On Pause….

Apologies that it has taken me so long to write this post…

As you may have gathered I haven’t been blogging for quite a few months. There’s no particular reason: life has got busier and I found blogging was taking up time when I always seemed to have a large list of things to do.

I’ve also become more active on Instagram (secondhandtales) which is a sort of micro blogging platform in its own right. I’m still trying to spread the word about secondhand and sustainable living in my posts, and focus on what I’m wearing to show charity shop outfits ARE wearable 😂

I’m not sure when, or if, I will return to blogging. I have really enjoyed my time on this site, interacting with other readers and learning so much from other bloggers. Honestly, so many of the sustainable living ideas I follow are from pieces I have read on people’s blogs.

If you are on Instagram do please take a look at my page. If not, thank you for stopping by and reading my posts and I wish you all the best.

With lots of love,

Kathryn xx



Sign from Rubha Phoil campsite, Skye

Welcome to my second-hand tales blog where I chronicle my adventures in second-hand shopping, and other greenish ventures.

I also post a weekly list of all my Thrifty Finds (see here) ,  The idea is not to just share any secondhand purchases I may have made, but also list those things I have repaired, recycled, donated, re-used – or just decided not to buy. I would love to hear from you as well so please share your Thrifty Finds every Monday

I hope you enjoy reading my random(ish) posts: please leave a comment on any post that interests you – or you could  follow me on instagram


This week’s Thrifty Finds for second week of April 2019

After last week’s mammoth list of Thrifty Finds, this week’s was more restrained!

1. But I did get a new (to me) phone as my husband upgraded his and I took on his old one. The phone I had been using I had bought second hand about two years ago but it’s been playing up recently. By taking on my husband’s old phone I didn’t have to change my mobile contract so am still paying for SIM only.

2. In an effort to save money I stuck to packed lunches for work.

3. I also made my own ‘Febreze’ using fabric softener and bicarbonate of soda -plus a homemade surface cleaner(rather than buying new).

4. The girls sorted through their bedroom and created a few bags of donations for the charity shop.

5. Although Christmas is still a long way off 😮 I’m working hard to earn my Boots Advantage points (for stocking fillers) and have been making use of Double Points vouchers. I’ve already earned £6 in rewards.

Thrifty Finds for second week April 2019

It’s funny how it goes because last week was full of Thrifty Finds!

1. The biggest Thrifty Find was a free Google Plus device! We upgraded our Spotify account to ‘family’ and were sent the Google Plus for free! Last Christmas we almost bought an Alexa but decided we didn’t quite have the money. And now our Google Plus does pretty much the same job 🙂

2. On a far smaller scale I received a free packet of poppy seeds as a promotional gift at work. At the weekend I did some gardening and sowed some of last year’s leftover seeds(carrots) and some new lettuce and nasturtium seeds.

3. I picked up an M&S long sleeved T-shirt for £2.25 from Dorothy House shops.

4. And an old fashioned version of Cluedo for £3.99 from British Heart Foundation

5. And a storage jar for £2.50 fromPDSA

This week is the start of the school holidays and we don’t have much planned. My husband starts his new job next week which means less commuting and a smaller pay packet but I’m confident we have planned for this exciting change!

Have a great week 🙂

This week’s Thrifty Finds for last week of March 2019



I had some good Thrifty Finds this week:

1.I was able to get another free 11 journey bus ticket as I discovered 10 more used tickets at home. My daughter was also able to get a free student ticket as she had collected 10 used tickets. So far this promotion has saved us nearly £90 (no wonder they are cancelling the promotion!).

2. I decided to take a trip to the new AlDI and LIDL stores that have opened up nearby. I did my usual monthly shop there, rather than doing an internet delivery. While it definitely took A LOT more time (and I had to go to Sainsburys to get some things they didn’t have) it seemed a lot cheaper. I just have to sit down and do a careful price comparison. I also joined the LIDL loyalty club and received two free boxes of washing powder!

3. I finished the book a friend had lent me and started reading Andrew Taylor’s ‘The Ashes of London’ which I originally bought secondhand for my husband. I am really enjoying it. If you like historic detective stories (or are a fan of CJ Sansom’s ‘Shardlake’ series ) I think you will enjoy this one.

