Sunday, 30 December 2012

Fashion Diary - 30th December

Over the Christmas period I've been lucky enough to find these gems which have already become staples in my winter wardrobe.

This wool jumper was only £4.00 from Geraniums for the Blind Charity Shop in Marylebone
(it's very 'log cabin in Colorado' don't you think!)

My new weekend bag was a measly £3.00 from the Isabel Hospice Charity Shop in Cuffley.
(I'm not sure where my friend's scarf has come from but it's definitely from a charity shop, i can promise you that!)

Friday, 28 December 2012

Sales? Who needs them?

This might sound obvious to some but there are certain times of year when the quality of stuff found on charity shop floors is, well, a lot better than others!!

The first is the change of season

Most charity shops have a storage system in which over the summer months they store all the winter donations ready to be put out on the shop floor as soon as the weather starts getting chilly.  The same happens during winter. Hence the reason why you rarely see a summer dress during December.  Now, if you manage to get to the shops just when they are changing over, you're sure to get the creme de la creme of the stock stored up as they are bound to roll the good stuff out first!

This was back in September - Look at all these fur coats ready to hit the shop floor!

The second is pretty obvious really.. it's after Christmas of course!!

It's incredible the amount of unwanted Christmas presents that gets hauled straight to the nearest charity shop after the festive period.  Normally as quickly as Boxing Day bags of goods start flooding in and the great thing is that most items donated are brand new!! My advice over the next few days is, stay well clear of those High Street sales and get yourself down to the nearest charity shop as you'll probably find something pretty similar for half the price and without the headache!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Fashion Diary - 20th December

With a £20 purse already on my christmas list to my parents, I am especially pleased to find this never been used leather purse from Geranium Shop for the Blind for only £3!!!!  I dont know who is happier about the saving, me or my mum!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Do The Green Thing

So following my very exciting appearance on Do the Green Thing's website this week (click here if you missed it!) I thought I would redirect all you charity shop lovers to their insight into the weird and wonderful world of the gigantic Oxfam warehouse in Milton Keynes..

If you think charity shops just run on local donations.. you're in for a real shock. Honestly IT'S ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING!! Click here to reveal all!

Just to get you in the mood here's a few stats showing just what goes on behind closed doors

  • 3 skips a week are filled with paper to be recycled
  • 35 bales of clothes get sent to become car seat stuffing each week

On average, every single day:
  • 5,800 books arrive at the warehouse
  • 400 bags of clothes containing 1000's of items arrive
  • 200 books are sold


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

3 Days, 3 Outfits

In order to get into the festive spirit, over the next few days I will be sharing with you my top three charity shop outfits for all those Christmassy occasions.

Here is

Outfit Three - The Christmas Day

I always like to judge a Christmas Day outfit on how well you can do a number of  'forced family fun' activities.  These include bending over a board game (lose the low cut top),  lunging in preparation for scoring a strike in Wii Bowling (lose the too tight skirt) and generally having the mobility of a three year old as you are roped into chasing them around the room playing with their new toy tractor.  I personally think this vintage Jaeger skirt from Peace Hospice in Chorleywood for an incredible £8.00 covers just about all of that don't you?

Monday, 10 December 2012

3 Days, 3 Outfits

In order to get into the festive spirit, over the next few days I will be sharing with you my top three charity shop outfits for all those Christmassy occasions.

Here is

Outfit Two - The Christmas Eve

What makes a perfect Christmas Eve dress is something that is cute, colourful, and most importantly classy (after all you are going to have to look your grandparents in the eye the next morning over Christmas breakfast).  Luckily I found all those things in a Topshop dress in Isabel Hopsice's Cuffley charity shop for only £7.00.  By steering well clear of the crazy streets of Oxford Street I've managed to avoid sorting through the hoards of studs, sequins and miscellaneous sharp objects that seem to be making their mark this year and I've got some money left over to spend on buying some drinks whilst I'm out! Why would you shop anywhere else?

