Putting aside for one moment my terrible late night online perfume shopping habit, I have been pleasantly surprised by how much good stuff is available out and about in my local ( small-ish) town. I thought it was high time I did a list of what’s out there. After all, High Street shopping means you don’t have to wait for the post and you can almost always try before you buy.
The beauty of High Street scent shopping is that unlucky blind buys are less likely and you can unwrap the cellophane ( I love that bit!) whilst enjoying your your mid-shop frothy Cappucino and large slice of Chocolate Fudge Cake ( sorry for the detail- I’m hungry). In perfume and in food, I’m all about instant gratification.
1. The Fragrance Shop.
My local Fragrance Shop has seen quite a bit of me lately. You might have gathered that I am a big fan of the Mary Greenwell range. I have both Lemon and the incredibly good Fire and felt jolly smug at the tiny prices too. The staff in my local branch are very friendly and know their stuff. When I went in for Fire, she remembered me and said “I knew you’d be back for that one!”
2. The Body Shop
My favourites at The Body Shop are Atlas Mountain Rose, Amazonian Wild Lily, Italian Summer Fig, and the perennial White Musk, which I am never without, nor have been since the 80s. I hear that Polynesian Island Tiare is in a similar vein to Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess, but I’ll have to try that and get back to you. Prices are reasonable and I am pleased to see many purse sprays for a fiver. Great for holidays.
3. Marks and Spencer
Rapidly turning into one of my favourite stops on my perfume pilgrimage, trusty Marks and Sparks has a great Fragrance Department. It is one of the few places on the High Street where you can buy Fragonard. There’s also Roger et Gallet: the soaps, the lotions and the fragrances. The M&S in house range is impressive too: I have Rosie for Autograph by Rosie Huntingdon-Whitely which to my nose, is a slightly more “fraiche” handle on Chloe by Chloe. Also Check out Autograph Blush and Isis. Oh and don’t overlook the fabulous Monotheme range, or Shay and Blue London! I can lose hours and money in here.
4. TK Maxx
TK Maxx is The Place I Dare Not Go. I was in here just before Christmas and my greedy eyes nearly popped out of my head. All around me were Miller Harris 100ml bottles, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Penhaligon’s and some very cute mini sets by Juicy Couture. Such brands are hard to find outside large cities. I was in no position to buy for myself that near Christmas, but I did persuade a lone man to buy his wife L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier for under £30. Lucky woman. More recently, they have had the whole Friedemodin range in stock. Stock is gone when it sells out, so frequent visits are a must.
5. Home Bargains
My local Home Bargains does some pretty good celeb scents for prices so low, you can chuck them in under the cereals and hand wash. My best bargain was a 30ml bottle of Issey Miyake A Scent for £15. I have also seen the excellent Rhianna Rogue for under a tenner and several decent JLos. They currently stock Prada, Valentino and DKNY too.
The Next own range provides excellent value and quality. Next Just Pink reminded me of Ralph Lauren Romance. I found a purse spray of it in the Next Clearance outlet for £2, which led to a full bottle later on. There are some excellent gift sets in lovely packaging too, for around £14.
What I like about Superdrug is that not only are there lots of testers by the till, and not only are the bargains of the week really worth seeking out, but they often sell the classics such as Yardley Lavender, Tweed and Panache in big, low cost bottles. I have also scored Elizabeth Arden Untold, and Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Revitalize – both at only ten quid.
Whilst their female fragrance range is nothing out of the ordinary, I did find a bottle of Michael Kors Very Hollywood for £15, which I promptly fell in love with. However, Asda is also the home to Lynx Urban Daily fragrance: a range of excellent men’s fragrances at only £4 a bottle. My husband wears Tobacco and Amber and smells amazing.
My local Boots is only a little one, bless it, but it still remains the only high street store in my town to stock the fabulous Library of Fragrance range. It’s worth a stop for that alone. I also buy my Coty L’Aimant from there and will never be without a bottle. You will usually find a wall of testers and a pretty broad range of big brands. By the time I emerge, not a speck of skin is unsprayed and I always forget what I went in for.
I’ve been making a lot of noise about Lidl lately and their new range is worth a look. Not only is Lidl the home of Suddenly Madame Glamour (which, when compared to Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, came out on top), but the new range of Luxury fragrance is also a bargain. Lidl Luxury Famous smells like La Vie est Belle. I found that Lidl Luxury Gleam smells very similar to YSL Cinema and Lidl Luxury Excellent reminded me of Chanel Allure. It’s not the same as the big brand sellers, but if you want something to tide you over between a spendy trip to the perfume boutique, these will do the job.