Some of my favourite items of clothing were charity shop bargains. For example, the blue bias-cut party dress above was originally from M&S, but I bought it from the St Ann’s Hospice shop in Stockport for £8.99. And the ‘non-iron’ shirt would have been £39.99 had I bought it new from Lands’ End, but it only cost £4.99 in the Stockport Oxfam shop.
Here are my tips for finding good clothes in charity shops:
1. Keep looking!
I go into charity shops every chance I get. Sometimes I don’t find anything I want to buy. But if you don’t look you could miss out on really something good.
2. Try things on
It is only by trying things on that you can really see whether you like an item enough to buy it. Also, clothing sizes have changed a lot of over time, and vary between brands. Sometimes a British size 12 will fit me just fine, other times a size 14 is too snug.
3. Be choosy
Only buy things you really love and will definitely wear. Don’t buy something just because it’s a fantastic bargain or a designer label. There’s no point cluttering up your wardrobe with items of clothing that don’t earn the space they take up.
4. Check the condition of the item
If something needs a minor repair, such as a replacement button, I’ll buy it and do what needs doing. If it needs a complete overhaul, then I will probably leave it in the shop.
5. Machine or hand wash?
I prefer to buy items I can wash myself, either in the washing machine or by hand. That way I can avoid the inconvenience and expense of dry-cleaning.
6. Natural fibres tend to be best
Natural fibres such as cotton, linen and wool, tend to age better than polyester and nylon. This is important when you are buying something that has already been worn by its original owner!
Linking up with Fabulously Frugal at A Thrifty Mum.
I’ve just returned from a winter walk and it was lovely to open my front door and smell a wonderful fragrance of pomegranate molasses and cloves. This morning I put all the ingredients for ‘Brixton Baked Beans’ in my Crock Pot slow cooker and switched it on. The recipe comes from ‘Slow Cooked: 200 Exciting, New Recipes for Your Slow Cooker’ by Miss South, who blogs at North South Food. (You can also find a summary of the method and ingredients for Brixton Baked Beans here).
The slow cooker is really useful in the winter because it means I can do everything during daylight hours and then eat delicious comfort food in the evening. This particular recipe is so simple that my 6 year old son can help. The dried haricot beans go in the pot without pre-soaking. So the only real challenge is finding a shop that stocks pomegranate molasses! (I ended up getting it from Ocado)
After trying this out for the first time a couple of weeks ago, I had a twitter conversation with Miss South about her recipe and she said:
“I wasn’t going to include it because it seemed TOO simple.
Then I remembered that’s a good thing!”
The book is a fantastic read, full of tips and ideas about how to cook ‘easy, thrifty and delicious’ food in a slow cooker. Though it is not a vegetarian recipe book, it’s clear that Miss South knows how to create flavourful dishes for vegetarians as she used to be one herself. So I’m going to try more of her recipes soon. Will let you know how it goes!
I’ve written before about the wonderful Vintage Village at Stockport Market and I really enjoyed going to the December Vintage Village with my younger sisters. When I spotted this beautiful vintage silver bracelet on Baboushka’s Silver stall, I couldn’t resist, especially as my sisters agreed how much it suited me. The bracelet will definitely be coming with me on my next minibreak and I will be using this lovely jewellery roll to protect it in my travel bag.
The jewellery roll is made out of Liberty ‘Burnham’ tana lawn fabric, and it looks as though it has hardly been used. I’m pretty sure I saw similar Liberty jewellery rolls on sale in the late 1980s but I could not have afforded one back then. This one was a bargain for £4.49 from the St Ann’s Hospice shop in Stockport.
I’m linking up with Magpie Monday at Me and my shadow because I love seeing what other people have found!
I am so excited to have won two beautiful new dresses from the Vanity House Outlet, just in time for the festive season. The dress shown in the top photo is a teal viscose empire-line day dress and the bottom photo shows a plum velvet fit & flare party dress. Both of these dresses were originally made for Marks and Spencer and they are really good quality, but are for sale through the Vanity House Outlet online shop for just £24.99 each.
Vanity House Outlet sells ex high street clothing, shoes and accessories at a discount. They can do this due to cancelled orders, over-production or delayed deliveries. Labels are removed to prevent returns to the high street stores they were originally intended for, but apart from that these dresses are absolutely perfect (although my photographs don’t do them justice!).
As well as Marks and Spencer, there are fashion items available from other famous British high street stores include Topshop, Evans, Monsoon, Debenhams and Coast. I strongly recommend you take a look as there are some wonderful bargains to be found!
I won a £50 voucher for Vanity House Outlet in a prize draw and selected these two dresses from their range. Photographs, words and opinions are my own.
I do love a chunky beaded necklace! And it is always worth looking in charity shops to see whether there are any nice necklaces or other costume jewellery. I got these two black beaded necklaces for a few quid. They’ll look fab with Christmas party frocks. Can’t beat a bit of bargain bling!
I’m linking up with Magpie Monday at Me and My Shadow, which has just been relaunched as a monthly linky.
When I was invited to select an item from Izabela Peters, I was initially spoilt for choice, but then this Personalised Christmas Stocking in Duck Egg Gingham caught my eye.
My mum used to do Christmas stockings for me and my sisters, and I still remember the thrill of looking inside to see what was there. So it was a tradition I was keen to continue with my own son. And he is very impressed this stocking, especially because it features a gold star!
The stocking is beautifully made out of cotton, with a lovely soft brushed cotton lining. This is the ‘large’ size (40x30cm/16″x12″ RRP £18.99) so there is plenty of space to fit lots of small gifts inside. This stocking can also be purchased in ‘extra large’ size and there are Christmas Sacks as well.
I will definitely be purchasing more gifts from this gorgeous range, because the quality is fantastic and all items are produced in the UK.
I received this Christmas stocking for the purposes of this review. Words, photograph and opinions expressed are my own.
I was recently offered my choice of gift from Museum Selection which is a most excellent website if you are looking for interesting and unusual Christmas gifts.
The thing that really caught my eye was this St Basil’s 3-D Jigsaw (RRP £27.99) because St Basil’s Cathedral has fascinated me ever since I saw it featured in the Pet Shop Boys ‘Go West’ video.
Last weekend, I spent a very enjoyable few hours constructing all the sections with my 9 year old niece, who is really good at this kind of thing. My brother-in-law helped too by putting it all together at the end.
The end result looks fab and very Christmassy! One day, I’ll get chance to go and see the real thing.
I received the St Basil’s 3-D Jigsaw for the purposes of writing this review. All words and opinions expressed are my own. Photograph by DTH Williams.