This post is longer than our trip to Ikea.

About a week ago Ireland's (Republic of) first Ikea opened in Dublin. This has been talked about since I moved here. I knew when the day came that those big Swedish loving doors opened I would go in and buy some useless crap to make our lives that €3.99 - €19.99 bit better.

If you've ever been to an Ikea before then you know how the layout works. If you haven't been there, I'll explain. Ikea is set up by category. In each category (kitchen, bedroom, living room, storage, etc) there are show rooms just to let you know all of the amazing things you can do with cheap, flatpacked furniture. All of these showrooms flow together, from category to category leading you around in a circle. If you want to go back to a different category area, there are doors to cut through.

This is where a good TII comes in. Since my friend KD said these initials to me, it's been my response to all things...Irish. TII. This is Ireland. Ikea is a TII. I have been to Ikea in three countries and Ireland is the only one where the customers did not understand the flow in one direction concept. People were turning around and bumping into each other at every turn. There are arrows pointing you in one direction on the floor. Somehow, though, James and I were forced to push against people just dying to get back to that €4.99 clock on display. LIKE YOU CAN'T SEE IT DOWNSTAIRS IN THE MARKETPLACE. Read your maps, people. TII.

Nevertheless, we had our trusty map to make sure we made it to the storage and children's areas. As you can see, James navigated. We never once went in the wrong direction.

This opening was anticipated in Ireland for at least the last two years so you'd think it would be crowded. And it was. There were tons of people. Even witches came out of their lairs to check out the great deals on tea lights. Yes, I did take a photo of a stranger in a cape in Ikea. No spell was cast upon me. That I know of.

After going past the lighting area and the uneven breast area, we ended up at our destination: storage. We needed a place to put all of Mister Man's stuff that would only fit on our counter in the kitchen. Bottles, formula, soothers, snacks, mixer, medicines, bowls, lids, spoons, sippy and formula storage cups all sat in one corner and it was driving both of us insane. We're not the most organized of people but even our brains were about to explode with all that crap sitting there. So, my main goal when going to Ikea was to get a shelf to hold all of his stuff but not intrude too much on counter space. This is what I found:

BENNO in white, which is €10 less than the wood finishes and matches the white metal of our kitchen cabinets and fridge. It's a little over three feet tall and is intended for DVD stroage but it works just as well for baby things. I'm not saying I'm a crafty mom with all sorts of ideas for those little knicknacks around your house -- my idea of decoration is water rings on the coffee table -- but I was sort of proud of this. I eyeballed it and I think it came out pretty well:

After a trip to the cafe (where I ate nothing), a twirl through the marketplace, a stop to pick up the shelf, I made it to the checkout without much hassle and two presents for James in the form of a crocodile and a wooden lighthouse. We then trekked back to the car (in the pouring rain) which was nearly parked at the airport and went home.

Sweden, you did me proud.

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Liz in Dublin