Award winning children's author Suzanne Hemming lives in Dulwich, South London with her husband Rich and daughter Thea. From collecting awards for her writing to collecting her daughter from school, her days are certainly varied! Find out how she juggles working from home with family as she shares an average day in her life.
An alarm wakes me up at 7am on weekdays. The first thing I really want to do is hit snooze! Thea is 6 now so she largely entertains herself while I get ready, but we tend to all get ready at roughly the same time in our bedroom, so we can chat while we do. The iPad is usually involved too! We eat together as a family at breakfast, which is normally porridge with banana and ginger for Thea, though we mix it up a bit. I like puffed wheat with a bit of honey. And coffee. There has to be coffee! We leave the house about 9:45am to get Thea to school for 9:50. We’re lucky that it’s not far away and we can walk there quite quickly!
From 9ish until 5ish
My working day changes on a daily basis. I might be writing ideas and notes for a new book. I could be marketing the existing books. Sending stock to suppliers. Attending events to network or listen to speakers. Discussing potential collaborations, planning events. No day is the same which is great.
"Before, I worked in the TV and film industry so it could be more like 7-7 than 9-5!"
Having Thea definitely changed my view on the 9-5 of a job. Before I worked in the TV and film industry so it could be more like 7-7 than 9-5! And I knew that I wanted to be able to take her to and collect her from school, so the average 9-5 doesn’t fit in with that either.
Life admin is slotted in here, there and everywhere. Working for myself and from home allows me that flexibility. I feel so lucky that there have been a number of memorable work moments, but a few that spring to mind are Andy Murray sharing my first book and calling it his new favourite kids’ book! The same book winning a best new book award. And hearing from parents about how much children love the books (some have even dressed up as Florence for World Book Day) is always such a fab moment!
Post school is different each day depending on which clubs Thea might have at school (they change each term) and whether she has any playdates planned, either at home or at friends’ houses. We try to encourage her to read to us most days, and do her homework when she gets it once a week. We’ve just started using a brilliant maths app on the iPad, where she can win stars and use them to pay for robot parts, to build a robot. She’s very into that at the moment which is great as so many kids (girls often sadly), think maths is just ‘hard’ and that they can’t do it. But like anything it’s just practice. We also use phonics flashcards, one is stuck to the fridge each day which is our word of the day and over breakfast we encourage her to think of words using that sound. But in-between all of that there are plenty of playdates, visits to the park, and lots of lego building!
My husband usually does bedtime so normally I am only required for hugs at the right time! We tend to eat once Thea has gone to bed (or rather while she works out her FOMO and calls out a handful of times about what we’re eating and what we’re doing!). If one of us isn’t out then we might watch a bit of TV or a film. We just restarted playing backgammon which we used to play years ago. We’d hold long tournaments that would last weeks and the loser would have to buy the other person dinner or something! I’m winning at the moment so fingers crossed!
We like to spend family time together at weekends. I don’t worry too much about trying to grab time for me as, working for myself, I can sometimes factor that into the week. But we love to have friends or family over, or visit them. We’ve been doing Park Run with Thea but now she has her marathon wristband she’s a bit over it! Rich is a keen cyclist so he’s often out, and we try to get out on bikes as a family, just locally. Not 100+km rides as he does on his own!