charity shop find, Next, Dorothy House shop

Charity Shop Haul: my Coat Collection



As I look through my wardrobe I realise that one item of clothing that is completely second-hand is my coat collection.

I didn’t intend to buy all my coats from charity shops. In fact, I think that buying a coat is one of the most expensive and well-thought purchases you can make. In times gone by, I would have saved up for a winter coat (or asked for it as a birthday present) and it would have lasted me a good three-five years.

However, my approach to buying coats changed a few years ago when I found this beauty:


This Sainsburys coat still had its price label and was on sale at the Shaw Trust charity shop in Bath. While I hadn’t intended to buy a second-hand coat, the colour and cut was irresistible to me. The fact that it had never been worn was also a bonus. Four years later I am still wearing it and still get lots of comments – and compliments – on the colour!


Another charity shop bargain was my SeaSalt coat, bought for just £10 from Oxfam in Totnes. A quick trip to the neighbouring Seasalt shop confirmed my suspicions: a brand new version would cost £100! This coat has served me very well: especially on wet school runs. However, the zip has now broken and, alas, it is now too tight for me 😦


I got this red M&S jacket for free from a Clothes Swap party I helped to organise a few years ago. It serves really well as a light summer jacket and I do love the colour!


This year I have, already, purchased two new (to me) coats. The black hooded coat is the only second-hand coat I have deliberately hunted for. After a bit of a search in Bath’s charity shops, I found it in Dorothy House for £15. It was warm enough for a cold and rainy weekend in Birmingham and is my new school run/wet weather coat.


Finally, I found this lighter Spring coat by accident a couple of weeks ago in another Dorothy House store. This time it was only £8! I love the colour and the cut, and have a feeling it will make me feel as good as the orange coat when I wear it 🙂


charity shop find, Next, Dorothy House shop


I can’t imagine going back to spending £80-£100 on a new winter coat, now that I have fallen for the charity shop ones …. The low price and originality of each item really appeals to me. And, if I do outgrow an item I can just donate it back.

Do you buy coats from second hand stores? Or do you think it’s worth the investment to buy a brand new one that will last for many years?

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (26 February – 4 March 2018)

Thrifty Finds




Apologies for not posting my Thrifty Finds last week. I had planned to write them up last Friday but the snow came and everything stopped… Being snowed in for a couple of days was fun. Our village is quite high up, on the edge of the Cotswolds, and it’s not unusual for all the roads to be blocked by snow. We had a great time sledging, going to the pub (!) and making do with what we had. How was the snow for you?

  1. Because of the snow (and not being as prepared as I should have been) we had to use up what we had in the freezer. We managed to get by with enough family meals and used up all the bread products (wraps, bagels, buns) that had been stored in the freezer.
  2. Despite the snow we still ran our school’s Nearly New sale. It wasn’t very busy but I did manage to get a few bargains, including two tops, a Christmas jumper for one of the girls, and this amazing 80s dress (for just £1.50):

It has batwing sleeves and everything! However it is a little tight so I may have to shed a couple of pounds before I can wear it comfortably.

I also picked up these brooches for 50p each:


3. My daughters received their World Book Day tokens, which means they can get one of the special World Book Day books for free.

4. Speaking of books, I also bought a (new) guide to London: ‘1000 things to do in London for a tenner’. We are staying in London for a few days this summer and are hoping to do lots of cheap – or free – activities. This Time Out guide has some cheap places to eat, which is often a challenge to find when you’re in the capital. Ironically the book cost more than a tenner but I think we’ll get a lot of use out of it.

5. My husband put some finishing touches to the kitchen, Remember that old wallpaper we discovered? He covered it with some Perspex and added a piece of pottery that he’s found in the garden. I think it’s a great feature. We just need the floor to be tiled and then the kitchen is complete 🙂 The old key was found when clearing out the Parish Council offices a few years ago.






If you live in the UK I hope you survived the snow! Were you well prepared or did you have to do make do with what was in your cupboards?

