Have You Caught the Buzz In Belfast? #BuzzInBelfast

Have you caught the Belfast Buzz?

With just nine shopping days left, Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce has joined forces with Father Christmas, to give Northern Ireland one last reminder of the many merits of visiting Belfast this festive period.

“Across Belfast’s many retail stores, car parks, entertainment venues and indeed markets, there is an absolute abundance of offers and deals to be had, and we want to encourage as many people as possible to enjoy Belfast and continue to support the economy, which will benefit the whole of Northern Ireland long into 2015 and beyond."


For full details of Belfast store opening hours, deals and offers and parking information and prices, visit www.belfastctc.com 


The Ups of Upcycling for Your Home

You can’t open an interior design magazine without seeing at least one article on upcycling. Although buying non-heirloom, second-hand furniture once carried a bit of a stigma, these days it’s positively de rigueur, plus it can seriously reduce the cost of furnishing a property.  It’s certainly better for the environment, as it stops unwanted furniture heading to the tip, and hopefully it’s helping to change the tide of our ‘throw-away-and-replace’ society. So what are some fun ways youcan incorporate upcycling in your home?

Grab a Brush


You may think painting furniture is tedious and a skill you don’t possess, but you’d be wrong on both counts. These days everyone is getting stuck into chalk paint. This water-based paint was brought to the masses’ attention through Annie Sloan, who brought out her own range of paint and through YouTube videos, showed us how to use it.


Primarily used under wax to achieve a shabby chic look, the paint goes on easily, without the need for prepping. Sand here and there to give a distressed look and it’s done. There are several makes of chalk paint available now and you can have hours of fun mixing, diluting and experimenting. Mistakes can normally berectified.

Crates, Pallets and Spools


If you don’t like the idea of a traditional piece of furniture that’s painted, you could always go for a piece that’s made from waste material. Unlikely as it sounds, it’s possible to buyall types of furniture, made from old pallets or vintage apple or wine crates. 


These look particularly effective when combined with industrial hardware. Wine barrels, huge cablespools and even driftwood are being used to create aesthetically interesting pieces. Check out these pallet beds.For the outside area, garden furniture made from tyres is gaining popularity, as it’s very robust. You could make them yourself from video tutorials on YouTube.  Other tyres can be dotted around for mini ponds, sandpits or raised beds.

Anything Can Be Anything


Upcycling is not a new idea. The bathtub sofa was first seen in Holly Golightly’s apartment in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, andis now making a comeback in design-conscious properties.All sorts of items can be re-utilised for an entirely different purpose. 


An old steamer trunk, for instance, makes a fabulous coffee table with useful storage. Lighting is another area ripe for reinvention: colanders, bird cages and even sewing machines can be turned into effective lamps. A row of kitchen graters attached to a plinth and suspended from the ceiling will add an industrial flavour. For the automotive enthusiast, take a trip to the car graveyard and see what you can make.


If you furnish your home with upcycled items, it has several benefits: it reduces waste; it gives you an opportunity for creative thinking; your interior design will have a true sense of individuality.


Stumped for a Present for the Person who has Everything? Why not Consider Treating them to the Removal of Their Old, Now Unwanted Tattoo?

Giving the gift of laser tattoo removal may not seem like the most romantic Christmas present, but if your partner has a regrettable inking from their youth that they hate the sight of, this Christmas you could be giving them a body & life changing experience.

I have many tattoos that I love, but I've always disliked the look of the tiny star on my ring finger I had done ten years ago. Not only is it wonky, but I just don't like hand tattoos on myself, and am embarrassed by having it sometimes. 

Now even though I can recommend you the best tattoo parlours in Belfast City (White Dragon, Skullduggery) and even though I once had a monthly column in a national Tattoo magazine, Things & Ink, when it came to tattoo removal, I actually had no idea who to go to, or how it really goes down.

So, I just Googled laser tattoo removal and found a Lisburn beauty salon Indulgence by Susan, offering the treatment.

Susan's salon is based at her home, but stepping inside it doesn't feel like that. There are several rooms in the large, suburban home dedicated to Susan's beauty craft. She has ten years experience in the industry, with teeth whitening, slimming treatments, waxing, makeup and the whole works available and performed with expertise.


Over the coming while I'll share more of Susan's treatments with you, but today I'm concentrating on the laser tattoo removal specifically. 

The purple machine on the left is the laser, you can see the little gun in a holster, and it really is as straightforward a process as that- shooting the tattoo all over with little blasts of red light that help break down the ink and let it absorb into the body. 


