Thrifty Finds

This fortnight’s Thrifty Finds (late May 2018)

 

 

Thrifty Finds

Apologies for the radio silence over the past couple of weeks. I sometimes find I just can’t fit in writing a blog post – if you follow me on Instagram, though, I do try to post daily.

  1. This last fortnight it’s been hard to avoid the Royal Wedding. Although I’m not a royalist I did manage to mark the day with two mugs I’d bought at the May Fair for 50p each:

2. There was another bric a brac sale in the village last weekend and I bought his lovely cotton dress, originally from Joules, for a fiver:

It’s not quite my colour but works really well with layers and will be lovely and cool when I swelter at work (we are in the top office and all the heat rises!)

3. I got a free coffee with my loyalty card and was given an extra stamp for bring a reusable cup (I had wondered why the barista kept on stamping me twice!)

4. We were given some rhubarb by a neighbour.

5. I spent a lovely day on Saturday with a friend at Bath Festival. We’d originally booked tickets to see Tears for Fears headline at the Festival Finale. However they had to pull out because of illness. We decided to keep our tickets and I was pleasantly surprised by how good the replacement act, Paloma Faith, was. We also received a free upgrade to the weekend ticket although neither of us ended up using it.   I managed to pack some reusables to take for the day out: water bottle, spork, cloth napkin. All the food was served in recyclable containers although I did end up buying a tea in a takeaway cup (very rock n roll!). I’m now on the hunt for a collapsible coffee cup that I can fit it in my shoulder bag.

How was your Bank Holiday weekend? Did it stay dry or were you soaked?

 

 

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (8-14 May 2018)

 

 

Thrifty FindsSaturday was our village May Fair and I managed to pick up some bargains:

1. I made a beeline for the ever popular plant stall and bought some tomato plants and sweet peppers:

 

My small veg patch is starting to spring to life and, apart from the radishes, there are some faint signs of carrots and lettuces appearing too 😀

 

2. I also got these goodies from the Bric a Brac stall for just £8:

ThriftyFinds: Carlton Ware lettuce dish, jigsaw puzzle, tiffin set, Thermos flask

3. BUT I was very good and didn’t buy anything from the Book Stall!

4. I finally got a replacement head for our dish brush. I bought it ages ago because it was made from recycled plastic and you could replace the head. I bought the new head at the weekend and changed it.

Eco dish brush

5. I’ve been making more vegetarian and vegan dishes. One of my daughters is vegetarian but doesn’t eat cheese (in fact she’s a pretty fussy eater). So I’ve been experimenting with a few vegan dishes. At the weekend I made a veggie taco salad which went down well, even with the meat eaters. I also made a chill taco bake (baked on a Deliciously Ella recipe) and added cheese for all of us – except the vegetarian who had some yeast flakes sprinkled on her’s. That was another success (we even had it cold the next day) so I now have a couple more dishes to add to my repertoire.

 

Do you have to cater for a variety of tastes/diets in your home? Any tips and recipes gratefully received!!

 

 

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (30 April – 7 May 2018)

 

 

Thrifty Finds

Welcome to another post. Here in the UK we’ve just had the most amazing May Bank Holiday weekend (the hottest on record!). As I had done my monthly supermarket shop last week we were well stocked with ice lollies, which meant no trips to the shop. We did, however, take a day trip to the seaside yesterday but I shall include our ‘Thrifty Finds’ from that day out below:

  1. We donated another huge bag of clothing, books and games to the charity shop. Now that our kitchen is back to normal we have been able to sort through other rooms which were overflowing with stuff we no longer needed. We have also been quite ruthless about the arts and crafts and play storage in our kitchen as the girls have outgrown quite a lot of stuff.
  2. I harvested my first produce from the garden! Only a few baby radishes but I was very pleased. I haven’t grown veggies for ages but a new vegetable bed makes it ideal to start again. I have also sown lettuce, carrots and nasturtiums (that just look so pretty!)

3. My daughter was on ‘chicken duty’ again at school so we received even more eggs for free!

4. As mentioned above we had a day out at the seaside on the Bank Holiday Monday. In total there were six of us (one of the girls brought a friend) so I was determined to keep the costs down. I spent Sunday making food for a picnic, including homemade Spanish tortilla and fairy cakes. I also tried to cut down on our plastic waste by taking very little pre-packaged food, and reusable water bottles. As a treat on the beach I bought a pack of six ice creams from the local & Spencer for £3. They were still luxurious, but a fraction of the price charged at the kiosks.

5. Not quite a Thrifty Find, but we did come across a lovely package free soap stall at the harbourside market yesterday. I couldn’t resist buying a Rose scented Savon de Marseille. It smells so lovely that I’m going to use it to scent a drawer. I also splashed out and bought a bamboo hairbrush from Body Shop, which I’d wanted for ages.

What were your Thrifty Finds for last week? What did you do over the Bank Holiday?

 

 

Thrifty Finds

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

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

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

Zero Waste & Plastic Free Bloggers to follow

package free grocery shopping

Oh the world of Zero Waste/Plastic Free can be a beautiful one: full of gorgeous waste -free interiors and kitchen shelves stocked with glass jars holding package-free food. But, even the most photogenic blogs reveal a serious side to them. Those Zero Waste bloggers that I follow are working very hard to reduce their impact on the environment. Whether it’s avoiding all packaging and taking only glass jars and canvas bags to the store; reducing cosmetics to a bare minimum, or refusing all things plastic, their blogs carry a serious message and call to action. Here is a selection of my favourites:

Zero Waste Home

inspirational reads: Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

Bea Johnson is author of ‘Zero Waste Home’. Her book (and blog) is full of practical tips on how to eliminate waste in your house. For example she goes shopping with bags and glass jars and doesn’t accept any packaging. Being French (although living in California), she also has an amazing minimalist wardrobe, and wears only home-made and packaging free cosmetics. An online tour of her home also shows that she practices what she preaches:

Plastic is Rubbish

Blogger Polythene Pam is passionate about plastic – and avoiding it. The British blogger behind Plastic is Rubbish went plastic free in 2006 and hasn’t looked back. Her blog is packed with useful information and campaigns. She also has a very comprehensive directory of where to purchase non-plastic items and how to avoid packaging.

plastic-is-rubbish blog

Treading my own Path

On the other side of the world Lindsay Miles writes the blog Treading my Own Path and is author of e-book ‘That’s A Wrap – the eGuide for Plastic-Free Living’. Lindsay takes some beautiful photographs and it’s worth following her Instagram account here too  For a snapshot of ‘a day in the life’ try this blog post here.

