So it turns out IKEA Sweden is just like IKEA everywhere else

I suppose it was inevitable we would eventually find ourselves in IKEA. And like every trip ever made to the ‘Blue and Yellow Flat Pack Palace’, it started with a genuine sense of excitement before  ending, five hours later, in swearing, narrowly avoided disaster and a vow to never return.

But before all that, back to the start and those heady moments of unbridled joy when you first arrive. Now don’t kid yourself dear reader, it’s genetically impossible not to be at least a little bit excited about going to IKEA, what with its iconic yellow letters enticing you like sirens on a sea of rich blue… ‘Come join us and our 3 for 2 deals on flat packed shelving units…. so good you’ll never want to leave… only joking…. not really…’

The reason for our visit was simple. Baby Hynes is scheduled to make an appearance in twelve days and it had become evidently clear that we were not as prepared as we could be nursery wise given we had a cot, set of draws, and, erm, yea…

Now let’s be honest, is this or is this not a little bit how you feel when you arrive at IKEA if (and this is the crucial bit) you can’t remember the last time you went?

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Because I can guarantee this is how you feel when you leave,

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Why? Simple, because of what happens in-between. But surely things are different in Sweden? Well unfortunately our trip proved once and for all that regardless if you are in Stockholm, Singapore or San Francisco, the IKEA experience is universal.

It began, as these things always do, with a simple list of things we needed to buy,

  1. A baby changing table
  2. A chair for the nursery
  3. Nothing else

Naturally we also somehow ended up with an ipad stand for the kitchen, two coffee mugs, a flat pack box, a metal recycling bin, a pillow and cover for the lounge and two new bedding sheets – standard IKEA trip activity – most importantly we’d picked out the table and chair we wanted. And whilst that can be a bit of a pain given most of the ranges are ‘different’ in the same way Coke is different to Pepsi – a little bit, but really? – we finally went to collect them from flat pack section. Which is inevitably when things started to turn sour…

First the baby changing table. Such a simple looking item, not only did it later take me THREE HOURS to put together (!) I also hadn’t accounted for was how heavy it would be ‘flat packed’.

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Alex being heavily pregnant, was put in charge of holding the trolley steady whilst I tried to wrestle the box, about the weight of a small elephant, off the packing shelf. She of course found my efforts absolutely hilarious and at the critical moment broke out into uncontrollable hysterics so violent she couldn’t hold the trolley still. On the floor on my knees at this point, the more desperately I scrambled after the trolley, the funnier she found it. Laughter which threatened to get completely out of hand when I started gasping,

“Hold the f**king trolley, hold the f**ing trolley!”

Oh, she nearly rolled about on the floor laughing at that zinger!!

But that was nothing compared to the chair. Now regular readers will know that we aren’t exactly the best planners in the world, but surely alarm bells should have been ringing when I pulled this box off the shelf.

pic 4

Want to guess the rest? That’s right, when we eventually got back to the car we found that like a giant version of the popular children’s game, the ‘L’ shaped piece was not going to fit into the ‘rectangle’ hole, no matter how I moved it about or how hard I pushed.

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I suppose we all only have ourselves to blame? Is Fosters any better in Melbourne than Manchester? Is McDonalds any less bad for you in Chicago than Cairo? Is Starbucks more pretentious in Seattle than Swansea? Bad example that last one, but you get the idea.

Thankfully though the story had a happy ending as we were able to once again fall back on our knowledge of IKEA. Clearly there was no way the chair we’d seen in store needed that much packaging, so we took a risk, unpacked it and hey presto it fit in the car.

IKEA. Noting if not predictable.

Moving on. I have a new obsession. Our new baby buggy.

If The Terminator and Bear Grylls adopted a baby, this is the buggy they’d buy.

I give you the ‘monster’ that is the Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle Luxury Edition 2015,

pic 9

‘Engineered for the urban active’ (hey, stop laughing at the back) if you decided to climb Mount Everest, Kilimanjaro or explore the remotest parts of the Arctic Tundra with your baby… well firstly, why are you taking a baby nut job? But secondly, this is the pram for you. I’m convinced I’ve seen an attachment online that allows you to attach a pack of husky’s to the front… It comes with an elaborate range of flare guns as standard… And, AND, they use a wolf – a bloody wolf! – in their advertising,

pic 10

It’s also better engineered (and more expensive) than some cars I’ve owned. Ok, that’s not a great endorsement given some of the absolute bangers I’ve cruised around in – slight aside, we did a lads weekend in Cornwall many years ago and I took my Ford Escort in for an MOT. The mechanic promised he could ‘just about fix it’ so it got there, but couldn’t make any promises about it getting back. The main problem was that the electronics had welded themselves to the engine block and he was scared about un-attaching them because he literally had no idea how they were still even working… Obviously we went anyway.

So I know what you are thinking? Is that MUCH buggy really necessary? Well think on this, winter is coming (yes finally!) and before not too long the snow will once again descend on Stockholm and frankly some ‘Namby P-r-amby’ buggy ain’t going to get the job done! We don’t live on the gentrified streets of Putney anymore dear reader, this is Scandinavia! And ok whilst living in Stockholm isn’t exactly the same thing as carving out a living on a grim fjord up in the north, you just never know…

To complete the baby preparation chat, as I said we have been working on getting the nursery ready. Here are some before and after pics. Lots of work still to do but look at our incredibly creative use of stickers. Don’t be surprised if you see this shortlisted for next year’s Turner Prize.

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Bump Watch

Alex finished work yesterday and in theory the baby could come any day now. What will that mean for future blogs? Who knows, although I’m reliably informed the hospital has excellent wifi, so perhaps I could end up doing some minute-by-minute reporting in the delivery room? Anyway, we are all now on the baby’s timetable, although given the parents, I’d say the chances of an early or on time appearance are somewhere between zero and none.

Picture of week

pic of the week


Track of the week

Kate Bush running up that hill with the Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle Luxury Edition 2015,

Fraser ‘Flat Packed Namby P-r-amby’ Hynes

2 thoughts on “So it turns out IKEA Sweden is just like IKEA everywhere else

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