10 Things I Love(d) About England | #7 – Shopping

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past three months looking at things in shops, but actually buying products has been a rarity. You may think that because I post a lot of hauls when I am at home that I am a chronic shopper, but in reality, I am really quite cheap. This combination of cheapness and the conversion rate (£1 = $1.64USD) has led to a pretty dismal amount of products being purchased during my time in England.

However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the products that I did buy, and even just walking around shops was a cultural experience of sorts (and made me appreciate how cheap US cosmetics are).


In terms of beauty shopping, I really liked the fact that Boots and Superdrug both have testers for all of their products. I desperately wish they would implement this at stores in the US. In the UK, you can’t return beauty products (even unopened) so, they have the testers to make sure that whatever you are looking at is going to suit you before you buy it.

Honestly, I’d rather have the testers than the ability to return beauty products in the US. It’s much  more of a hassle to buy something, not like it, and then return it versus being able to try something right in the store.

But, since I haven’t done a beauty haul in like…three months, I figured now is as good as time as any to show you the random collection of things I have picked up over the past three months and just recently.


I bought the Garnier Hand Repair Cream a few weeks ago for £3.13 at Boots because my hands were so dry and, the cheaper cream I bought just wasn’t working. I actually really like this lotion a lot. It absorbs fast and moisturizes for a long time.

The Barry M Kohl Pencil was £2.99, and it has become a daily staple these past couple of weeks. It’s not perfect, as it does smudge if I put it outside of my waterline, but it’s good for tight lining. I’m finding that dark brown suits my eye color/skin tone much better than black.

The NYC Expert Last Lip Color in Creamy Caramel was £1.99, and I’ve been using it every once in awhile since I got here. It’s just a smidgen darker than my natural lip color, so it looks nice for a simple look. It does chap my lips though.

The Superdrug Vitamin E SPF 15 Eye Cream was £2.99. I just bought it last week on a whim. I have no real opinion of it. I checked the reviews online after I bought it, and they are brutal, but I can’t really say that I love it or hate it. It’s just okay.

barry m

I will say, I have definitely bought nail polish while I’ve been here. Specifically, Barry M. Yesterday, I was in Superdrug and, I was buying some bottles to bring home and the woman at the counter gave me a free bottle because of some Barry M promotion. It just happened that the free bottle was another glitter shade. I swear I am not going glitter crazy!

H&M jewlery

I was in the mall two weeks ago, and I stopped in H&M to look for Christmas gifts. I ended up leaving with gifts for me. Oops. The key necklace was on clearance for £2. The infinity bracelet, which I am obsessed with, was £2.99. To be honest though, H&M doesn’t really do it for me in the UK. The style is too different from my own and even without the conversion rate, it’s more expensive than at home.

body shop madagascan vanilla flower spray

Last but not least, yesterday I went to The Body Shop. Even with the conversion rate, The Body Shop is cheaper in the UK. This Madagascan Vanilla Flower Fragrance Mist was £7.50. I have been spritzing it all night long. It smells so good. I don’t know why I waited until the last week I was here to buy a fragrance, but I am kicking myself for not doing it sooner.

Honestly though, when I came to the UK, I was really excited to shop in the same stores as a lot of English bloggers but, when I got here I was surprised how expensive some of the stores were. Stores like Top Shop, Zara, and Next are kinda expensive even without the conversion rate. Granted, most of my money was spent in places like Superdrug, Primark, Pound Land, and Wilkinson (i.e. cheap places) so maybe my idea of expensive is a little off.

Then again, Pound Land is where it’s at.

4 days until I return to the US.


10 thoughts on “10 Things I Love(d) About England | #7 – Shopping

  1. VisitSiena December 9, 2013 / 2:17 pm

    what can be better then shopping :) ok maybe coffee and eating :)

    • Sam December 9, 2013 / 10:05 pm

      lol They are all in my top five. ;)

  2. Gillian December 9, 2013 / 3:00 pm

    I agree about Topshop, Zara, etc being quite expensive, I only really ever buy from there as a treat and I find them overpriced in terms of quality sometimes too.

    I’ve noticed that with NEXT, people always tend to wait until the massive January sales to buy things from there. I worked there once over the Christmas/New Year period, it was like a mob when the sale started!

    Wilkinson’s is the best, though :). I’ve really enjoyed reading what you’ve liked about England, it’s nice to see the things I don’t notice every day from a different perspective, thanks for these lovely posts!

    Gillian xx

    • Sam December 9, 2013 / 10:07 pm

      Ahh, I love Wilkinson. I go in there all the time. It reminds me of Walmart because the prices are so cheap but the quality is pretty decent. If I actually was going to live here for more than three months, I would have been all over their home decorations. They are ADORABLE.

  3. thescribblingtrain December 9, 2013 / 3:29 pm

    Even as an English citizen I don’t shop at zara, topshop or river island much as I find them overpriced, so only look into them during the sales. It’s been really enjoyable reading your perspective on living in England as a student :)

    • Sam December 9, 2013 / 10:08 pm

      I’m glad you’re enjoying it. :) I think I was expecting Topshop and Zara to be inexpensive because of the huge hauls people do after shopping there. I shudder to think what their bill came to at the till!

  4. majormakeupmadness December 9, 2013 / 4:58 pm

    I totally know how you feel about the expensive thing. Ive never been to America but it seems so cheap in comparison with the priced here in the UK.

    I laughed when i read ‘poundlands where its at’. I love pound land so much, and superdrug and boots of course! :D

    • Sam December 9, 2013 / 10:09 pm

      Oh Poundland. It has a special place in my heart. To be fair, the UK has better labor laws (i.e. better for the employees) than we do in the US, which is probably why the prices are a little higher.

  5. Jordannah December 9, 2013 / 9:08 pm

    Barry M nail paints are great! That pink glitter looks amazing!

    • Sam December 9, 2013 / 10:10 pm

      Yes, I am psyched to try it out! :)

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