Oxfam’s Second Hand September Challenge

We’re almost at the end of September and I’ve pledged not to buy any new clothes for a month as part of the Second Hand September challenge.

It’s not the first time I’ve done a “no new clothes” challenge, I did one way back in 2014 and when I was doing my Master’s, I didn’t buy any new clothes for several months as I was broke!

This year, I’ve seen a lot of people doing No Buy July and I almost made it through the month until I caved and bought a little top from Bershka.

I decided to stick to Second Hand September but I had one small problem – going on holidays!

Last year, I didn’t buy any new clothes for my holidays in Barcelona but I picked up a few high street pieces while I was there. Now, I’m not going to guilt-trip myself over that as it was just two things which are still in my wardrobe.

Wearing an all second-hand outfit in Lisbon

This year, I again refrained from buying new holiday clothes but I freshened up my holiday wardrobe with pieces such as this Beatles t-shirt which I got for €3 in the Irish Cancer Society charity shop with my denim shorts from the Kilo Store in Amsterdam.

My belt is also second-hand, €1 from the Respect shop in Stoneybatter.

Beatles t-shirt and vintage shorts

Another outfit I rewore on holidays was my green River Island dress, also a second-hand bargain from the Irish Deaf Society shop in Phibsborough.

Ignore the crazy hair

While in Lisbon this year, I initially avoided going into the shops but eventually I went for a look around.

There was a t-shirt I was obsessed with in Brandy Melville (a shop for teens really, everything was a size 0) but I tried it on and although it was nice, it didn’t fit great so I no longer wanted it after that!

Green River Island dress from a charity shop

To my credit, I managed to browse all of the high street stores without buying anything other than some jewellery.

I was going to buy some bras which I really needed but the store’s card machine was down as were all the nearby ATMs so I took that as a sign!

But I still managed to find some new wardrobe additions as I’d researched the vintage and secondhand options before visiting Lisbon.

My best find was probably this lovely scarf print skirt for €15 in the Feira Da Ladra flea market.

I probably could have gotten it for less by haggling but tbh, I’m not much of a haggler, especially if I have to do it in Portuguese!

Scarf print skirt
Scarf print skirt

When I got home, the weather was still lovely so I paired it with my white Reeboks, a white crop top and a real suede Mango jacket that I found in the Debra Ireland charity shop in Phibsborough for about €10.

I’m a big fan of scarf print and I’d been tempted to buy similar skirts from Zara or Aliexpress earlier this year.

The best thing about this skirt is it’s really versatile and can be worn to a special occasion, work or a casual day out.


Scarf print skirt from the Feira Da Ladra market
My scarf print skirt

I also picked up a vintage dress in Retro City Lisboa, a renowned vintage shop that was very close to our Airbnb.

This is a size 12 dress but fits more like a 10. It’s really pretty and I may wear it to an upcoming wedding.

It was marked €20 but they only charged €18.

I also discovered a chain of charity shops called Humana where I thrifted a patchwork denim Zara skirt. This was €10 but still had a Zara tag for €19.99 on it.

The stock in Humana was very summery and not as cheap as you’d find at home, a lot of stuff was under €10 but not as much around the €5 mark.

I did spot a really cool Lacoste bag for €20 but I don’t need any more bags right now! If you are in Lisbon, it’s well worth checking out the Humana stores and they are in other European cities also.

Aside from Belgium, I’ve never actually found a charity shop abroad until now (I clearly hadn’t been looking that hard!)

With just two days left, I’m confident of making it through Second Hand September and I’m proud of myself for taking on this small challenge. There were times when I really wanted to buy new items but I managed to remind myself of how much stuff I already own and also the fact that I’ll be moving house in a few months.

Wearing my suede thrifted jacket and scarf print skirt

One month without buying fast fashion is really not a big sacrifice and I would encourage anyone to give it a go.

And even though September is nearly over, you can still take part by signing up here.