Zero Waste Chef

I really like the Zero Waste Chef, Anne Marie Bonneau. She subscribes to a packaging-free life and cooks without waste, yet she does it in a very human way. She has a tiny kitchen (see the post here) and admits when she’s made mistakes. She also writes a lot about fermentation and runs webinars.

Trash is for Tossers

Lauren Singer has been living trash free for four years and is one of the best known zero waste campaigners (along with Bea Johnson and Beth Terry from myplasticfreelife). She lives in New York and, okay, is one of those bloggers who has a photogenic life. But she is also very serious about her lifestyle choices, runs a small company selling organic, vegan cleaning products and has a host of zero waste tutorials on her youtube channel.

I also want to make a special mention for two blogging friends, Jen at mymakedoandmendlife and Zoe at ecothriftyliving. While they blog on general environmental matters their approach to living waste free and lightly are inspirational. And I must also mention Rae Strauss, who runs Zero Waste Week (first week of September) and is always full of tips on how to reduce the waste in your home.

And if you fancy sharing your own plastic-free tips and images join in with #plasticfreetuesday every week on twitter and instagram

A spot of plastic-free shopping with the secondhand tales household

A spot of plastic-free shopping with the secondhand tales household

Repair Cafe…on the road

Tomorrow we are taking our regular Repair Cafe on the road ….well about three miles away!

The Corsham Repair Cafe will be temporarily turned into the Box Repair Cafe (yes there is a village near us called Box: famous for being the childhood home of Thomas the Tank Engine’s creator Rev Awdry, Brunel’s Box Tunnel and Peter Gabriel’s recording studios.)

Now that my work commitments have changed on Saturdays I have been keen to get the Repair Cafe out and about fixing. As our partners, Transcoco, will be running their Give & Take Day in Box, it seemed the perfect opportunity to run the events side by side.

March 2016 posterLet’s see if we can get the residents of Box fixing too!

2015: Learning from “failures”

As befits this time of year there have been many blog posts and tweets about New Year Resolutions. However one of the most interesting tweets I saw was asking about our own failures from 2015, and what we have learned from them.

As I’m not a big fan of making resolutions on 1st January I thought I would look back to see what I could learn from goals that weren’t achieved, and challenges that weren’t met last year (NB this isn’t supposed to be a morose, ‘glass half empty’ post; I just find the concept of becoming successful through learning from failures a genuinely interesting idea).

1) Not Moving House

This time last year we had put our house up for sale and had great plans of relocating to a larger property within the village. However this didn’t work out. BUT it was with great relief that we decided last summer to take our house off the market and stay where we are. We realised that we really love the location of our small cottage. We have plans to extend a little in the next couple of years to provide another bedroom. In the meantime we have made a few alterations (see below) and fallen back in love with our home.

new look lounge with renovated fireplace

2) Not securing a job

Despite many job applications and a few interviews I have failed to get a weekday job. My aim is to return to marketing but in a part time capacity. At times I have felt disheartened that my painstakingly filled applications haven’t even secured a job interview but I have learned many things along the way: I need more digital marketing experience; I need to write my CV in a different way; I need to make more personal contacts. To this end I have become more digitally literate and have started voluntary work providing marketing support. I have also changed my  hours at the Arts Centre cafe where I work, ensuring I have my weekends free with my family once more.

I have a few ideas for generating some income for 2016 and have faith that the right job is out there for me.

On a smaller scale I didn’t succeed at:

3) Project 333

If you’ve read any of my previous posts on the subject you will know that I have dabbled with Project 333 – the capsule wardrobe programme – for the past year. The idea is that you reduce your clothing, shoes and accessories to just 33 items. and rotate these every three months. While I really like the idea of a small, but perfectly matched, closet I have come to the conclusion that this just isn’t my style. Sometimes I like to wear, and buy, clothes that just don’t match with anything else in my wardrobe. While I still aim to have a small selection of outfits and, as always, buy them second-hand, I have realised that Project 333 just isn’t for me.

Project 333: Winter/Spring 2015

4) Plastic Free, Zero Waste

While these are two causes I feel very strongly about my commitment to them towards the end of 2015 has wavered. While I’m proud that our attempts at a zero waste holiday were fairly successful I have continued to fail at refusing plastic straws. Knowing that these items don’t decompose and seeing the terrible damage they do to marine life this is something I must try harder at in 2016. I realise that there are many plastic-free/waste-free habits I have acquired over the past couple of years that have become so automatic I don’t even think about them (using cloth bags, using my onya grocery bags for loose veg, taking reusable drinks bottle with me), but there are many more that I can adopt for 2016.

waste free festival kit

I’m sure if I think about it, there are many more ‘failures’ from 2015 from which I could learn. However if I could take two things with me into 2016 it would be to 1) continue to live small and accept what I have, and 2) to continue to strive to reduce my impact on the planet. Maybe these are New Year’s resolutions after all…