Excess luggage 

If you’re looking for tales of frugal travel, don’t read on. Similarly, if decuttering is your goal or if you abhor commercialism and the accumulation of stuff, please avert your eyes, lest my standing falls. 

But if you like tales of frivolous fun or wish to spend vicariously, let me tell you our time in London was not all spent in meritorious and didactic attendance at museum, galleries and sites of historical note. So read on for some window shopping and a window into my shopping. 

Hamley’s: the finest toy shop in the world 

So reads their shop entrance and their shopping bags. And I think it was. The assistants are all dressed up and engaging; playing with the toys to get you to buy. And come in spinner! Buy we did. Not an awful lot but the remote control car that goes up walls that one of the assistants was “playing” with. Yes, we were sucked in. One for each son. The gear system? A science teaching toy, don’t you know?

Mr S tried out a nerf gun he hadn’t seen. (He collects them.) But he didn’t buy because things really are more expensive than Australia and this gun will surely make its way to our shores. 

Others shop assistants were running activities for kids. Yes, I know to create demand. Yes, we could feed a village somewhere but let’s not ruin the fun by being all anti-consumerism and dour and serious.

Visit this place even if you have no kids or don’t like toys. 

Going down

Royalty in Lego

Looking out of Hamley’s with assistants dessed up and blowing bubbles


Loved this place. Just gorgeous. Most things beyond my pocket but I did buy a lovely pair of boots. I so wanted to return and buy more. I joined their loyalty program as I felt sure I’d return and then get £30 off my next purchase.  Pouting. Because time ran out. But I think my credit card thanks me. Visit even if you just want to look at the wood work and the displays. And maybe pick up those Valentino rockstud shoes I want. 

Outside mock Tudor front if Liberties

Me admiring the display: flowers made from paper

And what’s in the purple Liberty bag in the above shot? These. 



Fortnum and Masons

Beautiful. More on this when I report about my afternoon tea. But tell ’em they’re dreaming* about the price of their tea pots. They’re nice. But not that nice. I did buy a bath back scrubber. We all know how I love a bubble bath!  

[* reference to The Castle, iconic Australian movie.]

Staircase in F&M

Another staircase. I feel glamorous just walking up these. Why would you take the lift?


View from window of F&M



Don’t bother. Overcrowded. Overpriced. Pushy tourists. 

Well maybe check out the toy department. But frankly the food section doesn’t impress me. DJs in Sydney has a nicer, admittedly smaller, and less crowded food department. And we have lovely green groceries, delis and fishmongers. I went because you should but I’d never go again.  

Silver Vaults 

Oh my God! Wish I had a spare hundred thousand. You descend into actual vaults. There are dozens of sellers. And the beauty of all that silver. I’m breathless!

The tea service I wanted was £5,000. Yes, I walked away. But we picked up a sterling silver Art Deco from pre WWII. Simple, plain but within our price range (just) and easier to keep clean. 


The cutlery service Mr S admired was £10,000. Antique and never used. Who can afford such a thing and never use it. The dealer said they may have received two as a wedding present. Oh, to be so rich. (Actually answered my question when we later visited Westfields London. The Australian family that owns Westfields, the Loweys, could/may have more valuable stuff than they ever use.)


Loved perusing the shelves for titles we don’t have. (Did same in W.H.Smith where I saw some great titles in travelling around the UK, including one on pub walks that was ring bound so you could take out the needed map. If I went back to travel the UK, I’d buy this at the start of my trip.) Walked around the Piccadilly store and a few suburban ones. Bought a book for my book club that I could get in Australia but I wanted to start reading immediately.  

Oxford Street

Opening hours are quite civilised. We walked down on a Sunday at about 10am but many of the shops hadn’t opened. They do stay open to 6pm though. It was a little too noisy and grotty for me. I was looking for clothes and shoes and handbags. Compared to Australia, the midrange are too expensive. I will post later on the sameness of fashion. Suffice to say I didn’t buy too much. 


It’s a chain of chemists (drug store for Americans). Who hangs out in a chemist? Me. I like to check out different face creams and hair and beauty products. Boots has its own that apparently people rave about. So I just had to buy soon. It was expensive compared to the Australian made, cruelty free products I can get at home. I will tell you how they compare in a few months. 

Stuff I bought from a range of stores

Dresses, handbag, jackets, boots, body lotions and potions. Here’s some. There’s another dress, but I’m wearing it at time of taking photos. 




11 thoughts on “Excess luggage 

  1. Lots of lovely things! I really like those boots! I also shop on vacation and I get a special pleasure from visiting grocery stores and drug stores when I travel (I used to beg my grandmother to take me to the one near her house whenever I spent the night just to browse).

    • Boots seem to be winning lots of approval. They’re Italian and the Italians are so good on leather, style and design. Such a good quality finish.

      I love visiting supermarkets and seeing different food stuffs. Think people will believe I am mad if I ever went to the U.S. I’d spend hours in the supermarket.

  2. I loved Hamley’s and Liberty! I love Waterstones and Boots! Can’t wait to go shopping again in London. Your boots are lovely. And a Nerf gun collector in the family – who knew?

  3. OMG – can I send you all our Nerf Guns? On the quiet? Receiver of decluttered goods?

    I love your boots! And the handbag. And I just swoon at the thought of buying heirloom silver – such quality and beauty.

    All those shops are just so beautiful. It makes me want to cry that we live so far away. Those staircases! And the a Toy Store. I went to Harrods only, no time for other shopping. I was just agog. There was a television for £70,000 (no kidding) and it was playing Sydney Coastal scenes on a loop. Amused me no end as we used to see some of those exact scenes every day from our flat in Coogee.

    I don’t know how you haven’t died of exhaustion, flying back in then going back to work!

    • Yes, maybe I should revise what I say about Harrods – skip food and makeup floor, go straight to toys and big boys’ toys, ie electronic departments. As to Nerf gun offer: in interests of protecting your marriage, I decline your offer. If I even suggested s cull here of nerf guns and accessories (we have ammo boxes), it’d be D.I.V.O.R.C.E. (You have to sing that to the country and western tune.)

      As to being dead. Yes, body is packing it in. I want a couple of days in bed, with no social obligations or jobs. Sadly haven’t had that yet. We did pack a lot into the 3 weeks.

  4. Ooh, those boots! Last thing I did before I got divorced was buy practically those exact boots, in a deep mahogany brown, and let The Man know he had bought them for me for my birthday. They were very expensive:)

    Love, love, love that tea set. Happy to see you were buying local and second hand:)

    • That anecdote (boots and divorce) has me asking so many questions (last straw? metaphoric boots, ie made for walking?) but don’t answer in this public forum. Save it for when I visit you in Jan. Buying the tickets to Tassie this week!!!

  5. My favourite store must be Liberty when I was working in fashion we always bought our fabrics from there for the fashion shoots. The sales assistants were always so helpful.
    We had a branch of Hamleys in Sheffield for a few years – my girls could have spent all day in there.
    Love the boots and bag and the silver is to die for. Next time you come to London take me shopping with you – you make it sound fun!

    • I love shopping! It is fun, isn’t it? Liberties’ fabrics are gorgeous. Especially how they line the walls. And yes, the Liberty shop assistants were lovely – so friendly and chatty.

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