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Charity shopping in a post-Covid world: Liberties, Rathmines and Camden Street

Charity shopping was one of the things I missed most when Ireland went into lockdown. As you all know, I spend an inordinate amount of time browsing and trying on clothes and looking for bargains.

As I moved house just before lockdown, I didn’t even have a chance to visit the charity shops in my new neighbourhood.

So as soon as I heard they were reopening, I was ready to go check them out. Previously, I’d lived on the northside of Dublin and although I’d frequently been charity shopping on the southside, I wasn’t as familiar with its offerings.

LIBERTIES

My first day back at the shops was a little disappointing as there are strict limits on the numbers that can enter at any one time and I had to queue for a few. Staff were meticulous about reminding customers to use hand sanitiser which was great but like other shops, you can’t try anything on at the moment. I wandered around the shops around Meath Street and Thomas Street but left empty-handed. Not all of the charity shops opened on June 8 so I didn’t get to visit them all.

However, a few weeks later I had a successful thrifting spree in the fantastic Simon Community shop on Thomas Street.

It was a Friday and there were a few customers browsing but I didn’t have to queue. I immediately noticed some great stock, including a beautiful blue Sandro dress.

However, as I couldn’t try things on, I had to judicious about my selections. I spotted a really cute floral Nasty Gal blouse with fringing on the sleeves and back.

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€7 shirt brand new
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Floral shirt

It was a size 12 but looked small so I knew it would fit me.

It was new with tags on but was only €7. I’ve already gotten loads of wear out of it which is great!

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The fringing on the back and sleeves

Using my investigative journalist skills (lol), I found it on the Nasty Gal site and it had been €28 full price so I got it for a quarter of that!

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The floral blouse and belt I thrifted

Here I’m wearing it with my favourite Topshop jeans, an old wicker bag I found at home and my Doc Martens.

The floral shirt
Wearing the shirt and belt I thrifted

I also spotted a brand new F&F bra with tags on in my size for €5. The original price was €12.50 so a good bargain!

I know some people wouldn’t even consider buying a bra in a charity shop but this was brand new and I’m trying to avoid buying new where possible.

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Pink F&f Bra
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€5 new bra

I was also tempted by a white denim overall dress but when I turned it around, I saw some marks on it so I left it.

When I was going up to the till, I spied an adorable belt with a gold Scottie dog buckle and three little dogs on the side.

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Vintage style belt

On the inside, I saw it was marked real leather in French and I could tell it was really nice quality too.

It didn’t have a price on it but when I brought it up to the till it was €1!

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My adorable belt was a big hit on the gram also!

Unfortunately, when I got home, one of the dogs fell off the side but I’m going to find a way to reattach it because it is the cutest belt ever!

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So cute!

My total was €13 and everything fit well. The belt is a little small but I will wear it around my waist with a dress rather than jeans.

I visited again recently and there was even more gorgeous (and new) stuff, including an Urban Outfitters keyhole 90s style top and pleated skirt that I may go back for.

I also nipped into the Vincent’s shop on Meath Street which was closed for longer than the others and I saw a brand new tie-dye print slip skirt from Penneys.

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The tie-dye style slip skirt

I’d been looking for a slip skirt for ages to wear with Doc Martens. It was a size 12 and still had tags on, originally priced at €14.

I’m a ten but I thought it looked small and as it was only €5, I decided to get it.

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Primark skirt brand new with tags
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€5, verdy good value!

It’s ever so slightly large for me in the waist but fits well in the hips. I don’t have any weddings this year thanks to Covid but I may wear it to an upcoming barbeque.

RATHMINES

There lots of charity shops in Rathmines but I visited at the start of June when they weren’t all open. Rathmines tends to have some really nice stock compared to the city centre and I admired some skirts in Oxfam but as you couldn’t try anything on, left them behind.

I did pick up a holographic sunglass sleeve for €1 which was great because I lost the one my Ray-Bans came in (typical I know).

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Raybans not included

I will be back to Rathmines another day for a proper shop.

