This Week’s Thrifty Finds: Week Three, June 2018

 

 

 

 

Last week we celebrated the end of my daughter’s GCSE exams with a camping trip 🙂 We meet up once a year with my school friends and, what has grown from five of us plus partners, is now a total of 20! It’s a wonderful opportunity to catch up, eat lots of food and enjoy the outdoors. The children all get along really well and it’s lovely to see them away from screens and climbing trees and having adventures.

  1. For camping food I took a lot of what we already at home: in the store cupboard and the freezer. I made some hummus from scratch using some chickpeas I’d had for a while. I also managed to buy some unwrapped fruit and veg (for the carrot saga take a look at my Instagram posts!)

2. We also borrowed a camping table from a friend, rather than buy a new one for the trip.

3. While camping we browsed the local charity shops (charity shops in Marlborough, Wiltshire, are packed with some real goodies – post to come soon!). I picked up three books from the Oxfam shop – one of which had been on my wishlist for a while:

 

4. My youngest daughter also picked up a book for 10p from the Dog’s Trust shop.

5. I was also proud that we managed to use just our glass milk bottles on the camping trip. I had searched for a screw top lid for the milk bottle as the foil one doesn’t stop the milk from spilling once opened. But no luck. Then I remembered I had a glass bottle left over from a free sample of orange juice, that did have a screw top lid. So I was able to take two pints and just decant an opened pint into the glass bottle with the lid. Problem solved and no need to buy any new gadget!

Do you have any thrifty camping tips to share? Or any ideas for camping with less plastic? I’d love to hear them!

charity shop find, Next, Dorothy House shop

Charity Shop Haul: my Coat Collection

 

 

As I look through my wardrobe I realise that one item of clothing that is completely second-hand is my coat collection.

I didn’t intend to buy all my coats from charity shops. In fact, I think that buying a coat is one of the most expensive and well-thought purchases you can make. In times gone by, I would have saved up for a winter coat (or asked for it as a birthday present) and it would have lasted me a good three-five years.

However, my approach to buying coats changed a few years ago when I found this beauty:

 

This Sainsburys coat still had its price label and was on sale at the Shaw Trust charity shop in Bath. While I hadn’t intended to buy a second-hand coat, the colour and cut was irresistible to me. The fact that it had never been worn was also a bonus. Four years later I am still wearing it and still get lots of comments – and compliments – on the colour!

 

Another charity shop bargain was my SeaSalt coat, bought for just £10 from Oxfam in Totnes. A quick trip to the neighbouring Seasalt shop confirmed my suspicions: a brand new version would cost £100! This coat has served me very well: especially on wet school runs. However, the zip has now broken and, alas, it is now too tight for me 😦

 

I got this red M&S jacket for free from a Clothes Swap party I helped to organise a few years ago. It serves really well as a light summer jacket and I do love the colour!

 

This year I have, already, purchased two new (to me) coats. The black hooded coat is the only second-hand coat I have deliberately hunted for. After a bit of a search in Bath’s charity shops, I found it in Dorothy House for £15. It was warm enough for a cold and rainy weekend in Birmingham and is my new school run/wet weather coat.

 

Finally, I found this lighter Spring coat by accident a couple of weeks ago in another Dorothy House store. This time it was only £8! I love the colour and the cut, and have a feeling it will make me feel as good as the orange coat when I wear it 🙂

 

charity shop find, Next, Dorothy House shop

 

I can’t imagine going back to spending £80-£100 on a new winter coat, now that I have fallen for the charity shop ones …. The low price and originality of each item really appeals to me. And, if I do outgrow an item I can just donate it back.

Do you buy coats from second hand stores? Or do you think it’s worth the investment to buy a brand new one that will last for many years?

Second-hand shopping in Chippenham

chippenham 2

 

While I spend quite a lot of time browsing the second hand shops in Bath, I’m also known to do some charity shopping in the market town of Chippenham. This Wiltshire town is only eight miles from where I live and, unlike Bath, has a lot of those useful cheaper shops such as Wilkinsons and a large Poundland – as well as a good range of charity shops.

At one end of the High Street (closer to the train station) is a small grouping of four charity shops.

Dorothy House and Age UK are located next to each other. The Dorothy House has a good selection of toys and games, and is well worth browsing for clothes. At the neighbouring Age UK I have picked up a couple of good items: a vintage black dress, and a women’s navy suit (for a Margaret Thatcher outfit!)