Oxfam will email you some tips and inspiration along the way if you’re struggling!

Have you taken part in Second Hand September or a similar challenge? I’d love to hear your thoughts, drop me a comment below by clicking on the grey speech bubble icon below on the right.

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Charity shopping in Bray

It’s always nice to get out of Dublin and recently I headed out to Bray to visit my friend and fellow blogger Kathryn.

The visit was postponed several times due to both our busy lives until I had a Monday off and decided to hop on a train out.

After lunch in Kathryn’s beautiful period house, we set out on a charity shop excursion and I was pleasantly surprised by the number of charity shops in the town.

First stop was the Vincent’s shop where I immediately found €2 Marks and Spencers jeans in a bargain bin and a grey and pink pinafore dress for €5.

I was absolutely thrilled with the jeans as I’d been looking for embellished jeans for ages but didn’t want to fork out loads.

It’s pretty rare to find decent jeans in a charity shop as most of them are either cheap ones or worn and stretched out and if you do find a decent pair, it’s likely they’re not your size!

Wearing my thrifted jeans in the Botanic Gardens

So I got really lucky with these as they are a really nice snug fit in the waist and good quality denim.

They don’t stretch which is a big plus for me. The only downside is that they are a tad too long for me but I just rolled up the ends.

I never buy clothes in Marks and Spencers but I’ve heard that they are good quality.

If you are looking for something similar, they are a ‘girlfriend’ fit from M&S. I will put a full-length photo of them soon.

I also found a grey and pink pinafore dress for €5 in the St Vincent’s store.

It is from Dunnes and I’ve been layering it over a grey poloneck for work.

Grey check pinafore dress

It is a size 10 and could do with a belt but I haven’t found one that suits it yet. I will put up a pic of me wearing it soon.

It’s a light material with no lining so one for summer rather than autumn/winter and has two pockets in the front with decorative silver buttons.

Pinafore dress detail

I actually haven’t been to many St Vincent’s charity shops as the nearest one to me is in Drumcondra and  George’s Street and Sean McDermott Street in the city centre.

Kathryn introduced me to the one on Sean McDermott Street and it is enormous -well worth a look around!

I bought this adorable faux leather yellow skirt for about €7 there.

Another shop we visited was Purple House Cancer Support which has the cutest storefront and I couldn’t resist a picture.

Although I’ve been to Bray several times, I never knew there were so many charity shops and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the stock also.

Many of the shops had homeware and cute knick-knacks and ornaments, a cheap way to spruce up an apartment.

We hit up the National Council for the Blind of Ireland, an Irish Cancer Society shop and an Oxfam along the way.

I tried on several items in these shops, but as my wardrobe is overflowing, I decided not to buy anything else.

Purple House Cancer Support Bray

There were so many good charity shops that it actually took ages to get around to them all!

For my shopping trip, I opted for a comfy and casual outfit, a baggy Topshop jumper, River Island jeans and thrifted black loafers.

The perfect photo backdrop at Purple House Cancer Support

Usually, I’m alone when I’m charity shopping but it’s always good to have a friend along to give you their opinion.

Kathryn was a voice of reason and stopped me from buying another ornament I didn’t really need (just a dust-collector) and a very nice but slightly too small sparkly blue t-shirt.

Check out her vintage and thrifty fashion blog here.

Two happy charity shoppers

I hope you all enjoyed this post and if you’ve any charity shop recommendations or questions, leave me a comment below by clicking the grey speech bubble icon on the bottom right.

I’m off to Amsterdam later this month so hopefully, I’ll have a travel post on that soon.

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Visiting Belfast: Shopping and sight-seeing over the border

If you don’t normally go up the North for shopping or sight-seeing, you’re missing out. Recently I went on a weekend break to Belfast with my boyfriend and we had a brilliant time.

I’ve posted about visiting Belfast before but I spent less than a day there. This time around I spent more time in the city centre and was there for a full weekend.

