Recently, I seem to have been blessed with an eye for a bargain. I don’t know whether it is because I haven’t had much cash to splash, but my eye seems to be particularly in tune with finding them at the moment! Hurrah! I hate paying over the odds for something. And what’s more The Bert is pretty good at finding them too. This has made for some rather triumphant shopping in recent weeks – the kind of shopping trip when you come home skipping, almost feeling like you’ve got away with something you shouldn’t have!
That was certainly the case while we were up in Chester two weeks ago. Mama Bert and The Bert and I all ventured into town on the Saturday – no real purpose, not like we had things we really needed to get – just more of a nice outting into town. I think this might be the first rule of bagging a bargain – do not go out specifically looking for them!
The first shop we found ourselves in was Habitat. It is not a shop that I regularly frequent – hardly at all in fact – I love the stuff in there and often come away with “the wanties” (a term I have seen quite a few times in blogland and love!), but I very rarely buy. Ho ho, but that Saturday the shopping gods were clearly smiling down on us, as Habitat was sporting a SALE, plus a further 10% off, PLUS A DISCOUNT AREA! Well, I wasn’t going to hang about looking at the full price stuff now was I – like a woman possessed I beelined to said area. It was not long until my shopping companions joined me, and that is when the bargain bagging began!
Lovely little bud vases: £3.50 down to 42p each (well, 38p after the further 10% off!)
This oh-so-gorgeous cooking dish: £25 down to £3 (i.e. £2.70!) I discounted this at first – I saw it, but thought it was one of those plastic tray things (which would have been nice, don’t get me wrong). It was The Bert who uncovered its true potential as an ovenproof dish. We have since discovered that lasagne sheets tesselate perfectly, so no more tricky snapping of pieces to make them fit! Yipppeee!
Mama Bert also picked up some gorgeous champagne flutes (tra la la), also in the sale, and off to the till we headed. But then last minute, she spotted some plant pots. Also a bargain at less than £1.50! We bagged ourselves the last three in the shop – 2 for her, and 1 for me.
Doesn’t it look lovely with the primula in it? I love the peacock design.
Ahh, such happy shoppers! We really did have a springy step as we headed further into town – especially The Bert and I, who had come away with change from a fiver!
The rest of the day continued well – not quite as bargainous as it began – but there was a small amount of sale purchasing from other stores as well.
I figured that would be my run of good luck for a while, but then someone told me about the Sample Sale at work. The charity I work for has a number of retail outlets across the country, and it turns out that the office receives a large number of samples or mock-ups of things which companies send in to be considered for the shops proper. Every so often throughout the year, these things are sold off to staff, with the money going to do good things in the organisation.
Well. You can imagine my excitement. My first Sample Sale. I didn’t really know what to expect, but there was a bit of a buzz in the office last Friday. People who didn’t normally work on Friday’s had swapped their days around so they could be in. I was advised to turn up early, bring bags – there would be a queue and if I ambled in later, it would be Too Late. Too late?! Yikes!!
So, at 12 o’clock me and my colleague started queuing for the 12:30 kick off. I felt a bit foolish going so early if I’m honest, but there were already 3 standing in line, and it wasn’t long before the queue had snaked back a considerable distance!
The doors opened, and in we rushed. First table: cards – only 10p each, or packets of cards for 20p! And this is where I made my Big Mistake. I did not look further into the room. The seasoned Sample Sale Savvies knew that the table of cards was a distraction to the Big Stuff: garden paraphenalia, cooking bits and bobs, smellies, candles, boxes and tins, books… I looked up after a few minutes at the cards, and one lady had four bags filled with large things. There was definitely a desperate smell in the air to find the Best Bargain!
Anyway, I was just happy leafing through really, seeing what was on offer, and I didn’t do badly at all. Especially given the tin I managed to get. It had a lovely bird design on it – but it was just a paper mock-up that had been stuck on (rather badly), and after a few hours soaking, this amazing Emma Bridgewater tin appeared! I have my colleague to thank for that one – she picked it up but decided that she didn’t want it, and offered it to me. Yes please! I rather liked the bird mock-up, but I like the EB tin even more!!
So, would you believe me when I tell you that this little hoard cost me a mere £4? But more than that, the most enjoyable lunchtime shopping experience I’ve had in a long while!