Saturday, December 09, 2017

that IKEA Tebrau experience

I've just poured myself a hot cup of PATAR thanks to my RADIG. Such luxury to be able to make my own espresso at a fraction of store-bought price.

In this moment of halcyon, let me tell you about that wonderful date I had with IKEA Tebrau *cue harp strums*...

Image credit: IKEA Malaysia

Tebrau is an upcoming mukim (sub-district) which happens to be the third largest in the Johor Bahru district. IKEA Tebrau is the first southern Peninsular Malaysia store and the largest in South-East Asia. Oh it is massive peeps. MASSIVE IKEA Tebrau opened its doors on the 16th of November 2017 and if you have been following my Instagram Stories, you would have had a sneak peek of the store during the store walk that I did days prior to the opening and also the actual launch day itself which was a partayyy!

Obviously classy IKEA Tebrau extended the date invitation in the most lovely manner. There were going to be flights involved, food and a gentle meander through the store in company of their Store Manager, Annie. How thrilling to be flown in for the afternoon in Johor to experience the spanking brand-new colossal IKEA!

The morning was warm and balmy when I woke and got dressed in my Erdem x H+M frock. I was early to the airport (succumbing to the paranoia of missing my flight) so I had a quick coffee at Starbucks. Moments after that was just a flurry of events: meeting with fellow influencers/bloggers, skipping up the plane steps, heading out of the airport to our transportation, pulling into IKEA Tebrau and gawking at the vast size of it. We were ushered to lunch where I discovered the IKEA staff pantry has the option of sparkling green tea and lemon beverage. I had multiple refills of that 😉

Post-lunch we were introduced to Annie Chandler, IKEA Tebrau's store manager who would be responsible for our storewalk adventure. Oh you lucky lucky Johoreans! You have, like, the best IKEA Store Manager who's immensely dedicated to the job, eloquent, highly knowledgable in products and genuinely empathic. I should stop gushing but maybe just one more: she is AMAZE! We commenced the tour at Smaland where parents can 'deposit' their children so they can shop in peace whilst knowing that the kids are in safe hands. Kids are assigned a numbered jersey which can only be claimed by an adult possessing the token of the same number. There is also a lounge for older children / teenagers to hang out and tinker with their toys presumably smartphones as they await their parents to be done with shopping.

Fun fact: Smaland's ballpit is called the Berry Lake and is filled with either lingonberries (red balls) or blueberries (blue balls) whichever is in season. Also blueberry season only lasts 3 months so you would only see blueberries in the 'lake' those few months a year. If that's not the cutest trivia, I don't know what is!

When one ascends the escalator into IKEA's main entrance, one cannot help but be floored by IKEA Tebrau's bookcase wall. This 30 x 9 m showcase will be the first thing that greets the shoppers apart from a giant Nala horse, painted in Johor colours no  doubt, flanking the escalator. There are only 2 IKEA bookcase walls in the world and one of them is here in Tebrau. The other is in Spain, if I'm not mistaken. Can you believe that humble lil' Malaysia possess one of the only 2 IKEA concept showcases?? So damn LIT! The bookcase wall serves as the preliminary inspo before divulging into the 54 showrooms IKEA Tebrau has to offer.

One thing that Annie mentioned with regards to their ethos is that every ‘room’ is designed to test the versatility, form and function of their furniture pieces. They do not expect things to be in place after people walk through them. In fact, like this room over here, they want everyone to take a comfy seat while the children play with the train set because that is life... and in life, people do come over and they plonk themselves on your VIMLE sofa, their drinks go on your NYBODA coffee table while their kids play with your LILLABO toy. It should always feel like it would work in your home because it IS going into your home. Seriously, what a remarkable business culture!

Each and every IKEA will feature 3 'homes'. The first 'home' we toured was their sustainable home. I feel it is crucial to take notice of the home types as every feature pertaining to the home is a calculated choice and will impact greatly in the results one intend to achieve in his/her living space. Take for example the humble HOPPVALS cellular blind. In countries that experience crisp temperatures, the HOPPVALS functions to keep the warmth in while in (devastatingly) hot countries such as ours, it can function to keep the coolness of the air-conditioning from running out! Can you imagine how much you can save from your electric bill?? Yes, I'm allowing your brain to explode now. If you hadn't realise this was part of their sustainable home, you'd think that the blind was just a tool to keep the sunlight out.

