Welcome!

welcome

Sign from Rubha Phoil campsite, Skye

Welcome to my second-hand tales blog where I chronicle my adventures in second-hand shopping, and other greenish ventures.

I also post a weekly list of all my Thrifty Finds (see here) ,  The idea is not to just share any secondhand purchases I may have made, but also list those things I have repaired, recycled, donated, re-used – or just decided not to buy. I would love to hear from you as well so please share your Thrifty Finds every Monday

I hope you enjoy reading my random(ish) posts: please leave a comment on any post that interests you – or you could  follow me on instagram

 

This Week’s Thrifty Finds: Week Two, July 2018

thrifty finds2

 

I can’t believe we are still on countdown for the end of term here! My daughters don’t break up until 25 July and already they are tired, hot and bothered!

1. Last week I got round to ordering some Thank You cards for their teachers and assistants. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you may know that I struggle with the expense and waste of the industry that is Teacher thank you gifts. The shops are crammed with mugs, photo frames and other trinkets for teachers and I do wonder how much of this ends up in a bottom drawer somewhere!

It’s not that I don’t appreciate what their teachers and TAs do. We are lucky to have such a caring and talented teaching staff at our village  school. To this end, I have ordered some personalised thank you cards for the girls to write their own messages of thanks. I also received a half price voucher as I was ordering from the website for the first time.

 

 

2. I got some money off using a supermarket voucher.

3. Despite my ‘no new clothing’ ban I did buy myself a much needed pair of very comfy sandals from the Clarks sale (reduced from £49 to £19).

4. However we went to a party on Saturday night and I wore my faithful black jumpsuit and accessorised with some new nail varnish.

5. I’m continuing with our ‘eat the store cupboard’ mission and made a lovely Greek salad using a jar of olives and a can of butter beans that we’d had for a few months (plus fresh tomatoes and cucumber). I also used up a half empty jar of Thai Curry Paste and a can of coconut milk for an easy Thai Curry, although I did need to buy some meat for that.

 

This Week’s Thrifty Finds: Week One July 2018

As I briefly mentioned in last week’s post we took a short break to Dorset, which is one of my Thriftiest Finds ever….

1. With the weather being sooo hot and my eldest now out of school as her exams are finished, we decided to take a last minute break to Poole in Dorset.

Poole, Dorset as viewed from Ham CommonThis isn’t something we’ve done before as we had to take the younger two out of school for three days (they are in years 5 & 6, aged nine and ten). They don’t break up until 25 July and the heat is really getting to them and they are really tired.

Anyway we booked a static caravan via Air BnB in a holiday park in Poole and spent three days swimming in the pools and playing at the beach. It was one of the best family holidays we have ever had! And as we took the girls out of school the accommodation was a fraction of the price 🙂 They have now gone back to school refreshed and ready for the  last few weeks of term.

2. On our way home from Poole we stopped in Shaftesbury (famous for Gold Hill and that Hovis advert). My husband and I used to live in Shaftesbury before we were married and we enjoyed showing the kids around. My youngest spotted the free to enter Gold Hill Museum and all five of us really enjoyed it. The girls particularly enjoyed the 20th Century artefacts including the rotary dial telephone and the manual typewriter:

Gold Hill Museum in Shaftesbury

3. While in Shastesbury we HAD to browse the charity shops and, despite my pledge to not buy any more clothes, I did pick up this top and dress for £10 in total from the Naomi Hospice Shop.

image

4. My daughter also picked up a pair of dungaree shorts from another charity shop.

5. Since coming home I’ve made a conscious effort to reduce our food waste. As we are away again at the beginning of August I’ve decided to ‘shop the cupboards’ ie see what we already have in the cupboards and freezer and cook from that. I took an inventory of everything we had and am now trying to create some meals so I only have to do one small food shop before the end of the month.

Hope your July is going well. I’d love to hear some of your Thrifty Finds 🙂

 

 

This Week’s Thrifty Finds: Week Five June 2018

 

 

thrifty finds2

Apologies for the late posting. We’re actually away on a mini break in Dorset (I’ll reveal more next week….)

