The Utterly Inessential Shopping List: Tea for one, gin for anyone, and the solution for a ponging pooch

Victoria Marston guides us through this week's collection of wonders, where every whim of fussy humans and even fussier dogs is taken care of.


Who let the dogs out?

I love dogs as much, if not more, than the next person — mine is a rescue called Dolly Parton and she’s very cute, when she isn’t being a gremlin. However, even I must admit that they can, on occasion, begin to smell like feet. And not in a good way, if there is such a thing. This essential-oil shampoo bar, which you use inside the sisal bag as a sort of sponge and hang up to dry afterwards, is the answer.

Priced at £15.00 from See Change Now — see more details 

Yes, we know you’ll put it on a shelf and stick to your stained mug

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It might be more traditional to serve tea for two, but for any one-person households out there (hiya!), we’ve had to get used to going it alone in 2020. However, just because you’ve spent months talking to your reflection in the mirror like a demented budgerigar, there’s no reason to let standards slip along with your sanity.

This Bluebell Bone China Teapot for One (or as I like to call it, the Sad Singleton’s Teapot. I also have a Sad Singleton’s Mini Dishwasher) is pretty enough to cheer up the loneliest of tea parties and, on the plus side, there will be no one else there to argue for a stewed monstrosity of a beverage.

£32.50 from Gabriella Shaw Ceramics — see more details

Wild at heart

Anyone who pays any attention to my ramblings may remember that I recommended the Cotswolds No. 1 Wildflower Gin earlier this year (tastes a bit like Aperol? No? Trust me — delicious). Well, this year has truly passed in a blur, because not only is autumn on our doorsteps, so is Cotswolds No. 2 Wildflower Gin (oh, was it only on my doorstep? WINNER). It’s the gin that keeps on giving and I’m rather hoping that, in the manner of seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, there will be about 5,000 still to come.

This one, a blend of gentian, elderflower and chamomile, has a bit of a bitter-lemon vibe. The closest thing to it I’ve tasted is, weirdly, the Garden variety alcohol-free Seedlip — but, good news, this will actually get you drunk. (NB: Please drink responsibly and remember that alcohol is not the answer. Unless the question is ‘Why does my head feel as though it’s full of angry wasps this morning?’)

£34.95 from Cotswolds Distillery — see more details 

Pink elephants on parade

I can’t even begin to express the joy that a belt featuring pink elephants drinking martinis brings me. I have no idea where I would wear it or what I would wear it with, but it’s as though whoever designed this climbed inside my brain and made my most bizarre dreams come true.

Priced at £139 from Glaze & Gordon — see more details

Short and sweet

Not every man can look fabulous wearing swim shorts, but every man can at least pick fabulous swim shorts to wear. This Eton Mess print is a winner by any standards.

Priced at £90 from Crab & Little — see more details 

Puppy love

Anyone who owns a fussy dog will soon realise that the key to avoiding bankruptcy is to keep posh dog food in the house, just so you can mix a small amount of it into the supermarket stuff in order to trick them into eating. I am aware that this wet and dry food starter pack is aimed at those with actual puppies, who can afford to treat their pets to something they would genuinely like to eat, but needs must. (NB: I treat her like a princess really. Just look at my Instagram feed.)

Priced at £19.99 from Pets at Home — see more details