The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Savvy Travel: Fifi Crosses the Pond

Fifi crosses the pond.It's the country that gave us such fashion exports as Burberry, Kate Moss, Twiggy and... hedgehogs? The Budget Babe's International Shopping Advisor Fifi LaMode shares her keen insights on culture, shopping and style in England today. —TBB

by Fifi LaMode
During a recent trip to the UK I mused how things have changed. In addition to becoming an increasingly multicultural society, they've also gotten expensive. Smart American shoppers used to buy "knickers" (undies) at Marks & Spencers, but when the cheapest pair costs 5 pounds (10 dollars) and we get 5 for $25 at Victoria's Secret, that's not so smart any more, is it? There are things, however, which are uniquely British in style, quality and value that have not changed over the years.

Some of the things the Brits do best:

1. Sheep and hedgehogs are all over the place: greeting cards, lawn ornaments, collectible chachkis. When you see the little beggars, you can't help but want to bring one back.

If you can't resist, get your fix with socks.

2. Nothing's warmer on those damp, rainy days than a comfy woolen jumper (we call them sweaters). Many towns have shops selling locally made wool products which are reasonably priced. Unfortunately, some of these stores have added cheaper fleece clothing to their inventory with machine-embroidered little animals (yep, hedgehogs and sheep). A couple of our favorite places for woolly goodies: Whitby on the Yorkshire coast, or Cockermouth in the Lake District.

3. Tea rooms are an English institution. You can sip tea and munch scones and clotted cream (yumm) during breaks from shopping. Our favorite towns for tea rooms: York and Harrogate. They also carry tea-related gift items, like tea pots, tea towels (i.e. dish cloths), salt and pepper shakers (often in the shape of sheep and hedgehogs :-)), etc., and something called a "tea cosy" which looks like a dress for your teapot. I'm told this is to keep the teapot warm. (Don't you love it? "Jumpers" for the teapot!)