The Covered Market, Oxford

What it is: A bustling Victorian marketplace in the very centre of town (off the High Street). Fine greengrocers, good butchers, delicatessens, fish, flowers, patisserie, clothes, shoes, handicrafts, hardware, jewellery, records, books, even a pet shop. Red pillar box in centre for rendezvous if lost. Open Mon-Sat 8am-5.30pm.

Reputation: Much loved. At one time threatened with demolition by council planners. Saved by fierce local opposition.

Do shop at Stroff's Speciality Sausages: Bangers include the "Oxford" (pork, veal, lemon and herbs, pounds 2.60/ lb); an international selection, from Thailand to Toulouse; gourmet varieties such as wild boar (pounds 4.35/lb); vegetarian; and fish (pounds 2.50/lb). Palms Delicatessen: Has a strong Jewish, middle-European flavour. Good cold meats, breads, cheeses. Pick up a bar of Le Noir Gastronomie, arguably the best chocolate in the world, at pounds 5.49 for 250g. The Oxford Cheese Co: Try the popular Oxford Blue at pounds 3.80/lb. M Feller, Son and Daughter: Old-fashioned butcher; wild game is hung outside the shop in season, the floor is covered in sawdust and there is, dare one say it, an invigorating smell of fresh meat. Also quail, grouse, wild duck, venison, haggis. Lucks material shop: Bargains, offcuts and ageing fabrics piled high. Cotton camouflage on display (pounds 4.50 a yard).

Do visit Brown's Cafe on the Market Street side. A real caff, and haunt of locals as well as students. Plastic red and brown sauce bottles on each table. Full fried breakfast pounds 2.75, buttered toast 33p, coffee 58p, tea 45p. A must (open 8am-4pm). Georgina's: Coffee shop upstairs "in the rafters" above Beaton's.

Don't visit: The Viennoiserie, a sort of bohemian McDonald's.

Don't buy: An Oxford University sweatshirt (from pounds 10.99 at Oxford Campus stores)

Hottest property at the Body Shop is the Vitamin E Cream, a pleasant- smelling "free radical scavenger" that hopefully delays facial wrinkles. So popular is it that they've decided to launch a body lotion version, pounds 11.50 for 250ml, in Body Shops nationwide from 1 October.

1 Vitamin E Cream pounds 3.75

2 White Musk Eau De Toilette pounds 3.95 (25ml)

3 Cocoa Butter Hand & Body Lotion from pounds 1.15

4 Carrot Moisture Cream pounds 3.95

5 Aloe Vera Moisture Lotion pounds 3.05

6 Self Tan Lotion pounds 5.25

7 Peppermint Foot Lotion from pounds 1.15

8 Jojoba Moisture Cream pounds 4.50

9 Rich Night Cream Vitamin E pounds 2.75

10 Eye Gel pounds 2.40

Flying Object china, pounds 11.95 for a mug

Rush out to the china shops for this jokey dinner service, featuring a delightful stick-legged bird. It comes in blue and yellow and was designed for Arzberg by Italian architect David Palterer. If you can't afford a full dinner service (plates start at pounds 8.75), the mugs look good on their own. At Selfridges in London, Jenner's in Edinburgh and other stores nationwide. For stockists calls 0181-395 3454

Screaming cushion, pounds 19.95

Relieve the tensions of the day by relaxing on the sofa with this cushion based on Edvard Munch's The Scream. Every time you squeeze it, a ghastly wail is released. The cushion is cotton and comes with pad and batteries guaranteed for 3,000 screams. You can also buy an inflatable Scream at pounds 9.95 for the 19in version, pounds 29.95 for the 50in. From the Art Room catalogue 01993 770444) or the Art Room, 191a High Street, Guildford.

Colgate has recently brought out two new brands of toothpaste: bicarbonate of soda and Platinum whitening paste. Arm & Hammer are spending a fortune on TV ads for their Baking Soda brand. But do we need them, and do they work? We asked Peter Gordon, dentist and scientific advisor to the British Dental Association.

"I can't recall any scientific paper showing that baking-soda toothpaste is better. On the other hand, any advertising that encourages a patient to use a toothpaste has to be good. Our aim is for people to use a fluoridated toothpaste twice a day to maintain oral hygiene.

"We do have BDA-accredited toothpastes. This means they do what they claim to. The scientific data the manufacturers give us is independently assessed by an expert panel. Not all manufacturers apply because it is costly, so just because a toothpaste doesn't have the symbol doesn't mean it doesn't do what it claims.

"Bleaching is illegal, so whitening toothpastes cannot do that. There is a little leeway in the term 'whitening'. In my view, these toothpastes will not make teeth white, but they will make them cleaner and they will stay the same colour for longer.

"The key items you need for oral health are a multi-tufted nylon- filament brush (medium or softer), fluoride toothpaste and waxed floss. An egg-timer would be useful, too!"

BDA-accredited toothpastes Young children: Colgate 0-6, Macleans Milkteeth. Adults: Crest Decay Prevention, Macleans Freshmint and Mildmint, Colgate Great Regular Flavour, Colgate Blue Minty Gel. Sensitive teeth: Sensodyne F; Macleans Sensitive. Anti-plaque: Crest Tartar Control; Colgate Tartar Control. Gum health: Crest Complete; Colgate Total.