24 hours with... Emma Thomas, General Manager, Seaton Delaval Hall

Date: 7 August

Why have you chosen to write about today?

It’s the Seaton Delaval Hall staff and volunteer Bake Off today and hopefully a busy day with lots of visitors enjoying the hall and gardens and taking part in our illusion themed week of family activities.

The Bake Off today is the return match, when staff bake, and volunteers judge. At the start of the summer, volunteers baked and staff judged. It’s organised by 1 of our volunteers and always good fun.

Good morning!

What time did you wake up?

I woke up at 7:15 this morning.

Why did you wake up at that time?

I set my alarm a little later than usual this morning as it’s the summer holidays. There’s less traffic on the roads and I don’t need to worry about making sure my kids are ready for school and out of the house on time. Their Dad is home with them this week.

Did you have a dream?

I don’t remember any of my dreams from last night. As soon as my head hit the pillow I was asleep and then the next thing was my alarm going off!

Do you think today will be 'good' or 'bad' day? (use your own definition of these words to answer the question)

I’m really looking forward to today. It’s the Seaton Delaval Hall Bake Off and a sunny and beautiful day.

What are the first three things you do after waking up?

I always have a hot mug of Rooibos tea first thing, catch up on the news and feed the cat.

Do you eat breakfast? If yes, what did you have?

With the possibility of a lot of cake later today, I decided to have a lighter and healthy breakfast. I had a spinach and blueberry smoothie.

What would be your perfect breakfast?

My perfect breakfast would be eaten while sitting in the garden or on the beach early on a sunny morning, when the world is just waking up - a mug of tea and toast and marmite or yoghurt, banana and honey.

Is there anything that you have to do today but don't particularly want to?

There’s nothing today that I feel I have to do or don’t want to do. My days are usually full of back to back meetings but I’ve had a meeting cancelled today, which has given me back some time to catch up on a few things.

List five things that you do between 9am and noon.

1.      Entered my ‘Delaval Beer and Chocolate Cake’ in to the Bake Off, ready for judging.

2.      Had a phone meeting with the Regional Director of Operations to catch up on how everything is going.

3.      Finalised Seaton Delaval Hall’s business plan for 2018-2021 ready for a presentation tomorrow.

4.      Caught up with the team on site

5.      Won 3rd prize for my cake! A free car valet from one of our volunteers.

Did you eat lunch? If yes, what did you eat?

I tried some of the cakes that had been entered in to the competition! Also, one of the garden team bought in some bread, cheese and salami from their recent trip to Spain - yummy.

What would be your perfect lunch?

My perfect lunch would be Greek salad and chips.

List five things that you have done, said, thought, or that have happened between noon and 5pm.

1.      I tried to catch up with some emails. There’s a lot going on at the moment.

2.      Thought about what a beautiful day it is, how lovely the gardens are looking and how lovely to have warmth and sunshine. I wish all summers were like this.

3.      Watched some of Magic Andrew’s show in the secret garden at Seaton Delaval Hall, part of our Delaval Delights summer family offer. It was great to see so many kids doing proper belly laughs and really enjoying themselves.

4.      Talked to the team about what we can do to keep the wasps under control on site!

5.      Did a final check on a couple of documents before they went off to the planning department at Northumberland County Council. We have a major project starting this Autumn, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, so there is lots of work to do now as we get ready for the work starting.

Do you eat dinner/tea? If yes, at what time?
Yes, I had supper at about 7:15pm

What do you eat?
Plaice, new potatoes, broccoli and spinach for supper.

What would be your perfect dinner?
Depends on my mood and the weather - I love a good vegetarian curry or aubergine parmigiana. I’m not vegetarian but generally prefer to eat veggie food or fish.

What do you do with your evening (5-8pm)?

I got home from work at about 6:30 and cooked supper. Then we all went to the cinema to see Ant Man and the Wasp!

Do you have a 'get-ready-for-bed' routine? If so, what is it?
I got ready for bed at about 11. My get-ready-for-bed’ routine is quite straightforward really – feel tired, grab a glass of water, turn out all the lights and shut the cat in the kitchen, go to the bathroom and brush my teeth, get in to pyjamas and in to bed. I usually read the news before I go to sleep or have a look on Facebook.

What time do you go to sleep?

I usually go to sleep between 11-11:30pm.

Is this when you want to go to bed? Or is it influenced by what you're doing the following day?
If I’ve got to get up crazily early in the morning, or I’ve had a really hectic day, then I will try and go to bed a bit earlier – about 10:30pm. My kids are getting older now, so sometimes I feel I have to wait until they’ve gone to sleep before I can go to bed…

Do you share your bed?
I do

Which position do you tend to sleep in? e.g. foetus, starfish etc.

I like to sleep on my side. If I have the bed to myself I might sleep in the middle of the bed or really stretch out. I always sleep with the window open, unless it’s freezing cold.

What was your favourite part of your day?
My favourite part of the day was when the volunteers announced the winners in the Bake Off! The winner was one of the Conservation Assistants who was super excited!!

What was your least favourite?
My least favourite part of the day was probably catching up on a mountain of emails or trying to avoid wasps.

Did anything happen today that you'd like to change or re-do?

No, it was a good day.

Did you 'learn' anything today? (use your own definition of this word to answer the question)
The Bake Off illustrated what a brilliant team of staff and volunteers we have at Seaton Delaval Hall. It’s a great team who care really passionately about the place.

Are you looking forward to tomorrow?

I’m looking forward to presenting our 3 year Business Plan and hearing more about plans over the next 3 years at other National Trust sites across the region.

What do you have planned?

The Business Planning day is at the Literary and Philosophical Society in Newcastle. It’s a wonderful place and one of the few libraries where you can get a coffee and read a book.

You can read more about Seaton Deleval Hall here or follow them on...

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