second hand shopper’s guide to: secondhand shopping!

(DISCLAIMER: The following information is all based on my personal experiences of charity shopping throughout the UK. A lot is opinion and speculation, and none is intended to offend, merely illuminate.)

Or more specifically, charity shopping. Because we really need to focus here…

So, I’ve been a secondhand fiend for over a decade now. I started trawling the charity shops with my friend Chrissie during our sixth form days – looking for an alternative to the affordable high street stores everyone in school favoured and the uniform look they therefore churned out. Instead, I opted for 70s cordurouy skirts and belted tartan coats, dresses that could be shortened to mini to wear with my Oh-So-90s platform knee boots, lace-edged slips and camis dyed bright colours to wear to the pub, and old-man trousers in seersucker or tweed worn with Converse rip-offs or faux Birkenstocks.

This was not a stage of my fashion development upon which I look back with pride or pleasure…

Still, over the years I’ve become something of a charity shop pro. I can walk into one and spot the bargains hidden amongst the trash. I can go out with a shopping list in mind and know exactly how to sniff out exactly the items I’m looking for. And I can put a fancy dress look together without having to stray into costume shop territory. It’s quite a skill to have developed, and one I’d love to help my readers to develop too!

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Doing it for the boys

Image from here

Yes, September is over, October is truly upon us, which means one thing and one thing only: November is next!

Or Movember, as perhaps we should call it!

The Mo, slang for moustache, and November come together each year for Movember.

Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st  clean shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month.  The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men.  Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days.

In 2009, global participation of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas climbed to 255,755, with over one million donors raising £26 Million (GBP equivalent) for Movember’s global beneficiary partners.

The funds raised through Movember’s UK campaign benefit the The Prostate Cancer Charity (TPCC), the UK’s leading prostate cancer charity.

To be serious for just a moment, this is a fun and funny fund-raiser for a great cause, and I’d be willing to sponsor a good few fellas of my acquaintance if they’d dedicate themselves to a little facial topiary next month…

In fact, I’m beginning to feel quite strongly that some sort of moustache-shaping competition might be in order!

So, if you’re local to Le Spa and would be interested in a moustachioed soiree in the name of charidee, leave me a comment. Enough interest and I’ll put together a little event of some description… probably invloving cake… with prizes for the best face-fur. Ladies, if you doubt you can badger your fellas into participating, feel free to join in yourselves – I belive Stone the Crows on Regent Street in Leamington offers a decent array of fancy dress paraphernalia, and little compliments a vintage frock quite so beautifully as a full, bushy lip-caterpillar!

Brummites and Cov-types also very much invited – particularly Steve, with his amazing “Tombstone ‘tache” as sported for my birthday party! :D

To find out more about the campaign (and to browse some frankly fantastic facial fuzz) visit the Movember website.