Utterly Inessential Shopping List: Defying the end of summer, a clock that doesn’t tick and a dinner party in a box (N.B. dinner not included)

Time to forget the necessities and indulge in this week's nice-to-haves. Victoria Marston and Toby Keel are your guides.

Take it with a pinch of (posh) salt

As a balsamic-vinegar addict (yes, my name is Victoria and I’m a balsamico… balsamohol… oh, never mind), combining it with my sugar and salt was really the next logical step. Balsamic on your cornflakes? Why the devil not! On a more serious note, these are really very nice with salady stuff such as radishes and celery (the salt, specifically) and strawberries (the sugar). Although you’re welcome to put salt on your strawberries if you want to. Who am I to judge, when I drown everything in balsamic glaze? VM

£5.95 each from Burren Balsamics


A clock that cures a migraine

I generally think of myself as a calm and accepting person, yet  – if I’m honest — there are things that truly infuriate me (this will not surprise anyone who read this article). Top of my Rage List® are those clocks that tick loudly. You know the ones — they’d drown out a soft play centre full of three-year-olds, and somehow turn their volume up at night. And it’s nice to know that I can’t be alone, because Addison Ross have this silent-ticking clock for me and my fellow tormented souls — not to mention any crocodiles hoping to sneak up on Captain Hook.  TK

£45 from Addison Ross


By a neck

Does anyone wear a neckerchief anymore? No? Not even at a jaunty angle? Well, they should do. Particularly, but not exclusively, when line dancing.   VM

£55 from Laslett England


A dinner party in a box… except with no food

Yep, that’s right: no food included. Nor are there knives, forks, table linen, music, or guests.

But for £400 or so McQueens Flowers will provide a selection of bouquets, vases, candles, tea lights and ‘bobèches’ (no, us neither) and a nice bottle of Perrier Jouet to make your dinner party practically perfect in every way. (As long as you don’t burn the food, or accidentally invite one of those idiots who constantly tells stories about people you’ve never heard of, and then professes amazement that ‘Oh my God, you don’t know Timbo?’ when you have the temerity to ask who on earth they’re talking about.)  TK

£399 from McQueens Flowers


Air your (hopefully not dirty) linen

It’s that time of year again, when everyone packs away their linen ensembles and stops pretending they’re on holiday. But we say, don’t do it. Rage against the dying of the (summer) light and deck yourself out in summery clothes, in defiance of the weather and the season, and also in defiance of the fact that we’re about to be stuck at home once more. Forget the cosy jumpers and instead pull on a linen shirt — ideally in this nice shade of aqua.   VM

£54.95 from The Oxford Shirt Company