i've discovered annie sloan's chalk paint which is amazing stuff, it can be painted onto just about any surface without having to prepare at all and by layering colours you can then just rub it back to get that shabby chic look.
so i decided to have a go on my sewing desk in the studio
and this was the result!
then i got carried away and had a go on a dark wood side table that really didn't fit in with the new house - shabby chic chateau grey seems to be a big improvement. i'm off to buy some more paint!