Glenbrook Rotary Markets

It was a gorgeous sunny day for the Handmade and General Market in Glenbrook last weekend. What a huge variety of stalls there were. I have taken a few snaps of the highlights:

I was so glad to see Pretty Frocking Vintage there because I have been admiring their lovely range of vintage clothing and accessories on instagram for a while. Fun to see for real their gorgeous frocks, coats, scarves, hats and even brollies! Check out the cool hat in the pic! More on instagram: and also an etsy store:

I love Blackbird Soy Candles‘ rustic sign! All their beautiful candles are locally handcrafted and smell divine! More on instagram:

This busking duo, Jerrah and Friends were really rocking the market! Great tunes and rhythms! I think they are regulars so if you get to the next market, make sure you check them out.

I get so excited when I see upcycled vintage cutlery! Gitane Jewellery are locals and their stunning jewellery is expertly handcrafted. They also make super cute markers for the garden. More on instagram: and etsy:

I adore flowers (you may have guessed?) and had to stop and admire Lily of the Valley’s sweet blooms. Aren’t they so pretty? More on instagram:

Next stop was Yvonne’s Handmade Pottery. I love pottery and seeing Yvonne’s work was wonderful. We had such an interesting chat about the unique patterns and designs she has developed in her pieces. Yvonne is a regular to Glenbrook Markets so look out for her there but also on instagram:

Final stop was Modimade, a fairtrade venture that partners with women in Cambodia to handcraft a range of beautiful products. Soft toys, clothing and colourful mobiles but also nifty nappy changing kits designed by Modimade’s inspiring founder, Anna. Look out for more on instagram:

Handmade and General Market is on the 3rd Saturday each month at 10 Ross Street, Glenbrook. There is also a Grow, Bake and Make Market at the same venue on the 1st Saturday of the month. Stay updated via instagram:

Op Shopping for Clothes

I recently bought a dress from a local op shop for $2.00! You can see the lovely blue and white print in the photo. It has hardly been worn, is beautifully made and is a perfect fit. I am looking forward to wearing it next summer.

There are a number of good reasons to take up op shopping for clothes. The obvious one is that it saves money. Secondly, it supports charitable organisations. Thirdly, it reduces waste by recycling and reusing items that are not ready for landfill.

The article I have linked below explores the ethical dilemmas of shopping for clothes. If you have the time, it is worth reading and builds a good argument for op shopping.

Op shopping for clothes is a relatively new phenomenon for me. I was dubious at first, thinking it would be an unpleasant experience but with a little help I learned some tips and with practice I have developed more confidence.

Since learning how to op shop for clothes I have bought jeans, canvas shoes, coats, shirts, blouses, trousers, dresses, knitwear, scarves, handbags and jackets. Some items have been brand new (tags on), most have been designer label and all have been in excellent condition. I did a check this week and at present there are about 50 items in my wardrobe (including shoes and accessories) that were purchased in an op shop.

It all started with a friend of mine who had taken on a ‘buy nothing new for a year’ challenge and she was adamant that I needed to learn how to op shop for clothes. She was right because I had just started working again after having my children. My new job required ‘corporate wear’ which was a bit daunting! I only had a few suitable items in my wardrobe and there was no way I could afford to buy any thing else new. My friend did me a great kindness by teaching me how to op shop for clothes and I learned a life changing skill.

Here are my tips:

  • Have a running list of items that you would like to add to your wardrobe so you don’t make unnecessary purchases. Know what you need and want!
  • When you get to the op shop pick the type of item you need – i.e. dress, jacket, jeans
  • Find the rack with your size
  • Scan for a colour that you enjoy wearing
  • Decide if you like the style and cut of the item
  • Feel the fabric to see if you like the texture and weight of it
  • Check the label for more information – brand, type of fabric, washing instructions
  • Check the condition of the item – any tears? pulls? stains? damage?
  • Check the price
  • Try it on – does it fit well? does it suit you? do you feel comfortable and happy in it?

My main advice is to be curious and open minded but also super selective. Also be willing to wait. You may only find one or two items on your list at a time. There is a serendipitous aspect to op shopping that is fun. If you are patient, you will find some gems!

My favourite op shops in the Blue Mountains:

  • Foothills Eco, Glenbrook
  • Vinnies, Blaxland
  • Rotary Recycles Op Shop, Blaxland
  • Salvos Store, Springwood
  • Vinnies, Springwood
  • Red Cross Shop, Leura
  • Vinnies, Katoomba

There is also an op shop strip along High Street in Penrith:

  • Anglicare Op Shop
  • Red Cross Shop
  • Salvos Store
  • The Smith Family (82 Station Street)

Simple Living

Live simply so that others can simply live.

The origin of this quote is unconfirmed but it is often attributed it to Mahatma Gandhi. Nevertheless, the phrase is profound and it helps to unpack what ‘simple living’ is all about.

For me simple living is a lifestyle that considers not only my own well-being but the well-being of others. ‘Others’ includes present and future humans, plants, animals and the planet we share.

Several books have influenced my commitment to simple living but the first one to get right under my skin was Affluenza by Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss published in 2005 by Allen and Unwin. It doesn’t hold back in describing the ugly reality of a world obsessed with consumerism.

It compelled me to think more carefully about what I actually need and how I can be a more responsible consumer. It launched me into developing habits around living sustainably, living with less and when buying, choosing fairtrade, ethical and environmentally friendly products.

Simple living can seem daunting at times. We are often time poor and new habits can be hard to form when we are swimming against the tide. But the reward in living simply is deep and lasting. Its foundation is kindness and thankfulness and these two virtues go far to improve our relationships, enhance our health and bring us peace of mind.

Simple living is a ongoing journey and it has taken me on a few steep learning curves. In no way do I claim to be an expert or a success. All I hope to do is work on my own simple living each day and inspire others to do the same. Together we can make a difference.