We met the lovely Sarah at an awards event recently (she had the most amazing vintage skirt on), and we got chatting. Sarah won "Best Newcomer" at the Amara Blog Awards 2017, for her interior and lifestyle blog Girl About House. We've really enjoyed getting to know Sarah a bit better. Grab a cuppa, and join us...

  • Describe what you do in 3 words

Design, create, discuss

  • What makes you get out of bed in the morning? 

My alarm(!) It almost seems to shout at me after a couple of snoozes! I’m a TERRIBLE get-out-of-bed person but once I’m actually up, I’m pretty spritely (especially after a cup of tea).

  • What does a typical Monday morning look like for you?

My job is really varied as I split my time between interior designing (I run my own design studio, Sarah Mailer Design – www.sarahmailerdesign.co.uk) and blogging. A Monday morning is often my opportunity to catch up with emails that have accumulated over the weekend as I try to give myself weekends off, where possible. Sometimes, my week begins with a client or supplier meeting and my favourite start is a shopping trip, product sourcing or preparing to style a shoot.

  • What's the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

‘A bit and a bit’.

I’m an extremely creative and an emotional person and I sometimes feel buried under work. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and hard to navigate through the sheer volume. As I essentially manage two businesses (design studio and blog) whilst raising my young family, time can be limited and I often feel that pressure. When I do feel the strain, I always heed my late grandpa’s wise words – ‘work through it a bit and a bit’. I always try to step back from a situation, take the emotion out, prioritise and write myself a list. Then I work through that list part by part, ticking it off as I go.

  • We know you’re busy with your interior design business… what made you want to get involved in the world of blogging too?

I couldn’t help myself. My business was all-consuming during the period that I launched the blog but I was really determined to make time for it. I have always wanted to write – be it a novel, for a magazine or copy for brands – and the world of blogging seemed to perfectly combine my love of words and images. It really was a no-brainer. It is a lot of hard work and there are days where I question my sanity in taking on so much but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • What’s the next big interior challenge in your home?

Over the past six years, I have almost entirely redesigned my home. I entered a magnolia townhouse with shiny, orange laminate and have slowly installed some great features such as gorgeous oiled oak flooring, feature lighting in the kitchen/diner and a marble-effect en-suite bathroom to our master bedroom. (We actually stole this tiny space from our son’s neighbouring bedroom…sorry Max)! It’s not entirely finished as I would like yet but we are looking to move at some point, so I think my efforts would go into a new home instead. If we do move, I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated of our renovations on the blog and across social media! (No pressure then)!

  • What’s the favourite thing in your home?

My bed! Or perhaps our enormous TV. Ugly as it is (and going against all my lounge design principles), I do love a boxset and it certainly does them justice.

  • What’s your dream interior style and what’s your interior nightmare?

My dream interior style is classic contemporary with a touch of glamour. I love Georgian architecture – the features and proportions are a dream to work with - alongside Art Deco and Regency styles. My interior nightmare is something really garish and gaudy. I like my spaces to look expensive and aspirational (even if they’re entirely high-street sourced) rather than cheap and tacky. I like a pop of bright colour but a nightmare for me would be a rainbow coloured, pattern clash extravaganza. Even thinking about this gives me a headache(!)

  • Are you an early bird or night owl?

Absolutely a night owl. I find my ideas – my ‘creative juices’ – flow much better at night and I often come up with my best concepts past 10pm. This leads to the early-morning-getting-up struggle though (see above). Saying that, I do enjoying being out and about early if the sun is shining and there’s a latte in my hand!

  • If you had to have the same thing for breakfast every morning what would it be?

I often do have the same thing, to be honest, as I’m a real creature of habit. I love a bowl of porridge (half water, half milk) with a bit of Innocent Smoothie poured on top. This is often finished with a sprinkling of blueberries or raspberries. If I was going for pure Insta-image perfection, then I would probably add a sprig of mint and serve on a flat slate or marble plate.

  • Who would you invite to your dream midnight feast? dead / alive/ animal?

Oooh, this is a tough one. I’d definitely have to have my sister – we used to love a good old midnight feast when we were little (it was often at 9pm as we couldn’t wait). I’d also invite Kelly Hoppen as she’s a real inspiration to me (although I’m not sure that she’d pig out in the same way I would)! My best friend Filly is always a laugh so she’d be on the guestlist. And my mum (obviously)! And Aiden Turner for a bit of man-candy... Can you tell that I’m very much into Poldark right now?!

  • Tea or Coffee? How do you take yours…

Tea unless I’m up and out early, in which case I’d opt for a latte-to-go. Everyone finds the way I take my tea a big joke – I choose weak and overly milky every time. The colour of my skin after 10 months of no sun; totally pastey!

  • Clean sheet Friday or clean sheet Sunday? (Harriet and I disagree)

Friday!!! I like to have a little clean on Friday afternoon (play-date permitting) so that the weekend begins fresh and revitalised. I try and encourage my boys to help but they tend to make more mess than they eliminate.

  • Do you have a bedtime ritual, can you share it with us?

I do like to burn a luxury scented candle which helps me relax and I try to get into pyjamas early. Theoretically, my day should end with a perfectly buffed face and a good book in bed but in reality, I’m often trawling through Instagram at midnight.

  • Instagram or Twitter? What are some of your favourite accounts to follow / why?

Although I do have Twitter, it’s Instagram all the way for me. I love that the focus is visual and I get really inspired looking at others’ feeds. Stories have also added another dimension and I really enjoy the fun, behind-the-scenes action that they allow for. Great to see the person behind the perfectly curated feed. That being said, I personally struggle with talking to the camera…

Here are some accounts that I really recommend;

@type_and_story – Niccy behind the brand creates gorgeous typographic paper goods. Every square in her feed is beautifully considered – she has such an eye!

@laurenastondesigns – Oversized knits are the focus here in this perfectly curated collection.

@blendandpop – This is my talented make-up artist friend’s account. She shares the best in new products and how to apply them. Her Instagram also links to her make-up tutorial videos on her blog, which are always fab!

@laurahammett.interiors and @sophiepatersoninteriors for pure interior gorgeousness. I’ve met both Laura and Sophie (they’re as lovely in real life as they seem online) and I always turn to their accounts for inspiration. 

  • Tell us a secret?

I used to be an Art and Textiles teacher.

Sarah's Dream Bedtime

On my bed… (please choose one of our bed linen designs / any accessories … what made you choose this?)

I love your Herringbone Dove Grey Throw – I’m a huge herringbone fan! I also love how beautifully soft your Knitted Marl Grey Throw feels, with its winning combination of acrylic, wool and alpaca. Mixing textures is everything! 

My bedroom smells like… (what’s your favourite scent… flowers / a home fragrance / any brands you love?). I LOVE a Diptych or Jo Malone candle. At the moment, my favourite is Mimosa as its scent is so soft and romantic. 

Before bed I’ll read…Something on my phone. I need to get back into books but I often find I want to look at short, sharp articles and quick pieces. The last book that I read was ‘The Girl on the Train’ which probably demonstrates how long ago that was. My favourite book is Gone with the Wind! 

I’ll be dreaming of…Afternoon tea at Claridges or a beach holiday!

Herringbone Dove Grey Throw