Monday 8 April 2024

European holiday - souvenirs (and a list of posts from my trip)

This is my last post from our European trip (Edinburgh, London, Rome, Zurich) in January and February.  At the end of this post is a list of all the posts I have written on this trip.
It is a chance to share some of the souvenirs we brought home.  Most, but not all, are mine as Sylvia got most of hers away too quickly to photograph.  At the end of a month in the UK I always feel like I should have bought so many more souvenirs but also that I am lucky to have so many that I did buy.
I start with the top photo of some London souvenirs.  Some icons are essential: Big Ben, Telephone box, Post box, and a fry-up from St Pancras Station  A telephone box from Camden Market. A handkerchief to the iconic department store: I bought a beautiful handkerchief at Liberty.  A pair of Moomin socks and a spoon from the Moomin store at the iconic Covent Garden.  Souvenirs hold so many memories.

I start with some of the tickets and business cards.  It used to be that everywhere had nice tickets or at least sturdier than a flimsy credit card recipe.  These days they are not a given.  Some are still lovely.  Tickets are from major attractions such as the Vatican Museum, The Colosseum, Westminster Abby and Highgate Cemetery.  The business cards are a variety of businesses and the transport tickets include the one paper ticket we bought for the underground when our digital wallet was not accepted at one station.


The Cameron Toll Sainsbury;s had everything.  It was huge!  If I was going to be locked up in a shop I think I would choose this one.  Lots of good food, books, clothes, kitchenware and plants.  I'd just have to get some woolly jumpers to make up a bed on the cash register conveyor belt (turned off, of course).  I love this stainless steel pastry scraper with the ruler-style measurements on it.  It has been great for bread baking.

We could not resist these mugs from Marks & Spencer.  Like a lot of crockery these days, they seemed to be supersized when compared to my older mugs.  Sylvia loves her gold stripey mug and I am in love with my puffin mug with the green insides.

We picked up this Guilliano Tartufi truffle set of spreads and oil at the Campo di Fiore Market.  There were so many truffle goods on display but we only had room for this one.  The spreads are excellent on a mushroom pizza.

My favourite Rome souvenirs were from Miss Babbingtons Tea Rooms.  The cat bag is gorgeous and rolls up into a small bag.  The notebook had the loveliest illustrations.  I also like my mini Trevi Fountain, the miniature packet of pasta on a fridge magnet, and some pens with a story.

Sylvia was very cross that I bought this charming miniature libreria (bookshelf).  I, on the other hand, was very pleased with my purchase, even if it was a tad pricey.  I love these sort of tiny unique works with lots of detail and history.  My only concern was that it would break or get rejected by customs australia but I never regretted my most expensive purchase.  When I yearned after other wonderful souvenirs I could not take home with me, my mind would go to this one and contentment would chase away the desire.  t makes me very happy to see it on the wall and think of the gorgeous little shop - Cartoleria Pantheon - in the Piazza Navona where I bought it from the man who crafted it.

Seems they like red in Switzerland!  I was pretty upset when my Swiss army knife was taken off me at an American airport soon after 9/11.  Zurich seemed a good place to replace it.  While there I also bought the Swiss chocolate fridge magnet and the national flag pen.

We left Zurich with a lot of Swiss chocolate from the Lindt factory.  We got our museum ticket refunded and probably spent the money on chocolate.  Some were presents but it was great to have some for us when we got home.  The Venchi chocolate is from Milan train station and the Butlers chocolate is one that my sister brought us from Ireland when she visited us in Ireland.  All.  So.  Good.

I listened to a great ABC Conversations interview with Jarvis Cocker recently and loved all his stories about his band Pulp.  An opportunity to buy a Pulp tote bag at Camden Market was not to be missed.

I wanted to add to my collection of Christmas tree decorations from around the world.  The Swiss clock and the London Mind the Gap sign will be great additions to our Christmas tree to remind us of this holiday.  At the Cathdral of Rome link I also bought a lovely little festive souvenir to display on a shelf at Christmas.

Our kitchen now has some shiny new additions.  The blue plate is quite cosmopolitan.  It lives in a Melbourne kitchen, was bought in Zurich from a Danish shop (Flying Tiger) we first visited in Dublin.  My plate from John Lewis in Edinburgh seemed second best to the more pricey William Morris plates but I have come to love it as much if not more than those William Morris plates.  In London I bought a stylish pot holder from the Borough Market pot holder and a London icons plate from Camden Market.

We brought home more edible souvenirs.  Some were unexpected delights.  The Sicilian lemon salt from the Borough Market was a difficult decision at spice stall with so much interesting foods.  I don't eat much jam but the chance to buy the Bramble and Blackcurrant Jam from Edinburgh Farmers Market was not to be missed because it is so very British and not likely to be found in Australia. 

Some souvenirs are surprises in different ways.  The Misura Fibrextra crackers from a Rome supermarket were meant for snacks in our holiday kitchen but  came with me on my travels and were with me when I got home.  They wee finally eaten with hummus and wistful thinking.  Other souvenirs are not what I expected.  The little purple lidded citrus looked brilliant when demonstrated at the Campo di Fiore Market in Rome but less impressive in action at home.  I have tried pushing it into a lemon a few times to squeeze lemon juice into the pourer but it does not seem efficient.

