Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shop 'till you drop- literally!

I'm proud of my home. My home is my sanctuary. My home is in Beijing, also home to millions. Like most people here my home is an apartment, shared with my wonderful family on the 29th floor of an orange and brown 90's style building. After arriving from New Zealand with little more than our suitcase and hand luggage to call our own, we entered our white square box of a home here and set about making it comfy. Provided with "modern Chinese" landlord owned furniture, (sofas, beds, cabinet, tv stand, tv and bed side tables)in non-descript browns and creams, we promptly set off for IKEA to reinvigorate the eerie clinical, minimalist (not in a good way) look of our new pad.

IKEA on a Saturday and Sunday in Beijing really is an experience to be missed. Think packs of people jostling for aisle room, toting young babes in arms, scratchy screaming toddlers, grandma and grandad and the lady of the house, teetering on high heels (seriously!) on a buying mission from hell! Times that picture by 10's of thousands and you've got some sort of reality of our shock and dismay at making a gigantic newcomer mistake. Our plans of whipping through the aisles grabbing pillows and styley cushions in bright hues, modern prints for our walls and cool kids stuff was scuppered in one foul blast of sheer humanity.

So... if you can't beat 'em, join 'em I always say...firmly planting my two year old in the trolley to wail to his hearts content, dragging my four year old and her assortment of picked up off the shelf "isn't this pretty Mummy?"goodies, searching in vain for my seven year old, who had decided to park up on one of the cosy-looking kids bunk beds for a power nap, and cajole my less-than-happy, moaning husband to continue following the seriously ridiculous yellow arrows that were like some sort of holy grail towards the exit. Said holy grail happened to take the form of a queue like no other that, like most non-existent queue's in China, took an organic form consisting of shoulder barging, elbow prodding, back shoving and dinky maneouvering to shuffle towards the check-out girl - who most definitely did not greet us, (or anyone else) with a friendly smile. By this stage my now very vocal family,(and not in a good way!) were well over it and ready to snap.

Options buzzed through my brain...dump all and escape, be mature and patient and super-mom like and distract my kids with technolgy (cue i-phone goodness!), eye-ball the check-out girl with "my family are going to snap and it might not be pretty for you girly" look or just simply turn around and blame my husband for as many things as I could think of, which turned out to be a really silly, but oh-so-satisfying option! I believe my slightly OTT tirade consisted of something like this: your idea to drag us to IKEA on a Saturday...dragging us to China... your idea not to not send more of our house things over... leaving the toilet seat up, insist on wearing your ugly brown clodhopper boots to got to get your hair cut...hey....come back here while I'm trying to blame you for everything...!!

There are many morals to this story: definitely don't go to IKEA in the weekend, don't take your children, do rely on technology to pacify your kids when your back is against the wall and always be nice to your husband!

Read for more Beijing stories to brighten up your day and check out our home decor blogs about products soon for sale in our online homewares store and sent straight to you!


  1. This is really good Ella. Best of luck with it.


  2. I live in the Philadelphia, USA area, and the Ikea there gets crazy on the weekends. I couldn't imagine what it must be like in Beijing!

    Good story and good writing. I enjoyed it! : )


  3. Thanks for reading! It really is a crazy place. More Beijing madness stories to come...and there's been a lot!

  4. Sounds eerily familiar! We ended up at Ikea (Beijing) on a Thursday night thinking we could avoid the larger crowds of the weekend. Little did we know it was a one day sale! We didn't get out of there until after midnight. And that wasn't before a fight broke out in line and the police were called!