Charity shopping at Crisis in London

Hello from London!

I love that saying, "Every cloud has a silver lining". Last weekend my silver lining took the form of a visit to stay with my dear friend in London. Ben used to be a Gallery assistant of mine (about 10 years ago I think) and our friendship has continued over the years. He's now a mature student studying for a degree in Japanese at SOAS in London. Although he's only just started his course I have every faith in his ability to achieve his goal. When he worked with me he was an absolute power horse, with not just a huge capacity for work, but he had a real flair for selling. Bright as a button and utterly focussed, this guy was always gonna go far! I'd come away to the mainland to have minor surgery on the skin cancer on my back, but rather than the starkness of a trip for that alone, I decided to tag on his offer to stay and have a tour of his local charity shops.

I'd forgotten my Oyster card, but Ben told me I could just use my contactless card to get around on the tube. I loved that I could keep the card safely inside the palm of my glove as I swiped my way around the underground! How exciting these wee things are for an island lass.

My wonderful shaggy leather bag was a gift from Ben many months ago. He bought it in Stanley Market in Hong Kong on his last trip there. Coat is by Covent Garden, two piece is by Zara as are these most comfortable of boots. Handbag is by Carvella. 

But first, was breakfast. Of course. You can't go shopping without a decent breakfast and Duck and Waffle serve a pretty mean breakfast it has to be said.  

The view from this 40th floor restaurant isn't too shabby either.

Ben went for the house special, Duck Benedict whereas I opted for something more simple, but equally delicious. We toasted the day over a glass of Mimosa. For a moment I was worried that we'd peaked too early. 

But no, things were just about to get a whole lot better. Ben took me to his favourite curated charity shop, Crisis at the bottom of Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park. The shop does away with that endless searching for a gem which can be so time consuming. Instead the staff pride themselves with sifting through the donations to steam and display designer wear along with more funky pieces that can command a good price. 

Coming from our tiny island community, one of the shocking truths about London for me is the amount of homeless people you see as you travel around the city. Ben told me that the number of deaths of the homeless is already over 140 this winter. It's a chilling thought that we're barely into winter and this figure is set to rise when the first cold snap hits. Crisis aims to help in the long term as well as over Christmas by bringing those in need off the streets into a caring community where they can not only eat and shower, but access all kinds of medical support and practical help too. My shopping was going to make a real difference to lots of lives. 

The haul!

When we returned to base Ben kindly modelled one of my most sparkly finds. This (H&M) cardigan will surely come into its own over the festive period.

The spree was mostly from the Crisis shop with a few other finds from the Cancer Research shop in Muswell Hill. Exhaustion soon set in, resulting in us beating an early retreat home. Ben cooked dinner while I had a soak in the bath, but not before I spread the loot out for us to admire. Not the best photo, I'm afraid, but you'll see more of these pieces over the next few weeks I'm sure.

All shopped out!

Truro was suitably festive by the time I arrived on Monday. I had time to do some Christmas shopping before going to the hospital for my appointment. In keeping with the island-girl-goes-shopping tradition, I packed up a box of presents, putting them in the post before coming home. Ben had sent a box of clothes home for me too. 

By Tuesday I had reduced my luggage to this amount. That day I had a frustrated trip to Land's End airport as the weather or rather cross-winds, put paid to my flight home. En masse we weary-from-going-nowhere travellers were sent away to return the next day. I took this opportunity to deposit my suitcase at the docks to be shipped home to me, hence avoiding excess baggage charges.

24 hours later and hurrah! Here she comes!

Farewell to the mainland! See you again next year.

Anna x



  1. How haven't I heard of Crisis before? It looks like a fun day Anna. xx

    1. You have all of these amazing charity shops right on your doorstep Laurie! How lucky you are.

  2. Wow what a great haul and in such a good cause too. Ben sounds an absoluts gem.
    I have added Duck and Waffle to my list of London rooftop venues to eat at! I hope the treatment is successful and wasn't too ouchy. Tessa xx

    1. This post is one that I'll come back to when I need a bit of cheering up Tessa. It was a brilliant day out and yes, I can highly recommend Duck and Waffle at any time of day - the views are amazing by night too.

      The treatment was a bit ouchy, but the stitches are coming out on Thursday.

  3. what a great day and so lovely that you could enjoy it with your friend!, love some adventures in the big city!. The Crisis shop looks like a fab place to go shopping (great job fighting the homelessness), and your booty looks magnificent!.
    Glad that you made the most of your trip and great to learn this saying "every cloud has a silver lining", I like a positive thought. And hope that everything went well!

    1. Oh my goodness, what a fab weekend I had in London. Ben had lots more charity shops lined up for me, but by 5pm I was exhausted and had to admit defeat (some shops stay open until 7pm in the big city!). I can't wait to showcase all of my treasures.

  4. I did not know you had skin cancer! I am glad it's getting looked after, Anna! Both my dad and my grandmother (his mum) had small cancers removed, and I am always watching my moles (and I haven't gone in the sun to tan for 35 years). Sending you good vibes!

    Well, on to the wonderful side-purpose: seeing Ben and eating that amazing food (I would have gone for your choice too) and OOH, all that shopping! I spy a couple of maxis/gowns, and that turquoise sparkly shrug looks fabulous!

    I always try to shop at stores that give back to my community. Victoria also has a big homeless problem (folks come from across Canada to winter here, as it's so much milder than the rest of the country). My company supports several of the local places by hosting hot breakfasts, and some of the stores I shop at give back directly to women who are impacted by homelessness and abusive situations. It is a small price for me to pay to help my community.

    Sending you more good vibes, my dear! Have a wonderful week and weekend ahead!

    1. I think I featured the skin cancer on my Instagram, but i know that's not your thing Sheila. I'm due to have more treatment and will have a share of that at some point. It's so much more common nowadays.

      What a wonderful time I had at the Crisis shop. I have soooo many lovely things to share with you and yes, the turquoise sparkly shrug is adorable.

      And a big shout out to all of the volunteers who keep these charity shops and centres running. It's amazing the network out there for all of the people they support. I'm so pleased to have spent my money towards a great cause.

  5. What a fabulous day! I can only dream of shopping in London! What a amazing bag you got from Ben! But I also spotted some fantastic clutches on the bed! Have a great weekend!

    1. It was indeed a glorious day. Ben is generous to a fault and often shops for me when he goes to Japan - he's a sweetheart!

      Have a super week x

  6. I went to a beautiful Crisis charity shop in Croydon 3 weeks ago- it looked really good and they really had sifted well! I ALMOST bought something but didn't in the end! You did very well!!

  7. P.S> I hope the skin cancer procedure went ok...xx


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