Vintage dress from Age UK

Across the road from these shops is the RSPCA. Earlier in the year it was damaged by fire. It’s good to see it back in place on the High Street. This is a welcoming store with lots of space and a big selection of homeware. The prices are very reasonable as well, and you can pick up some good vintage clothing (as below)

 

Further along is the Oxfam shop. Oxfam shops never disappoint. They always have a good selection of clothes and homeware and, in most cases, a large dedicated book section. This Oxfam also has a bridal department downstairs.

The rest of Chippenham’s charity shops are located in the pedestrianised part of the High Street. British Heart Foundation is centrally located. Although it is quite small it has a large selection of clothing.

Further along is the Blue Cross shop, which sells vinyl as well as clothing, toys, books and homeware.

My personal favourite, though, is the Julian House charity shop which opened a couple of years ago. Julian House is the Bath based charity which works with excluded people; one of the projects it runs is a homeless hostel in Bath (see also Chippenham’s Doorway Project which works with homeless and vulnerable people).

The curved window of the Julian House shop is very eye catching:

Inside the clothes and accessories are laid out with lots of space between them:

It also has a great vinyl selection:

I recently picked up my favourite Henry Holland dress from this shop and, although not as cheap as other charity shops, its clothing section is well worth a browse.

Beyond Julian House is the Red Cross Shop. In the past I’ve picked up some great LPs from here.

Not pictured, and located beyond the High Street, is Magpie Vintage: a second-hand shop selling vintage clothing, homeware and, upstairs, a dedicated music department.

And beyond that is Chippenham’s other record shop, Scratch the Surface, which sells new and old vinyl.

Finally I can’t talk about charity shopping in Chippenham without mentioning the dedicated second hand furniture and electrical stores. Dorothy House and  British Heart Foundation  are located in the centre of Chippenham. The furniture store Waste Not Want Not is on the outskirts. In the past we have donated, and bought from, all three of these stores.

Below are some of our purchases incl: ice cream maker, bread maker, vacuum, sofa, keyboard and vacuum cleaner 🙂

 

 

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (8-14 October) – and a first year anniversary!

 

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

Last week marked one year of Thrifty Finds! I’m not sure where the time has gone but am so pleased that, despite a new job and less time, this series has kept me blogging.

I have plans for further series and have been drafting lots more posts, but thank you for sticking with the blog while I adjusted to a new schedule.

If you follow me on instagram you’ll see that is where I tend to post most often.

But I like the feeling of community that blogging offers and especially welcome comments and thoughts from readers. (or ideas for any posts??)

And, please share your Thrifty Finds too!

This past week I ended up making quite a few charity shop purchases (which wasn’t the intention!)

  1. I finally bought a new handbag! This is a big achievement for me as my current one had been broken for about three months 😦 But I’m really fussy about bags: it’s got to be the right size, have the right handle and not be too boring (!). I had almost resigned myself to buying something firsthand (at about £40 – ouch!) then came across this one for just £4 in the Dorothy House shop in Malmesbury at the weekend.                         I also snapped up the £2 purse which had such a fun pattern (now I shall smile every time I open it up).  
  2. And I made use of the old bag by cutting out the internal purse. I now use this to store a fabric shopping bag and keep in my handbag at all times.

3. I also bought a few children’s books from the Oxfam shop in Malmesbury:

l-r: The Woolpack by Cynthia Harnett; Party Shoes by Noel Streatfeild; Children in History: The Nineteenth Century (pub 1961).

The latter I bought out of interest as I imagine it is really quite dated. I’ve started to have a ‘read aloud’ book with my younger girls as a way of spending time together, sharing stories and taking turns in reading. At the moment we are reading A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley, who is one of my favourite children’s authors.    When I was younger I loved the Ballet Shoes series by Noel Streatfield, but have never read The Woolpack. I’m hoping one of these will be our next read-aloud book.

4. Carrying on with the reading theme, I was luck enough to receive the latest Barnardos Retail leaflet in the post. I love how they use actual donated clothes to show how these can be styled as up to the minute outfits. I’d recommend picking up a copy  next time you pop into Barnardos.

