Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (3- 10 July)


This Week's Thrifty Finds via

Welcome to another installment of my Thrifty Finds. How has your week been? If you’re in the UK have you been enjoying the heat (again) – or are you struggling?

  1. Not a Thrifty Find at all I’m afraid: I use part of my mum’s freezer to store some of our food. Their freezer broke down last week. Thankfully, they were able to save their food. We only had bread products and ice lollies stored there. Unfortunately that means in this heat we’re without the months’ supply of lollies that I keep the kids topped up with 😦 The lollies have turned to mush but I was wondering about trying to salvage the sticks and see if I could make some of my own. I don’t have any moulds, though, so may have to improvise…..
  2. On a more positive note, I have discovered the large 900g yogurt tubs made by Yeo Valley. While I confess to supplying the kids with squeezy yogurts for lunchboxes (I freeze them; then they gradually defrost in time for lunch) – I resist single pots at home, because of the plastic waste. The larger the tub, the more servings I can get. When empty, they are also very sturdy containers.

3. With our holiday only next month I ordered some Euros from the Post Office. The exchange rate is so much worse than when we went abroad two years ago (don’t get me started on Brexit!) but, by using our Post Office Credit Card I paid no commission and, by going through the money back website, Quidco, I even earned £3!

4. My holiday shopping list (for clothes) currently looks like this:

  • Shorts
  • Beach Coverup
  • Shirt
  • Dress
  • Sandals
  • Hat

Having, ahem, gone up a dress size since our last overseas holiday I need to source a few more things than I thought I needed. Of course, most of these will be secondhand, although I’m unsure about the sandals and hat.

5. Finally, on a rather sad note, I learnt that the lovely Jen, from mymakeandmendlife has decided to stop blogging 😦

I have followed Jen’s blog for a few years and, living in the same county, have met her a couple of times. What started as a year of buying nothing new for her family has snowballed into an inspirational blog full of tips, ideas and actions to reduce our impact on the environment. It was Jen who first introduced the idea of a Repair Cafe to me (which led to the formation of the Corsham Repair Cafe which we run twice a year).

Although she will no longer be blogging, I look forward to catching up with Jen by listening to her podcasts (here) and following her Youtube channel (here)

Are there any Podcasters, Youtubers or Bloggers that you follow?

(You can also share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram)

Is it okay to make money by selling things that were free (or cheap)?



I have been pondering this topic for a little while.

I began to think about it after I volunteered at our school jumble sale this year. For the first time I experienced the semi-professional haggling skills of customers who were going on to sell their bargains at car boot sales etc for a far higher price.

Then the lovely blogger, Ruby, from Quiet Radicals posed the question on twitter: is it ok for people to buy cheap items in charity shops – and then sell them on for higher prices to make a personal profit?

This really got me thinking. If the item at a school jumble sale, or charity shop, is on sale to make money for a good cause is it wrong for the purchaser to later sell it for more? Especially if this ‘profit’ is then kept for personal gain?

I guess you could say ‘good luck’ to anyone who has the ambition and drive to make money from selling other people’s cast-offs. Whether these cast-offs were donated to help a charity, accidentally left behind, or given for free should be irrelevant. When we donate we should no longer have any say in what happens to that item. It is now down to the charity shopper, freecycler, skip-diver etc to use their initiative to turn a profit.

And yet, I feel slightly uncomfortable about this. I recently wrote a magazine article on upcycling and the skill and materials that are involved in improving old, discarded items is something I approve of. These people have taken time, and spent their money and labour on making something better.

I guess it’s when something is bought for a cheap price/for free and then sold on at a higher price without anything being done to it, is where I struggle. I also think that items bought from charity shops should only be sold to make money for that charity.

A few months ago I bought a t-shirt online that was too small. Instead of having to return the t-shirt, Redbubble said I could keep it (as well as being sent a larger size). They said: “there’s no need to send it back. Feel free to give it to a friend, donate it to your favorite charity, whatever you want..”

Redbubble label

For a brief moment I thought I could sell it on and make some money. However it didn’t feel right. I’ve essentially got that t-shirt for free and it would be so much nicer to pass it onto a friend, as friends have done to me. Maybe I’m just wired a little differently, or the pursuit of profit just isn’t my thing.

But what do you think? Am I being too puritan about this? Should people be able to sell these items for more than they bought them for in the first place?

(If you like this post please follow me on facebook , twitter or instagram)

My post from The Thrift: Why I’m still charity shopping in my forties

Last month I wrote a post for the wonderful The-Thrift blog, which promotes shopping at Barnardo’s charity shops.

