My love affair with IKEA has been reignited. Fourteen years ago, I first discovered it as a student (giant bags of tealights and cheap colanders were the stuff dreams were made of, back then) and seven years ago my husband and I kitted out our very first flat with IKEA bookshelves, wall art and yes, more tea lights.
And then I went off it a bit. “Why buy IKEA when you can buy from a mixture of far more upmarket places?” I asked myself, when we bought our house a few years ago. We upgraded to buying new furniture and accessories from Laura Ashley and Marks & Spencer, quietly congratulating ourselves for leaving IKEA behind.
But I’ve just seen the Swedish furniture store in a whole new light now that I’m a mum. They have a whole host of fun, bright (and cheap!) kids homeware but more impressive is their toy selection. Their hero product has to be their DUKTIG mini kitchen. I’ve struggled to find a nice looking toy kitchen that isn’t tiny-but-expensive or bright pink plastic. And this bad boy ticks all the boxes – it has an oven, cupboard and microwave for all your child’s opening-and-closing-doors-repeatedly needs. It has a sink and tap that moves from side to side, just like Mummy and Daddy’s real tap. It has a cooker, to allow your cherub to make swiss roll and Baked Beans (like on the A La Carte Kitchen advert). The only thing it’s missing is an AGA attachment and Cath Kidston tea towels. But the genius thing about this IKEA kitchen is that it’s unisex. It kind of angers me that so many toy kitchens are pink and girly – you don’t even need me to bore you with the reasons why, you know them. So for any mums of budding Delia Smiths or Jamie Olivers, this is the toy kitchen for you.