Pro tips: shop at IKEA like a BOSS!

by Guest Blogger

By Danilo Sierra.

Going to IKEA is a pain in the butt, but it is a necessary evil, especially for any manager of an office or coworking space. If have a wallet as deep as the Mariana Trench, go ahead and get everything from somewhere fancy like Modulor or Minimum. And if you have endless amounts of time, get thee to the Trödel shops. However, the rest of us need to prepare for a quest.

Here are some tips on how to tackle your IKEA trip like a pro  <ahem, like James, Zoe and I!> and make the most of out of going there:

1. Be prepared.

Do your research. Make sure you are going to the IKEA closest to you. And measure the space you are buying for, because there is nothing worse than hoarding – especially IKEA furniture.

Use their shitty website and read the notes below each item, which describes its exact size. If you are some kind of retro oddball, use the paper catalogue. But go with a list already made!

Bonus points: add the article numbers (in this format xxx.xxx.xxx) to a printout of a mood board-style wishlist.

2. Measure up!

IKEA think they are helping by giving you those tiny pencils and paper tape measures, but they are complete shit compared to a proper aluminium or wood I’m-a-construction-worker-who-drinks-Sternis-at-9-am kind of meter. You know, the ones that cost two Euros in Bauhaus.

Using a proper meter will help you to measure accurately, check your angles, get a sense of the volume of your space, and save you tons of time.

Pro tip: bring a floor plan drawn to scale. Then you can be sure you’ve bought everything you need, and left space for important things like fire exits and humans.

3. Do it from behind <hehe>

You need to know exactly how much time you have, including the commute. If you have two or more hours, go ahead and run the maze like IKEA suggests/forces you to. But if you followed through on points 1 and 2, you should be able to cheat and start from the back.

Walk in through the out door and go directly to the warehouse. This is the best way to avoid the unnecessary showrooms, impulse-shopping, student-parent combos, new families (gross!) and their strollers. You are here in a professional capacity.

Pro tip: if you do find yourself in the maze, look up the short cuts (yes, they do have them).

4. Use self-checkout.

It is way faster!












Have meatballs for dinner. And if you’ve left yourself tons of time, have meatballs before you shop, and hot dogs after.

As well as these culinary delights, treat yourself to a taxi, Möbeltaxi or delivery service. IKEA do same-day delivery through another company, with the cost based on how much you bought. If you don’t mind waiting something stupid like three weeks, buy online and pay them to assemble the stuff for you. That way, there are fewer things for you to mess up, not least your back.

6. Stay loyal.

Consider signing up for a loyalty program, like IKEA Business or IKEA Family. You will get proper invoices, gift cards, and a not-that-bad user interface which you can use to track your business relationship with IKEA (and download the old invoices if you lose them). It works, bitches!

Try these tips and track how fast you go from UGH to NOM! Meatballs!

Lindt Second Hand Berlin

by Zoë Noble

Lindt Second Hand Berlin Gnomes

I love that in Berlin there are still so many hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. You can be walking down a quiet street and pass something so unique, unusual or just downright weird that you wonder why people like us haven’t written about it yet? Well I’m about to do my job and blog the shit out of an awesome little store I happened upon recently, called Lindt Second Hand Berlin.

A little disclosure – I normally find vintage shopping pretty frustrating, with most things either overpriced or falling apart (Mauerpark springs to mind!). While I tend to steer well clear, on this occasion I was out with a friend who was on a mission to find a vintage dress for a wedding. So I have Hannah to thank for this little find!

Lindt Second Hand Berlin Hannah Graves

Lindt Second Hand Berlin Clothing Store
Lindt Second Hand Berlin Details

Right away, I was taken aback by the attention to detail that the shopkeeper has obviously taken with the decor. There are some really wonderful details like a huge cake stand full of garden gnomes, a handmade parrot hanging from the ceiling and a child’s rocking horse nestling in between the dresses.

Lindt Second Hand Berlin Rocking Horse

Lindt Second Hand Berlin Parrot

The owner clearly loves what she does and does it really well – presenting a selection of 50s, 60s and 70s dresses that had me watering at the mouth. Every item that I picked up seemed to have been chosen for some reason – its beautiful detailing, unique print or flattering cut.