In the meantime last week’s Thrifty Finds were:

1. I got another free coffee with my loyalty card and was given a couple of extra stamps for my reusable cup 🙂

Is Free Coffee worth it? via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

2. Having looked at our budgets for July I’m going to have to reduce our clothing allowance for the month. So instead of buying a couple of new things for the summer (and this current heat) I’ll have to be inventive and ‘shop my wardrobe’.

3. I was given a PE kit for the secondary school that my daughter will be starting at in September.

4. World Cup fever has reached our village! The local pub was doing a fiver barbecue on Thursday. I couldn’t finish my side salads so I took the leftovers home and had them for lunch the next day. (I never normally take leftovers home: is this more of an American tradition? I need to start doing this more often).

5. We received free ice creams at work from our head of service 🍦🍦🍦🍦

How are you coping in this heat? Any tips for keeping cool?

This Week’s Thrifty Finds: Week Four, June 2018

thrifty finds2

How was your week? The weather here has just got hotter and hotter 🙂

This past week my Thrifty Finds have included:

  1. I used a money-off voucher to buy my favourite brand of eco spray cleaner.
  2. I quickly devoured the book, ‘Les Parisiennes’ which I had bought from a charity shop last weekend. It’s so great when you lose yourself in a book and all you want to do is find some time to read it. In fact I was enjoying it so much that I spent half an hour in a coffee shop last Wednesday morning before starting work!
  3. Last Saturday my husband and I spent a lovely morning by ourselves browsing the shops in our nearby town. He had walked the five miles there (!) and I drove the car to meet him. We had a coffee and explored some charity shops (he bought a book – I was tempted by six Babycham glasses but they were £20 so resisted).
  4. I also managed to do some plastic free food shopping. For the first time I bought some meat and used my Tupperware boxes to put them in. The butcher didn’t blink an eye when I asked for the burgers and sausages to be put in the boxes. Apart from the wax paper for the burgers, there was no waste 🙂

5. Tonight is my daughter’s prom. A while back we bought a simple evening dress from Debenhams and asked a local seamstress to alter it for a very reasonable rate (she hopes to get it shortened again after prom to wear as a party dress). She has a very low key prom in that she is just going with one friend and I am driving them there in our Vauxhall Zafira (!). She’s not going to an after party and, instead, is having a sleepover with her friend. I quite like the simple approach has taken to Prom as these events can become very expensive and hyped up.

Hope you have a good – and Thrifty – week and take care in this heat 🙂

This Week’s Thrifty Finds: Week Three, June 2018

 

 

 

 

Last week we celebrated the end of my daughter’s GCSE exams with a camping trip 🙂 We meet up once a year with my school friends and, what has grown from five of us plus partners, is now a total of 20! It’s a wonderful opportunity to catch up, eat lots of food and enjoy the outdoors. The children all get along really well and it’s lovely to see them away from screens and climbing trees and having adventures.

  1. For camping food I took a lot of what we already at home: in the store cupboard and the freezer. I made some hummus from scratch using some chickpeas I’d had for a while. I also managed to buy some unwrapped fruit and veg (for the carrot saga take a look at my Instagram posts!)

2. We also borrowed a camping table from a friend, rather than buy a new one for the trip.

3. While camping we browsed the local charity shops (charity shops in Marlborough, Wiltshire, are packed with some real goodies – post to come soon!). I picked up three books from the Oxfam shop – one of which had been on my wishlist for a while:

 

4. My youngest daughter also picked up a book for 10p from the Dog’s Trust shop.

5. I was also proud that we managed to use just our glass milk bottles on the camping trip. I had searched for a screw top lid for the milk bottle as the foil one doesn’t stop the milk from spilling once opened. But no luck. Then I remembered I had a glass bottle left over from a free sample of orange juice, that did have a screw top lid. So I was able to take two pints and just decant an opened pint into the glass bottle with the lid. Problem solved and no need to buy any new gadget!

Do you have any thrifty camping tips to share? Or any ideas for camping with less plastic? I’d love to hear them!

