Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds

 

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

I realise it’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted my Thrifty Finds 😦

Things have been busy here with kids off school and my other half is standing as a candidate in Thursday’s election (post to follow).

So, apologies for the lack of posting. I hope you’ve still been able to secure some Thrifty Finds, or looked at different ways of stepping off the consumer treadmill for a while.

  1. Re Game of Thrones. We finished Series Five via the library. Then my husband got a free subscription to NowTV with his phone. So, we are now working our way through Series Six….
  2. I’ve been getting into a new habit of making more use of the health food/bulk store in Bath. I’ve been visiting Harvest on Walcot Street to get filled up with washing up liquid (my bus stop is outside so I can do it on my way home)
  3.   I also try to make use of the health food store in Corsham, Green Ginger. I got very excited when I spotted these washing up brush and scourers – both made from recycled materials. You can buy replacement heads for the brush as well.

4. The big news is that I got a new (to me) mobile phone! My first ever smartphone (yes I know I’m rather slow!). My husband had traded in his old mobile and, with that money, I was able to buy a second-hand iphone 5 from the Games Exchange shop in Bath. I also signed up to a deal on ee which has given me some money back to my Qudico account.

 

5. Finally, we went camping over the Bank Holiday. Every year we camp with my  school friends, and their children, in the New Forest. The weekend is a great opportunity to catch up with good friends, let the children run wild and enjoy some good food (and drink). Apart from camping fees it’s low cost as we all bring food to share. We barely leave the campsite as well – instead we just talk and go for walks.

What did you do over the Bank Holiday weekend? Hope the weather stayed dry for you!

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

Best Laid Plans….

So this time last week we loaded the car with all our camping paraphernalia and headed to the Dorset coast for a week of camping.

By Tuesday evening we had had enough of the wind, wet weather and leaky tent and drove back home!

This wasn’t in the plan at all. Having spent an amazing three weeks last year touring Europe by train and camping in the Italian heat, we knew we weren’t going to be able to afford the same holiday again. However at the beginning of this year we purchased a new tent and planned a modest and affordable week’s camping in our favourite UK destination: Swanage and the Isle of Purbeck.

This is our ‘happy place’ and the location for many short breaks and days out (we can drive to the Dorset coast in two hours from home). We had a big list of things to do, whether wet or dry, which included:

  • hiring a National Trust beach hut at Studland Beach for our youngest’s eighth birthday The day was so windy, and we were still trying to mop up our tent. Instead we met friends in Poole and went for a meal and game of ten pin bowling which cost £70 in all
  • journey on the Swanage Steam Railway. This we did achieve and even went first class so that our middle daughter (who is into Harry Potter) was convinced we were onboard the Hogwarts Express!
  • trip to National Trust’s Corfe Castle Driving back from our trip to Poole the weather was so wet and misty you couldn’t even see the top of the castle! Alas we went home before we visited these amazing ruins.
  • playing mini golf and a trip to the amusement arcade. Because of the wet weather we actually visited three amusement arcades! It’s a great way to use up all the 2p coins we had collected over the past few months.
  • ice creams, fish and chips and milkshakes. Managed the latter two, although found a trip to the Wimpy (yes Swanage still has one!) was far cheaper than the American themed diner on the front
  • watched Swanage Carnival Procession and Fireworks The first two days of our holidays were actually really hot so we enjoyed watching the carnival procession on the Sunday.However by the time of the carnival fireworks on the Wednesday we had gone home.
  • walking. We took a walk to Dancing Ledge on the coast, which features a man-made swimming pool. And we managed this before the rain set in!
  • Purbeck Stone Carving Festival. Alas, we didn’t manage this at all, although we have been previously and enjoyed the ‘Fair on the Square’ run by the local pub in Worth Matravers
  • Browse the charity shops. This is a ‘must’ when I go on holiday. I had a good browse of Swanage’s charity shops and its excellent Secondhand Bookshop and Oxfam Bookshop. In the former I managed to pick up a couple of gems which I will blog about later

Looking back, I’m surprised at how much we did achieve in just four days. A very windy and wet night on the Sunday had led to little sleep and a leaky tent. Despite mopping up the leaks, the tent still didn’t dry out and by Monday evening, with the forecast not looking much better, we decided to cut out losses and come home.

So the last few days have been spent unpacking, finishing off our camping food (and contacting the tent supplier). We are also determined to spend the next few weeks enjoying a ‘staycation’ at home and I will report back on what we have done (in our warm and dry house!).

Hope your summer holidays aren’t as wet and windswept as ours!

(Some) second-hand holiday shopping, plastic-free goodies and compost toilets!

Our holidays in a snapshot! While I don’t want to turn this into a ‘what I did on my summer holidays’ post I thought I’d just write about some of the highlights. Our wet and windy camping trip to Scotland yielded a few second-hand goodies, a leaky tent and some ‘interesting’ compost toilets!

Our first stop in Edinburgh included a rummage around a great store.Armstrongs Vintage  in the centrally located Grassmarket is an aladdin’s cave of second-hand clothing. Separated into decades, with some truly beautiful fifities dresses, this is what I call proper vintage. There was even a small rack of children’s clothing which my eight year old daughter was keen to try on. While I failed to find anything my husband picked up this beautiful blue wool blazer for £20.

Not quite as blue as this picture shows!

Not quite as blue as this picture shows!

As we travelled further north into the Highlands and Islands charity shopping became less of an imperative. Locating a petrol station or grocery shop became more of a priority. However we did come across a very small charity shop in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull where my girls bought a rather sad looking baby doll. While on Mull I discovered the gorgeous Isle of Mull Soap Co and stocked up on a few plastic-free bars. Since taking part in Plastic Free July I’ve been converted to using bars of soap for handwash, bodywash and even shampoo and conditioner (so much easier to pack for our holidays than large plastic bottles). I was very excited to be able to pick up some more bars of soap, packaged only in cardboard. Later, on the Isle of Skye I bought another bar from the Highland Soap Co (I think this is becoming an addiction!).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One of the best plastic-free finds of the holiday, however, was a community allotment scheme which we discovered on the Ardnamurchan peninsula. I believe the West Ardnamurchan Community Garden at Kilchoan is the most westerly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model in the mainland UK. From what I can gather the local residents work together on the allotment growing produce for themselves, and to sell. We stopped by the shed attached to the allotments where you can help yourself to veg, gorgeous homemade jams, flowers and put your money in an honesty box:

Our final stop was an eco campsite on the Isle of Skye.  Rubha Phoil Skye Forest Garden’s campsite is an organic veg growing, composting, rubbish free, eco living dream. It is set amid 16 acres of woodland with homemade eco dwellings dotted around for those who live and work on the site. They grow organic produce for local shops and offer textile workshops and internships for those wanting to learn more about permaculture and running an eco campsite.We were lucky enough to be able to stay in their static caravan as our tent had sprung a leak. The children had great fun playing in the natural playground and spotting seals out to sea, while they (reluctantly) had a go at using the compost toilets. (Our caravan had a different type of compost toilet which, I’m afraid to say, did smell – unlike the traditional sawdust ones). I have to say I was glad to return to a water-guzzling toilet and clean smelling bathroom after our trip but it was certainly a place to remember.

Upon returning from our epic roadtrip to Scotland we had a final camping night with our beloved tent before saying goodbye to twelve years of ownership. In true second-hand style we will try to reuse some of its poles, pegs and groundsheets.

What did you get up to over the holidays?