Libbie - there is a complete lack of choice of beads here in the UK as well. I used the Artbead web site that people recommended in the US. I have ordered 5 different beads 3 packs of each just to be sure. the next day I had an email that they had been shipped already. I paid $13. something for postage, which is OK even with the postage I don't think I could have gotten the beads in this country for the price I paid in total.
Also have just found out that the Colourmart company a lot of people have been talking about is actually in the UK. so called them up and they are sending me a yarn sample card to get an idea of what their yarns look and feel like for free. Very nice lady on the phone, very helpful.