This Week’s Thrifty Finds: Week Two, June 2018

thrifty finds2

In last week’s post I mentioned that Tuesday 5 June was World Environment Day. This year’s theme was  #BeatPlasticPollution  and I thought I’d post how I got on my trip to London:

  1. I took my new Stojo cup which had mixed results. It folds away beautifully and, as long as you have the sleeve securely attached, is fine to handle. Each time I handed it to a Barista I emphasised about holding it by the sleeve, as the rest of the cup is quite flimsy. However I couldn’t secure the lid without some of the hot liquid spilling out 😦 Thankfully I didn’t get burnt but my trousers did smell of coffee for the whole day! I was glad I’d packed my cotton hanky which meant I could mop up spillages. I’m going to work on tightening that lid and practising drinking out of the Stojo cup at home.                                        The trip to London was pretty waste free, though, and I avoided all single use plastic. I took my parents to an exhibition at the V&A and, while the Exhibition Road café only served out of disposable cups, the main café used proper plates and cutlery. Oh, and the exhibition was good too!
Ocean Liners: Speed & Style ay V&A Museum June 2018

Ocean Liners: Speed and Style Exhibition, V&A Museum, London

2. I was able to get half price entry to the exhibition as I had previously purchased an Art Fund Pass. By buying it through my work (we are members of the Art Fund) I was able to get it for nearly a quarter of the full price! I’m going to make good use of the pass by planned trips to the Ashmolean in Oxford and a return trip to the V&A to see the Frida Kahlo exhibition in August.

3. On more plastic free news I managed to refill my BioD washing up liquid at the health food store in Bath. I also asked the assistant if I could bring any bottle to refill there and she enthusiastically said ‘yes’! I don’t know why the store in Corsham won’t accept any plastic bottle: surely it’s better to reuse what you’ve got instead of buying more plastic just so it matches the brand?

refilling at Harvest Natural Health, Walcot St, Bath

4. On Saturday we went to see the Degree Show at University of West of England (where my husband works). I did have a coffee cup fail as I picked up a free tea in a disposable cup (my Stojo was in my bag in another location) 😦 On a positive note I was pleased to see this bin offering up unused items from the Fabrication Dept:

IMG_2503

5. On a final note, my middle daughter and I are still really suffering with hay fever (my daughter in particular). I’ve bought loads of medication and herbal drops for us and been following lots of advice. So, counter to my ‘green’ credentials, I’ve had to keep every window closed during this warm weather and am no longer hanging clothes out to dry on the line. It breaks my heart but the misery that this pollen is causing means I have to take these precautions 😦

Is anyone else suffering from hay fever? Any advice/cures would be greatly appreciated!

This week’s Thrifty Finds: Week One, June 2018

IMG_2463

 

 

How has your June been so far? It’s been very warm here but the pollen count has been really high, making it almost unbearable at times ☹️ But I’ve still got out and enjoyed the garden.

1. My parents bought us a new set of garden furniture and we were able to free cycle the old table and chairs. They were collected within two hours of posting!

2. I also donated a bag of children’s things to a local charity shop.

3. A friend gave me the most beautiful bunch of roses from her garden. She had taken my daughter camping for the Bank Holiday so it should have been me giving her flowers! They smelt sooo amazing 😄

 

IMG_6554

 

4. After being caught out (again) last Saturday by not having space to pack a reusable coffee cup I treated myself to a collapsible Stojo cup. It’s amazing! It works as an ordinary cup but collapses to pocket size. There’s no excuse now for buying single use!

image

image

5. I also managed a (nearly) plastic free trip to the local town. Buying from the greengrocers is easy peasy using my produce bags or buying the items loose. I managed to buy a whole chicken wrapped just in a plastic bag (without a tray) from the butchers, but I failed to get an Ecover refill at the health food store as I had bought in the wrong bottle ☹️ Apparently they can only refill from Ecover bottles!!

Tomorrow (5 June) is World Environment Day and this year’s challenge is to avoid single use. Follow #BeatPlasticPollution to find out more. I’m going to London tomorrow so will try to avoid plastic packaging all day. I’ll let you know how I get on…