Fairtrade Fortnight: 24 February – 9 March

Now I am well aware that this is nearly over, but I want to mention this event to raise awareness of the vast quantity of fair trade products that available, particularly in the UK. The first two that usually spring to mind are chocolate and bananas – purely because they are the most commonly spoken about. The current campaign for this year is to Make bananas Fair – you can read about it and the Fairtrade Foundation here and sign the petition here. I’m going to sign the petition after work today – we need to make our voices, and the voices of the farmers, heard and acknowledged. I’ll admit I’m not all that snazzy when it comes to politics, but I truly believe that we need to do more to ensure that fairness is achieved for all.

Now I’m a student. I live on a tight budget. Yet I still try to buy fair trade products as often as I can. I am partly able to do this because I volunteer in Oxfam and our store in particular has a huge selection of fair trade products. It’s not just about food either. As I mentioned in a previous post, you can get Fairtrade lip balms, hand creams, BB creams, condoms, shampoo, washing powder … the list goes on! It’s well worth having a browse online and seeing where you can buy fair trade items. Yes it can be a little bit more costly, but not by a substantial amount and treat it like your good deed of the day! Your hard work is improving someone else’s life and making a big difference to them, their family and community.

The photo contains just some of my favourite Fairtrade products that I regularly buy. The coffee is beautiful and the stem ginger biscuits are simply divine. I always buy a packet for Mum when I go home as they are a household favourite. The dark chocolate, orange and ginger chocolate is my little pick-me-up luxury. I also use some of the household products and the quality is exceptional. It’s worth paying the extra for.

Seeing as it is the start of Lent, instead of giving alms why not buy something Fairtrade every week? Even if you’ve given up sweet treats, there are still many other things you could buy. To make things a little more cost-effective, up until the end of Fairtrade Fortnight (9 March) you can get 20% all Fairtrade food products (excluding the Easter range – yes there’s Fairtrade Easter Eggs!) in Oxfam shops. Go on, make a difference and let’s get fair trading for all!

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What’s occurring

  • My running is improving – I went out with my running buddy on Sunday and I’ve definitely been bitten by the running bug again. I just want my cold to jog on far away because it’s making running uncomfortable. Despite this, I’m still going out as often as I can and once this weekend is over, I’m hoping to go out every day like I did in first year, with longer runs on my planned training days.
  • I’ve had two donations towards my local branch of the RSPCA – if you wish to be generous or just have a nose at adorable pictures of Mabel and Marvin and see updates about my training, then visit my JustGiving page.
  • My SALA portfolio is starting to take shape – I’ve been doing the award since I joined uni as it’s basically an extra acknowledgement of all my volunteering, but now I have to write it all up to match the evidence I’ve been gathering over the years. Originally I was told that Oxfam wouldn’t count, but I’m pleased I stuck with it as now they will accept it. As they should – I’ve picked up so many valuable skills through my role there.
  • I treated myself on Saturday while I was in Oxfam, after doing so well and not buying any new clothes for a while. I bought a Laura Ashley cardigan at an absolute bargain as it’ll be fantastic for when I’m on placement. I got a day-per-page diary reduced significantly down in the sale to make daily notes in (I’ve been eyeing it for while) and a Fiorelli handbag which was also a bargain and is ideal for days when I don’t want to use my lovely Radley bag.
  • Today however was the only dip in my enjoyable week. I won’t go into details, but I will be raising a few issues with some people to try to prevent it happening again. I will not be walked over in this instance!
  • Then to add to today’s chaos, I’ve been triple checking everything for tomorrow’s Senior Section trip to Newcastle. I printed out the train tickets today and I had a pile of 70 tickets, which I’ve sorted into numerical order per train so I know where we are kinda thing. Fingers crossed for an excellent weekend.
  • This week I’ve been a bit adventurous with my coffee. I have the mini set of Costa syrups and I only have the cinnamon one left to try. So far I’m not too fussed on the vanilla or caramel ones, which I was rather surprised with as I have quite a sweet tooth. Instead my favourite is the hazelnut syrup, it makes my coffee taste a bit like Ferrero Rocher, and the gingerbread one is pleasant, it fits the cold weather. I like adding them to hot chocolate as well, but I have to limit myself as to how many syrupy coffees I have – they aren’t the healthiest treats! The other coffee related attempt I’ve made was trying Starbucks Chi Spice Latte. I really wanted to like it, but again it was a touch too sweet for me and then kept hitting my with a bit of spice heat. I finished it, but I can still taste it in my mouth – I had it at lunch and have since eaten two meals – but it’s almost like it’s singed itself into my taste buds.

