Welcome!

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

Like many personal blogs my ideas have changed and expanded over the years. While my love of thrift store rummaging has not changed (see here and here) I have also dabbled in zero waste (here), plastic free (here) and simple, slow living (reading list here). It is here on my blog that I write about the things I have discovered and ideas I have tried to follow to minimise my impact on the environment.

I also post a weekly list of all my Thrifty Finds. See here, or take a look at the menu button to the left. 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

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

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 facebook , twitter or instagram

 

Who do you follow?

How many social media channels do you follow? Do you have lots of Pinterest boards, or do you get your inspiration from Instagram? Do you do Facebook, or prefer to get your news from Twitter? I’m assuming you read Blogs, but how are you with YouTube or SnapChat?

I am very slowly starting to do a Digital Declutter which seems to be a common theme with many minimalist/slow living bloggers.

I am trying to do the following:

  1.  reduce the emails I receive. As I now have an email account at work it is just too much to receive endless messages to read and sift through. At home I am getting into the habit of unsubscribing from a few emails every time I log on.
  2. reducing the number of blogs I follow. I recently went through my Blogroll and deleted all those blogs that haven’t posted this year. (However I now follow their Twitter and Instagram profiles)
  3. really thinking about those social media channels I do use.                                                                                                                                           I have an on-off relationship with Facebook. I can go for days weeks without logging on – hence my secondhandtales Facebook page has few posts. I know, for some bloggers, Facebook is the most important social media channel they use to engage with readers and create new followers. When you look at research figures Facebook is the most used social media   channel. But it just doesn’t really work for me. Likewise, I don’t always engage with Twitter. But that is because I find it too addictive and can easily waste half an hour mindlessly scrolling through my feed. I tend to only use it when following a breaking news story – or when it comes to promoting the Repair Cafe.

However, I do find that Instagram really works for me. I like the visual element to it and the fact that it can become a micro-blogging platform – or in normal speak, it allows people to tell brief stories. I find it is more personal than Twitter but more focused than Facebook can be.

I am also enjoying YouTube more and have a list of slow living/zero waste/minimalist vloggers whose videos I regularly watch (any suggestions welcome!). I still follow Pinterest but have no intention of taking on Snapchat as I feel too old for that!

What are your thoughts on Social Media? Where do you get most of your information and inspiration from? I would be really interested to know if blogs are your channel of choice? If you are active on Instagram I’d love to know (and follow) – are there other accounts you can recommend too?

And speaking of social media, you can find me  on pinterest, facebook , twitter, instagram 

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (3-10April)

 

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

This past week we continued to eat our way through the once a month delivery of food. To top up supplies I did:

  1. Change my regular veg box order from medium boxes of veg and fruit to just one small veg box (no potatoes). Some weeks I do really well with my veg box but other weeks some of the stuff can end up in the compost, which I know is a complete waste of food and money. I’m trying to be better and only order when I really need it, and change the order depending on what we need.

2. With this in mind, I made sure I used up most items within a few days, even if we didn’t eat them. I roasted some of the tomatoes and courgettes, to make a pasta sauce later in the week. I also tried my hand at wild garlic pesto (stored in an old Nutella jar):

Wild garlic pesto organic veg box

Wow! Normally I add the wild garlic to a little salad or soup a little half heartedly – and then end up composting the rest.But this recipe really worked to help extend its shelf life. Although I added a couple of spoonfuls to some pasta, the taste was a bit TOO strong (although it would have kept vampires at bay!). But, I have kept it stored in the fridge and am now using it as a replacement for garlic cloves in recipes, adding a teaspoon at a time to dishes.

 

3. On the food front I also topped up the olive oil in my cupboard as I ran out earlier in the week and hadn’t ordered a replacement. My local Holland and Barret store has a large oil refill station. You buy the glass bottles, fill them with oil and then pay. Next time you return to the shop, you just refill the glass bottle and pay only for the oil. I love that mainstream stores are now offering zero waste products and services. When I saw the oil and sesame oil reduced I had to buy it. Once I’ve used these bottles I can keep returning to the store to fill up, thus encouraging repeat custom.

 

 

4. My daughter helped to collect the eggs from the school hens and came home with some beautiful eggs on the last day of term – perfect timing for Easter!

Multicoloured eggs pastel hens eggs

5. On Saturday night we went to a fundraiser for Alzheimers Society. We took part in a quiz, enjoyed a ploughmans meal and bought a few raffle tickets. We ended up winning a Ghostbusters 1 & 2 dvd plus big bag of popcorn – perfect evening entertainment for the school holidays!

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

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (27 March – 2 April)

 

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

This past week I tried to get more organised with giving things away, and planning for the month ahead.

