Whilst strolling around Devises at the weekend we popped into the local Oxfam. It's sad but I seldom bother looking in the charity shops in London these days, everything is so overpriced. This time I picked up this glass trinket dish (£1.99!) and these ceramic dogs which are now gracefully adorning the mantelpiece.
My advice for Charity shop trawling is:
1) Get out of town - In the future I'll save up my charity shop pennies for when I'm visiting friends out of town.
2) Be open minded - Especially with ornaments. An item might not look great in the surroundings of the shop but try to imagine it in your home.
3) Be decisive and go with your gut! If you're drawn to an item and it's only a couple of £ then go for it! I've left behind things that I've kicked myself about afterwards. You only get one chance!
Maybe next time I'll follow my own advice. For Christmas I received a lovely River Cottage Preserving hand book. Whilst looking through it on Christmas day I stumbled across a recipe (well more of a method really) for making Rumtopf - a German desert which is made by adding layers of various soft fruits to a big ceramic jar as and when they come into season throughout the year. Every time a layer of fruit is added to the pot so is a large quantity of rum so that the fruit always remains submerged. After several months of maturing and fermenting the fruit becomes completely soft and saturated with rum whereupon it can be eaten as a delicious compote! (if you're German that is, my Mum says if you're English you'll most likely lift the lid to a pot full of mould, perhaps Rumtopf making is in the genes!). Anyway my very good (and half German) friend Anna dropped in on boxing day and guess what she got for Christmas - a Rumtopf pot which her Dad found in a local charity shop. I thought about what a lovely preserve this would be and vowed to make it myself. When I saw another Rumtopf pot on the shelf of the Oxfam in Devises guess what I did? I thought 'oh how wonderful, just what I was looking for' and then put it back on the shelf and walked away.