…is another woman’s treasure and that’s certainly true for my latest find, my ‘JUNK’ trash can bag. When it comes to novelty bags, I think they’re something you either love or hate, but I love them in all of their kitsch, tacky or garish splendor. The brighter, the better! I found this bag in a Huddersfield charity shop, by chance, as I was passing. It stopped me in my tracks and minutes later, it was mine.
Despite my love of bags, shoes and accessories, I’m pretty useless at finding good quality pieces second hand. Every month, I find many new dresses and the occasional collared blouse, but rarely anything else. Why is that? Is it because you can never grow out of bags, shoes and accessories? They’ll still fit you even if your size changes? Whatever the reason, I definitely get the giddy bumps when I find them!
Considering the weather, this is probably the most impractical outfit I’ve worn in a long time. When we left home, it was dry but as soon as we crossed the Welsh border… down came the rain! I swapped my leather biker jacket for a parka and my clogs for brogues and somehow, a slightly more appropriate outfit was born. You might recognise this gingham smock dress from February’s buyer’s archive. I bought it from my local charity shop for £2 and so far, I’ve worn it lots.
Yesterday, John and I decided to take a drive to Wales. John recently passed his driving test (yay!) and wanted to take a drive. We decided to drive to Llangollen, neither of us had visited before and it proved to be the perfect place for our first road trip. With charity shops, vintage shops and amazing book shops disguised as cafes, we enjoyed an hour discovering this new town. Then, I bumped into Char! Can you believe it? It was a welcome surprise and great to meet up in real life.
As soon as we left scenic Llangollen, the rain cleared up! When we passed a sign for a World Heritage Site, our interest was piqued and we found ourselves taking a short diversion to Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. With fresh air in our lungs and a hearty lunch in our stomach, we took a relaxing stroll around this beautiful area. An Easter weekend well spent, I’d say!
// Gingham smock dress :: Cats Protection (Topshop) What I Thrifted #27 //
// JUNK bag :: Barnardos (Huddersfield)What I Thrifted #28 //
// Heart necklace :: Punky Pins //
// Patent brogues :: F&F at Tesco //
Well, haven’t things been a little quiet around here recently? My short hiatus wasn’t planned, nor intended, but very much needed. I haven’t intentionally been keeping things quiet, but I do have news to share- I have a new job! I’ve sidestepped into a different career, a different sector, but my passions of social media and teaching have collided into a job role that was seemingly made to measure.
Last May, I wrote about how I felt that leaving primary teaching was the only option for me and, in the months following, I spent a happy few months managing Lindy Bop’s social media accounts. However, being thirty plus comes with financial responsibility and despite my thrifty ways, I had to return to teaching. On supply, I taught in a scenic village school sharing the teaching of a year 6 class. I worked with enthusiastic and polite children who were keen to learn and formed friendships with colleagues who treated me as one of the team from day one. Then, out of the blue, I received an email inviting me to apply for a position as a social media assessor.
The rest, as they say, is history. I interviewed for the position and was offered the role. Since then, I’ve been finding my feet, swotting up and learning my new job role. It’s early days, but so far so good. I’m now tutoring and assessing learners to achieve a level 3 diploma in social media for business. This means I still plan and teach, but my learners are adult apprentices and I’m teaching about social media and search engine optimisation. Hurrah for a job that allows for flexibility and understands the value of a work life balance. With my Sundays reclaimed, John and I decided to take a drive to Wycoller Village.
Situated in Trawden Forest, Pendle, Wycoller is ironically close to the village school I worked in (so close, I bumped into a pupil!) Within the sleepy village, Wycoller Hall takes centre stage. The late sixteenth century manor house is credited as being the inspiration behind Ferndean Manor in Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ (in fact, it even features on the cover of the 1898 edition). Nowadays, the ruins are now listed and make for a wonderful place to visit on a spring afternoon.
Recently, I’ve pondered if earning a steady income would see me turn my back on my thrifty ways. So far, this hasn’t been the case. If anything, I’m buying less and questioning myself more than ever. This month, I’ve bought things first hand and second hand; a real mix but unintentionally, I’ve spent very little.
One of my first March purchases was this Cooperative at Urban Outfitters dress; a fortunate find from Age UK in Ormskirk. It’s like new and just my size. It’s a dress I shouldn’t like, because it flouts my polka dot or stripes rule and it’s made from cotton but somehow, I love it. It’s the perfect match for last month’s thrifted Audley London boots.
Even though it’s taken over a year, I’m almost at the stage where I can make a complete outfit from second hand or affordable finds. With the exception of my denim jacket, woolen beret and tights, the rest are thrifted finds totaling £10.50. Not bad, hey?
