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“Blink” Stylish Steals: Pimp my Ikea, the Bekvam step stool

July 21st, 2015

If you follow us on Instagram, you will already have seen a few  of our initial steps in kicking off the big Blink Towers kitchen redesign and refit. Well, it’s all happening and I wanted to share with you our first complete project. I’ll kick off with a disclaimer statement that we have not been sponsored by any of the brands featured. We have chosen every single thing because of several reasons: 1) we love it 2) it fits in with our shoestring budget 3) it works really, really well.

You’ll see more of the full kitchen as we progress, which will include us making our own concrete worktop (argh!) but firstly lets focus on a smaller, less challenging, but still key element to the overall look. You may know that I absolutely love Pinterest (already inspiring our bright yellow front door!), and when I started researching the kind of overall look and detailing I wanted to incorporate into the kitchen project I found so many great ideas on this super site (you’ll find them all on various of our Pinterest boards if you’d like to see more). One of which was this super cool pink step stool, originally shared on Cecilies Lykke ‘Made’ blog. As it happens I do actually need a step stool in the new kitchen as I have made the most of all the wall space and some if the units are set pretty high.

the inspiration, found on Pinterest and originally from Cecilies Lykke blog, Ikea step stool upgraded, Bekvam, neon pink

the inspiration, found on Pinterest and originally from Cecilies Lykke ‘Made’ blog

When tootling around Ikea looking for kitchen inspiration I spotted the very same stool, called Bekvam, kicking off my first DIY spray painting adventure. I bought the unpainted birch version- although if you don’t fancy any DIY, there are some pre-painted versions too. Ikea do have their own range of paints called Behandla that they recommend you use on their products, but none gave me that neon pink hit that I was searching for.

Ikea's Bekvam step stool

Ikea’s Bekvam step stool

So I went back to Pinterest to see if I could find some good ideas on products and how best to use them. This is how I found this great instructional blog post from In My Own Style. Love those chairs! She recommended Valspar spray paint so I tracked some down at my local DIY superstore and got to work…

Sanding prep- a mask if you're being very sensible, thick gloves, a sanding block, fine grain sandpaper.

Sanding prep- a mask if you’re being very sensible, thick gloves, a sanding block, fine grain sandpaper.

Stage 1, although the step stool was plain wood I still gave it a quick sanding over just to be sure the surface was best prepared to take the paint well. I did this before constructing the stool for ease. Follow the grain of the wood to create a smooth surface. You just need to give it a quick but thorough going over.

Construction! Ikea, Bekvam step stool

Construction!

Step 2, put this little baby together. My biggest tip here is read the instructions from start to finish before you begin. That way you will avoid all of the stupid back to front mistakes that I made! When all the pieces are in place then give all the screws a final tighten. When you have your step stool all made you must remove all dust etc from the sanding process. Spray paint isn’t like normal paint in that it is a very fine layer, therefore all rough patches or splinters will still be seen and felt. The better the job you do at this stage in having a smooth, clean surface, the better your overall finish will be.

The Valspar primer basecoat

The Valspar primer basecoat

As this is going to be stepped on repeatedly I wanted to ensure I gave my paint job the best chance of survival possible, so I started with a few light coats the Valspar primer. Again, pop on your mask as this is pretty toxic, and spray only in a really well ventilated space. I set up my ‘spray booth’ outside, knocked together using some cardboard boxes that the kitchen units came in, plus newspaper around and about just to be double sure I was keeping things contained and tidy. Once the primer was dry I double checked that the surface was smooth and flat, sanding a little more in spots and ensuring all was super clean before getting the pink spray paint out.

Going neon pink in the spray booth, Ikea, Valspar, colourful DIY project

Going neon pink in the spray booth

Wow, the pink colour is as bright and bold as I had hoped! I built it up with lots of thin layers applied in opposite directions, constantly moving around the stool and ensuring every angle was covered. As this stage the paint is pretty easy to just wash away if you do get spray paint somewhere you don’t want it…

The final finish with Valspar's clear sealer

The final finish with Valspar’s clear sealer

After 24 hours of drying time I then applied the final protective coat that also gave my step stool a really great sheeny look. The clear coat seems to pretty much be a spray varnish. I gave the whole surface several thin layers but went back over the actual steps several more times to ensure these are as durable as possible. This thing makes me so happy! Not just because of it’s super sunny colour, but also at the satisfaction that I did it myself- and it was an absolute bargain!

