thanks for the reminder x

    Posted 10.9.15 Reply
  7. Natasha wrote:

    What an inspiring read, I’m with you!! Xx

    Posted 10.10.15 Reply
  8. Pamela Ancer wrote:

    Great blog! I’m with you :)

    Posted 10.10.15 Reply
  9. Claire wrote:

    After seeing the reaction to her win, I’m feeling a bit sad that I haven’t managed to watch one GBBO this season. I’ve read lots about it and this message is inspiring! I feel like I’m F*in up all the time at the moment, so will carry this message on board! Great post! x

    Posted 10.11.15 Reply
  10. Laura wrote:

    I really need to inject some positive thoughts into my daily wake up and will be getting up each day saying – “I can and I will”

    Laura x

    Posted 10.12.15 Reply
  11. Honest mum wrote:

    Thanks for letting me know about this, like you I was so moved at her win (I only watched it on Catch Up the other night) so although I knew she’d won, I didn’t expect to feel so touched-I weeped. The fact she said she thought there was a mistake when she won resonated, particularly when I wrote my recent post.

    Posted 10.12.15 Reply