Last Wednesday, I went to visit my mum in Wrexham for a spot of lunch and an afternoon of shopping. As well as buying myself some pick 'n' mix underwear from La Senza with a voucher that has been gathering dust at the bottom of my handbag for too long, some bigger shoes for my little girl (including some light up trainers that she chose herself because there was a buy one get one half price deal on) and some of the fabulous Comic Relief merchandise available at TK Maxx, we did the grand tour of the charity shops.
It wasn't easy. We had two pushchairs to manouevre through tiny shops stuffed full of grabable items and two babies getting a bit fed up.
Mum was great. She found a book about fairies for 10p that kept my little girl amused and with a couple of packets of chocolate buttons in her pocket to administer when appropriate, we bought ourselves more browsing time than we would otherwise have been allowed.
I actually made all my purchases in just one shop. I was looking for tableware for my special dinner party for Ivy and this particular shop had a sign in the window saying "All Bric-a-Brac 25p an item or five for £1". I entered the shop full of hope and was not disappointed.
The first thing I saw was a set of six Royal Victoria Rose Bouquet dinner plates. I loved the colour and the rose design reminded me of my nan who died a couple of years ago and is still greatly missed. They were a bit grubby but otherwise in excellent condition. I put them straight in my basket.
There were piles and piles of odd china. I rummaged through selecting anything I liked look of. I ended up with 15 items (including a pretty little tea cup and saucer for my mum). If I had had unlimited time and carrying capacity, I would have bought more but the chocolate buttons were running out and the bottom of the buggy can only hold so much. I paid my £3 and left happy.
Back home I filled my sink up with hot soapy water and gave everything a good clean. The Rose Bouquet set washed up beautifully. Just out of curiosity, I had a quick look on ebay to see how much they would sell for. I found a set of six priced at £20 and a Royal Doulton Sumatra dinner plate (another of my finds) selling for £6.99. It isn't the sort of profit I could retire on but it did make my bargains quantifiable. By far the most important thing is that I loved what I bought and it was getting me excited about the dinner party.
Guest of honour and Birthday Girl, Ivy, arrived home on Friday night and on Saturday morning after a leisurely breakfast of pancakes dripping with lemon juice and liberally sprinkled with sugar, we set off on our charity shop challenge.
It was wet and miserable but our moods made up for that. I was on the lookout for some interesting glasses and a couple more small plates to complete my table setting. Ivy's challenge was to stamp her personal style sense on every guest by dressing or accessorising them with charity shop finds within a £20 budget. Sister Taylor came along to help and between them they did an amazing job.
|Ivy's skirt, Addy's dress, dad's funky trousers|
|Taylor's dress and hat|
Also purchased were a clip on bow tie to be worn by sister Liberty, bangles for Charis who was actually at a friend's sleepover so with us in spirit only, dinosaur trousers for the baby boy and a top for me. What you can't see in the picture of dad is that beneath his white shirt he was wearing a skin tight, lycra cycling shirt. Not a pretty sight as it clung to every inch of beer belly but Ivy couldn't resist a bit of parent abuse! All this and still within budget.
I didn't find any glasses that were particularly interesting but I did find a set of six unusual pottery drink receptacles - neither goblets or beakers but somewhere in between. At £1.99 for the set I thought they'd do nicely.
I used my own cutlery but everything else was a charity shop bargain, including the coasters (that had a very Karma Sutra-esque design) and the glass tea light holder.
My large glass bowl looked great filled with sweets that went down well during a hilarious (cider fueled) after dinner game of Family Fortunes (a last minute impulse buy in the final charity shop we visited before heading home).
It was a fabulous party, full of fun and laughter.
Some of the things we bought will no doubt find their way back to the charity shop but most have found new permanent homes and will be enjoyed many times over.