Festive filled weekends

In between two essays, I’ve had two rather busy weekends. The first was two weekends ago when my mum came down from Newcastle to visit me. We had a lovely weekend together and we spent the majority of it out shopping. I picked her up from the station after guides on Friday and we had a catch up before bed. She told me the incredibly sad news that our family cat, Whiskey, had unfortunately passed away last month, aged fifteen. He had a fantastic life and we were very lucky to have had so long with him. I will miss him loads, especially when I go home, but he’s back with his buddies Betty and Felix now. Mum had been forbidden to tell me about it until she came to see me, incase I was on my own because of how upset I’d be.

We spent Saturday in Manchester, and I must say we weren’t overly impressed, but I think that was partly because most of the market stalls were food related. We did get the majority of our Christmas shopping done and after a bit of chill time back in the house, we went to Cafe Sekander on Allerton Road. We had a fantastic meal, completely stuffing ourselves. On Sunday we went to the Winter Arts Festival in St George’s Hall, Liverpool. That was by far the best selection of stalls we saw over the weekend. I bought a couple of mementos of Liverpool for when I move back home. I cooked Mum my risotto for tea while we watched Strictly together, it makes all the difference watching the show with someone else! After church we went back into Liverpool One to see the Christmas lights. They don’t have anything as spectacular as Fenwick’s window, but it was still a wonderful walk along to the Docks and back. We had a lazy day on Monday before Mum had to catch her train back home. We both had a wonderful weekend and I can’t wait to spend more time with her when I’m home for Christmas.

Mum and I by the big Christmas tree in Liverpool

Missing my gorgeous boy already

Then this weekend I was off to West Kirby with my scouse guide unit for Christmas camp. Don’t worry it was indoors and thankfully the weather behaved itself. I ran some of the activities, including making truffles and peppermint/strawberry creams. We always made them at Christmas camp when I was a guide, but these guides seemed completely oblivious as to what they were! The girls were wonderful, they let us get a decent amout of sleep! An absolute miracle compared to last year. We also did plenty of crafts and had our Secret Santa and three course Christmas dinner on Saturday. I think Christmas camp is my favourite camp of the year, the atmosphere and activities are brilliant. It got me in an even bigger festive mood and when I got back from camp, I packed for going home on Friday. I never pack that early, but I’m just so excited for going home and seeing all my family again!

Another regular camp craft – place mat decoration

Soap and flannel Reindeer

Snuggly essay days, shopping and a new job

Liverpool is absolutely freezing now, and to make matters worse, we currently don’t have a working washing machine. Not exactly ideal given that I go away next week, but then it’s a brilliant excuse to get a few ’emergency’ jumpers. I spent most of Sunday huddled up under my giraffe print throw, hot water bottle tucked under my feet and copious thermal cups of coffee on hand, to get me through my essay research. For some reason, I’m not feeling that dedicated to it at the moment. It might be because I have a slightly more important personal statement to narrow down (47 lines is a puny amount for a PGCE application!) and the essay deadline seems ages away. Either way, it was a relatively relaxing day snuggled up with the textbooks. Yeah goodbye social life!

I absolutely adore these slouchy socks!

Welcome to third year

Yesterday I went to Cheshire Oaks with two of my friends on my course. Luckily, one of the girls was our taxi for the day (I’m repaying her with a coffee and loan of a textbook today) so we didn’t have to faff around with buses etc. We went mainly to go to TGI Fridays, but the discounted shopping was another bonus. Lunch was lovely, in fact the whole day was brill as it was an excuse to get out the house and just relax for a bit. We were out for about five hours in total, but it was worth the break. I bought some stuff in Boots to try out – some hair putty to style my short crop, a new lippy and liner for nights out and a cute every day nail polish. I’m toying with the idea of doing a few beauty reviews on them in the future, so keep an eye out. I did get some leggings in H&M, but I think I’m going to either return or exchange them as they’re too big when I go into town tomorrow after work.

