Not only has Bex discovered the joys of motherhood but she has also just launched her new business BexSimon Collections, Cast Iron Homewareand Kitchenware Accessories, which among other retailers is soon to hit the shelves at Mary & House of Fraser.
“I absolutely love being a mum,” says Bex, “Molly-May (named after her two grandmas) is the most wonderful little person. She makes me laugh so much. Motherhood has really changed me. All the daft things I used to worry about, I just don’t have time to even think about any more! Everything is about Molly.
“I was working in the workshop at nine months pregnant, which was really tough. After Molly’s birth, at Christmas time, I had just a few weeks off to completely rest and be a full-time mum. As we were in the middle of designing our cast iron kitchen accessories range, it was imperative for me to return back to work. Fortunately, I was able to focus on the design side but drew the line at going into the workshop! Plus I wanted to breastfeed. So we subcontracted the forge work out.
“Having parents close to hand has been a real asset as both our folks came over on separate days and look after Molly at the flat. I was on-demand breastfeeding, so when I started to feel really sad that I wasn’t with her, I’d say ‘I think it’s time for another feed,’ just so I could have a little cuddle.
“I am now working three times a week but not on weekends. Having one or two days a week childcare is working out well and then one day a week either Dave’s or my Mum look after Molly, we are very lucky.
“One of my most difficult challenges with motherhood so far has been managing my bipolar and emotions with work. Particularly the first eight months. It’s a huge emotional roller coaster giving birth and breastfeeding. There are some pretty powerful hormones running about your body, plus working out what to do with this very vulnerable little person. I did cry for about two weeks, which is quite normal.
“In the early months after Molly’s birth, I was forced to really work hard with myself. I was doing CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) every day to try and pull myself together. I had to tell my brain to shut up at times because the feelings of depression were overpowering – it was a very dark time. Taking the medication for bipolar, for me is the last resort, nonetheless occasionally necessary. This will bring a certain amount of calmness to my life, but there is a major downside, as it squashes my creative abilities. It was in this struggle that I designed most of our range of cast iron kitchen accessories. So there is a positive to a dark side.
“I did end up going to my doctor to have a chat. She suggested I spoke to the mental health unit to get some more support. However, just talking to my GP really helped and knowing that back up was there just in case was enough to pull me back up.”
High Street Dreams was the starting point for BexSimon Collections. It was on the TV show that Bex got to meet and work with the best branding teams available. “The Pestle and Mortar is one of the best selling pieces in our collection,” said Bex “I still get recognised from the programme even now!”
Bex entered a competition for new designers to produce a range to be stocked at the new Mary & House of Fraser. “We had to pitch to a panel of judges,” said Bex “I was very nervous because I wanted it so badly.
“I was delighted to hear that I was one of the 15 to be shortlisted out of 160 applicants and was overjoyed to receive an email congratulating me as a finalist. My range will be showcased at Mary & House of Fraser opening in Westfield in May 2012.
There are seven pieces in the cast iron kitchen accessories range and it is available in the typically black cast iron finish and a very modern-looking cream finish.
The complete line up is sand casted: this is a very old technique and has been used for hundreds of years, like blacksmithing, one lovely quality is that sand will set differently in each piece, giving its very own individual markings.
So congratulations to Bex and husband Dave and welcome to Molly-May who will no doubt have a wonderful life ahead of her.