Last September, for our anniversary, my husband surprised me with a very un-him present.
This delightful money pig arrived in our house and he’s now in my office taking pride of place where I can see him.
He was purchased from a gem of a place on the borders of Wokingham and Crowthorne called Vanilla Essence Lodge. It’s a wonderful place full of pre-loved items that have been hand picked and selected by the owner Helen Jennings.
Helen has an interior design background and, when she was a student, used to make ends meet by buying really high quality clothes from charity shops and selling them on. She certainly has high standards.
All items are either new with labels that people have got and never worn, or in perfect condition. There are no buttons missing or threads pulled on the items that Helen buys. She inspects them and brings them back to her lodge so she can steam them, take a photo and list it in her Facebook page.
Helen loves dresses, jackets and tops. She has an eye for a perfect pair of unused shoes and classy handbags and had a lovely Coach bag (brand new) in the Lodge when I was there. What I would have loved would have been trousers, but Helen said that people are fussy about trousers with waists, leg lengths and rises to consider, so she doesn’t stock them!
The benefits of buying something from Helen are many and varied.
- You’ll be getting something that is in top condition but not at high street prices.
- It will be high design or designer, depending on what she finds, when.
- Chances of seeing someone else in something that you get from Helen is slim.
- She sources jewellery, accessories and gift items.
- She can source an item for you for a nominal charge.
- There is no obligation to buy,
- You can try on in the lodge before you buy.
- The coffee is great!
Whilst I was there, picking up a gift I’d chosen to buy for a friend that I’d seen on Helen’s Facebook Page, I started to rummage. I am not a dress girl and Helen has some wonderful dresses in stock, but she also had tops (I do, do tops. Perish the thought if I didn’t?) and did manage to pick up a top that I’d never have even seen if I’d gone shopping as I’d never heard of the brand before … Sandwich? Heard of it? Nah, me neither. Anyway I am rather chuffed I am now the proud owner of something from a brand I didn’t know about!
The Lodge isn’t open all the time and visiting is by appointment only, but your’re not rushed or hassled nor encouraged to buy.
Many items are posted daily in her Facebook groups (https://www.facebook.com/thegreenbaglady/) and all you need to do is add yourself to the group. If you like something that she posts up, you can send her a message and ask her to reserve it for you. Once again, there is no obligation to buy just because it’s reserved.
Payment is by cash, cheque, credit card or bank transfer and there is even a loyalty card too 🙂 — Looks like I might have to go back then!
If designer labels are out of your financial league and you’d like a little exclusivity in your wardrobe, I highly encourage you to join Helen’s friendly Facebook community where you can keep an eye on all things pre-loved refound and recycled at affordable prices.