 4. I donated a small bag of clothes to a charity shop.


5. Finally I treated myself to a new (to me) coat. This navy blue Autograph jacket is perfect for warmer weather. I had to donate my old red jacket as it no longer fitted me but this is a great replacement. It cost £10 from Oxfam.

This week’s Thrifty Finds: third week of March 2019


My Thrifty Finds for last week included:

1. I went back to work after a week off BUT I was very good and just bought in food from home, rather than being tempted by the many food shops just a stone’s throw from work. One day I even bought in a can of soup as I had run out of time to make sandwiches. Fortunately we have a kitchen with microwave which makes lunchtimes so much easier.

2. I had a free eye test on Tuesday. I get a free eye test on the NHS as my Dad has glaucoma. I was pleased to hear I don’t need new glasses this year.

3. My best Thrifty Find of the week was trading in some old bus tickets for a new one. I regularly buy an eleven journey ticket and, until the end of this month, I can trade in ten old tickets for a free one – saving me £34.50!

4. The weather gradually got dryer and warmer last week so I was able to line dry. The tumble dryer is not working at the moment but I haven’t looked at fixing it as it encourages me to hang the washing out and save energy (and money).

IMG_82215. I picked up a secondhand book for my husband by an author that had been recommended to me.

Thrifty Finds, Saving Money v ia secondhandtales.com

This week’s Thrifty Finds second week March 2019

Thrifty Finds, Saving Money v ia secondhandtales.com


I had last week off work as I still had annual leave to take. This meant I could get on top of some decluttering jobs and sort out some finances.

  1. I sorted through my younger girls’ bedroom and filled a couple of bags for charity.
  2. I was also able to get on top of some of our savings accounts. I’ve rejigged what we are saving for some things as we are about to have a salary drop. I discovered that I had been over saving for one fund which will come in useful as…
  3. The car broke down again! We were warned that the problem may be more serious and it may need to go back to the garage. I think the next job they will do on the car will involve the engine and is going to cost a lot more 😦
  4. I spent a quiet week at home working through my list of jobs as well as enjoying some time to read. I went out for lunch twice with friends but just to local cafes. I had planned to go to the cinema but there wasn’t anything I wanted to see.
  5. However my husband has just discovered his Vodafone rewards app so we can claim two Odeon tickets for just £7! He also challenged his new bill and was able to get the discount he was originally promised (although it involved two phonecalls, filling in an online form and then returning to the store!)


On a completely separate note at the weekend I completed a Fearless Flyer Course with Easyjet!

I haven’t flown for 13 years and this summer we are taking a long haul flight. I’m not a great flyer and, having not flown for so long, it has been building up in my mind. As the course was only in Bristol I decided to go for it. The first day was in a hotel in Bristol and involved motivational talks, mindfulness and some very mild hypnotherapy techniques. We also had a talk from a pilot who explained all the noises and – basically – how planes work. The following day was a short 40 minute flight from Bristol airport. Having done the first day I felt surprisingly calm at the airport and didn’t mind boarding the plane. The take off, and landing, though were pretty bumpy (due to the tailend of the recent storms). The course pilot talked us through the take off and landing which was so helpful. Although I felt uncomfortable and uneasy I was a lot better than I would have been having not taken the course. I still can’t say I’m looking forward to our summer flights but I feel I have more tools and techniques to utilise.

Thrifty Finds for first week in March 2019


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  1. I finished my #10×10 challenge last week. I succeeded in only wearing ten items (eight items of clothing and two pairs of shoes) for ten days. While it was feasible to wear a different look each day, which made getting dressed a lot easier, I did find it a little boring. Everything I chose to wear HAD to match, which means I couldn’t fit anything quirkier into my wardrobe. I also had to wash my clothes A LOT more! I would definitely use a 10×10 challenge when packing for holiday as it shows you can wear less – but as a day to day exercise I found it too limiting.
  2. I finished the book I borrowed for Book Group. We are now reading Michelle Obama’s autobiography, ‘Becoming‘, which I’m really looking forward to. I decided to borrow the audiobook from the library, as I believe she narrates it. Thankfully we are not meting until mid May!


audiobook library Michelle Obama

3. While at Book Group I also borrowed another book from a friend: ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ by George Saunders. I have next week off work and plan to do a lot of reading.

