Re-imagining the pre-loved by Lisa Skinner


Hi, I’m Lisa and I blog at The heart behind my blog is to help people to live well on a little, to be goodstewards over their money and to be wise in how they spend it.Lisa SkinnerRe-imagining the pre-loved

It really is true that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. When I look around a charity shop, I imagine great possibilities for the pre-loved items before me. I see it as my mission to restore, revamp or repurpose whatever I can. In short, I reimagine the pre-loved. 

View original post 608 more words

A Guide to Savvy Shopping – Part Four: The Capsule Wardrobe

About twice a year I go through a ritual purification regime called ‘culling my wardrobe’. Once I’m finished I always feel somewhat free. It is an altogether liberating experience, which begs the question, if it is so liberating to get rid of a lot of ‘stuff’, why did I buy it in the first place? We live in a society where the ‘stuff’ you have appears to carry some great significance. To many and often to ourselves it defines who we are and how successful we’ve been.

A while ago my husband and I watched a really interesting and thought provoking movie called The Joneses. The plot in short is this, posing as an ordinary family, stealth marketeers move into a high income suburb to sell a lifestyle to their community. Their neighbours buy into their hidden product placement but the reality of keeping up with the Joneses isn’t sustainable for some and the resulting pressure and debt leads to tragic consequences. It was a stark reminder to us that it isn’t the things that we accumulate that make us happy but rather our relationships and the time we invest in the people around us. As Bob Marley once said:

”The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”

This leads me nicely on to our blog topic this week, that of decluttering, minimalism, and compiling a capsule wardrobe. Once again, as this is not my area of expertise I have called in help in the form of local business woman Rebekah Johanson, owner of Lines & Current.



imageWhen I think of Rebekah I’m reminded of Cinderella, but not in the obvious sense, let me explain. For those with young daughters, it will not have gone amiss that the new Disney Cinderella movie was recently released on DVD. My husband swiftly got himself to a local Asda store to buy said DVD for family movie night. In the movie Cinderella’s mother tells her to ”have courage and be kind”. Words to live by and words that are frequently recited in our home at the moment. Rebekah is a girl who exemplifies both of these qualities, she has had the courage, along with her husband Jon, to step out and start a business, generating their own income for their family. Rebekah’s kindness is demonstrated in part by the fact that she tithes 10% of all of her profits to charitable organisations. She is also incredibly beautiful and humble with it so in all these respects she is east Belfast’s answer to Cinderella. Something tells me however that you’ll not find a pair of glass slippers in Rebekah’s capsule wardrobe, they may have been ditched in her wardrobe detox. I’m delighted that Rebekah has agreed to share with us about decluttering and how to dress well with less. Enjoy!

Rebekah here and I must preface what is yet to come by saying I’m certainly no expert on the topic of tidying or decluttering or as I say ‘Wardrobe Dieting’, but I’ve been trekking on the ‘minimalist’ road ( to some degree) for a while now. Here’s some suggestions for getting started and how to curate and live from a wardrobe with LESS stuff in it.

My Wardrobe Diet Story

I‘ve been on this journey for about a year now. The moment I finally realised enough was enough was last autumn when I looked inside my bulging beast of a wardrobe and couldn’t find a simple t-shirt. Yes I could see plenty of lovely frilly/ vintage-esque blouses, the ones i had loved about 5 years before, but since having kids and the accumulation of extra ‘things’ that have come with that, I’ve been stripping things back gradually.  Last autumn was crunch time, and I meant business. I was pretty ruthless about it, if I hadn’t worn it in a year, I set it into the discard pile, if it didn’t suit my post-preggo shape even though I still kinda liked it- discard. I vacuum shrunk a small bag of summer clothes and put them in an upper shelf but apart from that, there was nothing kept that I didn’t love or didn’t use. Things looked sparse in there. I admit, almost soulless. I can relate to what Drew Barrymore said when she did a similar wardrobe detox-

“My closet seemed to be clean. But, no longer eclectic or wild enough. It actually seemed like I had no clothes. It got too sparse! I was sad. Had I gone too far? I was missing my old funky self and felt like I had become some conservative, boring woman — but not even in a cool, J.Crew way. I was more like, I don’t know…just not me.” (Drew Barrymore)

