Ikea. Because cheap doesn’t always mean nasty.

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I’ve always had Ikea pegged as a place for penniless uni students who need to furnish their pads on a budget. And to some extent it is. But since becoming a mum, I’ve discovered the iconic Swedish superstore is also the place to find fabulous children’s textiles, furniture and toys. And all as ridiculously cheap as the meatballs served up in the on-site cafe.

Right now, I’m loving Ikea’s new Duktig range of pretend play kitchen toys. And come Christmas day, so will my cafe-obsessed preschooler. The toys are perfectly proportioned miniature versions of grown-up pots and pans, crockery or glassware so they’re just the thing for kids who love to mimic the adults in their lives, or who enjoy a bit of reality with their role play.

I can’t stop oohing and aahing over the itsy-bitsy tea and coffee set, with its tiny pastel-coloured tea cups and saucers, mini latte cups, and adorable little sugar bowl and milk jug. And the little water glasses and faux-crystal goblets have me squealing louder than a schoolgirl at a Jonas Brothers concert.

The range also includes a stainless steel cooking set for pint-sized chefs, matching mini utensils and a set of small stoneware plates and bowls. Because it’s Ikea, the prices won’t break the bank and you won’t cry if your little darlings break a piece or two.

So how cheap is cheap? You may want to take a seat for this bit. The faux-glassware is only $4.95, the coffee set will set you back a mere $16.95, the plates are $18.95, the cookware is only $19.95 and the utensils are $6.95. At those prices, we suggest buying one of everything for your own kids and quite a bit more for every other kid on your Christmas list. Last-minute gifts that are stylish AND affordable? Christmas shopping doesn’t get any better than that.

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