Well, I didn’t stick to my resolution, but I don’t think I did too bad really.  The only brand new things that I bought in high street shops were two pairs of clarks shoes and 4 bras – unfortunately that totalled a whopping £188!   I spent £125.28 on another 10 purchases from ebay, usually items being bought for themed dances etc; where sometimes it just isn’t possible to find anything in a charity shop.  I did buy a few dresses on ebay just because I put in a minimum bid and was lucky.

The charity shop buys are undoubtedly the best value and give a feel good factor too.  I have paid £313.38 to charity shops this year, and have 43 new items of clothing to show for it.  The figure is skewed slightly by the £50 Ball dress which was an extravagant buy but worth it; I will wear it again.

I conclude that it is possible for anyone to look good on a budget, Ok, so I probably spent a lot more than necessary, but there are excellent finds out there if you have the time to go looking.  Ebay is another excellent source of quality clothes for those on a budget – just bid what you can afford on quality items and you will ‘win’  them from time to time and end up with bargains.

Underwear and shoes really have to be bought new unless you are really really lucky.  Sometimes a pack on unopened knickers appear, or new quality shoes, but it would be impossible to depend on charity shops as a supplier of these.

I won’t be writing about my charity shop buys anymore, so there will be no longer any need for me to play at being a model each time I buy something.  Although I must confess I quite like playing at being a model!

But don’t ever just walk past a charity shop thinking it is full of old rubbish – that is certainly not true.

Here I am in the £1.60 Tshirt bought last week, new with tags still attached (Dorothy Perkins, £8).

Thank you for reading my blog.  Karen 🙂

Yuletide Greetings to all my blog readers

Horace the Alresford Bear, along with the robin decoration made from scraps by my daughter Helen.

Ebay – so easy and so convenient

I’ve nearly reached the end of the charity shop only year, but unfortunately have to report two more lapses – once again ebay.  Well, here is my excuse:  I have been looking for a short winter jacket for ages, something warm that won’t dangle on the floor when left on the back of a chair etc.  I have looked and looked in charity shops but have not seen anything suitable in my size, so I had a peek on ebay.  I didn’t want to pay much so looked for jackets with either bad pictures or without the size listing in the title – either you can usually get much cheaper for obvious reasons.  I ended up with a short belted wool coat from Oasis and paid £8.05 for it.  It has hardly been worn and is just what I wanted:-

The other ebay purchase was a dress needed for a dance.  The dance had a Winter Wonderland theme and then dress code was white and silver.  White isn’t a colour I tend to wear, althught I have dark hair my skin is quite pale and I always think white makes me look a bit washed out.  Again I looked in the charity shops for a few weeks, but found nothing suitable, so once again had a look on ebay, where I found a Next winter white/black dress for just £9.99.


If I’d had more time on my hands finding both of the above probably would have been feasible from  Charity shops, but ebay is just so easy….


A Charity shop dress for The Ball

Last night I went to a black tie Ball at the Winter Gardens in Weston-super-mare.  This event is the annual Leroc Ball attended by dancers from the South West and South Wales, and everyone makes an effort to dress up for it.


I had hoped for everything I was wearing to be charity shop, I didn’t quite get there, but most of it was.  The dress I bought after thinking about it for several weeks as it was an expensive charity shop buy, £50, but would’ve been over £200 new (St Peter’s Hospice shop, Cotham).  The necklace cost £3 (St Peter’s Hospice Shop Blackboy Hill)  and the watch, which has a variety of straps and fronts, cost £7 (Cats Protection League shop).


The non charity shop things were the underwear, earrings, which cost £2.90 (ebay) and the dance sandals which were 2nd hand but bought through ebay for £10.  The hairslide I have had for ages.


I felt really good in the dress,  which is made of a soft floaty material, and I think I was the only person wearing green.  No idea why!   I have posted a rather poor quality photo of the dress on here before.     It looks much better on.

Here I am ready for the Ball,  which incidently, I enjoyed immensely 🙂



A whole outfit including the shoes just for under £12

My afternoon of volunteering this week started off quietly as it was pouring with rain outside and that always seems to result in less folk browsing in the shop.   I was able to have a good look at the stock 🙂  To begin I found a beautiful pair of jeans, a sort of khaki colour with raised patterns that feel velvety.  Charity shop jeans are often too short, but to my surprise when I tried these on they fit me perfectly.  They cost me £4.80 (with my 20% discount).  I have just googled the label in them, which is Espirit, and it would seem they would have cost about £50 new, so what a bargain, and I love them 🙂

Then luck would have it – there was a pair of flat brogues on the shoe shelf, Primark label but brand new still with labels etc on.  The shoes only originally  cost £12  (something that worries me – how can shoes be made that cheap without using sweatshop labour?)  I tried them on with the jeans, and they look great together, the shoes feel like they might be comfortable but I wouldn’t want to walk a long way in them, so time will tell on that one.  But at £3.60 with my discount I thought I’d take a chance on them.