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (12-18 February 2018)


This Week's Thrifty Finds via

Last week was half term and, not having a kitchen, meant that we ate out a little more than normal. It wasn’t the thriftiest week but I still managed a few Thrifty Finds:

  1. We took a trip to Ikea. I know this isn’t a money saving activity BUT we hadn’t been for about 3-4 years (even though it’s only 40 minutes’ away). A new kitchen means we need to upgrade a few of our accessories so the Ikea trip was inevitable. We also ate lunch there and I was really impressed with their low waste dining. I paid 85p for a flavoured water served in a glass that could be refilled as many times as you want (my husband paid 95p for a refillable coffee). Real cutlery, plates etc is something I was impressed to find – bearing in mind that most low price cafes tend to use just disposable tableware. I also took my handy water bottle which could be filled up in the canteen too.
  2. The girls and I paid a trip to a local Dorothy House shop in one of Bath’s suburbs. It’s a large shop and we managed to pick up a game, cookery book and skipping rope – to keep them occupied during the holidays:

3. I also picked up a gorgeous Spring coat. Funnily enough, the waterproof coat I bought a few weeks ago here came from the same charity shop chain, but at a different location. That one cost me £15 (and I had to mend a rip), but this former Next coat was just £8. I wonder why there was a difference in pricing?!

charity shop find, Next, Dorothy House shop

4. The kids spent a lot of time stuck on screens last week – it doesn’t help being confined to one room, and the weather wasn’t great. However I made sure we spent some time playing games. We tried out the new (to us) Ghost game (a bit like picture pairs – match the ghost to the correct National Trust house), some other second-hand games and Cludeo (which we borrowed from my parents).

5. I had an eye test, which was free using a voucher from work. I was also able to get some money off my new pair of glasses using another work voucher 🙂


I’d love to hear about your Thrifty Finds too! Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

2017: My best second-hand picks

I wrote a similar post this time last year and thought it would be fun to trawl through my second-hand finds from 2017.

This year I started a new job which, while giving me more spending power, meant I also had to invest in a work wardrobe. While I have definitely bought more first-hand clothing this year, I’m still a sucker for charity shops and some of my best finds of the year have come from them.

  1. Clothing-wise, while I have bought some first-hand items (my favourite being a pair of denim dungarees which I have lived in for the past six months), I’ve still found some great items second-hand. I was very pleased with these Boden ankle-length trousers picked up in Wales in November for just £4.50. These are ideal work-home crossover trousers, something I’m trying to buy more of.

2. These two tops were bought from my favourite Bath charity shop: Save the Children. They originally came from LaRedoute and French Connection and were £9.50 in total, I’ve worn them on their own and, when the weather’s cooler, with a polo neck underneath.

secondhand blouses. charity shop find. Thrifty Find. Thrift store. Workwear.

3. I picked up this former H&M top from Dorothy House Hospice shop for £7  and it has been my ‘going – out’ staple all over the festive period. I had been wanting a dressy green top for ages and picked this up purely by chance on the very day I needed to wear something new (to me)! My mum has also started volunteering at this local hospice, so it is a cause that has become close to our hearts.

4. I bought a couple of Summer staples as well which I was very pleased with. This white cheesecloth shirt proved invaluable when on holiday in the South of France. I originally bought it from Save the Children for a pricey £10, but I wore it a lot in the summer so I think it was worth it.

5. I instantly fell in love with this Henry Holland/Debenhams dress found in the Julian House Shop in Chippenham for £8.50. I loved the style and the unusual horse-themed print! I wore it to a friend’s wedding in the summer and layered it with leggings and jumpers into the Autumn.