The thing about IKEA Tebrau is that the space allows for so much display liberty. IKEA Mutiara is my love but there is only so many that can be showcased in that limited space. I see every single thing in the catalogue on display over at IKEA Tebrau.. meaning if they have 10 armchairs in the catalogue, you have the luxury of viewing ALL 10 of them here. I smiled at old faces like POANG and gawked at newbies like IKEA PS 2017 rocking chair which can supposedly fit 3 store managers or an entire Asian family LOL. Oh oh and how about using the SOLIG net outside rather than inside?

Just so you know, you're in for a workout 'cos according to Annie the distance from start till end is a whopping 2.2km! Not inclusive of the winding queue over at IKEA's cafeteria which is said to be able to seat 700 pax. Gotta get 'em meatballs people. They be fuel to continue the last leg of the journey.. last but never least: the Marketplace! Johoreans, aren't you excited to know that you now have the power of choice and that you can choose to live a better everyday with all things IKEA?? I say this because their SPRITTA apple slicer is best thing since sliced bread!

Never to end the date on an average note, IKEA Tebrau pulled an EXTRA by hosting an Influencer Activity Session. The Dala horse started out as a wooden toy carved out for children as horses represented the value of a true friend. It was at one point used as currency which goes to show how much the Swedish people value the design of this wooden horse that has now become the symbol of Sweden. It was only natural that we were gifted Dala horses by IKEA Tebrau but what made it such a treat was that we got to personalise the design of our own Dala and THAT made it all the more special! We could even custom our own Dala horses into lil flower or photo holders. I could not swoon more. This is such a wonderful activity and you can easily get the materials from IKEA’s craft corner. The flight home was nothing short of gleeful.

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Tack IKEA Tebrau for my new friend the Dala-corn! You sure know how to host a date :) Indeed you have my heart (as it is you already have my home).

Seeing is believing peeps, so head on over to IKEA Tebrau for your very own IKEA Tebrau experience. Oh and if you see Annie, say hej!

Image credit: IKEA Malaysia

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. The views expressed in this blog are based on the blogger's personal opinions, thoughts and impressions. The material on this blog may not be used, reprinted, or published without the blogger's consent.

Monday, April 03, 2017

IKEA making my bedroom a sanctuary again

When Guy and I bought our house, we were a young couple (considerably newlyweds 'cos we got married in said house a couple of months after the purchase) just starting out with our family. The house came furnished, albeit distastefully, and we decided that we would live with the existing furniture until we could afford to transform our home. Needless to say, with life (and work *rolls eyes, shakes head*), that day just never came. The bedroom resorted to being JUST a room where our bed was located.

*cue 'Fix You' *

I really felt that I did not do the-most-vital-space-in-the-house any justice considering it has helped me obtain restful sleep, nursed me when I was ill, 'cuddled' me on bad days, played venue for important couple conversations and still continues to be a pivotal location for my morning Instagram scroll.

Like any slumber room upgrade journey, it all begins with that one step.. which I took in the direction of IKEA - the go-to when one's mission is to maximally transform a space with minimum expenditure. Ideally, though unrealistically, the makeover would allow me to hack and tear away the insipid wooden built-ins and that dreadful pleather headboard (seriously, what was the previous home owner thinking??) but that would incur alot of labour cost. Let's face it, I can't hack it myself either heck I'm no Aidan Shaw of SATC.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

IKEA making my home CNY ready again

How is it Chinese New Year already? Wasn't it just Christmas, like, a few winks ago?

I know (my house and) I are still recuperating from the (*ahem* very successful I might add) Christmas dinner I hosted for old friends. With so much going on, and the very narrow window between Christmas and New Year's, I had little time to be pensive though I had decided earlier that there will be no life-changing resolutions or ridiculous expectations of myself. During that time I had put my foot down with the desire to face my demons, one of which - the dreaded CLUTTER, in order to get the house ready to host the dinner. I started with clearing my stuff up. When I got done (took me 2 weeks JUST to get the entrance, living and dining area done.. darn it decluttering/organizing/cleaning is seriously hard work... though rewarding ;P ), I was reminded of how good it felt to see the house all ready to receive guests. With Chinese New Year just some weeks after, I was adamant to maintain the good order of the house while slowly sorting the other parts that remain to be seen by the public.

