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My weekend of second-hand shopping

Editor Sian replaces the thrill of fast fashion with the delight of vintage gems in seaside towns...

My weekend of second-hand shopping

In March this year, I fulfilled a lifelong dream and bought a house by the sea. I already felt pretty lucky to be a ten-minute walk from the beach, but I didn’t realise I would also be treated to the plethora of antiques and charity shops which often populate coastal towns! I fancied my chances on a washed-out Saturday, searching high and low for pieces to fill my new house, with a few fashion buys along the way.

Ikea can be really tempting when it comes to furnishing a new home, but I’m keen to steer away from the flatpack and embrace pre-owned items for the benefit of the planet (and potentially my purse)! I have quite a good idea of how I’d like to decorate, thanks to numerous Pinterest boards, which definitely helped in my Saturday morning quest.

I would recommend approaching second-hand shopping with a general inkling of the items you need, otherwise you can end up beguiled by bargains that, once home, will feel like a waste of money.

I’m styling my interiors with a beach house theme, so I am all over the current bohemian trend. Amazingly, there were plenty of rattan pieces in my local second-hand shops, proving that fashions really do come back around – I picked up a rattan magazine rack (naturally) for £4, plus a vintage Windsor blonde elm Ercol chair in great condition. I would have been pretty chuffed with just these two discoveries, but the gems didn’t end there. I also spied a beautiful Chinese Jingdezhen vase in mint condition, and I’m glad to report that despite being the clumsiest person alive, I got it home in one piece.

Once I’d trawled the offerings in my (new) hometown, I visited the next seaside resort along the coast, famous for its boutiques on the high street. As much as I support independent shops, I had no time to browse whilst on my second-hand hunt, so I honed in on the Oxfam shop instead. Right next to the window, a large print of palm trees in Cannes was waiting for me… for £14.

If you’re unsure of what something’s worth, then pay attention to details. It was clear to me that someone had gone to great lengths to have this properly framed, so I snapped the print up, ready to hang it in my hallway, contributing to my seaside vibe. Once home, I searched online for the artist, only to discover that this was a print worth at least ten times what I’d paid. Result!

Away from interior design, I’m also a sucker for gold jewellery. It’s always worth scoping boxes of trinkets out at antiques and charity shops, because you never know what could be lurking. In fact, at the first antiques place I ventured to, I picked up a striking handmade ring for a quid (which hasn’t turned my finger green)! And if all that wasn’t enough, I even bagged myself a beautiful 1980s plaid DAKS jacket which fits like a dream.

As you can probably tell, I loved my second-hand shopping expedition. The scavenge makes any discovery seem hard-won, lighting up those dopamine receptors no end: my bargains certainly delivered the sunshine I was missing that rainy Saturday.