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Being Mum Lifestyle Parenting

In the quiet

Christmas was pretty busy, I feel that I should have taken more pictures in the moment but perhaps it’s nice sometimes to just appreciate it yourself. Ariella has been very throughly spoilt by all her family and friends this year. We bought Ariella the Duktig IKEA kitchen, she didn’t get to see it Christmas day as it really just would not have been transportable. The pots and pans and cutting vegetables/fruit go perfectly with the kitchen, thanks to her Uncle/Aunt and cousins!

It’s been great to see the expansion of her Happyland set courtesy of her grandparents, she now has a farm and a playground to add to her collection. All her new advent friends can space themselves out a little more, I’m undecided exactly what I will do with those special characters after the festive period ends. Perhaps store them for next year, I doubt we will get another Happyland advent unless they change the theme each year? Perhaps you know a nativity one would be great for the new barn!

Mothercare wooden activity cube

It’s been lovely to spend a few days as a family with Ariella, appreciating all her toys and seeing her interacting with them in a way that until now she really hadn’t been. She has a new bigger wooden activity cube which she really loved, on Christmas morning I think this diverted her attention from unwrapping the rest. Thank you to Uncle James and Deni for this! She has learnt to post things with her ELC post box, which I talked about previously. This wasn’t a Christmas gift, I purchased it a little before in the hope that it would help her with her fine motor skills – seems to be the case. It’s been really good for explaining posting Christmas cards too!

Poor lonely tree – all the presents are unwrapped!

Ariella enjoying a sweet potato, coconut and cardamom soup

I thought I would just share a few bits of what we’ve been doing with our time, this is Ariella enjoying some homemade soup. I love this recipe, it’s from Jamie Oliver “Sweet Potato, Coconut and Cardamom”, I don’t bother with the topping but Ariella loves it and so do we. Give it a go, it doesn’t take too long to do as you mostly leave it cooking which is always handy.

As I mentioned Ariella has only had her kitchen for a few days, I’m glad we went with the taller IKEA kitchen as she is just so tall! I’d like to modify the kitchen, have a look at all these DUKTIG hacks on Pinterest. If/when we get around to it I’ll upload it to the blog, I have a few ideas. It’s currently in its temporary home until the tree is removed and then it will sit in its place. It’s only really when you start pretend play that you realise you are missing some things, I need to get or make a tea towel. Ideally some plates, bowls, I’ve found some lovely wooden ones that I like on Etsy.

TreasureToys – Etsy

Ariella loves the little wooden tea set from Plan Toys, I purchased it on Amazon but have removed the sugar cubes and stirrer for now. When Ariella is suitably not putting things in her mouth I’ll introduce those again. Generally speaking she doesn’t often put things in her mouth anymore but she does occasionally and the cubes are just too tempting. Since getting home Ariella has gone straight to her kitchen and played with everything all day long, I’m so pleased as it will be helping her standing practice too.

Playing with her new kitchen with daddy!

We purchased some self-care Melissa and Doug boards, the latches board and one which teaches buttons, zips, velcro –  Basic skills for self care. She hasn’t been introduced to these yet but I’m really happy with the quality of the boards, I was recommended the latches one and the recommendation seems to be on form. They are bigger than I thought they would be too, luckily we had lots of storage space so I’m going to add these to the rotation of toys. I’ll be clearing off the shelves and changing them quite a bit as I feel rotation is really important.

Melissa and Doug – Self Care board

Melissa and Doug latches board

Mini Micro Scooter 3 in 1

Ariella has a new scooter too, she is still very scared to get on but we hope that in time she will start enjoying the scooter. It will be great for her muscle tone and allow her to get around more freely, just a matter of building up confidence.

Here is a few of our walk today, it was -1 outside and frosty but we had a few things to do and decided to walk for them. A great workout, I achieved my exercise goal on my Apple watch – whoop! Which I then counted with a nice brunch at the Natter Cafe in Farncombe.

