Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (22-29 October 2017)

 

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richard scarry, pumpkin

Happy Halloween!

Well we had a great half term holiday and I really enjoyed being off work and spending time with the children. We had a very low key – and inexpensive – week:

  1. Every month I put aside some funds for ‘Days Out’. I used some of this to buy tickets for Westonbirt Arboretum, the national arboretum which is located about 40 mins from home. Autumn is the best time to visit this huge collection of 15,000 trees. The Japanese Maples, in particular, are stunning. Needless to say, though, this is also the busiest – and priciest – time of year to visit. We arrived early on Tuesday morning and really enjoyed walking the paths, playing in the trees and walking across the amazing Treetop Walkway. But just as we sat down for our picnic, the heavens opened! In the end, we retreated to our car and ended up going home earlier than planned 😦

 

 

2. While we didn’t get to do any den building at Westonbirt, the following day we took a walk around our own (free) Millennium Wood in the village. Here the girls spent ages making their own dens, while I enjoyed strolling around the small woodland.

 

3. I also used the half term holidays as a good excuse to sort through the children’s clothes. I had a few bags of winter clothing stored in the loft. We sifted through these bags and also went through their drawers and wardrobe to see what needed to be donated, or put away until next summer. In the end I had a huge bag of clothing which I gave away on Facebook.

4. Being the run up to Halloween, we also sorted through our big bag of Halloween costumes and decorations. Many of the costumes were given to use by friends and some of the decorations are years old, including our favourite spider webs made from materials bought at the local scrapstore.

5. We also carved our pumpkin – but I was determined to ‘save’ as much of this as I could. So I toasted the pumpkin seeds and made spicy soup.

Have you been pumpkin carving? Do you have any plans to make use of the leftovers?

 

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

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Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds

 

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

 

How was your past week? Did you have any Thrifty Finds? We went to visit friends and family for the weekend. It wasn’t very thrifty as we stayed in a hotel (although this was paid from savings we made on holiday – we didn’t spend as many euros as we thought) – but it was a lovely weekend away and so nice to catch up with people.

  1. While we were visiting, though, we did discover Fun Palaces. This is a nationwide event that encourages people to take part in free, local arts and science events. Our friends took us along to their local arts centre where there was lots on for the children. My younger two sewed some lavender bags and had a go at hand sewing and knitting. And all for free!

2. Last week I took advantage of some of the sunny weather and did loads of washing and drying outside. I try really hard not to use the tumble dryer so when the sun is shining I get the washing machine working overtime so I can line dry everything! Now that my husband has remodelled the garden the deck is a really sunny spot, which isn’t bad for a north facing garden that doesn’t get much sunshine.

3. I had a big clear out of the girls’ bedrooms (something I do every term) and was able to donate a bag of clothes and toys 🙂

4. Not quite a Thrifty Find  but something I’m proud of – my mum has started ordering her milk in glass bottles! As we live next door to each other we now have a combined doorstep delivery from the milkman. Less plastic bottles!!

5. Finally, we decided to buy a family Three Year Season Ticket to the Roman Baths, Fashion Museum and Victoria Art Gallery. Although I work for these museums we don’t get free entry as a family (we live outside Bath & North East Somerset – residents do get free admission as these attractions are owned by the council). But at £65 I think a three year ticket is great value. Considering it costs £55 to visit the Roman Baths for a single family ticket our pass is a really good price.  Out first stop was a trip to the Fashion Museum (my favourite place). Sometimes I still have to pinch myself that I’m working there!

Upcycled vintage lace dress on display at Lace in Fashion, Fashion Museum Bath

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

Thrifty Finds

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

 

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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

Thrifty Finds

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

 

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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 (27 Feb – 5 March)

 

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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

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (20-27 February)

 

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This past week has seen us do a lot of decluttering and I have tried to work through our freezer and cupboards without doing much extra food shopping. I also had a couple of evenings out, courtesy of work.

