Growing up, I was baffled by my mother’s interest in TV programmes about houses. I’m sure it began before this, but in my memory it all starts with Changing Rooms, and then there was Escape to the Country, A Place in the Sun, Homes Under the Hammer, Grand Designs… the list goes on.
I’m still not going to sit down and watch any of these. (I only caught fifteen minutes of that Grand Designs episode two weeks ago, OK?) I’ll not be knocking down walls any time soon – I don’t think the landlord would be too pleased – and I’m not even going to paint the walls because they are Artex so nothing is going to improve them. However, I am starting to understand the appeal of one thing: homeware.
See, I used to think I hated shopping, but what I actually don’t like is shopping for clothes. Clothes don’t fit or don’t suit you and put you in a bad mood, but I like buying books because I can always find something. Buying stuff for the flat is like buying books. Sure, there are cute little items that won’t always going to go with your colour schemes (yes, I have colour schemes now!) but whole departments of stores have now opened up to me and you’re always going to find something you like.
We have to be careful with money, but there are so many sales and good deals about that we haven’t done too badly. However, the flat came part-furnished – all the essential furniture, but only about three plates in the kitchen – so we got to make the obligatory IKEA trip. Our bargain of the day was 32 pieces of cutlery for £3!
Other bargains included a toaster for £3.50 (Sainsbury’s) and some Simple Value bedding from Argos – the pillows came in such a skinny bag it was hilarious, but they did puff out. A little. In any case, they did the job, until we decided to splash out on our very own bed. (Timing this well with sales, of course.)
We spent a day going around Purley Way in Croydon, where there is furniture shop after furniture shop. I must have tested about fifty mattresses. Eventually I realised I couldn’t really tell the difference unless the mattress was too soft or too hard, like Goldilocks, but fortunately most were just fine.
There were three bed frames we liked, but we eventually opted for one from the Edinburgh range (very appropriate) at Oak Furniture Land. It is unvarnished with a slightly rustic look about it, and I finally understand why people say they love their bed.
I took the opportunity to order duvets and pillows that weren’t the cheapest in the store (Silentnight, I’ll have you know – just from Poundstretcher and Argos!) and a gorgeous duvet set from the ‘Beautiful Birds’ range at Dunelm. You can see it on their site here – I can’t post any photos because we STILL don’t have Internet and the photos on my phone are rubbish!
Our new bed was all put together on Wednesday, and it is giant, comfy and lovely. The other bed has gone into the previously unfurnished room, so we now have a proper bed for any visitors. (And a living room overflowing with the stuff that doesn’t have a place yet…)
My other favourite flat things include the microwave, which was a present from my parents. We were just looking at all the boring white value ones, but when I told mum the kitchen was black, white and red, she got me a red one. (Immediately ten times better than your average microwave.)
We also picked up some candles, a lantern (only £2), and a little lamp from IKEA, which make the place feel much cosier on these dark evenings! And to hide the sofa that was already in the flat, which is a little worn but still comfy, we have two checked purple throws.
Next up – cushions! And perhaps a collage…
(What has happened to me?!)