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The family were on a tight budget but doting grandma Nora had an eye for a bargain and a talent for being thrifty. Now, the former BBC DJ, 64, keeps the tradition alive, delighting her social media followers with charity shop finds and glamorous looks that it’s hard to believe cost just a few pounds.
Like vintage 1930s style suede shoes for £6, a black knitted dress for a fiver, or a glamorous sequined evening gown, a steal at just £25 and her favourite ever buy.
It all started with Nora taking her around the factory shops of Rochdale and Manchester when she was a little girl.
“I got my eye for a bargain from my grandma”, Liz explains. “As long as I can remember she was the bargain queen. She worked 16 hours a day – they had a pub and every penny mattered.
“I had lovely dresses, clothes and shoes because my grandma would take me and kit me out.We used to go shopping together.
“We had to wear a school uniform but she wouldn’t pay the prices at the outfitters in town.
“We’d go to the warehouses, match the fabric and get someone to make it for me.
“She brought up my mother during the war with her husband away for six years and on rations. I think that stuck with her.
“But she was also the most generous person – she’d do anything for any- ‘You can save a fortune one. She could splash out sometimes because of the way she shopped.”
This, explains Liz, is the perfect season to head down to the charity shops such as Age Concern, British Heart Foundation and Oxfam.
Millions will be going out to Christmas parties in the coming weeks, and searching for the perfect thing to wear. People then give it away, so you can snap it up then donate it again for someone else’s party outfit next year.
Liz says: “Most of my Christmas wear will be charity shop specials, sequins, pearls, sparkle.
“It really shouldn’t be about how much money you spend – especially now.”
Black knitted dress with diamanté collar “Another fiver well spent, this time in Cheshire. I didn’t even try it on. It’s stretchy so I knew I’d get into it. And if I’d looked like a bag of spuds I’d have “re-donated” it, but I love it. It’s so soft and intensely black. And with just a bit of bling it looks a treat on the telly or in a bar so useful all winter.
This is a message many will relate to this year. The Warm Welcome Campaign estimates that more than 16 million people will fall into fuel poverty this winter.
Liz, who lives in Northamptonshire, explains: “As people watch their pennies the charity sector has a bigger role to play than ever before.
“You can have a great range of clothes and get loads of compliments, without spending a fortune and helping people at the same time.”
She continues: “But it is also like a hobby.
“I like to get a bargain, it’s like an inverted snobbery. I love that it hasn’t been thrown away and is getting another life.”
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