The finished neon pink painted Ikea Bekvam step stool

The finished neon pink painted Ikea Bekvam step stool

As the kitchen itself is still very much in progress, I can’t show you the step stool actually in situ, but here it is with some of the products it will soon be living alongside. Most of the kitchen will be black and white, like these Target Tiles patterned floor tiles, so the blue Plumen pendant lights (currently on sale!) and this stool really do add some much needed accents of colour. Watch out for more kitchen refurb news as the project continues.

For more of our diverse and inspired Stylish Steals, look here. For more lifestyle posts, look here.

 

“Blink” Music: Rudimental ‘Never Let You Go’, feat. Foy Vance

July 13th, 2015

Oh Rudimental, you’ve had us waiting too long! With the new album, ‘We the Generation‘ scheduled to drop in September, Rudimental are back on the road and making the festival circuit rounds. Thank goodness for that because these guys truly bring it live.

Following hard on the heels of our chosen track they’ve also dropped the official video for the beautiful ‘Rumour Mill‘, also from the new album. Although we love that track too, we’re focussing on ‘Never Let You Go‘ as it reminds us why we fell for Rudimental in the first place. These guys can deliver huge, arena-shaking, awe-inspiring tracks as well as more intimate, soulful and subtle songs. This time round we’re going with the monumental. We hope that you all approve.

‘Never Let You Go’ features vocals from Foy Vance who’s roots blend Northern Ireland and Southern America. If you like his sound then look out for his newest album, ‘Joy of Nothing’ which drops later this year.

“Blink” Retail: Mount Street

July 9th, 2015
Blink London on Mount Street, Mayfair, Luxury fashion retail, London shopping

Mount Street, Mayfair

Blink London on Mount Street, Mayfair, luxury fashion in London, fashion shopping destinations, shopping in London

Mount Street, Mayfair

For more retail news, then just click here.

“Blink” Music: Eryn Allen Kane ‘Have Mercy’

July 6th, 2015

I first heard today’s Music Monday post when listening to Huw Stephens on Radio One. He is currently on fire as far as highlighting great new music. Eryn Allen Kane is about to drip some musical honey right into your earholes. That may not sound quite as pleasant as I had intended, but believe me, you will enjoy the few minutes of escape created by her intensely soulful, spirited and heart-felt vocals.

Detroit born, Chicago resident Eryn Allen Kane has worked with many up and coming young musical talents, as well as featuring on a new track with the Purple King of Musical Cool, Prince. It’s called ‘Baltimore’  and it’s gorgeous, significant and delivers an important message. While we encourage you to have a listen to that track, let’s not loose sight of our main focus today, and that is ‘Have Mercy‘, the most recent release from Eryn Allen Kane, and a tour de force in modern soul. It is stark, pared down and stripped back, just like the video which we think is completely mesmerising. This track will be featured on her upcoming release, Aviary EP, that doesn’t have an official release date just yet but keep an eye out for it.

For more great new music, take a look here.

“Blink” Music: Lianne La Havas at Glastonbury 2015, ‘Unstoppable’

June 30th, 2015

For those of us who didn’t actually make it to Worthy Farm this year, there’s loads of coverage available to be enjoyed online in the comfort of your own home, smelling fresh, no mud in sight…

This is one of our highlights from that coverage. This is the marvellous Lianne La Havas performing ‘Unstoppable’ in the BBC’s Glastonbury Music Teepee. The poise, the elegance, the soul, the heartbreaking, effortless beauty of her voice. Okay, I admit to having a bit of a girl crush going on…

This track is from Lianne’s new album ‘Blood’ which drops at the end of July. You can pre-order it right now. I am so excited to hear more of her new work. She left us hanging for too long after her stellar debut ‘Lost and Found’ which came out in 2011- and which I might add still sounds as fresh now as it did then.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzX0YV18Lak

For more great Blink musical moments, take a look here.

“Blink” Music: Ta-Ku ‘Love Again’ feat. JMSN & Sango

June 22nd, 2015

So sorry for the patchy blog updating but I am currently on a bit of a tour (part work, part play and the play has been a little more distracting than anticipated!). Please take a look at our instagram feed to catch up on where we are and what we’re up to.

