Thursday, 12 January 2012

Charity Shop Couture

Watch this space for a pictures from a photo shoot of charity shop garb.

For those who enjoy making things, I saw a knitting machine in the Cornwall Hospice Care shop.

Owl feather hat
Following on from my interest in hats, I saw a selection of fur lined hats in the Cornwall Hospice Care shop in Falmouth. The best one, displayed on the mannequin, was made from owl feathers. Sadly, none of them fit my head.

See the Wedding page for the latest on wedding dresses. The reason to report on these dresses is more to show how frequently they appear and what good condition they are in, as I have now seen 4 wedding dresses in 4 charity shops in Falmouth, in as many months. 

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Portable Picnics for Coastal Walks in Cornwall

Picnic set for 4 Posh Pants
Currently half price at £6
Warmer Winter
It's only the 11th January and, today, the sun is shining brightly all over Britain. If you aren't too worried about the future of the planet by this unseasonal warm weather - or, as this is England I should say 'mild' weather  - you may already be thinking 'picnic'. In case of snow, there is probably plenty of unsold, reduced ski wear on sale in the shops.

Unless you are the kind of person who hibernates in the winter, you can find a picnic rucksack in two of Falmouth's charity shops. I have recently spotted 3 varieties of portable picnic set (pictured). If these were unwanted Christmas presents, they are bound to be snapped up well before the first signs of spring.

Concept picnic set for 2
Barnados £5.99
You Can Try This At Home - I Did

I've tried and tested one of these ruck sack picnic sets - I wish I'd waited now and not bought mine from a London garden centre. They have a cool bag compartment that fits two decent sized, plastic food containers.

Small picnic set - Posh Pants
Or you could fit in a selection from the deli counter such as tongue, cheese, tomatoes, green salad, terrine, humus, pork pies, chicken drums sticks, baguettes etc. They provide carriers for two bottles, too.  The small one on the left is the one best suited to keen walkers, who aren't too bothered about bringing the entire deli counter with them.

Mullion - A Picnic Idea
As spring approaches, why not visit Mullion, a small harbour on the west side of the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall. It has a hill to climb, a cave for the explorer type and two harbour walls. The area is still used by fisherman, if the evidence of nets lining the wall are to be believed. The history of Mullion I have yet to discover, but the National Trust present an information board about it. There are secluded beaches nearby for keen swimmers and summer sunbathing.

Getting In Gear for Olympic Year

Fitness Chic 
For anyone who has announced to themselves that they are going to get fit and healthy in 2012, the good news is that you can avoid the disillusionment that comes from bleeding your wallet dry buying expensive gear.  How? By searching through charity shops, that's how.

Even though it goes quite quickly, sports equipment can be found in charity shops. The problem here is that things cannot be found on demand. Therefore, I've created a light-hearted guide to the Charity Shop Gym, starting with things I've seen in charity shops.

Gym and exercise class gear.
Depending on how 'Flashdance' you like to go, there's often a bargain bin containing knocked down fitness clothing. Given that you want to join a gym (to use the type of equipment that prisoners spent hours on everyday as their punishment, in Victorian times) in charity shops you could find:
Sports Bras - usually for women, or guys who've drunk too much over festive period.
Thin Cotton Tops - preferably find ones that have kept their shape (I refer to the top. We know the wearer won't have yet) so they don't fall over your face during yoga.
Leg Warmers - ideal for that Flashdance welding routine, Fame or Saturday Night Fever. To complete the look, don't forget to find a...
Leotard - I haven't seen one of these on a person since I went to Pineapple Dance Studios in the late 1990s. But then again, I've not been to a single exercise class. (Why am I writing this?)
Leggings - you could cut the feet off a thick pair of tights.  Good way to recycle ones with holes in the toes.
Bicycle Shorts - not flattering, but probably essential for spinning. I don't know. I've never done it.
Ski Pants - not seen since the 1980s, so look in vintage section.

Other stuff that's good to get from charity shops:
Track Suit - if you're like me, remember to go for labels like Addidas. For the Jimmy Saville look add cigar and medallion.
Running shoes - Reboks etc. Just Do It.
Dumbbells - if you're looking for these, you might have to wait before pumping up those biceps as they go like hot cakes.
Tennis, Squash or Babmington Rackets - time to look for these is July, just after Wimbledon fever has died down.

Why not do Yoga at Home?
Yoga Mats - it might be possible to make do with a couple shower mats, as they are cheap and often in charity shops.
Yoga Blocks - perhaps sew some foam and soft material around a brick.
Yoga Straps - a cotton belt would do the trick.
Ski Trousers or Skis - Think: a modern remake of the Sound of Music with snow.
Walking Poles - ridiculously expensive new, so maybe improvise with a ski stick.

Of course charity shops are a constant and reliable source of t-shirts.