  1. My husband fixed the vacuum cleaner! He used another one of the replacement belts I had ordered, and succeeded where I had failed 😦 We now have a spare belt in case it happens again.
  2. For my book group we are reading Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes. One of the joys of working in Bath is being able to pop into the library and pick up a copy (or order it via the excellent Libraries West service). They had a copy on the shelf so I was able to borrow it straight away.
  3. I’m trying to be more organised with getting rid of items we no longer need. Instead of letting them pile up by the door, I have a box in which I am putting them. The plan is to take donations to the charity shops as soon as anything is put in the box. Again, one of the joys of being in Bath is being able to pop out on my lunchbreak and drop stuff off at a charity shop (and have a quick browse while I’m there!)
  4. The beginning of the month means a) clearing out (and cleaning) the fridge and cupboards; b) meal planning for the month ahead; and c) ordering an online delivery.                                                                                                                                Because I don’t have much access to the car and hate food shopping, I have got into the habit of shopping once a month. It’s a money-saving tip I first picked up from Danielle at the Blissful and Domestic blog. The idea is you shop once (apart from fresh milk, bread, some fruit and veggies) and you shouldn’t have to visit the store again for that month. If I run out of things I have to make do with what I’ve got.                                                                                                                                     In order to do these I have to meal plan for the month. It takes quite a while to work out what we are going to eat (which can depend on what we are doing later in the month, ie birthdays, day trips, Easter meals etc). But once the meals are planned, and the food ordered and delivered, that’s it for the rest of the month.

Over on instagram I have been sharing the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics of my cupboards and fridge (if you like that kind of thing!). The aim is to show how we go from a full fridge to an empty one by the end of the month by posting pics every week. In my view, an empty fridge means I’ve planned well for the month and haven’t had to throw food away.

Before and after my monthly delivery:


Empty fridge at the end of the month

 

 

5. On a sad note, we have had to give up the garage we rent 😦 We own one car (see the post here about living in a small rural community with just one car) but, due to the location of our cottage, we have nowhere nearby to park it.

A few years ago we started renting a garage at the far end of our road. This seemed like the answer to our dreams: no more struggling to find a parking place (and annoying neighbours); a guaranteed parking spot at all times; and safe, secure and weather-proof parking under cover.

However, the housing association whom we rent the garage from are selling off all their garages and we had to vacate ours by today. The one advantage is that we only stored our car and roofbox in the building. Lots of neighbours used them for storage and, for the past few weeks, have been busy clearing out and moving all their stuff. I’m just glad that we don’t have that much stuff that we need extra storage for it, but am sad that we will now be adding to the parking problem in our village:(

Please let me know about your Thrifty Finds -and your tips for meal planning and food shopping – on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (20-26 March)

 

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

I have had a lovely week! I had to take annual leave and so enjoyed a few days to myself (as the kids are still at school). I pottered around the house, did some sorting and organising, and also met up with friends I hadn’t seen for ages.

  1. I spring-cleaned the kitchen cupboards. Sounds dull but I did take great satisfaction in giving them a good clean and doing some decluttering. We don’t have many kitchen cupboards and I have already had a good go at reducing what we own. Still, there were a few more mugs and glasses that I was able to donate to charity shops.

2. I met up with friends for lunches and coffee, but didn’t break the bank. It was lovely to see people I hadn’t caught up with for ages, and enjoy time together.

3. On Friday I hosted my Book Group and, as I was off work, had time to make all the snacks: tzatziki, salsa and guacamole. We also had enough left over for lunch the next day (we are at the end of the month here so the food cupboards are starting to look quite bare!)

4. I had a lovely Mother’s Day: breakfast in bed, homemade cards, lunch cooked by my husband, and lots of flowers. The daffodils came from my friend’s garden, as a thank you for hosting Book Group.

5. Finally, for the past few weeks I have been sorting through my wardrobe. I followed the advice of a few minimalist/Project 333 bloggers and emptied the contents of my closet*. I then rehung every item with the hangers all going the same way on the rail. Then, every time I wore an outfit I re-positioned it with the hanger going the opposite way. The idea was that, after three weeks, I could see which items hadn’t been worn by the way the hanger was positioned.

In total, I had 30 items in my closet (tops, blouses, trousers, skirts, dresses and some knitwear). Only nine items hadn’t been worn. Out of these, I kept four (as the weather warms up I know I’ll be getting more wear from them), but discarded five as I had not worn them at all. (I also had the two new pairs of trousers bought last week to add to the closet).

I was surprised at the items I hadn’t worn, and at some of those I had put on over the past few weeks. I guess that as I am working more, my wardrobe is starting to reflect the fact that three days a week I am in an office (as well as attending evening functions).

I’m really pleased with the results. There is more space to see the clothes and I have a load of ideas for new outfits to wear over the next few months.

*Due to the lack of space and storage upstairs my clothes are spread between 1) a small wardrobe in my daughter’s room; 2) a narrow Ikea shelf unit in my bedroom; 3) a few longer dresses hanging from my bedroom door. (see this post here)

Now that the seasons are changing, have you started to change your wardrobe? I’d love to hear where you get your clothes from too: High Street stores, or second-hand?