And, although not free, I did treat myself to ordering the first edition of this beautiful magazine, Creative Countryside. Filled with gorgeous images, inspirational writing and seasonally themed, this is something I am taking time to savour and read, bit by bit. The article on ‘Bookish Hygge’ really resonated with me and made me wonder if all the book buying I have been doing recently is in preparation for the darker nights ahead…

5. On Saturday we spent the day at a Sustainability fair in Malmesbury, Wiltshire (hence the charity shop purchases!). It was a really interesting day with lots of speakers, including Green Party MEP Molly Scott Cato. The brilliant Wiltshire Scrapstore was also on hand providing free kids’ activities. My younger two got involved with making masks:

 

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

charity shop clothes shopping haul second hand

Charity Shop Haul: September 2017

charity shop clothes shopping haul second hand

Welcome to my new, occasional, series on Charity Shop Hauls. Having teenage – and preteen – daughters I am all too familiar with the Youtube shopping hauls, where vloggers talk about their trips to Primark et al.

Although I don’t intend to vlog my finds I thought an occasional blog post may show that it is possible to make some great second hand purchases too, and we don’t have to rely on Fast Fashion to provide us with low cost outfits.

I decided that I needed a few more outfits for work, especially as the weather has got a lot colder and warmer. Last Friday I headed into Bath with a shopping list:

  • Boots/laceups/shoes for work
  • Work trousers
  • Jeans
  • Warm tops/thin jumpers
  • White shirt
  • Tights (first hand)

It can be tricky sticking to such lists when browsing charity shops. It will depend on what styles, sizes and colours have been donated to the particular stores. When shopping I also have to allow for that ‘WOW!’ moment when something stands out and I just have to buy it (see here for the ‘orange coat moment’ or here for a more recent Henry Holland dress)

So when I came across this Marks and Spencer Collection skirt I had to have it!

M&S S/S17 second hand charity shop haul Dorothy House

I am pretty certain these skirts were on sale in M&S earlier this summer. At the time I was tempted to buy one, although I never normally wear long skirts. However seeing this in the Dorothy House vintage store on sale for just £6.50 I just knew I had to add this to my wardrobe!

In fact Dorothy House came up trumps as I was able to create an entire outfit for just £20!

I picked up this Sainsburys Tu top (which is definitely from this summer’s collection) for £5.

Sainsburys Tu S/S17 blue and red knitwear charity shop haul Dorothy House

Interestingly, this was a size 18 (I’m normally a size 12) but it’s often worth looking at larger sizes when charity shopping as they can shrink slightly. I also preferred the baggier fit as I plan to put another jumper underneath when it gets colder.

To finish the outfit I made my first ever purchase of second hand shoes. This is something I don’t normally consider but these £8.50 shoes from Next were a perfect colour to match the top and skirt and I just sort of fell for them….

Next blue patent office shoes charity shop haul

Feeling very pleased with myself, I browsed a few more shops and finally picked up some tops from Oxfam on Argyle Street.

These two jumpers will be perfect for layering this winter. They came to £10.99 in total:

I also bought this gorgeous boatneck top for £6.99. I really like the 1950s style of it.

I’d not come across the Betty Barclay label before but a quick google search shows their tops sell first hand for about £50-£60!

In total I spent £37.98 on four tops, one skirt and one pair of shoes. The majority of the clothes were from good quality labels and I was particularly pleased to pick up two items that were from this year. It did make me wonder, though, why the owners had donated them so quickly. But then one person’s cast off is another woman’s treasure….

What are your thoughts on charity shopping? Do you buy most of your clothes second-hand, or would you never consider wearing charity shop outfits for work? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts, or even persuade you that there is nothing wrong with second hand shopping 🙂

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (24-30 July)

 

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

Hope you had a good week and – if you’re in the UK – the start of the school holidays are going well (apart from the weather!)

I was very proud of myself last week as I chose not to buy something. Do you ever have that conundrum where you think you should buy an outfit for an event, when actually you don’t want to, and don’t think you’ll ever wear it again anyway?

  1. My friends got married. It was a gorgeous, homespun event, using the skills and time of many local friends who made a cake, decorated the garden, cooked the food, grew the flowers etc. Earlier in the week I thought I needed to buy an outfit for the wedding. However the weather forecast was wet and cold and whatever I bought would not keep me warm or dry (the reception was being held in their garden). While browsing the Sales rack in Debenhams I had an epiphany: I didn’t need to buy a new outfit for the wedding! Going to a special event is not about what you wear. So, in the end, I wore the second hand Henry Holland dress I picked up a couple of weeks ago, with a thrifted cardigan and second hand velvet jacket that I’ve had for years.