"From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. As a result, your life will start to change. That’s why the task of putting your house in order should be done quickly. It allows you to confront the issues that are really important. Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order.” 
... Marie Kondo ...

I cannot even begin to express how crucial IKEA has been in aiding my journey to achieving a maximal minimalist home. I say maximal minimalist because I'm a hoarder and my stuff are kinda like my friends. I will never be able to achieve the clean crisp Kinfolk-Bauhaus-Cereal decor because, frankly, I have way too many things! Having said that, the key to my-personal-definition-of-a-spark-joy-home is finding the balance between all the things I have and where they go in the house. I have accepted my flaws and I know I will never come close to achieving those spaces I see on Pinterest or interior decorating magazines but... there is a but... that doesn't mean I won't try to recreate a certain aesthetic in my home. This is where IKEA comes in absolutely handy: the versatility of their products in complimenting most house themes, the price point which allows us to constantly update / refresh / for some - facelift the decor of the home along with intelligently designed products with brilliant form and function... all working hand-in-hand with my autonomy to bring organisation to my home.

The trick with getting the house ready, as I've learnt - which can also be applied to many arenas in life, is to pick my battles. When hosting in my home, the few spaces that truly matter is:
- the entrance to the living area
- showcase
- larder because close to it is the sink where guests wash their hands (and the path to the toilet!)
- TV bench
- art collection

If they say first impression counts, then my LYCKHEM occasional table sets the tone to my home. Previously a dumping ground for everything: keys, bills, mails, notebooks, files, toys and other assortment of junk, which on hindsight cannot be good for Choy San Yeh (God of Prosperity), is now a handsome storage of sorts thanks to KUGGIS box and lid. I was surprised at how much each box could hold considering the size. It has such a clean Lego-esque streamline to it and the size fits just perfectly into the 'drawer' space of the occasional table. The sleek KVISSLE letter tray holds urgent mails, unpaid bills along with other important documents and allowing easy access whenever. I also converted my Jo Malone boxes to hold daily use miscellaneous items.

What a difference decluttering makes!

This vintage Choy San Yeh is a gift from my father. He sorta inherited the figurine when he was helping someone clear out their storage and it was due to be disposed. I placed him along with my other notable fortune beckoning individuals.. Gandalf the Grey included heh. Just realised from the image above that I had forgotten to paint the (your) left spool stalk. I picked those up from an industrial wire shop that was getting rid of them including the crate that was left out in a rubbish pile by a fruit store.

There are so many little inexpensive hygge touches one can do to make his / her home Chinese New Year ready. I made paper goldfishes using this tutorial with LYCKSALIG red packets and hung them out on a VINTER decoration stand. Dusted out my 3-year old lil lion dance costume and placed it reaching out for an IKEA Yong Chun Lokam. Laid a couple of mini bakul siah to hold Bingka KL CNY tea towel in place, like a mini tapestry. Pink honeycomb VISIONAR hanging decorations may have been created for fuschia themed parties but really these things are just meant for CNY! You don't even need to hang them up, just place them lying about, as I did, or in a GEMAK colander.

Recently I came up with the wise idea of making my own granola. Prior to this I had been purchasing granola and boy do these grazing snacks burn a hole in the pocket! I bought rolled oats, flax seeds along with some fertility-friendly supplements like Maca (they smell funky them Maca). On another note I also scored affordable bags of chia seeds and quinoa when I was in Melbourne.

Anyway the whole desire to turn my kitchen into a granola making factory caused for bags of dried goods to lie around all messy and disruptive to my larder juju. I finally got to sorting them out with KORKEN jars. Just love seeing my larder filled with an army of glass jar goodness. These days I find myself looking for the most ridiculous excuse to walk into my pantry pretending to be Nigella out to retrieve some homemade vanilla essence (matter of fact I do make my own vanilla essence).

On that note I'm thinking to make myself some 'fertility' granola as it is approaching the end of February and cue for the continuation of my IVF journey. Should probably add some almonds, Brazil nuts (trust me, they do not taste good and need to be consumed in the company of other nuts) and pumpkin seeds to the mix. Feel free to leave a comment should you have any thoughts or recipes that would be useful for me.