6. My final clothing find of the year was this red seventies/early eighties? style homemade dress. I picked it up in a vintage store in London for £9. The material is quite thin but, so far, I’ve been adding jumpers and tights to make it winter-proof. (Incidentally, if you ever want to learn more about wearing layers in the winter read this post here from the Freelancers Fashion Blog. Ulrika has the most beautiful vintage style and lives in Finland so is an expert on how to layer up for the winter – while still wearing gorgeous outfits!)

vintage red dress Rokit London

7. I’m also very pleased with a few second-hand items I bought this year, which weren’t clothing. I had been looking for a new handbag for ages and was delighted to find not only this bag, but also the cute purse for £6  in total, from the Dorothy House shop in Malmesbury. I also made use of my old bag by cutting out the inner pocket and turning it into a small purse I can store my reusable shopping bags in it.


8. Vinyl-wise I picked up a  couple of second-hand LPs that I had wanted for ages – and my lovely husband bought me Rumours on vinyl for my birthday (40 years old and still in good condition – the album, not me!)

9. Finally, after many years of avoiding a smartphone I decided that, with my new job, I needed to bite the bullet and buy one. Staying true to my second-hand principles, I decided to purchase a second-hand iphone from CEX, using the money my husband had received for trading in his old phone.

When I read about the incessant need for new gadgets and the speed in which items become obsolescent it makes me really angry. I refuse to buy into the idea that businesses like Apple sell to us that we must always need the next and the best iphone on sale. (I guess it also helps that I’m in my mid-forties and don’t need to worry about my street cred if I buy a pre-loved, older version too!)

Looking back I realise that I have got a lot of wear and use out of the things I bought second-hand. There were a few items that I did buy by mistake and which have since been re-donated – so I don’t always get it right (!). And, although I did buy more items first hand, partly out of necessity and a lack of time to trawl the charity shops, my second-hand finds are definitely my favourite.

How were your second-hand finds this year? Do you plan to buy more pre-loved items next year?

Festive Thrifty Finds (11-18 December)

Are you ready for Christmas?

I still have quite a few things to get on my list but, having spent last weekend, travelling to visit family I feel ready to settle down and spend Christmas at home.

  1. We visited family near London and my husband and I got to spend some time browsing the vintage shops of the capital on our own. I picked up this homemade 70s/80s style dress from the Rokit store in Soho for just £9! The material is quite thin but I plan to wear it over the Christmas holidays with layers and tights. I think it’s a really cheerful festive colour!

vintage red dress Rokit London


2. I’ve been given a couple of jars of homemade mincemeats from friends, so I need to start making those mince pies!

3. At work we took part in Christmas Jumper Day for Save the Children. My cardigan comes from a second-hand shop in Bath and was bought for me a few years ago by my family.


4. I also got to wear that new (to me) green top to our works’ Christmas meal last Friday.

5. Finally, I am really determined to reduce my food waste this Christmas. Lately, I have been throwing too much food away, despite meal planning. This time we have sat down and written a detailed list of all the meals we will be planning for and eating over the holidays. I found this US site here (courtesy of the Zero Waste Chef) really useful for estimating how much you need to cook for Christmas lunch. And I find the UK site LoveFood HateWaste really useful too when planning how to use leftovers.

What are your plans for feasting over Christmas? Do you stick to a meal plan or do you like to have lots of leftovers? (personally I think Boxing Day is the best day of the year for leftovers!)

Wishing you a wonderful, peaceful and merry Christmas!! xxxx


Thrifty Finds

This fortnight’s Thrifty Finds (27 November – 11 December 2017)


This Week's Thrifty Finds via

Well the past couple of weeks have been really busy. My dad had a (planned for) hospital operation and it was my birthday last week so it’s been quite hectic and our routine was a little up in the air with hospital visits, childcare etc.

But I’m pleased to say I received a couple of second-hand gems for my birthday:

  1. My gorgeous husband tracked down an original vinyl version of the Fleetwood Mac album, Rumours. This is one of my all-time favourite albums and one I have wanted for absolutely ages. I was amazed he found it for a fraction of the new retail price and in great condition.

