My Early Hour: Hannah Saunders, BFLF Events

We ask the blue-haired, ex-raver founder of BFLF Events Hannah Saunders about mornings in her home (teaser: they sound wonderfully chaotic) and whether she still likes to party…

Hannah is 47 and lives with her partner and their two kids – Winter, six, Atticus, four – in Brixton, London. She is the founder of BFLF (Big Fish Little Fish) Events, putting on family raves across the UK. 

Are you a ‘morning person’?
No. At least not if by that you mean I spring out of bed for an early jog before coming home to whip up fresh juice for kids then skipping them up to school. But then I wouldn’t be up for that any time of the day. I have a reasonably sloth like attitude and will happily work all day at my computer at home in my dressing gown and slippers. Fuelled by tea and later on wine.

What wakes you up each day?
One or two children and one or two cats jumping on our bed and chatting (children not cats) whilst I weep into the pillow when I realise it’s 6am. Again.

What do you first do upon waking?
First beg the kids to be quiet, have a cuddle and try to go back to sleep. After a 30min tussle where the children fail to appreciate that sitting bolt right up in bed and meowing loudly to “speak” to the cat will not bring on an extra nap I then beg my partner to take the kids downstairs and give them breakfast so I can sleep more. He normally does – usually after I promise to do every morning get up next week. I LOVE YOU DAVID. Thinking about it, there’s a lot of pleading that goes on in the house between 6 and 9am – “please go back to sleep”, “please stop playing the iPad at full volume in my ear”, “please stop shouting at your brother”, “please go downstairs”, “please don’t go to school dressed as a crocodile” etc.

Who gets the kids up/dressed?
Kids are up way before us. We split getting them dressed with me taking our daughter and David taking our son. Whilst my daughter is fairly straight-forward with the greatest controversies around which shoes are acceptable for that day’s activities, my son finds everything to do with getting ready hilarious and can be found either stark naked in the living room demanding to be taken upstairs by daddy in a laundry basket (which he does) or hiding with his iPad singing songs about the countries of the world (latest place to intrigue him – Djbouti).

What’s for breakfast and who makes it?
Cereal (kids), cereals or toast (adults). Lots and lots of tea. David makes it during the week but at weekends I often do poached eggs on toast for us all.  It’s the only time I do anything in the kitchen.

In three words, describe mornings in your house…
Chaotic, loud, funny.

Who does the school run?

Working on BFLF Events…

What time do you start work and where do you work from?
If working from home then as soon as the children leave shortly before 9am but if I have a meeting elsewhere or am going flyering (the lot of a promoter!) then I leave around 9:30am to miss the rush hour. When we have events then we normally leave the house to set up around 11am.

When does your working day end and how are evenings spent?
With an event we’ll be back at home by around 6pm but then have to unload the car and do stuff like get the photos online and thank yous sent out. If working from home I have a pause when the children come home from school and then start up again around 8pm when they are in bed. It’s not unusual to carry on working till midnight two-three times a week.

If I’m not working in the evening then David and I will settle down for a DVD after listening to music in the kitchen (we’re great kitchen dancers). We love shouting at the telly. It’s very bonding. I love sci-fi and horror and over the years I’ve subjected David to so much of it that he almost believes himself he enjoys it. We’ve just finished Jessica Jones (marvellous) and am now mid Being Human (which I completely missed at the time). We’re also trying to re-introduce more reading time into our lives which seems to have disappeared when kids came on the scene. All of this is usually accompanied by wine.

What time is bedtime?
We say the kids go to bed at 7-7:30pm but given the number of “returns” for everything from rice cakes to being scared of monsters to “want to watch Eastenders” this can sometimes extend to 9pm.  The kids are also terrible bed hoppers so we never know who will end up where by the time we go to bed – around 11pm – and we have to decant them to the correct rooms. They always look incredibly cute though when we move them so we don’t mind.

You put on BFLF events around the UK; family raves which run from 2-4pm. Do you still go to adult raves? And if so, who deals with the kids the next morning?
Not much. But we do go to festivals to get our fix of late night dancing – we’ve taken the kids to Glastonbury since they were months old. At festivals we take it in turns for a “night out” and with our early rising kids we’re so sleep deprived anyway it’s not much different.

A friend of mine once commented that all the clubbing she did in her 20s and 30s was the best preparation for having children and sleepless nights. She knew she could do it! I’m perma-knackered now and not expecting that to change until the kids leave home. The excitement of being at a festival normally carries me through.

If the kids are being looked after – are you out all night, or catching up on sleep?
Never happens. If it did, it would be the former. I’ve always said that no matter how tired you are, if someone asks you to go somewhere to have fun then say “yes”. You’ll regret a lot less that way and will build a fantastic set of memories.

Any other comments on motherhood/sleep/mornings/raving?
Back before children I used to love watching the sun coming up having not been to sleep the night before. When I first had my babies I still loved the feeling of seeing the sunrise – feeding my newborns in my arms. Basically dawn is ace whichever way you look at it as it symbolises hope for the next day and all the joy it may bring. God I’m a right old hippy sometimes aren’t I?