My beauty treats

Today was my first shift as a viewing clerk for my housing agency. It went pretty well given that it was my first one, we only had one wrong set of keys (not my fault) and two locked bedrooms which the master keys wouldn’t open. My next shift is on Thursday and I’ll be on my own for that one, which I’m weirdly excited about it. Not so keen on the timing though as I’m out Wednesday night and have a 9am lecture to attend before the viewing. Excellent excuse for not staying out ridiculously late though! The only negative about the viewings is that I’ve left my lovely Radley umbrella in one of the properties! All the tenants have been notified about it but I can not remember where I put it down. Hopefully I’ll get it back, but if not, I’ll get a cheap one in Primark tomorrow (just in case) and ask for a new one for Christmas.

Liverpool’s ‘Big’ Christmas and Vintage Fair

My comments about Christmas coming too early still stand because frankly it felt a little odd having a festive day alongside a two-minute silence in remembrance (even weirder given that it was in Primark). However, I thoroughly enjoyed my day out with my friend from Amnesty and I’m sure she’ll be blogging about it between the mountain of uni work that is threatening to bury the two of us.

The weather was fairly pleasant this morning, so I ended up going out in one of my favourite outfits. Yes I’m finally ready to reveal myself, rather than a cropped/zoomed photo. Just another dimension to add to the blog seeing as I adore clothes shopping and fashion in general. The jumper is from Sainsbury’s and it is super cosy. The skirt and tights are both Primark’s finest – I do love a good bargain, especially when it’s something I can wear with just about everything in my tiny uni wardrobe. To complete the outfit, I wore my pink Doc Martin shoes (I tend to wear very little else when I leave the house), my Next quilted jacket and my lovely new knitted addition. My incredibly talented mum has knitted me this hat and it arrived in the post yesterday. As you know, I adore giraffes and I’m very impressed with Mum’s skills.

We met before the fair started as we fancied going for a Costa breakfast, mainly because the new festive range is available. I had a skinny Black Forest Gateau hot chocolate and a slice of Christmas cake. That’s one of my favourite festive foods so I thought I might as well go whole hog since I was having a treat breakfast and going to a Christmas fair. Can you believe that I had the last hot chocolate – they’d ran out by 9.45am! It was very tasty and set me up for the day of shopping ahead.

I bought the tickets for the fair through Groupon as we got four tickets for the price of two. It was advertised as ‘Liverpool’s Big Vintage Fair’ and I’m fairly sure there was something about a free Nails Inc nail polish and photos, but instead we got a choice between free mulled wine, mince pie or cupcake. We went with the cupcake option because it was too early in the morning for wine and chocolate is always good. The fair was at the Bluecoat in Liverpool, which is a wonderful building slightly hidden behind Primark. There were a couple of stands in the front courtyard, including a fantastic cosmetic stall. I bought a spiced plum lip balm (I do have a slight obsession with lip balms) and there were a couple of other things that tempted me, but I resisted. We went upstairs first and I have to say we were a little disappointed with the range of products there. For the most part, the items were the same, just at different prices and qualities. There were also some incredibly pushy sellers. Again, a few things caught my eye, including some lovely (but pricey) scarves and long necklaces. I’d quite like to get a statement necklace, but I’m yet to see one that totally steals my heart (and therefore my purse). We had a wander in the stalls downstairs and they were much more impressive. Still very expensive though. It’s almost like people can add another zero to the price tag because it’s ‘vintage’. Sometimes it’s worth it, but for the most part, I struggled to justify the prices some sellers were asking for. There were some cute candles inside china cups (seems to be the new craze along with melted records as dishes) but due to the tiny size of my room, I again couldn’t justify getting them. Same with the lovely cake stands. When I get my own place, I might be able to treat myself to little trinkets like that. In the end, I settled for some bunting for my room, another set for Christmas, and a cute little gingerbread figure which is currently decorating my mug tree. It was a lovely fair, but I’m pleased I only paid £2.50 for it, especially when you consider the size of my favourite markets back home, which are free. As a one-off day out, it was worth it though.

Today’s market purchases

My housemate was meant to be going with us to the fair, but due to a prior commitment, we didn’t meet up with her until after 2pm. Seeing as we’d finished the fair by 11am, we decided to do a bit of shopping since we were already in town. Primark seemed the obvious place to start seeing as it was practically next door and we both wanted to get some more woolies in. We found quite a few bargains in store and I ended up doing one of the cheapest Primark shops I’ve done in a long time. I got a pair of disco shorts for £3 (I’ve fancied a pair for a while, so we’ll see how I wear them), some new PJs for my upcoming uni trip to Berlin, a new set of tights and a winter themed thermal mug for uni. I’m impressed with the PJ shorts as they feel like winceyette, yet are fairly short. This baffled my housemate earlier because ultimately shorts are cold regardless of the material, but I get too hot sometimes, so they should be ideal for my winter trip. I’ll take thick bed socks just to be on the safe side. I love taking my thermal cups into uni – my current one has a cupcake pattern and was part of last year’s house secret Santa gift. This winter themed one (it’s not allowed to be classed as Christmassy yet) is cute and will brighten up my lectures as much as the coffee inside it. I was tempted by some of the Christmas jumpers, but I’ve still got last years so didn’t see the point in getting another, despite there being some very cute ones available.

