Thrifty Festive Business: Part 1

Yesterday afternoon, I could be seen striding down Honiton high-street (charity shop capital of East Devon), bags for life in hand, a woman on a mission. The time had come for thrifty business, in readiness for what is already turning out to be another VERY COLD winter. My mental check-list of essentials included the following:

  • non-perishable food stuffs
  • long-sleeved tops
  • all manner of blankies, snuggies & fleecy type thingamees.

My chosen hunting grounds included the charity and independent shops of old Honiton town (which incidentally is referred to in Jane Austen’s ‘Sense and Sensibilities’, check it out, it’s pretty cool). My reasoning behind this was two fold: 1) if you know what you’re looking for and are happy to dig, charity shops are a fantastic way to get what you need for a fraction of RRP, whilst 2) simultaneously performing a charitable service (win-win-ring-a-ding-ding). So, true to my word (as per my previous blog post) HERE is the first instalment of my thrifty festive eco tips!

Thrifty Festive Eco Tip 1: charity shop shopping is the schizz. For example: I found an awesome faux-fur coat from Next, (RRP you’re probably looking at about £30>) in Sue Ryder, for £7.50. £7.50! The only reason I didn’t go all grabby fingers on that snuggable fiend was that it was too big for me *grumpy face*. However, what I did find was a basic long-sleeve, bottle green top for three quid, and similarly, whilst rummaging in the British Heart Foundation, I found two as-new long-sleeve tops, for a combined total of three quid. So for the price of one brand new long sleeve top (from Store 21 or New Look for example), I got three as-new tops. First snug-inducing items off the list BOOYAH!

Thrifty Festive Eco Tip 2: the best independent shops will have local offers, and cost less than large chain stores. In Holland & Barrett, you can expect to pay about £14 for a 500g tub of coconut oil, and £6.99 for a 500g pouch of coconut flour. Similarly, dried fruits and nuts (whilst  not hideously expensive) were still dearer than in Honiton’s local health food shop Ganesha, where 500g coconut oil was £3.75, and the coconut flour was £5.99. Also, you could pick up a 500g bag of dried cranberries for £1.99, as opposed to the mere 100g you’d get for the same price in Holland & Barrett. Also, with the Festive season coming up, chances are your local health-food shop will have more Christmassy fayre weighing down their shelves. Make use of this abundance and stock up: all manner of healthy, tasty treats can be whipped up for pennies, and the ingredients will last a hell of a long time (long past Christmas). This means you get your money’s worth on some healthy, tasty food which isn’t going to go off before the New Year. My recommendations for Festive health-food essentials include:

  • dried cranberries (good for cooking and snacking).
  • toasted coconut flakes (good for cooking and applying directly to your face).
  • quinoa flour (gluten-free).
  • carob flour (gluten-free and a great cocoa alternative for sensitive stomachs).
  • organic blackstrap molasses (full of iron & b-vitamins, with a rich, darkly sweet taste).
  • date syrup (warm and fruity and good for cooking, less cheek-suckingly sweet than honey or agave).
  • dried fruit: dates, sultanas, raisins, currants, figs, prunes, apricots, all are useful, but you could just pick your favourites if you want (I’m not going to go all militant and hunt you down with an unsubtle bucket of rum-custard).
  • NUTS: pecans, pistachios, macadamias, cashews, peanuts, you get the picture. (THAT’S A LOT OF NUTS!)


  • Spices: cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger root, all-spice berries, nutmeg, sage, rosemary (any other winter favourites you might have).
  • A selection of fruit teas for drinking and cooking (my favourite is a turmeric-ginger tea by Pukka called ‘three ginger’, man it’s good, better than a trio of Weasley’s).

Just not the same as Pukka Three Ginger.

And with that, it’s time for this first instalment of thrifty festive business to come to a close, I hope you found it useful! Check back for future instalments as and when I’m able to write the little buggers. For now, I leave you with the homely sight of my three favourite gingers (now superceded by Pukka Tea). Aww, aren’t they loverly.


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