Utterly Inessential: A pile of dogs, a bee that can open a beer and the bag which fires tennis balls at unwanted intruders (really)

Victoria Marston outdoes herself this week with a collection of quite spectacularly non-critical things which, somehow, you'll still want to buy.

Chin chin

There’s something about the term ‘aperitif’ that’s just so much more acceptable than ‘drinking on an empty stomach’, and there’s something for everyone (except maybe tee-totallers) in this new range from Starlino. The rosé- and orange-wine based aperitivos are delightfully refreshing topped up with tonic and the Rosso vermouth hits the spot with just a couple of ice cubes to take the edge off. Keep the apothecary-style bottles when you’re done and fill them with fairy lights. Because who doesn’t love a fairy light?

Priced at £24 each from Proof — see more details


Top dog

We’ve all heard of a pack of dogs, but how about a stack of dogs? No, I thought not. Yet here it is — proof in a print that the feisty pug always comes out on top.

Priced at £50 from Killy & Co — see more details


Throw some shade

There are always going to be days when it’s kindest for all concerned if we hide as much of our face as possible. I find sunglasses to be the key.

Priced at £299 from Pret A Voir— see more details


Ready, aim… fire!

This is a bag that fires tennis balls at 45mph. I understand that it’s meant for sporting purposes (apparently Jamie Murray’s a fan), but think it would be put to much better use aimed at the front door to surprise/see off new arrivals. The battery lasts for five hours, which means hours of fun for all the family (unless they’re coming through the front door).

Priced from £780 from Slinger — see more details


Lost your bottle (or keys)?

Correct me if I’m the only one, but isn’t it fairly standard practice to have a bottle opener on your key ring (usually acquired in Las Vegas or somewhere equally charming)? Perhaps this is for when you’ve lost your keys and were meant to be somewhere (possibly Las Vegas) and the only answer is to retreat into a bottle of beer.

Priced at £11.50 from At Home in Country — see more details


Keep your cool

Speaking of beer, there are few things less pleasant than a warm one. This is where cooler bags come in. This is a nice one. There’s really not much else to say, is there?

Priced at £30 from Cath Kidston — see more details


You can keep your hat on

As we seem to be on a virtual picnic, a hat is probably a good idea to protect your head from those glaring rays (but probably to stop your hair from getting really really wet, unless you’re lucky enough not to be in the UK). Even if you’re not in the UK, you can’t go wrong with a fedora. If you’re going to Henley, as the makers of the Henley Lightweight Fedora seem to assume, I believe they actually won’t let you in without one.

Priced at £40 from Hayfield England — see more details