Nigella Lawson tells of fears as a mother

Nigella Lawson

TV cook Nigella Lawson has insisted that she is no domestic goddess.

The star, 52, is back with a new BBC2 series, Nigellissima, inspired by the time that she lived in Florence before going to university.

But she said that the domestic goddess tag, which took off after she published How To Be A Domestic Goddess in 2000, did not really suit her.

Lawson, who married art collector Charles Saatchi in 2003, told the Radio Times: "I am messy... Charles says to me that I turn everything into a student doss house. But you can't have two messy people living together."

The TV cook, who had two children, Cosima, now 18, and Bruno, 16, with her first husband John Diamond, told the magazine that she suffered from anxieties about her role as a mother.

"People who don't have children imagine that their whole lives would be all right if they had children but they don't realise that having children gives you lots of problems; one is constantly worried," she said.

"Also I think it's impossible to be a mother without a huge sense of failure. Not that I think of my children as failures. I think they're wonderful, but one is always aware of what one isn't doing right.

"I was really helped by a friend recently because I was thinking, 'Oh God, I'm not strict enough', and also it's quite difficult... John having died, obviously I overcompensate."

She said: "What I feel with all of them - because I've got three, really, with Phoebe, my stepdaughter (by Saatchi's ex-wife, Kay), so it's 16, 17 and 18 - is that although I'm pretty easygoing about most things, I do think manners are important and being kind.

"And they make me laugh - and that's quite important. So I like the people they are."

The star, who admitted trying on guests' clothes and putting on their perfume when she worked in a hotel in Florence after leaving school, has lost weight, having restricted her alcohol intake to Friday nights and discovered exercise.

But Lawson, whose first husband, mother and a younger sister all died of cancer, said: "I don't equate thinness with healthiness, as other people do, because I've only ever seen people get thin and then die."

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