£5 Charity Shop Challenge: Gift Edition | Challenge

b: I am a charity shop regular. My bookshelves are brimming with books, and my drawers are full of patterned jumpers and beaded tops that I've found tucked away at the back of my local charity shops. Luke, however, not so much. Whilst he was a charity shop volunteer, and once brought home Prison Break season 1 for £2 (!!), he rarely ventures into the vast array of shops on our local high street. With this in mind, I thought I would propose a little bit of a charity shop challenge to see whether it was possible to buy gifts for one another with just our loose change. The rules were simple: Luke and I had £5 each to spend on gifts for one another and we had free range of the 10 charity shops that grace the high street of my hometown. We managed to stumble across a lot of finer things but lets start with Luke's finds first!

the finer things club blog uk lifestyle blog charity shop hauluk lifestyle blog vivatramp the finer things clubuk lifestyle blog the finer things club vivatramp charity shop

watercolour painting, wooden jewellery box, CERAMIC CAT 

luke'S MUSINGS on his finds 
Now as Bee has already informed you, I didn't know what to expect when taking on this challenge. I was hoping to stumble upon a mysterious little shop, like the one out of Never Ending Story, and find a shop assistant who could give me some 
sound book recommendations, or at the very least offer me some free Frogurt. Aside from these adventurous aspirations, I also set off to find something that would catch my eye, and it didn't take long until something did. In the very first shop I went in, in the centre of the room, was a little CERAMIC CAT that looked just like Bee's tabby cat Charles (who I am constantly competing with to be the favourite!). I think that's one of the things that makes charity shops so brilliant. Even if you go in not having a clue, you can, more often that not, find unique yet personal gifts that you can be almost certain the recipient will love. The second gift I bought was found in the third shop on the route, a large hand painted WATERCOLOUR PAINTING in blues and purples of a sailboat on a lake. The painting caught my eye instantly, and I couldn't help but wonder as to who its creator may have been, and where they took their inspiration from. This, again, demonstrates the uniqueness of the charity shop experience. The third and final gift I bought Bee was a little WOODEN JEWELLERY BOX that had been very well made, and remained in very good condition bar a few small scratches. I saw the third gift as something Bee and I could refurbish together. The great thing about buying from charity shops, along with the donation to charity, is that you have a bit of money left over for customisation and refurbishment. Alas, that's another challenge for another day....

bee's musings on luke's finds
I was so impressed with Luke's finds, especially as he's not a regular! The first gift that I received was the beautiful WOODEN JEWELLERY BOX, and soon as I saw it I could see its massive potential. The dark wood and the neon yellow innards weren't going to deter me! We are going to sand it all down, give it a lick of paint, re-upholster it and then it'll be good as new. I'm going to paint it white so that it fits in with my other furniture, but I may do a little stenciling on the top. What do you think?! The CERAMIC CAT is absolutely gorgeous, and so thoughtful because it really is a deadringer for Charles. He has since taken pride of place on my bookshelf. Whilst it's quite large and not something I would normally gravitate towards, I actually think the WATERCOLOUR PAINTING is beautiful and a perfect fit for my wanderlust! I'm going to re-frame this piece because the current frame is a little dated but I've already been eyeing up a spot on my wall for this beauty. 

1984 book haul charity shop uk lifestyle blogthe finer things club uk charity shop haul.jpguk lifestyle blog vivatramp book haulbooks charity shop haul lifestyle blog ukvintage comic the finer things club

1984 by george orwell (978-0-141-19120-1), the incredible hulk comic (dec 1995), the maze runner by james dashner (978-1-906427-50-4), wolf hall by hilary mantel (978-0-00-723020-4), the children of hurin by j. r. r. tolkein (978-0-00-725226-8)

I thought I'd find this challenge a lot trickier than I actually did but, thankfully, the charity shops did me proud! The first purchase I made was the vintage INCREDIBLE HULK COMIC. This little beauty is a '95 edition and I think it looks awesome. Luke collects graphic novels, and loves superheroes, so I think I did quite well with this one - even though the Hulk isn't one of his favourites! The rest of my finds were, surprise surprise, books. Luke wants to read more widely this year so I picked out some books that I thought he'd really enjoy, as well as ones that may challenge him a little. He loves Tolkien's other works so THE CHILDREN OF HURIN was a pretty good find! I also knew that he wanted to read some modern classics this year, particularly those in the science fiction genre, so I grabbed 1984 when I saw it loitering at the back of the RSPCA shop for a mere 50p. I'd heard quite a lot about WOLF HALL, as it won the Man Booker prize, and Luke quite likes historical fiction, so I was pretty chuffed to find it in brand new condition. Lastly, I picked up THE MAZE RUNNER because Luke enjoys popular YA series', like The Hunger GamesWhat do you think of my choices?

