dear annie

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Since I retired, I have developed a taste for more energetic holidays than the fortnight-flaked-out-on-a-beach that I needed as a working woman. My latest plan is a trip to Peru. The holiday notes advise a "strong pair of walking boots". I have never worn such a thing and the ones I have seen in the shops are almost too heavy to lift off the shelves, let alone attempt to lift up and down on the end of my feet. Could you find out for me please whether there are such things as strong but lightweight walking boots, and if so who sells them? My feet and I will be eternally grateful

Maggie Paul, Esher

I love, love, love my Ecco boots ("Ecco boots far away... da da... Ecco boots far away... da da..."). Hello. Yes, they are fantastic. I bought them in Street in Dorset last year and they are light and wonderful but also tough and high performing with things like Gore-Tex lining (stops your feet getting too hot, I even wear my boots in high summer with no discomfort, yet they keep my feet warm in winter). I'm not even going to recommend anyone else, because I know just what you mean about walking boots that are so heavy you never want to put them on. Ecco have two styles in the track range this autumn: Polden which comes in black/black and bison/black nubuck and costs pounds 110, and Mendip which comes in coffee/black and leaf/black nubuck also pounds 110. Your nearest shop is the Ecco Shop, 18 White Lion Walk, Guildford, GU1 3DN (01483 302574 or stockist helpline 0800 387368). They may sound expensive but walking boots (proper ones) are. Ecco boots get a Dear Annie gold star (the first).

Years ago, a beautician used a pearlised, grey, kohl pencil on the insides of my lower eyelids. It made my very small, deep-set eyes look slightly less so and I acquired a stock of these pencils. During the intervening years they have become shorter and shorter and I have scoured the dozens of make-up counters of London and New York stores, all to no avail. I don't want blue, brown, black or whatever they offer instead. I want PEARLISED GREY. The marking has long since worn off the only remaining stub in my possession. Can you help me to find a new supply?

Kathleen Kerr, Basel, Switzerland,

via e-mail

I was talking to my renowned colleague, Annalisa Barbieri just this morning about this sort of stuff (she is starting a new skincare/beauty column on page 8 from 7 Sept) and she had never seen a pearlised grey (but this is no surprise as neither of us wears much make-up). But we found that Lancome do a crayon kohl called "gris metal", which costs pounds 9.50. It's definitely available in Switzerland, at all dept stores and chemist/perfumeries. Estee Lauder have one called automatic pencil for eyes in "gun metal", which was described as "a dark grey with lustre". It's an in-betweeny one, not shimmery, not flat and at leading perfumeries, dept stores, etc, pounds 15. Finally, Barry M Cosmetics mail order (yes to Switzerland) have a kohl pencil no 11 which sounds promising - between grey and silver, pounds 3.95 (0181 349 2992).

I am desperate to know how to stop moths eating my clothes. They have eaten their way through a surprising array of fabrics (including the felt covers of the piano hammers! and various rugs and fabric bags, not to mention silk shirts, velvet suits and all-wool jumpers!!). What can I do? I'm paranoid that these hideous, dusty, flappy, useless creatures will devour my frocks and jumpers and nice shirts. In the past three days I have found four of them in my wardrobe! I've seen the damage they wreak - please help. Do mothballs work? They smell so bad, I don't really want to go out with the lingering aroma of Eau de Napthalene. I will do anything you suggest.

Theresa Moore, Bristol

Moths and carpet beetles (also known as woolly bears) are on the increase. This is due to milder winters and the fact that we are just not as house- proud as our elders were... oh dear. I have hundreds of similar enquiries, so this is for all of you. First off, you have to wash/dry clean your clothes, as this will kill the baby moths (and it is the grubs that do the damage, not the adults). Then you need to segregate your clothes as much as possible, to limit damage, so that if one thing gets re-infested the whole lot won't. You need to do this for drawers, wardrobes, chests etc, either by using zipped plastic bags or zipped hanging bags (Johnny Loulous, Lakeland Limited 015394 88200 etc). Very precious things should be kept to one a bag. Then, buy some very fine muslin (not expensive) and cut it into squares, into which you put MOTH powder (from Boots) and tie it up with some string, so it looks like a bouquet garni (don't get them muddled up or you will have some queer-tasting soups). Throw a couple into each zipper bag, hang them from hangers here and there, drop them into drawers. Then get some Vapona moth killers (Sainsbury's) and hang a couple off the rail in your wardrobe. Now, for curtains, carpets and piano keys: buy some cans of the delightfully named DOOM (Boots, Johnny Loulous) and spray them, following the instructions. You need to renew all applications every six months, but I think you will find they will bother you no more. Good night.

Send your fashion problems to:

Dear Annie, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, or fax them on: 0171 293 2043.

Email: annie@independent.co.uk

Annie regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence

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