Saturday, June 30, 2012

Oxford Day Trip -- Annie Sloan's shop

Well, sorry to be so long to post since last time.  The time since returning home from the latest biz travel has positively been a blur.  I arrived on a Monday, the worst possible arrival day, because it means longest time until I get a really good rest to recover from jet lag.  And the weeks have been busy.  But here I am, closing June with an update post on what I have been up to.

I was in the UK at beginning of June and courtesy my good friend Luk, I got a lift on Saturday morning from Farnborough to Oxford.  I have never been to Oxford before.  I was keen to see the city, and also was seeking a particular shop there, Annie Sloan Interiors.  To learn more about the shop and also the awesome paint products Annie Sloan has created and sells.  These aren't yet available in Australia, but since I was close enough to go visit her shop and learn more, I thought, why not.  And such a great excuse for a lovely Saturday day trip.

It was a bit of a cloudy day, with a bit of drizzle.  But everything everywhere in Oxford and the whole country was festively dressed up for the Diamond Jubilee weekend and all about were in high spirits.  We found the Annie Sloan store without much trouble.  And had a lovely time checking it out.  Annie Sloan sells 'The Best Paint in the World' and I am so keen to try it out.  I did not buy it all there, because I knew the next day I would fly to Washington DC and I planned to get some at a stockist there, near where I used to live in Falls Church City (Stylish Patina on West Broad Street).  But I did buy some samples of a new colour I read on the Annie Sloan website had not been launched in America yet.  Stunning dark green colour called Florence.  I saw a photo posted online of small table that she painted in Florence with dark wax (follow link to check out the table).  And I fell in love with this colour.  And that little table was in the shop--Gorgeous, gorgeous !!

The shop was absolutely charming.  A small shop, but chock full of lovely displays of paints, fabrics, and painted items.   I really loved their patriotic displays, buntings for the jubilee and a stunning dresser painted in a union jack motif.  While there, I met and talked with Annie's husband David, who was really lovely to meet.  I bought also a number of the paint brushes for sale and the last wax brush the store had on hand at the time.  And a book. And a number of Annie Sloan fabrics.  Wow, I did pretty well out of this !

 I had a great day in Oxford and looked around in the High Street and eventually walked myself back to the train station.  I bought a ticket back to Farnborough and that evening had a nice dinner in the Aviator Hotel where I was staying (highly recommend this, nice place !!).  Spent time enjoying a glass of red and making notes on the inspirations I had gathered on my day trip.

Snapping forward in time.  In Falls Church Virginia (outside Washington DC), I called in at Stylish Patina, to buy up some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint samples.  Owner Kelly later in the week helped me, filling an order for more paint and wax, which was shipped to my parents home in Nevada, to await me after my business meetings.  I also was very pleased to have an opportunity when I was in New Orleans to meet the proprietors of Annie Sloan Unfolded--Lisa, Scott and Jason.  (I was looking forward to learn more about when the product will be available in Australia !)  By the time I got to Nevada, Kelly's shipment had arrived in time for me to pack it into my checked bags, to bring it home to Australia.  I was really wanting to try it all out on some timber furniture and learn how well it works to paint it...just like all the rave reviews about using this paint that I have read on HEAPS of blogs, (especially USA bloggers, who can actually get their hands on the product) !

The Rest of the Story.  Trust me--don't bother trying to take the wax back in your checked bags.  TSA removed it.  At the first opportunity after I checked the bag.  And left a note in the bag, chiding me for my folly.  What about the tins of paint you ask ?  Well, these did make it through.  And so did all the sample jars I bought from Stylish Patina in Falls Church and Annie Sloan's in Oxford.  Though, TSA did open the big tins of paint packed in my bag.  And managed to mangle the cans (not sure what happened there--did these get put on some machinery to test them ?!).  But thankfully, the were not punctured and did not leak, and it seems TSA was kind enough to tape them up (a lot !) before putting back in the bag.  They just did not look as nice as when I got them in Nevada from Kelly's shipping.  But the paint is OK (the important bit).

Do Stay Tuned.  I will be painting up colour charts with the 10 or so colours of sample pots and tins I managed to get into Australia in my checked bags !  And !! I will be painting some furniture, plus an AMAZING vintage metal bird cage I got this week at a country auction, for a song (if I told you, you wouldn't believe the price.  Truly.  An amazing find).  All subjects for another post.  As you read about my journey into creative ventures, maybe not all paintings.  But yes and yet--all part of the same journey I am on.  Hoping you will check in time to time and see where it takes me and what I am up to :)


  1. Ah Kim the wonderful TSA!

    Good to know you got to spend time in Oxford, I was unable to go there on my last trip out to UK...Maybe this time..

    I can tell you I had the most difficult Jet Lag this time from our NOLA trip... scary...

  2. Hi Sumeet, so good to see you in New Orleans. Though sorry to hear about the jet lag. Were you traveling eastwards on your return ? (so, west to east) I find the jet lag when going that direction to be very difficult in deed. For this reason you will notice I nearly always go east to west. It really is easier.

    I highly recommend a visit to Oxford. I enjoyed my visit there and will be visiting again to look around more. Perhaps to also have lunch at the Jamie Oliver italian restaurant in town (it looked divine !)