Thrifty Finds

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

 

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

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

Second-hand shopping in Bristol (Park Street)

I realise it’s been ages since I last posted a Second-hand shopping in.. post, but a recent trip to Park Street, in the centre of Bristol, inspired me to add to the series.

I don’t profess to be an expert in all the locations for second-hand shopping in Bristol, but the centrally located Park Street is a good starting point.

Park Street extends from Bristol Cathedral and College Green uphill towards the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery (free entry and well worth a look). Being Bristol, there is also a Banksy located half way up the street.

Park Street is bustling with lots of coffee shops, cafes and a smattering of art galleries. Although selling first-hand items, The Guild, is well worth a look at for homewares and gifts.

But it’s the second-hand shops that really catch my eye.

Just parallel to Park St, located on Queens Road, is the Cancer Research Shop which is worth a browse.

The two stand out charity shops on Park Street, though, are the Oxfam Bookshop and Sue Ryder shop.

Second hand books, Oxfam

The Oxfam Bookshop (officially on Queen’s Road) is two floors of paperbacks, hardbacks, specialist texts, vinyl and more. It is a book-lover’s paradise and I could easily spend a few hours browsing here! For second-hand bibliophiles there is another Oxfam Bookshop,located  just over a mile away in Clifton.

Further down Park Street, The Sue Ryder shop is crammed with vintage goodies! There is a dedicated retro clothing rail that seems to go on for ever… For an over-organised person like myself I love that it is colour coordinated too!

vintage clothing,secondhand shopping, Sue Ryder charity shop

 

I spotted this Laura Ashley dress on the rail; made in Wales, which automatically dates it to pre 2005 (see this post here)

vintage clothing,secondhand shopping, Sue Ryder charity shop, Laura Ashley vintage

The shop also sells a good range of second-hand vinyl, which can be a little pricey. It also has a wonderful curved shop front which I love!

Sue Ryder, charity shop, shop window, Bristol

Beyond the charity shops, Park Street is also famed for its vintage clothing shops.

Squashed between two bigger stores, the diminutive Uncle Sam’s American Vintage is overflowing with secondhand clothing, imported from the US. It is also Bristol’s longest established vintage store, specialising in outfits from the 1940s to 1980s. Unlike many secondhand clothing stores, it also has a good selection of menswear.

 

Another Park Street favourite, Sobeys also has branches in Exeter and Cardiff. I do like this store but, for me, it’s a little too young. Everytime I step inside they seem to be playing Duran Duran (which I love as an old school Duranie!) but the 80s and 90s themed stock tends to remind me of what I used to wear at the time. Being slightly more mature, ‘vintage’ for me harks back to earlier eras. But they do have an excellent range of dungarees and, once more, cater for male customers too. Similarly, BS8 (not pictured) is a vintage store that caters for a younger market but certainly worth a browse.

If you’re new to Bristol then Park Street is a great place to start your second-hand quest. Other areas such as trendy Stokes Croft and upmarket Clifton are great locations to browse in too, and miles away from the mainstream, High Street stores of Cabot Circus and the out of town mall at Cribbs Causeway.

Second-hand Vinyl Find: Now That’s What I Call Music 3 (plus a wish list)

Now That's What I Call Music Vol 3

Another great vinyl find last weekend. While we have not been intentionally searching for second-hand copies of Now That’s What I Call Music, my husband and I have stumbled across a few that are just too good to miss. On Saturday we bought Volume 3 from the Oxfam shop in Chippenham, for just £1.99.

This album really reflects the music I was into in my early teens and even includes one of the first records I ever bought: The Reflex by Duran Duran. Just one look at the cover and I’m transported back to my bedroom in 1984 with posters of Duran Duran and Nik Kershaw on the walls.

The lineup on the double album is really quite impressive and a snapshot of what I was listening to in 1984 (although not, I hasten to mention, Gary Glitter, who makes an appearance on this album before he is airbrushed out of 1980s pop).

