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theodore's bear emporium

What is it? Theodore's Bear Emporium, is a tiny white-washed corner shop which nestles next to Mortlake station, in south west London. Built as Queen Victoria's waiting room, the building is now filled with teddy bears and all things teddy-related. Next Monday owners and bear fanatics, Karl and Sheila Gibbons will be celebrating the 75th birthday of one of the most famous teddies of them all - Winnie the Pooh.

Stock: Mainly collector's teddies - such as those by Steiff, and one- off artist-designed bears like the ones made by, German arist Marie Robischon. You'll find something in every conceivable colour, size and theme: pirate bears, cheeky lacy bears and Ascot-dressed teddies.

Who shops there: This is a popular haunt with serious collectors. Theodore's Bear Emporium has cultivated a reputation for being the Hard Rock cafe of the teddy bear fraternity - anyone with a serious committment to teddy bears will visit at least once.

Buy of the year: Limited edition of Pooh's Tree House. Daintily illustated boxed sets of Pooh and his forest friends Piglet; Tigger, Eeyore; Kanga and Roo, pounds 199 a set.

Worst buys: The mass-produced souvenir bears - you would probably get them free with something anyway.

Don't miss: Thrice-yearly teddy bear parties held for regular customers. And make sure you sign-up for your copy of the shop's quarterly The Growler which lists the dates of all the international teddy bear conventions.

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Theodore's Bear Emporium, The Old Waiting Room, Sheen Lane, London SW14.

Tel: 0181-876 2996.

Open Tues-Sat 10am-5pm

good thing

Children's drawings on pillowcases, from pounds 36.50

Most parents have a small selection of their offsping's first art works Selotaped to the fridge, stuck on the mantlepiece or perhaps even framed. Grandparents and God parents often have to make do with photocopies. Not any more. The Monogrammed Linen Shop's embroiderers can be commissioned to reproduce your child's efforts on pillowcases, towels and handkerchiefs. The service, complete with a personalised dedication starts at pounds 36.50, and the price varies according to the complexity of the design. The process takes about six to eight weeks, so now is the time to start thinking about Christmas orders.

The Monogrammed Linen Shop, call 0171-589 4033

mad thing

Chocolate pints, 99p, Tesco

Basics first: these chocolates are shaped like pints of beer - complete with a head of white chocolate. Good chocolate is nice whatever its shape. But the saucy postcard packaging is another matter. It features a ludicrous pub scene of cleavage and gawping. The bloke is so beside himself, he can't touch his drink - which is presumably why Tesco have made these for him. Wey-hey, new-ladism on the supermarket shelf.

sure thing

Tork laundry bag, pounds 14

Wicker laundry baskets snag your tights, fur up with dust and can't be cleaned. Not so this smart, simple and functional laundry bag from Ikea. The unfinished beech frame supports a detachable canvas sack which can be thrown in the wash along with your dirty clothes. John Lewis stocks a variation on this theme and Habitat have something very similar in their current catalogue, only it's twice the price.

For your nearest Ikea, call 0181-208 5600

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