// Cooperative at Urban Outfitters dress :: Age UK (Ormskirk) //
// Audley London boots :: Sue Ryder (Didsbury) //
// Mustard Scarf :: Urban Outfitters //
// Denim jacket :: Topshop //
// Woolen beret :: Primark //
// Nica handbag :: Cancer Research (St Helens) //
I LOVE CAROUSEL CHARLOTTE DRESS
For the first time in many years, World Book Day passed me by. This year, no fancy dress was required and certainly no conversation about well-loved books. I no longer teach primary age children, but despite this, my subconscious decided to play a practical joke on me when I inadvertently dressed as The Book Thief.
Personally, I didn’t see any resemblance until it was pointed out (on separate occasions) by two of my nearest and dearest. Is it the beret? I stumbled on this beret during a half term trip to Allerton Road, Liverpool. It was my only charity shop purchase of the day, but I didn’t care because it was a bargain at £1.50! It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to wear with my new vintage inspired dress, I Love Carousel’s Charlotte dress.
Not a thrifted find, the Charlotte dress is from the Irish brand, I Love Carousel. I’ve been a fan of ‘Carousel’ since stumbling on their Instagram page some time ago. Their vintage inspired styles mixed with cute, quirky prints are the perfect formula for my fashion taste, unfortunately due to my career change, I couldn’t afford to invest.
The sticking point is, I believe in buying clothes you love. I believe in buying clothes that will last forever, well longer than a season or two. And, even though I buy a lot second hand, I do buy some key pieces that cost more than a few quid. But, how can you be sure it’s an investment piece when buying online? It’s tricky!
Thankfully, I was fortunate to receive I Love Carousel’s Charlotte dress to try it out for myself. It’s a size bigger than my usual, but it creates a flattering silhouette and the silky material feels as though it glides when I move. I love the vintage style mixed with the modern colour palette.
// I Love Carousel Charlotte Tea Dress c/o //
// Beret :: Jospice, Allerton Road //
// Kenneth Cole vintage heels :: Sue Ryder, Didsbury //
// Tan, leather watch :: Olivia Burton //
Sure, it mightn’t be my usual style but so far, 2016 has been a year of trying new things! At 65 Euros, it’s pricier than what I’d usually spend but considering that I’m already planning on how I’ll wear it in summer and equally, remix it for autumn it doesn’t feel expensive at all.
Did you notice my shoes? They’re my vintage Kenneth Cole shoes I found last month whilst in Didsbury. I featured them in February’s Buyer’s Archive and intended to wear them in a what I thrifted outfit post, however I simply couldn’t wait when I paired them with this tea dress. Let’s just say, the beret is what I thrifted #23 and the shoes are #24!
Have you bought any investment pieces recently?
Pinch, punch! First of the month!
So here we are, the start of another month which can only mean… another Buyer’s Archive post! This month, I bought a total of 15 pieces of clothing from charity shops (insert see-no-evil monkey here) and a mere 4 from the high street. It may sound a lot, but thanks to half term during February I had more time to clear out unworn clothes and time to devote finding new clothes to love. Through gifting, swapping, donating and selling, I managed to gain a new wardrobe of clothes for no additional cost with some money left over.
As you know, Elise is the founder of the Buyer’s Archive series: a series I joined during the summer of 2015 with the intention of tracking my spending habits. In January, even though I fell off the thrifty band wagon, I only spent £41.46 of my Christmas money (the rest went on bills, grown up life hey?) This month, did my thrifty ways see me buy more but spend less? Grab a cuppa’, this could take some time.
Kenneth Cole vintage tan heels £3 & Audley London leather boots, £3.50, Sue Ryder, Didsbury
Let’s start with the purchases that I’m most excited about! After a meeting in Manchester city centre, John and I decided to visit Didsbury’s charity shops for the first time. Charlotte is a big fan of Sue Ryder, so we made it our first stop. Finding nothing, I was almost ready to give up when I caught sight of not one, but two pairs of brown leather shoes. Perfectly fitting, they’re just what I was looking for. I think a little bit of Charlotte’s shoe luck rubbed off on me that day!
Purple Beret, £1.50, Jospice, Allerton Road, Liverpool
You might have seen my Vintage Village photographs on Instagram over half term, I dragged John along with the intention of finding a vintage red or black beret and eating cake. As it was our first visit, we were overwhelmed with the amount of vintage on offer and sadly, no berets were found. Lucky for me, a couple of days later I found this 100% wool beret in Jospice for an amazing price.
Topshop Nautical Jumper, £3.99, Barnados, Preston
The start of February saw a long overdue thrifty bloggers meet up back in my old university town of Preston. High on nostalgia, I was thrilled to find this red, nautical Topshop jumper that I used to own during my university days. It’s a size smaller than my usual size and a little shorter in length, but I intend to wear it under a pinafore dress so it’s not a problem.
