Thursday, 20 June 2013

A letter from Emma about: Student night

Dear Readers,

Thursday night is student night, so it’s time for a ‘going out’ inspired blog... charity shop style (obviously). Last Thursday I was back in London and me and my flatmates made a day… and night of it by going shopping beforehand. However, we are students and have no money so it’s time to hit the charity shops!

I had already had something to wear, so we went on a search for something for my lovely flatmate Roseanna to wear. These are the gems she found...

Dress £2.99
Blazer £2.50

Both the blazer and the dress are from Geranium charity shop, which raises money for the blind. All profits go to help visually impaired people throughout London, it is great cause. The dress is originally from Topshop and cost £2.99 which had a pretty floral pattern, and the Blazer (which is great for any night out) was £2.49.  The particular store we visited in Lee Green, had amazing stock and lovely staff, and is definitely worth a visit! 

Also, Roseanna tied her hair up with a donut and used a beaded necklace to cover it up (great tip).  She used a necklace which she brought from her local Sue Ryder shop. Look out for beaded necklaces as they can make great versatile accessorises.  

 My other flatmate also wore these lovely heals, which she brought from her charity shop at home.

So, next time you and your friends go out, why not make a day of it and go charity shopping beforehand. With the increase of social media websites and picture taking on nights out, there can sometimes be pressure not to wear the same outfit twice. Although its not feasible to buy an outfit every time you go out, you can have a more varied and diverse wardrobe if you buy clothes from a charity shop, because the clothes don't cost too much in the first place. Also, you will then have a wardrobe full of 'ethical' clothes because all the money you spent on them went to a good cause.

Have a lovely weekend and hopefully see you again sometime. 


Emma Dilemma 

P.s. Quote of the day- "Fashion is capitalism's favourite child."
- Werner Sombart

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

A letter from Emma about: Whats in your handbag?

Dear Reader,

Apparently you can tell a lot about a person by the contents of their handbag. Hmm.. let's see.

First lets start with the main component: The bag

I brought this bag from a Sue Ryder charity shop a few years ago, and I just love it! It cost me £7 which is a great price for a lovely satchel. I love that satchels never seem to go out of fashion, I have had it for years and still get compliments about it. I also found some spare fabric from an old scarf and tied it onto the side, which I can change depending on my outfit.

Item number two: The bag within the bag

Yes a bag withing a bag does sound a bit ridiculous, but because I do a lot of charity shopping a great way to help them out is to bring your own bag (bags cost money). This was brought as a present, because of my love of strawberries. It's also great for the envrionment, when someone offers me a plastic bag I always think whether I 'need' it or not; and with my strawberry bag I will never need a plastic bag again. 

Item number three: Purse

This purse was also a big..ish spend; £14.40!  I needed a purse for years, I had one that was falling apart but I refused to buy one unless I absolutely loved it, and I love it. I got it from Topshop and I instantly fell in love. I love emerald green which is right on trend at the moment, but also I love the layout. The zip means that all loose change stays in my purse, and the card section has enough spaces for all my  advantage cards. It’s a dream.

Item number 4: The boring items...

Oyster- £10 value and Railcard £27. That's enough said about them, however they are great for saving money.

Item number 5: My lovely diary

It cost me £7.50  I just love Pip Studio, it was worth every penny. The design is so beautiful and the diary is filled with beautiful stitching prints and lovely ribbons to keep track of days. 

Item number 6: Phone

My phone, it's no iphone does all the things that 'smarty' phones should do.I pay £13 a month with 3 for lots of texts and minutes. That's enough technology for me.

Item number 7: Straws

99p for a packet  from Sainsbury’s. Not the most conventional thing to carry, but  my dentist advised me to drink fruit juice through a straw because it is better from your teeth. I am yet to have a filling so the straws are staying. 

The total spend of my bag and its contents is: £79.89...Wow! That's a lot more than I thought, but I have definitely saved money by buying a second hand bag, it really does pay to shop from chairty shops.  I''ll leave it up to you to decide what my bag says about me, I think it just says that I like Charity shops, pretty things and obsessively looking after my teeth.

So long, farewell, auf wiefersehen goodbye.


Emma Dilemma

P.S. Quote of the Day -  "A woman's mind is as complex as the contents of her handbag: even when you get to the bottom of it, there is ALWAYS something at the bottom to surprise you."
- Billy Connelly

P.P.S. This blog post will be entered into a competition to win a Mulbery Bag, you can find details on how to enter on Money Supermarkets website.

Friday, 14 June 2013

A letter from Emma about: Summer Reading

Dear Readers,

Today I brought a book from a charity shop for 35p: bargain! My friend recommended the book, with an essay free summer on the horizon I finally have the freedom and time to read. When it comes to books I often stick to recommendations; they seem to be more reliable than spending hours scrolling through book reviews on amazon.