4. In order to reduce our outgoings we have cancelled a couple of unnecessary direct debits for TV and music. My husband has also renegotiated his mobile phone contract which should significantly reduce that debit. My own phone has started to play up (I’ve had it for two years and it is second hand). I’m going to use my husband’s phone when he gets an upgrade, so I will still be paying for SIM only with my contract.

5. On the downside, our car broke down last Thursday 😦 😦 Thankfully we have breakdown cover so my husband was picked up on the side of the motorway (where the breakdown occurred) and he and the car were taken to our village garage. However, at present (Monday) it is still in the garage while they work out what is wrong. This is NOT good news! I’m glad we have some savings put aside for car emergencies but I suspect it won’t be enough for this repair 😦


Thrifty Finds for last week February 2019

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These are my Thrifty Finds for the last week in February:

  1. My parents were able to pass on the girls’ old playhouse to someone else in the village. This playhouse had originally been a play fort which my parents had – very cleverly – turned into a playhouse. However the girls (and their cousins) are growing too old for the playhouse so we put it on the village ‘Free, Sell, Swap’ page and had three offers to collect! By the end of the weekend it had gone to a lady who was going to give it to her granddaughter – so it will now have its third incarnation!
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2. I borrowed the book we are reading for Book Group, rather than buy it.

3. I had a big win with a Boots offer and points! I received a money off voucher for Number 7 cosmetics (my go-to brand for foundation and concealer) but was also able to make use of their ‘Three for the price of two’ offer at the same time. What should have been £45, only cost £28. I was also able to claim my double points voucher so I already have nearly £5 saved for Christmas (I save all my Boots Advantage to help buy Christmas presenrs).

4. I decided to take part in the #10x10challenge on Instagram. The idea is to wear just ten items of clothing for ten days. I thought it would be a good idea to see how much use I could get out of my clothes, and make me rethink how I wear some of them. I’ll post the results next week! Interestingly, only about a third of the items were second hand.



5. Knowing I was only going to be wearing ten items of clothing (incl shoes) made me get my sewing kit out and mend a couple of items!

Have you tried a clothing challenge? Are there any tips you can pass on?

Thrifty Finds: second week February 2019

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1. I used a money off voucher for some birthday presents for my eldest daughter .

2. I also used a money off voucher for some supermarket shopping.

3. A friend gave me a book she had read:


4. My younger two daughters had eye tests and it turns out they both need to wear glasses! I knew my middle daughter was struggling to read the board at school but had no idea my youngest needed glasses too – it came as a bit of a shock, especially as they’ll need to wear glasses all the time.   Anyway, thanks to the wonderful NHS the eye tests were free and I only ended up paying £20 for one of the glasses (the other pair were free).

5. We had a small clear out of books and donated two bags to charity.

Thrifty Finds: first week in February

thrifty finds2

 I hope you are having a good week and enjoying the milder weather here in the U.K. Last week’s Thrifty Finds were:

1. I had a Sainsbury’s delivery and was given an extra chicken!

2. We had a trip to Bristol on Saturday and used my husband’s free parking space through work (not for much longer as he will be moving to Bath in April)

3. In light of his job change, and a salary cut, I have started to adjust our monthly spending budgets. When we get paid at the end of the month I do the following things:

– transfer money to short term savings accounts for things like holidays, car maintenance, school bus pass

– put some cash savings away for shorter term funds, i.e. Clothing, day trips, piano lessons

I will start to adjust some of these and also try to limit us both to a set amount of free spending money each week. If we take cash out then when it’s spent it’s physically gone (rather than using plastic).

I’m desperately putting aside as much money as I can at the moment to save for some big projects this year (holiday and possible building work) before we have an income reduction.

4. I received notification of a small wage rise at work 🙂

5. A friend very kindly treated me to a cinema ticket to see ‘The Favourite’. I drove and paid for refreshments, but the cinema tickets were way more expensive so it will be my turn to buy her ticket at our next trip!