Tag Archive | shopping

This is why I stay out of the shops

I ventured into a shopping centre to buy some thick tights. The leg brace has pulled holes in my two pairs. I could have waited until next winter but I wanted to take two pairs to France to wear with skirts and my boots.

I only like the Italian brand, not the cheap Chinese copies that are not as smooth and silky, not as long lived. The Italian brand are about $24 each.

I went to a larger shopping centre, not my normal small, local centre as I also wanted to check out flat dressy shoes for work. I won’t be wearing high heels again this year and I can’t wear my boots for many of my work outfits. I had already looked in my local centre and they didn’t have anything that appealed to me.

I ran into a neighbour who works in my preferred department store. She offered to use her staff discount.

All this is a long-winded preface to say, needless to say, I didn’t just buy stockings.

Three tops; three pairs of shoes; a scarf; a pair of jeggings and two pairs of tights.

I might availed myself of some discounts but thank god I have been saving money; I can cover this splurge. Yet all my principles of sourcing socially and environmentally just clothing went out the window. Opps.

Here’s a peak at what I bought, minus the scarf and pants.

Stay out of the shops.

Subtitled: Saving for a whole year off – income cut, not lifestyle cut tip number 5

I've been cheating with my last two tips. I have been doing them for years so they haven't really saved me extra money this year since we've faced the income cut while on the Deferred Salary Scheme. 

So in a similar light, half of my next tip is not new. But it is saving me money. 

Tip number five: stay out of the shopping centres and unsubscribe from online shopping emails. 

I don't get how shopping is now a family activity. Want something to do on a Sunday? Take your family to the shopping centre!

When did that become a thing?

Years ago I stopped "go shopping" to "look" for something as a regular weekend thing. Now I only go if I need to buy something.

We never took our kids to the shopping centre as something to do even when I did go to shopping centres. I mean why impose this on little kids and why impose little kids on others? We took our kids to parks and playgrounds and the harbour and the beach and the botanic gardens. Places they could run and chase and shout and burn off energy. But it didn't stop me going shopping alone or with friends.

This year I added the second half of the tip. I unsubscribed emails from online shopping retailers. I was deluding myself that these didn't affect me. 

Now I don't get tempted to buy things I didn't know I wanted before I got the email.  I am not tempted by deals which actually cost me money and which if I didn't get the email I would have saved money by not spending in the first place. 

So save money and increase your self-worth and lifestyle by not looking to go shopping for fun and to fill your time; by not feeding the desire for the new, for things you didn't really want in the first place; by not raising dissatisfaction with what you already have. 

I still buy things. I love clothes and shoes and bags. I still visit shops occasionally. But I am not shopping as an activity.

Fill your time with the want to do but say you have no time for.

I've been doing the things I like – reading, visiting friends, exploring our city, planning our next trip away, learning a language. 

Bingo: saving money and improving lifestyle!!!

Assaulting our senses and sensibilities

Shop windows loud with placards so exclamatory they make one’s eyes jump. (Thank you J.B.Priestley for that phrase. I love the “with placards so exclamatory.)

I’m not a frequenter of shopping centres. The noise, the crowds, the commercialism rankles me. I tend to limit myself to my minor Westfield shopping centre – it has enough choice for me – and within that centre I tend to limit myself to one department store. The one that plays gentle music and has more open space and fewer people. Even so, going once every ten weeks is enough for me. Add to this going once every ten weeks into the city. 

I hate the visual pollution of shouty shop signs. 

I could never work in sales. I’d be telling people they don’t need to buy. And, indeed, they shouldn’t go into debt to buy whatever it was I might be selling. This product wont give them happiness. Go out and do something. Go for a walk somewhere nice in the fresh air, close to nature. Read a book. Talk to family friends. 

Though all this aside, I can shop with the best of them. And I just bought a CD of a local up and coming artist (Alex Lahey, listen to her on YouTube) from the shop in the picture above.  Ahhh, inherent inconsistencies, I embrace you. 

But let’s make a start and not buy from any shops with shouty placards so exclamatory. 

Down with visual pollution!

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. 



More stuff?

I hit the Christmas sales. Yes, brought more stuff into my house. Not all necessary but lovely nonetheless.

I was only going in to buy a set of sheets for one of my sons, a backpack for our travels and a book for book club. But the first store I walked into was a handbag shop.

Look! How could I resist this?

Such a lovely shade of aqua. And so shiny. With a beautiful sparkly clasp. And the lining is so cute with handbags and shoes and hats and hat boxes. Makes me smile just looking at it.

Then I went looking for sandals. I always look for shoes because I have very particular needs and tastes so can rarely find what I want. No high heels, no ballet flats, no thong style, nothing beige, nothing that looks like it is “comfortable” and made for old ladies with cankles. What I want is something for everyday in summer. Not too blingy, not too boring.

No luck in a few shops.

Given it is sale time I went it my favourite department store, DJs, to find the sheets. No luck. Not much range for king single beds. And I am not paying hundreds of dollars.

While I’m in DJs, I might as well try on some heavily discounted clobber. So I tried on a heap of clothes. Ignoring the “only 4 items in the change room”, I must have been in there a while as someone knocked on my door a couple of times to check it was in use. Anyway, I decided to be strong and NOT buy clothes (as I had already ordered 6 items online from an English clothing company – mmmm, I know, I’ll share those later – and I am meant to be saving for our trips overseas).

But I didn’t resist this top, I mean just look at the sparkles! I had admired it previously but couldn’t justify the price. On sale it was OK.


Got two bags for travelling at an outdoors shop, Kathmandu, that always has sales. If you buy anything full price there, you’re mad. Just wait a week. They’ll be on sale. Anyway I needed a new backpack. And then I thought I’d like one that goes over the shoulder rather than a full backpack for London. Still want to carry my water bottle, snacks and purchases but not walk around with a backpack. Low and behold, Kathmandu had just such a bag. Perfect I thought. Lots of little sections for being organised. What do you think?


Anyway, I got home and found out the over the shoulder bag is a nappy bag! Oh well, it fits my purpose which definitely has nothing to do with nappies.

Found my book.


Struck silver (not gold, not quite what I had in mind, but still very happy) with these sandals. And look at the cute polka dot sunnies.


Visited the ABC Shop, as I had a $10 voucher and I always look out for full cast radio plays from the BBC. Not easy to get. Located one! Just one among the audio book readings. And another DVD for my back.


Being a bit weighed down from all my purchases, I visited one last shop for the sheets. Bingo. Got a nice set. And look! A beautiful cushion! So I bought two for my bed.


And then I toddled off home, to share my good luck and good taste with Mr S.

(And my beautiful online stuff? Four skirts, a top and a jacket from Boden. Gorgeous colours, so well made, so me! I showed a friend and she asked if my wardrobe was like the Tardis, ever-expanding. No! But I had a year off, remember? And some clothes, particularly skirts that are over 10 years old, are due to be retired. I just can’t face that yet and will wear them a few more times.) The new skirts are properly lined, with the lining being reversed hemmed.

Here’s the four skirts – two for summer, two winter.