Britney Spears has come a long way from that fateful day in November 2007 when she left her sons in the car with her court-appointed monitor because she had an overwhelming urge to buy a chandelier. On Monday, the road-to-recovery-walking popster, who is currently on the European leg of her Circus tour, was snapped treating Sean Preston, 3, and Jayden James, 2, to a trip to London's Hamleys Toy Shop.
According to TMZ.com, Spears dropped nearly $1,000 during the brief shopping spree, thanks to a foolproof selection process.
"If the kids pointed at something, it went in the cart," says an eyewitness.
Brit and the boys reportedly walked out with eight bags jam-packed with kiddie loot, including several swanky Steiff stuffed animals (among them: a bear, a dolphin and a pony) and a ball emblazoned with Thomas the Tank Engine.
And the family fun continued on Tuesday, when Spears, accompanied by a nanny; her brother, Bryan; and several bodyguards, took the tykes to see some real animals at the London Zoo.
Brit, who has more time with Sean and Jayden during the tour, thanks to a deal hammered out with well-compensated ex-husband Kevin Federline, even hopped on a zoo ride with her youngest, who cutely held on to his mom's knee. (Some bad habits die hard, however: She interrupted the memory-making moment to check her phone.)
Unfortunately, the onetime cautionary tale wasn't able to blend in with the gawking crowd, especially with the paparazzi following along, and she reportedly beat a hasty retreat after less than an hour.
Meanwhile, in related mommy-and-spree news, Nicole Richie earned serious parental points with 17-month-old daughter Harlow during a weekend outing to a Santa Monica toy emporium.
"Harlow was so adorable and excited about playing in the store," a spy tells People magazine, which says the button-cute moppet gave hugs to a variety of stuffed animals while her mom, who has another Joel Madden-shaped bun baking in her oven, browsed the educational offerings.
"Nicole was amazing with Harlow," adds the onlooker, "and very soft-spoken and attentive."
By the time the twosome exited, Harlow was the proud new owner of a dollhouse, a bassinet for her doll and a magnetic tabletop easel, among other goodies.
On the other end of the spending spectrum is the soon-to-pop Kelis, who is taking legal action to compel her estranged husband, Nas, to fill her apparently empty coffers.
According to TMZ.com, Kelis claims the moneybags rapper has failed to fork over any cash, leaving her penniless. She's seeking spousal and child support, along with payment of all stork-based bills.
Kelis also has some specific monetary requests, including $3,500 for a baby nurse and $20,000 for infant accoutrements, such as cribs and strollers (and -- fingers crossed -- a college savings bond).
"My survival is based on [Nas'] will at this time," the "Milkshake" warbler stated in court papers. "If he does not want to pay for an expense, it does not get paid."
In a bid to show that she should be able to maintain her formerly grand lifestyle, Kelis lists various bank-busting baubles Nas gave her during their five-year marriage, including a princess-cut diamond tennis bracelet (appraised at $190,000), her 9-carat, cushion-cut diamond engagement ring, and "numerous watches" from the high-end likes of Cartier and Rolex.
One word, Kelis: eBay.
And finally, is Madonna prepping 4-year-old Mercy James for her upcoming journey from Malawi to New York by telling her about her new digs in the lap of luxury?
The London Daily Mail claims the Big M has been chatting with her newly minted daughter every night and telling her -- in seemingly the most stilted way possible -- about the wonderful life that awaits her.
One of the perks of that new life: a bedroom spruced up by style-savvy big sis Lourdes, 12.
Relays a snitch, "On Sunday night, she told her, 'Mommy is waiting for you across the seas. Your big sister, Lola, has decorated a room for you. You will like it.'"