I have only been to Northern Ireland four times including the last trip which is quite embarrassing!

Where to go shopping:

Belfast has two shopping centres, Castlecourt and Victoria Square. Castlecourt is slightly old-fashioned but has some decent shops, including a nice Debenhams.

Victoria Square is a more modern building and has all the high-street shops such as Topshop, H & M and River Island.

The Topshop is massive and I could’ve spent all day there! But that would’ve been the end of my relationship.. 😛

On the street there’s a massive Stradivarius (one of only three in Ireland), Zara, Primark etc.

What to buy: 

I always buy cosmetics in the North as they are a good bit cheaper. I picked up a new bronzer in Superdrug and got my eyebrows threaded there for only £5!

I also bought Queen of Shaves shaving gel for £2.99 (This is very gentle on your skin but can’t find it in ROI anymore). It was about €8 down here.

Nivea night cream was only £1.99 which was also good value, it’s about €5 here.

Perhaps VAT is to blame but when you factor in exchange rates, we seem to pay a lot more for clothes in shops like Topshop and River Island in the ROI.

For instance, this purple frill jumper was £15 on sale from £30 in Topshop. It ws €42 full price in ROI stores.


Primark is similar value to what you get at home, one pair of nude tights were £1, a nail varnish £1.50 etc.

The Primark was undergoing a bit of a makeover and was VERY busy when we were there.

Overall the stock in Primark was only OK but the store isn’t the biggest.

 I bought a pair of Onitsuka Tigers for my boyfriend in Office, they were £65 with student discount.

Name brand runners aren’t much cheaper than at home.

Surprisingly I didn’t buy myself any shoes! Nor did I find a dress for my graduation but there’s plenty of time yet.

Bargain shopping/Charity shops

I visited two charity shops and both were pretty disappointing. If anyone can recommend a good one, please let me know.

Vintage shops

There are a few quirky vintage shops around Belfast and my favourite one was Octopus’s Garden on Wellington Street.

It sells records as well as deadly vintage threads and is a good spot for nabbing a band t-shirt.



On Sunday, we visited St. George’s Market which reminded me of a smaller version of Spitalfields market in London.

We treated ourselves to a hearty Ulster fry and perused all the goodies the market had to offer.

There were loads of food stalls including some very tasty cupcakes, homewares, bric-a-brac, vintage records and jewellery.

I’d highly recommend this market to everyone, it’s an absolute gem.

Cash or card?

I brought cash which I’d changed commission free in the post office. If you pay in card in the North, there is a small fee, about 14 cent per transaction.

Withdrawing sterling with an Irish card from an ATM will incur a fee of at least €3. Ulster Bank customers can withdraw free from NatWest, EasyCash and RBS however.

Bag charges

FYI, there’s now a plastic bag levy in the UK, retailers must a charge a minimum of £0.05 per bag. Something to bear in mind if you are buying lots.

Where to eat/stay/have fun

Besides shopping, we did enjoy the sights of Belfast, including the Titanic experience which was fantastic. Give yourself a minimum of two hours if you are going here.

It’s an interactive exhibition and I learned so much, not merely about the Titanic but also the history of Belfast.


We stayed in Jury’s Inn in the heart of the city and our room was gorgeous.


On Saturday night we had dinner in Deanes Love Fish restaurant and the food was DELICIOUS! Hands down, one of the nicest restaurants I’ve ever been in.

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We also went for a drink in The Crown Saloon, which is one of the most popular bars in Belfast.

The beautiful Victorian decor has been preserved from the intricately-carved wooden booths and ceiling designs, to stained glass windows and funky floor tiles.

Unfortunately it was too busy to sit down.

Another watering-hole we visited was White’s Tavern which is one of Belfast’s oldest pubs. This is a nice little pub to relax and rest the legs in between shopping and sight-seeing.

Finally, City Hall is a must if you like architecture.


 FYI, this was not a sponsored post.

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