Flight of fancy

Internet shopping news by Katie Law
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The first internet purchase was made more than 10 years ago. Over the past decade, the internet has completely transformed the way we shop. Thanks to the combination of technology and global sourcing, we can shop for anything and everything, 24/7.

Websites using sophisticated digital photography make their wares look as enticing online as they do in the hand; many sites enhance the shopping pages with extra features, such as witty blogs, household tips and travel notes on where to stay when on shopping trips. Most run special offers and discount sections that you may not find in the same firm's shops.

Here, we list a few of our favourite homeware shopping sites.

Home on the range

This kitchenware and household website has a really good utility and laundry section. We like the ice-cream bowls and spoons (£7.95 each). It also carries recipes (think Balti scallops, chicken tagine and chocolate sorbet) and an ongoing sale section with reductions.

Find it all

It is no surprise that our best department store has such a good online service, which includes everything from delivering flowers (from £19) to a clearance section. It offers lots of sound advice for free, too.

So long as it's white (or pink, or brown)

Everything in white has been the highly successful motto of The White Company, which does indeed sell white things for every part of the home, from folding furniture to bed linen, plus tasteful pastel alternatives. The Web Offers section has items at huge reductions.

Tastefully without frills

"The good things in life still exist" is the slogan of this traditional homes and gardens website. Everything is in the best possible taste, sourced from around the world and with highly informative captions: soaps from Aleppo, a leather writing case from Bavaria, ceramic knives from Japan. There is a special offers section, but no frills.

A site you can rummage

This collective of more than 350 small creative businesses was set up earlier this year by Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish. You have to rummage as you do at a market to find what you want, but there is plenty on the site, from the lovely Linen Works to Ann Carita's sofas for cats.

Carbolic soap can be heavenly

Lucie Storrs set up this self-consciously retro hardware site five years ago and has just sold it to local couple Suzie and Jonathan Dymock. In addition to heavenly items such as carbolic soap, brass toilet-roll holders and fair-trade jute rugs, she runs a blog, a newsletter and includes her favourite 101 mail-order and online businesses from across the UK.

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