I wrote about why I’m in my mid-forties and still sourcing my wardrobe from charity shops and other second-hand sources. Here is a (slightly) updated version:

As someone in their mid 40s you would have thought that charity shopping is something I’d grown out of by now. But I guess I have been second-hand shopping for so many decades that my brain is now hardwired to head straight for the thrift stores.  I also love the thrill of a bargain, the individuality of charity shop purchases and the feeling I get from giving to a good cause, such as Barnardo’s. And there’s other reasons as well:

1) It’s something I haven’t grown out of. I first started second-hand shopping in my early teens when charity stores circa 1985 were very different to the ones you see now. Ironically, although these places were frowned upon they were stocked with amazing pieces from the ’50s and ’60s that would now be classed as vintage.

Charity Shop find from early 1990s.

Charity Shop find from early 1990s.

2) It’s my own personal style and no one will have the same outfit as me. I have to confess this was the reason I began charity shopping many years ago. As a student I wanted to look individual. I wanted to wear the shirt, jacket or shorts that no one else had. I guess this is a habit that has stuck with me.

3) It’s cheap. As a teenager of the 1980s I imagined my future self to be some highly driven career woman buying all my clothes from designer shops  – or M&S at least. When I worked full time in my twenties I did buy my work clothes from High Street stores. However since having children and taking on a range of part time and freelance work, I have less of a budget, or indeed a need, for buying first hand workwear. As a result I can stock my casual wardrobe with low price second-hand clothes.

4) It encourages re-use, and donating to good causes. Long before we knew about the three Rs charity shops were there to enable us to buy re-used clothing. I truly believe that by purchasing second-hand we are extending the life of a garment. We are ensuring the resources that are used to make, transport and package it are stretched for just a little longer.  Our hard earned cash is also going back into the charity pot, rather than into the hands of an anonymous corporation.  But in order to keep the cycle going we must remember to donate our unwanted clothing to charity shops too.

donating to charity shops


5) ) I’m a ‘bargain hunter’ . This comes down to the fact that I love browsing and getting a good bargain! Last month I bought a brilliant denim shirt dress for a fiver from the British Heart Foundation shop. I’d been coveting a similar one from Fat Face for £45!

£5 denim dress

While I never believe you should dress ‘age appropriate’ there are a few charity shop outfits that I no longer aspire to wear. Browsing through all the great posts from other (younger) The Thrift bloggers I know there are dress lengths and styles that I no longer feel comfortable wearing. However the nineteen year old who used to wear a pair of shorts made from old curtains is still there – she just has to turn the curtains into a below the knee dress now…

(If you like this post please follow me on facebook , twitter or instagram)

My guest post for The Thrift: Why I’m still charity shopping in my forties

the thrift guest post

Last month I was asked to write a guest post for The Thrift. This is a blog run by the Barnardos UK charity, promoting their chain of more than 640 shops throughout the country. Barnardos is a well-established charity that cares for vulnerable children (when I was at school I remember being given a Barnardo’s money box to save donations in).

My guest post for The Thrift can be found here. It’s all about why I still find myself charity shopping in my forties (maybe I haven’t grown up yet!)

(If you like this post please follow me on facebook , twitter or instagram)


Infinity Dreams Award

I am very excited to be nominated for the Infinity Dreams Award by the blog she’s going green

Thank you, and please check her blog out. She writes about her attempts to move towards a zero waste life.


The rules are:

  • Thank and follow the blog that nominates you
  • Show the award on your own blog
  • Answer the questions your nominator left for you
  • Nominate other bloggers and leave questions for them to answer

The questions for me are:

1. What motivates you to keep running this blog?                                                                                                                                                                   I really enjoy writing, and also reading other blogs. Over the past couple of years  I have encountered so many great bloggers and amazing ideas that I find I am forever wanting to share these projects and initiatives.I also love it when I get comments from readers that inspire me to find out more about something.  I originally wrote Second Hand Tales to spread my love of buying and using pre-loved items (clothing, books, furniture etc) but it has grown way beyond that. I still like to share a good charity shop bargain though!

  1. 2.If money was never an issue what would you do for a living?                                                                                                                          Writing and running projects that challenged people’s assumptions that we have to make money to buy things we don’t really need and later throw away.

    3.What would you do if you knew you could not fail?                                                                                                                                     Probably the item above – getting people to think about what they buy and why, and reducing waste.

    4.What pictures/posters decorated your walls as a teen?                                                                                                                                    Ha ha! I’m going to show my age now: Michael J Fox, Duran Duran, Wet Wet Wet and then later on some New Age style stuff from Glastonbury – and a signed James poster from an ex boyfriend.

    5. Pick one word that you aspire to be.                                                                                                                                                                           Kind.

