Saturday, 2 June 2012

Car Boot Sales!

Yay! Tis the season for car-booting, tra la la la la, la la la la!
Last week we hit up the ever-popular Tivoli Road car-boot sale in Dun Laoghaire. I LOVE car-boot sales, they're the only reason I'll get out of bed before 9am, EVER!
I love rummaging in other people's junk, seeing what kind of crap they buy, and then sell on, how they set up their stalls, how they sell, how they haggle, I love it all.
(Ps- the poor posting this week is because I've been having loads of fun with my boys, documenting NONE of it, just doing it, so - sorry. Also I was pissed off at ANOTHER petty, small-minded comment about my parenting, and thought I'd wait a few days until my love of blogging returned. Honestly, do people not see my advice re. leaving negative remarks? Do they think they're actually helping me by telling me I have created "needy" children (show me a child who's not needy and I'll show you a kid with problems) - but I digress...)
So, the night before the car-boot I whipped up a huge batch of pancakes, as you do. May I remind you, we were only going there to shop, not to sell. I must have had 15 pancakes at the end of it, in a huge stack, ready to microwave in the morning before we set off. I started packing the picnic basket the night before. I love the 1950s glamour of a picnic basket (my bike basket, minus the handle... damaged in garage... not looking at anyone...) I packed up our maple syrup, Nutella, jam, put milk in a spare jam jar in the fridge, in a plastic bag (of course it spilled, a jam jar's not watertight, EVERYONE knows that except me) cups, cutlery, plates, bananas, you name it, I had it, including a clean flask (most of them have been binned after months of lying around with old hot chocolate / tea in them).
We collected all the coins we have lying around the house, in the beside drawer, in a cup on the dresser, in a candleholder on the mantlepiece, on the hall floor, under the dining table etc. Most of them had been kindly washed by the saliva of a friendly little guy called Noah.

We leapt (hah!) out of bed on the Sunday morning, exclaiming at the sun, dressed, blitzed the pancakes, filled the flask with tea, and off we went down the M50, like the Brady Bunch, singing about our Fun Day Out (I will not share the lyrics, they're kinda repetitive, let's just say it's the song title sung thrice with "for you and me" to finish and repeated twice with a 5-1 cadence to close - but I digress)
We parked in the adjoining field to the car-boot sale, which by 9am was already full of scavengers. We resisted the urge to throw ourselves in different directions to see EVERYTHING there was to see (few too many CAPS in this post, I shall abstain from now on), and had breakfast first. Mama, being a tandem-feeder (a.k.a. Dairy Cow) gets quite cranky of a morn without a daycent feed of carbs asap after waking. It had already been a good hour since I'd woken, fed my two guppies, applied make-up in the car (passenger - relax!) hurtling down the M50, and my blood-sugar was low. We threw down our vintage tablecloth (the only time they're used is as picnic blankets) and had our breakfast. I had pancakes with maple syrup and banana, Charlie had them with Nutella, Barry had jam, Jesus, this is boring, we ate, ok? Then we slathered the children in sun cream, hats etc, fielded off a tantrum from Charlie who wanted to do a plastic trumpet fanfare for us arriving in through the gate to the car-boot sale, and wanted us to stall for AGES while he tooted a monotonous rhythm. Noah chilled in the sling, stuck to a baboo all morning, it was the heat I think, he can't hate shopping just yet. I dressed as I would  have for a festival, reckoning this is the closest I'm gonna get this summer, in a black and pink playsuit (Penney's -  9 euro) my suede ankle boots (Marant Dicker rip-offs) and my straw fedora (H&M Men's 10 euros) No photos, sorry, you're gonna have to imagine it. My pasty-pale legs are actually getting the ever-so-slightest tan, so much sunning have they had, no mean feat for a semi-redhead.

So we shopped, till we dropped. The sun was meltingly hot, halfway through we went back to the car for water, more pancakes, and to drop our booty, emptying our bags into the boot so we could start all over again. I don't know how much we spent, everything was very cheap, under 5 euros, but there were many "things", and we never did a tally. Better off.
I'll share some of the more interesting finds below, for those who are still with me, after the pancakes litany.
Find of the day - authentic DKNY bag, new with paper stuffing and silica gel sachet, leather, for 2 euros!

Squeaky-new leather gladiator sandals in my size for 1.50 - I'm only now succumbing to the trend, me like. Foot fetishists, this is the first and last photo.

