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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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Sustainability Struggles: Trying to live a less wasteful life

Sustainability and zero waste are woke buzz words these days but I was living in a sustainable manner long before I knew what it meant.

Growing up with parents who were a lot older than me (closer in age to some of my friends’ grandparents) meant we had a “waste not, want not” lifestyle.

I remember carefully washing glass jars and peeling off the labels for recycling, using newspapers to dry up spills and light the stove and of course, wearing hand-me-downs and charity shop clothes.

When I made my Communion, my mother even had her wedding dress made into a dress for me – now that’s economical!

We lived on a farm, drank our own cows’ milk, picked blackberries and crabapples and wrapped our sandwiches in old bread wrappers instead of tinfoil. It might sound grim but it was a very thrifty and sustainable lifestyle.

Now, we were far from perfect, country living means driving pretty much everywhere and of course, we ate meat (apart from my very brief stint as a vegetarian).

There were aspects of my upbringing that I didn’t like, as a teenager I wanted all the latest trends from the chain stores but my mother did buy me new clothes and shoes when I really needed them.

When I left home and lived with other people, I was shocked by how some thought nothing of throwing out food or clothes.

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This one of my many thrifty outfits

I didn’t know how to recycle properly but I tried to recycle as much as I could and also dispose of my old belongings in a responsible way.

Nowadays, most people (myself included) are a lot more informed about living a sustainable life and how our wastefulness is killing the planet.

I get very anxious when I think about the harm caused to the environment by our incessant dumping, polluting and use of toxic substances.

I cringe when I see workmates casually flinging coffee cups and dirty cartons into the recycling bin without a care.

I often hear things like “oh I never thought of that”, when I mention that I’m trying to cut down on using plastic etc. I try not to preach as that just alienates people but I think we all need to be living more sustainably for the greater good.

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My bag, dress and belt are all secondhand

While I don’t see myself having children any time soon (if ever), it does bother me that the next generation will be greatly affected by our actions now.

And it’s not just about people but also animals and plants which don’t willfully damage the earth but still suffer the consequences.

Here are a few simple changes I’ve been making to my life in order to live more sustainably. I don’t see myself becoming a vegan, or giving up driving or travelling completely but I am trying to reduce my carbon footprint.

Minimising plastic waste

When I go grocery shopping, I buy loose fruit and veg as much as possible or in a rigid plastic or cardboard container as that can be recycled. Soft plastics (anything you can scrunch up in your hand) are no longer being recycled in Ireland so I’m trying to cut down on them.

I also always take a shopping bag or rucksack – there’s no need to buy a plastic bag, I’ve approximately 70,000 of them at home.

Another way to cut down on plastic is to bring a lunchbox for meat or fish from a deli counter.

Buying in season/locally produced food

When I’m food shopping, I try to buy as much Irish produce as possible. This can be very hard in supermarkets, for example, Tesco tends to sell fruit and vegetables which have travelled from every corner of the earth.

If you can afford to shop at a butcher, greengrocer or farmer’s market now and again, these are good places to pick up fresh local produce. Obviously, these options aren’t available to everyone, particularly if you live in the countryside or have very little money for food shopping.

Zero waste markets and shops are popping up in several cities now, I found an excellent one in Phibsborough called Noms where you can buy food, household products and beauty products.

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Sustainable and stylish

Using public transport or cycling

Again, this one is tough for those who live in the countryside and is more applicable to city-dwellers.

I used to always drive to work until my car died but now I only drive at the weekends when there are limited trains. As I work shifts, there’s no public transport that would get me to work early enough so I have to take a taxi in but I take the train home.

I also started cycling late last year, something I was very nervous about because cycling in Dublin is no joke but I am a lot more confident now. Dublin Bikes cost only €25 for a yearly subscription, making them much cheaper than public transport.

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The power to change things is in our hands

Separating waste correctly

Yes, it’s a pain in the hole but I’d rather that than a hole in the ozone layer! I now have three bins in my apartment, one large one for recycling paper, rigid plastic and cardboard, a smaller bin for food waste (I use compostable bin liners in this) and an “everything else” bin.

All recycling should be clean and dry so that means washing out cartons and containers and letting them dry. I tend to do this while washing the dishes so it’s just part of the routine.

It took a while to get everyone using the bins correctly and taking three bins out can be laborious but in the long run, it’s not a big deal.

You can find recycling guidelines on Repak’s website.

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Photoshoot in Galway

Switching up your toiletries – soap bars, toothbrushes, tampons

Bars of soap are definitely more awkward than hand soaps and shower gel but they do the same job, and you can use them to shave with and there’s no waste left over.

I store my bar of soap in a plastic box to stop it melting all over the shower.

I haven’t tried toothpaste tabs or shampoo bars yet but these are definitely on my list. I also now use a bamboo toothbrush and the only issue I have is that toothpaste tends to stick to the brush and you have to clean it regularly.

Recently, I bought a Mooncup, hoping that it would be a good investment but I actually haven’t been able to use it, I think I bought the wrong size.