  1. The school Jumble Sale is this coming Saturday and at the weekend we worked hard to sort the loft. I have donated our home brewing equipment which we haven’t used for ten years; we have two car radios plus lots of books, clothes, toys etc. I also got my husband to go through a couple of boxes of paperwork which is a BIG achievement (think he has about ten boxes of work related papers, clippings, receipts etc stored in the loft). The end result is our conservatory is now cluttered with bags waiting to go to the school…

Jumble Sale sign2. I have decided not to do my monthly food shop until the end of the week (later than planned) as we still have quite a few things to eat from the freezer and cupboards. There are a couple of items I have had to buy but am hoping I can stretch other foodstuffs until the end of the week.

3. I was invited to a friends’ on Saturday night for a ‘girls’ night in’. The theme was tapas and I made use of a lot of items I had at home to make some Spanish/Mexican dips (guacamole, tapenade, salsa) and tortilla chips. I did buy some Manchego cheese and beers to take but everything else was made from ingredients I already had at home.

homemade guacamole, salsa, tapenade

4. Courtesy of work I got to go to a swish awards ceremony on Thursday and a gallery opening on Friday. My husband joined me for the latter so we got some grown up time together. If you live in Bath the Victoria Art Gallery has this new exhibition called History Through a Lens, which is a very thought-provoking exhibition of photographs from the past 90 years. Many of them are hard-hitting iconic images (current refugee crisis, war photographs, 9/11) so it’s not for everyone.

5. I’m now working my way through some borrowed reading books. I’ve just read ‘The Haunting of House Hill’ by Shirley Jackson  (borrowed from a fellow member of our book group) and picked up a library book called ‘The Somnambulist’ by Essie Fox.

What are you reading at the moment? Do you make use of your local library, or do you have any favourite second-hand purchases?
 You can share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

 

 

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (13-19 Feb)

 

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

The baking that I did before the school holiday went down well this past week. We had a couple of trips out over half term but it was fairly quiet. These are some of our Thrifty Finds:

  1. On Monday we travelled into Bath as the girls had a dentist’s appointment. Every so often I have to stand back and really appreciate the healthcare system in our country. My three girls have dental check-ups (and minor treatment) for free. Two of my daughters have regular eye tests and one of them wears glasses and all of this is for free. I don’t have to put money aside to cover these things or worry about insurance plans. My eldest has always suffered from asthma and I don’t have to think twice about seeing the nurse, taking her to hospital or getting her medication. Even when she had an asthma attack in Italy a couple of years ago her treatment was free because of the EHIC (how much longer will we have that reciprocal arrangement for?). I know it has unprecedented problems at the moment but I love our NHS!
  2. Our village bus service lets children travel for free during the holidays (technically it’s two free kids’ tickets per paying adult so I had to pay for the eldest). As I travel into Bath for work I have an eleven ticket saver pass which makes it slightly cheaper as well.
  3. Although the trip to the dentist was free we had to go shoe shopping, which wasn’t in the plan. I save a little money each month to cover clothing etc but hadn’t budgeted for two of the girls to have grown out of their shoes! Uhoh! I’m still caught by that ‘having properly fitting shoes’ trap and so ended up spending £64 in Clarks (and they were two pairs of the cheaper shoes!). One of my girls now needs new PE trainers but I have found a few pairs that should fit her, handed down by my eldest. After a quick run in the washing machine they look as good as new:

second hand trainers

4. This isn’t strictly my Thrifty Find but my husband shattered his iphone screen and found the charger wasn’t working properly. Although he has insurance he would have had to pay £50 excess and his phone company said it would take 10 days to get his phone repaired (without giving him a substitute). In the end he got a better deal going to an independent phone repair shop and his iphone was back within six days. He’s now cancelled his insurance.

5. We are still sorting through stuff in the house to donate to the school jumble sale next month. The girls went through their toy box and gave away quite a lot of things.

Did you have school holidays last week (or this week)? I think February half term can be the most difficult time to entertain the kids if the weather isn’t great, and not much is open. Did you have any Thrifty Finds last week?

You can also share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram