I have a bag problem. It's a Pierre Hardy tote with a broken leather hoop to which the shoulder strap is meant to attach, and my usual cobbler won't fix it. Yes, I've been using it for nappies, but how could they not expect people to put a bijillion things into a bag of this size?
Can't Handle It, Kowloon Tong

The Dictator rules: Maybe they expected you to understand the difference between a luxury boutique and Mothercare. Are you jogging off your baby weight in your Jimmy Choos? (God, I hope not.) Your first stop should be the brand's store, which will do the most authentic restoration. Most labels offer repair services, either by a local artisan or at their headquarters. Always ask for the cost and timeframe. Should that fail, you have many local alternatives, but you'll have to bring the bag to them in person or email photos to receive a quotation. That is exactly what they asked for at Leather Reborn (4/F, Everglory Centre, 1B Kimberley Street, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2311 0890; www.leatherreborn.com), for example. The company also offers cleaning, colour restoration, plus a pick-up and delivery service. Several leather workshops have sprouted up all over town: Fungus Workshop (4 Po Hing Fong, Sheung Wan, tel: 2779 9003; www.fungusworkshop.net) also repairs leather bags. Take yours to one of its workshops on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from 6.30pm to 9.30pm, or Saturday or Sunday from 12pm to 7pm. You don't seem like the DIY type, but more crafty readers might enjoy one of its Handmade Leather Workshops (HK$420 per two-hour session, minimum two sessions).


I've never been good at applying mascara but I love how it looks when I get it on right. What are the latest and greatest mascara brushes?
A Good Lashing, Mid-Levels

The Dictator: What do I look like? A fortune teller? You know I can't see you, right? Everyone has different eyelashes, so it follows that mascara brushes vary in size, shape, flexibility and bristle density. Natural results come from traditional, tubular brushes. Lengthening is encouraged by shorter, less packed bristles. Fatter, thicker bristles deliver volume. Curved ones help curl. And here's something many women don't get right: bottom lashes require a separate, smaller brush, such as Clinique's Bottom Lash Mascara (HK$150). Speciality brushes (aka fun gimmicks) include Givenchy's Phenomen'Eyes (HK$282; strawberrynet.com). With its spherical, pom-pom design, it precisely coats each lash for length and definition. They're Real, by Benefit Cosmetics, promises to do it all, combining a circular tip with a long brush (HK$240). Flower Intensif-Eye Volumising Mascara has a funky-looking "3 Way Brush". One side is designed for applying, another for volumising and the rounded tip for intensifying (HK$187; amazon.com). Now, stop annoying me, and go forth and get a clue.

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