A bit later while tidying the tops I found the black H & M top, just £2.75.  I think that will go with the Jigsaw skirt I bought last week, but it also looks OK with my new jeans, so here I am in the whole outfit.



Taking the skirt from the dummy!

Yesterday’s purchase while volunteering was on the dummy in the shop window.  It looked pretty good on the dummy, so while the shop was quiet, I asked one of the paid members of staff to man the till and tried it on, leaving a half dressed dummy in the window.  It fitted :-)

At £20 before discount it was quite expensive for charity shop – but this skirt is quality, there is no doubt about it.  Made of 97% cotton and 3% nylon with a viscose lining, it doesn’t even crease up and has a lovely soft feel.  It can’t have been used much as it still has a ‘new from the shop’ odour.  A added bonus too;  this skirt was made in the UK.  I have had a look on the Jigsaw website and most of their skirts are over £100. I paid £16 for it and reckon I will get years of use from it.   A bargain :-)

I need some new black tops though – unlikely to get those from charity shops.  The elastane bit of the cotton and elastane is perishing and leaving white flecks on the top.  When I get new ones I will make sure they are washed at 30c then maybe they will last longer.

The dummy couldn’t stay in the window with naked bottom half, so I had to find her something else to put on from the charity shop stock.   First skirt I found to match was from Primark – it looked OK on the hanger but awful on the dummy.  The second one was from Oasis – altogether a much better fit and looked good on the dummy in the window.  It would seem even dummies look better in quality clothing!

Head to foot charity shop glamour

It felt really good to go out Saturday night to a party dressed entirely in charity shop finery (well, except the underwear).  The pearls I bought in the Prospect Hospice Shop while stopping  for lunch in Hungerford the other week .  They were quite expensive for fake pearls at £12.99, but they have a lovely clasp and are good quality fakes, and the money went to a good cause as usual.

The Monsoon silk dress I bought a few weeks back in Tenovus in Bristol for £19.99.  It felt lovely on and did not get all creased up so I managed to remain looking a bit glamorous all evening 🙂

The shoes aren’t in the photo, but I wore the sexy stilettos I bought back in the spring for just £8.

Here I am at the party trying to get some attention from David Tennant:-

A winter skirt – but where have all the evening dresses gone?

There has been a distinct lack of evening dresses to tempt me in the local St Peter’s Hospice shop where I volunteer.  Yesterday I realised why – they have been collecting them all up for a special event at one of their shops being marketed as a Festive Frocks evening – somewhere to buy something special for the party season.

I bought my dress for the Winter Ball long ago – but I could be tempted by this event – suppose could always get ballgown for next year!

Anyway, I did find a swirly winter skirt that I can wear over leggings and ride my bike while wearing it.  Unfortunately my bike is a man’s bike with a cross bar, so skirts don’t always work very well with it.

The skirt was from Zara, with an original price tag of £7.00, with my discount just £5.60.  I photographed myself wearing using my camera on a tripod,  It is really difficult posing and smiling at a camera when you are on your own – hence another pic of me with odd smile, but I think the skirt looks OK!



A Laura Ashley top for next summer

Just a quick blog today about the top I bought yesterday while doing my bit in the shop.  This Laura Ashley top will go rather nicely with jeans or denim shorts – something to put away for next summer.  It cost me £2.40 with my discount.

Here it is:

Money spent this year so far:

37 items from charity shops – £280.53

16 items from elsewhere – £287.95  (including £88 for bras and £100 for 2 pairs of sensible shoes)


Two rather lovely tops

Yesterday was a good day in terms of purchases while volunteering at the Hospice shop.  I bought loads – and not just clothes.

A new good quality paint roller set (£1.60 with 20% discount), a new wicker bin (80p), a new sponge (24p), a board game for Christmas that I won’t name because my daughter reads this, (£2.40), and 2 tops that will look great with black trousers.

I grabbed the tops from the rail of ‘new’ stuff that had just been steamed and priced and it is my job to put on the rails.  The colour of the purple one caught my eye.  I haven’t bought this type of neckline before but I think it is rather nice on this top, especially with the button detail. It is made of viscose and was originally from Principles.  Cost – just £4.60 with my discount.

The other top is from Marks & Spencer ‘Portfolio’ collection.  Also made of viscose,  and on the inside label there is a note suggesting you donate it to Oxfam when no longer needed!  This one cost just £4 with the 20% discount.

I am beginning to think I will never shop for new stuff again – apart from shoes and underwear, there really is no need to, and there is so much good quality stuff being donated to charity shops all the time.  Jeans may also be an exception,  have yet to find any of those with long enough leg.

Sometimes I wonder whether I am right to share my secret – if everyone starts going in the charity shops there won’t be so much choice left for folk like me!