The only lesson I’ve learned from life: Candice Brown says you should take every day, every hour as it comes
- Candice, 36, won Great British Bake Off in 2016 and wrote two cookbooks
- She runs The Green Man pub in Bedfordshire and said it was tough in lockdown
- Her motto is: ‘You can’t do anything about the situation. Take each day as it comes’
Candice, 36, won The Great British Bake Off in 2016. A former PE teacher, she has written two cookbooks and runs The Green Man pub in Eversholt, Bedfordshire. Last year she divorced her husband Liam Macauley, who is almost two years old.
Seven years ago, I had a very traumatic incident in the hospital, which led to PTSD, depression and terrible insomnia. Sometimes I almost had to be dragged out of bed in the morning.
I was ashamed and felt like a scammer. I taught PE at a special needs school in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, and I got the most out of the kids by constantly telling them how well they were doing in life. But I did not practice what I preached.
Candice Brown, 36, (pictured in January 2020) won the Great British Bake Off in 2016 and has written two cookbooks. She runs The Green Man pub in Bedfordshire and said it was tough in lockdown
I went to Bake Off to try to prove that my illnesses didn’t define me. Even though I won, I was under such intense social media scrutiny that it exacerbated my problems in some ways.
It took a nine-day trek through the Himalayas for the charitable organization CoppaFeel! in 2019 to really change my mindset. I walked with inspiring people who had had the disease or lost a family member, and I found myself thinking about who I was.
Later that year, I talked about my mental health on singer Frankie Bridge’s Open Mind podcast, and people said my honesty had helped them deal with their own problems or those of a loved one.
Now I’m more willing to accept that it doesn’t matter that I might not be someone’s idea of perfection. I have good days and bad days – days when I eat a tub of ice cream for dinner – and that’s fine. Online criticism can still cut deep, but I try to laugh it off. People accuse me of pouting too much, but that’s exactly what my face does when I focus.
It was hard to run a cafe in lockdown, but I said to myself, ‘There’s nothing you can do about the situation. Just take each day, or even hour, as it comes.”
I was so busy when The Green Man reopened for indoor dining in May. I posted a photo of me looking like I had been dragged backwards through a hedge, explaining that I was doing well on some level but also feeling anxious and also trying to adjust to new medication.
Remember that there is only one you and, even if you need a little help every now and then, that you are amazing.
Happy Cooking by Candice Brown is now available (£22, Ebury Press)