The Conran Shop, Chelsea

Cult perfumes, posh chairs and (occasionally) Howard Donald...

Firstly, apologies for the festive nature of many of the photos I've been featuring, which I admit probably will look a bit strange and out of place in a few weeks' time. This website has been a process of trial and error. And starting it late in the year, it only just dawned on me that many of the shops I would visit would be covered in tinsel and snowflake decorations. So yes, it probably would have been wiser to visit them in the New Year. But then again, I'm impatient and starting this site, I wanted to kick things off as soon as possible, so I hope you can look beyond the festive bells and whistles and get a good idea of what some of these shops are like all year round.

Any anyway, sometimes the way a shop is decorated for Christmas can give you a good insight into the type of place it is. Case in point: The Conran Shop which has been decked out like a glamorous grotto, indicating that this is a place that likes to jazz things up every so often. Its theatrical displays are thanks to British designer Terrence Conran (godfather of 60s Modernism, look him up) who founded the store, which sells a variety of niche perfumes, designer clothes, furniture and every type of knick-knack you could possibly want to spruce up your home and then some. Based in Chelsea - with other stores in Marylebone and Paris -  It's housed in the historic Michelin Building - which is worth a visit for all you architecture buffs. Given the well-to-do location, you might spot a few famous faces in there too (when I visited, I saw Take That's Howard Donald doing his Christmas shopping. I can now die happy...)

Perfume-wise, all my favourite niche brands are there, from Fornasetti, to Etat Libre d'Orange, to Escentric Molecules. The store recently had a re-shuffle so the ground floor is more of a fragrance emporium. Many of these brands are unisex which I love, (as the idea of 'female' and 'male' fragrances is just a marketing gimmick anyway). I'd recommend checking out lesser-known lines such as Histoire de Parfums (which I believe is a UK exclusive).

Michelin House, 81 Fulham Rd, London SW3 6RD (Nearest tube: South Kensington)

Opening hours:

Monday: 10.00 - 19.00
Tuesday: 10.00 - 19.00
Wednesday: 10.00 - 20.00
Thursday: 10.00 - 20.00
Friday: 10.00 - 19.00
Saturday: 10.00 - 18.30
Sunday: 12.00 - 18.00

020 7589 7401