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Where ... can I get my shoes dyed?

Deluxe Service: Julia Taylor offers an upmarket shoe dyeing service by post. Commissions include dyeing a ballet shoe an exact shade of gold for a Michelob advert and colouring the Princess Royal's shoes and handbag. The customer will usually provide a piece of material for matching. Ms Taylor mixes her own dyes so can match practically any colour. Prices: satin pounds 20, silk satin and silk, pounds 30, leather or suede shoes (extra for boots) pounds 50. Plus pounds 5.50 charge for registered post. Call her on 0171- 289 3966

Budget Service: Dee-Olly Shoe Covering and Dyeing service will dye shoes, hats and gloves from a colour chart of several hundred colours. They will also cover shoes in a customer's own fabric. Prices: satin, pounds 12, silk pounds 14 and pounds 15 for materials like linen and suede. pounds 35 to cover shoes with customer's own fabric. Recorded delivery, pounds 2.60. Call them on 0171-277 4475

Do It Yourself: Fancy this season's animal prints but unwilling to fork out for new shoes, boots, belts and bags? Dylon has come up with DIY techniques to create the look. For mock-croc effects, place a net bag over darker loafers and dab on lighter coloured dye for the mottled look. Or paint on stripes of black dye for a zebra effect on those horrid white plastic boots in the attic. Dyes for satin shoes come in 12 shades at pounds 1.94; for suede in navy, brown and black, pounds 1.65; and leather, synthetic or canvas, 15 colours at pounds 2.29. The Dylon Consumer Advice Line is on: 0181-663 4296


Top 10 at Wax Lyrical

1 Vanilla scented "blossom" candle ............pounds 1.25

2 Floating rose -shaped candle ....................pounds 1.20

3 Lavender aromatherapy candle in pot........pounds 4.95

4 Church candles.....................................from 70p

5 Natural beeswax candles......................from 75p

6 Scented wax hearts.........................12 for pounds 1.80

7 Transparent glass oil lamp.......................pounds 15.95

8 Non-drip dining-table taper candles.....from 75p

9 Brass outdoor lantern..............................pounds 18.95

10 Elephant shaped African Swazi candle...pounds 12.95

Wax Lyrical has 30 shops nationwide. For details and mail-order information call 0181-561 0235

Mad thing

Rooster Cookie Jar, pounds 19.95

Great for parents with light-fingered kids, or anyone on a diet, this rooster screams "Cock a doodle doo!" whenever you tilt back its head to take a sneaky biscuit. From the Natural History Museum Christmas Catalogue: 01793 431900

Good thing

Telephone wire basket, pounds 11.95

A little basket made in Africa from that most traditional of materials, old telephone wires. It comes from the Royal Academy catalogue, one of a range of gifts to tie-in with the "Africa: Art of A Continent" exhibition. Call 0151-708 0555 for details

Checkout Presents

Presents, 28 Packhorse Road, Gerrards Cross, Bucks, SL9 7DA (01753 882256)

Area: Stockbroker belt. Lots of money, a little less taste. Teems with minor celebs; Pinewood Studios is a few miles away.

First impressions: BT engineer's bad trip. Huge range of phones masquerading as trout, dinosaurs, lips, cats, pianos, corn-on-the-cob, ducks, racing cars and spaceships. Train phones go "chuff chuff" instead of ring ring. Cars go "brrrmm brrrmm"; ducks and cows are "a hit with the women" says the owner.

Stock: The Eighties live. Piles of matt-black microchipped gewgaws: dictaphones, electronic phone books, alarm clocks cum calculators cum memo recorders ... Also plenty for obsessive golfers (golf-course-shaped calculator, pounds 14.95); the hirsute (nose- and ear-hair trimmer, pounds 9.95); drink drivers (Breathalyser, pounds 39.95); local "characters" (leash with invisible animal, pounds 12.95); the nostalgic (Twenties petrol pump, pounds 1,000)

Staff: Owner in love with his products; will show you every feature till you have to buy something. Assistant knows everything about portable phones (and may just tell you it).

Don't buy: Bartender's guide, an electronic book of "2,200 classic and exotic drink recipes"

Do buy: Shower head with built-in light, pounds 19.95