9 online homeware stores that deserve a little attention 

 

I keep googling ‘homeware stores UK’ in the hope of finding some new places to shop from. I’ve found a few round-ups and lists of online homeware stores that aren’t just Ikea or John Lewis or Oliver Bonas (not that I don’t love all of those – I just want some different options) but then I get to the sites themselves and often find my status as a non-millionaire a problem.

I have a whole new home to fill very soon as I’ve managed to accumulate basically zero furniture in my 26 years (adulting like a pro) and I don’t want to buy EVERYTHING from Ikea.

I say this, I will buy many things from Ikea.

While I don’t want to overload and buy loads of stuff I don’t need, having lots of empty space to fill seems as good a reason as any to get some shopping done. After many weeks scouring the internet, Twitter, Instagram, blogs and magazines I’ve put together a list of homeware websites/shops that are affordable, sell all the things you’ll likely need to function and plenty of pretty bits for staring lovingly at too.

1) M&S

Okay, now this is probably obvious to everyone and I thought I’d get it out the way, but I honestly never really thought about M&S for homeware. I love their food and I love their clothes but that’s always been the extent of my Marks and Sparks browsing. Turns out they have a lot to offer.

What they’re good for: KITCHENWARE! The above spring coffee mug was brought home by my boyfriend the other week and they have loads of similar, lovely kitchen/cookware bits.

2) Wayfair

This is my current favourite website. They sell practically everything in the home world and they change their offerings so often you’ll never get bored of browsing.

What they’re good for: Sales – they have a new sale every couple of days on different products or themes or even by room. They do a good selection of contemporary sofas and lots of lovely light fixtures too.

3) Red Candy

The point of Red Candy is to be bright and bold and buy less beige and they can certainly help there.

What they’re good for: Clocks and photo frames are especially worth a look.

4) Lo and Behold

I found this site through just typing ‘homeware’ into the Twitter search bar, and while they don’t actually stock that much, you can find some gems. Very modern, very smart and all of the colours and patterns are understated and chic.

What they’re good for: Throws, bedding and lights.

5) The Range

I feel like maybe most people know about The Range, but late to the party as ever I only found their site a few weeks ago. Lots of furniture – big furniture, small furniture, they sell everything. It’s not all my cup of tea but there are some really nice storage pieces and coffee tables.

What they’re good for: Reasonable prices, good storage and lots of selection.

6) The Little House Shop

A lot of the stuff on here reminds me of H&M’s home offerings, but they do a bit more in the way of jazzy lights, bigger selection of prints on cushions and random stuff like toys.

What they’re good for: Lights, hanging mirrors, cushions and planters.

7) Cuckooland

I came for the name, stayed for the wooden storage. When I first landed on this site I wasn’t really sure it was really for me (although they the most amazing kids teepee beds that make me want to be 8 again), but they have some really nice stuff.

What they’re good for: Chests of drawers, storage units, garden stuff, kids furniture.

8) Howkapow

Expect bright, cheerful and quirky.

What they’re good for: Unusual candles, pretty mugs and cups, quirky kitchenware and fun gifts.

9) Bouf

Not the cheapest in this list, but it’s the bigger stuff you’d pay more for anyway that they win at. Lots of trendy hexagonal shaped furniture and really nice  painted wood.

What they’re good for: Bookcases and dining chairs.

Creativity – Changing stuff, being happier, repeating.

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Last week I went on a really good date night. It was good because it was a Thursday and that means it was nearly Friday and there’s never anything bad about that. It was also good because it involved an evening spent in the company of Caitlin Moran – funny Times columnist and author of books which I immensely enjoy.

It was a fairly low key event in The Troxy where she was interviewed by a fellow Times columnist and they talked about all sorts and it was funny and relatable and at times very touching. There was a game of ‘shag, marry, avoid’ involving Trump, talk of masturbating, talk of smelling of soup and talk of being scared of men. I saw Caitlin talk about life and writing at an almost identical event a few years ago and I took away from that exactly what I did from this one – I should stop doing stuff creatively that I don’t like that much and do whatever I want, even if that’s not much at all.

What this did was reinforce a feeling I’ve had for some time now. I haven’t been using my blog or social media in the same way as I have done over the last few years lately because this feeling that it wasn’t really what I wanted to write or do or put my name on kept resurfacing. I’ve been busier than ever before the past five months and this all consuming time has left me unable to blog much, but I also just haven’t wanted to. Massive cba vibes all round, which is not really what you’re meant to admit to people but it’s true. I haven’t wanted to blog, or tweet much or interact online because I started feeling increasingly like I hate everything I’m doing. Instead I’ve been enjoying my job more, getting out more in my spare time and trying to relax and lay off grinding my teeth.