I remember when my mum looked in my wardrobe, she inwardly gasped at its sparseness. It’s a hard place to be.. you have two options… One, you can plan an immediate shopping spree to fill the space OR two,  you can resist the immediate desire to fill the space and stay in the tension of having LESS. Whether it’s because we’re culturally or emotionally uncomfortable with not having a wealth of options, I’m not sure, but it was an interesting personal experiment to push through. A year on, I can say it’s been well worth resisting my desire to fill the gaps. The wardrobe is not just as sparse, (it’s actually not all that tidy either,)  but I have enjoyed the experience of dressing everyday from limited pieces and have developed the art of choosing clothing items that resonate with my personal taste and personality. Some outfit examples- if I’m going on a walk, it’s jeans, flannel shirt, Nike trainers or Boots.  If I’m brunching, it’s jeans and an oxford shirt with Hudson boots. If I’m having a day working from home / school run, it’s- yoga pants and hoodie that might turn into jeans and an oversized t-shirt and cardigan.  It’s not glamourous but the point of the entire process is to take the thinking OUT of dressing. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy style and playing dress up, but I’ve enjoyed the liberation felt by doing ‘stylish’ minimalism more. Less stuff = less decisions = more space = more playtime and energy for things that matter to you. It’s an over-simplified view on dressing but there are nuggets of truth in there and personal benefits if you’re willing to push through the chaotic decluttering bit at the start.

Tips on ‘Going Minimal’

First things first- the obvious clear out session. There is NO way out of it and if you’re like me you might not love this stage too much.

Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, an international bestseller, has probably been the most useful resource I’ve read on my journey so far.  Some of the following suggestions are based on what I’ve found the most useful from the Kon-Marie method of tidying from her book and from my own experience:.

  • Go category by category, starting with the easiest to part with. Her ‘Kon-Marie method’ encourages a category-by-category system, rather than the conventional little-by-little approach. I would say I’ve found this helpful although it’s best to just get started rather than getting paralysed with the correct ‘method’. The idea is to practice with the easier decisions (e.g. underwear!) and move onto the harder ones (like the party dresses you invested in but never wear!).
  • Instead of deciding what to get rid of, focus on what to keep. “Do you need it and does the piece of clothing spark Joy?” This phrase has become quite a useful ‘tool’ on the wardrobe diet journey.  It might seem a bit strange but with the Kon-Marie method, you take each item in your hand ask yourself “does this spark joy?” If yes, then it stays. If it does not spark joy, then throw it out. Note: You must touch every item so that your body can react. This is NOT an intellectual process.
  • Finally, it’s so much easier to read about this subject than actually DOING it! So take whatever momentum you have conjured up until now and run with it.
  • Resist the urge to immediately fill the space. Save some money. Live in the tension for a while. See if a new found creative or mental space is unleashed.

Your Capsule Wardrobe

Now is play time- your minimalist curation. This looks like whatever you want it to. Theoretically, a Capsule wardrobe (a term coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called Wardrobe in the 1970s) is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces.

Some modern minimalists advocate having 37 items in your wardrobe. Basically your new clothing collection is made up of a combination of items you already own and love to wear, as well as new, quality items that you can shop for once a season. I’m not fussy about how many pieces are in there, as long as it is moving away from the fast-disposable clothes mentality.

Keep versatility in mind when slowly building your collection. Also, think about a more neutral colour palette. Can you wear that blazer casually and dress it up for a more formal setting? Will this wash well? It’s helpful to look at your life and consider what you need for 80% of the time. These are the timeless,  good quality pieces you may want to revamp if you are low in supply.  My everyday wardrobe is the pretty basic.  A few pairs of jeans that I feel comfy in are important items, many of mine are from River Island. For Autumn/ Winter you may invest in a few oversized knitted cardigans or  good quality cotton blend t-shirts or vests for underneath. So far this season I’ve invested ( or actually been bought as a birthday gift, ) a brown knit jumper from Zara, find it here; a loose grey cardigan and black Trench Coat from Gap Sale, find similar here, and I made an online purchase of an oversized flannel shirt from Uniqlo, find it hereI bought my daughters one each as well. That’s it, I probably won’t buy anything else this season except perhaps a brown pair of boots if I find any I love closer to Christmas.


Next come- the flourishes- the way you stay YOU. I like to express this in the statement accessories, like hats or a splash of lippy colour or jewellery. Family hand-me-downs are an important part of my collection, some are handmade jumpers or passed down jewellery pieces. I have a vintage shirt that seems to raise its head from season to season too.

