We've been enjoying a weekend away in Derbyshire, and visited the beautiful former spa town of Matlock.
The town is heavily influenced by John Smedley (in fact I'm pretty sure this is the main reason my Old Man wanted to go). Smedley introduced the hydrotherapy spa to the town and also built Riber Castle as his family home. The impressive gothic structure still looks over the town from aloft the hill.
Matlock remains a quaint and upmarket town, full of antiques shops and vintage showrooms. I could have spent many happy hours trawling these, but unfortunately we were on a deadline to get to the Smedley factory outlet to stock up on knitwear at half-price. So it resulted in a rather crazed second-hand supermarket sweep style assault on the charity shops the town had to offer - of which there were many!
The trouble with so many retro shops in a town, is that is does drive up the prices in the charity shops. Partly because I suspect the best items are cherry-picked, the decimal point is moved along on the price tag and they are re-sold in the swankier shops. Partly also because the canny charity shops get their items accurately valued and priced, and also because of simple economics - lots of vintage-lovers are attracted to the town by the antique shops so there's plenty of custom around.
So sadly, the bric-a-brac shelves were fairly bare (or too expensive for my tastes). There was however, plenty for Ruby to get excited over. Much to my annoyance, she picked out yet another soft toy - I swear, our house is FULL of them. But she fell in love with her monkey, so I let her spend her pocket money on him.
At the next shop, she found another monkey, and it did seem that monkey number one should have a little pal, so we bought him also. She's clung onto them ever since - I need to prise them off her to put them in the washing machine still!
They have been named ooo-ooo and blue-ooo. Obvs.
I also managed to get her some nice clothes, including this muted yellow and grey long-sleeved top from Next for £1.99
...these super-soft floral cotton PJs from Marks and Spencer for £2.49
...and this rainbow-striped jumper from Matthew Williamson for £2.09.
So all in all, not a bad dash round the shops! I'd love to go back and spend some more time there, exploring the beautiful independent shops and enjoying afternoon tea overlooking the magnificent river.
How about you? Have you got any second-hand bargains lately? I'd love you to grab the badge and link up.