 The bloggers that I nominate are:

Kinder by the day

Plastic is Rubbish

Simple Living With Kids


Their questions are:

1. What inspires you to write your posts?

2. Which historical figure’s ‘blog’ would you have liked to have read?

3.  What is your best second-hand bargain?!


Two years ago today…


NOTE: this was supposed to be posted on Saturday but it didn’t quite happen!

Two years ago today I started my blog with this first post welcoming any possible readers out there who may be interested in sharing my love of the second hand.

Since then I have carried on with my love of scouring charity shops and sourcing as many things second-hand as possible. I’ve bought breadmakers, books and beads – as well as many items of clothing. I’ve also learnt more about the sustainability issues around  purchasing things, be it fast fashion bought from chain stores or plastic wrapped food.

I’ve attempted to reduce my wardrobe (through Project 333 and Eco Thrifty’s Slow Fashion Challenge) and to cut out plastic here and supermarkets here. These ventures have challenged me: I have often ‘fallen off the wagon’ but I have learnt many news things, from the plastic that is contained in teabags to where donated clothing actually goes to. I’ve also developed nothing but admiration for those bloggers who have committed to a life that is truly handmade, zero waste or plastic or supermarket free. I’ve also become a more conscious shopper and steered my path down a more minimalist route.

I have also met some lovely blogging people along the way (some even in real life!), set up a Repair Café, tried to carry out some Acts of Kindness, run a Clothes Swap and rekindled my love for second-hand vinyl.

My subscribers may not be in their thousands (or even hundreds!) and I’ve yet to get onto instagram or twitter but I’ve really enjoyed the time spent putting my ramblings, and photos, into posts and receiving comments.

My 100th post! What I’ve learnt about blogging

credit: katielips

credit: katielips

This is my 100th post! Having started this blog last Spring and – with some erratic scheduling of posts – I have reached the one hundred mark. It’s quite timely as we approach the end of the year and begin to look back at the past twelve months. I thought I would contemplate on my past 99 entries and what this blog has taught me…

This is my second – and perhaps more successful blog

I used to  write a family-centred blog for a few years. However as my children grew older I became more reluctant to include them in my blog entries. Yet I really enjoyed the writing and creating process of blogging and, coupled with my love of all things second-hand,  this blog was born.

I am an erratic blogger

I do try to discipline myself to write at least a couple of entries a week but sometimes life just gets in the way and there are too many other things to do. I also like to research then write my entries so I’m not very good at firing off quick posts. There are also times when I have nothing relevant to write about…

I have met some really interesting, creative and generous bloggers

I have actually met some real-life bloggers through this process. They have been inspirational, helpful and kind and some have become actual friends. I’m quite honest in admitting I have stolen a few ideas – such as Repair Cafes – from Jen at my make do and mend year blog. I’m also amazed when anyone comments on my blog that they have met me, but then again I’m amazed when people have actually my read my blog!

Repair Cafe

Repair Cafe


I have taken on new challenges

Through blogging – and following other blogs – I have come across new challenges which I have taken part in. From Plastic Free July to the Mins Game and Slow Fashion Challenge month I have learnt so much. Some projects I have enjoyed taking part in, some I have failed at and others I’m still not sure about (I plan to post a Project 333 review soon).

a (mostly) second-hand outfit which I wore for #Secondhand First challenge run by TRAID. Alas I never finished the week as I came down with a bad cold

a (mostly) second-hand outfit which I wore for #Secondhand First challenge run by TRAID.

Having learnt a few things I know there are other things I want to do better. So my New Year’s Resolutions for blogging (or what I plan to do for my next 100 posts) is:

Try to post more regularly

Carry on with the ‘Second-Hand shopping in…’ series

Maybe take some more pics of me wearing my second-hand clothes (although I’m rather camera shy)

Carry on enjoying my blogging, ‘meeting’ new, interesting and inspirational bloggers and blog readers, and not pressure myself to take on too many challenges.Diamond-2015-text-vector

Welcome to Second-Hand Tales!


Welcome to my brand new blog, Second-Hand Tales. I have been blogging for a few years now, but rather sporadically and without much focus. Second-Hand Tales is my attempt to pull together all the strands of my life that (may) be of interest to other like-minded readers and bloggers.

If I have a philosophy it is to try to live as gently as I can without impacting too much on the world in which I live.  As a family we try to recycle, re-use and reduce our consumption of precious resources. It is often out of economic necessity as well that we do not buy shiny new things that we do not really need.

Fortunately this is where my love of second-hand comes in. If we can buy things that have already been owned then I believe we can reduce our footprint a little. Similarly, anything that is swapped or given freely shows there is an alternative to the money-based system that dominates our lives.

I’m not quite sure where this journey in blogging will take me but I hope you will find time to read, share and feed back. Thank you.