Sometimes the souvenirs are all about the packaging.  The Scottish Walkers Highland Cow shortbreads were too adorable to ignore.  They were a gift.  As was a packet of vegan kit kat I bought in Edinburgh for a friend.  I had meant to photograph the gorgeous packing but forgot.  The Popping Candy packet looked like fun. And I liked the retro packaging on the Creamola foam which are marketed as iron brew flavoured drink crystals.  When I got home, I was surprised that E was quite familiar with them from his Scottish childhood.

This lot of foods was in Sylvia's souvenirs: Tunnocks caramel wafers, Penguins chocolate biscuits and Sainsbury's golden syrup porridge.  She was very pleased to bring home a taste of Edinburgh.  As you can see there were quite a few foods to remember to declare at Customs when entering Australia.  I remembered most of them and the officers seemed pretty relaxed about packaged foods.  Even the fudge-like tablet (not photographed) got through.

Tea towels are such a great souvenir.  Easy to stuff into an full suitcase, useful for wrapping more delicate items and bring some colourful memories to the kitchen.  The Highland coo tea towel from Edinburgh was so bright and cheerful.

This tea towel featured Rome icons that look seriously vintage with the sepia tones.  We managed to visit most of these so that tea towel holds many memories.

The Plates tea towel from the Museum of the Home in London demonstrates that a plate is not just a plate.  Each tells a story or as the website puts it more eloquently: "This design is inspired by domestic ephemera from our archives; it features a curated mix of hand drawn plates from different eras, revealing stories of personal taste and ceramic innovation."  I like to think that our eclectic pile of bread and butter plate in my kitchen is also a curated mix!  There are a few on the tea towel that I would not mind adding to the pile.

I bought this London tea towel because it is in the same style as one I have of Edinburgh.  I really like the line drawing style of the Architectural icons and the way they are presented together as though you just need the right place to see them all at once.  If only! 

The Seaweed tea towel was bought at the V&A museum gift shop which had the most gorgeous fabrics.  It is described on the website as "Lovely tea towel featuring Seaweed, a wallpaper by John Henry Dearle (1860-1932), produced by Morris & Co., England, 1901."  I would love to have such wallpaper in my house but it is not so practical.  For now this tea towel will have to suffice.

I took these photos of souvenirs when I first got home from our trip a few weeks back.  I blame the jetlag on including the popping candy in two photos!  There are a few gifts in this photo: a gorgeous thistle fold up carry bag that I have been loving using and some serviettes with Scottish slang from Anne.  The little recipe book from Steampunk in North Berwick has lovely photos.  We didn't get to go there but HH knows we are very fond of North Berwick where she and E have spent many happy days.  The glass on the little atrium broke on the plane, which made us sad.  And you can never have too many Edinburgh fridge magnets!

The purple suffragette figure is also a present from my sister while we were in London.  The other items in this post as from Sylvia's souvenirs.  The Jellycat Acorn was a fun travel companion.  Sylvia loved the miniature buildings and bought a Trevi Fountain, a Houses of Parliament, a Big Ben and an Edinburgh Castle.  She also liked her tote bags which include one from the Moomin Shop and one from Flying Tiger.  And she was delighted with the little wooden mushrooms from Ragamuffin in Edinburgh.

Waterstones is such a great bookshop and they do some fine tote bags.

These fingerless gloves are also from Ragamuffin in Edinburgh.  They had such beautiful knitted items.  I hope they might be useful for bike riding in winter.  We bought quite a few clothes on our travels but I didn't photograph them, other than these gloves and some Scottish loch ness monster socks.  I loved the little bothy (rural cottage) and the wee hairy coo.  I bought the bagpiping angel fridge magnet from St Giles.  I was given one years ago when I finished my volunteer work at St Giles but it has fallen apart so it was time for a new one.

Postcards used to be a big thing in souvenir shops but seem to be phasing out, taken over by social media and better quality smart phone cameras.  I brought home a few that I liked.  They might find a place on a wall somewhere.  The Glasgow one is because I was amused by the traffic cone tourism, the Edinburgh Robert Messer brush shop one was for old time's sake, the black and white one is from our fondue dinner Zurich, and I was amused by the science one (if only science could find a cure for stupid people!)

One of the last souvenirs I bought was one of those pieces of adorable detritus: an M&S carry bag with the Scottish Saltire made with oats, blueberries and blackberries.  I admired it whenever I saw it in the shops or seeing people carrying it about in Edinburgh.  One on of my last days I bought one as it was easy to pack and such a nice reminder of our time in Scotland.

As I noted at the start of this post, this is my last post on our trip to Europe.  Over the last few months I have written a massive 47 posts on the trip.  (That is more posts than I wrote in the whole year of 2022 and almost as many as I wrote on 2021.)  It has been fun but has also taken a lot of time.  I am looking forward to posting less regularly and catching up on posts about life in Melbourne.

Holiday posts list


Edinburgh (and Glasgow)







  1. What a lot of cute and fun stuff! The pasta bag fridge magnet is adorable. And the shortbread cows. (That brand is one of my favorite cookies)

  2. Many thanks for these most enjoyable posts you've shared of your interesting European holiday. And the icing on the cake is how the many great photos and narratives are so well-organized for your readers (will revisit several posts, as they are full of interesting info, and I often skimmed when time was short). No small accomplishment!

  3. Great to read and to have been a small part of your adventures. Haste ye back! Anne

  4. Love the puffin mug especially - kerin

  5. And those Xmas decorations 😍- kerin again


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