An unemployed Surrey mum is brushing up her old joinery skills to get herself back in business.

Helen Chandler gave up her flourishing career as a joiner, painter and decorator to raise her two children. A recent run of misfortune, however, saw her marriage and mental health deteriorate and her children taken into care.

The 42-year-old has said her joinery skills have not been lost, however, and she has dusted them off to get back to making a living for herself. This time, Helen told the Dorking Advertiser, she is combining them with her skills as a seamstress to be able to provide clients with a range of services.

“I thought it would be good to use the skills I have,” she told the newspaper, having recently set up two different companies: Busy Bee Sewing & Alterations and Mzzz Sawdust. “This is to try and get me back into society and to build a network of friends as well. I’ve been trying to get myself together and get moving forward.”

She added, “It is a bit weird to have a woman who is so madly in love with timber yet at the same time loves sewing. It's a bit strange, but I've never been one for sticking to the norm.”