Topshop Plaid Shirt & Primark Stripe Dress, Each £1, Sue Ryder, Preston
During the same trip, Rachelle introduced us to the amazing Tulketh Mill Sue Ryder shop. Complete with an amazing vintage and sewing section, it also had rails and rails of clothing. I was lucky enough to drop on two very much needed wardrobe essentials for the bargain price of £1 each. Granted, a Breton jersey dress isn’t too exciting but, so comfy! I’ve worn them both already, most recently the plaid shirt in this outfit post.
Primark Navy Cardigan, £2.50, Cancer Help, Preston
Moving from the Tulketh Mill area, Charlotte, Jenni, Rachelle and I hopped in a taxi to Plungington Road. Despite its proximity to my old halls of residence, I’d never visited before. In the first local charity shop, I found an almost new long sleeved, navy Primark cardigan. Sure, not the biggest bargain or particularly exciting (hence, it’s not photographed) but it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to wear with my Lindy Bop Matilda dresses in spring.
Uniqlo Skirt, £1.99, Age UK, Burnley
When I’m teaching, I find it difficult to visit my favourite East Lancashire charity shops before they close. Some days, I pack up my marking and bring it home with me just so I can make closing time! Although strictly not an essential purchase, I’m a fan of Uniqlo’s clothes so even though this skirt isn’t strictly my usual style, at £1.99 I’ll take a chance.
Oasis Deer Print Collar Top, £1.99, Age UK, Burnley
Emblazoned with a deer print AND complete with a collar, this quirky number was the first thing I spotted as I walked through the door. Its perfect collar means I’ve already layered it with a dress in this outfit, but I’m yet to find an outfit to really let its print shine.
Principles Peter Pan Collar Jumper, £1.99, Age UK, Burnley
Peter Pan collar + moss green = perfect jumper.
Next Boyfriend Jeans, £1.50, Age UK, Ormskirk
Again, another unexciting purchase but I’m lacking in the jeans department. I want worn looking, loose fitting jeans I can throw on. These are a little low-rise for my liking, but are the perfect length. You can’t win ’em all!
Next 1940s Tea Dress, £2.50, Age UK, Ormskirk
In the same trip, I found this polka dot tea dress. I loved the style of it (and of course the print) but when I tried it on, it was so flattering. Even though it’s missing a button, the condition is like new. It has a spare button attached so it’s easily fixed.
H&M Swing Dress, £2, Age UK, Ormskirk
Remember when H&M released a range of cotton swing dresses last year? I was saving every penny and despite trying them on numerous times, I decided not to buy one. It felt like my patience was rewarded when I found this geometric print swing dress. It’s a couple of sizes bigger than usual, but it adds to the effect.
Topshop Gingham Smock, £2 Cat Protection
Remember this spending ban wish list? When I spotted this gingham dress, I instantly recognised it from my hours spent trawling the internet for a budget version. In perfect condition, in my head, I’m already matching it with Dr Martens and a Fedora.
New Look Heart Print Dress, £2, Cat Protection
Same shop, same day. I think it must have been donated at the same time as the Topshop smock. Although it’s not different to the many other patterned dresses I own, they’re easy to look after and because I’ve now left teaching (I know, right? There’ll be a post about it soon), I’m building a new wardrobe of work clothes for a less formal look.
Pinafore dress, £10, Apricot (originally, £29)
As well as charity shopping, I also went high street shopping with my mum. As we park close to Debenhams, we cut through the store to reach the shopping centre. This Apricot dress stopped me in my tracks, even more so when I discovered it in Apricot’s online sale. I returned the original dress and I’m waiting to take delivery of the £10 dress.
Black cardigan, £8, Primark
Again, another cardigan from Primark. Nothing exciting, but matches everything and oh so practical and warm!
Monochrome stripe skirt, £8, Primark
Confession: my mum bought me the skirt and the cardigan. I know, I’m spoiled. I’ve never been a fan of Primark, if I’m honest; I’ve bought higher quality items for much cheaper prices, but Primark’s skirt game is so strong right now. I just really liked this striped skirt, the quality isn’t amazing but it fits well and I know I’ll wear it lots.
Deer print dress, £5, Boundary Mill
Enough is enough, I decided. No more clothes this month, I thought. But, how can you resist a dress with a deer print when it’s a fiver? I couldn’t, especially not when it fit so well. I’m unlikely to wear this until Christmas, however buying out of season seems to be what I do well.
So there we have it, another month passed in the blink of an eye. Scores on the door…
Total £55.46 – £16 mum purchases= £39.46
Here’s to another thrifty month!