Nigella Lawson has said she never thought she would live to see her 60th birthday.
The celebrity chef – who turned 60 in January – saw her mother, sister and husband all die before they were 50 and said it taught her never to take life for granted.
Lawson told Good Housekeeping of reaching the landmark birthday: ““I’m not a planner – apart from when it comes to food! But to be completely honest, I’ve never been able to take for granted that I’d be alive by this age.
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“My mother died at 48 and my sister at 32. And then John [Diamond, her late husband] at 47. So, even if I were the sort of person who planned ahead, I don’t think I would have seen myself here.”
Lawson’s mother died of liver cancer in 1985 when the TV star was just 25. Her sister Thomasina died from breast cancer in 1993, and her first husband, journalist John Diamond, died from throat cancer in 2001.
Lawson added: “I kind of think you can’t do anything about it [ageing] so why complain?
“I also know what the alternative is, so it feels wrong when you’ve been surrounded by people who have died young to say ‘My hair’s awful, I’ve got to get my roots done’ or ‘My hands look like lizards’.
“So I don’t dwell on it. As long as you’re healthy, that really is the most important thing.”
And as the whole country faces an uncertain Christmas with the prospect of lockdown restrictions limiting how many of their family they can spend it with, Lawson is just looking forward to good food at home.
She said she is planning: “Being with my children, a lot of cooking, a lot of eating and lots of lying about. I love watching films with them and I enjoy not having things in the timetable.
“I’m also a bit clichéd and like having the fire burning and lots of tealights and fairy lights. It’s about turning my home into this cocooning, magical place where it feels a bit different from the rest of the year.”
Watch: Mum of three Jen shows you how to make simple three-ingredient pizza with the kids