Simon reveals here why he thinks drugs should be legalised and much more
Not a lot of people know this but I’m very good at… ironing. When my wife and I first got together we made a deal that she’d clean the house and I’d do the ironing. As a kid I was fascinated watching my mum do the ironing. I thought it was amazing that all these crumpled clothes were transformed.
My best friend is… My two longest-standing friends are Martin Hodgson and Phil Beswick. I shared a house with them at Leicester Poly when I was a student. No matter what happens they would be the first people I would call. I’m godfather to one of each of their kids. Martin now lives in Thailand but I still speak to him all the time. Phil lives four miles from me and, bizarrely, I speak to him less than I speak to Martin. It’s scary how long we’ve been friends, but more scary when I look at pictures and see how much hair I had.
My nickname is… I used to be called Sim at school.
The bravest thing I’ve ever done is… When my daughter was five she had to have a tooth out. I was there holding her hand but I passed out. That gives you an indication of how brave I am. I had a steroid injection into my knee without anaesthetic. I nearly fainted. Have you seen the length of the needle they use?
My favourite TV show is… Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away! I have a list of all those rubbish shows that I can quite happily watch non-stop.
My perfect evening is… cooking dinner, drinking a nice bottle of wine and catching up with my family. Sitting around a dining table together is one of my favourite things.
I’d like to say sorry to… my kids. When they were growing up I was away building restaurants and starting my telly career. I missed first steps and first words, birthday parties and Christmas gatherings. I don’t regret it per se but if I had my time again then maybe I could have been a bit less selfish towards my kids.
My first kiss was… with a girl called Jeanette when I was 13. I was obsessed with her and we were in the school choir together. You’d join the choir because it meant you got two lessons off a week.
The one thing I’d change about myself is… I have a middle-aged man’s chest and I’d like to have really good pecs. I exercise all the time and while my chest is muscley, it’s disappointing.
Simon says he regrets not spending more time with his children when they were growing up
The best thing my parents taught me was… to be polite and to listen. Before you start spouting out, listen to what’s being said and asked of you.
The last time I cried was… when I dropped Flo back in London. We said goodbye and she gave me a big hug and told me she loved me.
The first record I ever bought was… Gimme Dat Ding by The Pipkins. I was about seven years old and bought it with my birthday money. I think it actually got to number one somewhere in the world. Look it up and laugh at my terrible music taste as a child. You won’t hear that on Sunday Brunch.
It’s not good for my image but I like… an afternoon nap. I’ve always liked it, since I was young. Lockdown has been brilliant for it. I can do a good 25-minute power nap and I can sleep anywhere, too.
My greatest weakness is… biscuits. I can’t have them in the house. I could sit and demolish a packet of digestives in a single sitting. I love a Jammie Dodger, too. I quite like destroying the edge of the heart when I eat them. It might say something about a person in the way they eat a biscuit…
Simon loves spending time with his family
If I could pass any law I would… legalise drugs. We’re never going to stop people taking drugs, that’s a fact. So why not make it safer, take it out of the hands of criminals and also make it contribute to society. Think about the amount of money spent by the NHS treating people with drug addictions. This will never happen because it’s far too brave a decision to make but if it were me, that’s what I’d do.
I drive… a Mercedes GLS 350. I carry stuff around with me all the time so I need a car to carry it. We’ve got 14 restaurants so quite often I’ll act as a delivery boy and shift stuff between them.
The shop I can’t walk past is… Sunspel. There’s about five of them in London. They do T-shirts, underwear and shirts and their stuff is beautiful.
The most expensive thing I’ve ever splashed out on is… an etching called Three Blind Mice by an artist called Paula Rego. I saw her work about 28 years ago when she was just rising up. It was too expensive for me then. I treated myself to the etching a few years ago and it’s just beautiful.
The actor who would play me in a film is… I mean it’s obvious isn’t it? Jason Statham. We’re almost twins. He’s got the pecs as well.
The worst job I’ve ever done is… I was a filing clerk at an insurance broker on Saturday mornings when I was in sixth form. We’d go out and get really drunk on a Friday night and be at work by 9am the next morning. We’d stand, filing in a really hot office for three hours. It was grim.
My perfect Sunday is… eating with my family. I’ve been working on the Wellbeing Wednesday campaign with Hoover, asking experts to offer a different take on mental wellbeing. I’ve seen how beautiful food is in enabling us to talk and share as we break bread together. We’re here to show you the things you can do to feel good.
My favourite place in Britain is… Rhosneigr in Anglesey. We used to go as kids and now I take my family there. It’s a small resort and has become a popular spot for windsurfing, not that I do that. It’s such a pretty place and every time I go I feel calm.
My last holiday was… California last summer. I could move there tomorrow. I love Santa Cruz, it’s still very hippy with a 60s vibe about it.
I’m currently reading… Fair Warning by Michael Connelly. I consume crime novels. They’re proper escapism.
The best day of my life was… two days: the birth of my kids. When you’re handed your child and you become a parent it’s the most amazing moment.
If I had half an hour left on Earth I’d… hug my family, eat a curry and watch a rerun of Liverpool versus Barcelona from last season.
Hoover ambassador Simon is taking part in its Wellbeing Wednesday initiative, teaming up with experts to share top tips on cooking, eating, exercises and family activities to boost our mood.