Monday, March 22, 2010

Shopping And Bits & Bobs

Well, I promised I would do a shopping post, continuing on from the Harrogate trip post, so here it is, I know it's not earth shatteringly exciting, as you can probably see. I mainly concentrated on stuff that is not available in France, so this meant a trip to Marks and Spencers, for V neck sweaters and lingerie, I love their Autograph range, the quality is excellent and the prices for lingerie are much lower than French lingerie, which is beautiful, but for every day wear is a trifle extravagant, even for me! I know that you can buy cheaper lingerie in France at the likes of Monoprix and other places, but the quality is not great and they don' t seem to fit me properly.

I also hit Harrrogate's premier department store, for hosiery, I am a big fan of Wolford's velvet deluxe tights, they are not cheap at eighteen pounds a shot, but they are worth it, they are wonderful, no snags or ladders and can last for a couple of years, I can't find them in France, except in the Wolford shops but there are none of those round here and the likes of Galeries Lafayette, in true French protectionist style, only sell French makes, I also bought a couple of pairs of Pretty Polly nylons, for good measure, which are not available in France.

Then I hit Boots the Chemist, for, amongst other things, the No 7, protect and perfect range, which is excellent, I introduced this range to Belle Mère, who, thinks they are marvelous, and she is a lady that knows her creams, my Mother was so impressed by the products, she switched to No 7 from Guerlaine (the Rolls Royce of hydration), so It's not all hype, I have had loads of compliments on my complexion since I started using their products.

I am also a big fan of Olay's complete care everyday sunshine moisturiser, which is easily absorbed, gives you a light sun kissed glow, without making you orange, contains vitamin E and has an SPF of 15, Olay products are not available in France.

I also bought some pretty jewellery which was less than half price, from East. And two pairs of great fitting jeans, from George1V and Oasis, UK size 10, yippee.

I know, I took pictures of some of the fabulous interior design shops in Harrogate, but I did not dare go into them for fear of seeing something I could not possibly live without, and then suffering shopping guilt, let alone bringing too much back on a strict weight allowance.

My favourite thing, which I have not published as the photo's do not do it justice, is a beautiful Jackie O style, Escada shift dress and matching jacket in a stunning shade of purple, kindly given to me by my Mother. I tried it on, whilst I was helping my Mother sort her spare room out, and it fitted perfectly and I have to say, it looks really super on, although I don't know where I can wear it, no wedding's and no trips to the races are on the horizon.

Over the last couple of years my petite, five foot Mother has gone from a UK size 12 to a UK size 8, she is incredibly elegant and stylish and always wears gloves when she goes out, even in the summer for driving.  With her weight loss, she now has a spare room full of classically beautiful designer clothes, which now drown her, I am going back later in the year to photograph them and sell them on E Bay for her.

The other important purchase is a Liz Caiborne, medium sized, wheely suitcase, purchased from TK Max for fifty pounds.  Now this was an attempt to beat Ryan Air at it's own game.

On the return to Blighty post, there were a lot of unfavourable comments about Ryan air.  I was in a really bad mood, the morning we set off for the airport, just thinking about flying Ryan Air.  The baggage weight allowance is 10KG for hand luggage, one piece only, and 15KG for checked luggage, not a huge amount if you want to hit the shops.

On Ryan Air a ladies handbag now qualifies as one piece of hand luggage, as does any magazine, newspaper or other purchases bought whilst in the departure lounge.  When we booked the flight I put down one piece of luggage to be checked both ways (£30.00)  I am not the sort of person to start measuring creams and lotions into 100ML bottles, I  just chuck them in my vanity bag, so my luggage had to be checked in, on the outward flight I went through with just my handbag as hand luggage.

We needed a new medium size suitcase, and MG also shopped, he bought a new laptop, amongst other things, on the outward flight I checked in the new suitcase full of goodies and went through with my small weekend case as hand luggage, with MG's laptop, and my handbag squashed in, even the large amount of English glossies I bought in the departure lounge fitted in!

When we got to the the departure gate, there were several ladies, scrabbling about on the floor trying to fit everything in to one bag, there was one lady, a seasoned Ryan Air pro, trying to get a laptop, handbag, four packets of Richmond Pork sausages, five packets of Digestives, packets of Lemsip (sound familiar) and other assorted items into one cloth bag, I did not think she would do it, but she did. I was most impressed, she turned packing a small cloth bag into an artform, and I told her so, we had a bit of a grumble and a giggle about Ryan Air and handbags.

At Stansted Airport departure lounge, just before you head off to the gates there is a Pret A Manger, MG and I bought sandwiches and drinks to take on the plane, I had the sandwich in my hand as I went through the boarding gate, I was half expecting the rather officious Ryan air lady to confiscate it, she didn't, I was certainly not going to pay the over inflated prices for the rubbish, they call food, on board a Ryan Air Flight.

I settled in to read the tacky in flight magazine, which informed me that Ryan Air want to change the habits of air passengers by charging to use the loo, that way, they can maximise space and flight costs will be even lower, Oh where will it end, The Ryan Air staff, try to sell you as much as possible, whilst the captive audience is imprisoned, with no leg room or elbow room. The flight both ways was on time though, which they inform you by a fanfare over the tannoy on arrival and proudly announce they are the most prompt airline in the world, well that's something then.


