Friday, 11 January 2013

A tiny thrift update

Work and Christmas (ugly shiny tat in all my usual shops plus mad crowds all over the place) have kept me out of charity shops recently, which is sad, but good for my overcrowded spare room! I have no idea what I'm going to do with this lab glass, but I couldn't leave it behind, so I'll think of something.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Charity Shop Ercol

When I was a kid my "posh" Aunty had a room full of light-wood Ercol Windsor, and I loved it.  I decided that one day I would have a piece of Ercol furniture, but then when I got my own place it was a Victorian property with huge rooms and high ceilings, and the Ercol style just wouldn't have worked with that.
Needless to say, at that time Ercol was really cheap.
I spent most of my adult life living in Victorian flats, and by the time I moved to my current 1950s house a few years ago, Ercol had suddenly become very desirable again, and consequently very expensive. 
The chances of finding it in a charity shop were virtually zero.

One day earlier this year I was doing my usual circuit of charity shops in my local town and I became aware that I was on the same circuit as what I have come to think of as a "scanner".  These are a certain type of charity shopper - usually middle aged men - who are dealers/traders/resellers and storm in and out of charity shops scanning the shelves, picking up bits of china and checking the bottoms for makers' marks, and generally being "in your face".

This particular one began to piss me off, so I skipped a shop that doesn't usually have anything that interests me just to get ahead of him.  

I walked into the next shop and could hardly believe it when I saw an Ercol drop-leaf dining table and four candlestick-back chairs.  Even harder to believe was the price - £25 for the lot.

A gentle sand down and a couple of thin coats of matt varnish and they are beautiful again.

 I really enjoyed the "scanner"'s expression when he came into the shop just as the "SOLD" labels were being attached.

Sharp-eyed people may notice a dark-wood Ercol "Butler Table" in the background of the first photo.  There is another story attached to that, but it needs its own post.

Linking up with Thrift Share Monday

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Thrift Catch-up

A combination of a new job and terrible light for taking photos has made me even worse than usual at blogging regularly.  Here's a selection of my charity shop finds from the last month.

Vintage wooden trouser-hangers

Orla Kiely double duvet cover and 2 pillowcases
Irish Linen tea towel advertising Force cereal

Sticky labels for kitchen canisters - 70s, I think
Tupperware stacking spice containers

heavy Murano glass ashtray

Cutest teapot ever - CD to show scale

Linking up to Magpie Monday at Me and my shadow

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

What I bought at the charity shop....

Federal Glass "Sunflower" bowls

and what I left behind

Unfortunately placed hooks

Linking up with

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Hornsea Owl Salt and Pepper Pots

I have wanted these forever - and now they're mine! Bought from a local second-hand/junk shop. 

Mr Pepper has a tiny chip on his ear, but that's fine, it made them affordable instead of the usual silly prices they go for on Ebay. 

Monday, 25 June 2012

This week's thrifting

Recently I seem to have spent a lot of time photographing and documenting my local charity shops for this blog, which is a great way of getting my tat-shopping fix without spending much.
This is a good thing.

 Here are some of the few bits and bobs I've picked up along the way. 

This Stavangerflint dish was only 50p, and is making me very happy by being all matchy-matchy with my living room colour scheme. 

I love these SylvaC embossed mugs - I need more teal in my kitchen. £3 for the set of 6. 

I love the style of this old Esso map of New York - the map itself is a lovely piece of artwork, too.

This map of South-West Brittany had to come home with me - it has one of my favourite beaches on it - and who could resist a map with an illustated guide to the local marine life?

But best of all (and you may want to click to enlarge this bit) are the wonderful topless ladies draped tastefully across the beaches.

I'm linking to some of my favourite thrifting blogs

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Charity Shopping in Beeston

Click on map to enlarge
Beeston is a town a few miles outside Nottingham, within walking distance of Nottingham University. For a medium-sized town it has a lot of charity shops, and is well worth a visit if you're in the area.


The PDSA shop used to be my all-time favourite charity shop, and still ranks pretty highly, although they have sharply increased a lot of their prices in the last few months. It's still possible to find a bargain, though. Excellent bric-a-brac section, decent-priced books, average clothes and household linen, the odd small bit of furniture. 

Cancer Research
The bric-a-brac section in Cancer Research is pretty consistently sparse, and mostly modern stuff.
There's a medium-sized book section, normally priced at 50p each or 3 for £1 - they often have recent paperbacks, too.
The clothes are good quality and very reasonably priced.  They always have a £1 clothes bargain rail, and I've picked up some great stuff from it.
The volunteers in this shop are lovely and if you're looking for something in particular, and they're not too busy, will go and have a look in the store-room for you.

Next on my circuit is the Oxfam bookshop - a nice shop, though can be over-priced.
They always have a large shelf full of 50p/3 for £1 books, though.