On our return the cleaners had come and gone, so we were greeted to a tidy and refreshed home. They had even accepted a delivery for us, a package from some family members in Australia came. We had been keeping an eye out for it and it seems it was clear why it had been held up, Royal mail had opened it to check the contents. But it had arrived and two lovely Winnie the Pooh books for Ariella were wrapped up along with a bunch of beautiful cookie cutters for us. Thanks guys! I can’t wait to bake some cookies with Ariella, particularly loving the kangaroo and the crocodile. 

Lifestyle Pre Baby Uncategorised

IKEA – Please hold while we steal your soul away…

I have always liked IKEA, as long as you accept what it is then I think it fills a great hole in the current market. Usually I like it for the neat storage ideas and for inexpensive items which you don’t mind getting lots of wear and tear. Since moving to London my experience of IKEA has really changed, back in the south west I was close enough to visit their store.

I actually used to enjoy the walk around IKEA even though they pretty much force you to look at their stuff, rather than the conventional stores where you have a choice. Even with that, I saw the whole thing as an event in itself; something to enjoy and hey? why don’t you stop off at their cafe while you are at it, really make a day of it.

It’s not quite as easy to visit their store when you live in London, sure if you live right next to one then great. But the nearest to me is around a fifty minute drive away and thats assuming there isn’t traffic. You know that traffic you experience that google doesn’t warn you about when you find yourself  driving through CENTRAL LONDON. Or even just driving anywhere inside the M25 circle seems to be quite congested, specifically the north side anyway.

The last few times I’ve ordered online, you usually have to add quite a few items before they will deliver it which is fair enough really. It’s quite annoying then that IKEA take an age to actually ship your goods, it’s the longest time ever. The last order they had missed one single trouser hanger, no biggie it’s literally worth nothing much but you would think they would still correct it right?

Well no, you spend about thirty minutes on the phone (which by the way is not a free number) waiting for someone to pickup. I eventually gave up and tried submitting my problem online. Ha! That’s a mistake because they quote at least six days to get back to you. In what world does a company take six days at least to get back to a customer service query? I don’t think I know of any company that has openly quoted that long. At least they are honest I suppose!

So to the bring the story along to more recent ventures, they called me back and told me they will send the items out immediately. Did it ever arrive? No. Could I be bothered chasing it up again? No.

Then onto my second experience of ordering online with IKEA and perhaps my last! I thought that maybe the last phone call I made had long waiting times on the customer service line due to the time of year (christmas). Anyway the order arrived today and I immediately can tell it’s not going to be all roses. One of the boxes made a noise when I took it out of their poorly packaged larger box. I ordered some ceramic plates, I spent quite a while trying to decide whether to order cheap or go for hand made but we’ve had dinnerware from IKEA before and it’s always lasted ok.

So I ordered a complete set including pasta dishes, start to unbox and see that three pasta dishes are in pieces. The next box I opened had two little side plates in the same state.


Immediately I call the IKEA customer service number, I’m warned that I’ll need to wait at least twenty minutes. It’s like 1-2pm, not exactly peak time so I wait and it hits about thirty – forty minutes some guy picks up.

The poor guy has a terrible cold so they must be understaffed if he’s still working being that sick, I explain the situation and he tells me that it would be too expensive for them to ship the items again. Wait? We paid you for delivery in the first place, the items you sent are broken, give me my items. Blah, Blah, “courier known for throwing items around a lot” Why use them then?

Anyway the guy goes to speak to his manager  and is pretty set that we have three options.

1. We go to the nearest store with the broken items and a case number, they throw in a gift card and some free food vouchers so we can “make a day of it”.

2. They refund the plates (this sucks because I want a set of six for a reason).

3. They send the items from their distribution centre but it’s going to take two weeks and they can’t guarantee that the items won’t be damaged again. They way they said this made it sound like they expected it to get damaged?!

So I went with option 1 but I honestly don’t know if it’s even worth bothering with, once you factor in the cost of the plates against the cost of petrol. But mostly I’m more annoyed that I had to listen to their terrible music for forty minutes of my life.