Charity shop tour – Bray edition

You know when you meet someone for the first time and you feel like you’ve known them your whole life? After geeking over charity shops online the past couple of weeks, Sadhbh* of Where Wishes Come From so graciously offered to give me a tour of ALL OF THE Bray charity shops last week. We met on Main Street in Bray and spent the entire afternoon shooting the breeze and touring the best second hand bargains Bray has to offer. Entertainment, great company, and it snowed. It was a pretty epic afternoon.

As Sadhbh so expertly advised, we started our tour at the McDonald’s [which is one of the top 10 McDonald’s in the world, if that’s your kind of thing] at the top of Main Street in Bray because that way, you’re walking downhill for the rest of the shops. That’s my kind of route.

Without further delay, onto all the second hand and charity good stuff –

1.Valentine’s Community Shop – a great selection of clothes, both old and new
2. Vincent’s – I hit gold here and bought 3 pieces. One of the larger charity shops with a wide variety of clothes, books, and knick-knacks
3. War on Want – a real gem. I bought husband the most epic tracksuit top, formally known as TraXedo [see photo below]. It was downhill after that. 
4. NCBI – lovely selection of accessories and clothes for all ages
5. The Furniture Barn – really unique and antique pieces of furniture
6. Enable Ireland – great collection of antique fine china as well as a tempting selection of clothes available
7. Oxfam – solid collection of second hand books and clothes for all age groups
8. Charity Begins at Home – an amazing collection of very affordable and upcycle-worthy furniture
9. Irish Cancer Society – also a go-to for fine china and ladies clothing 
10. Cast A Ways – excellent selection of second hand and shabby chic furniture 
11. Vincent’s – a great variety of clothes and knick-knacks. I couldn’t resist a print of the Welsh countryside from here
12. Florence Fortune’s – it was unfortunately closed the day Sadhbh and I went, but we spent about 5 minutes with our faces pressed up against the front window. If you’re in Bray, you have to go to there.

We took our time wandering from one second hand store to the other, rummaging through all the bargain bins, and were finished in under 2 hours. But this route could easily be done in half an hour if you were on a mission. And dare I say it, the Bray charity shops put the Dublin ones to shame.

It would be a shame to not share a picture of my most prized possession from said route – the TraXedo. It’s a mock-tuxedo tracksuit top. Behold …

In case you were curious as to how it works, the bow-tie is velcrow and detaches on the right hand side for ease of access. As it says on the cuff – TraXedo; when smart meets casual. I promise, I will try and get a photo of husband in it later tonight, so be sure to check later. This was by far the best 3.50 I’ve spent in weeks.

We retired to Dockyard No. 8 on Bray Harbour and warmed up with the most epic of seafood chowder. We could have sat chatting and eating for hours, but unfortunately I had to cut it short to get the bus home. 

I had an amazing afternoon and if it weren’t for my knowledgeable, cool and hilarious tour guide, I would have been none-the-wiser to all that Bray had to offer. Thank you again, Sadhbh xx

*as Sadhbh puts it, her name sounds like the number ‘five’ if it started with an S – ‘Sive’. 

Nearly new wood challenge!

Growing up in Canada, I was very eco-conscious. I think it was down to a mix of playing in woods all year, living in a town that had a very good recycling program and both of my parents being very thrifty so we always made the most out of what we had. 

It’s not something I talk about much here on my blog, but I have a borderline obsessive level of consciousness when it comes to the environment. Almost everything I do, I think about the environmental impact. I cycle on my lady bicycle everywhere, I recycle within an inch of my life, and I try to buy mostly from second hand stores to attempt to reduce the demand on mass production. 

A couple of months ago I finished reading Sophie Armoruso’s #GirlBoss, and one specific line of hers really struck a cord with how I felt – 

” … I refused to buy new wood … “

She was talking about her extreme hippy lifestyle when she was younger and capitalism’s disregard for sustainability, but it really hit home. In fact, I saw it as a bit of a challenge.