So today I have written a book recommendation list, I have lots of friends who don’t read and want to get into reading and these books are a great starting point.They are not necessarily my favourite books of all time, but great books which will make reading this summer enjoyable. 

 Before I Go to Sleep -  by S J Watson

I read this on holiday last year, and it was just brilliant. Each chapter took me by surprise,  the author cleverly carries off twist after twist (none of which I saw coming). The plot develops around a female amnesiac whom cannot remember the last 20 years of her life, and has no recognition of the present day as soon as she falls asleep. Similar to the character Drew Barrymore played in 50 First Dates, but with a lot more drama and umph.

-    Also I have heard that this book is going to be adapted into a film in the next few years, read this now and when it’s out you can say “Oh yeah, I read the book. It’s so much better than the film”.

The Five People you meet in Heaven - by Mitch Albom

This is a can't put the book down kind of book. My sister recommended me to read it, I would not have read it otherwise because I was not overly keen on the plot. I am so glad I gave it a chance, you really cannot judge a book by its cover! I won’t give out the plot because I don’t want to put you off, just pick it up and give it a read. An unlikely heart-warming story.
-          Unfortunately I don’t have a picture for this book, I borrowed it of someone. Which is the great thing about books borrow them off your friends, or lend them out friends when you are done.  

The Life and Death of Harriet Frean - by May Sinclair 

I had to read this book as part of my Psychoanalytical Module this year. The story provides a perfect account of why not to listen to your parents, and the importance of living your own life. Sinclair delivers this message in a clear and concise way. It took me an hour and a half to read, and I am a really slow reader, so great for anyone who gets bored with books.  As you can see from the picture the font is really large, Sinclair purposely choose a large font and a simple worded script to reflect the boredom of Harriet Frean’s life as a result of her repression. But it's not boring!

Never Let Me Go - by Kazuo Ishiguro 

This book is just beautiful. I was griped from the start to the finish. The story is primarily set in a boarding house in the English countryside, but has an underlying sci-fi theme which is further explained throughout the novel.  The writing is honest and beautiful. Also there is a film, and the character are so accurately casted which makes the film highly watchable. 

The Catcher in the Rye - by J.D. Salinger

This book is a bit more long-winded than the other books, however it is a classic and for a reason. I love the American tone throughout the book. It is based around Holder who is around 16/17 years old, and his adventures after an incident causes him to be expelled from boarding school. When reading the book you see the world through his unique perspective, which is great.  He identifies the ‘phonies’ that many people have inevitably become, and like all good books 'all' is not revealed to till the end.
Plus if you give this book ago, its a great starting point to reading the classics. 

I have also lent out a copy of this book, for someone else to enjoy. Although, I found this really lovely print of the front cover and have it on my wall. Book covers are great artwork! 

Hope you find these recommendations helpful.I am a little unsure of my reading list this summer so if you have any recommendations, it would be great to hear them.

So adios fellow bloggers, hopefully see you again.


Emma Dilemma

P.S. Quote of the day- “When you sell a man a book you don’t sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life.” 

- Christopher Morley

Thursday, 6 June 2013

A letter from Emma about: Moreton-in-Marsh

Dear Reader,

This morning I returned an item I had brought online. When it originally arrived I tried it on and didn't like it as much as I had on screen, it was ok...but I was just a bit indecisive about it. So to help me make up my mind, I decided I'd return it but buy something else with the £20 it cost me. Then idea sprang to my mind: I could see what I could buy from charity shops for the same value of money.

Challenge accepted.

The morning didn't get off to a great start, I didn't seem to be achieving very much. I went into a few charity shops but there was nothing that I really liked. Myself and my younger sister have a philosophy when shopping; if you like something leave it, and if you love something buy it! Consequently there was nothing which I loved. Feeling unmotivated I re-fuelled with tea, and then headed to the next charity shop. This shop was called Break, which is a charity which donates it profits to supporting children, young people and families throughout East Anglia. It helps, children and young people with disabilities, young people in care, and families requiring support. A lovely charity, and in their charity shop I found some gems.

Firstly a cardigan: 

Cardigan £4.50

I loved this! I really liked the buttons and the crochet detail. A tip when looking for clothes in charity shops is to look at items in different sizes. This cardigan is size 16 however, it fits perfectly for a baggy cardigan look. If you do not look at other sizes then you miss out on some great items.

My second find was a burgundy coloured velvet top, velvet is on-trend at the moment. I have been wanting to purchase an item of velvet clothing for a while but they have all been too expensive. The top I found was in burgundy which is also currently fashionable and a really flattering colour to wear. 

