Abbie Loves

A Personal style blog

I am a thrift shop lover and a high street fan - I love a bargain but I also love tapping into new trends with every now and then saving up for a bigger (more special) purchase. That's kinda how my wardrobe rolls and has done for years. My move to Oz saw me continue my passion for vintage and also mix in some new brands as well as one-off bits I found in boutiques - they don't have a booming high street as such, just a lot more online retailers and small independents. 

My current wardrobe situation is minimal due to travelling and although I have suprised myself imensly by living with less, I am looking forward to being reunited with the wonderful British high street yet again. My attitude to style and fashion looks like this: it's about buying what you really love, investing in staples, always go vintage and don't forget to have fun with what you already have. For example, I have been re-working some of my dresses with IMO, successful results.

In today's post I wanted to share with you guys my favourite ever thrifted piece from Australia, it was a mere $5 and was found lurking in a charity shop in the Hunter Valley (a famous wine region near Sydney). The delicate lace pattern and cool muted colours of this dress just oozes beachy vibes and I love the loose fit. I am not a huge fan of a super high neck-line so this relaxed round neck is perfect for my shape - I can still show off my favourite necklaces too! It works thrown over a bikini for sundown sessions or worn casj with slim-fit jeans and a biker jacket. Personally, barefoot and over a bikini is my current jam.

These photos were taken on a secret beach in Port Barton, Philippines

What's your favourite ever thrifted find and where in the world did you stumble across it? 

Other beach dresses I'm currently coveting

We're well into 2019 and this year has been pretty busy to say the least, as I am currently travelling! If you fancy seeing and hearing more about that then head on over HERE. Settled in bali for the next few weeks and with wifi good enough to actually surf the internet at leisure, I thought it was the perfect time to reflect on last year...

What. A. Year. There were a few bumps in the road but overall 2018 was been one of the biggest and best yet. As you most likely know, I moved to Sydney with one of my dearest pals back in the December of 2017 and could never have predicted how the year would unfold in a work, friend and love capacity.  

moving to sydney

moving to sydney

I worked for two established companies, one PR agency and then the iconic swimwear brand Seafolly, both employment stints allowed me to learn so much about the Australian market in the area of PR, communications and fashion wholesale. Definitely a winning year in regards to spicing up my CV! When you are travelling on a working holiday visa you are only allowed to work for one company for 6 months at a time unless you get sponsored. Not gaining sponsorship was actually a blessing (it might not have felt it at the time) and having the opportunity to see my year out with two great companies was a real bonus.

The big move has really highlighted how important true friendships are. I know I’ll get back to London and run straight into the arms of the mates I left behind and squeeze them that bit tighter, because one thing I have learnt is that good friends are hard to find. Talking of good friends, the two solid friendships I have back in Sydney (you know who you are ladies!) are one of the main reasons I feel pangs of sadness about leaving. At the end of the day they are the reason I switched up my life, was able to find true love and gain even more life experience, and for that I’ll be forever indebted and grateful. All I can say is, thank god for voice notes.

Love: I found it! FML what a journey. I was such a singleton back in the day… all the swipe rights, all of the hilarious stories and wouldn’t have changed any of it for the world. Those fun years made me all the more sure that I was ready to settle, let someone in and start a new chapter. He is and it is absolutely amazing.

So, with that little life overview out the way, I wanted to share some things I learnt from the big move. If travel or a move to Sydney is on your agenda, my one piece of advice is just go for it. Fate will find you and it will be amazing, life changing and character shaping.

Have no expectations and be ready for anything

You really don't know how things will shape out, it's great to have a plan of course, but sometimes when you make such a big life decision it's best to let things roll and not get too caught up in plans not going exactly how you imaginied them.

Do your research 

Read and take in as much as you can about the area you're relocating too; ask people who have done it before, reach out to Insta friends who live in the parts you're heading too, look at geo tags on Instagram, ask about rent and bill costs, best streets to live on, transport links, weather throughout the year. Just check out as much as you can and it's definitely worth shouting out to people online, even if you don't know them! Somethings really surprised me about Sydney, you can read all about them HERE.

