Thursday, 27 October 2011

Why I may grow to love Ikea!

I was in desperate need of a new shower curtain and bath mat, my bathroom breeds black mould and the shower curtain was already off-colour when we moved in a year ago. I knew Ikea could provide me with the cheap bathroom accessories I needed to make my bathroom look clean and nice. We don't live that far from Croydon, and I've driven to Ikea before, but I hate driving. I only needed a shower curtain and a bath mat so I thought we'd try out the public transport route. We caught the bus to Beckenham Junction (the first or last stop on the tram line) and then we boarded our first tram. Kit really enjoyed riding on 'the train on the road'. The trip took a lot less time - or felt like a lot less time than I expected, and we didn't get lost once (which I would have done if I'd driven). Plus it didn't cost a fortune, in fact it was probably less than the petrol cost would have been.

We arrived at Ikea at lunchtime, and I had pre-planned that we would have lunch in the cafe/restaurant first. As a vegetarian, and since Kit doesn't eat red meat, meatballs were not on our menu. I am hugely impressed by the offerings that they do have for children though, Kit had fish, chips and peas, and I had their organic pasta and tomato sauce (which you could also get in a kids size but I thought I'd give Kit a treat although I ate most of his chips, I think he thought that peas were the treat!). Kit got a free banana with his meal, and I could have got a free organic baby food pouch with my meal, all for £3.98. I'm a fan of anywhere I can get a decent healthy meal for 2 for less than a fiver! Also did you know that you can get free tea or coffee in the week with an Ikea family card.

Now Kit is only 2 years old at the moment, but when he gets to 3 Ikea will open up a whole new dimension of admiration for me Smaland. Smaland is a creche for children 3+ to play in (which is essentially a soft play area) while their parents shop. Did I mention that it is free? Now I'm not a fan of soft play - I'm more of an outdoor play kinda girl, but if the weather isn't playing fair, I'm thinking that Kit would love the chance to run around, climb, and jump in a ball pit.

So here is my plan. Once Kit hits the big 3 I can go on an exciting tram adventure with him to Ikea, where we can get cheap lunch. I can then drop him into the free creche while I go back to the restaurant for free tea or coffee, in peace! I know it won't work that way (in reality I'd be reluctant to leave him in a creche anyhow) but even without Smaland, I think that we could be popping over a few times this winter, because look at the fun you can have just in the toy department!

I'm not sure that Ikea aims to be a play destination, but surprisingly Kit did not want to leave, and that it enough to turn it into one for me!


  1. I really like Ikea and like it more since having a kid, it's so family orientated. Last time we were there we got Charlie some toy veg, they've been great to teach our fussy eater about vegetables and we like to match them up with the real thing.

  2. Seriously am quite impressed with Ikea at the moment. With three hungry kids- eating out is a huge expense and not something that we do regularly. The last time I went- I packed a lunch and to feed to the little one in the trolley as I was doing boring stuff like checking measurements for blinds. And I forgot the lunch at home. So when we went to the restaurant I was amazed at how much you could put in that box- AND healthy stuff for £3 something. Haven't tried the play area yet- only because the kids love "snooping" through "other people's rooms"! Also something to look forward to when kids gets older: Embarassing them by pretending to use the Loos in the pretend houses!

  3. what a great idea - taking your toddler to play in IKea. Love it. We avoid ikea like the plague cos i always get trapped in their one way system, but i do love their storage and kids furniture so maybe i will brave it again.



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