I’ve been spending much of this first week of 2017 attempting to organise my mind, my living spaces and my work area, in an attempt to be more streamlined in everyday life. I know that I need to both make more time to exercise, and make more space around me so that I can think clearly. As part of my organisational mission, I’ve been firstly purging things I don’t need or want, and then adding in a few specific things that will both make my life feel lovelier, and more purposeful as I move into the New Year.
On Tuesday afternoon I headed out to one of my all time favourite stores, TK Maxx, in which, as long term LLG readers will know, I can happily spend hours and hours ferreting out that one perfect piece that has eluded me for years, at a price I can finally afford, or the ideal dog bed for Lettice that I had no idea even existed. It’s fantastic that they have fresh deliveries several times each week, so there’s no need to worry that everything has been snapped up before you arrive.
It really is the perfect place to start a New Year mission.
My love of TK Maxx stretches back years and years. There’s a branch in Banbury, Oxfordshire, the nearest market town to the tiny village where we grew up, and there’s no way we would ever go into Banbury without making a quick side trip to check for any new bargains. Looking around my flat I can see many of purchases: my blue yoga mat, the lovely brown suede cube in my living room, a pile of porcelain side plates, a perfectly balanced sushi knife, a heap of ballet flats, tall glass vases…the list goes on and on. I like how I can always find a much nicer version of whatever it was I needed, but at half the price or less that I was expecting to pay. (TK Maxx don’t do sales – everything is always up to 60% less than the RRP.) I also often see things that I had forgotten I needed, or that were on my one-day list IF I could the perfect version.
This time around I was shopping with a purpose: TK Maxx armed me with three £50 gift cards and asked me to see what I could find to help me in my New Year quest, in various categories around home, kitchen, and fitness.
French vegetable peeler £2.99 (RRP £7.99. French garlic press £3.99 (RRP £12.99). Saucepan £4.99. Copper pan £24.99
My first destination in-store was the kitchen department. I have a lot of cooking to do this coming year – I’ve been quite lazy in the kitchen lately, so I want 2017 to be the year of no takeaways and heathy home-cooked meals. I actually bought a lot of the cookware that we used to test the recipes for my cookbook from TK Maxx, but there were some things on my list I needed to replace that had gone missing, and I was hoping to find some unexpected treats too. I was thrilled to find a selection of French utensils: I grabbed a garlic press and a new vegetable peeler (mine always seem to end up in the bin with the peelings), along with a great ladle, half the size of normal, and a potato masher, which I’ve been meaning to buy for ages.
For a proper treat, I was thrilled to snag a set of highly reduced French cheese knives that I have lusted over for years, and to discover a beautiful copper pan with a lid, which will be perfect for scrambled eggs, at an astoundingly good price, along with the very small saucepan for boiling my breakfast eggs (yup, I eat a lot of eggs) that I had been hoping to find.
Notebook £3.99. Glass jug £5.99 (RRP £7.99). Wool carpet £89.99
Then I headed to the living section, looking for some things to refresh my office: over the past year it’s becoming a repository for all manner of junk, a dumping ground for things I didn’t want or need. It’s no way to keep a clear mind. My plan for January is to ditch all the tchotchkes, finally commit to a colour scheme, and treat myself to some loveliness that I had actually chosen rather than been given via work.
Within minutes I had bust my budget to the skies. I’ve been looking for the perfect carpet for five years for my office, but have been unwilling to invest the £300+that all the ones I like seem to cost. And there is was: the perfect blue and cream thick wool rug. For £89.99. Done. I had that rug off its stand and balanced precariously across my trolley (yes, trolley – TK Maxx old timers like me know that a basket will never be big enough) before you could say 100% wool pile.
So – rug picked out, it was time to look for things for my office within my actual budget. I found a gold metal photo frame and a candle that would tie in with the rug (the holder will make a great pen pot when the wax has burned down), and was thrilled to come across a bank of silk flowers.
I love having flowers in my home – I find them very calming but, because I travel so much, and often at such short notice, I often return home to dead flowers. So I feel there is no shame in investing in highly convincing silk ones. I’ve wanted some white hydrangeas for ages, but have been loathe to fork out the forty or so quid a few stems looked like costing me. And here they were at TK Maxx – just £2.99 a pop. DONE. I added in a glass jug to hold said flowers, a notebook for ‘phone messages to go on my walnut desk, and a really lovely glass candlestick too. I’m looking forward to using my new purchases to create a work space that is more Zen than chaotic trash can.
Poo Bag Holder £1.99. Italian Woven Dog lead £9.99 (RRP £14.86). Dog bowl £2.99 (RRP £5.99).
2-in-1 Blush Fleece Dog Bed £19.99 (RRP £32.99)
(Tiny Dog for display purposes only.)
I struck lucky on everything: I found practical AND stylish dog things that I would have wanted to buy at two or three times the price. I am especially pleased with the bed – so pleased that I actually bought two, one for my office and one for my studio. It’s a perfect size for a Tiny Dog who likes to curl up tight and, best of all, it actually opens out to form a nest into which she can burrow. (Burrowing being a favoured pastime of Dachshunds.) And I finished off with a flourish: a new poo bag holder, containing biodegradable bags, for an unbeatable £1.99.
(I’m feeling quite smug about this smart new Italian lead: on our sausage dog walk on the Heath this week all the other owners were asking me where it was from.)
Water bottle (BPA-free) £4.99 (RRP £7.99). Training gloves £9.99 (£12.99).
Kettle Bell £5.99 (RRP£12.99). Yoga mat £7.99 (RRP £24.99)
Of course it wouldn’t be the New Year without a bit of new Year, New Me-ness going on. I have a lovely sun-filled space in my flat which is perfect for exercising at home, so I was looking to buy a second yoga mat for the space. (My first one actually came from the Banbury TK Maxx years ago.) Whilst I was searching through the fitness section, my eye caught this kettle bell: I was taught how to exercise with one last year, so this seemed like an ideal opportunity to buy one at such a great price with which to practice at home. I’ve written before how exercise gloves make such a difference when training, and these ones I’ve bought have really nice padded grips to stop callouses forming – and they were half the price of the ones I’d seen elsewhere.
I’m not quite sure how I fitted all my bargains into my tiny two-seater, but I managed it, and then it was back home, to unpack and organise…I suspect that part may take a while longer than the shopping expedition…
This is a sponsored post, written in association with TK Maxx,
who gave Sasha 3 x £50 gift cards to find the perfect products to take her into the New Year.