Leila has created The Single Mum Diaries community of over 20 thousand women that support the cause, women from all over the world come to get support, give advice, and show a little love and kindness in those times of need or those mama days that knock you around.
You guys are always asking "which op shops do you go to" and until now I have kept it under lock and key, but with so many of you writing in about how you really want to start thrifting so you can have yourself some serious savings I have decided to share my locals I frequent with all of you.
Don't forget if you are driving through a new town its always fun and quite possibly my favourite thing to do (guilty pleasure) to check out the local op shops by googling to see what is around you, not a fan of google... ask a local!
So without further ado... Here is the list of my most treasured op shops. Ill be starting it at one end of the Gold Coast and wrapping it up at the other - so lets kick it off
Tweed Valley Adventist Op shop (big green and white building)
2/5 Machinery Drive, Tweed Heads South NSW
This op shop has always been my absolute favourite for kids clothing, you will see why when you head in to check it out.
9 Greenway Drive, Tweed Heads South NSW (just down the road from the above op shop, just keep driving)
This one is a great op shop for clothes, they have plenty of them and always at quite affordable prices with great brands in amongst the racks. My tip - you just have to look through to find them
2/45 Greenway Drive, Tweed Heads South NSW
I stop in at this one when visiting the above op shops but I have never really found anything in there, you may have a lucky find though so its always good to check.
St Vincent De Paul Society
9/25 Industry Drive, Tweed Heads South NSW
This one is only minutes from the ones above and good to stop in to check it out
Agape Outreach Op Shop
8/6 Enterprise Avenue, Tweed Heads
Rather new on the scene but still one that I have found some incredible pieces in, definitely one that you have to look through.
Vinnies in Tugun
473 Golden Four Drive, Tugun Qld
I love this one for the kids toys and bric a brac its also right near my favourite flower shop Tugun Fruit and Flowers and a good place to stop for morning tea if you are going to use this list as a guide and tick off each one as you go along
Lighthouse Op Shop Currumbin
48 Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Qld
This has always been one of my favourites, they have a great kids clothes section and I always find myself some nice pieces in there.
Animal Welfare League Op Shop
3/35 Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Qld
This one is walking distance from the one above, you will see a big purple and yellow building just up the road. Make sure you walk through dust temple and check it out on your way past - such a cool building.
Salvos Palm Beach
16/17 Eighth Avenue Palm Beach Qld
This is the one I stop in at the most, I can always find something I like and there are so many beautiful cafes nearby
Vinnies Palm Beach
6/15 Palm Beach Avenue, Palm Beach
Such a cute little store, I have always found great kids books and toys here, there is another one just up towards the highway from here which I couldn't find the name of on google but I also love that one so make sure you go for a wander a couple of streets up and find it
RSPCA Op Shop Burleigh
3/18 Township Drive Burleigh Heads
I haven't been to this one for a long time but its a rather large op shop that would still be good to check out if you haven't been before.
Lifeline Op Shop Burleigh
1722 Gold Coast Highway Burleigh
Definitely one that people frequent because of its location, but I have always loved their book section. Not one of my regular ones to visit but I always stop in if I am in the area. Plenty of great cafes and shopping nearby if you are keen on a stop off or something to do for the day
Animal Welfare League Op Shop
Cnr Lower GC Highway & Elder StreetBurleigh Heads
A small op shop thats right around the corner from one of my favourite cafes "Commune" its full to the brim of bric a brac and treasures are lurking in every nook.
RSPCA Op Shop Miami
2172 Gold Coast Highway, Miami
I have found some beautiful pieces in this op shop and they even have animals on site which you can adopt, so pop in for look and give some out some love to the animals waiting for their forever homes.
5/46 Pacific Avenue, Miami
Another small little treasure trove, I haven't stopped in for a while due to parking but it is within walking distance of the one above, so be sure to stop in and check it out
Lifeline Shop Mermaid Beach
2532 Gold Coast Highway Mermaid
This is quite a big Op Shop full of amazing treasures, I have found many designer pieces in here and many of them still had tags on them so be sure to put it on your list of ones to check out.
I have always found something in here, you know that beautiful blanket on the end of my bed that you all ask me about regularly. I scored that beauty in this op shop many years ago for $8 - its definitely not as clean and organised as the others but its one to put on the list for sure
Nulife Op Shop Robina
4 Greenwich Court, Robina
This is my absolute favourite, one because everyone is so kind to you, two because I regularly score designer pieces including Spell, Zimmerman and many more incredible brands and three because of the incredible work they do with the profits.
Robina Kids Op Shop
186 Robina Town Centre Drive Robina
I havent checked this one out yet but I have heard good things so I will go to check it out today and report back to you all.
RSPCA Op Shop Robina
Robina Shopping Village, Robina
I also check this one out regularly and I love it, there is a beautiful woman in there named Marie Clare and she is so kind and always offers you a basket for your pieces. They have two in the shopping village, one is clothes and other pieces and the other is all your kitchen pieces, bric a brac and books. I love the one with the books in it and when you check it out you will see why.
