What it's really like to work at Ideal Home – our competition winner reveals all

Aspiring interior designer Pauline Ferguson spent a week with the team

When Pauline Ferguson was made redundant from her role as a Senior Director at a well-known supermarket chain last year, she had mixed feelings. 'When I heard the words "Your role has been made redundant", my flashes of anger and sadness were underpinned by feelings of pure excitement,' she says. 'I'd already had one career, and now was my chance to make it two.'

'The words "What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly..." are stencilled on my daughter's wall, so she knows that in life you have to be brave, and take chances even if they frighten you,' Pauline continues. And now, after 19 years in the same office, these same words inspired Pauline to follow her dream and start studying to become an interior designer.

The perfect opportunity to kick-start her new career came when Pauline's friends spotted a competition on the Ideal Home website. The lucky winner would be invited to our offices in Canary Wharf, and join the editorial team for a fun, busy, inspiring and creative week. It was part of the #DontTellMeICant campaign, run by Ideal Home, in association with JD Williams, which is all about inspiring you to embrace your passions and follow your dreams by opening up the doors to once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

'The #DontTellMeICant campaign absolutely resonated with me, especially after nearly 20 years with one company,' says Pauline. So she sent off her 150-word entry, saying why she thought she was right for the opportunity. 'I thought nothing will come of it,' Pauline admits. But her inspiring story resonated with the team, and she was picked as our winner.

During her time at Ideal Home, Pauline learned all about we put the magazine together, even writing a feature for the website. As you can see, she picked things up very quickly!

Read Pauline's feature: What is wabi-sabi? Here's all you need to know about this interiors trend

bed with grey headboard and drawers

(Image credit: TBC)

And to help her with her future career, Pauline spend a day on one of our interiors shoots, learning how to style a beautiful bedroom. 'I arrived feeling nervous and daunted at the prospect of stepping out of my comfort zone and embracing a new challenge,' she admits. 'But within minutes of meeting you all, I felt completely at home and really energised by your passion and enthusiasm.'

'What I really loved most about the week was tapping into that creative part of my brain and things like pulling together the mood boards – how we then write words with the visuals to really bring that to life. That is the part that I've been most inspired by this week. In fact, my husband is going to go crazy when I get home because I have all these ideas about what I want to do to our house.'

We think Pauline has a bright career ahead of her, and can't wait to see what she does next.

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.