Photos by Darren Kidd, PressEye

There's nothing I love more than a good old trip to IKEA. It truly is a day out - between going for lunch and the trek around the store, I always end up coming home with 500 things I didn't need (Seriously though, best photo frames ever... SO cheap!). 

I was kindly invited recently to experience making a meal live in IKEA Belfast! I can cook quite well but I was surprised that 42% of people in Northern Ireland feel they can't cook at all! IKEA has found the the size of kitchens and dining rooms effects peoples entertaining at home. It was an interesting experience and I kept forgetting we were in the middle of IKEA and not in someone's house! 

IKEA are trying to encourage people to make the most of the space they have and enjoy food but most of all, the company of others. Along with other bloggers and media, I enjoyed a cocktail making workshop and a cooking class with chef Paula McIntyre. We made delicious chicken and salmon using IKEA ingredients. I was presently surprised by how tasty it was - I need to go for more lessons with Paula evidently!

On the evening we were also joined by Vincent O'Rourke, a senior counsellor from Relate NI. We actually weren't aware that he was there and watching us all night! He spoke at dinner about relationships and the importance of eating together in the evening for cementing relationships. 

At the event, I was so taken with the IKEA kitchens but more than that, the IKEA ovens! I plan on getting my own house in the next few years so I definitely know where I am headed to!

I had such a fun evening at IKEA and it was really thought-provoking. So many of my good memories involve cooking or special meals such as birthdays - I can't wait to make more memories in the future!

Thanks IKEA Belfast for a wonderful evening.