2. I also received a pile of books, one of which was a rare second hand edition of ‘Greenery Street’ by Dennis Mackail.

3. Following my birthday we brought down from the loft all of our Christmas decorations (minus the tree). A lot of our decorations are second-hand and this post here explains a little more about them.

4. We have received a few party invitations this December and I have tried really hard not to buy anything new. However having gone up a dress size 😦 means I’m going to have to invest in something new, or try to be more inventive. We went to a ceilidh last Saturday and I ended up wearing my comfy jeans but did invest in a new (to me) charity shop top from Dorothy House. At £7 it was slightly pricey but I know I will get a lot of wear out of it. The green colour is perfect for Christmas and the sheer sleeves makes it feel quite dressy. I also wore it with an old brooch of my nan’s that I have recently found.

5. I had another pre-Christmas clear out and donated some children’s clothing and old dvds to the Shaw Trust charity shop. In return for gift aiding, they gave me a loyalty card and a discount voucher – something I’ve not come across before!


I’d love to hear about your Thrifty Finds too! Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

charity shop clothes shopping haul second hand

Charity Shop Haul: September 2017

charity shop clothes shopping haul second hand

Welcome to my new, occasional, series on Charity Shop Hauls. Having teenage – and preteen – daughters I am all too familiar with the Youtube shopping hauls, where vloggers talk about their trips to Primark et al.

Although I don’t intend to vlog my finds I thought an occasional blog post may show that it is possible to make some great second hand purchases too, and we don’t have to rely on Fast Fashion to provide us with low cost outfits.

I decided that I needed a few more outfits for work, especially as the weather has got a lot colder and warmer. Last Friday I headed into Bath with a shopping list:

  • Boots/laceups/shoes for work
  • Work trousers
  • Jeans
  • Warm tops/thin jumpers
  • White shirt
  • Tights (first hand)

It can be tricky sticking to such lists when browsing charity shops. It will depend on what styles, sizes and colours have been donated to the particular stores. When shopping I also have to allow for that ‘WOW!’ moment when something stands out and I just have to buy it (see here for the ‘orange coat moment’ or here for a more recent Henry Holland dress)

So when I came across this Marks and Spencer Collection skirt I had to have it!

M&S S/S17 second hand charity shop haul Dorothy House

I am pretty certain these skirts were on sale in M&S earlier this summer. At the time I was tempted to buy one, although I never normally wear long skirts. However seeing this in the Dorothy House vintage store on sale for just £6.50 I just knew I had to add this to my wardrobe!

In fact Dorothy House came up trumps as I was able to create an entire outfit for just £20!

I picked up this Sainsburys Tu top (which is definitely from this summer’s collection) for £5.

Sainsburys Tu S/S17 blue and red knitwear charity shop haul Dorothy House

Interestingly, this was a size 18 (I’m normally a size 12) but it’s often worth looking at larger sizes when charity shopping as they can shrink slightly. I also preferred the baggier fit as I plan to put another jumper underneath when it gets colder.

To finish the outfit I made my first ever purchase of second hand shoes. This is something I don’t normally consider but these £8.50 shoes from Next were a perfect colour to match the top and skirt and I just sort of fell for them….

Next blue patent office shoes charity shop haul

Feeling very pleased with myself, I browsed a few more shops and finally picked up some tops from Oxfam on Argyle Street.

These two jumpers will be perfect for layering this winter. They came to £10.99 in total:

I also bought this gorgeous boatneck top for £6.99. I really like the 1950s style of it.

I’d not come across the Betty Barclay label before but a quick google search shows their tops sell first hand for about £50-£60!

In total I spent £37.98 on four tops, one skirt and one pair of shoes. The majority of the clothes were from good quality labels and I was particularly pleased to pick up two items that were from this year. It did make me wonder, though, why the owners had donated them so quickly. But then one person’s cast off is another woman’s treasure….

What are your thoughts on charity shopping? Do you buy most of your clothes second-hand, or would you never consider wearing charity shop outfits for work? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts, or even persuade you that there is nothing wrong with second hand shopping 🙂