When I first started my business five years ago, I was regularly told by people 'oh you can be the Nigella of chocolate!". My response would normally be flattery and amazement. Yes, I am Jewish, I do have dark hair, I am curvy (considerably curvier than Nigella) and am extremely passionate about food and chocolate in particular. However, these similarities are on a much smaller scale. I'm only 5.2 to start and still at the very beginning of building a (hopefully) successful business, so I have much to aspire to still.
Nigella has always been a wonderful role model for me and certainly someone I have aspired to be like, and never more so than recently with the announcement of her divorce.
I will never forget the first time I saw her cooking show on television. We were living in South Florida then and watched her on BBC America 11 years ago. In a part of the world that revered mainly cookie cutter images of blond, long haired, skinny and surgically enhanced women, It was incredible to finally see a real beautiful woman on television, who not only looked amazing, but demonstrated so much passion and love for cooking. I was hooked of course and delighted to finally see someone I could relate to on telly.
Around three years ago I even managed to meet Nigella at a Faber & Faber book launch in London and my admiration has only grown. She is stunningly beautiful in real life, less curvy and more perfectly formed and very approachable. She was warm and friendly and was very gracious in accepting one of my chocolate making kits that I thrust upon her.
Since then sadly, we have even more in common. I too am going through a difficult separation and divorce but the difference here is immense. Seeing how quickly she was able to obtain a decree nisi and progress relatively easily towards a decree absolute has made me admire her even more. She is independently wealthy and as such is able to walk away with her head held high and not have to go through any further legal wrangling over financial matters.
Unlike Nigella, I am unable to get a 'quickie' divorce, I am dependent on my ex-husband for financial support for myself and my children and having to negotiate a settlement is one of the most humiliating and frustrating things I have ever had to experience. The negotiations will take weeks if not months, delaying the inevitable and compounding all the pain of the separation. My only lesson from this is to ensure that I teach my daughters to be more like Nigella and maintain financial independence in any relationship they have. I realise she is in a very different financial position to begin with than most of us, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't also keep some money separate for ourselves and retain some financial independence at all cost. It's a huge lesson and I have never wished I was more like Nigella than now.