Primark goodies – minus the disco shorts, they didn’t look good in the photo

We went to Mello Mello for lunch – it’s a veggie/vegan friendly cafe just off the main streets and I’d heard lots of great things about it. Lunch was lovely – I had a feta, salsa and spinach granary sandwich with black pepper crisps and fermented cherry cola. I was a bit unsure about the fermented fruit bit, but I was assured that this is a less harmful way to have fruit and it tasted delicious. Much nicer than other branded stuff. The feta sandwich was scrummy, a bit rich, but then that’s why I chose it as I very rarely have it. If I could remember the way there, I’d definitely go again and they do live bands etc so it should definitely be considered again.

Lunch

We still had a bit of time to kill, so we went over to Lush. As you’ve probably gathered, this is becoming one of my favourite shops. I’d say at least a third of my Christmas list is from there and I could easily add to it. I’m seriously tempted to get their ‘Let the good times roll’ face cleanser and ‘Karma kream’ body lotion. Like I said, if I had the money, I’d stock my bathroom with their products.

As I mentioned, we later met my housemate and her boyfriend to give them their tickets, but we didn’t stay long at the fair with them as we were pretty tired by then. I’ve been in a bit of discomfort today due to my hour-long toning session at the gym yesterday – those core muscles have barely been touched in the past couple of months and were seriously protesting this morning! We went to pick up our Santa suits for the Santa Dash in a few weeks time. A group of six of us from the Amnesty Society at Hope will be participating to raise funds for Amnesty International UK. If you are feeling particularly generous, feel free to donate here, it would be greatly appreciated!

After that it was a bus ride home with all our purchases and plans for another shopping session after our winter deadlines!

Nobody’s perfect

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll have noticed that my weekend has been fairly eventful to say the least. I went home on Friday for the weekend as I had tickets to see Jessie J on Saturday. The whole weekend was lovely as I got to see my family again, but there were a few little snags along the way. To be honest, it’s a miracle when there isn’t any.

On Friday I took my suitcase with me to lecture because I was going straight to the station once class finished. The second hour was a bit of a pain though as our usual lecturer was temporarily replaced by one of my least favourite members of the department. I can’t concentrate on him and just took notes from the PowerPoint, rather than all the other stuff he mentioned. The uni bus to town was heaving, but I made it to the station with plenty of time to go and get a Costa mocha and brownie (my little treat). I asked if I could reserve a seat for my train back while at the station because I had been unable to online, but alas the train remained a free-for-all. For once my train to York ran rather smoothly, we had a lovely ticket inspector and the large hen party stayed in the carriage behind me. I took advantage of this comfort (remarkable for Transpennie) and had my picnic (including homemade boulders and banana bread) whilst reading.

Chilling with my homemade goodies and novel

The drama, however, began when I arrived at York. I had been slightly worried because I only had thirteen minutes to make my connection, and given how unreliable my trains usually are, there was a possibility of a platform dash. I checked the board on the platform to see where my connection would be pulling in (the Liverpool train actually made it in on time!) and was told that there would be an additional fifteen minute delay due to signalling issues at Doncaster. As far as I was concerned, that meant that I could nip to the loo (rather than the train alternative) and wait on the platform. Yet the longer I stood waiting, the more the train was delayed. The train was meant to arrive at 15.48 and the board eventually stayed on being delayed until 16.34 before simply saying ‘delayed’. In other words, ‘I’ll turn up when I feel like it’. The major frustration though was that two other trains which were delayed for the same reason, arrived within thirty minutes of their intended time, one of which was originally due after mine! The board eventually said that it would be due in at 16.42, nearly an hour later than intended, and that it would only be calling at Newcastle. Then five minutes before it was due it suddenly moved to another platform, meaning we all had to traipse over the bridge. When we arrived, yet another train going to Newcastle had managed to get in before mine and it hadn’t been effected by the delay! We were all slightly narked by this, but got on board the train (it did eventually arrive around 16.40), to be told that it would take roughly fifty minutes to get to Newcastle.