If you can’t use or afford a menstrual cup (they are pricey), you could try using non-applicator or cardboard tampons to minimise plastic waste.

In the long run though, a menstrual cup is much cheaper. Another option is resuable period-proof underwear (yes such a thing exists and is apparently very effective), check out Colette’s review of them here.

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Having a pensive think about our planet’s future

Slow fashion

My number one hobby is fashion so it may seem a bit hypocritical for me to be talking about being sustainable.

Fast fashion is a massive contributor to pollution but there are so many sustainable alternatives such as swap shopping, using the clothes you already have, charity shopping, vintage kilo sales and upcycling.

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Kilo store Amsterdam

Markets are another place to get your sustainable style fix, you can even find designer items here.

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Armani blazer at a market in Amsterdam

I haven’t cut out fast fashion completely but I buy about 60% secondhand and 40% new clothing at the moment.

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Denim dress and thrifted belt

In this post, I’m wearing a vintage denim dress that I bought in Amsterdam, a €1 belt from a charity shop, my DKNY rucksack was €6 from a charity shop, but my runners are from Asos and my earrings are from Penneys.

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My DKNY rucksack was one of my best bargains ever

Another way to shop more sustainably is to buy one high-quality item which will last longer. I got almost three years out of my last pair of Reeboks.

Reusable straws, coffee cups and water bottles

These days, I will always say “no straw” at the bar unless they have paper straws.

Paper straws are annoying when they go soggy but they’re less wasteful and I’m thinking of buying a metal one.

I almost never buy coffee in a disposable cup as I can’t bear the thought of them going in landfill. I do have a reusable cup but I don’t really use it as I usually bring my own coffee to work.

I have a Nespresso machine at home but I find the capsules quite wasteful (though I’ve seen compostable capsules in Noms). I try to use my moka pot more as the grounds can be composted.

If you are a Nespresso fiend, you can get recycling bags from your local store/concession.

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Scowling at people who don’t recycle properly

I drink loads of water but almost never have to buy bottled water as I bring my water bottle everywhere with me.

Recently, our workplace got rid of plastic cups which I think is a great move. I’ve a metal bottle which keeps the water nice and cool.

These are just small changes and I’m aware that I’m very privileged to be able to make these. I live in a city with public transport and lots of shops, I have disposable income and I’m an able-bodied person. I know not everyone has the same opportunities or advantages as me.

I’m not perfect and I still need to improve my own efforts but I hope this post has provided some food for thought.

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My denim dress from Amsterdam

Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on sustainability.

All photos were taken by Galway-based photographer Sarah Kelly, go check out her Instagram and website, Untamed Moments, she’s an extremely talented lady.

I won a photo shoot with Sarah and I loved having a chat with her about sustainable style and blogging. she was a delight to work with!

Sarah has a degree in Earth and Ocean Science and Zoology and is passionate about protecting our environment. Check out her tips on reducing plastic waste here.

Total outfit cost: €100.20, dress €23.40, belt €1, earrings €3, runners €72.80.

Hope you all enjoyed this post and thanks for reading. Don’t forget to check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page.

Edel

 

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Why I didn’t buy any new clothes for my holiday

Nothing makes me happier than a new item of clothing.

Whether it’s the high street, a charity shop or a vintage kilo sale, I’ll be there, purse in hand, seeking the dopamine hit that comes with the latest purchase.

However, I have often bought items on impulse that didn’t really fit or suit me or didn’t match anything in my wardrobe. And this often happens when it comes to buying summer or holiday clothes.

These unworn items gather dust in bags, with me occasionally trying them on and discarding them in a huff and eventually they end up in the charity shop (usually when I move house because I’m quite the hoarder).

While going through my summer wardrobe, I realised I had quite a lot of things from the year before that I had not worn or only worn a few times.

For instance, I had two swimsuits and a bikini barely worn and shorts and a skirt that I hadn’t worn as they were *ahem* a little snug.

I have put on weight over the past year and a half and while I’m still relatively slim, I was hanging onto clothes that didn’t fit in the hopes I could somehow squeeze into them later in the year.

This is a toxic trap because I ended up feeling miserable every time I tried on something that didn’t fit.

While I ordered a couple of things online for holidays, nothing was quite right and I ended up returning everything. I was also short on cash prior to going away so I couldn’t afford lots of new things.

Eventually, I decided to just bring all my summer clothes and resolved to bring anything I didn’t wear to the charity shop on my return.

Here’s a taste of what I wore to Barcelona and how I created a capsule wardrobe with the clothes and shoes I already had.

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Wearing a men’s t-shirt from Bershka and cut-off shorts

On our visit to Park Guell, I wore a casual and comfy outfit as there was a lot of walking uphill involved.

I also wore these shorts on our first full day in Barcelona, with a Guns N Roses tee.

They are one of my favourite items in my wardrobe but they are almost threadbare and I needed to get them patched before holidays.

I recommend altering or fixing your clothes before buying new ones but I may have to say adios to these shorts soon.

For nights out, I had packed a couple of options, including my black leather skirt.

This was €5 from Betty Bojangles which sells secondhand and vintage clothing in Smithfield and I absolutely love the fit and mock croc finish.

