The Utterly Inessential Shopping List: A new take on a 1980s classic, an answer to bad hair days and a foolproof present for an overgrown boy

What not to buy this week. (Unless you really like it.)


It’s beer o’clock somewhere

It is a truth universally acknowledged that (most) men are really quite difficult to buy for (apart from one I dated, who was delighted to receive anything comic-book related, but it did feel slightly like shopping for a child. Which is a bit creepy, if you think about it). Handily, I can’t think of many men who could possibly object to being given beers to swig on, snacks to nibble on and barbecue tongs to wield in manner of master chef while setting your dinner on fire.

Priced at £33.66 from Spicers of Hythe — see more details.


Wake up and smell the coffee. Literally.

We though we’d waved goodbye to the ‘Teasmade’ alarm clock when the 1980s clicked over into the 90s, but these rather swish-looking gadgets are bringing those heady days back again. Yes, it’ll make you a fresh cup of coffee to wake you up with — albeit at a price which would keep you in kettles for several lifetimes. It’s a beautiful-looking thing, though; there’s also a tea version.

Priced at £345 from joyresolve.com — see more details.


Who are you calling shrimp?

Personally, I’m a big fan of any scenario in which eating a tub of butter is suddenly considered acceptable. These were particularly good piled on top of asparagus and eaten with bread and, you got it, MORE BUTTER. It’s probably a good idea to heat them slightly so the butter melts, but I definitely did not do this — see previous notes regarding fondness for eating tubs of butter.

Priced at £28 from Stoberry Potted Shrimps — see more details.


Putting an end to radio silence

I haven’t owned a radio since some wizard created an app for that. However, I am a sucker for anything with the words ‘retro’ or ‘Emma Bridgewater’ in its name — and this, my friends, is a double whammy. So, the next time I’m spending money I don’t have on pretty things to fill my flat with and subsequently never use, this will absolutely be at the top of the list. It’s just so pretty!

Priced at £89.99 from VQ — see more details.


We’ve got it in the bag

Remember the episode of Friends where Joey gets a man bag? With that amount of supple and shining leather floating around, this is definitely straying into luxury handbag territory — but no, it carries a laptop, so it’s fine! Man bags for everyone! Also a genius way for the ladies to cunningly circumnavigate any new year’s resolutions that involved not buying any more handbags.

Priced at £395 from Fairfax & Favor — see more details.


Because the pubs are going to be like Bournemouth beach for the next week or two

If you’re still not able (or willing) to go to the reopening pubs, we hear you. Very sensible too. But Woodford brewery has put this ‘pub in a box’ set together, with scotch eggs, fresh pork pies, Norfolk cheese, Colman’s mustard and two ales from the brewery’s range. Spot on.

Priced at £25 from Woodforde’s — see more details.


Something fishy’s going on

There are not many instances in which you would appreciate a fish in your pocket. These cotton hankies are the exception. Washing instructions are simply ‘before they start to smell like actual sardines’.

Priced at £14.95 from Annabel James — see more details.


Bad hair day?

After my own failed attempt at cutting my dad’s hair (I say failed — he had a lot less of it afterwards, so I suppose you could call it a success), I decided not to let him return the favour/wreak his revenge. If your current fringe situation is anything like mine, there’s only one solution available to us and that is to become one of those fabulous women who wear turbans. Preferably in a Liberty print, as seen here. Problem solved.

Priced at £35 from Tot Knots of Brighton — see more details.