But that wasn’t the end of the fiasco. When I got onboard, it wasn’t obvious which coach was which, and after inquiring in two carriages, it appeared that the carriage my seat was reserved in, didn’t actually exist. Thankfully, due to the cancellation of stopping in Darlington and Durham, there were plenty of seats to sit in. By this point my phone had nearly died, but that wasn’t an issue because I’d updated my family and it was meant to be plain sailing from there. And it would have been as well, if not for the ‘trespasser’ on a bridge in Chester-le-Street. We suddenly stopped in the middle of the countryside, to be notified that we would be delayed further (the conductor made a lovely little joke about how well we were doing to stay on time) because no body was allowed anywhere near the area due to the nature of the situation. Looking back, it was a bit amusing because it got people talking in the carriage, although we were all thoroughly ticked off. After about twenty minutes we started moving and when we went past Durham (which was jam-packed) we thought we were home sailing. Until we stopped about five minutes later to be told that due to a traffic accident on the A1, the police had been delayed to the bridge and were stilling trying to deal with the incident. In the end, the train ended up being an hour and forty-five minutes delayed. I wasn’t in the best of moods, but I’m getting full compensation for the journey and my dad was picking me up to go visit my aunt.

Aside from that minor irritation, I had a wonderful evening with my family. There was lots of laughter, exchanges of gossip and family goings-on and a fair bit of food. It was definitely what I needed to cheer me up after the day I’d had. When I got home around midnight, my mum and stepdad were pulling up from the birthday party they’d been to. They showed me the transformation that is currently underway in my bedroom – my stepdad has turned my storage cupboard into a proper set of stairs to get into the loft (making it easier to get to everything and I get to use it as storage). This does mean that everything that was in the cupboard was in my bedroom, leaving me to sleep in the spare bedroom which is tiny. We had a bit of an issue with the cat in the attic, but after twenty minutes, lots of scratches and the cat carrier, we had him downstairs again.

Getting to my clothes was fun

Some of my stepdad’s hard work

After a breakfast of bacon and fried egg sandwich (or ‘wear me sandwich’), my mum and I went to visit my grandparents, who celebrated their sixty-first wedding anniversary the day before. It felt like ages since I last saw them and we spent a fair bit of time there chatting. From there, Mum and I went to New Look because it never feels like a trip home without a peek in the store. I bought a couple of things in the sale for uni, including a rather snazzy crop top for nights out. We went to Sainsbury’s to get presents for my stepniece’s third birthday. She was already getting a Disney Princess kitchen from Mum and my stepdad, so I bought her some items to accessorise the kitchen as well as her Christmas present because they had the toys reduced. By the time we eventually got back in the house, I only had time to clear a path to my wardrobe, get out the clothes I wanted to take back to Liverpool and jump in the bath before I was back out on the metro to town.

I met my friend at the Gate and we went for food at Frankie and Benny’s. We hadn’t spoken properly since my birthday weekend, so it was a great catch up and the food was really nice. It’s our usual food place when we have a catch up as we are yet to have a bad meal there. From the meal, we walked over to the Metro Radio Arena as I had invited her to accompany me to see Jessie J. I got the tickets for free from my cousin who won them at work and we were dead close to the stage, but had the comfort of not being in the standing area. The support acts were decent enough. After queuing in possibly the longest que (it has very nearly the length of the venue), we arrived during the DJ act, which got the crowds spirits up. There were a couple of long pauses between acts and the DJ came back on between Lawson and Jessie J. I was a bit disappointed with Lawson as they didn’t sound as good as I expected.

Jessie J, on the other hand, was epic! I could happily have had even more of her performance instead of Lawson. She seems such a genuine, honest and modest person. The whole tour was themed around living life to the best that you can, focusing on positivity rather than the little niggles that happen along the way. What I thought was really clever was that she used little videos to fill her costume changes connecting with the songs that would follow in that ‘act’ as it were and they portrayed this overall message in some way. The final video was all about being Awake, showing/accepting Love, using Instinct, having Values and being full of Energy … in other words ALIVE! I found that really clever and actually a brilliant message to give, especially when you consider how much of a role model she is. I’m certainly proud to be a Heartbeat. There wasn’t a bad moment in the whole of her performance, the energy was fantastic and everyone in the audience was loving the show. I loved the fact that she kept telling the crowd at the front of the stage that she couldn’t see them, because they were too busy trying to film/photo her. It proved a point that technology these days has taken over slightly and I’m pleased I only took occasional photos because I found I focused more on the show and enjoyed it a lot more. Jessie also made a point of saying that she wasn’t perfect after spilling her water on the stage due to her dancing then sang ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ which is one of my favourite songs from her debut album. Alive, her second album, follows along this motivational side and it’s definitely going to be a heavy feature in my workout playlist. She is proof that you can be happy outside the mould of society so ‘just be true to who you are’!

