Hannah Eastman, London
Now then Hannah. Deary me. Although I must say I've had some of my worst rude experiences with dry-cleaners and doctor's receptionists (although if any of you reading this belong to either of these professions I am sure you are one of the nice ones), not all dry-cleaners are like that. Where most people go wrong is expecting to pay pounds 1.20 to get a coat cleaned and then, because dry-cleaning is seen a luxury, expecting Claridges-type service. Like so many things, you get what you pay for. My advice? Number one: as far as possible avoid buying dry-clean-only items. Number two: go to a proper dry-cleaners, one that cares about its reputation. Two that I recommend are Tothills (tel: 0171 252 0100) and Lilliman and Cox (tel: 0181 802 4836). Both offer a free collection and delivery service anywhere in the main London area, which is a fantastic piece of information, I think. Just call them up and they do the rest. They're not mad cheap but not exaggerated either (and no I can't quote prices since it varies so much on fabric and whatnot). While I am sure this will help you Hannah, what about folk who live outside London? If any readers would care to write in or e-mail with their recommendations for really superb dry-cleaners, I might consider putting together a little fact sheet at some point. Don't ask for it yet though. Christmas is coming and I have six stockings to fill!
We have recently moved to a converted barn which has wooden, stone and terracotta floors (not all in one room, obviously) and I'm looking for a pair of slippers that will keep me warm but not be slippy. I need them to be stylish and have backs otherwise I just kick them off and spend ages looking for them, all the time getting cold feet. I'm not ready for slip-on suede moccasins with sheepskin lining just yet. Is there something you could recommend (mail order if possible)?
Romana Pierce, Dartmoor
Dartmoor! One of my favourite places on earth. Two places that will be right for you, and both do mail order: Toast (tel: 01558 668800) does some divine felt slippers in off-white, grey, black or red for pounds 25 (sizes 36-44). They have felt soles but they don't slip! At least not on my wooden floors (which are quite old, not polished to a high-shine finish; yours may be). But I can thoroughly and personally recommend them. Nursey & Son Ltd (tel: 01986 892821) does sheepskin slippers, some of which are not so groovy but ignore those and have a look at "Fenland" and "Godric", prices from pounds 34. These have a soft sole too but if you like you can have a hard sole put on that won't be so slippy.
Ages ago I saw an Audrey Hepburn film - I don't remember the name but she wore suits with three-quarter-length sleeves with long leather gloves. I have coveted a pair ever since. They need to be black and sleek looking with no outside seams (ie not stitched on the outside). Do you have any ideas where I could get some? Preferably silk lined and not mad expensive, please. Viola, Bath
The place for you, my lovely, is Fenwick. Although there isn't a branch in Bath you did mention in your letter that you travel to London (also Fenwick does mail order - tel: 0171 629 9161 - but I would not recommend you buy something you haven't seen, however much you trust my judgment!) Fenwick makes varying length long gloves, starting at pounds 30 for silk-lined ones that come about a third of the way up your arm. They are quite the business.
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