I paired it with my Shein green sequin top for dinner on our first night and wore it with my Topshop floral bodysuit for drinks with friends.

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Excuse the lighting and setting!
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Black skirt with floral Topshop bodysuit

For our trip to the Bunkers del Carmel, which is a popular spot on the city limits where people gather to enjoy the view, I wore a summery blue and white dress which I found in a charity shop for €4 during the heatwave.

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Blue and white dress

It was the hottest day when we went to the Basilica Sagrada Familia (that big ol’ church) and I somewhat foolishly chose a crop top and high waisted skirt.

I know you aren’t meant to wear “revealing” clothing to sacred places and I was told to pull the top down on the way in but as it was the end of the trip, I was running out of outfits.

This top from Penneys and the blue a-line skirt was bought in sale from Stradivarius.

I did (unintentionally) wear cross earrings, which I feel made up for my otherwise poor outfit choice!

I choose this light floral H&M dress for strolling on the Rambla de Catalunya and admiring Casa Battlo.

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Floral H&M dress

To complete my wardrobe, I brought two bags, a crossbody and a rucksack, as well as several necklaces, earrings and four pairs of shoes.

When I came home, I immediately took the clothes I hadn’t worn to the charity shop- they were all too small anyway!

I think that if you’re struggling to let go of unworn/old clothes, giving yourself an ultimatum such as wearing them by a certain date can work.

I’m very glad that I didn’t buy any new swimwear as we ended up only going to the beach once for a stroll on our final day. We had attempted to go another day but got caught in a giant thunderstorm! So I actually didn’t get to wear my bikini or swimsuits at all!

Hope you all enjoyed this post and leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on buying clothes “just for holidays”.

And in case you’re wondering, I did treat myself to some new purchases in BCN – look out for an outfit post coming soon!

I will be writing an in-depth post on Barcelona so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Thanks for reading,  if you would like to follow me on social media,  check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page.

Edel

 

 

 

No New Clothes for a month

NO BUYING  CLOTHES FOR A WHOLE MONTH?!!

I stumbled across a blogging challenge online hosted by Looking Fly on a Dime, an NYC- based blogger who is not buying new clothing for an entire year and will only shop at charity shops.

I was immediately inspired to do the same especially as I’d just read Overdressed:The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion which exposes the manufacture and production of cheap high-street clothing in scathing detail.

Although we all know the manufacture of cheap clothing has a negative impact on both human life and the environment, it’s easy to ignore this when faced with a bargain.

I don’t intend to sound self-righteous as I buy mostly cheap clothing and love fashion but the book did make me think about my clothing consumption and consumer habits. I already love charity shops and literally cannot walk by one so I thought why not try the challenge?

However, no new clothing for a year seems like a crazy notion to me so I thought I’d try it for one month. The challenge has been accomplished successfully twice by Patrice from Looking Fly on a Dime but she lives in New York where there are more charity shops and indeed more shops in general 😛

She encourages her readers to try the challenge as well but not to set themselves unrealistic goals, i.e. try it for a month or two.

Now I have a hideous lack of self-control, motivation, and willpower so we’ll see how I get on!

Thankfully I am not required to buy new clothing for work so that is one obstacle overcome. If nothing else it may teach me how to have more control! I once ambitiously tried not to buy any clothing for all of Lent (I now do not observe Lent as I don’t believe in sacrifice or organised religion..) I think I lasted about two weeks.

The only exceptions to the challenge are underwear and hosiery which for obvious reasons are best bought new. Patrice also set herself a spending limit of $50 for each month but as I’m doing it for one month I’m not going to do this.

I know already today I have to return a pair of shoes that are too large for me so I hope I don’t get sucked in by the sales!

It’s going to be really difficult when I see all the lovely sale bargains everywhere but hopefully, I can do it. January is a terrible time to do this but it will be fun to try it. It’s a great incentive to save money as I really need to put money away for the future.

Obviously, I’m motivated by economic and selfish reasons rather than ethical reasons but no harm in being accidentally ethical.

I’ll be visiting my local Dublin charity shops including The Macro charity shop which provides assistance to community and voluntary agencies in the local area just off North King Street and as well as the great charity shops all down Capel Street.

My favourite local charity shop has to be Respect in Stoneybatter where I’ve found genuine DKNY and a decent fake Longchamp bag in the past.

I know anyone wishing to do this who doesn’t live in a city or near a big town may find it more difficult as there are fewer charity shops but where there’s a will there’s a way and at least you won’t be near temptation either!

I hope it will be fun rather than painful and I’m aware you can make unnecessary and impulse purchases in charity shops too so I’ll bear that in mind. I’ve gotten some great bargains in charity shops and lots of my thrifted style photos are on my Instagram.

I intend to put my substantial wardrobe to good use also during the challenge. The premise of my blog has always been about affordable fashion and being creative, not mindless consumerism.

Let me know what you think and if you’re doing this challenge or a similar one. WISH ME LUCK! I’m going to need it!

Thanks for reading as always and don’t forget to check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page here.

Edel