The Utterly Inessential Shopping List: Cheese by the wheel-load, ducklings by post and sticky ginger pudding

There's a corner of the internet where the only rule is that things must be lovely. This is that corner. Victoria Marston will be your guide.

Saying ‘hello’ via the medium of ducklings

As we have all discovered in recent weeks, there are endless ways to stay in virtual touch these days (I say ‘we’, but I’m not accepting video calls, largely because I stopped washing my hair some time ago). For those in need of a detox, how about going a bit retro and sending a card covered in ducklings to your nearest and dearest? Go on, give someone the gift of post that isn’t a bill—a much underrated joy in life.

Priced at £2.95 or £14 for six — click here to buy.


It’s time to welcome a new gin into your life

The mention of flowers and the pink colour meant I was expecting this gin to be sweet, but it’s not — it’s utterly delicious. It reminded me of a more complex amaro (think Aperol spritz), which made sense when I read that it was ‘a delightful blend of cornflowers, lavender and orange layered over a classic dry gin’. Meet a future staple of your gin collection. You’re welcome.

Priced at £34.95 from Cotswolds Distillery — click here to buy.


These boots really are made for walking

Walking is all the rage right now (by default, but there we have it) and these boots were made for walkin’. They’re waterproof, they’re breathable, they have some sort of magical shock-absorbing technology — basically, they’re a much better bet than your old plimsolls if you’re covering some miles.

Priced at £170 from Ariat — click here to buy.


Time to dig out your elasticated-waist trousers

At this point, I think we can all admit that our hearts sank when the PM started lockdown by telling us all that ‘only shopping for essentials’ would be allowed. Would there be people peering into our baskets and trolleys, scolding us for any items not strictly necessary to bare-minimum existence? Thankfully, common sense prevailed, and with it the knowledge that Charlie Bigham’s ready meals are still permitted. Celebrate by popping his gooey, irresistible sticky ginger pudding in your trolley too.

Priced at £5.50 from various supernarkets — click here to buy.


If you’re going to keep all your eggs in one basket, make sure it’s a nice basket

Yes, it’s intended for keeping eggs in, but if my fruit bowl is anything to go by, it would soon be full of chocolate. What to do?

Luckily, we have a solution: chocolate eggs. Problem solved. Next!

Priced at £74.95 from Emma Bridgewater — click here to buy.


Yes, it’s totally fine to order cheese by the truckle right now

This big old wheel of brie-style cheese is handmade in Suffolk using Montbeliarde cow’s milk, arrives in a jazzy wooden box and has ‘warm milky flavours, notes of mushrooms, earth and farmyard with a nutty rind’. We shouldn’t need to sell this — you can have an entire gooey wheel of cheese. Delivered to your door. All for you. There is also the option to get a couple of mini ones, rather than the whole 3kg, but the cheese gods will judge you for it. And so will we.

Priced at £23 from Fen Farm Dairy — click here to buy.


Available in any colour you like, so long as it’s tweed

This comes in lots of lovely colours — coral, navy, khaki — but if you don’t immediately feel yourself drawn to the green tweed then we have to wonder how you found the Country Life website in the first place. Ok, so the choice of picnic venues is currently somewhat limited, but you can still throw this down in your back garden, lie back with a nice cold glass of something and dream of wildflower meadows. If you don’t have a garden (welcome to my life), you could throw what I for some reason refer to as a ‘floor picnic’ (aren’t they all?) in the living room. Or you could wrap yourself in the blanket and rock gently back and forth until they let us all out.

Priced at £39.50 from Heating and Plumbing London (really, that’s what they’re called — and no, we have no idea either) — click here to buy.