Again, these are only suggestions to freeing up some creative energy in your life and limiting the anxiety that can arise with too much choice. The whole idea is to NOT jump back into old habits of spending and consuming. I’m really only learning about what it is to be a responsible consumer. I’m inspired to be part of a ‘slow’ fashion movement where we mindfully consider our clothing purchases and steer away from the fast-disposable fashion culture that is inevitably filling our landfills with non- biodegradable tat. Living with a collection of LESS is a great way to start in this.

I’ll leave you with some inspo of a capsule wardrobe made of of 37 pieces and how various items have been mixed and matched to create a wide array of options for a Winter 15 collection. This is from a minimal dresser called Caroline with a minimal Fashion Blog called ‘Unfancy.’


Here’s some helpful resources:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective way to Banish Clutter Forever, Marie Kondo

– A TEDx Talk.  A Rich life with Less Stuff,  The Minimalist


– Consider where your discarded clothes are going? Are they going to end up in landfills? Maybe someone could up-cycle or consider donating your leftover Pregnancy clothes to a local Pregnancy Care Charity. One local to Belfast is Matters charity shop.  It’s called Vie, at 183 Lisburn Rd.

– Why I Put My Closet On A Diet (In 6 Simple Steps), Drew Barrymore

The True Cost, Netflix Documentary a Sustainable and Fair Trade Fashion Company

A Little Bird told me…

Ok fellow bargain hunters, this is one for all the mummies out there struggling to find stylish clothes for their kiddos. I received an email this afternoon to let me in on the sale preview for Mothercare, because I subscribe to their emails they offer me the chance to shop their sale before the offers are widely available in store and online. This means that I, and other subscribers like me, get first dibs on their gorgeous ‘Little Bird’ range, designed by Jools Oliver. I want to say Jamie Oliver’s wife but she is a person in her own right and she is a very gifted lady, not least because she designs the most gorgeous retro children’s clothing range known to man. If they had the same clothes in my size I would be all over that. The Little Bird range is not only tres cute it is also hard wearing, which when you’re buying for kids is a must. I love this range the most so when the sale preview notification appears in my inbox I’m straight there! This time I’m shopping for the girls’ summer wardrobe for next year and who could blame me when you can snap up gorgeous tees for £3.50! I mean look at these clothes!!!

image image image image image image

Jools Oliver I salute you! It is hard to find nice clothing for children today, especially for boys, but Jools has mastered it. All of the above items will be available on sale later this week, if there is any left in stock that is. To avoid disappointment I recommend joining the Mothercare mailing list asap.

Mothercare have recently started selling designer brands online such as Converse, Mamas & Papas, Esprit, Penguin and Joules. They also do offers on these brands from time to time. A few months ago I bought this Joules top for a mere £6.


Don’t miss out on hearing from the Little Bird in future!


Holidays are coming?!

Bets are on as to how early this old favourite is going to appear on our screens this year:

My guess is the end of September, like it as I may my reaction will no doubt be the same as everyone else’s:

Despite my aversion to Christmas ads, and Christmas music for that matter, being broadcast in September and October, I am a lover of all things Christmas and every year I start my festive shopping in September. Ok I confess I sometimes start it even earlier because let’s face it I can’t pass up a bargain, and I like to spread the cost of Christmas across a few months so that the total bill doesn’t result in an epic meltdown. Actually, let me rephrase that, so that the total bill doesn’t cause Mr. S to have an epic meltdown upon reviewing the itemised statement of our joint account.

Truth be known, I have the bulk of my presents bought, for the children anyway, and I plan to pretty much close the deal on Christmas shopping with a wee trip to Kildare Outlet Village at the start of October. You know it makes sense people, so let the shopping commence!

A Guide to Savvy Shopping: Part Three – Makeup essentials

I’m going to start with a confession, makeup essentials are definitely not my area of expertise. Those who know me will be sure of that so I’ve called in the professional for this week’s blog post in the form of Deborah Harper, owner of the amazing Deborah Harper Makeup and Beauty in Helen’s Bay. If you are treating yourself or someone special to you look no further than DHMB. Think Day Spa at salon prices, beautiful surroundings, wonderful treatments and lovely therapists. Need I say more?

Anyway, makeup, when it comes to makeup I’ve been known to get it wrong, not least in my youth when a few questionable makeup purchases led to looks not dissimilar to this one:

As Britney Spears was big in my day I also fooled myself into thinking that I too could look like her by smearing myself in bright green eye shadow:

Needless to say nobody ever mistook me for Britney on the streets of Belfast, bad times! So due to my clueless efforts at buying the right, affordable makeup I’m handing you over to Deborah for our first ever guest post on wisdom and pennies.


