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How to set up in a new apartment, when most shops are closed

We have a Henry Hoover. Within a matter of hours, in the midst of lockdown, my boyfriend (and now official roomie) Conor and I managed to locate, collect and take home the cutest house-hold appliance known to humankind, for the measly cost of fifty quid. He had always been on my boring-but-satisfying adulting bucket list, and now he lives with me, in our new home. has been a GODSEND during this bizarre time to move house, when homeware and hardware shops are closed. Within our area, we managed to secure a beautiful DeLonghi four-slice toaster and kettle, a Morphy Richards steam mop, new kitchen chairs and a fawncy mirrored bathroom cabinet, all for ridiculously low prices - just because the're second hand. The seller left the item in the garden and Conor collected it with zero contact, replacing with an envelope of the exact cash agreed on, or paid through Revolut. It's actually better this way; no awkward small talk about the weather or why they've decided to part ways with their kettle.

Another lifesaver has been what I affectionately refer to as "the random aisle of shite" in Lidl or Aldi. These aisles are dangerous, however. They are the homeware and garden centre version of going into Penneys for "a pair of socks" - last week I came out of Lidl with a lemon tree and a decorative llama plant stick. Not that I have any regrets about this decision.

We also managed to get a gorgeous outdoor table and chair set for our balcony from Aldi's big garden sale. You know, the one that people queued up for in the rain from 6am for so they could buy a outdoor fire pit? Oh Ireland. Never change.

Mr. Price - another store where your trolley of seemingly innocuous, cheap things racks up a bill of €200 - is also thankfully open, which stocked us with everything from a useless garlic squisher (I need to stop falling for fads. I'm like a magpie, if magpies were attracted to novelty items. ) to a behind-the-bedroom-door mirror, and everything in between. Han-dy.

Other than that, it's all been done online. Amazon for duvet covers, Debenhams for cushion covers, Kilkenny Shop for 50% off Irish prints, Ali Express for things that will arrive in five months that I forgot ever buying. All will tide us over until we can really start decorating, when the hardware shops reopen later this month; something that I never expected to give me as much joy as it does now. Is this what personal growth looks like?!

The apartment may not be perfect right now. It may need new rugs and carpets and a lick of paint here and there; but I don't care. It'll get done, eventually. For now, I'm pinching myself to be living in a place like Chapelizod. I didn't even know it existed a few weeks back, and now, as I walk around the quaint village or stroll into the deer-scattered Phoenix Park, I feel more at home in Dublin these past few days than I have over the past five years. All the green, the peace, the quiet; it makes me think of home, back with family in rural Wexford, a place I don't expect to be for another few months. And that little slice of comfort is something that can't be bought, even when lockdown is lifted.

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