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 (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

Jumble Sales Hints and Tips

 

Jumble Sale sign

Tomorrow is our school jumble sale and I thought I would re-post this piece I wrote last year offering some hints and tips. Having experienced the other side of selling at the jumble sale last year I can say that you do need sharp elbows. But if you turn up a little later and avoid the ‘professionals’ you can still bag yourself a bargain. At  the end of the sale last year we reduced/gave away items for free as we didn’t want to be left with them. But before you start to haggle too much at your local jumble sale just remember this is a fundraising event for a good cause….

 

jumble sale tips

 

For some people this word fills them with dread. The thought of queuing in the cold and then elbowing each other to sift through a pile of old clothes makes them shudder.

For me, though, some of the best and unique outfits I have ever picked up have been from old church and village hall sales in my youth. In fact some of the vintage items I blogged about here came from our church jumble sale when I was a teenager (the  Blanes dress is now worth  $130-£180 and I probably only bought it for 10p!)

1950s summer dress

Here are my Top Tips:

1. Be prepared to queue and, once inside, there will be some jostling and  you may need to be forceful if you want to get to the front of a table.

2. The trick at a jumble sale is to not care about tossing clothes around. That original seventies dress might just be at the bottom of a pile of old t-shirts. By the time the sale ends, clothing will have transferred from one pile to another so you may find women’s jumpers side by side with children’s trousers.

3.  Another useful tip is to make sure you bring plenty of loose change and lots of  carrier bags. It helps the organisers and saves time so you can focus on the next pile of clothes, books or bric a brac.

4. While you may feel you want to haggle about prices do remember these events are being held to raise money for good causes. The joy of jumble sales is how cheap everything is anyway without having to negotiate a price reduction.

5. Why not consider volunteering at your local jumble sale? From personal experience it takes a lot of (wo)man power to collect and sort through jumble (not always a pleasant job: see below). One of the ‘perks’ of helping is to get a look at all the donated stuff before it goes on sale. But if you are going to volunteer your services why not make it more permanent and help out at some of the charity’s other events too?

On a final note,  please do bear in mind when you donate to a local sale that items still have to be in a fairly okayish state (ie don’t give them that mouldy box in the corner of your garage that is filled with broken items and soggy old magazines!).

To find out when and where local jumble sales are taking place try looking at your local newspapers (in print and online) and other local listings websites.

Last year’s jumble sale haul (the orange scarf was one of my best buys from last year):

 

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?

 

2016: My Best Second-Hand Picks

As the year draws to a close I thought I would look back at this year’s posts and examine my favourite second-hand clothing purchases. Once again, I have enjoyed browsing the charity shops and hunting out bargains. I have tried very hard to stick to my budget, and to purchase what I really need, rather than what I would like to buy

Denim Dress

One of my favourite purchases of the year! During the summerI had been looking for a denim dress for a few months and had my eye on a £45 one from Fat Face (hoping to pick it up in the sales). By sheer chance I came across this Dorothy Perkins dress from the British Heart Foundation shop in Bath for a bargain £5!! It fits beautifully and is very versatile: I can wear it sleeveless and with/without leggings in the summer, and layered up with jumpers and woolly tights in the winter.

£5 denim dress

Burgundy wide-legged trousers

I purchased these beautiful Kaliko trousers (not pictured) at the beginning of the year from another British Heart Foundation Shop (in Devizes). Unfortunately I can’t remember how much I paid for them but it was probably £5-£7.They are lined and so perfect for wearing in the cooler months. I love the 1940s silhouette they create. They are also smart enough to pass as work trousers.

Orange jumper

I bought this Top Shop jumper from the new look Save the Children shop in Bath in the Autumn for £4  I love the shape of the sleeves (although not very practical when washing up!) and the colour – which seems to fit in with most of my wardrobe

 

orange jumper

Orange scarf

I volunteered at the school jumble sale in March and bagged this orange scarf for a few pence. Orange is one of my favourite colours and I love the contrast this scarf can give to some of my clothing (cobalt blue jumper; black dress; burgundy jumper) or how it can complement other items such as my orange winter coat.