To travel more and explore what’s on your own doorstep 

One thing that Sydney has taught me is to explore more. Having Europe on my doorstep was something I always took for granted when I was back in the UK, to be able to hop on a plane and be in a different country in less that 2 hours is a real treat and something I'll definitely make the most of when I touch back down in London. Of course, the normal person can't just gallivant off to Spain every weekend but I'll definitely make sure I keep my eyes peeled on groupon deals and cheap plane tickets. Australia is so far away from anything so us Brits really are lucky to be able to experience such different landscapes and cultures at such a short distance. Also, what I loved about Oz was the road trips, hiring a car and heading off up the coast camping was always super fun - I'll also make sure to explore what's going on in the UK more too. I haven't even been to Scotland!

Be prepared for things to be different and be open minded

Being opened minded really is the key. I would often find myself saying 'really, oh well in London we do this' blah blah blah. Of course things will be different, behind or just not what you're used to doing or seeing, it is a different part of the bloody world after all. Things being different is actually the whole idea, the fun of it all, the eye opening experience - so go forth and be ready to embrace the change.

Travelling through Sri Lanka, Maldives and the Philippines has re-ignited my love for photography as there is just so much to see, do and capture. Feeling inspired I want to share some of my favourite things along the way in a weekly visual diary. Hope you enjoy seeing this little collection of the things I love (travel, style, interiors), the places I go (currently travelling) and the pieces I wear along the way.

Welcome to the first entry for my visual diary series...

Sri Lanka travelling
Palm Tree Hill - Mirissa, Sri Lanka

Maldives street art
Street art in the Maldives

Beach vibes at Tangalle, Sri Lanka
Beach vibes at Tangalle, Sri Lanka

Interior inspo at OBLU Select, Maldives

Battered cars and peeling walls in the Maldives

Happy times on Secret Beach, Mirissa, Sri Lanka

Cute plants with huge leaves!

An old map of Ceylon, Sri Lanka

More interior inspo, of course it's leopard print

Nice tiles in Maldives

Delicious smoothie bowls in Sri Lanka

Gazing out at those turquoise waters at our water bungalow in the Maldives

Cool pineapples decorating a door in the Maldives

Matt flexing his sun-down photography skills in the Maldives

Jervis Bay Camping Weekend

 A few weekends back we hit the road in a friends camper van and headed down the coast from Sydney to Jervis Bay. I was told of the sandy white beaches and knew they were a thing of beauty, rivalling the ones that I frequent on the reg in the city, but boy were they stunning. We are still in the throes of spring so although it’s slowly warming up, we haven’t yet reached the high temps that Sydney is so well known for, which meant, we needed layers. My year down under has taught me to explore what’s on my doorstep, back in the UK, I would never have camped out in the cold, but weekends away are such a norm here its made me want to explore the UK more when I'm back. 

So one Friday after work we hit the road armed with all the camping essentials and ready to explore another part of beautiful Oz. Jervis Bay is about a 3 hour drive outside of Sydney and is a breath-taking oceanic bay and village on the south coast of New South Wales. It is also said to be home to some of the whitest sands in the world. We stayed at Green patch Campsite which is the perfect spot for a quiet weekend of camping. It’s located in Booderee National Park and is surrounded by lagoons, beautiful beaches, wildlife and walking trails. With hot showers, clean toilets and BBQ areas, it made it very easy to get at one with nature whilst still providing those essentials. My kinda camping! 

We arrived late on the Friday night so just hit the sack ready for an early rise. It might have been just spring when we went and bloody freezing at night, but the daytime was beautiful blue skies and the perfect exploring temperature. After a tasty fry up we ventured past the lagoon and onto Greenfield Beach which blew us away. They weren’t wrong, the sand was pure white and like nothing we have ever seen before. We were the only two on the beach leaving us even more speechless. If only every weekend started this way. There are coastal walks in abundance so we embarked on the hike to Hyams Beach which is one of the most popular of the myriad of beaches that make up Jervis Bay. Again, the white sands and turquoise waters left us feeling very lucky to be able to call Australia home. It was absolutely stunning.

As Matt and I are heading off on our travels soon, and are both keen on photography, we started a little visual diary which you can check out HERE. We thought why not kick-start it in Sydney as we still have a couple more months of exploring left to do and Jervis Bay was the perfect backdrop to polish our photography skills and showcase how beautiful New South Wales is! Saturday was spent swimming (yes, it was freezing but still so fun!) and hiking before we rounded it off in the pub (obvs), The Huskisson Hotel is a waterfront pub in the sleep village of Huskisson and is huge! We devoured proper pub grub whilst looking through all our holiday snaps – it was a weekend for the memory bank for sure. 