So here’s where I would like to challenge you. If you’re down with it, obv. The next time you’re on the lookout for a new piece of furniture, whether it be a bedside table, a desk, a chair or a coffee table, I challenge you to go down the nearly new route to help contribute a little bit less to the demand.

Not buying new wood is something I’ve done many times because I’m pretty passionate about the thrill that comes with finding a one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture. In recent weeks I sold our IKEA desk for a second hand mahogany desk on a local website [as beautiful as IKEA is, I need a bit less obvious-IKEA in my life]. I’ve also found some pretty decent pieces online on Freecycle that we still use in our home today. Albeit repainted, but the bedside table in our spare bedroom is a fine example [above]. 

My main go-to for finding second hand pieces is of course charity shops. I found these wooden pencils yesterday for next to nothing, which will be a perfect accent for my broseph’s Canadian man cave office. 

I’m already a not-so-shy dumpster diver. Case in point – the bar stool I rescued from the skip in our underground car park at the beginning of this year. Speaking of, there’s a brand new ottoman down there that I spotted this morning, and I can’t wait to rescue it. 

So there you go. There are lots of alternative avenues to take when it comes to buying wood. It’s something I feel very strongly about and I hope you too will join me in this challenge in whatever way you can, no matter how small, to see if you can buy a little bit less new wood. 
Explore local charity shops, second hand sites [such as Freecycle or], reclaimed wood from a nearby salvage yard or even casting a glimpse over your local skip. I guarantee the alternative will not only be cheaper on your pocket, but you’ll also be buying exclusive pieces. How posh does that sound?

And by all means please share your nearly new pieces by using the hashtag #NearlyNewWood or linking to your favourite nearly new piece in the comments below! And what would really make me squee is if going forward, you share what nearly new piece you bought in stead of brand new. Tree huggers unite.


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Guest bedroom bedside table – updates

Have you ever decorated part of your home and once it was finished, it didn’t exactly look better? Yeah, that happens around here more often than I’d like to admit. 
Case in point, our spare bedroom earlier this year [below]. I painted our bedside table black and accessorized it with pieces I wasn’t particularly fond of and it was all just BLEUH. Everything needed a bit of an upgrade, so on Monday night I repainted the bedside table with leftover Dulux Exterior SatinWood ‘iron clad’ paint that I used on our living room stools. This paint is meant for front doors, but it works like an absolute dream on furniture. 

Upgrade step 1: complete! Now onto step 2: in keeping with my current a bit less IKEA phase [ie – our new old desk], the next step was to find a replacement lamp for the IKEA lamp we had. Yesterday I took to my well-worn Dublin charity shop route and I spotted this absolutely lush gold lamp in Second Abbey …

Phwoar. Isn’t it well lush? I headed to Dunnes Stores and picked up a small black pleated lamp shade to bring it out of the early 90’s, and I’ve got to say, I’m ridiculously pleased with how it turned out. Just LOOK at it …

All shiny and gold and pretty. I next upgraded our rescue kit for unexpected guests box [psst – you can also see what the bedside table originally looked like in that post]. I had a spare white KASSET box from my DIY holiday memory boxes, so I added the contents of the rescue kit to the slightly fancier box and added an old school Dymo Omega label to balance out all the fancy. And damn straight, I am mixing gold and silver. 
And last but not least, I decided to jazz up the bedside table by doing something I almost never do – I bought flowers. I love flowers in our home so I don’t really know why I’m always hesitant to buy them. I will admit part of me thinks it’s a bit of a waste of money. I know that sounds harsh. I tried to curb my opinion by buying these pretty pink roses which were reduced yet absolutely perfect [WINNING]. I trimmed them into one of our gold tumblers, et voila. 

When I showed husband the new getup in the spare bedroom, the first thing he said was “are you sure you want to keep that lamp there? It’s really nice and we’ll never see it in the spare bedroom … “. He makes a good point. Yes, he may be critiquing my styling placement, but I’ll focus more so on the fact that he thinks I made a kick-ass Frankenstein lamp 🙂 xx A