A brief note about IKEA

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…..

Heals – A rather fabulous shop

I was in London yesterday, whiling away the time whilst my eldest daughter was singing in a concert.  Heading to the Tottenham Court Road, I visited Heals, a fantastic furniture emporium which I have not been to for at least a decade.  A lifetime ago when I lived in London and was furnishing my first apartment,, it was THE place to get your cool, edgy statement pieces.  Happily, it is still just as cutting edge in design as I remember.

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The first thing I saw on entering was Abigail Ahern‘s flower shop.  These are the most realistic blooms and plants I have even seen.  The cactus’ especially intrigued my youngest daughter who was with me.  She could not believe they were not real and kept stroking them, with no spines and spikes to hurt her little hands.

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You can order these on-line if you cannot get to London from her on-line shop, and I guarantee they are worth getting.  They are amazing, and you would probably end up watering them by mistake.

We then headed into the shop where I was assailed by the most beautiful lights, they are like huge teardrops in hand blown glass.

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There are well priced selection of wall lights.

IMG_2320IMG_2321Then on to the scented candles to smell some delicious scents, and where the Tom Dixon candles are sublime, if not unbelievably pricey.543205Every item is chosen carefully to represent the best in design in Heals.  This new cinema chair is very sweet too…

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And I feel that the Pinner bed would look great in my spare room.  Like a modernist colonial upgrade.

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This is tableware called ‘Ink’.  Each blue and white motif evokes classic Delftware porcelain and 1950s Midwinter ceramics.

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I recommend a visit to anyone who loves interiors when in London.  And if not, the website is well designed and ships internationally.  A final swoon over Abigail Ahern flowers designed into a huge hanging beast of beauty….

 

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English Antique hunting mission

I am sitting in a very cool cafe in Tetbury, Gloucestershire today and about to start on a mission finding interesting antiques.  It is pouring with rain, so I think there will be less tourists about giving me excellent shopping space!


Tetbury is a beautiful town in the Cotswolds, famous for a myriad of Antique shops.  It is also local to both Prince Charles’ and Princess Anne’s estates, so I might even have a Royal spotting (although if they are wise they should stay indoors on this very wet and grey English day).


But first some fuel… A pretty jam jar of juice and a mega toasted sandwich.

 There is one main street in the town which is full of antique dealers’ shops.  The current vogue is mainly for rustic French furniture, prints and reupholstered furniture.  It is pretty pricey but some of the pieces are wonderful.

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Armoire

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China collection

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Prince of Wales’ Insignia

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I’ll have it all!

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I had already spent about £30k in my head in just one side of the street.  All of the dealers are very friendly and informative, and I did not have any negative experiences anywhere.

The shutters above are my plan for a bedhead, I just have to hope they are still there when I return in the near future.



  

Really bad Christmas shopping on Black Friday

I went shopping today for Christmas gifts.  My friend Leah from Australia is staying with me and we hit Bristol for the day.   I had a long list, and was all ready  to get 99% of things ticked off it.  All of the shops had started Black Friday even though it was Thursday, so this was the day to get it done before the chaos starts on the day itself.  Or so I thought…

So I come home and look in my bags, and apart from a grill cleaning gadget for the mother-in-law, (which is really quite a dull but still a very useful implement and also slight retaliation for the year she gave me a dustpan and brush for Christmas), I now have a lovely dress, Perfume, Tweezermans, a fingerprinting fairy art set… and all for ME!

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OK, this may not be how the dress looks on me but I am allowed to pretend….

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There is no reason an adult cannot have this kit….

I also had a lovely lunch with my partner-in-crime Leah, many coffees in smart cafes, and browsed many beautiful shops including Harvey Nichols, where I nearly convinced myself that £300 for a scarf was a reasonable price.  I also daydreamed and drooled outside many interiors shops including Chalon and basically got NOTHING DONE AT ALL.

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 One day…..

So as I sit here chastised with guilt and looking at MY MY MY shopping, I will have to face the shoppers again tomorrow.  I am feeling that Anthropologie is a good starting point, even though most of the gifts I have to get on the list are for men and small children….

Am I the only person who does this?

 

Grabbing yet another bargain…. sorry OKA…

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:

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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: Continue reading