The Joy Of Car Boot Fairs

11/02/2011 17:47 | Updated 22 May 2015

Car boot sale merchandiseCar boot sales are full of surprises whether you're shopping for yourself or someone else. Photo: PA

One of my absolute favourite things to do on a frosty weekend morning is to get up early, rug up in ugg boots, jeans or tracksuit pants, a hoodie and a scarf, meet some friends and indulge my secret passion for car boot sale foraging.

I'm not a huge shopper around the stores but I love a car boot sale. I don't have anything particular that I look for – but I don't need to shop for me. I find out what my friends are looking for, get them to give me a list, and I go shopping for them. I'm soooo much better at haggling for things when it's for someone else!

An artist friend of mine Ryan McElhinney makes this incredible artwork out of toys – the old ones that we grew up with like Mr Potato Head and little toy soldiers with their legs stuck together. Of course, before he can make his Uh-mayzing creations he has to get hold of the old toys.

Cue me filling armloads of empty shopping bags with old toys at five o'clock in the morning! It's brilliant. At one stage he was making things out of Barbie dolls so there I was haggling after all these dog-eared looking dolls and I was so proud to go back to him with a big bag full of them.

All the toys have to be plastic and he creates mirror frames, lamp bases and other fabulous objects. A famous gallery-restaurant in London called Sketch features one of his pieces.

If a friend is looking for a little coffee table, I'm on a mission!!! There's stuff in my apartment and my friends' apartments that we've bought together and maybe repainted or bought a new glass top for a coffee table or something. When we get together they're our favourite pieces. The memories of the car boot sale. The sense of finding something soon-to-be cherished. The feeling when you come across the thing you're looking for: "Wow I've got a bargain!"

Once I took my friend Sam with me in my Mercedes SLK – a two-seater. He bought two chairs and we had to drive home with the roof off, Sam with two chairs sticking up above his head out of the top of the car.

I love the food vans with the hot tea out of the terrible polystyrene beaker that burns my hands and the toasted cheese and onion sandwich that drips down my face. There is absolutely no star-spotting at these places. Everyone's wandering around looking for the things they're looking for so they're not looking at anyone else.

It's one of the few places I can go where nobody recognises me. If I buy something sometimes people say: "you look a lot like..." but then at the crack of dawn and with no make up on, they think: "that can't be her, what would she want with a load of knackered old Barbie dolls"?

Little do they know, one man's trash could be an art collector's treasure?


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