This fortnight’s Thrifty Finds (30 October-12 November 2017)


This Week's Thrifty Finds via

Apologies for this late posting – I had begun to draft last week’s but I never completed it. So I thought I would combine the past two weeks’ instead….

1.I’ve had some luck with picking up second-hand bargains. I bought these used books at the monthly bric a brac sale held in the church hall:

I’m a big fan of the Mapp and Lucia series of books by EF Benson and am looking forward to re reading them 🙂

2. I went to visit a friend in South Wales and we enjoyed rummaging the charity shops and stalls in Monmouth. I picked up these two LPs for £7:


I’ve wanted ‘Rio’ for about 30 years (!) and Van Morrison’s ‘Moondance’ is one of my favourite albums.

3. I also found an amazing bargain in a local hospice shop – Boden ankle length trousers for just £4.50! I’m in need of some casual work trousers and have been looking for some ankle length ones. Being Boden, these are in great condition too.


4. Apart from some second hand shopping I also managed to get my watch fixed this month. I haven’t worn it for about ten years but, now that I’m working, I really need it. So I got a new battery and a new watch strap. This cost me £20 but was money worth spending.

5. I started Christmas shopping (!). I worked out my budget – based on the regular monthly amount we save into a dedicated account – and the number of people I’m shopping for. I made a small start on the children’s presents but was also able to buy some hand crafted gifts for friends at a local craft fair. This year I am determined not to buy from Amazon and to try to support independents as much as possible.

Have you started Christmas shopping yet?

Toys , Christmas tree ball on , branch.



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

Second-hand kids’ clothes

secondhand childrens clothes

I’m often writing about my own second-hand finds, but I rarely talk about my childrens’ clothing, and where I source it from.

Having three girls means we have relied a lot on donations from other families, hand-me-downs and second-hand sources. I have scoured NCT sales, charity shops and specialist second-hand stores, as well as online sites, to pick up clothing for my girls. As a result we have rather a large collection of outfits and, living in a tiny cottage, very little room.

My middle and younger daughter share a room and one chest of drawers (plus some hanging space). So I have to be very ruthless when clothing comes into our house. To be honest, when they’re not in school uniform they tend to stick to the same few outfits anyway. My eldest is now at the age where a shopping trip to Primark with her pocket money is a monthly treat. We have talked a little about the shoddy manufacture of their clothes (and who makes them). However I’m not going to ban her from going there. As a result, though, her chest of drawers is crammed with cheap throwaway items.minimal clothing for children

I do rotate clothing and pack it up for the next child in line. This is where our loft comes in very handy and bags are stored there, divided into age and season.

I have also been trying for the past couple of years to really cut down on what the girls wear and am forever donating piles to charity shops. I’m not very good, though, at saying no to friends who pass on armloads of good quality clothing for the children to wear. Through these donations I have noticed that some labels last longer and it’s not unusual to find Boden items that have been worn by at least three other children by the time they reach us.

I have also been rather cheeky and some of the outfits donated by older children have ended up in my wardrobe. At present I am wearing this boxy burgundy jumper that was donated by a 14 year old!

kids' jumperIf you read this blog regularly, though, you will also know that occasionally I buy first hand clothing for the kids. My last few experiences with cheap Primark outfits, though, has resulted in mending them (here). The lesson I’m learning is second-hand can be better quality that first-hand.

Where do you shop when you shop first-hand?

I have just spent a very enjoyable weekend catching up with some old friends in Stratford upon Avon. I wish I could say we had a very cultural time taking in all the Shakespeare sites but we spent most of the weekend talking, eating, drinking and …. shopping. Not all of my friends are converts to charity shops so I find it really interesting when trawling High Street stores with them.

Last weekend made me realise how infrequently I visit first-hand shops. In the past six months I have acquired one pair of trousers from Debenhams and received two items of clothing as a Christmas gift from Sainsburys. When I go clothes shopping my route is dominated by where the best second-hand shops are, which often takes me away from the ‘High Street end’.  I also realised that while my friends are shopping in those stores aimed at stylish forty plus women, with more expendable incomes, I’m still stuck in the student rut of paying lower prices for used clothing. When I do go into chain stores these tend to be either department stores (M&S or Debenhams) or those shops which I think I should have outgrown by now (Oasis, Top Shop, Gap).

For example last weekend was the first time I had stepped into a White Stuff shop. Funnily enough I do have a second-hand dress from the store. Likewise I have a Seasalt coat (but bought from Oxfam), cardigan from Boden (acquired at school jumble sale) and those jeans from Toast. But I would never normally wander into those shops and was pleasantly surprised by the clothes on sale.

Having just posted about Rana Plaza and #whomademyclothes? I also thought I should try to find out more about these stores. Whether I buy first-hand or second-hand these clothes have been manufactured by someone.

White Stuff is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative and have a dedicated Ethical Sourcing team and an Ethical Code of Conduct which all suppliers have to sign up to. Likewise SeaSalt are also members of the Ethical Trading Initiative and are increasingly looking to use more manufacturers based in the South West of England and Guernsey. Boden, also an ETI member, has a lot of information on its ethical credentials on its website.

These clothing labels certainly aren’t cheap but, judging from the second-hand versions I have in my wardrobe, they certainly last. Yet…. there is something I don’t enjoy about chain store shopping. I find the clothing very samey and, as ever, am worried that if I bought something from them I would bump into someone else wearing the same thing (this actually happened with the Sainsbury’s dress I was given at Christmas – a neighbour has the same one and looks gorgeous in hers!). I also suspect I don’t shop in Fat Face or The White Stuff for the same reason I refuse to listen to Radio Two and instead listen to BBC Six Music: I don’t want to admit that being in my forties means I have to wear or listen to ‘age appropriate’ stuff and I don’t want to be a grown up just yet!