I’d also love to hear about your Thrifty Finds! Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (13-19 March)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.comFollowing the busy-ness of last week, and the Repair cafe, this past week has been fairly quiet on the Thrifty Finds front.

  1. It turns out that the vacuum cleaner I had repaired (all by myself) still has a fault and the fan belt broke again. So I have ordered two more spare ones – I am still determined to fix this myself!
  2. I had a very quiet week socially and spent the weekend at home (which is unusual for us). We borrowed a dvd and had a Saturday night curled up watching a film.(Last weekend we’d been out both nights and ended up paying for babysitters as our eldest was on sleepovers).
  3.  I finally got round to making a fruit crumble with the blackberries and apple I had frozen from the Autumn.

4. I went on annual leave last Friday. It seems odd as I only started in January but I have to take the leave before the end of the month, so I’m not back at work until the middle of next week. I spent Friday with my eldest who had a Teacher Training day so was out of school. We trawled the shops in Bath and I picked up two pairs of badly needed trousers for work; sadly I seem to have gone up a dress size 😦

I picked up a pair of new trousers for £20 and these gorgeous wide legged grey trousers for £6 from the excellent Save the Children shop in Bath:

We had a cheap McDonalds but then spent £20 on the cinema (one adult, one child for a Friday daytime showing – curse you Odeon!)

5. Having bought some new (to me) clothes and, having to re-assess my sizing, I have started to sort through my wardrobe. I’ll write more about this next week…. My husband and I also sorted through his wardrobe so he should be able to see things better (rather than shirt being hung upon another shirt,then being hung on a jumper!!)

This coming week I am going to enjoy being off work and catching up with friends, and I have a big list of organising projects I want to get started on too… Do you have any organising/Spring Cleaning tasks on your ‘to do’ list?

Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (6-12 March)

 

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

 

Hello! How was your week? Did you have any Thrifty Finds, make any savings or choose  not to buy?At the weekend we ran our Repair Cafe, I also inherited a new armchair and carried on with reducing our food waste.

1. The Repair Cafe was pretty successful. We changed location, gained a new volunteer (who will be doing plastic repairs at the next cafe), and had a visit from colleagues in another part of the county who will be running their first Repair Cafe in May. I also got a moth eaten item of clothing fixed by the lovely Alison, our volunteer seamstress.

 

 

 

 

2. My parents bought along two items to be looked at: their Kenwood mixer (which is as old as me!) was easily fixed, but their paper shredder was a no go. However I’ve taken the wire basket from the shredder and am now using it as a waste paper basket at home.

3. Following the Repair Cafe I came home and fixed our vacuum cleaner all by myself! I had ordered a new belt for it and, following an excellent YouTube video, I was able to replace it!

4. My parents very generously gave us their old armchair, which fits perfectly in our sitting room:

 

 

5. I continued to work hard to reduce our food waste, following the ecothriftyliving blog and Facebook group. We’ve eaten banana bread, apple muffins and lots of leftovers this past week!

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

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (27 Feb – 5 March)

 

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

 

This past week it’s been all about the school jumble sale.

Jumble Sale sign

If you’re a regular reader of ‘Thrifty Finds’ you’ll know that I’ve spent the last couple of months decluttering and donating to the jumble sale. In the end we gave away about a dozen bin bags (and could have given more) but I just didn’t appreciate how much other STUFF everyone else had donated too. Sorting through the jumble took the committee seven hours to do on Friday! And even though we were busy at the sale (and made an amazing £1000 for school funds) we still spent a couple of hours clearing it all away at the end. There is still SO MUCH left! And now we don’t know what to do with it!

I was very restrained and only picked up a few items that I really needed:

1. This blue enamel dish which will have many uses in the kitchen. I also got a glass kilner jar and this gorgeous Moomin tray. I also picked up a travel game and Jacqueline Wilson story CD for the girls.

Blue enamel bowl via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

Jumble sale find: Moomin tray via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

2. I bought two items of clothing. The blue top had never been worn and still had a £26 price tag on it!

Jumble sale find: blue unworn top from Next

 

Jumble Sale find: purple top from Instant Vintage

 

3. Jumble Sale aside, my other Thrifty Finds included baking a big batch of cookies from some unidentified frozen dough in the freezer (turned out to be banana and chocolate chip cookies).

4. I’m still addicted to podcasts. This weekend I listened to Part 1 of Radio 4’s adaptation of HG Wells’ ‘War of the Worlds’ ( one of my favourite books). You can find it here

5. I have just joined a new Facebook group organised by Zoe from the ecothriftyliving blog. It’s all about reducing food waste and using up those items lurking at the back of your cupboard, freezer etc. I’m really going to try to tackle our food waste (and packaging). I’ve been rather lax with this lately as I adjust to a new and busy job, but want to get better. You can find out more here

On a final note I’m running the next Repair Cafe on Saturday so will have a few mending tales for next week:

Repair Cafe in Box, Wiltshire

 

 

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