A little further up the High Road is the Oxfam clothes and bric-a-brac shop.
Typical of every Oxfam I've ever been in, they have some nice stuff, but it is insanely over-priced.
This branch gave me one of my most amusing charity shop moments.  
I am frequently irritated by the practice of writing the manufacturer's name on the shop price-tag (Oxfam and BHF, I'm looking at you).  It is almost always just a few inches away, in the label on the item.  I can read.  And I'm not massively impressed by "names".  Oh, and "Atmosphere" is Primark, which is not really something to use as a selling point.  Ditto F&F (for non-UK readers, this is the own-brand label of Tesco - a supermarket).
Anyway, one day I was looking at quite a nice jacket and on the Oxfam price tag it said "Claire Wilson", £15.99.  Now I'm not big on fashion, but I've never heard of either a shop or a designer named Claire Wilson.  There was a reason for this - on closer inspection Claire Wilson was the schoolgirl former owner of the jacket, whose Mum or Dad had purchased some particularly nice woven name tags, and sewn one neatly over the manufacturer's label.


The Debra shop is fairly small, and piled-up high, like a good charity shop should be.
There's a good mixture of everything, including bric-a-brac and some furniture.  Prices are, on the whole, reasonable, although the bric-a-brac prices have been creeping up quite a bit lately.

YMCA is a large shop, which mostly concentrates on furniture, although it does also have bric-a-brac, books and clothes.
Most of the furniture is modern and mid to high-priced, with the odd mid-century bureau or sideboard now and again.
Scouts Shop
The Scouts shop is another "proper" charity shop.  Some nice vintage among the bric-a-brac, and really good prices.  They often have sewing bits and bobs, too.
A typical BHF shop, mostly modern bric-a-brac with a few nice vintage bits, slightly pricey but not too bad.
Some nice clothes, in the mid to high price range, although I've been a bit wary of this shop since finding a dirty tissue and crisp packet in the pocket of a coat I was trying on. 
Not one of my favourite shops, generally sells quite bland, modern stuff at quite high prices, although just to prove me wrong, when I nipped in today, without my camera (these pics were taken last week), they had a lovely Studio Meakin lidded casserole for £4 and matching serving plate for £2.75.
First time ever, though.

At this point I would be ready for coffee, and would head to The Bean, which is a lovely, independently owned and run coffee shop just off the High Road, in the pedestrianised precinct leading to Sainsbury's.
There's outside seating for nice weather, and a very nicely furnished upstairs seating area with a "Book Crossing" shelf.

Sue Ryder

This is a large Sue Ryder shop, with a big "Retro" section at the back.
I'm usually a bit wary of Retro and Vintage sections, as I find them over-priced, but this one is mainly very reasonable.
With a few exceptions, the clothes are well-priced, too.
They have a fair bit of furniture, from modern to 1930s.
One of my best buys from here was an Ercol drop-leaf dining table and four Ercol candlestick cross-backed chairs for £20.
Sue Ryder


Although Betel is actually a charity shop, I don't really think of it as one, and rarely go in.  It's on the High Road, opposite Cancer Research and Caffe Nero.
They stock a lot of ornate modern furniture that is just hideous, and very expensive.  And a lot of what looks like Argos seconds, that is ugly, and also very expensive.
When I was passing last week I noticed this Ercol carver chair outside.  It was in nice condition (they have their own furniture restoration workshops) and was £80, which I thought was a bit steep.

Salvation Army
Just two charity shops left, now, and I'm not sure how much longer these will be here as The Square will be demolished to make way for a new tram route.
The Salvation Army shop is very reasonably priced, and I've picked up the odd nice thing here, but mostly it's one I'll miss out if I'm in a hurry.


Scope is a bit like Barnardos, in that everything is quite highly priced, but is utterly unremarkable.
I was tempted by this retro (1970s?) apron, but it was quite heavily stained which was a bit off-putting.
I also noticed a Tesco top, priced at £5, with a hole in it and a crispy (by this I mean fresh - not a stain that someone has tried to wash out, but crispy, dried food dribble) stain.

The Shop with No Name - marked on the map with an asterisk

This is not a charity shop, but one that would probably interest most readers.
It's the closest thing I know to a real, old-fashioned "Junk Shop" - but with no actual junk, just good quality stuff.
The man who owns it has been in the second-hand trade in and around Nottingham for years, and consequently has a lot of contacts and a lot of knowledge.  
Nothing in his shop is priced, which I normally find a bit irritating, but he's always on hand to ask, and it's usually a very good price.
Stock includes Whitefriars, Denby, Poole, Hornsea, just to give you an idea of the sort of thing he sells.

The stuff in his shop is just the tip of the iceberg, and if you're looking for something particular he may have it in one of his storage units.