luke'S MUSINGS on bee's finds 
I guess I should say to begin with that I wasn't surprised to see Bee had got me a number of papery goods from her charity shop adventure, as I am so used to seeing her bookcase overflow with her finds. Nevertheless, I was really impressed by the books Bee bought me. THE CHILDREN OF HURIN will be such a fascinating read, what with me being such a fan of Tolkein's other work! Similarly, I can't wait to start reading 1984 as it's pretty much a pillar of the modern science fiction genre. Sadly my novel reading pales in comparisons to my film watching, something I really want to change in 2014 as I think reading can enhance the viewing experience. For example, watching Game of Thrones on television after reading the book series makes them both all the more awesome (but, sadly, still horrifically depressing at times - SPOILER: poor Ned!). WOLF HALL is another novel I plan on reading this year but I have to admit I wasn't too familiar with it, but hey I guess that could be a good thing and I'll just have to trust Bee's judgement (and those of the Man Booker Prize people, of course!). It was nice to see THE MAZE RUNNER make it onto my bookshelf too, as it's probably a book I would have been likely to overlook myself. Admittedly, I have left THE INCREDIBLE HULK COMIC till last because its the one that surprised me the most. Although I'm not the greatest fan of the Hulk, despite him being such an approachable and relateable character...I really did not expect Bee to go out and find vintage comic books but, then again, why not?! Can anyone really say what you can or can't find in all the charity shops you find scattered up and down the land? I say no, and that's why you should go and explore them, especially if you loved the goody bags that you got from birthday parties as a kid. They're pretty much like them but for everyone! 

now that we've shared our finds, TELL US...
 Would you consider buying gifts in charity shops?

 What are the best things you have bought from a charity shop? 
• Do you like our picks? Who did best? ;) 

LEAVE US YOUR ANSWERS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW or tweet us using @tftcblog. If you enjoyed this post, feel free to subscribe through Bloglovin and check us out on Twitter. We'll see you on Sunday! 

with regards, THE FINER THINGS CLUB.



  1. I love charity shops for the strange things you can get there. There's always some good books and awesome clothes in my local one. I think the best thing I've ever bought in a charity shop is an almost new check coat so I'd definitely consider buying gifts for others in charity shops :)

  2. You both did fantastically! I swear everywhere but where I live has the most fantastic charity shops; whenever I venture in to any I never find anything, not even decent books - a lot of Mills and Boon, sure, but there's only so many of them you can read ;) I'm always amazed by what you manage to find Bee, maybe you have the magic touch?!

    I love that Luke managed to find some more unusual bits and pieces and that you are planning to restore the jewellery box together - you guys are so sweet, the boy and I would rather do anything but restore furniture together! Funny thing is, my Dad's actually an Antiques Restorer (and has been for some 30 years!) so I guess I've seen enough of it to last a lifetime for me :P

    Well done on your finds, Bee and Luke! And such a lovely post idea too :)

  3. I love the idea of charity shops - the thought that you could find something amazing in a treasure trove style search is one which really appeals. Sadly, though, most of our local charity shops have put their prices up to high street levels, for second hand clothes, which I think is kind of crazy. It means that if I tried this challenge, my £5 wouldn't go so far, but I guess that would just make it more of a challenge.
    I love both of your finds, the cat is somethign I'd have been drawn to, as well.

  4. Such a fun challenge! You both did so well with your finds, especially Luke with the jewellery chest. Our charity shops are very hit and miss but I might have a peruse tomorrow with my spare morning!

  5. Me and the husband buy second hand gifts for each other all the time - although we tend to get them from estate and garage sales as the choice of second hand/charity shops are rather limited in our area. Sadly back in the UK all the charity shops I use to buy books in are so, so expensive these days that I don't think a five pound wouldn't go too far. $5 at an estate sale in the US and I could get a number of vinyls and books which I think would go down like a treat with the husband.

    Great idea for a challenge though!

  6. That's such a great challenge :) Proving lovely gifts don't need to break the bank. I'm a habitual charity shop book buyer, particularly at the Oxfam bookshops, but I've never really branched out into clothes or trinkets. I shall have to get on that!

    Bella . BELLAETC

  7. This is a great idea for a challenge :o. And it must be really fun to do :).
    I think that both of you did pretty well. You respected each other's tastes but tried to add your personal touch to your selection. The wooden jewellery box is cute and I'm curious to know what it will look like after your intervention. I have the same edition of 1984 and Wolf Hall is on my TBR for a year or so. It makes me want to go charity shopping: it feels good to know that you can help the ones that truly need it... And please the ones you love with amazing gifts :).

  8. Wow, you both did really well! That picture is beautiful and the jewellery box is very cute - I look forward to seeing it upcycled.
    I'd love to try something like this with the other half although I suspect he would probably moan about collecting too much clutter :-) x

  9. This challenge/post is one of my favourites ever! I love charity shopping, and my boyfriend is definitely a convert now too. We haven't been for well over a month, so a treasure hunt is long overdue. The gifts you chose for each other are perfect, both of your choices equally as thoughtful as the others. My favourite has to be the jewellery box though, it's something I'd have picked out myself with exactly the same idea in mind! I can't wait to see the finished product :) xxx

  10. This is such a great challenge, you both did so well!
    I can't wait to see the finished jewellery box. x

    Leanne - A Slice of My Life

  11. The painting is so nice, what a find!

  12. It’s good to know that you are a regular charity shopper, and this shop challenge is a great test for you and Luke to venture. The items you’ve found are all awesome! I could imagine what a dent it would make it in your pocket had you purchase brand new in a regular shopping center. Now, about your question whether should we consider buying gifts from charity shop? I say, why not?

    Norman Watkins @ Giving Works eBay

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