In the mean time, here’s a track that suits our ‘out of the office’ mood, from Ta-ku, featuring JMSN and Sango, with ‘Love Again’. If you want to fully chill your mood, then take a listen to the rest on offer from Ta-ku on the EP ‘Songs to Make Up To’, which is a follow up to ‘Songs to Break Up To’. Sensing a bit of a theme here? Ta-Ku is Australian musician, Regan Mathews who has crafted a very specific, soft yet impactful, mellow vibe of a sound style that is even more impressive when you find out that he is in fact musically self-taught.

Joining Ta-ku on this track is JMSN (pronounced Jameson), a American all-round super musically gifted individual. Also we have Sango, Michigan-based producer with a talent for delivering wonderfully ambient and vibey electro sounds.

The combo deal of these three is a lilting, subtle and enticing sound that goes very well with a glass of chilled rose while watching the sun set. Sorry if you are reading this on a Monday morning at your desk…

So, here’s to a very mellow Monday to us all- well, for the duration of this track anyway! For more new music, just take a look here.

“Blink” Music: Hudson Mohawke ‘Warriors’

June 15th, 2015

Hudson Mohawke is actually Scot, Ross Birchard. He is currently causing quite the stir with his innovative take on the electronic music sound featured in this track, Warriors, as well as his imminently dropping album, ‘Lantern’ out on the 16th (tomorrow!).

The video has a low-tech, natural and relaxed vibe which sits pretty well with the soft and mellow sound of the track. It also gives you the chance to focus on the music itself which is the absolute star of the piece and needs no bells, whistles, fireworks and effects to reassure us of its brilliance.

Can’t wait to hear the whole album. If you’d like to see our other music posts, then just click here.

“Blink” Retail: Fringed Suede

June 11th, 2015

fashion trends, fringed suede, Seventies trend, Blink London, fashion blog, London style news, Spring Summer 2015

For more fashion retail news, just look here.

“Blink” Retail: Fur(k) Off

June 8th, 2015

Today’s issue of the Business of Fashion just dropped into my inbox and this is it’s lead story…

image from the Business of Fashion emailed newsletter, PETA, fur in fashion, fur farming, fashion ethics

image from the Business of Fashion emailed newsletter

It’s a well researched and fact filled article about whether Fur has a place in Fashion (just click on that link to read the full article). If you are a long standing Blink reader, then you’ll know our uncompromising view on this subject and it’s a firm absolutely no thanks to fur from us. No fur, no thanks, on no occasion. Seriously that left hand image just sums the whole argument up for me. How could you possibly wear real fur (yes, that includes you Canada Gooseys and your coyote trimmed hoods, all of you with those rotten fur poms on your hats or handbags, and you wearing that vintage fur coat) if you have any conscience at all? It is simply unacceptable on every level.

Yes you may eat meat (I don’t by the way), but I bet you like to ensure your meat, eggs, fish, milk has come from a happy animal that experienced some quality of like during it’s short time on this earth. Well, most (but not all by any stretch) of the leather and sheepskin that we wear comes from animals that have been farmed for more than just their skins but have also been part of our food chain. Well, that is never ever ever the case with animals who are farmed or trapped purely for their pelts. It’s a miserable existence and often a shockingly disgusting death.

So, we thank the wonderful British Vogue, Selfridges, Liberty, Arcadia group et al for turning their backs on this material choice- and are they any less fabulous for doing so? Nope, we think it makes then super, extra, totally and additionally fabulous actually.

You can check out our previous rants on this matter here and also here. For more fashion retail news, just click here.

“Blink” New Music: Young Fathers ‘Nest’

June 8th, 2015

This track, ‘Nest‘, has been the deciding factor in whether we have the feels for Young Fathers or not. It’s a yes from us after listening intently and repeatedly. This Edinburgh based group are delivering a really innovative sound that is founded in their hip hop roots but certainly not any kind of hip hop we’ve heard before.

There style is sparse and yet multi layered, with a kind of under-produced/ bedroom-recorded sound that we love for its honesty and rawness. Young Fathers seem to have found a space in between musical genres that is really appealing, really fresh but still somewhat recognisable- like they have distilled lots of our favourite musical reference points from the 80’s, 90’s and reworked at them in an utterly current way. In short, this is cool, they are cool, we feel cooler for having listened to it. If you like this track, then check out their new album, ‘White Men are Black Men too‘.

 

For more new music, just click here.