Lindt Second Hand Berlin Clothing

Lindt Second Hand Berlin Puppets

And here’s where it gets really interesting: Lindt’s prices are REALLY REASONABLE (capitals absolutely necessary). OK, so this isn’t the place for Colours “pay-by-the-weight” bargains… But if you’re looking for great quality, carefully selected vintage pieces that won’t hurt the bank balance too much then I really recommend you check out Lindt Second Hand Berlin. P.S For all you blokes out there they do mens stuff as well!

Lindt Second Hand Berlin Russian Dolls

Paper & Tea

by James Glazebrook

Paper + Tea Berlin exterior

We were surprised to learn that there’s a dearth of good, exotic tea here in Berlin. We’ve always been impressed by the array on offer, varied in colour, origin and purported healing properties; it seemed to us that you can get everything except the bog-standard black stuff that we Brits think of as tea. But that’s before we were given an education by Jens de Gruyter of Charlottenburg boutique Paper & Tea. Inspired by his Asian travels, the French Canadian is on a mission to bring fine and rare teas to the German capital, and to break down the barriers around the beverage.

Paper + Tea Berlin interior

The P&T store is a dramatic step beyond the traditional apothecary model, as teas are no longer hidden behind a counter but presented in an open and informative setting. Tea fanatics can browse the beautiful boutique at their leisure, choose to consult one of the many friendly experts, or indulge in a demonstration at one of the tasting stations inspired by the traditional Chinese GongFu ceremony.

Paper + Tea Berlin tasting station

De Gruyer introduced us to a China White (Pu Er Bai Ya) picked from 2-300 year old trees, which lend it a resiny “salad” taste, and a Taiwan Oolong (Oriental Beauty) which is something of a national treasure – produced by the first of their farmers to go organic and oxidised on the leaf by the bites of an insect called the green leafhopper. As well as a new-found appreciation for the beverage, we learned some interesting facts: did you know that the water used to steep tea need not always be boiling, and can be as cool as 50°C for some Japanese varieties?

Paper + Tea Berlin  white tea

Before Jens sends you away with your new favourite tea in a plain packet (“you’re buying the tea, not the packaging”), be sure to browse the pottery and paraphernalia produced by Asian artisans, and a stationery section to rival RSVP in Mitte. You don’t need to accept that both paper and tea are “agents of culture” to appreciate cards, calendars and other items made by Korean manufacturers and Berlin artists, some commissioned by P&T themselves.

Paper + Tea Berlin stationery

While we’ll remain those rare Englishmen that prefer coffee to tea, we think that Paper & Tea does for its commodity what Frau Tonis Perfume do for theirs: elevating appreciation of the product and its production, and creating an enjoyable, enlightening shopping experience. Take your mum.

Paper + Tea Berlin equipment

Paper + Tea Berlin green tea

Paper + Tea Berlin equipment close-up

Paper + Tea Berlin high mountain

Paper + Tea Berlin James

Andreas Murkudis Concept Store

by Zoë Noble

Andreas Murkudis 1

Berlin, you temptress you. Here I was, counting my pennies like a good girl, and you’ve only gone and opened up a concept store that makes me want to sell everything I own and clean them out Victoria Beckham stylee. Andreas Murkudis sits in the former Tagesspiegel building in northern Schöneberg and this light, airy space is more reminiscent of an art gallery than your average designer store.

With collections, all handpicked by Murkudis himself, from the likes of Céline, Dries van Noten and Maison Martin Margiela – and some right bobby dazzler (Geordie for beautiful) homewares – I ooh-ed and ahh-ed my way around the store. I became mesmerized by one of the Bi-Cabas Céline totes (pictured below) that has been on my “if I ever win the lottery” list… very, VERY tempting. One more visit to this she-devil of a store and I might just be swayed!

Andreas Murkudis 1

Andreas Murkudis 1

Andreas Murkudis 1

Andreas Murkudis 1


Andreas Murkudis 1

Andreas Murkudis 1

Andreas Murkudis 1

Andreas Murkudis 1

Andreas Murkudis 1

Stockholm Shop Report: Acne

by Zoë Noble

Acne Stockholm 1

Our recent trip to Stockholm was a feast for the eyes, but it wasn’t just the scenery that was stunning, but also the flagship store of my current brand crush, Acne. For me, the fashion house embodies the Stockholm aesthetic of effortlessly cool minimalism, so it would have been a crime not to visit them in their hometown. The staff were super nice, super hot (damn you Swedes!) and even allowed me to take some photos to remember them by. In between my drooling and staring (at the collection, of course), I bagged myself two pairs of jeans and the most perfect leather jacket. Even better, because their prices are so much cheaper  in Sweden than in Germany or the UK, I was saving money! … At least that’s what I tell myself. Looking at their Spring Summer 2012 collection I think another trip to Stockholm might be in order as well, hooray!