Isabel Hospice Cuffley Shop - £7.00

Isabel Hospice Cuffley Shop - £7.00

Isabel Hospice Cuffley Shop - £7.00

Isabel Hospice Cuffley Shop - £7.00

Sunday, 9 December 2012

3 Days, 3 Outfits

In order to get into the festive spirit, over the next few days I will be sharing with you my top three charity shop outfits for all those Christmassy occasions.

Here is

Outfit One - The Christmas Party

Now to some (well my parents mainly) this is a slightly impractical buy.  Asked where I was ever going to wear it, the only occasion I could come up with was on the red carpet.  However this may well be due to to the fact I have never quite managed an invite to an office Christmas party.  Now this probably wouldn't do for one of those stuffy in-office dos or a team trip to Nandos but there are some companies out there (few and far between as that may be) that like to do things the proper way. The chances of me attending one these lavish Christmas balls for the high achievers is pretty slim but for a measly £8.00 from YMCA we're allowed to set our standards high aren't we?!

YMCA Welwyn - £8.00

YMCA Welwyn - £8.00

YMCA Welwyn - £8.00
Once again, I would just thank to thank the wonderful Hannah Lodge for her amazing photography skills.  To find out more about what she does best please visit her blog at

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Plan for perfection

Have you recently craved a good old charity shop raid but have been left scratching your head with no idea where to begin?  

Well even style icons are sometimes left a little confused so here's a quick tip for you!

I'd like to introduce you to the shop finder on the Charity Retail Association's website.  It's as basic as it sounds, all you have to do is type in your town or postcode and it comes up with a list of names and addresses of charity shops near you.  Then just click 'view on google maps' and it plots them all out for you so you can plan your route! And you can even go one step further and select a specialist shop category such as 'Music', 'Furniture' or my favourite 'Vintage and Retro'.

There's nothing else left to say really. The simple ideas are always the best aren't they!

If you want to get the most of charity retail, then just click here and get planning your route!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

High Street vs Charity Shop - There's no need to choose!

 So guess what I found out this week? Something that could revolutionize your perception of charity shops and get you charity shopping just in time for Christmas.  Whilst popping out on my lunch break to scout out some of the many charity shops in Central London, I stumbled across an Oxfam Shop on Goodge Street.  Stepping inside I came across a pair of beautiful brand new boots for only £10 which of course I grabbed off the shelves immediately.  After greedily trying them on, finding they were a perfect fit and marching them up to the till, I proudly handed them over, smug in the knowledge that I had got my hands on them before anyone else in the shop had a chance to eye them up.  It was only when the shop assistant turned them over that I saw a £75 Urban Outfitters sticker on the bottom!

I couldn't believe my luck! So much so that I rang every member of my family to brag about my find.  Well, obviously they all struggled to match my enthusiasm. However, they did all share the same confusion as to why anyone would donate a brand new pair of £75 boots to a charity shop.

So I decided to do a little bit of research and discovered that the Oxfam Goodge Street shop has a little deal with Urban Outfitters where some of their unsold stock goes straight from their store onto Oxfam's shelves at a fraction of the high street cost! So if the thought of buying something from a charity shop still makes you grimace, this is the perfect compromise. Brand new stock, at second hand prices.  Why would you think of going anywhere else for presents this Christmas?

PS after writing this post, I was informed that the Cancer Research UK shop on Marylebone High St gets Stella McCartney and other designer samples, Cancer Research UK shop in Angel gets Monsoon/Accessorise samples and Oxfam in Yarms (North Yorkshire) gets Ted Baker's unsold stock so you get really awesome one-offs that never made it to the shops.

If anyone knows of any other High Street links with Charity Shops then please feel free to comment below!


Fashion Diary - 18th November 2012

What I bought from charity shops this week...