NOW Vol 3

My tastes did become a little more Indie as the decade wore on, which probably explains why I’m not that interested in later versions.

However this Volume 3 can now be added to Volume 9 (see here) and our special Now One, which has a completely different look to it here

NOW That's What I Call MusicThis year I have a sort of wish list when hunting for second-hand vinyl, although as records become more popular (even Sainsburys is selling vinyl), the prices are starting to rise in second-hand shops. My shopping list is:

  • Rumours by Fleetwood Mac (I suspect this is getting harder to pick up second-hand, but what a great album and one of the few where every track is brilliant and poignant)
  • Tapestry by Carole King (as above, a hard one to source second-hand)
  • Spandau Ballet: Journeys to Glory (their first album when the band were still part of the Blitz Club scene)
  • The Beatles’ albums: Sergeant Pepper, The White Album, Abbey Road (yes this is quite a long shot. I am fortunate that I have inherited a lot of my parents’ Beatles albums and only need these three to complete the collection. But probably more of a dream list now…)

Saturday 16 April is Record Store Day and a great opportunity to discover vinyl. See the website here for events that are happening near to you.

 

Second-hand vinyl: a Number One find!

I’m so excited! We recently picked up this first volume of ‘Now That’s What I call Music’ from 1983. The double album looks very different to the latest incarnations here

It seems that 90 albums ago the design was like this:

NOW Vol One

Of course, it doesn’t say Volume One on the cover – perhaps they only imagined it as a one off? There are also no images of pigs with sunglasses which I swear was once the logo for this series.

The double album was in great condition and there are some real gems. It appears that 1983 was a great year for music: Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon, Duran Duran’s Is There Something I Should Know?, Human League’s (Keep Feeling) Fascination, The Cure’s Love Cats – and two of my personal favourites: Heaven 17’s Temptation (which is played every year at our 80s party and gets everyone on the dancefloor) and Simple Minds’ Waterfront.

We picked the album up for £3.99 at our local Oxfam store but I’ve seen it for sale for £20 on e-bay – not that I would part with this piece of 80s history!

 

 

Second-hand fashion at festivals

My festival look - lots of waterproofs!

My festival look – lots of waterproofs!

 

So Mr Second-Hand has gone off to Glastonbury. He will be enjoying the festival with friends but will also be a ‘performer’ in his own right, giving a talk on his “Blacklisted” book. There seems to be a lot of planning that goes into this festival trip. There have been a few ‘meetings’ down the pub while the six of them discuss an oufit theme for each night. This has then led to Mr Second-Hand borrowing a tux from a friend, delving into our 80s party dressing up bag and securing a great fake fur coat for £25.

The latter came from the excellent Jack and Danny’s emporium on Walcot Street in Bath. They will be running a stall at Glastonbury if anyone is in the vicinity. In the past I have picked up a great 1970s summer dress (in a Margot Leadbetter style) from there, plus a lovely leather-style tan waistcoat for the Mr. I am only sorry I don’t have a pic of his fur coat but this went on ahead of him at the weekend to stay in the caravan on site.

Jack and Dannys shop in Bath

As a family we have been to enough festivals by now (Green Man, Tolpuddle, Camp Bestival) to know that there are good sources for buying second-hand clothing on site. If you ignore the ubiquitous Boden and Joules stalls you will find Oxfam Fashion running their great stalls (see a post here on festival fashion Oxfam style). The girls have also spent ages dressing up at the  vintage clothing store on site at Camp Bestival (my middle daughter even spent her holiday money on a chicken suit there and wore it on the hottest day!).

second hand clothing stalls at festivals: kids costumes

 

However as much as I love second-hand clothing when it comes to festival going (and camping in general) I require three things of my clothing:

– to be warm

– to be layered (so if the sun comes out I can strip down to a vest top)

– to be dry

Having spent one year at a very wet Green Man Festival in Wales I have long since realised that being dry (with wellies, waterproof trousers and anorak) is far more important than looking like Kate Moss! So no fur coat for me I’m afraid….

