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Bargain hunting is so much easier to do on the virtual high street.

Byline: Emma Johnson

SO CHRISTMAS is over, all bar the shouting. How was yours? Mine was fine until Coronation Street came on and I was overwhelmed with the urge to be sick. I think it had more to do with norovirus than evil Tracy Barlow's return to the cobbles, but it kind of put the kibosh on my festivities.

However, every cloud has a silver lining, or, in my case, a silver dress. My confinement means I have discovered the joys of online sale shopping.

Don't get me wrong, I am not a complete newcomer to the virtual high street. It's just that usually I love shopping in the real world too much to settle for the two-dimensional take on it.

Wandering from shop to shop, feeling the fabrics, having my heart stop when I spy that to-die-for dress in the window and the look on the face of my companions when I come out of the changing room wearing the perfect piece are all crucial to the retail experience for me.

I say usually. All of this goes out of the window at sale time. I hate sales. And I really hate Christmas sales. I love bargains, but hate the effort to find them.

All that rifling through rails of dishevelled dresses, scrabbling with other shoppers and fumbling for price tags in overheated stores sends me crazy.

But online Christmas sales? Now you are talking.

This year, many stores went into sale online on Christmas Day, meaning the truly dedicated shopper could snaffle up designer discounts while the rest of the world was sleeping off its turkey dinner.

I am not quite that dedicated, although I did give the Flannels website a peep.

My online excursion began fully on December 27 and, had I not had to return to work on December 28, I dread to think when it would have ended.

In a matter of hours, I had virtually restocked my wardrobe for half price (see what I did there?).

I ordered these fabulous shoes bottom left, now pounds 35 from pounds 70, and a beautiful sequined dress from Topshop. I popped onto and snaffled some cute bracelets and a bag (all half price).

And then I hit up Office shoes and it all went a bit Pete Tong.

On the store's website, you can type in your size first and it reveals what they have in stock.

For a Yeti-footed one like myself (size eight), used to being sneered at by shop assistants when I ask "Do you have this in my size?", it was Nirvana.

Before I knew it, I had ordered three pairs of shoes and some boots.

And therein lies the danger of internet shopping. I would never ever walk out of Office with four pairs of shoes under my arm. I am not Imelda Marcos.

But, in the safety of my own living room, with no-one watching, I was piling my basket high. And they were HALF PRICE. Now I am awaiting the arrival of my precious booty and hoping that it is me and not my other half who opens the door when the postman calls.

Especially when the parcel marked "Net-a-porter" turns up.

Alice Temperley and Alexander Wang ... half price ... how could I possibly resist?
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 30, 2010
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