15 Nind St, Southport
This is a really big salvos and I really love browsing on the days that I don't have Ever. Be careful of parking in this area because of the parking inspectors. There is free parking on site
Lifeline Shop Southport
14 Railway Street Southport
This is another big Lifeline and I love this one, there is a few more op shops all within walking distance which you will see if you look up and down the street. So make sure you pay your parking and take yourself on a walk and check out what they have to offer.
Not a local??? Then be sure to CLICK HEREto be taken to the Op Shop website aka my secret weapon for checking out the local op shops in your area. Heading to somewhere new?? Type where you are headed in the search bar on the site to be taken to the op shops nearby - Amazing right!
I have saved hundreds and probably thousands of dollars by thrifting clothes for both myself and Ever, putting in the time to source second hand pieces not only keeps money in my pocket but also helps the planet.
Did you know that in Australia alone over 500,000 tones of textiles and leather end up in landfill every single year. This is 500,000,000 million kilograms - can you believe it?? Studies show that women wear garments an average of 7 times before we discard it!
I tend to buy new pieces when attending events or special occasions or if I see quality pieces that I really love I will go home, have a think about it... before committing to purchasing the piece. If I am still thinking about the piece the next day then I will go back and invest in it - thats what works for me. Our little ones go through and grow through clothes like no one I have ever seen so this is not something I am prepared to waste money on. If you aren't the op shop type like so many of my friends weren't before coming op shopping with me, give it a go... see if its for you and trust me... you will be surprised at what you will find.
All the love - Leila x
Some of our thrifted pieces are below - click on a image to see which items in the photo were thrifted. You will be surprised
So you want to get back into the dating game?? Heres what I recommend...
Dating as a single mother is completely different to dating as a single woman... no matter how hard you try to be that carefree single woman while you are on a date and leave all that mama stuff behind the minute you close the door - you can't. Your heart will forever be in two places at once and subconsciously you will find yourself looking at this potential date screening him to see if he is the type of person you would feel safe having your children around, you will without even realising it be adding up a little tally in your head about his traits, and the type of role model you could potentially see him being, you will be looking to see if you have a connection with this person all the while wondering if they would have the same connection with your children and you will try in vain to snap out of these thoughts telling yourself "just be in the moment and enjoy it" or "dont take it too seriously and read into it too much" but the truth of the matter is - if you are a mother, you come with a plus one and although you are putting your heart on the line by entering into dating... there is a lot more at stake than just getting your heart broken.
Now in saying all of that I want you to know that you can't get into the dating game until you are ready and my sign of ready came from asking myself these questions "Who am I now??" and "What do I want??" so write that down on a piece of paper and answer those questions in whatever form it means to you... Who are you NOW and What do you want?? Are you drawing blanks or madly scribbling on the piece of paper already?
Now... Why those questions... I believe that being ready to date, like REALLY ready comes from fully knowing who we are again after our last relationship, it comes from fully healing whatever baggage we acquired in our last adventure in love, its fully knowing what went wrong and our part in it, It is unpacking all of the bullshit that you need to sort through after something you loved doing ended and someone you loved became someone you knew.
After any break up it is a journey back to YOU... it is a long winded journey of self discovery back to the person you were before you became an "us" or a "we" and I believe that it is only after that journey that you can answer the questions of "Who am I" NOW... Who am I... after the lesson, after the love, after the breakdown, break up and break apart.
I believe the person we are after a big life change such as a break up says a lot about the person we are seeking out... I believe ONLY in fully knowing who we are will we meet someone that sees us for who we are, and only in knowing the true answer to "Who am I NOW" will we be able to see what we need to change if anything about being the type of person we want to bring into our lives. I love the quote "be who you want to attract" and I feel in dating that is such a strong phase to keep at the forefront of your mind.
I hear of so many women that have such large lists they want to fill when it comes to dating, I mean lists that are all physical appearance based - like... I want him to be tall, dark and handsome... don't we all... but on the top of my list is - I want him to have kind eyes, I want him to have empathy and I want him to be open minded. Having standards is paramount but just make sure that those standards are set for the right reasons - looks fade, six packs can disappear and hair will eventually grey or start to fall out... but having someone who is kind, who is empathetic and who sees you even on your darkest of days... that will never grow old.
Now don't be afraid to sit alone with yourself and ask yourself, like REALLY ask yourself "What do I want" from life, from dating, from love or whatever it may be that came up for you when you said that question in your head... So many people struggle with this question, so many people can't answer it because in answering it, it can make them vulnerable to being hurt, it can make them vulnerable to being open, to being judged, to scarily not being able to live up to what they actually want from life. Step one is being honest with yourself about what you want and step two is being fierce enough to go after it, step two is being brave enough to share it with any potential people that could be in your future, step two is standing in your power and laying it out and putting it on the table and saying "this is what I want" and sometimes the most terrifying thing of all, the one person that you need to lay it out to - sometimes that person is yourself.
