I’ve been on a bit of a charity shop binge this week. I went away over night for a bit of father-daughter bonding, which was mostly spent eating, drinking and mooching around charity shops. I love shopping in charity shops, but I am not brilliant at it. I don’t have that keen eye for potential, nor an ability to get away with tat in my house! And when it comes to clothes, I wish I was one of those sorts of people who can just whip up an outfit from other people’s cast offs, but I am really just too conventional. Invariably I pick things up and think ooh, I quite like that, then look at the label and find it’s Marks and Spencer’s ::shudder:: I know I listen to the Archers (religiously) and crochet and stuff, but I’m not there yet!

Today, with another day of summer holidays looming, with no holiday and no discernible plans I decided to stop moping (we’ve all been ill this week) and take the kids to the local city farm and to the Emmaus “superstore” nearby. The kids were predictably unimpressed by the animals, which was a shame, as Gloucester City Farm is a little haven in the middle of urban detritus.

Spectacularly underwhelmed by the cute ducks and chickens

They were much more impressed by the warehouse sized Emmaus charity shop and ransacked the toy corner then amused themselves on the many sofas (naicely of course!). Meanwhile I roved around the place casting a beady out for charity shop gold.

Now here’s the thing about charity shops, and thrift shopping in general: it’s a long game. I’ve posted about it before. I was enjoying reading Bazaar Style from the library yesterday, and it was full of flea market finds, and “…this Chesterfield sofa that the owner found in a skip and reupholstered…”. Now I don’t know where the people featured in these books live but it certainly isn’t here. Oh, there was furniture outside people’s houses as we walked to the City Farm, but ain’t none of it Chesterfield.

The other thing about these books is all the re-purposed and handmade items look great in Swedish apartments, New York studios and British period properties. But they don’t look quite at chic in a bijou, boxy new build, so new the postcode won’t even work in sat navs. No-one is writing Barratt Home Chic. Maybe because new builds will never be chic, but, well, beggars can’t be choosers and I bet my heating bills are peanuts compared to those drafty, run-down God I want one period properties.

20120811-195546.jpgI uhmed and ahhed over this sugar bowl, I mean, I don’t even use sugar unless I’m baking (and I have at least four different kinds for that). Does anyone still take sure in their tea or has it gone the way of smoking. Certainly no-one I regularly have over does. But, those ladies at Bazaar chic weren’t ones to question the functionality of something so pretty and neither was I. I liked the mug too. You can never have too many mugs.20120811-195556.jpg

20120811-195604.jpgThis top and shoes were from my trip away with my dad. My dad set me a challenge to just buy at least one thing after spending 2 days traipsing around all the charity shops Derby has to offer and coming out empty handed, save for a few Enid Blyton books, which Betty will no doubt eschew in favour of Horrid Henry or the next installment of Captain Flynn and the Pirate Dinosaurs. The top is from Uttam, and it even had the tags still on, so reduced from about £35 to a bargainous £2.50. In the next charity shop I saw these shoes which were a perfectly complementary shade of teal. “Let them be my size” I begged to the Goddess of shopping, and lo, they were my size. At £9 they were pricier than I would expect to pay but they are Monsoon and real leather. Now I had myself an outfit!


These lovely shoes bought for a mere pound more than made up for my £9 frivolity earlier in the week. You can never have too many pairs of black shoes, right?

20120811-195644.jpgI have no idea what I am going to do with this pillow case, but with Bazaar Chic that doesn’t matter, you should buy something because you like it. And because it costs 50p.





This print is by John Strevens. No, I’ve never heard of him either, I just liked it.

So, today’s haul (nearly all) pictured above (except for the teal top and shoes), also included a Tom Wolfe top for DH, a Guess Who knock off game for Betty, a pretty tiger print for Iris’s room (it’s about time we made it into “her” room, rather than the “spare” room, which isn’t actually going to be spare until she sleeps better and can go in with Betty), a joke book for Betty (so she can stop telling jokes like “Why did the cow cross the road? Because he had a sock on his head”), some dominoes (more on those soon…) and a couple of compulsory teddies for the girls who actually behaved beautifully. The grand total: TEN WHOLE POUNDS! Actually, it was £8.75, but I needed to spend £10 to put it on my card. “If it doesn’t come to ten pounds just make it ten anyway” I said benevolently to the girl totting it all up. I could have found some more tat to fill my bag, but the girls were coming to the end of their patience and I was losing perspective over whether a carved soap stone owl was Bazaar Chic or just plain rubbish, so I quit while I was ahead. In fairness we also took a bag of our own stuff to the charity shop, so we about broke even on the decluttering front.

So remember, charity shops, play the long game. Kiss a few frogs to find that Prince. Well, you know what I mean, if frogs were commemorative plates from Lanzarote, and the Prince a Diane Von Fustenburg wrap dress. That you display artfully on your wall with your other designer togs. It’s Bazaar Chic doncha know?


6 thoughts on “Sweet charity

  1. Ohhhhh i love this post. I too love charity shops and have some great buys for a bargain, from a monsoon suit to French connection tops. I also have a big soft spot for twee and chinz pottery and i love your sugar bowl. It’s become quiet an obsession i am not sure what it is but i have a thing for crochet granny square table covers a good cup of tea and the Archers at 7pm sharp ! There is something satisfying about a bargain. !x

  2. Excellent post. You sound like you did pretty well though. I have to admit I’m also awful at sorting treasure from tat and get so annoyed by these people who turn a skirt into a boho dress with a ‘vintage’ leather belt with a stuck on brooch from granny’s jewellery box. I just end up looking like I’ve ransacked a tip.

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