Life After the City!
Working for 20 years of my life, I now find myself no longer working in an office environment around people. This was very difficult to swallow initially as I was very good at my job as a Unix Systems Administrator and Team Leader in the City. I have worked in London for 12 years and eight years in the Midlands prior to that. I used to feel a different person in the workplace where my personality would come though and the praise I would receive when I did something well, would give me a further boost. On top of that, my London employers, a large Oil company were kind enough to allow me to work from home for some of the week allowing me to work around my three kids. This gave me the perfect work/life balance which I treasured but in reality knew this blissful bubble would burst at some point. And it did!
I remember clearly, tears rolling down my cheeks on the Northern Line tube home, clutching a lovely bouquet of flowers given to me by my colleagues oblivious to the fact people were looking at me with confused pity (holding flowers and crying – maybe they thought I was visiting a sick relative!)
Once at home, I struggled to get used to being a full time mum and despite being busy with the kids, I needed something to occupy my mind. I was desperate to mix with other people but felt isolated from other mums at the school gates as I had not managed to mingle and establish a relationship with them previously as I was too busy to stop and chat. However, I was always polite and said hello and spoke to few mums, but because I wasn’t part of the *crowd* I felt I didn’t fit in. Now I was desperate to socialise but it was too late, their mumships (fellow mum friendships!) were already formed and newbies were not welcome, so I thought.
It’s then that I decided that I needed to start doing the things I never had time for before. I started taking my two year old daughter swimming twice a week, going for aquafit myself, meeting a friend (who I befriended at a bus stop, see I am friendly!) regularly for a weekly lunch date, selling my clutter on ebay and getting excited when I made a few quid! Despite all of this, I needed something which was more me and felt like work. Previosly, whilst working, I would come home everyday, have a cuppa and unwind with the kids before cooking a fresh healthy home cooked meal. I am a Muslim Pakistani woman born and bred in the UK so my kids like a mix of foods such as fish and chips as well a lovely chicken jalfrezi. People at work used to ask me how I managed to work then go home and cook a meal but it was no big deal for me as this is what women in our culture did, work or no work. I would time myself on how long I was in the kitchen, aiming to make make it as minimal as possible to give me more time with the kids. I impressed myself (its easy to do!). Based on this, I decided to share my passion and speediness of cooking good healthy food quickly and so www.healthyindianrecipes.co.uk was borne!
Since then, I have posted over 100 recipes, had an article in Eastern Eye newspaper and created and maintained a successful Facebook page. I was over the moon when Cyrus Todiwala (renowned Indian chef, restaurateur and guest chef on Saturday Kitchen) started following me on Twitter two weeks ago! My LinkedIn account has been updated accordingly (being ex-IT I had to do all the social media stuff!). I am now in the process of writing a Kindle book and have a dream of publishing my own book. there is now light at the end of the tunnel, I have a goal and am determined to achieve. Some of the best ideas are borne from boredom and I think this is one of them! Two years on from leaving City work, this has now become my dream and I am determined to make it a reality! If I can do it, anyone can!
My website is: http://hanifaskitchen.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/HealthyIndianRecipes