That’s why I fear (love) IKEA

If you have ever been to IKEA and never heard this song, listen now

“I fear Ikea” by the Lancashire Hotpots

Go on, I promise it will make you smile. It will really… I have put the lyrics at the end of the post for those who are not from the north of England and might struggle with the accent.

The first Ikea in the UK was built just 20 minutes drive from our house, 26 years ago in 1987. Ikea originally wanted to open near London, but chose this location because the Warrington and Runcorn Development corporation invited the retailer to be part of its regeneration plans for the area. So we have pretty much grown up with Ikea and Ikea furniture as part of life.

Ikea is a great day out for kids, there is loads of cheap food, places to play and run around like crazy little monkeys, Its almost entirely indoors, which is very important in the north of England where it rains 6 months of the year. And best of all because they don’t actually sell their display furniture the staff never ever ever complain if your little monkey decides to climb all over it. It’s like one enormous playground.

They even sell ice cream strategically placed right after the check out tills, so just as the kids are really starting to lose the plot there is something to bribe them with “Just 5 more minutes, let mummy just pay for this stuff (that I never intended to buy, but couldn’t help myself) and I will get you one of those lovely ice-creams”

Whoever came up with a business plan that involves an ice cream bribe is a genius.

Last year, the day after we saw the paediatrician to get Charlie’s ASD evaluation started, I was feeling pretty miserable, and insecure. It was half term so I was looking for something to do to entertain the kids, cheer me up, pass the time and maybe, just maybe some retail therapy – no I didn’t just say that!

It was the first time we had been to IKEA since Charlie’s 3rd birthday, and so he was finally old enough to be able to stay in the supervised play area. I knew he wanted to do it, and dear God i needed that 45 minutes to sit and have a coffee on my own (Of course the coffee is free, with your family card – because Ikea is actually the best shop on earth).

He was with his sister Lillie and so I knew that there was a good chance that he would make it in there and be able to stay with out me. It was early in the morning so the place was still quiet and although at the time we hadn’t heard the words sensory overload we had seen the results of too much sensory input enough times to know that early mornings in quieter places were easier.

We were there for the first session, and I took the kids up to Lillie-bay the staffed play area, which I found out later is actually managed by Premier Creche services.  While I was dropping them off and registering their details, the lady asked me if either of them had any special needs or allergies etc. I took a deep breath and explained “he is probably autistic and is currently in the diagnosis process”. These are really scary words to say, and this was the first person outside of my close inner circle I had ever said them too. Insecure and vulnerable does not even cover how I was feeling in that moment.

Things really could have gone either way, But the lady’s response was perfect, I could not have asked for anything better.  I wrote later that I was stunned how wonderful she was, she could not have been more helpful. I was offered many reassurances that they would pay him close attention, she asked about his sensitivities especially to loud sudden noises. On that day at that time she was absolutely my angel. The right person in the right place at the right time. As a bonus she even gave me a direct phone number so that next time i can call and PRE-BOOK him a place. Oh and the best bit is that both the kids stayed for the full 45 minutes and I got to have my coffee.

When I got home I posted this on a Facebook page related to autism


Over the next 2 weeks, every time I looked at my Facebook account someone else had liked the story, or commented, almost 99% of the comments were positive. In the end there were over 11 thousand likes. The manager of Ikea called me to say thank you.

We have been back to ikea lots of times with both kids, here are some of our best moments.



Oh and Yes and this is Tactile defensive boy getting his face painted, he wanted to have a go but the first time he struggled with waiting in line and having it on his face, so we asked the artist to paint a small spider onto his hand where he could see it. Later we bought some face paints at home and let him try it on himself, one day he allowed his sister to put some on his face, and we went on from there, its hard for him but he is motivated and will try his best to sit for the artist.




 Ikea 7

Ikea 8

ikea 9 Ikea 10

Something that I already knew but which we need reminding over over and over again is this…People Really really, love a good news story, far more than complaints. If you have something encouraging to say, speak out, someone needs to hear it today.

The Song Lyrics…

Now let me tell of a shop that fills me with dread,

It’s blue and it’s yellow but I always see red

It’s a furniture store that makes me want to shout’

Cos once you’ve entered, you can’t find your way out!

That’s why I fear Ikea I won’t go there again I don’t want a bookcase called Billy Or a table called Sven

Just don’t go of a Satdee if you don’t want fer queue

And that doesn’t include th’hour sat on’t M62

If you go of a Wednesday, well it just makes you laugh

It’s the size of Belgium but there’s no bloody staff!

That’s why I fear Ikea I won’t go there again I don’t want a bookcase called Billy Or a table called Sven

It’s a good 10 mile walk if you just want a shelf.

Hang on, you want me to go in th’ warehouse and pick it meself?

Well I struggled wi’ trolley I didn’t get very far

And the boxes were that big they didn’t fit in the car!

That’s why I fear Ikea I won’t go there again I don’t want a bookcase called Billy Or a table called Sven

Michael Palin he’s traveled the world once or twice

They said ‘Why don’t you explore Ikea Michael? That’d be nice’

Well the men at the Beeb must have been off their heads

He went missing a week ago between kitchens and beds!

That’s why I fear Ikea I won’t go there again I don’t want a bookcase called Billy Or a table called Sven

Nice hot dogs though…