CAMDEN STREET

My blogging pal Ama and I decided to meet up for a charity shop crawl of the Camden Street area which was so much fun. If you can rope a friend into charity shopping, it’s much more enjoyable and also you have someone else’s advice.

We popped into a few of the stores, including Liberty, Enable Ireland and the Irish Cancer Society. Ama was on the hunt for a formal bag and struck gold – we saw a beautiful pink Karen Millen bag that was in excellent condition. It was €15 and in really good nick so she was delighted with it.

I was tempted by a gorgeous Zara long skirt and a real leather Tommy Hilfiger 90s style one with a slight side split.

But the Zara was too small and the Tommy Hilfiger one had a damaged zip so I reluctantly left them behind.

Ama was a good companion for charity shopping as she reminded me I didn’t need more skirts anyway! Check out her blog here.

I spied a Humans of New York book for €10 that I was very tempted to buy but I had no cash and the shop didn’t have a card machine. Now, I’ve noticed a lot of more charity shops take card these days but it’s still worth bringing cash in case they don’t.

Instead I merely bought a few wooden clip hangers for a mere 10 cent each as I don’t have enough at home for the giant skirt collection!

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10 cent hangers can’t beat it

TIPS

You can’t try on clothes at the moment so only buy something if you’re pretty sure it’ll fit and check if it’s possible to exchange if not. I know some stores are offering exchanges at the moment because of this.

Bring cash and cards, some charity shops still don’t have card machines.

Be prepared to queue, most charity shops are quite small and have strict limits on the number of people who can come in. I’ve never had to queue longer than five minutes for any of them but some may be very busy.

Wear a mask and use hand sanitiser – every shop I’ve been to have been asking people to sanitise their hands which is great to see.

And finally – be patient and don’t give the staff hassle, remember the charity shops took a massive hit when they closed and are only getting back on their feet now. So, don’t haggle with the staff and be respectful.

Thanks for reading as always and I hope you found the tips helpful! Don’t forget to check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page.

Edel

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nine free things you can do at home during quarantine

A lot of us are housebound or partially housebound these days as COVID-19 fear grips the nation.

Some of us have to stay indoors due to self-isolation, self-restricting or quarantine, while others are working from home or caring for children or both.

Being stuck at home isn’t a lot of fun and normal hobbies like sports, going to events, having lunch or coffee with friends and my personal favourite, perusing charity shops, go out the window.

I have had a taste of it previously and I thought I’d share how I survived my very own housebound experience.

Almost three years ago, I broke my ankle badly. I needed surgery and was in a massive amount of pain and on medication for weeks.

Luckily, I was able to work from home but I was living by myself at the time and was very fearful of hurting myself again.

For the first two weeks, I didn’t even dare leave the house to go to the shop as I was afraid of falling off my crutches…

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My crutches

As the summer wore on, I worked, watched plenty of Netflix and gradually gained the confidence to get out and about. But there were also many difficult days and my mental health was at an all-time low. I spent a lot of time in floods of tears due to the effects of the medication I was on, loneliness and the feeling of helplessness.

I was also massively reliant on my boyfriend and our relationship hit a rough patch halfway through the summer. Coupled with this, I was also dealing with the sudden death of a beloved friend earlier in the year.

It took a long time for me to recover both mentally and physically but there were some activities that helped me pass the time and feel better.

All of these things are free to do and can be easily done from the comfort of your home.

1.Exercise

As I was on crutches, exercise didn’t seem like an option but once I got used to them, I found going out for short “walks” built up my stamina.

If this isn’t an option for you due to self-isolation/restriction, try some light weights. Obviously, if you’re sick/at risk, don’t do anything without seeking medical advice.

I found doing some shoulder presses and upper body weights in the evening a good way to unwind after working from home.

2. Experiment with cooking

Again, if you aren’t well, not a suitable activity but if you’re OK, trying a new recipe or even just experimenting can be enjoyable.

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Pancakes at Moak

I made lots of random dishes over the summer and also found some handy substitutes, i.e. one day, I was craving pancakes but had no flour so I crushed porridge oats with a hand blender to make a “flour”.

