I am so excited to announce this new series on my blog… a feature on brilliant British Bengali women!
I do my best to highlight my culture through passed down Bengali recipes (you must check out my most popular ones – aloo bora and Bangladeshi lamb curry). I also share the challenges of being a brown-skinned girl (finding the right foundation and getting a work life balance being the least of them!). Heck, I even wrote a chick-lit book about arranged marriages purely from the perspective of a British-Bangladeshi girl (you can find out more about that here).
However, this is something totally different.
I feel that there isn’t anything out there that really showcases just how amazing us British Bengali women can be.
Whether it’s triumphing against the odds, supporting the community or bossing it in the working world, there is a lot to shout about, though it’s not often heard.
And it’s not just about the big jobs and the big bucks, as I don’t believe a woman’s worth is measured in monetary terms – we all have stories to tell, so I’m using this platform to do just that, share the stories of these amazing women.
I first came across Rahima on Instagram and was immediately fangirling over her drool-some food inspo and unfiltered posts on parenting, self love and lots besides.
In her own words, Rahima is a young(ish!) Bengali stay at home mumma Bear to a three-year-old Bear and is married to a marvellous Mauritian man.
She’s an advocate for feminism, smashing the patriarchy, breaking cultural norms and taboos and being vocal about mental health related issues. She kindly answered my questions below…
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I think I became an “influencer” accidentally! I actually dislike the term influencer especially with all the negative connotations related to the word but I like to think I show the reality of parenting, pluz size fashion, a bit of travelling and food related content. I suppose a bit of a lifestyle and everything in between blog.
My page started as a hobby because I ate out a lot and it was somewhere to post all my food photos, this then became a review page and once I got married, navigating my own kitchen and learning to cook!
What’s the most rewarding part of what you do?
Before I got married, I couldn’t even peel an onion properly and now I like to think I’m a bit of a culinary expert. This didn’t come easily though and all the mistakes I made along the way, I documented. This gave my followers hope and confidence to keep on trying until a recipe is mastered.
The amount of messages I get from ladies and men, asking for tips, help, advice or just a thank you to say my recipes are very easy to follow, makes it all worth it.
I also post a lot about plus size fashion and body positivity. Building confidence in my followers and showing them its OK to be big and beautiful is super empowering.
How do you balance it all (work, parenting, your time, etc)?
My Bear and I have a routine going. He hasn’t quite started nursery or any formal schooling just yet so we have plenty of time just the two of us.
My husband works night shifts only during the week so weekends are dedicated to family time and minimal screen time.
Bear also stays a night with his grandma, my mother in law every two weeks. This gives everyone a break and some much needed baby free, adult only time.
How Did your life change after having kids in terms of career, identity, etc.
Life became a whirlwind after Bear!
We decided as a couple, it made sense for me to stay at home as the primary caregiver and not practice nursing. I was studying mental health nursing and decided it wasn’t for me. After university, as it would turn out, I became pregnant and timing wise, it all just came together.
My Instagram page slowly started focusing on parenting too, I enjoyed this new aspect to my page.
Despite being the primary caregiver, having a child hasn’t stopped me travelling or going to restaurants (with or without him), I have also managed a solo trip to Italy without baby or husband which was absolutely amazing and something I recommend to every mother.
Do you think there is enough support out there in a societal level for Bengali women (especially after children) wanting to pursue their ambitions?
Truth be told, no.
Women are looked down at no matter what you decide to do, whether that’s to go out to work or stay at home. Women, especially Bengali women are being constantly judged and scrutinised whether by their own family, spouse, in laws or society in general.
What advise would you have for other Bengali women looking to follow a similar path?
If it’s something you love doing then go for it but don’t let it take over your life.
It must also be discussed with your spouse whether he would like to be a part of your page because what you may be comfortable with sharing, they may not.
It’s so easy to get dragged down and feel like it’s a competition. Who has more followers, more likes, who’s more popular etc and none of it is worth your sanity or mental health.
Alongside the post also comes the negativity whether openly in the comment section or privately through messages and again it is something that has to be taken with a pinch of salt.
There are always keyboard warriors and online trolls around which is grossly unfair.
It can take its toll so you have to decide what is OK to share and what should remain private. And most important of all is to always stay safe and never reveal any personal information.
I’m a British-Bengali Muslim mum-of-two. My pictures aren’t filtered and neither are my words. I’m not a makeup artist, chef or lifestyle guru. I’m just me, sharing honest beauty reviews for brown skin, halal restaurant finds, travel inspo, mum life hacks, easy Bengali recipes and more. If that’s your bag, keep reading!