Acne Stockholm 2

Acne Stockholm 3

Acne Stockholm 8

Acne Stockholm 4

Acne Stockholm 6

Acne Stockholm 5

Acne Stockholm 7

Acne Stockholm 9

Click here to read all about our trip to Copenhagen and Stockholm.


by James Glazebrook

Move over RSVP, we’ve found a new favourite paper porn palace! Modulor at Moritzplatz more than lives up to its tagline, “material total”, by offering stationary, art supplies and even furniture in all shapes, sizes and colours of the spectrum. The building also houses design studios, picture framers and a couple of cafés, making Modular more of a creative lifestyle brand than just a supply store.

Its concern with both form and function, and blurring of the lines between home and work, reflects what we feel is a very Berlin mindset. In a city where many homes are converted factories and many places of work are in old apartment buildings, why shouldn’t your office be as aesthetically pleasing as your home, and your flat as functional as your office?

Theorising aside, do check out Modulor – chances are you’ll find us wandering aimlessly through its aisles, saying irrational things like “Ooo… I love these! What are they? Can we get one in every colour of the rainbow?” If you experience the same kind of “supply snow blindness”, we recommend using the 3D relief map of Berlin, pictured in the last photo, to reorientate yourself. Yes, that’s where you are…

Bis Auf’s Messer: Hardcore Record Store

by James Glazebrook

Serendipity. Today is Record Store Day in Berlin, and a little over a week ago some visiting friends from the UK helped us uncover the city’s best record store: Bis Auf’s Messer. Kevin Cousins waxes (sorry!) lyrical about Friedrichshain’s home of hardcore.

“Bis Auf’s Messer” stands for, roughly translated, “fight to the bloody end”, a reference to the owners’ tenacity in the face of opposition to their starting yet another record shop in the city. This alone places the store at top of my list for “Most Metal Shop Names”, however, a brief visit to Bis Auf’s Messer pushes this excellent centre for all things “alternative” towards the top of my list of favourite record stores: period.

Bis Auf’s Messer primarily stocks vinyl, lovely, meaty great stacks of it, divided into suitably obscure categories including “noise”, “garage rock”, “grind”, and, most abundantly, “hardcore”. Indeed, this is a business very much true to the tenets and values of punk rock: placing releases by established acts alongside records by miniscule bands on no-name labels with photocopied artwork. My girlfriend Liz loves music of this elusive genre, and she was impressed to find so many hardcore releases in one place, with many discs that are absent from our normal London haunts.

Liz and Kev's buys courtesy of Liz Wood

Liz and Kev's buys courtesy of Liz Wood

Great finds during my visit included a !!! record at half price, a huge selection of Dischord releases (I bought the Faraquet album, which I’ve never seen outside the label’s website before), a Minutemen t-shirt, a Husker Du outtakes collection, and a small but great selection of jazz reissues. As if that wasn’t enough to induce a nerd meltdown, two versions of Mastodon’s Blood Mountain – on single “custom-coloured” and double deluxe, because I know you care – had my glasses steaming up. Liz bought a copy of snotty, legendary, and increasingly scarce hardcore magazine, Maximum Rock n’Roll, worth reading for its hilarious letters pages where disgruntled punkers vent their rage against “The Man”, Simon Cowell and pretty much every other aspect of their maligned existence, including each other.

What also pleases is that a clear sense of community and warmth is apparent: the shop supports local musicians and stocks a wide range of fanzines, while the owner we met was friendly, enthusiastic and approachable. He was happy to chat to Liz and answer questions, make recommendations, and so on. You don’t get this in HMV. Overall, a great treat for the vinyl aficionado and casual browser alike. Check out the excellent webstore, too.

Bis Auf’s Messer
Marchlewski Strasse 107
10243 Berlin

Liz and Kev's buys courtesy of Liz Wood

Liz and Kev's buys courtesy of Liz Wood