Sunday, 24 June 2012

My Cambridge Charity Shopping Guide

Martha & Me:Cambridge 

Top 5 Tips for charity shoppers


They are situated just off the A10 about 4 miles north of Cambridge. This HUGE charity shop is an Aladdin's cave full of treasures! Books are a bargain. At the moment they are 5 paperbacks for £2! They sell:
  • Books
  • Bric a brac
  • Electrical items, including cookers, fridges, washing machines, televisions and hi-fis
  • Furniture
  • Music (records, cds cassettes) and dvds 
  • Soft furnishings including bedding, curtains, towels
  • Coffee Shop selling drinks, cakes, sandwiches and soup
They also have a brilliant home delivery service. I have used this a number of times when i have realised the futon or wardrobe i have just purchased will definitely not fit in the car! The charge for the service is very reasonable and they are helpful and efficient.

2) Burleigh Street

Burleigh Street in Cambridge (runs alongside Grafton Centre) is THE place to go for charity shops in Cambridge. At my last count there were 7 within about 100m! 

  1. 10 Burleigh Street
    City Centre, Cambridge
    01223 368 865

    British Heart Foundation

  2. 20 Burleigh Street
    City Centre, Cambridge
    01223 329 841


  3. 38 Burleigh Street
    City Centre, Cambridge
    01223 302 926


  4. 26 Burleigh Street
    City Centre, Cambridge
    01223 301426

    British Red Cross shop

  5. 33 Burleigh Street
    City Centre, Cambridge
    01223 360 205


  6. 52 Burleigh Street
    01223 464189

    Cancer Research UK

  7. 61 Burleigh Street
    City Centre, Cambridge
    01223 312 802

    Rspca Cambridge

The only down side for me is that because they are fairly small shops most of them (especially oxfam where there is no lift) are not great for buggies or wheelchair access. 

3) Mill Road

Mill Road has a good selection of charity shops. They tend to be cheaper than the Burleigh Street shops. The Cats Protection charity shop have a bucket of kids clothes which are 3 items for £1. I once found a next hat, gap all in one suit and jumper in the bucket - a pound well spent. At the top of Mill Road you will find the Romsey Mill shop this is great if you like 'old fashioned' charity shops; it is not as glossy and as sweet smelling as the the chain charity shops but you can certainly find a bargain! The other notable shop on Mill Road is Sally Ann's which has amazingly cheap furniture and plentiful 'bric a brac'.   

4) Ely and Saffron Walden

For a change of scene and for 'up market' charity shops we visit Ely and Saffron Walden. You will find labels such a Monsoon, White Stuff and Boden on nearly every rail! Yesterday in Ely Oxfam I found Martha a Ralph Lauren jumper for £2 and i got myself a Fat Face dress for £4!

5) Patience 

Last but certainly not least is the need for patience. Wherever you may be shopping you can never guarantee or predict what you may find. It can take a lot of time and energy to find that perfect item and sometimes you do just have to walk away empty handed. Not everyone is cut out for it or can be bothered to sieve through (what is essentially) other peoples junk! But if you have the determination and patience I am sure over time you will be rewarded with awesome bargains and a great sense of satisfaction! 

Happy Shopping!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

June Charity Shop finds

I can't resist sharing my recent amazing charity shop finds. I am so pleased with this table runner and quilt, they are beautiful! I have a huge weakness for charity shops. I love the thrill of finding a bargain and giving a new home to unwanted items. By shopping in charity shops i can buy things that would be out of my league if they had been new; my daughter would certainly not be wearing beautiful Joules cardigans and pretty White Company t-shirts if they weren't second hand! I also love the quality you often find with older furniture and vintage household items. Frequently you can find things that are the same price if not cheaper than the basic Ikea or supermarket equivalent. Don't get me wrong i buy stuff from Ikea and supermarkets all the time the convenience and cheapness of it is great but i do often regret my impulse purchases as they so often don't stand the test of time. My charity shop finds however often become treasured heirlooms and favourite possessions.

& a Ralph Lauren hoodie for Martha £2! bargain

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Knitting novice!

I have always wanted to knit. My granny was an amazing knitter, as children we had beautiful handmade jumpers, dolls clothes, mittens, hats and scarves. I even remember a slightly odd balaclava in the same colour as our school uniform. I have tried to knit many times; several patient friends and my granny did all try to teach me but I was really bad and just could not get it! Then recently my friend Cath and her mum in law convinced me to give it another go. Cath turned out to be a very good teacher and I finally got it! Hurahhh! I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert; i can't follow a pattern and have to really concentrate to keep track of what i am knitting! I have been putting my new skills to use making phone covers using stocking stitch. I know they are basic but I am rather proud of myself as I really thought it was something I couldn't do!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


Whilst my husband is training to be a vicar there is a group i can go to at college called Spice (no one is sure where the name originates or what it means) One thought is that it is an acronym  for; Supporting Partners In Continuing Education or it may be a play on the word Spouse. Anyway whatever the name it is a group of about 30 people who have moved to Cambridge whilst their partners study. We meet for bible studies, socials, speakers, book club, craft group and discussions. This week has been very emotional as we have said goodbye to this years leavers. This also means that we now only have 1 year left in Cambridge. The friends I have made at Spice are brilliant and i truly hope many of them will become lifelong friends. I am also fortunate that may of the other wives share a love of craft, baking and charity shops! 

Below is a photo of our lovely new notice board that Esther and I made...

Yes we do tend to drink quite a lot of tea and eat cake 

Monday, 4 June 2012

Peg Bag

This weekend my brother and sister in law came to visit us in Cambridge. As an early birthday present I made Katie (sister in law) a new peg bag. For some reason my brother thought he would make a good peg bag model so please excuse the photo and George's trade mark cheesy grin! 

How to..........
To make the bag i used a child size wooden hanger. I drew around the hanger onto the fabric to get the correct size and cut out the two sides of the bag with the floral fabric. One side i cut in half and then sewed it back up again to make the bag opening. I then sewed these together (right sides in), pressed seams and then turned it out. I then embellished the bag opening with lace and added a decorative button. Remember to leave a  opening at the top so you can insert the hanger!