A brief note about IKEA

bargains, Shopping

Just a quick note today about the Swedish giant emporium that is IKEA.  I am preparing the house for an interior shoot this week, and thought I would pop by IKEA to pick up some spare tapered candles.  Just candles, don’t need anything else….


Am I the type of person in the world who enters the shop with such a simple intention, and leaves with what I came for? I am not.  By the time I had reached the checkout I had a trolley groaning with the following items, rationale had left me.  But I did that thing that all TRUE AND GREAT SHOPPERS DO… I made up some excellent reasons as to why I needed them:

  • Candles – what I came for.  A box of white tapered ones
  • Candles – nice big huge chunky ones, 4 of them, might be good at Christmas
  • Hallway sisal runner – mine is looking a bit jaded so a smart replacement
  • 3m long velvet orange curtains – great for the recently overhauled dining room
  • Plastic food bags – 2 boxes, useful for crafts, kids lunches and so on
  • Plastic food bag clips – to tie up the above
  • Tea towels- linen, very pretty and no doubt a bugger to iron so they will end up in a drawer and only be used once
  • King size bed sheet, they finally do UK sized fitted sheets, and in dark aubergine…
  • Two wool throws in charcoal, just snuggly and useful, but excess on top of the other 5/6 throws I already have…
  • Copper tray to put all the candles on, on trend as they say
  • Cream tin canister set for the kitchen- to hide things like cat medicine
  • Two small artificial Christmas trees – most lifelike and useful for Christmas
  • Boxes of Christmas decorations made from 3D brown paper – no time to make my own this year
  • Boxes of black Christmas tree baubles – great for the new dining room scheme
  • Black storage boxes to put things in, not sure what yet but I am sure they will be very practical
  • Table runners x 2 to sew together to make one long one for the Christmas table, but I forgot that my sewing machine is broken so they will no doubt end up in a drawer with the tea towels
  • A wad of paper napkins, to go with all the other ones I forgot I already had
  • Christmas wrapping paper – I don’t begrudge this as their lines are really nice and come with lots of different papers, ribbons and bags at a very good price.  Mind you I probably just blew the present budget for several people buying all the above.

IKEA is just one of those places where you grab things as you walk through it as they seem by cheap.  It is only at the till that you realise that you have spent a fortune on lots of things that will ultimately and probably end up in a drawer.

Does anyone else out there do this too, or am I just a retailers delight?!

Ta-ta for now…..

My best bargain purchases…

Auctions, bargains, before and after, Makeover, recycling, Upcycling

Or, Thank You to charity shops and modern house builders…

As summer slows to a halt and I start moving indoors more, I have started to cast the eye over the house once more.  You know the drill… time to start tweaking and changing and improving.

I have had a bit of a purge recently of overflowing cupboards, and whilst doing it I noticed that a lot of my furniture and household items are bargains bagged from charity shops, auctions and even the odd skip.  Not a lot is new at all, not that I would not love to go on a splurge in some of my favourite shops.

Most items of furniture that I have found have been mainly tall or long, and lingering in junk shops.  We have very high ceilings in our house, so the taller pieces of furniture fit brilliantly and most people cannot fit them into their modern homes.  As long as the basic shape of a piece is good, then it is amazing what some paints effects or a refurbishment can create.  My friend Gaby has the best comment for when a bargain priced item is found, she says “it would be rude not to…”.  Therefore in the politest fashion I can justify snapping things up.

This very tall Victorian glazed mahogany cabinet came from a Charity shop.  No-one else wanted it as it is a whopping 10 feet tall.  I backed the inside of the cupboard with some printed burlap that I had left over from an upholstery project, and it was ready to use.  Total cost £90

In the hallway, this orange-toned pine sideboard was very large and lingering in another charity shop.  A dash of Annie Sloane graphite chalk paint that I already had, and it was transformed.  Total Cost: £80

Whilst at the same shop, I also snapped up this large mirror for just £10, a lick of paint transformed it:

This armoire came from the same charity shop as the tall glazed mahogany cabinet.  A makeover with some leftover chalk paint, and a beautiful wallpaper in the panels turned it into a real gem.  Cost: £40 for the cupboard and £42 for the wallpaper on sale down from £90, (costly wallpaper, but I loved it!).  So a total of £82.

My latest find…

accessories, bargains, lighting

And how to communicate with teenagers successfully…

After Christmas I received hundreds of sale emails from various interior shops.  One of them was from Cox & Cox, a great online retailer with quirky items.  I was not planning to buy anything, especially after Christmas, but this little beauty caught my eye, and it was also reduced so it would have been rude not too really….

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It’s a light box that come with lots of letters, and you can either wall-mount it or have it freestanding.  This has become the key way of communicating with my teenagers at the moment as they shoot in and out of the house, and they also love to leave messages too, so it is a two-way thing.

I have mine in the hall, so they can see it the minute they enter the house.  There is NO WAY they cannot get the message.  Unlike a phone that they can say they did not have on to receive a text or a voicemail, this sign is in your face and unmissable.

new signs-4

hack - 2

 

When I first got it, I did a cheery message to get them ready to go back to school after the Christmas holidays:

new signs

 

By the end of day one at school, it had been changed to this by a child…

new signs-1

But generally it is a lovely sign to greet people and you can personalise it too if you want.

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But it also has brutal usages if so required…

new signs-3

Genius, thank you Cox & Cox!

Grabbing yet another bargain…. sorry OKA…

accessories, bargains, Decorating, lighting, styling

Following on from the sideboard makeover last week, I had a niggling feeling about it not being quite right in that my lamps looked a bit too small.  In fact they looked like they were lilliputian and Gulliver had lent them to me.  The sideboard is so big that it needed some REALLY BIG LAMPS. See here…. weeny!

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So I started to hunt for some that were a) big in scale and b) a bargain as is always preferred. I found these by OKA, I just love all the things that they sell and wander their shops salivating a lot and buying far too many trinkets and flowers for the house.. but they are whopping £327 each with a shade included, and I wanted a pair as I get a queasy tummy if I don’t see symmetry!  So, over £650 for two lamps, I just cannot justify it, especially with two teenage girls who have their mothers’ clothes shopping habits already!    But the OKA lamps are so lovely with the weathered wood, and I liked the neutrality of them in case I feel like moving things around in the house at a later date, (which is a dead cert really).  Here is the lamp:

oka lamp

So I started the usual trawling grounds; ebay, gumtree, local charity shops.  Nothing that I liked, and certainly nothing that was a bargain if I started to count postage costs.

But then today by absolute FLUKE, I was passing a shop called The Range that I remembered had some lighting that was incredibly well priced, but with some occasional hidden gems that I think look very upmarket and well designed.  So I popped in, rooted around and found this lamp: