Shopping With... Blowing it all away

Fashion and beauty PR Michael Donovan proclaims himself to be a disciplined shopper - at the start of every season he blows his entire clothes budget in one shopping trip. This suits him because he hates the "machinations of clothes shopping". After 11 years in public relations Donovan knows to avoid the trends that won't last and how to buy "reasonably timeless clothes."

This trip starts off at Harvey Nichols (109-125 Knightsbridge, London, SW1, tel: 0171 235 5000), takes in Donna Karan (19 New Bond Street, London, W1, tel: 0171 495 3100), Nicole Farhi (158 New Bond Street, London, W1, tel: 0171 499 8368) and finishes in the Covent Garden area.

The only other time Donovan buys clothes is when he's travelling. His work regularly takes him to Antwerp, a boutique "shopping heaven." There he adores Dries Van Noten (16 Nationale Street, Groenplaats, Antwerp, Belgium, tel: 00 32 3233 9437) which has its own menswear floor, and a specialist gloves shop, Boon (2 Lombardenvest, Antwerp, Belgium, tel: 00 32 3232 3387).

"I've never in my life had a pair of gloves that fitted, but at Boon the woman just looks at your hand and instantly knows what size you are. There are literally thousands of pairs because it's so specialised; you don't really find shops like that in London anymore."

Donovan works from home in South London, and regularly visits the local shops. He particularly enjoys "ferreting out" specialist local food stores. "The Cheese Block (69 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, London, SE20, tel: 0181 299 3636) is brilliant, it has hundreds of different cheeses and chutneys and all that kind of stuff."

And in Nunhead, the bakery J.F. Ayre & Son (131-133 Evelina Road, Nunhead, London, SE15, tel: 0171 639 0648) is a favourite. Also on the shopping list is wet fish shop F. C. Soper Fishmonger (141 Evelina Road, Nunhead, London, SE15, tel: 0171 639 9729) for "tasty fresh lobsters."

One of Donovan's hobbies is gardening. "If you do a job like PR, getting your hands dirty can be quite cathartic!" he says. Unfortunatel:y, with gardening being a lonely pursuit, Donovan's friends just don't have his enthusiasm for shopping at Ruxley Manor Garden Centre in Kent (Maidstone Road, Sidcup, tel: 0181 300 0084). "It's my favourite garden centre," he says, "I've been going since I was a child. It's massive." Homebase in Penge (45 Oakfield Road, Penge, SE20, tel:: 0181 778 0950) makes it as a favourite too. "I go around the shelves thinking 'how have I managed to live without that!'"

Living and working at home has allowed Donovan to spend time making the place comfortable, if slightly confused in it's decor. "I've realised that I like architectural salvage, I like the Thirties, and I quite like chintz too, so each of my rooms are rather different."

Local antique shops provide much of his inspiration. From a salvage shop in Peckham, South London he bought a 1930s gas stove for his kitchen which still has a recipe for cooking lamb chops inside.

But Donovan's best tip for shopping for his home is to scour the pages of the Loot advertiser's newspaper (available at newsagents, tel: 0171 328 1771). "I found an entire 1920s bedroom suite in walnut and maple veneer, for 95 quid," he laughs, "and they delivered it too! Loot is an absolutel:y brilliant way to shop."

Imogen Fox

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

    £35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

    Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

    Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

    Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

    £50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

    Day In a Page

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices