a peek inside the fishbowl

28 Nov, 2012

Mummy’s Holiday Comfort Zone, brought to you by Ikea

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Home/reno|Oh! Things!


Oh my heavenly stars.

A few weeks ago Ikea offered to provide me with a $100 gift card to purchase any IKEA items I needed to create some unique holiday décor – table settings, tree decorations -  anything I could think of for the holidays. Little did they know that I was already planning on upgrading some of our decor in time for Christmas. And since we’ve just moved back into our home the timing couldn’t have been better.

So I picked myself up and went to Ikea for part of the afternoon, but as soon as I stepped over the threshold I encountered my first problem. I had no idea whether I should opt for place settings, tree decor, or what. So I decided to grab lunch and mull it over before starting my shopping journey. (HELLO SALMON.)

Ikea lunch!

My conclusion was this: I am a busy momma! And busy mommas need a wee corner of their very own to rest, regroup, and recover from The Busy Winter Season. (Am I RIGHT?)

And I knew exactly which corner needed a boost, this one right here:

The ho-hum BEFORE

Since we’ve moved back in the house, our living room has been looking a little lonely. It’s not hard to see why exactly. I’d always planned it to be a comfortable space to read (remember my bookshelves??) and lucky for me, Ikea was going to be a great place to start.

I had no real plan other than (a) the couch needed major COZIFICATION and (b) there needed to be something warm added to the nekkid end table on the side there.

I also decided that this was a good opportunity to switch up the ol’ Christmas colours. So instead of the usual reds and greens I went blue and silver and white; soft and peaceful colours for my cozy corner!

And so, with that in mind, and a belly full of salmon, I set out and found:

  • An OFELIA blanket. This was the best purchase by FAR and transformed the couch into an ACTUAL destination. (I know that sounds silly, but it’s true. It’s a SIREN CALL TO COMFORT). Anyway, we love our new big soft blanket. I thank the Ikea people for the size of it, because tall people like me are always annoyed with teeny ineffective throws that barely cover our feet.
  • A pair of lovely winter-themed glass cylinder vases (a steal at $9.99). I cut some big branches and hung some silver ornaments from the branches (also from Ikea) and placed them on the table, one set inside the other.
  • This 3D paper star pendant called STRÅLA ($12.99). It gives off a lovely warm light and I have it on ALL THE TIME, er, when it’s dark anyway. It’s on my mantle right now, which I will be decorating with evergreen branches and pinecones soon! (NOTE: Light bulb sold separately!)
  • Candle holders galore, along with a package of tea lights that will last me until Christmas 2013. I picked up this candle dish too, which fit the bill perfectly.

Here are a few shots I took last night:





Please don’t comment about the haphazard chair placement. We had people over and are still moving stuff around ok? :)

Also from Ikea, but not part of this spree, a faux fur rug I used to line the inside of the coffee table and a string of battery-powered star-lights nestled down in it.

What’s missing from our cozified living room is a couple more cushy pillows (the more the merrier!) and a shaggy area rug. And the mantle. I definitely need to get that done.

In case you’re wondering, I BARELY went over my budget. This whole project cost exactly $100.40. (I uploaded the receipt for your amusement. You will have to click to embiggen.)

I am so happy with my little cozy corner! I love to curl up there with a cup of tea and just THINK. It’s amazing how restful it is now, and how little effort it took to get it that way. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one who’s noticed the transformation… my daughters gravitate to that spot like flies to honey.

If you head out to Ikea, please note that the bulk of the holiday decor is right by the big row of cash registers near the exit. Candles too. (I almost wish I had started there!) ALSO, expect these things to fly off the shelves quickly. They always sell out before Christmas.

Anyway, thank you Ikea, for giving me a chance to sneak in a little shopping spree and create a comfortable nook where I can recharge my batteries.

What about you, dear fishies. Do you LIKEA (get it, LIKE/Ikea! Haha!) my choices?

4 Responses to "Mummy’s Holiday Comfort Zone, brought to you by Ikea"

1 | Lala

November 28th, 2012 at 4:07 pm


that looks like a well spent $100. i like that the reindeer are whispering to one another about your candles

2 | andrea

November 28th, 2012 at 4:17 pm


I thought so! And I should mention that the deer are vintage finds from my in-laws basement. They’re covered in orange fuzz. So funny. :)

3 | alison

November 29th, 2012 at 10:07 am


Love. IKEA. My last trip yielded a mini Billy bookcase for Leah’s room (overflow book storage needed), wine glasses, some lingonberry jam, and a few packets of cream gravy mix. :)

Your quiet corner is very inviting. Love the glass coffee table with the lights and faux fur. It looks so Christmassy.

4 | Christine

December 12th, 2012 at 3:11 pm


I love Ikea for holiday items. They have so many to choose from and so modern (which I love). Plus, if one of my kids steps on an ornament, or it breaks – no biggie, it was probably only worth 50 cents anyway!

comment form:


NAC Nutcracker

Fall fun at Saunders Farm!

Mrs Tiggywinkle's - the best toy store in Ottawa

Joan of Arc Academy in Ottawa

OMS Ottawa Montessori schools

terra20 Ottawa

Bugs at the Canadian Museum of Nature Ottawa

Click me!


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Heather: Thank you for the reminder. Having the REDBLACKS in the Grey Cup this year took over in the brain.
  • andrea tomkins: Claudette, I do love those mom and pop shops! We have lots in this area too. Binki, to answer your question, yes, I'm representing Ottawa, even th
  • binki: I don't get this. You are representing Ottawa? Just you...for the whole city?
  • Claudette: We live in a neighbourhood south of Lakeshore (along Lake Ontario) and all along Lakeshore there are many bustling little businesses, not chains, most
  • andrea tomkins: Brenda ... I haven't! I will definitely check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!
  • Tricia: Oooh, I love this stuff!
  • Caroline: Zaatar pita chips crumbled instead of croutons. I just had the chips with homemade hummus and tabbouleh for lunch. Yum!

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (16) and Sarah (14). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times, and a regular contributor to MediaSmarts.ca. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


My right hand is actually a camera

Connect with me at these places too!

The #dailylunches project – 1000 lunches and counting

Every day I eat lunch and take a picture. Here's the latest:

Created with flickr badge.

Click the photo for details: what it is, where I ate it (if it's worth a mention!) and how to cook it (if there happens to be a recipe). You can also read more about this project right here.


On the nightstand

... check out past nightstand reads right here.

All hail the mighty Twitter