We all have them. Those items that make our heart beat just a little bit faster when we see them on a shelf in a charity shop.
We’re currently in Devon which for me is charity shop heaven. Although we’re only here for a weekend, over the summer we went glamping for a week (which made me long for electricity and hot running water!). We visit my father in law so I have a few old favourites where I know I’m likely to pick up some special items. I like to refer to it as the charity shop triangle – Exeter, Newton Abbott and Totnes. On our last visit I was ‘allowed’ to visit all three towns and their lovely charity shops:
Exeter has a good spread of charity shops towards the unglamorous 1960s-end of the High Street. I’m not always lucky but on this visit I found a vintage Fisher-Price record player in the British Heart Foundation which had been on my wish list for years. It was a rather pricey £24.99 but it was in great condition and complete with all its records so I grabbed it as soon as I walked in!
I just adore Totnes as it has a great mix of independent and vintage shops. I was a tiny bit disappointed that my favourite Oxfam shop at the top of the High Street had been given a makeover. It’s always full of treasures but this time round it was difficult to differentiate between what was for sale and what was shop dressing. I’m glad I checked one item which caught my eye, a 1967 Robert Carrier Cook Box complete with recipe cards. I initially picked it up because I love vintage tins and hardly ever see anything from the 1960s. I love the fact it contains recipe cards for Appetisers, Seafood, Meat, Poultry and Game as well as Cakes, Sweets and Puddings. I can’t wait to try some vintage recipes on my poor family!
I’ve written previously about Newton Abbott which is bursting with charity shops. As usual I worked my way around my favourites and picked up some vintage Thomas the Tank Engine games which I’m itching to steal from the toddler and re-use to make vintage cards! I managed to accumulate a great little collection, including vintage hand embroidered handkerchiefs at 10p each. I can’t decide between using them for bunting or sewing the embroidered flowers on to onesies for Little Sis. I can’t forget the packs of vintage Kan U Go cards either, another purchase which will be used to make note cards. Charity shop heaven for me!
Ok, I’ll admit I’m addicted to vintage Fisher-Price. The products are just so nostalgic and such great quality that my children enjoy playing with them as much as I did. I always see vintage Fisher-Price in charity shops and they are not too expensive to collect. In fact I spotted an original Fisher-Price telephone in a shop in Pinner yesterday but thought I might get told off if I brought another one home!
Anyway, I wanted to showcase some of the toys I’ve bought recently so please join me on a little nostalgic trip back to my childhood.
The Fisher-Price television was first introduced in 1966 but my version dates from 1981. It plays two tunes – Frere Jacques and On the bridge of Avignon – whilst pictures jerk round and round. I love this little set, especially as it has a wooden base! Obviously built to last!
Fisher-Price pocket radio music box from 1970-1972 and plays the tune The Mulberry Bush whilst the picture revolves around the dial. Little Sis loves this tune so she’s already adopted this little toy.
Fisher-Price school desk spelling cards. The school desk toy is one of my earliest memories so I’m on the look out for one. In the mean time I was happy to purchase a random collection of spelling cards which take up much less room!
I thought the toddler might have fun with these when we start to learn letters. I’m sure they could be incorporated into some crafty activity too!
My little Fisher-Price collection is growing as I already have the Fisher-Price record player and very trendy pocket camera. I have my eye on the Fisher-Price hob which I know the toddler would love for Christmas to hone his cooking skills and I also like the motor home. Shame I’ve already submitted my Christmas wish list…
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I have a new hunting ground, Westbury in Wiltshire, where my mother has recently moved. We’re currently visiting and I was able to visit some of the charity shops.
The first charity shop was an Age UK where the toddler spotted a Tomy Thomas & Friends Post Office Loader. He has a Big Loader at home which he loves so we bought this too on the premise we keep it at Nanny’s house. When we got it home we realised it was complete but missing the instructions and balls! Hhhmmm.
However, it was easy to put together from the picture on the front but quite hard to play with! We’ve been using frozen peas but I see you can buy spares from the Tomy website. It’s also still sold so we got a great bargain. This was a BIG toy which meant the toddler had to give up his seat in the Phil & Ted’s whilst we continued our walk.
Then it was on to a Sue Ryder Care and Dorothy House Foundation which had fantastic toys so we came away with some Lego Duplo, vintage puzzles, Britain’s animals, and kitchen toys.
Our final stop was the cavernous Air Ambulance charity shop where I found a 1974 Fisher-Price pocket camera which I’m totally in love with. It’s a cute no. 464 Pocket Camera which replaced Fisher-Price’s first pretend camera. It has a retro case and shows 27 pictures of a trip to the zoo. A little flash cube turns and it even has a handy carry strap. It was designed for pre-schoolers but ssshh! don’t tell the toddler!
Fortunately Nanny has said we can store toys in her garage so there’s no incentive not to buy things as they won’t be cluttering up our house!
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