This week’s Thrifty Finds (5-11 February 2018)

Thrifty Finds

How was your week? Last week we struggled without a kitchen – but received some generous invitations to dinner and the use of friends’ kitchens and homes. I feel very blessed to live in such a caring community 🙂

Last week’s Thrifty Finds included:

  1. It was a busy work week culminating in the launch of the Royal Women exhibition at Fashion Museum Bath.  I really love my job and feel so privileged to get a sneaky peek at exhibitions such as this one. Spanning the last hundred plus years, this exhibition focuses on dresses worn by Queens Alexandra, Mary, Elizabeth The Queen Mother and the very glamorous and beautiful Princess Margaret. I had been binge watching The Crown prior to the exhibition and, for me, Princess Margaret’s dresses were the highlight.

Princess Margaret dresses Fashion Musesum Bath Royal Women The Crown

 

2. On a more down to earth note, work started in earnest on our kitchen. We were able to start some painting work and I was pleased to be able to use some old rollers and brushes I had washed and saved from a couple of years ago. I was also able to use up half a tin of paint that had been lying in the shed for a while 🙂

3. We uncovered some old layers of wallpaper. Despite having lived in our house for 15 years there are still some areas we have never touched before. I was amazed to find the old pieces – we’re hoping to keep some of the wallpaper in situ, and frame another piece. I’d love to know how far back they date….

4. Now that we are cooking and eating in our lounge I’m beginning to understand what a struggle it must have been when families had just one room to do everything in. So it’s quite timely that we’ve started watching the new BBC series Back in Time for Tea, following a family as they struggle through the 1920s and 1930s.

5. Our Book Group was discussing The Golden Compass and I was delighted to be re-reading the copy I had first bought 16 years ago. I try to borrow the books for our Book Group, rather than buying a new one each time. It’s a real bonus when I already have the book on my shelf 🙂

I’d love to hear about your Thrifty Finds too! What have been your bargain purchases this week – or did you donate/recycle/repair something? Or did you decide not to buy something?

Thrifty Finds

Thrifty Finds (30 Jan-5 Feb)

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

Apologies for being a day late with this one. I am still adjusting to a new working week and re-organising my schedules for writing and posting. One month in I am totally loving my job and even secured some Thrifty Finds in relation to workwear last week:

  1. I had a couple of evening functions to go to (connected with a new exhibition at the Fashion Museum). I am still building up my work wardrobe (sigh..very sensible clothing) and have been on the hunt for a basic black jacket for a couple of weeks. In the end I rushed out on Wednesday and picked up the perfect blazer from Debenhams, reduced to £30.
  2. I also had a good rummage in the Save the Children shop in Bath (currently my  favourite charity shop). I picked up these two blouses which are perfect for work. They are from LaRedoute and French Connection and were a slightly pricey £9.50 in total (but I’ll get lots of wear from them)

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

I really like the back detail on the LaRedoute blouse (Note to self: must get the iron out!)

secondhand LaRedoute blouse. Charity shop workwear. Thrifty Finds. secondhandtales.wordpress.com

3) One of the perks of my job is getting to look round the museums’ exhibitions before they open to the public. Last Wednesday night I go to attend a Bloggers’ Preview of the Fashion Museum’s new exhibition: Lace in Fashion. It was such a treat to get a guided tour by the curator and see some of the beautiful lace dresses and outfits in their collection. Plus I also got to meet local blogger, Scrapiana, whom I have been following for a while and who runs amazing mending workshops (for free).

4) After two late nights I got to relax at the weekend as we went to visit my old school friends in the New Forest. It’s always lovely to go back, catch up and have a little trip down memory lane (literally as we drove past my old school and house). We ate very well all weekend and the beetroot brownies I made the previous weekend (and froze) went down very well.

5). I finished re-reading the Beryl Bainbridge book, ‘Every Man for Himself’ which I really enjoyed. I’ve now picked up another book as part of my mission to ‘re-read the bookshelf’.

Stella Gibbons, 'Starlight'; Beryl Bainbridge, 'Every man for himself'

 

 

What were your Thrifty Finds for the past week?

Don’t forget you can also share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Shock! Horror! Second-Hand Tales goes first-hand shopping!!

 

shopping bags

I have a confession to make…. I actually went first-hand shopping! This is something which probably happens a couple of times a year for me. Last year I bought a gorgeous black jumpsuit with my Christmas money and I have not regretted it once.

