10 best charity chops in London

This morning I was delighted to see an article on the London Evening Standard website about charity shops in London, listing the Top 10 in the city. Second hand fashion is growing in popularity, and charity shops are reacting to this trend with better stores and better stock. As mentioned in this article, in certain areas (the posher ones) some charity shops are the perfect place to pick up a designer piece, or a once loved celebrity item, and all the while raising money for good causes across the UK and the World.

I was even more delighted to see that two of my frequent charity shop haunts have made the list! As my local,, the Oxfam in Dalston is one of my favourite charity shops and I have found some really wonderful treasures in there, such as this heart print dress, or this cute little designer number. The other is one that I have recently started visiting as it’s close to my new workplace, and that’s the Save the Children store on Clapham High Street. I like to pop in here on a lunch break, and often come out with something, such as these cute dresses, and this bag for a recent wedding.

There are some shops on this list that look great, but they are little far away from where I live so perhaps I will do a special day trip and see what treats I can find in them!

Charity Shop in Brixton

Charity Shop in Brixton

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Wedding Bells in Belfast

Last weekend my gorgeous cousin Charly tied the knot to her handsome groom, Ash in Belfast. Charly is a scouser and Ash is from Northern Ireland so it promised to be a rapturous affair. My entire family was there as well, which is a rare occurrence outside of Christmas Day. It was a fantastic weekend, filled with booze, turkey, acoustic folk sets, dancing and more dancing. Here is a lovely picture of the happy couple. (hopefully they won’t mind me nicking one of their wedding pics!)

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This was the first wedding of three this year, and that means three wedding outfits to plan for. A lot of my friends buy a new outfit for every wedding they go to, and as much as I love an excuse for a new dress, it starts to get a little pricey.

So, reluctant to buy a new dress, I found myself doing that stereotypical female thing of standing infront of my wardrobe one week before the wedding, trying on every dress I own and modelling each one for Tom – whose only concern is whether it is too short or not. Turns out most things I own are too short, so it left me with very limited options, and I was starting to think I might have to resort to wearing a dress I wore to a wedding two years ago. I know, the ultimate wedding fashion faux par right?

Then, in a moment of epiphany I remembered a past charity shop purchase that would be PERFECT. I searched in the depths of my extremely unorganised wardrobe and found it. This cute, and not too short (!), beige / pink polka dot number was exactly what I needed.

I bought this dress during my big charity haul in Glasgow a couple of years ago, but for some reason I didn’t blog about it at the time. Well, now it gets a blog post all of its own! Here I am wearing the dress with my gorgeous siblings. Not the best picture of the dress, but I was too carried away with wedding shenanigans to take any better pics and I just love this photo.

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The best thing about this outfit though was my super last minute bag purchase. I’ve never owned a clutch bag as I’ve never had use for one, but when I spotted this lovely little pink and gold number  in Save the Children on my lunch break two days before the wedding, I was delighted and snapped it up straight away. One of the best £3 I’ve ever spent. It’s ok to use the same bag at multiple weddings, right?!

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Fitness For Less

The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting lighter and summer is getting closer. And that can only mean one thing…early morning boot camps, of course!

Don’t worry, I haven’t decided to join the fitness blogging band wagon (I would be terrible at it!), I actually wanted to share with you a few items I have picked up over the years that have become staples in my fitness wardrobe. Exercise gear can often be expensive, and with the cost of gym membership added on top, getting in shape or keeping fit can become a bit of a wallet buster!

Well, firstly I don’t go the the gym, so that’s one cost I don’t need to worry about! Tom and I are lucky enough to live on Millfields Park and the River Lee, so I have miles of gorgeous running routes and trim trails to keep my wobbly legs happy. This morning we decided to reinstate our morning bootcamps, where we jog around the park and do circuits for about 30mins before work. Tom is a tough trainer, and I might grimace, snot and sweat my way through it but it’s a great way to start the day and best of all it’s totally free!

And now here comes the important bit, my kit. I bought these trainers from the Trinity Hospice charity shop on Queensway, London about 4 years ago. They are Asics, fit perfectly, and were £5! Asics retail at £50+ so this was an absolute bargain, and they have been with me through thick and thin the last few years. These guys helped me finish my first ever 5K Race for Life, they’ve crossed the finish line in the Olympic Stadium, plodded their way through 2.5 hours of running my first half marathon last year, got me through numerous spin classes, and here they are on my first 6.30am bootcamp of the year! They are a little worn, but they’ll be falling apart before I can be persuaded to buy a new pair!

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For years I have been running in old cotton t-shirts that make you sweat buckets. But a few months ago I came across a pair of almost new Karrimor running tops in an Oxfam in Cambridge for £2 each! Here I am wearing the blue one (the other is black). They are really comfortable and perfect for the summer season!

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And here is the full outfit, plus a picture of me doing the monkey bars, simply because I’m usually rubbish at them but this morning I got across the whole way:)

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A Work of Art

This morning I came across this lovely little news story about a man in Canada who is breathing new life into paintings he finds in charity shops.

David Irvine takes the slightly worn, dated paintings and adds in a modern twist, creating these slightly odd but charming pieces of art!

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I just love this idea. Charity shops are full of unloved paintings –  I’ve often bought some for the frame alone and the painting that sat inside them gets thrown away, and it’s lovely to see them being re-used and bringing a smile to faces of people all over the world!

Incredibly, David sells his ‘Re-Directed’ art for around £200+, which isn’t bad for a painting that can’t have cost any more than £5 when he bought it! The only thing I would have liked to see is that a donation of the profits are given back to the charity shop where the original was purchased. 🙂

Easter Monday in Greenwich

What a gorgeous Easter Monday! The sun was shining and instead of sitting at our desks we were free to actually enjoy it! This afternoon I ventured south of the river to visit my friend Kirsty in one of my favourite places in London, Greenwich. It’s got the Thames, The Cutty Sark, some amazing pubs and a fantastic park which offers some of the best views on the city.

With it being such a gorgeous day I was desperate to dig out one of my beloved summer dresses, but it wasn’t quite warm enough to go bare legged so I opted for the dress and leggings look. I wore this adorable sun dress that I found in Hackney a few years ago, and teamed it with a cosy navy blue cardigan that I found in Compton Hospice, Wolverhampton.

My back pack is also a recent purchase, bought from Save the Children in Clapham North for £4.99. I love a good back pack and have a few sitting in my wardrobe, but this Claire’s Accessories number is cute and summery and I’m loving it.

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Daisies and Lace

I don’t just buy from charity shops, I donate to them as well, and after a bit of a sort out my boyfriend and I are always taking in bin bags of the things we don’t want. The trouble is, whenever I take stuff into a charity shop, I often end up taking something new home with me!

This was just one of those occasions. I was taking a bag of things to the Mind charity shop on Stoke Newington High Street and left with this gorgeous navy blue AX Paris dress, bought for £9. I love the lace daisy detail around the sleeves and collar, and am considering wearing this to my cousin’s wedding next month.

Daisy dress