Among other tat, I collect vintage cases of all shapes and sizes. This one was 4 euro (they go for about 40 euros on Ebay)

It held our picnic a couple of days later for Barry's birthday

I splurged 7 euros on this because the seller was really sweet. Not sure if it's "me" though. 
These are books with moveable pictures as the covers. Cindy Mouse scrubs, and Robinson sails. 1.50 each

This was supposed to be a sprinkler. Charlie was all excited about using it once home, but it doesn't work. Drawback of car-boot sales, sellers will lie. 2 euros though.

Some day in the future, when I own a retro/vintage shop, these will grace the Disneyana table. 1 euro each. Porcelain dolls, from a collector's magazine, 1 euro each

Helmet for the baba when he gets a bit bigger.

Lovely jumper for Noah for autumn, 2.50 euros. Looks unworn
We also bought:
Power Rangers figures for 20c each,
a Power Ranger costume and mask (3 euros) that's hiding in the attic for a certain boy's birthday next week,
a Disney's Cinderella biscuit tin, currently holding my homemade sesame snaps,
a collection of vintage "silk" scarves - bought unseen for 2 euro, turns out they are all polyester, ah well.
Vintage mini playing cards from the 50s, 2 euros
a 1970s Arklow pottery server for 2.50
vintage children book of Beauty and the Beast (1960s) with lovely illustrations - 50c,
a pair of Ray Ban aviators, slightly bent - 50c (needed an in-car tweak and they were perfect!)
and many other small items that have been swallowed up into the detritus of our home since then.

We've sold at car-boot sales the odd time, pre-babies. A stall of crap (I mean crap you wouldn't even give to a charity shop) would still get you 150 euros on a bad day. Worth doing if you hoard tat like me, and don't mind getting up at 5am once in a while.
It was really fun to people-watch at the sale. From the lovely, shy ladies selling their crockery from neat stalls with tablecloths, to the slovenly man who had literally emptied boxes of shoes and household goods over a table and the ground. There's always a nice cuppa and a slice of cake from the older ladies  running the refreshment stalls, though we forwent (?) that this time in favour of our own refreshments. Whether you arrive early for first picks, or later for desperate bargains, you'll always pick up something.

A few tips:
Bring lots of loose change, and leave once it's spent
Bring your own bags
Haggle/ ask the seller to throw something else in for an extra 50c (be specific of course!)
Walk away and come back if you are in two minds about something - you probably don't want it
There is a huge amount of clothing never sold at car-boot sales, it's hard to display and see, but you might find a gem
Ask to bring an electric appliance into the main building to test it before buying (radios/lamps etc - don't go near coffee machines, I got stung)
Check furniture for woodworm and stability (Another sting)
Savvy sellers buy from each other at the start of the day and re-sell for a profit. No law against it.
Don't buy from children manning their parent's stall, they haven't a clue.
Lots of made-in-China tat and fake designer bags. Don't fall for it, unless you want a fake that is.
Beware the cosmetics, sometimes fakes, mostly ancient, don't give yourself a skin condition for a cheap foundation

Best overheard statement:
A female seller selling many designer and fake designer items of womenswear and accessories berating an innocent man for trying to haggle:
"You wouldn't try that in Brown Thomas, would you?!"
Someone should have told her this was a car-boot sale.

Also, beware the stalls with price-tags, these people are less likely to haggle / his wife said not to settle for anything less than the written price, and his life won't be worth living if he comes home without the specified profits.
Have fun and keep a sense of perspective. This is just about tat. There is the odd gem amongst the tat, but generally it's just stuff you'll live with for a while, and then break accidentally / sell on when you get sick of it.

As I'm writing this I'm getting updates from my husband on his lad's night out. Not content with a bar tab in the first pub, they are now in a club, and have gate-crashed some business function, and getting more free drinks. I'm moving in the wrong circles, obviously.

It's past midnight, time for some googling of my new topic of research - homeopathy.
Goodnight all
Niamh x


  1. I love car boot sales!! But def agree with you about sellers tricking you sometimes about things working etc, I need to be more cyanical and check things more carefully!

    1. Me too! I'm still regretting the espresso machine that switched on before I bought it, but had some issue with the water pump. But the gems outweigh the duds!Thanks for commenting!

  2. Lovely car boot post, thank you. I like to read about them because I miss them: we don't have a car and are trying to streamline our tat.

    We had pancakes yesterday, sourdough ones. It gave Alec a chance to practise his 'more'.

    I would say publish the negative comments -- we'll all jump in and defend you -- but:
    1. It's just trolls hoping for a ruck. Not real people at all.
    2. No confident and competent mama needs other people to validate her parenting.