I first met Deborah about seven years ago through a mutual friend and I’ve enjoyed getting to know her better of late. As clichéd as it sounds Debs oozes beauty from the inside out. Having watched her in action many times I can tell you that she has a gift with people and the ability to make them feel special and of great worth. In short, she is a treasure. But I’ve said enough, time to hand you over to the girl herself for some real wisdom in this area:

Hello all of Lisa’s blog followers!

I have loved makeup since I was far too young to even be allowed to wear makeup.

I can still remember finding my Mum’s only lipstick in very retro red and white packaging and being totally mesmerised! This was the start of a long-term passion for makeup.

My style is for makeup that enhances. That makes you feel good about your skin, your complexion, your colouring. My mantra being everyone can wear every colour – just not every shade. For example, I love red lipstick but it is a very specific red that makes my blue eyes pop, my teeth look white and my skin look bright. The wrong colour leads to my lips looking thin, my eyes look tired and a general shady/greyness to my complexion.

So be excited. makeup is fun, experimental and doesn’t have to cost the earth.

I treat my makeup bag like my wardrobe – have a few key investment pieces, like a classic winter coat that will last you many a season but accent it with a scarf or hat that didn’t cost the earth and you can change your look depending on how you feel.

So my investment pieces are my foundation, blusher and mascara

Why? These you will use every day. I like a BB cream with an SPF and I love good coverage so i choose Jane Iredale’s Glow Time in number 5.

I choose to invest in my blusher as I seem to react to a lot of highly pigmented products. So again Jane Iredale’s Barely Rose or Dubonnet are beautiful. They have no chemical dyes and potentially irritating ingredients – so are safe to use on the most sensitive skin types. If you find you have red blotches or spots around the area you use bronzer or blusher – this could be the reason why and a makeup change could be the answer.

Senna’s Voluptulash (£16.50) is just my all time favourite mascara. It is creamy enough to keep layering and reapplying to get a really dramatic effect but it is also pleasant to remove and doesn’t mean you rub half your eyelashes off at the end of the day!

My accent/fun/experimental pieces are basically everything else!


Everyone should have a signature nude lip colour. Mine is Barry M’s No. 154 (£4.95) and for a wee treat I adore Senna’s Affair (£14.50). I keep both in the car for handiness – it is easy to throw on a nude shade without needing to use lip liner or really even a mirror. Definitely check out Rimmel for the Kate nude shades. There will be a perfect one in there just for you. Key is – don’t go too pale or it will just look like you’ve just put concealer all over your lips!

My other love is for all things coral. I love a colour that lifts my face – especially if I am not doing much with my eyes, Entry VIP by Bourgois is fab. (Boots, £7.99)


Ok so this isn’t really a budget product but it will last you forever (well, a long time anyways). Any of the Naked pallets are wonderful. It contains multiple perfect ‘day’ looks with darker shades that take your makeup effortlessly into an evening look.

The 90s are making a come back – for me brown lips and cheeks would be too draining – but my eyes will love all the mocha/latte shades (Naked 1 for this!).

My top tip is to buy at the airport (normally £9 cheaper) or check out www. which is a fab comparison site for all things beauty.


Here is where you can have lots of fun. This spring summer saw a trend return – the brightly coloured liner. With a simple sweep you have have a blast of blues/greens – check out Rimmel’s Scandaleyes – the colours are fab! I loved this on the upper lid with lots of mascara, keeping the rest of the makeup quite fresh with a little pop of colour using a lip stain (Crazed by Jane Iredale is gorgeous).

But coming into autumn/winter I will be sharpening up my chocolate brown eyeliner for a rich but less harsh look than my usual black liquid flick. Sable Brown by Rimmel is lovely and soft – good for smudging and creating an effortlessly smokey/smudgy look.


Not all of you will be super sensitive with blusher so also feel free to play about with colours and textures. I have loved using Max Factor’s Miracle Touch Creamy Blush in pink on lots of my brides this year (the bronze shade looks gorgeous too).


For me, I have got away from wanting my skin to look matt…I want it to have a glow and natural dewiness – mostly because as I get older I miss how my skin used to look. So cream blush will work on a cream based foundation (not so much on a powder base such as Bare Minerals/Amazing Base by Jane Iredale).

Contouring and strobing have been around for as long as makeup existed. Just because they have got new cool names doesn’t change the technique.