Since I can remember I have been an avid charity shop lover, sifting through rails of jumbled together clothes and random bric-a-brac is the idea of pure heaven to me. What is it they say… one person’s trash is another person’s treasure? I owe my love of vintage fashion and charity shops to my nan and grandad, since I was young they dragged me and my sister in and out of Hampshire’s best second-hand shops, carboots and antique fairs and I grew to become absolutely obsessed.

I not only enjoy a good old rummage but I am also pretty good at it. I’m not blowing my own trumpet here, but I have been a serial thrifter for years, and it comes to a point when you kind of just get a sense of what to dig out and what to leave behind. I also LOVE vintage shops, so as you can imagine my initial move to London where I bagged a job on Brick Lane was a bloody dream. However, my enjoyment is all about the initial rummage, and with some vintage shops they have done the hard work for you. The thrill for me is all about sourcing the best bits myself, I get such a buzz off those dusty old garms.

Dress - Charity Shop in Lower Clapton, East London

There are plenty of benefits in shopping savvy – aside from the thrill of bagging a bargain – it’s also a great way to save some cash whilst donating money to a good cause. Charity shops sometimes have sales too (IIIIII KNOW) and if you’re lucky, you might stumble across a £1 rail (yes, these are a thing) with the coolest pair of trews on just waiting for you to take them home and wear them with love.

I have a few pals that are scared (read: repulsed) by the thought of wearing someone else’s seconds but the trick is, to not be! Take away any stigma that you have attached to charity shops and just give them a whirl. I thought I’d put together a little thrift shopping guide for ya’ll so the next time you spot a Marie Curie or Red Cross, you’ll be equipped to rummage.


Why not have a little nosey over the latest trend pages or street style shots on Who What Wear before you plan to thrift shop or carboot so you’re well versed on what’s hot, and what’s not. There’s no better feeling than bagging a bargain that is bang on trend.

Focus on colours

What is YOUR colour or, the colour of the season? Some chazza shops like to get a bit organised and put the donated clothes in colour order which means all you have to do is head straight for your fave shade.

Don’t be put off by sizes

I have so many amazing funky shirts that are a size 18, and work perfectly worn oversized or un-buttoned over an LBD.

Always look at the labels

Whether it’s vintage M&S (St Michael) or a COS top for a fraction of the price, make sure you check out the labels as it will give you a good indication of the original cost and quality. Just before I planned to book my flight to Oz, I found the perfectly fitting pair of jeans in an East London chazza shop by a brand I’d never heard of before called, Rollas. The quality felt amazing and the fit was next level but it wasn’t until I googled them  I realised that they were by a very cool Aussie brand who are known for their incredible denim. The jeans cost me £6 and they retailed for £90, I also thought it was a sign. To this day that thifty purchase cemented the fact that I was always meant to book that one-way ticket to Oz!

Always ask

If you’re on the hunt for something don’t be afraid to ask the lovely volunteer. I was recently in the market for some new workout wear and on the off-chance asked the lady behind the counter if they had any more exercise leggings available. Next thing you know, I am in the store cupboard knee-deep in athleisure gear and bagged a pair of Lululemon leggings for 5 bucks! Which, is one of my best steals yet. Lululemon is PRICEY!

Things to look out for

I always go straight to the coats, winter or not, a good coat can sometimes be hard to find and cost you the most. I once found a black cape coat with a leopard print faux-fur trim from Harrods in a Winchester charity shop for £18 and it was one of the best days of my life. Since that day on, I rule out the coats and blazers first. Don’t forget to check out the accessories too, it’s crazy what people part with and the amount of cute vintage scarfs I have found that look fresh out of Pinterest when tied in my hair bun is just ridic.

Don’t forget the guys

Shop unisex is another top tip when charity shopping. Cool army jackets and vintage shirts tend to be lurking in the men’s rails too!

Take your time

Charity shops are full of the weird and wonderful so you must dedicate a little time to the hunt. It’s a process, a thorough investigation, and totally worth it because you might just find exactly what you didn’t know you needed.

Enjoy your thrift shopping!

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