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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Bargain shopping

Nicola, Pete, Lola and Nell want to travel the world with a difference. We hope to get a taste of many countries without adding to climate change (with needless emissions from aeroplanes) or having to waste hours of holiday time in airport terminals. We hope our adventures inspire you to take a Grand Tour of your neighbourhood. This post is from Nicola (pic of Robbie Burns in Aberdeen with inspired seagull head gear)

Can't help but boast about our most recent shopping adventure in Aberdeen - the granite city. It's the first time for ages that we have been to a place with a good selection of secondhand shops: Oxfam, Cancer Research, Sue Ryder, etc, etc - although the city is bursting with the usual clone-town chains too. It's a very different story 15 miles away in Stonehaven where we couldn't find any secondhand shops at all (though full marks to this town for having lots of independents and for making it easy to avoid supermarkets with its butcher, fishmonger, award-winning deli, and fairtrade Christian cafe full of homemade cakes). It also has an Olympic sized lido full of heated sea water... which you have to try if you are ever in the north east of Scotland (as we've recently learnt there are two north easts in Britain).

In Aberdeen we ended up making all our purchases at just one secondhand shop (something to do with hearts) run by an Irish woman. Here we found a raincoat to replace Nell's waterproof (which we've left accidentally in the Lake District); a jumper for me (I've been so cold up north that I've got a lung infection); another book for Lola, and Pete's annual holiday Ben Sherman shirt purchase. The grand total was #9. Result!

We'd planned to swap our unwanted items at charity shops as we travelled around but as a family with a clutter habit this has proved hard, so some things (eg, books) have had to be posted home to try and keep our luggage manageable.

Trying to limit the kids from their collecting is impossible. In their pockets they now carry around found objects including a fishing float, irn-bru plastic bottle top and bead necklace (Lola) and rusty screw, mini toothpaste tube and piece of string (Nell). I have a feeling that these are the items that they've invested with "tabu" powers - the ones that they will see in the months and years ahead and think, ah, they're my travel talismans, long after the "new" book is read and the new raincoat grown out of (or lost).

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