  1. Your shopping has given me lots of ideas for my forthcoming trip to the U.K., especially the Boots and Olay creams.
    I too, will only be able to drool at the windows of interior design shops.
    As to travelling, I found my one and only trip by Ryanair quite O.K. - though my expectations were not high, to be fair. The ground and air staff were pleasant, no one seemed to mind that I had six novels two newspapers and a couple of small parcels in my coat pockets, giving me the air of an over successful poacher and the only hitch was a security check on my legs as one seemed to be giving off indications of metal. It wasn't even the one I broke, so goodness only knows what all that was about.
    Eurostar was not at all nice.

  2. much to ponder here! I think you did exceptionally well on your purchases. You are obviously a woman who knows what she likes! I have often read about Boots No7 and wondered if it does the trick. I will pick some up the next time I am in Boots. I am smiling as I glance over your loot again and trying to decide if you are a blonde or a brunette, possibly darker. I would wager on the latter.
    I will most definitely not be flying Ryan Air...what a hassle...ugh.. Saying that if it meant an extra trip to some place I really wanted to go too....I just might.
    Jeanne :)

  3. Definitely agree with you regarding Boots No. 7 - always stock upon their Protect and Perfect serum when I am in UK and think Wolfords are THE best and last and last so work out cheaper in the long run .... (Falke come a very close second) Don't fancy Ryan Air and after reading about your experiences don't think I will fly with them... prefer Easy Jet or Fly-Be any day!! X

  4. Dear Dash - this is like 'deja vu' for me!! I well remember stashing all my British goodies into my suitcase every time I was returning to Oz - yes, biscuits, Boots No 7, Vaseline deodorant (by the caseload) and other unmentionables I couldn't get in Sydney!!! Didn't you feel triumphant when you unpacked it all at the other end and had managed to outwit Ryanair??!! Actually, I have come to accept Ryanair for what it is - a budget know what you are getting for a very cheap price and the only way to go is to make it work for you (like the lady at the airport squashing everything into a cloth bag). My way of dealing with it is to use only Longchamp bags which fold up to nothing and weigh nothing for hand luggage, put in everything heavy (including shoes and books) and leave the 15 kg suitcase for soft and light clothes. It's all good once you get used to the system! Glad you had such a successful shopping expedition! x

  5. Oh Susie, you are right, I am a moaning minnie, you pays your money, you takes your choices,if you book well in advance, it is cheap, And with some imaginative packing you can get round the luggage problem, you have to treat Ryan Air as a bus, you just have to grit your teeth for a couple of hours and look forward to the wonderful time you are going to have at your chosen destination. Mind you I would hate to travel Ryan Air with a young family.

  6. Jeanne, you intuitive lady, you are correct.

  7. Fly, I hope you have a wonderful return trip to the UK, I will now think of you as 'The Travelling Poacher'

  8. SE, I have seen Falke hoisery, but never tried it, I will have to look out for it.

  9. What a great haul of things - there is so much I want to say but I'll limit it to:

    Well done on getting into size 10 jeans. I've only managed it for a short time in my life years and years ago.

    That No 7 range must be good if your mother has switched from Guerlain. I am also a Guerlain fan and spend a lot of money on their moisturiser. Perhaps I also will try the No 7 range - well, the next time I am in the UK anyway.

    Well done to your mum on her weight loss

    Welcome back

  10. Dash, you are a girl after my own heart! I always stock up on Boots products and No 7 on my visits to the UK. Primark for the kids and lots of paracetamol, (I'm sure I'm going to be stopped one day for drug-trafficking!). I have been known to go into every shop along the high street buying my two allowed boxes of paracetamol so I have a stash at the end of my stay.

    Having always used Britsh Airways in my previous life, Ryan Air allowances took a little getting used to but like Susie said, I play the system and I love it when I unpack and see how much I've managed to cram in. I prime the kids too now so they can take advantage of the 10kg cabin allowance. They each have a wheelie bag that I can stuff full of goodies on our return. They are allowed to stock up too with usually with custard creams, Aeros and Polos. We're going back for the school hols in April and I've already started making a list - how sad am I!

    By-the-way, I'm very envious of the size 10 jeans!

  11. FF, You should definitely try the no 7 range, I love Guerlane, but was thrilled to find something as good, for a fraction of the cost. God, with all this No 7 love, Boots should give me a years supply for free.

  12. Fleur, hello and welcome to the blog, I noticed your comments on earlier posts, apologies, for not responding. Good to see a positive response for Ryan Air especially as you are travelling with children. hope you have lovely time in Blighty and manage to cram in all your goodies.

    I think some UK sizes are cut big to flatter the ego, in France I am a size 40/UK 12. Unless I have lost weight and have failed to notice!

  13. Hi Dash
    What a wonderful bounty you accumulated in this trip... I know the when I was last in London I was google eyed over all the lovely lingerie in Marks and Spencer.. nothing like that here and certainly not at those prices.. We do have some Boots not sure if still a dedicated store.. but will have to check it out.. think I need some of that No 7 serum and will definitely try it on your advice.. Well nice to know a bit more about you [ie brunette] .. a little more realism to the phantom blogger.. ha ha..

    You've painted a lovely portrait of your mum too.. I have this mental image now of an elegant be-gloved lady driving around the countryside!

    Well.. I wish we had such affordable quality here.. most of our affordable clothing is asian imports... made for women of completely different proportions to moi!!.. Have a great week Dash... xxx Julie

  14. Dash - are you a member of Vente Privée? You can get the loveliest Lingerie (French or otherwise) at less than half the price... As well as all sorts of other things. They only deliver to France.

  15. Ange, I have never heard of Vent Privee, I will definitely check out their website, thanks for the tip.

  16. I also love the Protect and Perfect range. I've recently moved on to the Intense version with their Lift and Luminate cream on top xx


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