 

Charity shop haul

Last week I went to Bath, searching for a few summer pieces for my latest attempt at Project 333. Because I’m still trying to stick to the 33 items in my wardrobe I find I have to be more specific when shopping and go with an actual shopping list. However as I buy second-hand this can be frustrating as each charity shop has very different stock.

This season’s list went something like this:

– blue long sleeved t-shirt

– White long sleeved t-shirt (to replace an old one)

– blue pinafore dress

– grey or black t-shirt

the chances of finding all of these in my size and at a good price were pretty slim. Yet the charity shop gods were shining down on me because I managed to buy this lot:

Charity shop haulOkay so the khaki shirt wasn’t on the list but it will fit very well with other items in my wardrobe and I’m in need of a lightweight summer shirt (£4.99 from Oxfam).  The other three items were all on my list: blue long sleeved top (£4 from Dorothy House); grey t-shirt (£1.99 from Oxfam) and this absolute gem:

Charity shop haul: dress from The White Company

 

This blue linen pinafore originally came from The White Company but I picked it up from Oxfam. It cost £10.99 which is quite pricey for second-hand but, considering a brand new dress would retail for £90 from The White Company, it’s still a bargain. It’s also v comfy, fits well and is very versatile (something I need my clothes to be when restricting myself to 33 items). There was also a matching grey pinafore on sale but I decided I only needed one. It would have been greedy to buy a second one and I wanted someone else to share in the delight of finding a beautiful dress at a bargain price.

 

Second-hand Halloween

IMG_9283

We are currently enjoying the half term holidays here: ten days off school filled with playing, making and exploring. I always enjoy the October half term as the weather can  be good, local attractions and museums are still open for us to explore with our visitor pass, and there’s Halloween at the end. Over the past 24 hours we have been getting ready for Friday evening and adding a few second-hand touches:

Picking up Trick or Treat buckets from Oxfam shop:

IMG_9270

We picked these up for 49p each. I know they’re made of plastic but at least we will be re-using them.

In turn I also sorted through our existing Halloween costumes and donated a couple through our local ‘Free, For Sale or Swap’ facebook page.

Decorating the house with Spooky Scrapstore

Last year we paid a trip to our local scrapstore and picked up some Halloween craft sets and other props. The black netting has proved to be a great buy from the scrapstore. I’m not sure what it’s original purpose was but it has served as a Pirate’s fishing net and, now, enormous spider’s web.

Making Halloween Treats

So I confess I have bought wrapped sweets to give out to Trick or Treaters but my six year old has also made a few cupcakes decorated with ‘blood’ icing:

IMG_9269

Making home-made costumes

We do have our share of cheap supermarket costumes, kindly given by grandparents, but I always prefer home-made outfits. However as the girls get older they want more choice in their Halloween clothing. This year two of them are adapting their own old clothes for a ‘Zombie’ look. I had intended to re-use part of our old tent to make a ghost outfit but I have no takers (unless I wear it that is!).

Second-hand pumpkins?

We’ve been busy carving our pumpkins and this year I do intend to save the flesh – and maybe seeds – to make some Autumnal soup. It’s so much easier to throw the scraps away, and I do wonder how good the the taste of mass produced pumpkins are.

IMG_9284

Green Halloween

I don’t want to go on about how Halloween has become more commercialised since I was a kid. I have to say I really enjoy this time of year. Trick or Treating is great fun where we live: it’s gentle, family friendly and over by 8 o’clock. BUT there is also a lot of waste and every year I wonder how I can make it greener for my family. There is a great movement in the US called Green Halloween.They organise national costume swap days and come up with ideas for healthier, less wasteful treats [at present it looks like their website is under reconstruction but they’re still worth a look]. Maybe this is something I should look into for next year and try to encourage a more second-hand spin to the festivities.