Talking shop

bazaar

In Particular, Designs for Living claims to be the first showcase of original home and personal accessories, and is the latest addition to the mail order market. However In Particular is worth a look, not least because it's smaller than most catalogues, so no wading through endless tarted-up interiors which your sitting room will never match, however much you spend. Each page is devoted to a different designer ranging from Sally Bourne (best known for her bright Calypso bathroom and bedroom ceramics) to furniture by Clockhouse. Orders are dispatched in ten to 28 days and if you are buying a present they will send it direct with a personal message. Call 0701 0702 027 for details.

The Royal College of Art Degree Shows start early next month kicking off with the fine art and textile departments showing their colours from Thursday 6 June to Sunday 16. This is your chance to spot fledgling Hockneys and snap up their works while you can afford to. For the applied arts such as ceramics, glass, jewellery and illustration you will have to wait until Thursday 26 June. For more information call The RCA on 0171-584 5020.

If you have been to Liberty's Regent street shop recently the chances are you noticed a certain amount of chaos in the basement. And the reason for the boarded-up staircase and all the dust? A whole new store within the store called In-Depth. With its own, logo and packaging, In-Depth will comprise a series of themed areas filled with an ecclectic mix of products guaranteed to have you reaching for your cheque book.

Good thing

HMV Direct, pounds 3.00

When HMV learned that a third of people in the UK live ten miles or more from a record store they decided that something had to be done. Their glossy, 216-page hard-backed catalogue launched this month seems to be the answer - in its first ten days, 30,000 CD-hungry customers demanded copies of HMV Direct. Could the days of the highstreet record store be over?

Call 0990334578

Mad thing

Gilbert the fish cool-bag pounds 6.95

Send your children back to school with a fish-faced lunch pack. Fresh from America, Gilbert is one of the latest additions to Lakeland Plastic's range of lunch boxes and cool-bags. Sandwiches and drinks are zipped into his mouth and the thick foam insulation of the body keeps them cool. At pounds 6.95 he is a bit of a bargain, but there is a drawback: no shoulder strap means the chances are it'll be mothers and fathers clutching Gilbert on the walk to school.

Call Lakeland Plastics 015394 88100

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