A day in the life of ...

I’ve always enjoyed reading the ‘day in the life’ features that you get in magazines and chuckling about how everyone’s day seems to start with sunrise yoga and journal-ling and end with a glamorous night out, which is so far away from my reality! As March is 'Meet the Maker Month', I thought it would be fun to share a real day in my life as a jeweller - to try and keep it authentic I’ve picked a particular day (Friday 11th of March), so here goes…


Catherine Hills boiler suit trunk

My day stared at 7.45am - I bath and put on one of my many boiler suits, which I have in a rainbow of colours. Boiler suits are my typical work uniform - wearing a one-piece makes getting dressed so easy and they tend to be very practical, hard wearing and have lots of pockets (although they are arguably less practical if you need a wee in a hurry).


Catherine Hills making pack lunch

It’s then a mad rush to try and get my teenage son fed breakfast, pack-lunch made and to school for 8.30am. I also need to sort out my Airedale terrier Rolo’s kit (lead, bed and snacks) before loading us all in the car. Today we were late again!


Catherine and Rolo on Ashdown Forest

I then drove to Hargate Forest to walk Rolo. My Muck Boot Wellies are an essential at this time of year as it’s so muddy. I often bump into other regulars walking their dogs and we walk together so that our dogs can play. Frustratingly Rolo has recently decided to take exception to un-neutered dogs. I have been recommended some specialist training and I’m determined to get this resolved quickly, as it’s turned what was a relaxing start into something where I need to be on my guard at all times. There’s lots of fallen branches in the forest from recent storms so I gather some wind-fallen pussy willow for a photoshoot the following week.


After I leave the forest, I stop by my parent's home which is close to my shop. We have a cup of tea and I give Rolo a wash before walking to my shop and atelier.


The Old Auction House Cafe, Tunbridge Wells

On my walk I pass The Old Auction House Cafe where I pick up a pain au chocolat for my daughter as a Friday treat. During her gap year she has been waitressing at Sankey's The Old Fish Market restaurant on the Pantiles before heading off to University next September.


Catherine and Rolo on The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells

I eat my breakfast when I arrive at the shop and open up for 11am. My shop is in the Lower Walk of the Pantiles - a very picturesque, historic part of Tunbridge Wells.


Catherine Hills Jewellery Medium Baroque Collar Necklace

I start the day by making jewellery that customers have ordered from my website. I break off to help customers who pop-in to the shop or come by to discuss a commission or show me some jewellery they’d like up-cycled or repaired. Today I’m working on a Medium Baroque Collar Necklace, which a customer has ordered in silver.

Rolo sleeping in Catherine's shop window

Rolo snoozes on his bed in the window as I work but today he decided to try and chew my opening hours sign.


Catherine and Rolo at Larratt butchers, Tunbridge Wells

I usually bring left-overs to have for lunch and today it’s mushroom risotto. As my daughter works so close by she normally comes to spend her lunch break with me. I’m going to really miss her when she goes to university. I take the opportunity while she’s here to pop to the post office to send some customer orders. I also stop by Larratt & Co, butchers, to get a bone to keep Rolo happy for the rest of the afternoon. I also visit neighbouring shop YiJu to pick up some antique plates I’ve reserved for a friend’s birthday. It’s one of my favourite local shops, which specialises in antique Chinese furniture, decorative objects, lacquerware and textiles.


Catherine Hills colleague Tim at her atelier

In the afternoon, Tim, my expert goldsmith pops by to discuss a commission we are working on together. It’s great to brainstorm how to approach the piece and we also enjoy having a good catch up.


Catherine Hills Jeweller at her workbench

As it’s a Friday, I work late as I don't need to get home early to help my son with his GCSE revision. I find I really enjoy the time alone, with the radio (and Rolo) just working at my craft.


On the way home I pick up some lovely wood fired pizzas from the Cucina van as a treat for my son and myself.  My daughter is on an evening shift and my husband will be late home from London.