Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds


This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.comLast Tuesday I celebrated my birthday and on Saturday we had a trip to London to scour the vintage shops on Brick Lane. Still, I was very restrained when it came to second hand shopping and thrifty finds:

1.I celebrated my birthday with a trip to browse the Bath Christmas Market and lunch with my husband. We also visited some of our favourite charity shops and picked up two great Christmas gifts for our kids: The first series of ‘The Walking Dead’ graphic novel for my eldest who is a HUGE fan and a Harry Potter board game for our middle daughter who is currently devouring the books!

2. While in the charity shop my husband also picked up this great B52s album for £3

Secondhand vinyl B52s

3. I did a little more Christmas shopping later in the week and got some gifts using my Boots Advantage points which I had saved all year for. I basically got three toiletry gift sets for free, plus two large boxes of Celebration chocolates and some little Malteser chocolates.

4. I defrosted some of the baking from the previous weekend to give as gifts.

5. On Saturday we had a day in London, and my husband and I went to Brick Lane to browse the great vintage shops and markets there. We visited the cavernous Brick Lane Market and other vintage stores such as Beyond Retro and Hunky Dory. Despite a lot of browsing I only bought one thing: a £1 purple shawl to wear to a friend’s birthday party (the theme is wear something purple)

£1 purple shawl

How is your Christmas shopping going? Have you purchased any #thriftyfinds for gifts?

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Christmas Markets and Black Friday: the Christmas shopping frenzy has begun

Yesterday saw the start of our annual Christmas Market in Bath. The market has been running for well over ten years and now has 180 stalls comprised of local businesses and craftspeople.

The market has grown incredibly over the past few years and now German-style chalets seem to take over most of the side streets around Bath’s Abbey and central squares.


I like the fact that it is a showcase for local businesses and charities (including the local hospital appeal, homeless charities and hospice charities). I also started working yesterday at my friend’s shop which is located in the heart of the market and which will benefit greatly from the shopping event.

However as I wondered around yesterday I couldn’t help thinking how,  before the market, is over on 14th December it will become an overcrowded, fraught place. While it is a showcase for local artisans and small businesses I did ask myself how many Christmas baubles a person really needs to buy.

But the busy-ness of Bath Christmas Market is nothing in comparison to the madness of Black Friday which is happening today. Imported from the US this takes place on the day after Thanksgiving when retailers reduce their prices to kick start Christmas shopping. In the States most people take Friday off as Thursday is a public holiday and I guess there is more of a ‘tradition’ to the event. Over the last couple of years Black Friday has become more of an event in the UK with large retailers reducing items and people marking this by having punch ups on the shop floor.

I guess because I’m still in a de-cluttering, minimalist phase I feel rather ambivalent towards Christmas shopping this year. I have a sneaky feeling that if I’m not careful all the clutter I am clearing from our house will reappear next month. So far I have stuck to my small budget and am buying a combination of new, and second-hand, presents. I would also like to try my hand at some handmade gifts as well.

However I have to confess that some of my purchases have taken place in larger stores (including Primark – my first trip into Bath’s latest shop) and online through Amazon. I know not all of these are ethical so feel slightly hypocritical. But, no matter what, I’m determined to stay away from all shops and online retailers today.

Instead I will save my pennies for some local Christmas Fairs and Small Business Saturday on 6 December. I’ll also be following the Money Advice Service’s Have a Savvy Christmas programme with advice on budgeting for the festive season. And with that in mind I will also be following Buy Nothing Day tomorrow (29th) which is easy as I’ll be at work (although I will be encouraging people to buy coffee and cake at our Arts Centre cafe).