Jumble Sale Haul

Sparkly gold jumper

I’m currently working on a post about adding a sparkly touch to the festive season and this £4 jumper is a key piece. I bought it from the gorgeous Save the Children shop (Bath) at the beginning of the month and have enjoyed dressing it up and down over the Christmas holidays.

Secondhand sparkle: charity shop jumper

Upcycled Denim Skirt

This is something I am particularly proud of! Back in June I finally tackled turning my old denim jeans into a skirt, with the use of fabric from an old much-loved skirt. For instructions see the post here. I was really pleased with this project and, having bought some denim needles for the sewing machine and some matching thread, I set about mending some more jeans and upcycling my daughter’s torn trousers.

 

denim skirt made from jeans

 

And a bonus outfit …the black 70s jumpsuit!

Sad to say I have only worn this gorgeous flared jumpsuit once – at a 70s party back in January. I bought it from the vintage Dorothy House shop in Bath for just £12. It fits perfectly and I loved wearing it to the party. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been another occasion to wear this jumpsuit. But tonight is New Year’s Eve and I have a party to go to, so you never know……

1970s inspired flared jumpsuit

I hope you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve, whatever you decide to do and wish you all the best for a peaceful, green and second-hand (?) New Year xxx

 

 

Autumnal Colours and a new-look Charity Shop in Bath

Autumnal colours, the second-hand way via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

Yesterday I took myself into Bath: my nearest city and favourite haunt for second-hand goodies. [Note to self: I must update my second-hand shopping in Bath post here, which is now two years old]

I was delighted to see that the Save the Children shop on Walcot Street had received a very impressive update.

Save the Children charity shop, Bath (before the revamp)

Save the Children charity shop, Bath (before the revamp)

The interior was awash with stripped floorboards, wooden crates and clean white spaces. I had the distinct feeling I had walked inside a Fat Face or White Stuff store. Some of their (donated) clothing was even hanging from the beautifully curated rails. Every item was on a wooden hanger and the colour coordination was a feast for the eyes. I felt instantly drawn to the blacks and silvers, with thoughts of dressing for Christmas parties on the cheap.

The shop floor was spacious and the clothing on display was cleverly selected to show a range of high-end stores and good quality high street designs, with just enough on the rails to allow you to browse comfortably.

I spotted a couple of White Stuff skirts but was disappointed that they didn’t fit. At £7 each I didn’t think they were overpriced too. In fact my one final purchase at the store, a Top Shop jumper, only cost me £4.

(second-hand) burnt orange Top Shop jumper, bought from Save the Children charity shop in Bath via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

I happened to stumble upon the Save the Children shop’s opening day and the store seemed constantly busy. When I popped along later in the afternoon to see if I could persuade the White Stuff skirt to fit me, it had gone. The lady in front of me spend £120, although I’m not sure how as the clothing was reasonably priced.

The burnt orange jumper has become an instant favourite and autumnal colours must have been on my mind. I picked up this burgundy M&S top from The Shaw Trust shop on George St for a bargain £2.50.

second-hand burgundy top

I did also pick up two pairs of new tights, in matching orange and plum, but I’m very pleased my second-hand purchases only came to £6.50 (The Flower Fairy book was picked up at the bookstall at our village May Fair here)

charity shop labels via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

I was really impressed with the new-look Save the Children shop, as I know they have struggled in the past to stay open and are still in need of volunteers. I can’t even begin to stress what an important charity this is (working with children in Syria and refugees in the Mediterranean: see here). Their new store now ranks them among the other vintage-style charity shop boutiques that have opened up in Bath (Dorothy House; Julian House’s vintage section), but also marks a divide between those charity shops that can afford the refits and the rest…..

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PS I’ve been thinking of running a regular slot on this blog to share our ‘Thrifty Finds’. Not just second-hand purchases, but also making use of things we already have (food, fabric scraps,old clothes), and when we choose not to buy. Lovely readers, what are your thoughts?