Susan tipped me off to buy some skin numbing cream, over the counter at a chemist and apply that to the area about an hour before my appointment. It costs just under £5 in Boots.

Having the laser treatment does involve some pain, but not as bad as waxing pain, and certainly not as sore as it was GETTING my finger tattooed. The healing process was painless, but that might be as my tattoo is so small. 

This is a before shot of my star.


This is thirty seconds after the treatment.


As you can see, that's a pretty big difference. However the treatment will require return visits, as tattoos ARE supposed to be for life, and the ink is terribly stubborn and doesn't just break down after one attempt. The age of the tattoo also is a factor in how easily it can be removed.

Here is the star now after two weeks. 


You can see the top, right lines have faded a lot, but as Susan had told me, it will take a couple more sessions to fade the entire tattoo. She recommends leaving three months between sessions, which feels like a lifetime, but it limits the scarring and Susan has been doing this treatment for years, so I'm taking her advice and holding off, rather than rushing back up after a month for more blasting.

So, are you tempted? Rid yourself of that regrettable dolphin ankle tattoo from that crazy fortnight in Ibiza in 2001? Why not contact Susan herself via her website, and she can advise a treatment plan for you. 


The Retro Home: Five Kitchen Makeover Ideas

Following on from ‘The Retro Home: Five Bathroom Makeover Ideas’, comes the kitchen edit, which will show you how you can transform your lovely kitchen into something truly spectacular and retro! If you’re in need of some cool and quirky kitchen makeover ideas for the coming new year, take a look at our top five design ideas below.

1.Use 1950s Pastel Paint


Pastel colours were hugely popular in the 1950s and 1960s and if you want a fast and simple transformation with minimum effort, a new lick of paint in your favourite pastel shades could be the answer. Get the retro look quickly and easily with a new wall colour. The flatter your walls with some stylish retro kitchen accessories (think pastel utensil pots and pastel toasteretc.) and you will have the perfect flourishes for your fabulous 50s kitchen!

2.Upgrade to a Coloured Fridge

Often just an afterthought, the fridge is actual quite a noticeable centre piece in any kitchen. A poorly selected colour or style could stand out like a sore thumb; in the same vein, a stylish fridge design could complete your kitchen perfectly. Fifties pastel colours or sixties pop art brights could be a great idea if you’re looking for a pop of colour in your new kitchen. Whether you choose a bright Andy Warhol inspired shade (cobalt blue / pillar box red) or something softer, there are so many cool and quirky options. Take a look at this fab Pinterest board for more coloured fridge ideas.


3.Invest in Patterned Tiles


Many people don’t realise that patterned tiles are available but tile specialists such as the Yorkshire Tile Company can transform your kitchen with the most quirky and interesting tile designs. Choose from stylish mosaic look tiles to 1970s inspired patterns that will add edge and drama to any home. Prints and patterns were huge in the 1970s in both fashion and interior design but it’s not just fabric that can get this retro treatment; invest in some stylishly patterned tiles and give your kitchen the ultimate retro makeover.

4.Install a Retro Breakfast Bar


One of the most iconic features of 1950s America is the roadside diner. These dotted roads in every town and city and the interior design was typically similar across the country. Think black and white floor tiles, bright red bar stools and leather seating booths. If you want to recreate this look in your kitchen, try bringing together some retro tiles with a stylish breakfast bar. Upholster the bar stools with some red leather and you’re good to go!

5.Use Gingham for a Retro Cottage Kitchen

If you prefer the country cottage look to the American diner, try bringing together some country chic colours with retro gingham. Choose a gingham pattern for your curtains/blinds and your kitchen table cloth for a vintage cottage look.


For more ideas on redecorating your retro kitchen in the new year, be sure to visit Architecture Art Design for some design inspiration.

6 Simple Steps For A Garden Bilbo Baggins Would Be Proud Of

We all need a little bit of middle earth magic to calm our minds from the buzz of everyday life.

So taking inspiration from those that like to live the simple life, we’ve created a simple guide to living like a hobbit and creating a garden that will bring you an outdoor oasis away from


1) Go Wild

Overgrown and naturally wild, let your garden grow.

Although you may think it’s an excuse not to cut the grass, a Hobbits garden is there for fun and nature. Not for perfectionists.

Choose delicate shrubs and flowers that look like they’ve been picked straight out of the wild woods of Moor Door.

A good selection of Perennials will add colour all year round.

Leave them to do their thing and don’t start primping and preening. Even as tempting as it may be.

2) Shabby Shire Chic

Create a Hobbit house from a recycled shed.

Hobbits hate waste so distress it a little and paint a nice bright colourful door.