A striking winter cardi from
British Heart Foundation, Harbourne
only £4.99

A pair of Faith shoes from
Isabel Hospice Cuffley
only £4.00

Sunday, 11 November 2012

YMCA Charity Shop - Harlow

So after displaying an array of my finest charity shop winter coats last week, I thought for my next post I'd better let you in on a little secret.. where to buy them from of course!

Throughout this blog I will be sharing with you some of the highlights of the charity retail world and so where better place to start than with what I consider the best charity shop around. A lovely chat with shop manager Tessa informed me that it has taken her a good four years to build up the incredible collection of vintage clothes the Harlow YMCA charity shop has to offer but oh wow its been worth it! Every aspect of this shop takes you back in time, from the elegant wardrobes and antique suitcases used to display the clothes to the beautiful wooden mirror perfectly framing anything you wish to try on.  And best of all, by trying to keep prices low, there are some quality items at rock bottom prices... not sure you could ask for more really.

So here is just some of what YMCA Harlow has to offer:

Bulky men's jackets like 
this one with a tan 
leather collar for 

A whole range of
 all for less than


Bright colourful tops –
 guaranteed to draw
                            attention for only

However in my opinion, the best buy of the shop is

High waisted Levi denim shorts - only £5.99

Of course, there was no way I was going to leave empty handed! I'm pretty chuffed with my new colourful chequered top for an incredible £4.99!

So all that's left to say is hurry up and get down there!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Winter Wonderland

After hearing the phrase 'hasn't it got cold' at least 50 times this week, I thought I would embrace the change in season with some charity retail winter wear.  With the cost of coats and jackets normally leaving a significant hole in your pocket, there's no better place to buy your winter warmers than in your local charity shop.  With prices at least half what you would pay in the shops, you can pick up a range of good-quality bargains meaning you're not stuck with that one heavy duty, practical coat that's got to see you through to 2015!   Plus, this leaves you with just enough pennies to buy some bags to go with them!

The coats on display here range from £5.00 to £50.00 depending on the quality so head down to a charity shop near you to find out what delights they have in store for you this winter.

Astrakhan Coat - Isabel Hospice Cuffley £50.00

Guy Laroche Jacket - Help The Aged Welwyn £6.00
Blouse - St Marys Hospice Selly Oak £3.00
Bag - St Mary's Hospice Selly Oak £5.00

Coat - St Mary's Hospice Selly Oak £7.00

Blouse - St Marys Hospice Selly Oak £3.00
Bag - St Mary's Hospice Selly Oak £5.00

Astrakhan Coat - Isabel Hospice Cuffley £50.00

Handbag - Isabel Hospice Cuffley £10.00

Guy Laroche Jacket - Help The Aged Welwyn £6.00

I would just like to thank my dear friend Hannah Lodge for her talent and her time in taking these photos.  For more of her wonderful photography, please check out


Hi there,

I would like to introduce you to my blog, Sweet Charity.  As someone usually found in a charity shop, either side of the counter, I would like to share the wonderful world of charity retail with the somewhat discouraging world around me.  Although in the process of a drastic image change, charity shops are still viewed by many as mangy dumping grounds in which the only thing you are guaranteed to leave with are fleas.  I on the other hand see them as palaces full of beautiful, original clobber at bargain prices (although this does involve sifting through a lot of other crap I must admit).

Whilst I am a strong advocate of shopping in these delightful stores, I am also a firm fan of working in them as well.  Having volunteered in St Mary's Hospice Charity Shop in Birmingham and more recently in Isabel Hospice Charity Shop in Cuffley, I can't put into words how fun it is ripping open huge sacks of donations, not knowing what gems you might find along the way.  It's like Christmas every time you work, plus you have the added benefit of helping a good cause which might give your karma that little boost its looking for.

I would also just like to thank Hannah Lodge for her wonderful photography which has featured in so many of my posts.  If you would like to see some more of her work then please click here

I would also like to thank Mr Robbie Scott for turning my terribly amateur blog into something slightly more sophisticated.  You can follow him on twitter

Anyway, enjoy my blog and hopefully you will soon be a convert just like me!