I reckon it’s probably been near on 20 years since my first visit to an Ikea and I still have some items that I still regularly use from that first time.  It’s a great way for expats to fill new spaces quickly and cheaply.  (*If you can put up with your husband whingeing about it.)

In Malaysia it was more popular with the locals than a theme park on a national holiday.  People there went to sleep on the exhibits (real). In America it always seems empty; I hypothesise that Americans seem to favour a more lavish and palatial look to “Skandi-chic”. (Just my observation, that isn’t a fact).

For me though, Ikea has a definite place in my heart. 10 Reasons why thus follow:

  1. The Cheese Grater

This is one of my original Ikea artefacts. I’ve cheated on it several times, trading up to a roller thing and the kind that looks like a big scratchy cow bell – but this! It catches the cheese! You don’t need a board. It’s easy to clean. It doesn’t confuse you with lots of grate size options (you don’t need grate size options). I’ve never cut my hand on it. Enough reasons?

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  1. The Blue Colander

Again I’ve cheated on this with chrome shiny ones and mesh ones, but this. It just drains stuff. It’s easy to clean. It’s not trying to show off or be anything it’s not. It’s very comfortable in its own plasticity. We humans could learn much from it.

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  1. Kid’s plastic plates and stuff

In Malaysia I went to a posh baby supplies shop, you know the kind, wooden toys, organic ALL things, and I bought all kinds of baby food serving shizzle. And pardon my French it was largely all shite AND very, very expensive. This stuff though, it cost like 10p. OK these don’t have flopsy and mopsy bunny on them, nor are they made from bamboo or reclaimed egg boxes but they are colourful and unbreakable. On the downside they can get a bit duffed up, the fork ends go funny and you simply don’t need the knives (swap them for more forks). But hey, new parents, ignore those other shops, just get these, they’re all you need.

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  1. Town planning play mat

Kids love driving cars around this. It covers stains. That’s all.

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  1. Blocky box stacking shelf thing

All expats with kids have this. I think that is a fact. It’s so genius. The holes accommodate boxes; wicker ones, plastic ones, colours, drawers, no boxes. It’s just perfect. Need to tidy up toys? Just shove ‘em in the boxes. Done and done.

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  1. Kid’s cooker

As above this is one of the unilaterally owned things in expat families. It’s a wooden toy FFS! The hob lights up. It has fully functioning doors!  *My kids clearly learned kitchen tidiness from Mummy.

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  1. Plastic step thing

This is just one very useful piece of plastic. It has been used on occasion however by children to reach things they shouldn’t. I forgive it though.

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  1. Ticking stripe duvet cover

I think there is a bit of a phenomenon in bedding. Sometimes you can get really good quality by not spending too much. Next (UK) and M&S (UK) for example are always good. Ikea bedding I think can be hit and miss but this set – its sort of classy. Its good quality, works in any room with any décor. It comes with 4 pillow cases and has little buttons to close it. YAY! *Currently Ben’s bed, hence toy rabbit.

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  1. “Posh” Desk

Other than Billy book cases this was one of the first major Ikea “pieces” we bought. And the first my husband had to erect. I remember leaving him one afternoon in the study of our then house with this package and his toolbox. After hour 1 I started to hear swearing coming from the room, so I went out shopping for a few hours. I came back, loud swearing ensued. It started to get dark. I made dinner. Then, at some point he emerged, dropping his screwdriver like a comedian dropping mic and leaving the stage. I think he uttered something like FTS, I bleeeeep hate bleep Ikea. But there was my desk and I’ve written the bleep out of bleep on it ever since.

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  1. My Happy Place

This day bed though! In our lives it has been a seat in Holly’s room, a double guest bed, Holly’s bed, Ben’s bed and now – it’s simply my happy place, where I go to read with Holly. I’ve adorned it with furry cushions and luxury throws and it’s heavenly. It’s a bed, for the day! All the days, WORD.

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There are some things I think Ikea is no good for. Lighting I don’t think hits the spot, but you can get a lamp for like 10p so who can resist? The food storage containers can be hit and miss with lid fitting. Those Billy bookcases for 10 quid, they sort of fall apart quickly and are purely functional. The square LACK side tables, I have 4 of them, none really serve any purpose functionally or aesthetically but hey, for a fiver you kind of have to.

Ikea though, I thank you, for filling my spaces, for serving purposes for tormenting my husband so deliciously. For meatballs, even though I’d never eat one, for grating my cheese, draining my peas and for the glow of your omnipresent tealights.

Ikea: TACK!

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