We went behind the screens to talk to Sarah Hamilton, one half of popular blog Ses + Jen, which she writes with her mum, Jen.
Sarah, why did you start your blog? Nearly two years ago, after my mum and I had completed a full interior makeover on my home, we started a Facebook page as a form of after-hours therapy. It was a way of sharing the things we love: interior pieces, fashion trends and inspiring DIYs. Not long after, we launched our website and blog. It’s basically a fun, creative outlet for us that also inspires others.
What is Ses + Jen about? It’s our edit of what we love when it comes to our homes, which is why we named it after us. We use it to share what we love and what inspires us, whether it be images of homes, DIY projects we’ve undertaken, new stores or products or creative people we can’t get enough of.
Is it your full-time job? I work full time as a marketing manager in Hamilton and Jen lives at the beach in Manly, Auckland. She manages our online store as well as our interior consulting business.
Why did you go into business with Jen? We have a shared passion for interiors and fashion, but it also gives us an excuse to talk to each other every day! We balance each other out – she’s the yin to my yang and our styles work hand in hand.
How has Jen influenced your decorating style? Jen has encouraged me to follow my own sense of style and to only buy things I really love; she’s also shown me the importance of texture and layers when it comes to styling a room. We’re both strong believers in buying quality – to save for the things you love. We bounce ideas off each other and are brutally honest. Jen is a strong advocate for making the most of what you have, upcycling or just adding little touches like cushions or flowers.
How would you describe your decorating style? My style is contemporary, while Jen’s is relaxed, beachy boho.
Websites you visit for inspiration? How can you not love Pinterest? We also love the LifeInstyle blog, A Beautiful Mess, Interiors Addict, Smitten Studio, Cush & Nooks and Beijos Events – they’re just our current faves, though. We also follow loads more on Bloglovin’.
What do you love about design and homeware? Homeware feathers the nest and is a way to inject your personality into your home. Plus there’s always something new coming – we love that! We work with awesome artisans with our online Ses + Jen shop and love the passion they put into their pieces for every collection.
Your best bit of interiors advice? Start with a neutral base, then add colour and texture. Always buy the best you can afford and buy quality – it will always feel expensive. My mum’s advice is to have what you love in your home, not just what’s trendy. That’s what will put a smile on your face.
What’s your favourite centrepiece for entertaining? Fresh flowers always, and candles.
Advice on entertaining at home? Keep food simple – NO new recipes. Set a pretty table first – that way you have something to look at while preparing and you’ll feel organised. Put relaxing music on, pour yourself a glass of wine and remember that candles add their own magic and ambience – light them any time. If a malfunction should arise, pour more wine and order takeaway.
What’s the easiest and cheapest way to make a real change to your home? Paint. Whether it’s painting your front door in a bright colour or an entire room in a dark hue, the transformation will give you such a thrill. And never underestimate the power of quality designer cushions – they can really transform the look of a room.
What next for Ses + Jen? We’ve got lots of exciting things coming up. We’re sourcing more goodies from around the globe, which means more travel and even a collab or two – watch this space.
Words by: Debbie Harrison