My tip for contouring – keep it matt, blend it so you cannot see a harsh definition. Yes, be inspired by the online help guides but your face and contours will not be the same as the image before you. So play about and see what looks best on you!

Strobing is highlighting – in the same places that it has always looked best to highlight. The high point of your cheek bone is most common, but also don’t forget your forehead (just above the arch of your eyebrow) and down the centre of the nose (if you want it to look thinner – don’t do this if you are already concerned with having a long/thin nose). But again, play about so you know what works and not just before you go out to that special occasion.

I think that would be my final piece of advice – play about! Check out Pixiwoo, Wayne Goss and Lisa Eldridge online, all of whom do fab makeup tutorials and will give you lots of top tips on application.

At DHMB I also do makeup lessons. You can come in with your own makeup bag and just simply say – INSPIRE ME!

(Jane Iredale foundation (£35) and blusher (£22) and Senna mascara are all available to buy at DHMB)

A Guide to Savvy Shopping: Part Two – Back to School Basics

First of all, apologies for my absence over the past few weeks, let’s just say there has been some drama in our household which involved a 999 call and the appearance of an ambulance last week. Thankfully order has been restored, my husband is almost fighting fit again and I’m back in the blogging game. Where has the summer gone?! I’ll admit that at the end of June I was dreading the prospect of entertaining three children under the age of six for eight full weeks but it has flown by and the task wasn’t as difficult as I imagined, no thanks to the weather. So now the start of a new school year looms and I’m thinking to myself, is my first baby really going into P2 and my second baby girl starting nursery school? Stop the clock already, they’re growing up too fast! The start of a new school year also calls for new supplies which has given us the opportunity to shop for some funky new stationary, woo hoo! Here is a round up of some of the best buys we’ve found. image  A Globe Sharpener, £1 at Poundland image Lego Erasers, 49p at Home Bargains imageHello Kitty Elvis Stationary set, £1 at Poundland image HB pencils, £1.79 at Lidl (great for little fingers!) image Notebook, 99p at Home Bargains image Bird shaped rubber bands, 10p on sale in The Works image Wooden sharpener, 19p at Home Bargains image Crayola crayons, 49p per pack at Home Bargains image Tin pencil case, 50p on sale in The Works image TY erasers, 39p per pack at Home Bargains (a pack of four can sometimes be found in Poundworld for £1)

We also picked up a new lunch bag for £1.99 in Home Bargains and the cutest little Dr Marten Mary-Janes ❤️, on sale in the Doc Marten shop in Belfast for £36. image image

A Guide to Savvy Shopping – Part One

I thought it was time to give you some tips on savvy shopping that I have found usual over the last few years and I really hope that you find some of it useful for your own living. So here goes, how to shop well on less.

Part One: Clothing

Those who know me will know that I am drawn to TK Maxx like a moth to a flame. I know that it can be a bit of a jumble sale and it’s not for everyone, you really have to commit to the rummaging. There are great bargains to be had in TK Maxx if you will but look, but don’t get carried away, before you make a purchase ask yourself a series of questions: Do I need it? Will I get a lot of wear out of it? Is it likely to date? Is it worth spending my money on? I find that asking myself these questions prevents a lot of foolish spending. For example, a month ago I was rummaging through my local Barnardos 99p rail when I came across a Diane Von Fuhrstenberg top, despite being DVF it was very 80s and I knew I couldn’t make it work so back it went, 99p saved.

I find that good purchases to make in TK Maxx are that of jeans, look out for Scotch Maison, Seven for All Mankind, Levi’s and Lee. All are good  brands that are hard wearing and you will find them at a much reduced price compared to the High Street. Other trusty brands to look for in TK Maxx are Whistles, Ralph Lauren, Ted Baker, Reiss, Lulu Guinness (sometimes to be found in the wallet/purse section), House of Holland underwear, RayBan Sunglasses, Hunter Boots and Wellie socks, Converse, New Balance and Havaianas. Havaianas are always a good buy for summer, I am still wearing pairs that I bought in Brazil 10 years ago for the ridiculous price of £3.

In the TK Maxx Kids Department look out for No Added Sugar, Nautica, Beauty and the Bib and Hatley. I often pick up lovely baby gifts here.

I tend to buy all my basics in stores like Sainsburys, Asda or M&S, and usually during their sales. By basics I mean black and white tops and striped tops (both timeless and functional). Just this week I bought a striped George at Asda dress in the sale, reduced from £10 to £5, it is very boden-esc. You can find it here.