But the reason for my first-hand shopping this time is because I have a new grown up job!!  At the beginning of this month I started working (part-time) as Heritage Publicity Officer for The Roman Baths, Fashion Museum Bath & Victoria Art Gallery!!! I cannot tell you how exciting this is! It has been a long time in the waiting (I originally applied for a similar job a couple of years ago but needed to update my skills. There then followed 22 months of fruitless job applications and interviews, digital marketing courses and voluntary work placements).

Of course a new job means a slightly updated (and smarter) wardrobe. Hence I dipped my toes into the relatively unknown territory of First-Hand Shopping. My knowledge of shopping in Bath is shaped by the location of second-hand shops. I make a beeline for Walcot Street,George Street, Westgate St, the charity shops on Argyle St/Pulteney Bridge and the Dorothy House shop opposite M&S.

But High Street store shopping means following a completely different route – and not one that I am very familiar with. I wrote this post here about how I am only familiar with High Street labels if I have bought them second-hand.

Anyway I had a list of very sensible items of clothing that I needed to buy for my new job and really struggled to find any of them! In the end I picked up these two tops and a pair of black ankle boots (all in the sale as I still like a bargain!)

black polo neck and white lace blous

The black polo neck is from Apricot and a wardrobe ‘classic’. I had to be very disciplined when shopping this time and only purchase wardrobe staples. I also had a sensible white shirt on my shopping list but couldn’t find one I liked anywhere. Instead I opted for the white high collar blouse from Marks & Spencer. Funnily enough one of my first jobs in post is to publicise the Fashion Museum’s ‘Lace in Fashion’ exhibition so the lace detail on the blouse makes it very apt!

The black boots had been on my list for a while and, having failed to find any second-hand, I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase them from Debenhams for just £15.

But that was the extent of my excursion! Having undertaken my First-Hand Shopping expedition I just realised that:

1. When you get to your forties (and I suspect even earlier) you realise that most clothes shops look the same.

2. Second-hand shops aren’t always cheaper (esp when compared to some High Street stores) but the clothes on their racks tend to be longer lasting and even better quality.

3. Second-hand shopping allows you to dress individually.

4. I just prefer second-hand/charity shops, and in cities such as Bath there isn’t always that much to choose between the look and contents of these stores as compared to High Street stores.

5. As long as your clothes are clean and smart you really can dress second-hand for work.

What about you? Do you wear second-hand for work? Do you think it depends on what type of work you do?

 

Fashion through the ages – and a touch of Laura Ashley

I feel very fortunate to live within easy travelling distance of Bath’s Fashion Museum. The costumes on display date from the 1700s to modern day (every year it awards a Dress of the Year). In many ways this is the ultimate museum for all of us who love second-hand clothes. While I doubt the items on display would ever be for sale in Oxfam they are a great way to see how fashion changes (or rather doesn’t).

Court dress, dating from the 1760s. Okay, so maybe fashion has changed for the better...

Court dress, dating from the 1760s.

1930s red velvet evening dress

1930s red velvet evening dress

1930s red velvet evening dress

1940s fashion

2012 Dress of the Year by Dior

2012 Dress of the Year by Dior

There are two aspects to the museum that I particularly like: the temporary exhibitions and the room devoted to the changing styles of dress of the 19th century.  The current exhibition is ‘Laura Ashley: The Romantic Heroine’ which marks the 60th anniversary of the fashion label.

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The museum is displaying over 70 dresses that range from the early 1960s, through to the label’s heydey in the 1970s. Bath was home to one of the first Laura Ashley shops in 1971 (still present in the city on New Bond Street). I like the fact that many of the dresses that are on loan to the museum have been worn by ‘real’ people, with their own stories to tell. Quite a few of them were worn as wedding dresses in the late 1960s and early 1970s which I guess echoes the label’s reputation as a romantic one. While I have to say I have never been a big fan of the Laura Ashley style (being short I don’t think long dresses suit me), this retospective made me look at the fashion house in a new light. I like the way that Laura Ashley developed a new simple style that moved away from the short hemlines of the 60s and embraced a longer hemline and more natural fabrics and colours. While the dresses reminded me of The Good Life there was a distinctive element that went straight back to the style of the Victorian era.

I think there is a strong similarity between the 1970s styles above and those below, on display in the 19th century room, and dating from 150 years before Laura Ashley opened her shop in Bath.

Having been slightly inspired by the exhibition I decided to try on a classic Laura Ashley dress that I discovered afterwards in Oxfam. While it was fun to dress up this did confirm what I already knew: that the style is not for me, but rather one to be appreciated from a distance.

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