Perhaps we can start with you telling us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Bex, founder of Bramble & Fox hygge lifestyle shop and I help women to feel more comfort and joy by helping them to build cosy homes and celebrating pockets of cosy in every day.
I live in Manchester with my husband, our little boy Finley and our sleepy old cushion of a cat Finbar. I love rummaging around antique shops, baking, Christmas, being in nature and making our house into a home. I discovered the concept of hygge during the dark days of infertility and grief, but I quickly realised that it put a name to something I’ve done instinctively all my life – making my surroundings cosy and finding the joy in life’s simple pleasures.
I believe that handmade and vintage objects have a soft, well-loved authenticity and warmth that is difficult to replicate, so I spend my days sourcing stock with a soul and a story to tell, spending time with our little boy and learning how to run this little business that I’m building.
You’ve recently shared a beautiful post on Instagram in which you talk openly about a very painful and emotional time in your life after you had a miscarriage. What did that period of your life look like and how did you get through it?
It was a very raw and emotionally charged time – I saw reminders of infertility and loss everywhere, from adverts on the television, to small things like hearing the sounds of the children next door laughing and playing.
To cope with the inertia of the cycle of hope, disappointment and grief, I decided to create some safe boundaries for myself. This involved a long-term break from social media until I felt strong enough to cope with updates and photos that I found triggering, I gave myself the permission to miss events with children and steered clear of films and programmes that would increase my anxiety.
I started going for walks in my lunch break, even if it was only for ten minutes, to get fresh air and a sense of freedom and perspective from my thoughts. My anxiety manifests itself in an itchy, restless feeling inside, so literally moving through the emotions on walks or yoga sessions helped. I also found cleaning and decluttering to be therapeutic for the same reasons, particularly on rage-filled days. I found a sense of release when throwing things into skips at the tip. Some days, I wanted to sit with the sadness, so I would consciously choose music in my car that would trigger the emotions and I would take the quiet route home in my car and cry.
Grief can feel like waves on the shore – sometimes the waves are soft and far apart and sometimes they can be fierce and unrelenting as they crash over us. When I lost our much longed-for baby, I felt a gnawing, hollow emptiness. I had all this motherly love to give and empty arms.
During this time, my home was my retreat, as it was the only place I felt safe. I took comfort from books, blankets, soup and cookery programmes, punctuated with windy walks. Slowly, I realised that I was mothering myself and I think that’s what hygge is – a way of mothering ourselves.