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.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

My Imaginary Second Family (or Random Photos)

When you buy as much second-hand tat as I do, you tend to accumulate some interesting bits and bobs along the way.

I now have a pile of other people's family photos (in an envelope marked as such, to avoid confusion in case my descendants ever want to do some family history).

They make me feel kind of happy-sad - happy to have a glimpse into the past, but sad that they have strayed from their "proper" family.  Out of respect to the black and white and sepia strangers of my imaginary second family, I am unable to throw away these found photos.

I thought you might like to have a look at some of my favourites

"Too fast - Wanna get off" - thank goodness Alton Towers had yet to be invented

Remember the days before digital?  You could use a whole reel of film trying to get everyone smiling at once.
No such wasteage here!
I absolutely love the lines of that playground horse.  Wonder if it was made by "Wicksteed of Kettering"?

I am lusting after the curtains in this Skegness pub
I bet the kids were outside with a bottle of pop and a bag of crisps.  Still, at least the parents would have known where they were - unlike the Camerons.

Triang Toy Shop - top pressie!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Charity Shopping in Derby

I often visit Derby for a thrifting away-day, and today I decided to take a few photos, which seem to have become a bit of a charity-shoppers' guide to Derby.

I concentrated mainly on the bric-a-brac sections as they are the first place I look and they make the most interesting photos. 

Click on map to enlarge

1 - PDSA, Albert Street

Small vintage section (pictured left). 

Large-ish bric-a-brac shelf, mid/high price range.

2- Scope, Albert Street
Right next door to PDSA, mostly modern stuff, mid-range prices.
Nothing worth photographing today.

3 - Cancer Research, Albert Street

There are two Cancer Research shops in the city centre, and this is by far the best.

Large bric-a-brac section (pictured right and below), prices range from very reasonable to quite high.

I have bought some lovely stuff here in previous visits, including the Melitta Stockholm coffee set.

I've also been lucky here with household linens.

Cancer Research


4 - Lighthouse Charity Shop,
Albert Street

Large bric-a-brac section, some good stuff, excellent prices.

Some large furniture, mostly Argos-style, with occasional outbreaks of mid-century.

5 - British Heart Foundation, Corn Market

Fairly standard BHF shop, small bric-a-brac section, mostly modern stuff, prices not too bad.

Loads of books, mid/high priced clothes, shoes and handbags.

Probably time for a coffee break by now - Caffe Nero (marked "A" on map) is opposite BHF.

6 - Padley Shop, Sadler Gate

Small shop with a selection of clothes, books and bric-a-brac.
Normally very reasonable on prices, I have no idea what they were thinking when they priced this carafe set at £25.

My favourite buy from here was the Hornsea salt and pepper pots in this post.

Mad Hares

Not a charity shop, but Sadler Gate has a variety of lovely individual home/gift shops and this one (marked "B" on the map) is worth a mention.

It's only been open for a few weeks, but it's well-stocked with some very reasonably-priced small gifts and some gorgeous expensive, luxury stuff, too.

There is a cafe space at the rear of the shop, which will be up and running soon - 
it's beautifully arranged, with nice music and friendly staff, and promises to be a good coffee-stop.

A little further down Sadler Gate, to the left, is the gorgeous but sadly neglected Strand Arcade.
Cut through here to The Strand, and at the other end is this gem -

Ink & Thread
Ink & Thread - The Strand

Again, not a charity shop, but impossible to leave out.

Beautiful things, displayed perfectly and lovely friendly staff.

Have a look at their website .

Ink & Thread

Across the road from Ink & Thread is Derby Library, Museum and Art Gallery, which is well worth a visit.

To the left of the library is a little cut-through which will take you to The Wardwick

Cats Protection League

7 - Cats Protection League, The Wardwick

Mid-range prices, medium-sized bric-a-brac section, predictably lots of cat-related stuff.

8 - Oxfam, St Peters Street

Fairly typical Oxfam shop, prices on the high side, disappointingly even for damaged goods.

Small bric-a-brac section, lots of books and clothes.

If it wasn't coffee time earlier, it most definitely is now.
For a decent, non-chain coffee, pop into the shopping centre to the left and you'll find Caruso Coffee Shop, marked "D" on the map.


9 - Shelter, St Peters Street

Generally reasonable prices, with occasionally incomprehensively high ones.
Medium-sized bric-a-brac section, lots of clothes including new (high-priced) M&S seconds.


 10 - Cancer Research, Babington Lane
The second Cancer Research shop, mostly modern stuff, but reasonably priced and worth a look. 

11- Barnardos, Babington Lane

Large shop - mostly clothes, but has a small vintage section and a small modern bric-a-brac section.
Reasonably-priced stuff.

12 - Save The Children

Medium-sized shop, decent prices, fairly grotty bric-a-brac section but worth a look.  Nothing worth photographing today.

Derby City Mission
Derby City Mission
13 - Derby City Mission Shop, The Spot, Osmaston Road
A nice, traditional (slightly scruffy) charity shop, fairly small, very good prices. 

Would you believe I did a 13-charity-shop circuit, and only spent 99p!
(On that vintage rose tablecloth just above, which will be featuring in a blog giveaway very soon).

I'm joining in with

I'm too late for the
but if you haven't already, do go over and have a look

Friday, 8 June 2012

House porn

I was looking forward to the new Channel 4 series "The House the 50s built" last night, and it was interesting viewing.

The first episode concentrated on the kitchen (not my favourite room), so now that's out of the way I am eagerly anticipating some lovely furniture porn in the living and dining rooms in future episodes.

One thing that slightly freaked me out was learning that formica and melamine contain formaldehyde - I'm hoping that any toxic evilness has leaked out of my vintage stuff years ago.

Here are some vintage Formica tables from my private table-porn collection. 

Guaranteed non-toxic for safe internet viewing.