Thursday, 31 July 2014

It's goodbye for now...

So much has changed since I started blogging back in 2007. The world of blogging has changed, I've changed and what people want to read has changed too. When I started out, blogging was a fun way to fill my time between university lectures, but lately, trying to fit even a simple few blog posts in has become a challenge. So, even though it's been a blast, I'm taking a break.

My blog has taken me from Paris to Berlin, and beyond. I've met amazing people, made lifelong friends and had so many great adventures. Now though, I'm shifting my priorities. Spending more time with family and friends, being more active, and getting away from my computer whenever I can are high on my new agenda. After all, London is one of the most awesome cities in the world and there's still so much of it I've yet to explore.

I'll still be pinning, tweeting and Instagramming. I'll probably even keep The Style PA Facebook page going for now, starting with a few updates from the blog archives, but it's time to put the blog to bed.

Thanks to you, my readers, for your time, comments and general awesomeness.


Saturday, 5 July 2014

Upcycling furniture with Farrow & Ball Paints

upcycling furniture with farrow and ball paints and primers
I recently embarked on a little blogging challenge. My mission: to find a £20 piece of furniture and transform it with the help of Farrow & Ball paints and primers. I live in Crystal Palace which is full of little flea markets and junk shops so I threw myself into the challenge, but I only had about an hour to find something. I ended up with the lovely little mahogany hall table for £25. I haggled it down from £30 so felt like that was a fair price. It was quite unusual as it had a hinged shelf on top... the man in the shop didn't know what it was actually designed for; any ideas?
upcycling furniture with farrow and ball paints and primers
I started by sanding the wood down, taking the shine off the varnished surface. You don't have to sand the top layer completely away, but just create a matt surface for the primer to stick to. Hard work, but I knew it would be worth it. I then washed the dust away and left to dry. Once dry it was time to cover the metal parts (door handles in this case) with masking tape and put on the first coat of primer. I used the Farrow & Ball Interior Wood Primer & Undercoat in Mid Tones. The first coat you apply should be mixed with 20% water, so it goes on really easily. I was lucky that I was painting on a nice day so it dried really quickly. I then applied a second coat and left to dry overnight.

Then it was time for the colour I had chosen – Estate Eggshell Paint in Pavilion Gray. This paint gives a really durable finish which is washable and easy to keep looking good. The paint goes on easily, but I was aware of the warm weather while I was painting; you have to get the paint on quick when it's warm or it can thicken up. In theory you need a second coat, but I ran out of time before jetting off to Cyprus but one coat does look absolutely fine. I'll apply another when I get time just to ensure it's got that extra-durable finish.

And you can see the results below. I'm really pleased with how it turned out as it lends a little retro style to our modern flat. I've now moved it into the bedroom under some coat hooks but I can see it coming with me to be an actual hall table once we get a bigger place.

painted hall table - find it, paint it, love it

painted hall table - find it, paint it, love it
You can check out more examples of furniture that people have upcycled with Farrow & Ball paints on Pinterest or check out #finditpaintitloveit on Twitter and Farrow & Ball on Instagram.

Have you ever given some furniture a new lease of life? How did it turn out?

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A sneak peek at Next's AW14 homeware range

white breadbin from next press showretro telephone from next aw14

We may only just be coming into summer, but with all the rain and gloom today it could easily have been October. Reason enough I reckon to ogle some upcoming homeware treats from Next. When we moved into our new flat last year I found lots of lovely bits in Next, and I was especially impressed with their Christmas range. Take a look at the pics I've picked out from their recent press day. I love the green telephone and retro white breadbox pictured above. They'd look right at home in my pad. 

blue accents on mugs and photoframesnext interiors for aw14

These cornflower blue accents shown above are soft and inviting.

piglet cushion from next for aw14glass light fitting from next for aw14

The animal cushion shows no sign of slowing in popularity –
 a pig updates Next's version.

autumn/winter jug from nextred glass vase and crockery from next

Rustic designs and rich colours give things a cosy autumnal feel.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Afternoon Tea and the Charleston at Metrodeco

Hen parties have been in the news a lot lately. It's becoming the norm to have four or more different events or an action-packed weekend break. But you don't need to jump on a plane to have a great time. Recently, I went on a hen-do down in Brighton and the daytime entertainment was definitely worth sharing. And even better, it doesn't cost a fortune to try it yourself.

We arrived in Brighton dressed in our best 1920s/1930s garb (I wore this lace dress from H&M – worn backwards – and these dancing shoes) and set off for the first part of our vintage experience – a Charleston dance class. Although not a dancer at all, I found the moves surprisingly easy to pick up, and by the end of the hour-long session the group had managed to piece together a half-decent routine. 

After all that hard work it was off to Metrodeco for some well-earned refreshments. The class is arranged through the 1930s-style tea salon as part of a special afternoon tea package – particularly popular with hens and their friends! 

We sipped tea from beautiful, mis-matched china and tucked into the delicious treats which came out on lovely cake stands. The open sandwich toppings included salmon, cream cheese and cucumber, ham and rocket with mustard mayo, and brie and onion marmalade. We followed these savoury lovelies with yummy sultana scones with jam from Paynes Bee Farm and generous heaps of clotted cream. 

At this point the idea of cake seemed impossible, but it's funny how there is always room for the naughtiest treats. Ours included petit fours and macaroons from the Real Patisserie, plus marshmallows from Brighton Cakes. Everything was delicious! Of course, it would have been rude not to wash it all down with a chilled glass of prosecco! All in all a thoroughly delightful afternoon... and very civilised compared to the evening that followed.

Where is your favourite afternoon tea?

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Snapshots of Berlin

There's nothing I love more than a pre-holiday holiday. Although I'm off to Cyprus next month, I had annual leave to take from work and those couple of months just felt too long to wait, so we booked our flights to Berlin during the first May bank holiday. We stayed in Kruezberg, but were North of that area so nice and central, just a short walk from Potsdamer Platz. It was my second visit to the city, but I had much more time to look around this time.

The thing I love most about Berlin is that it has a London-like vibe. There are lots of young people, plenty of places to eat and drink, and a great culture for going out and having fun too. I definitely recommend it. You can see the places I visited by checking out my Tripadvisor reviews.

Here are a few pics...

My first currywurst

Berlin Cathedral 

Bright and colourful Berlin 

An old Berlin Wall watch tower

Monday, 12 May 2014

Monday mood lifter: May Day Bath Bomb from Lush

badger inspired bath bomb from lush for charity

Shopping almost always improves my mood, but even more so when I'm doing a little something to help others. Today's pick is the May Day Bath Bomb from Lush from which every penny (minus the VAT which has to go to the Government) goes towards anti-badger cull projects in the UK, including SAVE ME – an animal welfare organisation founded by Queen guitarist Brian May. 

The bath bomb includes fennel oil to stimulate the skin and antiseptic rosewood oil to soothe and calm. As for the fragrance, it's sweet and sherberty to leave you feeling uplifted.

This badger-inspired treat is only available for this month and costs £2.95.