When talking with my friend over our combined love of shopping, she happened to mention something that caught my interest. She explained that she had stumbled what he described as “a brilliant place to find a bargain, a charity shop where everything is £3. Now I’ve never been one for being able to rummage and scavange through piles of clothes and racks of items. I simply don’t have much patience for that kind of shopping, however I seem to be getting better (its a working progress). On hearing about this so-called gem of a charity shop, it got me thinking about giving charity shops a chance to redeem themselves in opinion. When the word “chary shop” is brought to my attention, fusty, old and tatty are the descriptives that spring to mind without fail. I live in a little village with a shopping centre near by with the likes of H&M, Primark and New Look to name a few so charity shops are not really the main attraction for shopping and are sparse.
After doing a little digging I found that Edinburgh is full of charity shops in little side streets so it seems only fair that if I’m going to give charity shops a bash i should probably head in that direction. Of course, having a rather fashion concious sister, this was not something she was going to pass on. Before I knew it, my boyfriend, mum and sister were heading towards Raeburn Mews where according to Google, we would find plenty charity shops supplying everything from clothes to shoes, home items to sports gear. Luckily for us, its a dry day and not freezing the face off you when you get to Haymarket station. Now when you ask a Taxi driver to take you to somewhere not far from the centre of Edinburgh, you do not expect him turn round halfway there and say “I don’t really know where that is”. Queue the rather baffled face of my sister and my Boyfriend, Dan shouting google maps directions to the driver only to find out that we were at the end of the road we were needing.
Luckily for us its a dry day and not freezing the face off you when you get to Haymarket station. Now when you ask a Taxi driver to take you to somewhere not far from the centre of Edinburgh, you do not expect him turn round halfway there and say “I don’t really know where that is”. Queue the rather baffled face of my sister and my Boyfriend, Dan shouting google maps directions to the driver only to find out that we were at the end of the road we were needing.
Aside from the charity shops there are plenty of coffee shops and bakeries on side streets filled with what looked like goodies galore. We on the other hand, opted for a greggs sandwich and some chips for the ultimate on the go food.
One thing Edinburgh charity shops are not short of is DvD and CDs. Nearly every shop you go into has a sizeable stack everything from Vinyl records to unopened CDs.
I have to say if you are looking for some unusual items or nic nacs to fill your house with then the charity shops on Reaburn Road are the ones you need to head for, mugs odd spoons, and sports equipment are in full supply.
After a few shops, its seemed like I was getting somewhere. A Riess blazer jacket and some top shop clothes that were a little to the questionable side were given a miss and nothing to be gained besides an loose marks and spencers jumper that has turned out to be a cosey day in item or with my big boots. That and some gym clothes, I will get back int to going to the gym. I will.
I have to say Edinburgh, on a gorgeous sunny day, is one of the most picturesque places you could fine. The architecture in the side streets and cobble lanes is fantastic. I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures while I could as I only had a limited battery on my camera.
I wasn’t the only one to be successful win this venture though, Dan some how managed to walk out of one of the shops carrying nearly a full set of clubs (some doubles) and the bag to put them in. The only issue with this purchase came half way back to Princes Street when Dan realised just how far away we were. The rest of the way through Edinburgh was filled with “Ouch” and the odd curse word under his breath as the clubs banged off his legs or the walls that were “sticking out too far”. Reason learned, don’t buy anything big from a charity shop if you have to humf it back with you through the saturday crowds in the Scottish capital. Needless to say the walk back to the train station was not exactly easy stopping to change shoulder and make adjustments as we got some weird looks from passers by wondering where the heck we found a shop selling clubs in the middle of Edinburgh.
On the way back to the train station, my sister wanted to stop in at a second-hand hand designer handbags. The price on some of these handbags is enough to make your eyes water but I’m informed by my sister that the prices are “very reasonable”.
On a stop to fix the golf clubs that were quickly going from the find of the day to becoming everyones enemy, we came across possibly one of the best pawn shops in Edinburgh with everything from bagpipes to camera lenses and rather pricey Rollex watches.
You could say the Charity shops have tested my ability to rummage and rake for a gem. No great finds but this has definitely started to bring me round to the thought of having a trip to more charity shops to see if I can pick up a steal anywhere. Even if it is just a little something you buy for your room or you end up finding complete outfits from some little known designer and top shops. At the end of the day the money these shops bring in goes to something vital, Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland, Cancer Research, Barnardos among others are some you can find in the side streets of Edinburgh. If me and my mum, when can barely hand TK Max can handle hours in charity shops then anyone can give it a go.