It’s always great to get advice on making life that little bit easier isn’t it? We spend our time working hard, playing hard and everything in between, and if you’re anything like me, you feel the days fly past way too quickly.
More often than not, whatever I set out to accomplish in a day inevitably gets postponed to the following day or the day after that. There always seems to be something cropping up – life’s never dull that’s for sure.
A few weeks ago, a friend invited me to join her at HEMA at Euston Station in London and I jumped at the chance. You see, I’m a big fan – and if you’ve never been in store, you're almost certainly missing out.
HEMA was originally an acronym for Hollandsche Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij Amsterdam – a Dutch discount retail chain.
Oh, and apparently I've been pronouncing it incorrectly all this time – the correct pronunciation is ‘Hay-ma', rather than ‘Hem-a'!
I’ll often pop in to pick up an item and I’ll end up coming out with a carrier-bag full.
And in the run-up to Christmas I know I’ll be picking up a few stocking fillers. But HEMA comes in handy for all sorts – kids parties, dinner parties, that last-minute something you need – batteries or tights – or maybe you’ve got a long train journey ahead and would like some headphones to shut off the outside world!
And all these goodies are at extremely competitive and great value prices.
HEMA now has seven stores in the UK including Euston. My local one is Bromley and fortunately for me it’s a big one, which means more choice.
While I was admiring the new Euston store I was given some information on HEMA, which has a history that stretches back to 1926 when it originated in Amsterdam.
I was also offered some HEMA hacks (from HEMA interiors expert – and mum – Jenny Wood), which I’d like to share:
- Rather than buying a gift set, why not make your own bespoke one. To do this, think in themes. Start with a key item such as a stylish makeup bag with metallic details, and then co-ordinate related items to fit inside such as sparkly earrings and hand cream. Or than in colour families. For example, you could create a set of matching stationary products such as notepads, sticky notes, pens and fun shaped paper clips.
- Try accessorising your presents to give an added thoughtful touch. For example, if you are thinking of gifting a camera, include a photo frame for your recipient to display their first snaps. Giving a mug? Then add a pretty box of tea or a tea strainer. And what about a vase? Then perhaps buy a bunch of flowers to complete the look.
- When it comes to wrapping, the professional gift wrapper's secret weapon is plain brown paper! Use it to wrap your presents then accessorise with stickers, washi tape or tiny bunting for a unique, personalised finish.
- In terms of decoration, you don't necessarily have to go all out to create on impact. Focus on one area like the food/cake table and make that your statement area (perfect for parents to Instagram!).
- Decorate the table with streamers, banners or paper baubles. You could also try putting sweets in big kilner jars for a nod to old school sweet shops – very on trend at the moment!
- Boys and girls of all ages love crafting. Keep them busy at a party by colouring in their own masks or making party crowns from coloured paper and glitter stickers. Another idea is to buy plain party bags and get the kids to decorate them at the party.
- Creating great party bags doesn't have to break the bank. Why not buy packs of multiple items to keep costs down? Try splitting a tub of foam stickers, a tub of figure stamps, a pack of balloons, fun pencils and a multi pack of healthy snacks such as boxed raisins between your mini-guests. Then include one show-stopping item, such as HEMA’s pot of modelIing clay and two fun shaped cutters which kids will play with for hours. Pop in a slice of birthday cake and you're done!