As the reception was only in the village, I popped home after the service and changed into layers and a warmer pair of trousers. In the end, the rain held off and it was a fantastic evening party that went on into the small hours….!

2. It was a party weekend as my youngest daughter held her ninth birthday party on Sunday. I took her and five friends to the cinema. Rather pricey, but I bought popcorn and juice cartons from home to save on the cost of snacks.

3. On instagram I commented on a couple of charity shop magazines that @mamathriftstyle  had picked up from her local Oxfam and Barnardos stores. Anyway, it turns out she lives in Bath and very kindly dropped them off for me to read 🙂

4. I continued to search for activity books for the kids to take on holiday and found a code breaking book in the Julian House charity shop: perfect for my daughter who loves puzzles and codes.

5. Summer holidays means time to sort things out and do some decluttering with the girls. Over the past couple of years they have been lucky enough to have been given some DS and Wii games from family and friends. They sorted through those games they didn’t use and we took them to the local Games Exchange shop. In return we received a £35 (!) voucher which we will (partly) spend on dvds for the summer.

Are you decluttering this summer?I’d love to hear about your Thrifty Finds! Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Second-hand shopping in Bristol (Park Street)

I realise it’s been ages since I last posted a Second-hand shopping in.. post, but a recent trip to Park Street, in the centre of Bristol, inspired me to add to the series.

I don’t profess to be an expert in all the locations for second-hand shopping in Bristol, but the centrally located Park Street is a good starting point.

Park Street extends from Bristol Cathedral and College Green uphill towards the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery (free entry and well worth a look). Being Bristol, there is also a Banksy located half way up the street.

Park Street is bustling with lots of coffee shops, cafes and a smattering of art galleries. Although selling first-hand items, The Guild, is well worth a look at for homewares and gifts.

But it’s the second-hand shops that really catch my eye.

Just parallel to Park St, located on Queens Road, is the Cancer Research Shop which is worth a browse.

The two stand out charity shops on Park Street, though, are the Oxfam Bookshop and Sue Ryder shop.

Second hand books, Oxfam

The Oxfam Bookshop (officially on Queen’s Road) is two floors of paperbacks, hardbacks, specialist texts, vinyl and more. It is a book-lover’s paradise and I could easily spend a few hours browsing here! For second-hand bibliophiles there is another Oxfam Bookshop,located  just over a mile away in Clifton.

Further down Park Street, The Sue Ryder shop is crammed with vintage goodies! There is a dedicated retro clothing rail that seems to go on for ever… For an over-organised person like myself I love that it is colour coordinated too!

vintage clothing,secondhand shopping, Sue Ryder charity shop

 

I spotted this Laura Ashley dress on the rail; made in Wales, which automatically dates it to pre 2005 (see this post here)

vintage clothing,secondhand shopping, Sue Ryder charity shop, Laura Ashley vintage

The shop also sells a good range of second-hand vinyl, which can be a little pricey. It also has a wonderful curved shop front which I love!

Sue Ryder, charity shop, shop window, Bristol

Beyond the charity shops, Park Street is also famed for its vintage clothing shops.

Squashed between two bigger stores, the diminutive Uncle Sam’s American Vintage is overflowing with secondhand clothing, imported from the US. It is also Bristol’s longest established vintage store, specialising in outfits from the 1940s to 1980s. Unlike many secondhand clothing stores, it also has a good selection of menswear.

 

Another Park Street favourite, Sobeys also has branches in Exeter and Cardiff. I do like this store but, for me, it’s a little too young. Everytime I step inside they seem to be playing Duran Duran (which I love as an old school Duranie!) but the 80s and 90s themed stock tends to remind me of what I used to wear at the time. Being slightly more mature, ‘vintage’ for me harks back to earlier eras. But they do have an excellent range of dungarees and, once more, cater for male customers too. Similarly, BS8 (not pictured) is a vintage store that caters for a younger market but certainly worth a browse.

If you’re new to Bristol then Park Street is a great place to start your second-hand quest. Other areas such as trendy Stokes Croft and upmarket Clifton are great locations to browse in too, and miles away from the mainstream, High Street stores of Cabot Circus and the out of town mall at Cribbs Causeway.