I had another ‘trespasser’ moment when I was trying to get home. But I eventually got back and after watching Strictly with Mum, it was a leisurely nights sleep while the clocks went back an hour. We had a light breakfast on Sunday as my stepdad was cooking my favourite home-time meal – roast chicken with all the trimmings. We spent the morning at Tynemouth market and while there was plenty of things that caught my eye, I resisted the temptation as I’ll be going to two Christmas markets and a Vintage Fair within the next two months. Mum and I spent the afternoon while my stepdad was cooking lunch putting my stepniece’s kitchen together. We didn’t find the instructions until we’d put it together because they were in with the stickers. We had a right giggle whilst doing it and my lunch was superb. Alongside the chicken, we had homegrown peas, cabbage and carrots, as well as cauliflower (ours weren’t quite ready), bubble and squeak, roast potatoes and finally the piece de resistance – my stepdad’s sausagemeat stuffing. It was well worth sacrificing my usual Sunday morning fry-up.

I managed to see my stepfamily before I caught my trains back to Liverpool which was fantastic. I can’t believe how much my stepniece has grown up! Aunt Del was perfectly happy to play chef before Mum drove me to the station. We had been a little concerned about going in to town as it was Darby day, but thankfully the match was in Sunderland, so I didn’t meet any football fans (an unusual miracle for me) and the trains back to Liverpool were a lot less eventful. My train to York was a bit late coming in, but due to several delays (I’m guessing from the start of the storm) my Liverpool train was also slightly delayed. I found a seat near the rack and shoved my case in. Given that it was an unreserved train, you’d have thought people would have the manners to leave seats for others, especially given how busy it was, but the couple who sat near me still tried to use an extra seat each for their luggage. Some people just have no common sense or decency. I was back in my scouse house not long after eight and was unpacked and reading in bed by ten, ready to start again with uni.

It was a wonderful weekend home, and although I’m not going back until Christmas, my mum is planning to come down at the start of December and I’m going to be pretty busy with assignments. In fact, that’s what I’m going to crack on with now, seeing as I didn’t really do much over the weekend. It’s these little indulgences that get me through the busy, at times tedious, uni moments!

Charity shop haul

So today was my first shift back at Oxfam. How I have missed them all! It was a brilliant shift, made even better by several things:

  1. I got to have a good catch up with the girls as I got back into the rhythm of the shop
  2. I was going home to what turned out to be a gorgeous meal
  3. I came home with some excellent bargains

I seriously do not understand why some people refuse to shop in charity shops. Yes there’s the old stereotype of old ladies and wee, but for the most part, the shops out there aren’t like that. The old ladies are onto a winner! It’s us volunteers who have to deal with icky bags, none of that stuff should be insight if you are in a good, well-managed shop. In fact all the icky stuff is sent off to a big warehouse which sorts out what is recycled and the rest is doled out to the necessary people, be it other shops, online or refugees/those in need across the globe. At least I know for definite that’s how Oxfam do it and I know most others follow a similar idea. If you’d like to learn more about what Oxfam does click here. If you want to know more when in the show, just ask! They should know something about the process.

At least a third of my wardrobe has come from Oxfam. When I grow out of anything, I send it in. Same with my books – I buy them there and I also return them and others that I’ve bought. I love seeing what people bring in (even if some require rubber gloves) and I love seeing the people who wander through our doors. You can pick up so much from these shops, be it recommendations on outfits, books, even recipes, and it’s all about pot luck. Sometimes I can go weeks without buying anything and then sometimes I end up with a day like today when I pick up some absolute bargains. I bought two jumpers, a top, a chunky cardy, a dress, a belt, some incense and a tea set for £23.92! Not all of it was new, but it was all in excellent condition. I wouldn’t have bought them otherwise. In fact, we wouldn’t have sold them otherwise! I also tried on some lovely other items which unfortunately weren’t for me. Still I think overall I did pretty well!