The Utterly Inessential Shopping List: A pet candle with a secret, an American culinary road-trip and the inevitable waterproof

In this week of Utterly Inessential, we take a look at a few things we may (but probably wont) need to get through the cold weather.

In journalism, Christmas starts in August, so it is with great difficulty that I push aside advent calendars and Christmas gins to bring you a list of products which are seasonally appropriate. So pull on your second office jumper and spend two minutes of your 20 minute lunch break going over a list of things which you do not need, but should probably buy anyway. Maybe.

For special somethings…or for cold medication

Beehive Basket_339247582_469408121

Lovingly made out of hand-dyed sweetgrass & sisal in Rwanda by Indego Africa, this basket is perfect for neatly storing all those little things which clutter up a workspace…including packets of tissues and strepsils.

The beautiful baskets are created by a talented women’s co-operative, working tirelessly to develop the business skills and education of women in rural Rwanda.

Beehive basket, now £42 from Qäsa Qäsa,

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Unfortunately, this is now fairly essential

Barbour X National Trust Tarp Jacket in _339247572_469408121

If you were caught in the rain on Tuesday (and then spent the entire working day with wet shoes), you’d know that it’s away with the cute cardigans and on with the waterproofs. If the trusty navy number in the back of your cupboard is a the little worse for the wear and the better for the holes, it may be time for an upgrade.

Barbour have partnered with Europe’s largest conservation charity to produce something which will protect you as you explore our beautiful wildlife – and at least £25,000 of sales from this collection will be donated to support the National Trust’s conservation work.

Barbour National Trust Tarp jacket in ochre, £229 from John Lewis & Partners,

More cheese, you say?

Mayfair hamper Paxton Wfield_339247612_469408121

It’s increasingly unsurprising that Paxton & Whitfield have held their royal warrant since 1850. Settle in for the winter and order yourself a delicious hamper of the finest cheese in London – or be generous and gift it to a friend.

The Mayfair hamper, £500 from Paxton & Whitfield,

Cheer up your hat

finches silk

It may be rainy but you can still keep a hint of summer about you – and if you’re a gent, fear not. They do pocket squares, too.

Finches silks prices start from £30, visit

A magical book for an incredible price

Harry Potter first edition

Incredible indeed – although given how special Harry, Ron and Hermione are to the British public, it isn’t entirely unsurprising that a first edition of their first adventures sold for £27,500 at  Chiswick Auctions yesterday.

Full story (Country Life)

Adorably terrifying


Much like toddlers who have learnt how to ask to share your food, Voffi the Pyropet is a mixture of terribly cute and terribly frightening.

Burning down from an adorable wax dog to a metal skeleton (with teeth), this is the perfect Halloween party present – or something for a quirky house warming. Just warn the kids first.

Voffi The Pyropet Candle (Mint/Berry), £27.00 from

And finally… why not escape altogether

Recreate Tom Kerridge’s American Feast culinary road-trip through Colorado, visiting Denver, Gunnison, Dunton Hot Springs, Telluride, Durango and Grand Junction. Eat spectacular food, see spectacular sights, and all in all forget that summer is over and it’s over a month to Halloween.

Bon Voyage Travel, partnered with British Airways, have also put together trips for California and Pittsburg.

12-night itinerary from £2995 per person, including return flights to Denver with AA, car hire, 12 nights’ accommodation (in 4-star hotels), including two nights in the all-inclusive Dunton Hotel Springs Resort.  For more information, visit Bon Voyage Travel,