    1. Thanks Clare, I'm pml at the "streamlining our tat" - I think it's my DH's ultimate goal to get me to say that!
      Gotta love pancakes, we had them tonight, I'm getting a bit lazy and doing them about 3 times a week now. I'd love the recipe for your sourdough ones...
      I've thought of publishng the negative comments, or at least ignoring and not mentioning them, but at the mo they're really getting to me. Pathetic, I suppose, need to get a rhino hide skin from somewhere.
      Thanks for the lovely comment x

  3. ohhh the shoes!!!!!!!!!!!!! for 1.50!!!! can't believe it! I love charity shops more than car boot sales - because I don't have to get up that early for haha. I guess the boot sales in Dublin are much more bigger than where I live and are worth getting up for (shoes!!!)
    I also love the book...

    can't wait on your opinion on homeopathy - I now think that it works and even if it doesn't it is still worth a try. I was always giving my toddler some granules for runny nose and cough and last few times I didn't and he ended up with bronchitis! coincidense? maybe but when I was using the granules he only had a 3 day 'ilness' for 2 years!!! He is almost 3years now and that was his first antibiotic. so next time I see a runny nose I will STUFF him with the granules ;)

    Sorry to hear that a comment took the fun of blogging for a while, but then it is always nice to have a small break.

    1. I know! My sister went mad for the shoes too, and I'm actually wearing them a lot, though I didn't know if I would at the start. They go great with my black BOOB dress and bare legs.
      I'm normally a charity shop girl too, that's my real love, but our area doesn't have many shops. Need to start travelling a bit farther to get the good stuff methinks!
      I actually did a post on homeopathy, giving all my reservations and my ultimate reasons for loving it. It's all I use if the boys/I am sick, and it works.Do you go to a homeopath? I normally consult Dr. Google, but saw a homeopath recently for the first time and she was bang on the money. Good on you for using it with your son, and I definitely think it's proof it works if it works on kids.
      Take care, and thanks for sharing your story!
      Niamh x

    2. If you click on my "homeopathy" label link on the right hand sidebar and scroll to the last post you'll find my review x

    3. Oh I'll read it then- thanks! I get my granules form Poland and use them according to instruction - I was thinking about going to a homeopath here in Ireland but money is the issue for now so I'm trying on my own so far... I just ordered some Dr.Reckeweg drops - are you using any particular brand that you feel is great?

      in our case it was homeopathy or nothing as my little one reacted v.badly to any other meds.

      I'm sure the shoes look great with EVERYTHINGGG!

  4. Fun! How often is that Dun Laoghaire car boot sale on? I've actually never been to one! Niamh S.

    1. OMG, get your ass to a car-boot sale! You;ll get addicted! It's in St. Joseph's Tivoli road I think, probably once/twice a month. It's got a brilliant selection of stuff.
      Let me know how you get on!
      Niamh x

  5. Ooooh! Love car boot sales! Most of the beautiful designer clothes that my kids possess are all finds at car boot sales as well as my Zara blazers and several handbags. Was dragged along to markets/ car boot sales by my mother since I was a baby, but have never tried any in Dublin - when/where would you recommend Niamh?

    1. Good on ya! Where are you getting the Zara blazers from? I haven't had much luck with ladies clothes I must say, but then again, I see a pile of clothes and I think "I'm not trawling through that", it's hard with only one hand free! (Baby usually in sling!)
      That one I mentioned is a great one, there's also one in the grounds of Wesley College in Dundrum, and I cant' think of any others at the moment. Check parish websites, they're usually in schools/ church grounds. Good luck, and come back and tell me about your bargains! Niamh x

  6. Hi there, just a quick question about the car boot sale in Dun Laoghaire! I'm planning to go this Sunday 28th to sell (with a hell of a lot of clothes, bits and bobs etc.) and was wondering do you know if they provide tables to sellers or do they have to bring their own? I have 2 of my own hanging rails but no table. No worries if you don't know but I thought I would ask in case! I can't find many details about it anywhere but have heard it's a great car boot sale.
    Thanks in advance!!!

    1. Good on you Miriam, we might see you there, my sister is doing a clear-out and will have a stall there. all you get is a space to park your car, you have to provide the displays yourself. If you don't have a table you could pile boxes up and cover them with a sheet. People sometimes lay out sheets on the ground with shoes/toys etc on them. Or have things in boxes for people to root through, ie books/toys. Hope to see you there!


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