The Utterly Inessential Shopping List: The ultimate face mask, salvation for bored dogs and saving the world, one coffee capsule at a time

Well all be wearing face masks for a long time yet, so in a shockingly topical twist to Utterly Inessential we have one that fits the brief of design-overkill quite magnificently — as well as our usual mix of wonders. Victoria Marston is your guide.

The Mask

Being a very forgetful person, I keep getting halfway to the shops before realising that I don’t have a face mask with me. This is very annoying. As a result, I have taken to wearing one of my skiing snoods around my neck and using that, as I can’t really forget or lose it unless my head happens to fall off first.

The only slight downside is that it apparently makes me look like I’m about to hold up a bank.

If you are less forgetful than me, you might prefer to go with the classic blue paper option and look like you’re about to perform surgery in the middle of Waitrose. Or you might be taken with the idea of this jaunty silk offering, which gives what I like to call ‘the tropical parrot’ effect.

£55 from Ottoman Silks


“We shall wear them on the beaches…”

What glasses wearer wouldn’t want to look like Sir Winston Churchill? A lady one, I suppose. Or a male one who wanted to fit into his trousers. But anyway, his glasses were always part of the look, and this design pays tribute. They’re available as spectacles or sunglasses, and comes in several finishes, from havana acetate (classic) to bottle-green acetate (bold), buffalo horn (pricey) and, my personal favourite, unoiled walnut.

From £595 from Edwards Eyewear


Mamma mia, John Torode again

If my fondness for watching MasterChef has taught me anything, it’s that making pasta looks really quite difficult (and also that John Torode says chorizo in a silly accent, but I digress).

I’m fairly certain that this pasta tool set would not improve my culinary skills, but it does look quite fun for anyone who actually cooks from scratch. Alternatively, leave it lying round the kitchen as a cunning diversion while the shop-bought ravioli simmer away merrily on the stove.

£20 from Cooking and Carafes


Save the planet, one coffee capsule at a time

We all want to help the environment in whatever way we can, but there’s no denying that sometimes this isn’t entirely compatible with what we’d really, truly like to be doing (unless you actually enjoy trying to remove the non-recyclable film from the recyclable plastic tray, as it desperately clings on, in which case — please will you come and do mine?). Handily for caffeine addicts everywhere, these new compostable and biodegradable capsules fit Nespresso machines, taste really very good (if you like coffee — if not, how do you keep your eyes open?) and will simply melt away before your very eyes after use or something. Well, not quite, but they’re compostable, biodegradable and plastic-free, so that’s probably the next best thing.

£2.80 per pack of 10 from Moving Beans


You’re not the only one that’s bored

Designed ‘to engage and entertain’ and ‘utilise your dog’s natural instincts’, you can buy different pieces to add to these dog toys — just like the hamster Rotastaks of days gone by, but with significantly less risk of losing your hamster — they come in various sizes to cater for different breeds and the little bone-shaped treats boast flavours such as salmon and sweet potato or chicken and carrot (my dog has already lodged a request for dirty sock and pond water flavour). Personally, I’m probably going to get the over-sized one for my very small dog, for added comedy value, and then just jam chunks of cheese into it. Because I’m a rebel like that.

£12.99 from K9 Connectables