3. Care for your plants/try growing a plant

If you have houseplants, now is the perfect time to show them some TLC.

Even low-maintenance cacti need a little attention.

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My beloved cacti plants

If your plants need watering, put them in the bath or shower and drizzle them tepid water or cooled pasta water which is rich in starch and good for your plant pals (just make sure it hasn’t been salted).

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Lamp and cacti plants

If your plants are getting too big for their pots and you have a spare, you can repot them and watch them bloom.

You can also prune your plants as necessary and move them around to make sure they get adequate sunshine. Or if you’ve got some seeds and a sunny spot, see if you can grow something.

An avocado plant is an easy one to grow at home, all you need is a pit and a glass of water to start.

4. Learn to sew/knit/crochet or any creative hobby

I learned to bake, sew, crochet and knit both in school and at home, yet I hardly ever do any of those things now.

If you have a ball of wool or some clothes that need some basic alterations, why not have a go at mending them yourself?

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Sewing the buttons back on to this vintage shirt

If you don’t have any experience, look for online tutorials.

You could also clear out your wardrobe while you’re at it! And keep your unwanted clothes for the charity shops/recycling.

Other things you could try are painting, decorating your house or just a simple upcycling project.

One upcycle I enjoy is after a candle burns out, pouring in hot water to clean out the wax and repurposing the jar for something new.

So far, I’ve used one as a key dish, one as a toothbrush jar and one to display seashells in as a decoration. Or you can just recycle the glass!

Creativity is a wonderful way to channel your energy and I’ve always found it helps me feel calm.

5. Try a new beauty trend or hairstyle

If you’ve always wanted to shave your head/dye your hair a crazy colour but were too scared to, now’s your chance.

Or you can just let your hair/eyebrows/roots/nails/body hair grow out during quarantine.

Self-care can work wonders for your mental health but don’t pressure yourself to be overly groomed at this time.

Try on some crazy makeup/ a bold nail colour/ a different hairstyle/an outfit you’re unsure of, whatever makes you happy!

6. Find a book you need to finish or haven’t read before

Reading is a wonderful escape from the stresses of life and I was lucky enough to be in a house full of books at the time of my injury.

Most of them weren’t my own and I’m a pretty voracious reader so I read whatever came to hand.

I did never finish Love in a Time of Cholera though….

There are lots of virtual book and movie clubs starting out on social media so reach out and see if anyone wants to form one with you. Who says reading is a solitary hobby?!

7. Life/money admin

Yes, it’s boring but there is a certain satisfaction in deleting emails from your inbox.

If you’ve yet to file a tax return, bite the bullet and do it now. Don’t go with one of those companies who offer to do it for you, they take a percentage of your hard-earned cash and the process is simpler than it sounds. You can file online at Revenue.ie and there’s lots of information about allowances on the Citizen’s Information website.

If your employer pays any expenses for you as part of your job, now’s the time to submit them also or sort out your bills.

Cancel any old standing orders or direct debits or subscription services you no longer need and see if you can switch any of your utility bills to save some money. Switcher.ie is a great resource.

8. Make a plan to look forward to

A lot of people have seen their summer plans go out the window, with holidays and weddings called off and festivals and concerts in jeopardy also.

But you can still make a plan to do something simple, it could be going to your favourite restaurant/bar when it reopens, a day at the beach or a road trip in the future.

I had a holiday booked at the end of summer 2017 and thinking about that helped me get through the bad days.

This year, foreign travel isn’t looking so likely but I’ll be looking into staycation ideas at home.

9. Learn a new language or skill

Want to brush up on your Junior Cert French or learn to speak as Gaeilge properly? Hop over to Duolingo and start a course.

If languages aren’t your thing, check out the free courses on Alison.com and LinkedIn also sometimes have courses.

Hope you all enjoyed this post and perhaps found something you’d like to do at this difficult time. Remember, if you’re unwell, don’t push yourself to do anything major, stay in bed and watch Netflix or rest if possible.

Please remember to keep to social distancing and look out for those who are most vulnerable at this tough time. Thanks for reading and leave me a comment if you’ve any quarantine activity suggestions.

Edel