A comfortable retreat in the garden can bring you back to peace and tranquillity, and give you a little outdoor escape.

Just don’t forget to add a pebbled dashed path with someResin Bonded Aggregates which can be found here , to make sure those Hobbit feet don’t make the shed dirty.


3) Precious Features

You don’t need to sacrifice the ring of Sauron to get beautiful garden features.

Reuse old bits and bobs for Garden decoration and addwater features with a twist.

Tin cans can become flower pots, old bike wheels can become fence finery, and

Think outside of the Hobbit House and you’ll be amazed at how creative you’ll become.

4) Magical Moments

Add an element of fantasy to your outside world and make it night time friendly.

Fairy lights, bunting and decorative lanterns can all add a feeling of fairy life living in your garden, and help you make the most out of dark evenings.


5) Bring It To Life

Hobbits live in harmony with bugs and wildlife because it keeps gardens beautiful.

Attract nature with Bird Feeders, Nest Boxes and Bird Baths, to create a safe haven for the local fauna.

6) Don’t Be A Lonely Mountain

Now that the garden is bursting with life it’s time to party like a Hobbit.

And Hobbits love parties.

Bonfires, fireworks, games and dancing.

The garden is a place where an unexpected journey begins.

Ikea Sprida Projection Lamp is a Spotlight for Your Little Showbiz Kid in Training

The Ikea Sprida is a chunky, fun spotlight from Ikea. It can be used as a spotlight, or a projector and it includes slides of different colours to play with & set different mood lighting. The 'legs' are movable. There is a slide section which you pull out to load the colour palettes, or your own old fashioned photograph slides, should you wish.


My son, being DJ light & lamp obsessed rates it five out of five!  


Make Your Garden a Winter Wonderland


Christmas is just around the corner now folks and it’s the same question on the tip of everyone’s tongue; will we have a white Christmas? The chances of snowfall this year may not have us all shopping for sleds just yet. But snowfall or no-fall, your garden can still be a magical winter wonderland.

If you have young children who dream of Santa and the North Pole, or you are a keen gardener who would appreciate a winter lawn, here are some tips to create an enchanting garden no matter the weather.


Plant Some Winter Flowers

Winter Jasmine

Winter Jasmine

Whilst the rest of your garden goes to rest during the winter season, winter bloomers such as Helleborus Niger or Helleborus x Hybridus only come to life when the weather turns cold. These stunning flowers are irresistible when they open up in winter and their pinkish white hues really add to the magical feel of your white Christmas garden. Add a splash of festive red with seasonal Poinsettia planters and you won’t believe how easy the transformation is.


Use Outdoor Christmas Decorations


If you want a true winter wonderland, you simply cannot forget the outdoor decorations. Transform your garden as well as your home to create a truly enchanting festive atmosphere for the whole family. If you have a fir tree, decorate it with outdoor lights and make sure you make your front and back door welcoming with wreaths, hanging planters and garlands.


Turn Your Shed into a Grotto


For a true flavour of the North Pole (this is great for kids!), a grotto is a must. Anyone with a shed can transform a basic wooden structure into something spectacular. All you will need is some artificial snow and some pretty Christmas lights. 


Artificial snow comes in either sheet, spray or a powder form; use the sheet to decorate the roof / floor of the shed and dust off any nearby plants and trees with the powder or spray. Add some holly and ivy garlands to the front, along with some Poinsettia planters and you can make the grotto a welcoming place for the little ones.

Bring the Outside In


For anyone looking for a long term solution for enjoying their garden in winter, use frameless glass curtains to bring the outside in. Let the indoor and outdoor festive decorations come together to create a fantastic winter wonderland feel for the entire family. You can enjoy a white Christmas (fingers crossed) from the warmth and comfort of the indoors – or you can enjoy unobstructed views of the spring bloom come 2015. Whatever the season, frameless glass doors are a great investment if you want to enjoy your beautiful garden all year round. Visit FGC Frameless Glass Curtains Ltd to find out more.

Christmas News from the Pony Cycle Stables



"The final Christmas countdown is truly on.

This has been a fantastic year for Pony Cycles, stock has truly galloped out the stables door.

With the last shopping days amongst us, we want to give a heads up of final order and delivery dates:

If you are interested in any models we do not have in stock, the final day for placing orders is Wesnesday 10th Dec, to allow time for delivery in time for Christmas.

For all available stock, final day for Christmas orders is Friday 19th December.

Don’t leave it too late, contact the team today and order yours!

Pony Cycles would like to thank all their customers for their ongoing support.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Pony Cycle Team."