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Online Shopping | The only way forward for busy mums | My personal top 12 favourite websites

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When I left London 8 years ago, one of the biggest things I missed was online shopping. I missed Waitrose/Ocado deliveries, John Lewis deliveries, Notonthehighsteet and most of all Amazon deliveries.  Shopping for me these days is an inefficient use of my time. Going to the mall, struggling to park, walking 1km to the store I need, and probably passing a toy store on the way with 4 children in tow begging and negotiating why they need to add to the growing plastic toy graveyard in our playroom.  This also does not include the time spent supermarket shopping for 4 children.

Online in the UAE has taken off in the last 18 months to two years.  Most overseas stores like Net-a-Porter were amongst the first to deliver to the UAE, and now more and more international websites will deliver to your front door.

The landscape of technology is changing the way we live.  Online shopping has become one of the most efficient ways to search for gifts and products.  I am always searching for new online websites as part of my #mummyhacks2017 – we all need to simplify life.  I have personally ordered from all these websites myself, paid for the purchases except for Next but that’s because I just got told about it by the grapevine.  I am going to check that out next month.

Here is a list of my Top 12 most used websites for online shopping.

#1 Selfridges.com – Best for clothing, stationary, toys, beauty products, gifts. Ships internationally.

I ordered tons of Christmas presents and birthday gifts for international destinations from Hong Kong to Aspen directly to friends’ homes for their children.  I was impressed by the tracking and efficiency.  There is a wide range of items that can be shipped but Home and Kitchenware is not allowed for shipping in the UAE.  Selfridges also remove the VAT before shipping and vary on shipping charges but nevertheless very useful.  I paid £35 to have free shopping for a whole year – best investment of 2016.

#2 Net-a-Porter -Best for luxury clothing and cult beauty products. Ships internationally.

This website really needs no introductions.  We all need the occasional pretty dress for a cocktail party, work, holidays and I rarely have time to shop for clothes. I find it more useful to have clothes delivered to my front door at competitive prices rather than traipsing with 4 impatient children through the mall.  Also, it is a great website to search for cult beauty products that are still not available here.

#3 Childsplay.comBest for children’s designer labels (Location: UK). Ships internationally.

It is an online children’s luxury website selling designer labelled clothing from Gucci to Stella McCartney.  It is a great place to get birthday gifts for friends especially new borns.

#4 Mumzworld –  Best for everything child related (Location: UAE).Ships internationally.

I have used this site when Amazon.com failed me in the US to deliver my Elf on the Shelf on time.  I couldn’t believe the depth and breath of the products available from Mumzworld.  It is a one-stop shop for mums who need anything from nappies delivered to gifts.  Also, if you need revision books for children, they have a great collection including Bond papers which can be hard to find.

#5 BabysoukBest for baby and children’s equipment from strollers, to cots to clothing and gifts. Ships internationally.

This would probably be your quintessential boutique collection of baby products effortlessly curated to make motherhood an easier journey.  A more boutique online store with our family’s favourite cuddle-dry brands to a wide range of prams.  Brands include Aden + Anais, Beatrix NY, Mountain Buggy and Phil&Teds.

#6 Noah’s GardenBest for everything organic for babies plus cult baby items (Location: UAE) Ships internationally.

This online organic website is the brainchild of two best friends who were in search for unique and genuine organic and educational items for children.  The items on there are inspiring, and make stunning gifts especially their new borns and an absolute must for mums who love organic.  They have cult brands like Sapling Child and gorgeous blankets from Coveted Things.

#7 Cultbeauty.comBest for cult beauty products at competitive prices. (Location: UK) Ships internationally.

There are so many new beauty brands that are not available, and this beauty store delivers some of the best brands to your home including my favourite Tata Harper, Charlotte Tilbury and byTerry products.  Delivery is by far one of the longest but I don’t mind.  It’s nice to have something nice in the pipeline to look forward to.

#8 Melijoe.com – Best for children’s designer labels. (Location: Paris) Ships Internationally.

A luxury website for children’s designer clothing that delivers to your front door.  It makes website to search for presents, especially during the sales.  One of the fastest deliveries from Paris to Dubai – arrived in less than 48 hours.  Worth looking at especially during their sales.

#9 StuckonyouBest for cute stickers to label all children’s items from shoes to lunch boxes. (Location: Several with a UAE franchise website but I have only used the UK website).  

This website provides children’s name labels for clothes, shoes and lunch boxes that are always handy around the house.  I still try to order from the UK website because with the weak pound, prices just are more competitive but it does mean my family have to bring it over.

#10 Next DirectBest of high street clothing for all the family. (Location: UK) Ships internationally.

Next has been listed on the FTSE100 as far as I  remember during my investment management years.  Next is often placed into clients’ portfolios as a survivor in the retail business because it is always at the forefront of change.  It resolves challenges efficiently and adapts to market changes. Today it is one of the most popular websites for most expat mums here.  They can’t stop ordering from Next Direct.  I have hear excellent reviews although I haven’t ordered myself from here yet but it is just a matter of time when the need arrives.

#11 Matchesfahion.com - Best for luxury designer clothing. (Location: UK) Ships internationally.

I switch and change between Net-a-Porter and Matchesfashion.  It is important to compare prices between the websites because each have their curated collection of designers and collections.

#12 MrPorter.comBest for luxury men’s clothing and gifts. (Location: UK) Ships Internationally.

It is a great place to search for presents for my husband.  They have a good edit list of gifts to choose from, and they aren’t necessarily just clothes.  I know friends’ husbands who trawl the website often picking up clothes as they go along – it is an easy shop for guys.  Again, they are competitive on pricing and it is great to wait when they have free delivery offers.

There are other websites that I am still wanting to try out like these clothing websites like Namshi.com and SoShru that are based in the  UAE but heard they are fabulous too #nextmonthsbudget. More to come in the future.  If you have websites that you love please share with us too.

Tags: Babysouk.com, Childsplay Dubai, Childsplay UK, Cultbeauty.com, Matchesfashion.com, Melijoe.com, MrPorter.com, Namshi.com, NextDirect, Noah's Garden UAE, Online shopping, SoShru, Stuckonyou

Wednesday, January 18, 2017