Completely different question now: main character is a British student about ten years ago (not sure if that makes too much difference, but the action occurs when she's in her late twenties and this episode occurs when she's at university). Her parents, who always feel somewhat guilty that they didn't give her any siblings and had her very late in life, tend to spend lavishly on Christmas presents, and occasionally go overboard in the sense of not really asking her what she *wants* but buying expensive items that they see kids having - modern equivalent would be giving her a top-of-the-line iPod or mobile phone and replacing it every year.
Are there any particular items, or brands, of art supplies that would be the sort of thing most art students could only dream of possessing, but which her parents might buy as a symbol of what I am trying to convey? I'd like at least one of those beautiful sets of oil paints (I mean, for the character, not for myself - stick figures are my limit...). Sketch books, drawing pencils, easels? The parents could easily also be taken in by sales assistants saying 'oh, your daughter MUST have one of these' when it isn't true.
I'll probably have a look around an art store at some point (unfortunately, these pages have to go to my referee before I'll have the chance), but I want to be sure I'm not simply using expensive items, but things which indicate her parents are viewing her as an artist (what they want her to be), rather than what she really is - a student of art history who is somewhat talented but not reaching for art as a career or vocation.