Charity Shop Shopping Haul

Sometimes a shopping haul can be a trip to a shopping centre or a department store. Sometimes in can be a night of filing an online shopping bag full of items, in many cases not actually reaching the checkout. And sometimes it can mean a trip to a local town with a good selection of charity shops, where you find lots of bargains that range from designer, to good quality High Street, and a bit of vintage thrown in for good measure, and you end up spending less than £25.

This is one of those occasions. A morning away from the computer, making the most of a touch of Indian Summer sun, taking a trip around the decent charity shops of Cannock.

Here are the things I picked up.

Ralph Lauren  Top

This boho, slightly country style top by Ralph Lauren is made to be worn with a pair of skinny jeans and a thick Arran knit cardi. Add some brown or tan ankle boots and this is just a bargain for less than £4.

Wouldn’t wear it with this skirt (obs) but a good fit.

Barbara Hulanicki Top

Barbara Hulanicki or Biba fame did a couple of collections under her own name with George at Asda. This is not the sort of thing I usually pick up in charity shops as it is a low cost item to start with, but mass produced items are often tomorrows sought after labels as they tend to be less looked after, and more often are thrown away. Plus I love the fact it has tiny shoulder pads in to give it a slight 1940s shape, and for £3.50…

Jacques Vert Dress

I think this is just gorgeous, a sort of cross between a 1950s style and something more va va voom. It is a little on the tight side across the bust, so I would avoid wearing it if I was going for a food blow out, but it will be perfect for the theatre, and I actually love it teamed with gold shoes.

Gok Wan top

I’m guessing I wouldn’t have got this top if I hadn’t been wearing this nude skirt, but I loved how well it matched up. Plus it was the cheapest item of the day, costing a grand total of £1.49.

Collection Dress

I think this is a Debenhams label, and this is a clear indicator of why you should always try things on. This dress looks nothing on the hanger, but I loved the cut and fit once I tried it on. It was £4.99 and I think I will wear it loads.

And a bit of M&S St Michael Vintage

I love a bit of 1960s vintage, and St Michael is always a label I look out for, as Marks and Spencer has always been a sign of quality. This dress/pinafore should have a belt, but that is easy to replace, and I love the neckline and the colour. A 1960s piece for £3 is such a great find.

Have you picked up any charity shop bargains lately?

*This post is dedicated to Hazel Wilkins-Brookes, a lovely lady who loved fashion and loved a bargain.

Sourcing vintage and antique jewellery

When it comes to sparkly things, I am a bit of a magpie. I love jewellery, whether it be the costume and paste variety, or the real thing. But one thing unites all my favourite pieces of jewellery – it is vintage and antique pieces that I love the most. I love the idea that something so beautiful may also have a provenance, a story behind it, that it may have been super special to the person who first owned it. I wear my nan’s gold and diamond engagement ring every single day, knowing that it replaced a ration era thin band of gold and so was much loved and cherished, a symbol of times that were changing and improving. Only vintage and antique jewellery can hold stories like this.

The Real Thing

Finding really unusual and beautiful antique gemstone and precious metal pieces in perfect condition can be quite difficult, so it is best to consult an expert. Where else to head except Hatton Garden, the jewellery capital in the capital. Berganza is a good port of call, specialising in antique and vintage jewellery, including engagement rings that have now become super popular for those who want something that is a little different to modern designs. Berganza is the place to go if you have a reasonable budget and you want to get that unforgettable, show-stopping piece.

Art Nouveau Era ring - amazing.

Art Nouveau Era ring – amazing.

The colour of this stone.

The colour of this stone.

Costume and paste jewellery

If your budget does not stretch to the real thing, you can find some really interesting pieces of costume and paste vintage jewellery without breaking the bank. Vintage stores and Antique fairs can have rich pickings, but you can also find great pieces at jumble sales, charity shops and car boot sales. I wore a set of Austrian crystals on my wedding day that were from the 1960s and just sparkled so brightly with my dress. Names to look out for include Trifari, early Butler and Wilson, Monet (some really brilliant 1980s classics out there) and Lisner. But if you love it, and the price is right, you can pick up something that will become really special to you.



1960s perspex necklace

1960s perspex necklace



That brooch in that last picture cost a grand total of 95p. It is definitely worth looking around – you may just find a lovely bargain.

Stories of Hope – Qassim’s Story.

It’s that time of year when I sort out my clothes, Joe’s toys and books in order to have a cull in preparation for Christmas. I try to be ruthless with my sorting, and, when I am finished, I donate all the good but now unwanted stuff to my local charity shop. It is a win-win situation in my view, I am able to make extra space for new things that will be arriving with Santa, and know that my donation is going to a good cause. But have you ever wondered how your donation to Charity helps people – where your money goes and what it actually does? Oxfam are giving you some of ideas with their latest campaign which is called ‘Stories of Hope’. Today I’m going to share Qassim’s story,

Qassim Daoud is a barber. He lives in Husseini Village in Eastern Iraq. His barber shop is his passion and he had worked hard to build up his trade. But in 2014, life took a very dramatic turn. An attack on a nearby province saw an influx of people arriving in Husseini Village, seeing his already popular barber shop now over run. Kurdish Police became suspicious of him, and he was arrested and thrown into jail. He was later released, but returned to his village to find that his beloved barber shop had been completely trashed. All his barbering equipment had been stolen. Many people would’ve been destroyed by this action. But Qassim was made of sterner stuff. He found another property to use as a salon, and started all over again.

Rokam Hamoud cuts a customer’s hair in his barber shop in Husseini. The shop was looted by ISIS in 2014, but support from Oxfam has helped him to rebuild the business.

Rokam Hamoud cuts a customer’s hair in his barber shop in Husseini. The shop was looted by ISIS in 2014, but support from Oxfam has helped him to rebuild the business. Phot Credit Tommy Trenchard.

He says “…When Oxfam came, I reopened my shop. Oxfam provided me with money…They helped me buy everything in my shop. I bought chairs, the mirrors, the machines, the creams, everything actually. My barbershop is a small shop but I like it…I love everything about it…”

Rokam Hamoud cuts a customer’s hair in his barber shop in Husseini. The shop was looted by ISIS in 2014, but support from Oxfam has helped him to rebuild the business. credit-tommy-trenchard_oxfam-may-2016-2

All over the world, there are people like Qassim, struggling to rebuild their lives in warzones and villages decimated by the effects of war, you can help by making a donation that could provide urgent support to families in incredibly vulnerable situations.

  • £2.50 can provide 25 water sachets to a family in an emergency. This is enough to make 500 litres of water safe.
  • £7 could provide cash or vouchers for families to use in an emergency, helping them buy food locally.
  • £20 could provide warm bedding and offer protection from the elements.
  • £30 could give four families a kit of soap, detergent and other essential toiletries
  • £60 could build a safe, clean emergency toilet in a temporary camp
  • £100 could help four people to earn a good living in their community

As you prepare for Christmas, maybe you could add a donation to Oxfam to your gift list.