I think when I started out blogging and trying to learn more about online platforms it was for a specific goal. I was looking to change jobs and do something more focused and when I achieved that, for a while it spurred me on to do more. Then after that time, I found myself doing the same as everyone else in what is a very over-saturated market. This feeling has lingered. My time has been limited. My energy has lessened. My motivation for this thing I used to love has frittered away.

I knew all of these feelings existed but I just sort of kept covering them up. I was putting concealer on my creative crisis. Like, hello massive life zit making me feel quite awful, let me just dab you with some nice nude cover-up until you look and feel even worse and people point and stare.

It took that evening of listening to one of my favourite inspirational women who openly tweets about the importance of weeing after you get laid in the battle against cystitis and writes columns about politics and women’s rights at the same time, to truly realise I was fully over my need to blend in and tick boxes. Caitlin Moran talks a lot about having a platform and using it to be honest and open and to reach people in a way you’re comfortable with. That’s why I came to this part of the Internet. That why I started giving WordPress some of my hard earned dollar, but it’s not the same anymore.

I don’t want to write about stuff I see tweeted onto my timeline everyday because I don’t feel I have anything new to offer. People are already doing a mighty fine job in that corner of the market and I don’t feel like it’s my cup of tea anymore. That doesn’t mean I won’t still read it, because I will, I love reading about other people’s lives. I just don’t want to do stuff just to do stuff. I don’t want to have this schedule of box ticking. I don’t want to do what people expect. I want to do stuff that I like, even if only two people read it and one of them is having IT issues and they’re stuck on my website involuntarily.

That is fine. I am happy with that. Sometimes I force my dog to sit on my lap when I feel down and she always comes round to it eventually. If you are stuck on this website I hope you’re easing into it. If not, apologies. Ask Siri to help you.

I know what I want to do with my spare time now. I have this almost fully formed idea in my head of what to burn creative energy on and what my hobbies will be over the next year.

It does involve doing stuff on here and it does involve trying to knit again even though I heard my mum and nan snickering secretly at my first effort (low point). I will essentially do what I want. I will enjoy it. It will be great (probably). Now I am going to lay down because I ate a lot of Thai food then ran for a train and it’s painful.

Adoration for the most average weekends

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I adored the weekend just gone (please come back) yet I did absolutely nothing special during it. I didn’t go out out, I didn’t do anything to my hair or put on much make up, I didn’t celebrate anything, go shopping, drink wine or try anything new apart from putting cheesy nachos inside a fajita which was a dream come true.

Happiness at the weekend can still be dancing until 4am, trying to phone the ‘Night Tsar’ on a help phone at Bank tube station and getting in round after round of Cafe Patron. All of that is still fun, I still like doing it and I get genuinely excited about the prospect of going out somewhere which requires me to think about my choice of shoe and sharpen my eyeliner, but there’s a whole new contented feeling in town come 5pm on a Friday.

These days, weekend satisfaction and all round happy feelings include:

-Cleaning things with bleach that smell like citrus fruits and then commenting on how fresh everything is for the rest of the day.

-Homeware shopping online until I realise I don’t need any of it, saving a few links and then repeating the next day.

-Walking. Walking anywhere with water, trees, ideally swans and maybe a nice photogenic bridge.

-Not sleeping in. The me of five years ago wants to slap the me of right now hard around the face and throw a glass of water over me, but it’s true. Being dressed, functioning and coherent outside of the house by 9am makes me feel like I’m coasting through life as opposed to the desperately treading water and shaking my head feeling I have most of the time.

-Drinking enough wine to feel warm and fall asleep easily and doing it because FRIDAY, but not so much that I wake up and need to stick my head out of a window at 7am and do the ‘phone, keys, bank cards, ID’ bag check that follows a heavy evening. (I haven’t actually had to do this in so long and I sort of miss it but also NO).

-Being able to get in on a Saturday afternoon and stay in where there will be no wind, no rain, no chance of being failed by public transplant, no queues, no general public and no need to have clean hair.

I know the ‘being a granny’ in your 20s thing is hardly groundbreaking but being a bit boring and predictable has never felt better. I also think that after a long time and very up and down 12 months, I’ve finally embraced a better mindset and a rosier outlook, which makes lovely weekend all the more lovely.