Top £3.25

Another tip I would suggest is to always try items on and majority of charity shops are fitted with a changing room. Though, charity shops sell items cheaper than high street stores it is still important to try before you buy to avoid wasting money. 

The final shop I visited was Sue Ryder. This is also a great charity which donates profits to their care centres, which provided care for individuals with severe long-term needs throughout the UK. Also they work internationally providing medical care and help to individuals living in extreme poverty. The Sue Ryder store also stocks brand new art supplies and dolls house crafts which means you can buy your regular art materials and also help out a great charity at the same time.

I found a pale blue high collar shirt. Which is also on-trend at the moment and would look great worn with a collar necklace. 

Shirt £3.75

I currently adore high collar shirts and I have seen some in some very similar in high street stores but are a lot more expensive than this bargain! 

In general I am really chuffed with my purchases today and the total expenditure came to £11.50. So I have brought three items and still have £8.50 left from the £20 dress which I returned: Result. Charity shop shopping is also really rewarding because I feel that I have searched for my handpicked items. However, the best part about this whole experience is that all the money I spent went to great charities. 

So adios fellow bloggers, hopefully see you again. 


Emma Dilemma

P.S. Quote of the day- "Fashion changes, but style endures."

- Coco Chanel

Monday, 3 June 2013

A leter from Emma about:Tea.

Dear Reader,

On this lovely sunny weekend when charity shop shopping, I had the opportunity to catch up on some much needed tea drinking: yes you can still drink tea when the suns comes out.

Although drinking hot tea initially makes you hotter, it also tells the brain what’s going on and asks the brain to cool the body down. A very brief explanation of a long winded theory, but with the lovely weather forecast due lets drink some tea this week!

This Monday, I had a lovely day in the Cotswolds and visitied a tea room. Which leads me to another good thing about tea… cake!

This got me thinking about all the good things about tea; firstly it's very soicibale. When I was younger I did not like any hot drinks, but when I began work experience I realised that if you drink tea you get more breaks. It seems like the sociable thing to do and it kind of just stuck.

I am so glad it did. When doing a counselling degree we had to bring in something which represented out identity, and I brought in a tea bag. When reflecting about any problems or dilemmas in my life, it seems to be solved around tea. Often beginning with the sentence “Shall I put the kettle on?”

I think tea acts as a distraction when talking about something, it stops you thinking about the main problem and makes the environment less formal. In a world where teenagers are growing up on the xbox and people are less sociable, we really do need to celebrate tea!  It brings people together, you can invite many people over for a cup of tea without breaking the bank. It's quali-tea...sorry I could not resist.

Tea drinking is therapeutic in a way, and I think it’s a shame that you are not allowed any food or drink in the counselling room. Anyway, I guess tea drinking provides us with therapy which isn’t over analysed or expensive.

 Maybe, I am indecisive about being a counsellor because you can’t drink tea… 

Hmm, I'll put the kettle on and think about it. 

So adios fellow bloggers, hopefully see you again. 


Emma Dilemma.

P.S. Quote of the day - “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy tea and that’s kind of the same thing”.
- Anonymous

Saturday, 1 June 2013

A letter from Emma about: Me.

Hi. My name is Emma.

This blog is title Emma Dilemma, because well I am a little indecisive about life, but one thing that I am decisive about is charity shops. I just love them. 

I am a studying Psychosocial Studies at Goldsmiths University. Being a student has meant that I am always looking at ways to save money. Although I enjoy pretty, fashionable clothes, I can no longer afford high street prices. However, over the past year I have begun to realise that I can still buy high street brands at a fraction of the price in local charity shops.

There has also been a huge increase in the popularity of 'vintage' fashion so it is not only acceptable but also fashionable to buy pre-loved clothes. Personally, I think it’s pointless buying 'vintage' looking garments in high street stores when I can get the real thing from charity shops. So I decided to go back to basics and source my vintage look from charity shops. In this blog I hope to encourage people’s love for charity shops. 

Shopping does take a little longer, but the satisfaction when you find an item that is unique and inexpensive is great. And the best thing about this whole experience is that every penny you spend goes to a fantastic cause.
As well as charity shops, I am also interested in psychology, sociology and art therapy.

I really like art and drawing.

Charity shops are great for resourcing art materials. My love of art and counselling means that inevitably the thought of becoming an art therapist is appealing. To do this, I will need cheap and creative art materials. Here is a picture of my niece Libby and some art therapy I did with her. 

N.b. The shirt I am wearing in the pciture was £2.50 from a charity shop.

And finally my other love in life is tea.

Which is great because, when charity shopping everyone needs a tea break.


Emma Dilemma.

P.S. Quote of the day - “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is important that you do it."
-Mahatma Gandhi