For me I was terrified to answer that question - I wrote it down and sat with it for a few days, stopping to think about it in my spare moments alone, daydreaming over it at the traffic lights, thinking in the shower about what the question meant for me and finally when I got the answer that I knew I would always somehow come to, I was terrified - I had admitted it to myself what I wanted and I realised that I now had to live up to that. I now had to really start to take that seriously and I really had to make it a priority in my life instead of dancing around it as if it wasn't there. Saying what you want out of life means that you could potentially live with regret if you don't meet your own life's goals and no body and no one likes regret. Regret is something that will keep you up at night, regret will haunt you, it will follow you around and poison your mind and regret can be a real buzz kill to sort through... So in order to meet someone in our lives and in order to be shiny diamond clear on what we want and expect from someone else we first need to answer that question of ourselves and we need to be prepared to act with whatever that question brings up for us, and more than that... we need to be prepared to voice it.
Since entering the dating game as a single mother I have learnt a lot about myself, since having Ever and starting to date I can be confident in my choices because I know two things Who I am NOW and What I want... and I am not afraid to edit my life ruthlessly if I feel that people don't deserve to share it. I wish I had of asked myself these questions when I was a young teenager entering dating, because although I feel my answers would have been different back then, I would have been more aware of the WHY behind it all, of my WHY behind it all.
Dating in 2018 is akin to surviving the war - you are completely unsure about who is behind enemy lines, who is real and who is fake, who is genuine and who is just getting in a relationship to work their shit out on your watch and there are land mines every fucking where...so I believe the trick to dating is to know who you are at the very core of yourself, who you are in the quiet moments, who you are in the social scenarios and who you are when you sit back and realise that you are some kind of magic.. a living soul in a breathing body who is 60% water and 40% fucking miracle. The trick to dating is to know the answer to what you want and to be brave enough to say it out loud to yourself and if you are really ballsy to share it with those that don't fit the criteria.
I get asked this question all the time "but how will I know when I am ready to date and where do I start"you start with the questions "Who Am I NOW and What do I want" and I feel this also applies to people who are married and in a bit of a slum "Who Am I NOW and What do I Want" sometimes this answer takes a while to come to you, sometimes you have to sit with the wholeness of the question and really feel the words swirling around your head, sometimes they sit on a blank page for days before you can be real enough with yourself to answer them - but the only thing I can tell you is to ask them, tell other people to ask them, tell your sister, your friend, that colleague at work that never has luck in the dating game, tell your brother who you can see is clearly dating yet another tacky woman that is wrong for him... just tell them... maybe if enough people in the world asked themselves these two simple questions then we wouldn't have people running around causing havoc on peoples hearts, we wouldn't have people who walk away from relationships as if people are as disposable as the coffee cups we drink from and we wouldn't have people who rebound with people just for the sake of not being alone.
Maybe if more people sat in the truth of their answers to these questions then dating in 2018 wouldn't be such a fucking minefield. Bumble and Tinder as great as they are for seeking out the single have done us quite the dis service when it comes to dating - people are now more disposable than ever before, the guy with the abs gets more airtime than the nice guy with kind eyes, the woman with legs for days gets more swipe rights than the woman who can hold a decent conversation and if you even make it past the swipe right stage then you had better play your cards right otherwise there are women by the dozen that can replace you with the flick of a thumb... there is no way to escape how hard dating can be... so know yourself, know the answer to these two questions, hold the answers close to your heart and call on them in moments of doubt. If you feel as though you aren't connecting then ask yourself these questions again.
Dating is exciting, meeting new people always gives us a buzz of possibility or at the very least a new viewpoint or different perspective than the one we had before. Since dating I have learnt what I am willing to tolerate as a single woman and what I am looking for in a man as a single mother. Its been trial and error, its been thrilling to see myself as the woman in dating I am now... knowing the answer to these two questions has given me unbelievable strength and confidence - knowing who you are and what you want is pure magic and it has released me to see not only myself but the potential men in my life more clearly.
Here is a link to a beautiful meditation that will help you AFTER you have answered these two questions CLICK HERE to LISTEN
Oh and one more thing BE WHO YOU WANT TO ATTRACT
As usual babes - I am here if you want to chat via firstname.lastname@example.org and for any story submissions or advertising please email above.
I have had so many requests from all of you to share my baby name list, I was really hesitant to do so because it is a list that I have had for years. Keeping it in my phone notes and adding to it when I stumbled upon a name I liked, never knowing if I would use it but treasuring it anyway.
Since starting it I have held it close to my heart, never showing anyone except Ever's father just after we found out we were having Ever. We added to it and dreamt up a few names that felt right for Ever but I knew in my heart I would never call her by any other name.
I have found some of the names in words I like in magazines, others by stumbling across a name yelled out in the supermarket and some are even peoples surnames I came across while working in the corporate world.
Ever - Forever, Eternally, Always
We ended up with Ever Lacey which I didn't feel suited her but I really liked the story and sentimentality behind it. I since then can't wrap my head around it and I have gone with Ever Lane which still has the sentiment of Lacey's Lane in Currumbin but its just more free flowing and suits her better. I always get asked about my name list so there it is for all of you - share it if you like, pinch from it if you need to. Or if you feel you have any other names you would like to add to it please do let me know and I will update the list. I think if I was to have another baby I will give it a name which I have kept off the list for that rainy day or just in case moment that I might have another little one to grace my life.