On the black top front, a friend of mine recently shared that she dyes her black tops and dresses every once in a while to keep the colour looking fresh, I’m going to give this a go before ditching any more washed out black tops.

I always purchase a new cashmere from Tesco (it’s as good as any) each Christmas. A luxury cashmere buy for the festive season has become a wee tradition of mine. Last year I doubled up my Tesco points and bought a long camel cashmere cardigan which was already reduced in a promotion, I think I only ended up paying £7! For cashmere!

You can’t go far wrong with the Supermarkets for childrens’ clothing also, my preferred stores being Asda and Sainsburys. They can give the higher end Boden and The Little White Company a run for their money. My advice is to wait until the sales and stock up for the next season for your little ones. Sainsburys frequently do 25% off all TU clothing, usually around half term holidays. Check out my finds from their most recent sale here. I love The Gruffalo, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and the Guess How Much I Love You ranges from TU, so cute and again great for baby gifts.

When looking for an outfit for a special occasion I’ll hit the Peel Sale Shop on Bloomfield Avenue in east Belfast. The staff are really helpful and the clothes are fine quality. I believe you can tell when clothes are expensive by the cut of them, and when made well clothes stand the test of time. Years ago I bought a Hugo Boss silk dress and a Dolce and Gabbana puffball skirt (purchased in the old Ken Young Sale Shop in Coleraine), I fully intend to pass them on to my girls some day when they become vintage. My Mother-in-law kindly gave me two of her old formal dresses from over 30 years ago which I love and have worn lots. Lucky for me she has great taste, she reliably informs me that Lady Di, as she was known back then, owned one of the same dresses in pink, you couldn’t have got better endorsement than that.

Anyway back to script, quality items in the Peel Sale Shop. They stock beautiful brands, some of my favourites being Moschino Cheap and Chic, Marc Cain, Philosophy by Alberti Ferreti and Theory. I once bought a lovely pair of grey capri pants by Vivienne Westwood in this shop but alas I haven’t seen any VW in there recently. About three years back I bought a classic black Moschino Cheap and Chic dress there for £20, which I’ve worn to a couple of weddings, accessorised differently each time.

My advice when buying clothes is to buy good quality clothes every once in a while over buying average quality clothes regularly. Buying cheap clothes is a false economy, you can end up spending the same amount on lots of cheap clothes than had you only bought a few good higher end items over the course of the year. Nor do the cheap clothes last and you will end up spending more to replace them. I prefer to save in order to buy investment pieces as I call them. One example of this is my quilted vintage style Barbour jacket, I bought it four years ago and I wear it all the time. The quality is great and Barbour are one of the few companies that will stand over their products. I had an issue with my jacket within the first year of purchase and they replaced it, at no cost to myself, no questions asked. Good customer service goes a long way, I have raved about Barbour as a brand to so many people because of that experience and I have since bought a second waxed jacket from them. On that note I also wear a 30 year old navy waxed Barbour jacket that my Aunt gave to me and it is in perfect condition, I just rewax it once in a while. Proof that quality lasts.

When you are buying an expensive item of clothing, actually any clothing for that matter, be sure to price around. I use Google Shopping to compare prices. If money were no object I would buy from local independent retailers every time but budget dictates that we shop around. At Christmas my husband bought me a pair of black classic Doctor Marten boots (they make me nostalgic about my misspent youth), we ended up buying them on sale from Surfdome for £60 instead of paying £100 elsewhere. I knew my neighbour wanted the same pair and recommended the deal to her, she also bought through Surfdome. Check them out here, they have some pretty good sales.

Other investment pieces are my black Hunter wellie boots, a Guess Denim Jacket and a Kenneth Cole Black dress, both purchased in TK Maxx.

My final pearl of wisdom on clothing purchases is to hit the charity shops. You would be surprised at what people give away. I recently found a Paul Smith Black Label Italian Cotton shirt, with the labels still on it, in Oxfam. Last year I also found a Jaegar camel coat in the same Oxfam, it looked like new and I still lament that I didn’t buy it but I was pregnant and feeling fatter than usual on the day I tried it on, school boy error. Anyway, it’s always worth a look in your local charity shops and I certainly feel better about spending when I know it is helping others into the bargain.

If you have any top tips of your own please feel free to drop me a comment, we’d love to hear them.

Stay tuned for top tips on shopping for food, homeware and more.