The Today programme's Sarah Sands on how she gets through the busiest of days – and what she can't live without

Sarah Sands
Today programme editor Sarah Sands Credit: Sarah Lee /eyevine

The editor of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, 58, lives in west London with her husband Kim. She takes us through her (very busy) day

Running the BBC’s Today programme is a mix of being immersed in a brilliant radio show and a brutal bootcamp. Everyone has long days and mine start at 4.45am, when my iPad and I spring to life to scan the newspapers.

I’m out the door within 30 minutes – there are no long showers but a lot of rummaging around in the dark. I am used to corporate dress and can’t break the habit, so no W1A cycling leggings for me.

Before I leave I’ll make a quick cup of tea for me and my husband, then I take a cab from our home in White City to the BBC office, ready for Today’s 6am start. 

The real work begins when we come off air at 9am and start planning the following day’s programme. Afterwards, I grab a chocolate croissant (heavenly!) and cappuccino for breakfast, then start to feel life is pleasant again. 

I tend to spend the rest of the day meeting colleagues or politicians. If I’ve time I’ll go to the BBC’s gym, but there’s no phone reception, so I rarely stay long in case someone is trying to call me. 

Between meetings I pop to Joe & The Juice for an avocado and banana smoothie and spicy tuna panini, which keeps me going until I leave the office at 5.30pm. Even then I’m still on call but I try to make it to a social event or the theatre.

The sting is that every day I have to make a 10pm call to the team to check we are on top of everything, so I never get to sleep before 11pm. The days might seem long, but for my job, they’re worth it.

It’s incredibly busy but I remind myself the producers on rota and output editors are the ones under pressure. Plus, I’ve learnt to adapt – I worked when my children (Henry, 33, Rafe, 27, and Tilly, 24) were growing up, which trains you to get by with little sleep. And these days it’s a pleasure to enjoy their company without being the one in charge.

‘Today: A History of Our World Through 60 Years of Conversations & Controversies’ is out now (Cassell, £25)

I can’t live without

My handbag

Paul Smith 'Concertina Swirl' Leather Tote Credit: Paul Smith

I carry everything in it: laptop, teabags, books… It’s a big one by Paul Smith – when I saw a doctor about my shoulder he took one look and said, ‘you carry that?’

My iPhone

iphone Credit: Getty Images

It has experienced a lot of tough love – it’s too cracked to even identify which model it is!

Rosehip oil

Rosehip oil Credit: The Ordinary

I was advised by a make-up artist that it does more good than expensive skincare products. (£9, theordinary.com)

What I love right now

Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind by Tom Holland. It’s an account of Western history – I love the sweep of it. (LittleBrown, £14.99)

My last purchase was beech saplings. They’re my favourite trees – there is a row of majestic copper beeches in my garden that are about 100 years old. 

 Strattons, a hotel in Swaffham Credit: (strattonshotel.com)

My top choice of restaurant is Strattons, a hotel in Swaffham, Norfolk. I order the blueberry and almond cake, truffles, sausage rolls. Delicious! (strattonshotel.com)

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