Is it right that we fight off the ennui of 21st century life by buying things we don't really need, but want anyway? Probably not, but that's the world we're in, and Toby Keel and Victoria Marston are here to help you navigate your way through it.
I always thought that there are two schools of thought when it comes to buying a watch. The first is to look at it as a purely functional item, for telling you what time it is. The second is to see a watch as marvel of human ingenuity, the intersection of engineering and jewellery.
But the last few years have shown that there is a third: a miniature arm computer. The rise and rise of the smartwatch has gone from those 1980s gizmos that had miniature calculator buttons to the astonishing marvels that exist today. And that is where the Honor GS Pro watch comes in: this is quite an astonishing mix of abilities that go far beyond any watch we’ve come across before. It doesn’t just track how far you’ve run; it can track how far you’ve run, how high you’ve climbed, how far you’ve paddled, skied, climbed, sailed… all manner of things for dozens and dozens of different activities.
It’ll measure not just your heart rate, but also your lung capacity, your average step length, tell you what time the sun comes up and the tide comes in… and even get you back home in the event you get lost, either pointing your way as the crow flies or taking you back along your exact route. There’s even a personal trainer mode, when the disembodied voice of an angry Dutchman shouts at you to run faster for the next two minutes because your heart rate is too low.
Does anybody need so much in a watch? Well, possibly. But rather like one of those penknives with 112 attachments, part of the appeal is probably partly just knowing that it can. The downsides? It doesn’t hook up to the Strava app, it plays music but doesn’t link to your Spotify account, the accompanying iPhone app is pretty weak compared to the Android version, and it’s not elegant — this is a true 80s-style plastic brick. But it’s pretty much bombproof (the manufacturers report that it has undergone military-grade testing), the battery lasts for literally weeks between charges (compare that to the laughable one-day battery on an Apple watch) and you’ll be the only person on the beach who can check when high tide is due simply by looking at your wrist. TK
When it comes to wellies, it always seems like such a good idea to go for a mock croc, flowery or neon pair, just to be different. That is, until you actually have to wear them somewhere and feel ever so slightly stared at (no, you’re not being paranoid). We’ve all been there, but it pays to have a nice green pair in the boot — trust me, the person with a carful of floral and leopard-print rubber footwear. VM
Teddy bears and Back to the Future — we just can’t understand why nobody has thought of this before. But Steiff have righted the wrong at last with their Marty McFly and Doc Brown pair of bears. Great Scott! TK
I have a confession to make. I enjoy doing cross-stitch. Now we’ve got that out of the way, you can probably see why this embroidered clock kit appeals to me. And also why I might be single. VM