Hello friends! Today I thought I would share a few things about my life lately. There’s no major updates, but I just thought it might be nice to share what I’ve been doing, thinking about and generally spending my time and energy on. Also, whilst we are here, I wanted to share my best tips for how to find hidden gems in charity shops! Let’s go!!
Decorating the house
We moved into this house over two years ago, but we had so much renovation work to do, it feels like this is our first chance to actually start decorating. So we have been busy getting colours on the walls, splash-backs in the bathrooms and generally trying to make the house feel a little more homely. I honestly can’t express how good it feels to get some colour on the walls!
We also had a bit of a set back when we found a leak in the kitchen, but that’s sorted now and after being without a kitchen sink for a week, we are back on up and running!!! Thankfully our kitchen sink unit is freestanding, so it could be easily removed and the leak could be sorted. We were super lucky we had chosen a freestanding unit as a regular kitchen unit might have been ruined if it had been moved.
I think the next project we have to work on is more trees in the garden and finally fitting out my office as right now it’s a dumping ground with no storage.
I’ve always been a big lover of second hand and vintage, but one of my favourite things to do with Mary is go charity shop shopping. I’ve found some super cute things lately; from art for the house, crockery, clothes for Mary & I and things for the garden, like tools and vintage pots. It’s so much fun, cheaper than regular shopping and it’s recycling!! The dress I’m wearing in the photo above cost me £4.50 from a local charity shop. It’s 100% cotton and vintage! It fits perfectly and I love it!! Speaking of which, I have some tips on how to find hidden gems in charity shops. Let’s go!
How to find hidden gems in charity shops?
- Pop into your local charity shops as frequently as you can! I always joke I never pass a charity shop without popping my head in, and it’s true! You need to go in frequently to find the good stuff!
- If you want it, buy it, don’t return for it the following day as the chances are, it will be sold! So often I have not bought something and then go back the next day to buy it only to find it’s already been sold. The good stuff goes fast so don’t leave it unless you are sure you don’t want it! You could even ask to reserve it if you need 24 hours to think about it.
- Have an open mind. Whilst you might go into charity shops looking for dresses, it’s always best to keep an open mind as you might not find a dress, but you might spot a dream coat or pair of boots whilst you are there.
- There’s a huge myth that the wealthy areas have the better charity shops. This is not true! Whilst you might find more designer items in wealthier areas, they will often be fairly expensive – often comparable too eBay prices. There also tends to be less vintage items in wealthier areas.
- Look at everything; search through as many racks and shelves as you have time to. I once found a Hermes tie in the men’s section, I didn’t even have a boyfriend at the time and I had no reason to be looking for ties, but I found a £150 tie for 50p and I was thrilled!! I look for everything from clothes to bric a brac, to blankets and sheets, books, baby clothes, scarves, ties and basically everything!! Time dependant of course! I once bought a bin and a laundry basket in a charity shop! Nothing is off limits!
- Look at all the clothes sizes. I once found a vintage Zandra Rhodes dress in charity shop (I still regret not buying it!) and it was a size 10. I wasn’t a size 10 at the time but if I hadn’t looked at all the dresses that day, I wouldn’t have spotted it. Also, when you are shopping for vintage clothes, ignore sizes as they often don’t compare to modern sizes. Similarly, I’ve found size 8 vintage dresses in the children’s section and size 18 dresses marked as a size 8. Also, you might find the perfect cashmere jumper in the men’s section, so look everywhere! Time permitting of course!!
- If you think something might be valuable then type it into eBay and and see what comes up. Also, if you go to ‘filter’ and scroll down to ‘show more’ and then look at ‘sold items’ you will see what items have sold for, not just what people are hoping to sell items for.
- Follow the charity shop motto ‘if you spend ages looking at it, buy it’. Sometimes it can be hard to decide if you should buy something or not. So my general rule is, if I have spent a few minutes looking at it and deliberating, it’s generally a sign I should buy it. And if you think to yourself ‘I might come back for it tomorrow’ then remember it might be gone by tomorrow and the petrol / bus fair it will cost you to get back will probably equate to the money it costs to buy the item.
- Pop into your local vintage shops and antique shops to see what kind of things they are selling and how much for. When you spot things you have seen in vintage shops, it will give you a heads up if it’s valuable / desirable or not.
- Follow Anthropologie on Instagram. Anthropologie have a lot of vintage inspired items and sometimes I see stuff on their Instagram that really like it and then I see something similar in a charity shop and I can instantly visualise how it could be styled and how it will look in my home. It’s worth looking for vintage home or fashion accounts on Instagram too, it will make you more familiar with what to look out for when thrifting.
- don’t just shop for yourself, shop for others! Sometimes when I’m in charity shops I see amazing things which aren’t in my size or I don’t have room for at home. So I think about who would love it and buy it for them instead. If your friends and family love vintage, they will be thrilled and you never know, they might return the favour when they see something which you would love too!
- don’t just go to charity shops, you can also find great things at village fairs, church fundraisers, recycling shops, carboot sales, Facebook market place, local auctions and jumble sales. Thrift is everywhere so keep your eyes and ears open and keep looking! The more you look, the more you will find! Also see this post on where to get free furniture.
- Look for high quality and unusual items. Look out for clothes made of quality fabrics like wool, silk and alpaca. As well as dresses made from 100% cotton or high quality velvets or silks. I often skip past items with my eyes but feel a fabric with my hands and then take notice of them. Similarly, look out for art which has been handmade or hand painted, like embroideries or oil paintings. I got the boat original oil painting (image below) for £3 recently and I’m thrilled with it! Finally look for unusual things. If it’s something you haven’t seen before, as yourself ‘is this a hidden gem’
Growing veg is SO much fun! Why didn’t anyone tell me?! We have our own little vegetable patch in our garden and we have been growing all sorts; peas & beans, soft fruits, courgettes, tomatoes, chills…. Loads! It’s so much fun and a nice thing to do with Mary! I can’t pretend I’m saving money, as honestly, gardening is an expensive habit, but it’s SO fun!!
Watching children’s films
We haven’t had a TV for years and it’s SO nice being able to see my favourite childhood films on a half decent sized screen and enjoy seeing all the backgrounds properly too. Mary loves anything with children, singing and dancing, so we love Annie, the parent trap, the little princess, swallows & Amazon’s and the railway children. And before you ask, yes, all of these are the originals, not the remakes!
Ta da! And there we have it! Life lately, a little slower than it used to be, but lovely. Also. I hope you liked my tips on how to find hidden gems in charity shops. Thank you for reading!