Another location in one's home where guests commonly gather would be the sofa - regularly found opposite the television. Hence it is crucial that I get my TV bench act together because akin to its cousin, the occasional table, the former also serves as a junk pile for all things electronic and gadgetry.

Are you smirking at my HUTTEN wine rack turned internet decoder caddy? You'll be surprised to know that it really helps prevent the decoders from overheating. Also the hollowed space allows for easy wiring access. I'm thinking to paint my 6-year-old-was-cool-but-now-seemingly-irrelevant feature wall white. This way the space would open up and compliment the shade I chose for my SKUBB boxes. They're so nifty. I basically just chucked every ghastly bric-a-brac into these woven boxes and the space was transformed almost immediately.

Eyesore turn eye candy!

“Imagine what it would be like to have a bookshelf filled only with books that you really love. Isn’t that image spellbinding? For someone who loves books, what greater happiness could there be?”
... Marie Kondo ...

Inspired by the amaze Anthropologie, I have attempted to fashion my showcase to hopefully reflect my aesthetics in a somewhat cinematic manner. Welcome to the exhibition of my mirth and merriment! LACK wall shelves serve as a perfect avenue to display my travel mementoes, books, figurines, art prints, ROTERA candle holders, quote cards etc in such understated sophistication. This makes for a myriad of conversational pieces for when I have guests over during the Chinese New Year. Shelfie anyone?

Mark Ryden is having an exhibition in Malaga and I desire so deeply to witness his show. If I can't go to the exhibition, I will bring the exhibition to me (as seen here with the original meat dress). I remember the old days when my mother would conscientiously select negatives of pictures she liked, mainly toddler pictures of my sister and I in twinsies, to blow up and get framed. It was the only way to get a picture stylishly put on show. How times have changed. With FISKBO and LIMHALL frames, even my watercolour banana (my masterpiece!) looks like a Van Gogh piece! Now my memories have a home.

I'm in LOVE with the new DINERA blush shade ('light pink')! I already have the set in earthen colour but this is SO MUCH BETTER and befitting of the Chinese New Year (with a little Valentine's thrown in ;) ). Look at how much it just lights the table up! Perfect for a Chinese New Year brunch with the family. Don't forget to have some 'har gao' (prawn dumpling) so you'll be laughing HA-HA throughout the year. Also 'char siew bao' for strength, wealth and abundant blessings with an accompanying pomelo yee sang salad for good health and family unity.

I'm pairing my DINERA bowl and DINERA deep plate with the INTAGANDE wine glass and INTAGANDE glass (one for a festive beverage punch and the other for water) also in the shade of light pink. Guests get to bring home a Bisou BonBon Love Lip Balm favour that they can place into the Gin and Jacqie fortune cookie coin pouch, that true to its name has a fortune inside, along with a LYCKSALIG angpow (red packet). I'm unearthing my collection of vintage Chinois spoons and teacups with Japanese dishes I got in Tokyo to host the dimsum while the pomelo yee sang salad goes into the KORKEN mini jar.

I was pleasantly surprised to see my teal DOFTRIK napkins from IKEA's Raya collection fitting nicely into my Chinese New Year colour palette. I got these from thw IKEA's As Is department at a steal! Who loves going to As Is??

Place post-dinner mints into little Bakul Siah baskets to bring colour and convention to the table. Mandarin oranges offer a wonderful pop of colour to the table decor. They also make rustic candle holders to GLIMMA tea lights. This intimate table setting will have your guests raving until the next Chinese  New Year.

“The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.” 
... Marie Kondo ...

That IKEA man handing kam out is beyond hilarious!

There are so many simple intimate touches one can make to create a cosy space that is not only festive but pertinent throughout the year. As it turns out, storing clutter isn't too Herculean an effort if you have the right storage equipment. With IKEA you will be spoilt for choice as their storage game is strong! When we create a clutter-free space, we are inviting confidence / honesty into our home, providing family and friends with the opportunity to bond... in the end, isn't that what the festive season is truly about?

Have a lovely Chinese New Year everyone!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. The views expressed in this blog are based on the blogger's personal opinions, thoughts and impressions. The material on this blog may not be used, reprinted, or published without the blogger's consent.

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