Monthly Archives: December 2011
We have been in NZ for a lovely ten days now, although it is just our luck to arrive when it is tipping down so badly they have had to evacuate whole towns due to flooding. Poor timing on our part. BUT as ever, there is a silver lining – because lolling on the beach is out, a serious amount of lolling around charity shops is IN. Can I get a whoop whoop!
As we wander around these junk stores I often find myself wondering what people do when the clouds open up? In my opinion secondhand shopping is quite simply a wonderful, all round hobby, perfect in every way for those rainy days.
We are majorly limited by what we can actually buy as we have to lug it all back across the world but this hasn’t hampered our browsing. Amongst other things we have found some cool old toys for Ramona, a yoghurt maker (one of the things on my hope-for list) and some fabric. But today is really an ode to some of the retro style you can pick up here in NZ so easily.
UK charity shops often lack good vintage clothing- is it because vintage dealers nab them first and stock up their own shops with it? Or is it just harder to find amidst all the Primark tat? I very rarely find great retro clothing back home.
So here it has been a particular pleasure to rummage through these shelves and admire some nice Kiwi old skool. I left my FAVE cardi back in England (It was one of those “I will put this cardi here in this special place so that I DO NOT FORGET IT” moments) so have managed to pick up three cardi’s to take it’s place. Nothing beats a nice seventies acrylic cardi! All three of them made lovingly in NZ. Here we are squizzing at the cat in the next door neighbour’s garden- Ramona is utterly obsessed with them. You also get a good look at my finger toes in these shots. Your welcome.
Hand Knitted Lemon Yellow Cardi- £3.99 from the Salvation Army in Lower Hutt
White Acrylic Waistcoat with Gold and Navy Trim- 25p from the Hospice shop in Levin
White Acrylic Cardi with Light Blue Patterned Stripe- £2.99 from Savemart in Levin
Ramona’s Green Checkered Dress- 25p from Hospice shop in Levin (they were having a beauty 50c sale)
To me, thriftiness speaks of a “make do and mend” attitude, a beautiful scraping of the barrel, a sense that less is more. Sometimes I think thriftiness is confused with ‘bagging a bargain’ and we accept that low cost for us sometimes means a high cost for someone else in the chain. And sometimes holding high ethical consumer values can seem out of reach for people truly on a budget- Fairtrade can be double the didgets, an eco label comes with a hefty price tag. I think even the best of us sometimes leave our principles at the door when it comes to Christmas as the pressure to BUY is so immense. These are the four ways that I am trying to keep it ethical and thrifty:
- Buying secondhand is THE best way to shop ethically- utilising cast offs means essentially opting out of the supply/ demand system which wreaks havoc amongst the world’s resources. Over the last few weeks we have found some fab bits and bobs to go in our pressie drawer (we all have one, eh?) that aren’t new but we know people will enjoy. Ebay is an even more predictable way of buying secondhand goods – but I find less joy in it; mining piles of sticky jumble gives me a lot of pleasure.
- For the last few years our extended family has just done Secret Santa- where all the names go in a hat and we are given a £20 budget to buy for one person. This takes the pressure off massively and £20 can get someone a really stunning fairtrade item. This creates soooo much less waste – or more space in the pressie drawer if you are one for ‘regifting’ (Not me though, I would NEVER) (Ha.)
- Buying in bulk is the third way that I am trying to be ethically thrifty. I buy all my shampoo/ handwash/dishwashing liquid/showergel in huge tubs from Ethical Superstore. This brings it down to a very reasonable price and saves on packaging. Decanting some lovely organic showergel and crafting up a lush label is making a trusty quick, inexpensive gift for some friends this year.
- The last one is equally as obvious but making pressies using up stuff you have is probably the pinacle of being ethically thrifty. There are a zillion and one ideas out there – #thriftythursday tag on twitter throws up some goodies – but the main point is to do something simple that shows your love for someone, innit? For me, this year, it is all about embroidary. I have a new embroidary hoop and a shed load of fabric remnants and, Oh my, it is the dog’s bollocks.
It would be pretty ridiculous of me to not mention this as I have been pouring my heart and soul into this for the last few months, but I also realise it is a shameless plug…
This Saturday on Oxford Street is Fair Christmas Fayre. It goes from 12-7pm and there are over 30 wonderful stalls, jampacked with eco/ fairtrade gifts. We started running this fair 4 years ago as we felt buying ethically was such a challenge in central London. There are a huge variety of items starting from a few pounds so if you live close by and want to have an ethically thrifty festive season do pop in and say hello! There is also live music, a fair trade cafe, vintage badgemaking and festive facepainting so it would make a cool day out for all the family.
Would love to hear your four point plan for being ehitcally thrifty this Christmas…