Nine to five
Sunday 21 February 1999
Describe what you do. I've been making hats for three years but last year I formed my own company which is called Brouhaha. I use recycled materials, which I pick up from second-hand shops. The designs just come to me. It's the colour that hits me first, then the texture. I do make "polite" hats but my favourites are the unconventional ones. There are ones that look like upside-down mushrooms and others like turnip heads.
How does your day start?
My cheap battery alarm clock is set for six. Usually I'm awake already and always get up before my partner, Karl, and the four children. (I have another daughter, Min, who decided to live with her father when we split up.) I skin-brush every day; it gets the circulation going and gets rid of dead cells. Breakfast is either a bowl of holier-than-thou muesli and yogurt or cake. The children Pete, 16, Liz, 11, and Morgan, eight, get themselves up. If he could, the youngest - Ted who is six - would stay in bed all day. On Ted's planet time doesn't exist.
What do you wear to work on a typical day?
I only wear orange, red and pink at the moment.
What's your journey to work like?
I work from home but every day I walk the children to school. We leave the house at 8:40am or 8:45am if we're bad. School is 10 minutes away. With Ted, it takes 20 minutes - he has to stop and look at everything.
Describe your workspace.
I work on my own in the front room, which also happens to be painted orange and pink. I work on a kitchen table covered with padded canvas, which is also used for ironing. Our six cats always make a beeline for my cutting table, but I always try to stop them. Otherwise I have to Hoover their hairs off.
How long do you take for lunch?
If there's no rush, I work through till one then stop for half an hour. Lunch is anything with an avocado in it or whatever I've got in the kitchen.
What stresses you out most at work?
The hardest part is matching up the colours for the person, finding the right colour and texture. It's plain sailing after that. It always feels as though the last hat I made is the best. Then I worry that I'll never be able to match it.
What are the perks?
Self-employment is scary but I don't want to go out and do a job I hate. This job makes me happy and I can be the mother I want to be.
How many hours do you work?
I've never thought about it because my job doesn't feel like work. If there is a rush on I can be working until midnight.
How much holiday do you take?
It's my first year in the business so I don't allow myself much free time.
What do you do when you're not working?
I'm a member of the Robertsbridge Bonfire Society and we fund-raise all year round and spend time collecting brushwood for dip torches and so on. I also act in plays which get put on for the community. I go to festivals when I can. It was at a fertility festival in Hastings that I met Karl.
Do you dread Mondays on Sunday nights?
No. Sunday night feels like any other night.
Brouhaha Hats: 01580-881537.
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