The Utterly Inessential Autumn Shopping List: Cheese subscriptions, cosy blankets and everything else you need in the run up to winter

Cuddle up under a blanket and put Friends on in the background; the winter lists are back and better than ever.

As much as the sun struggles to fight back the clouds and we try to cling onto bare legs and sandals, the very fact that my black suede boots are out of the cupboard and I’m in desperate need for an M&S tights shop means that Autumn is well and truly here.

It’s that magical time between swimsuit season and Halloween where we’re not entirely sure what to do with ourselves. It’s getting dark when we get home so a trip to the pub seems ten times more arduous than it did on 31st August. It’s cold in the mornings, warmer in the afternoons and if you fall asleep with your window open, you’re more at risk of hyperthermia than if you left the valve open on your air mattress at The Long Road camping festival two weekends ago.

It seems necessary, therefore, to pull together a few things to make your ever-growing list of evenings in just a little more bearable. Fear not, for there will be alcohol.

Time for the layers

Regular readers will know that my nemesis is the office air conditioning. They’d also be dismayed (I hope) to know that it’s back in full-force inexplicably between the hours of 1 and 5pm to chill your bones and encourage the use of fingerless gloves.

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For a kinder jumper, try The Kindness Co-op. Promoting kindness towards others, ourselves and the environment, with every item sold a portion of profit is donated to the charity YoungMinds. Unsurprisingly, materials are sustainably sourced and production minimises plastic, as well as packaging being easily recyclable. Nobody’s perfect, but this seems pretty close, right?

Adult Sweatshirt, £38, the Kindness Co-op,

A cheesy gift


Two things.

  1. Cheese is the ultimate comfort food. It’s delicious, appropriate in all seasons and beloved by almost everyone in the known world.
  2. It’s getting to the time of year when it’s too cold to leave the house to buy gifts or groceries, so a 3-month cheese subscription is just the ticket for either yourself or a close friend. But mainly for you.

Try the Elvis – it comes with a handy booklet with advice on pairings, space rate your cheese and taste profiles – basically everything you need to sound knowledgeable at your next dinner party.

The Cheese Geek cheese subscription is available on The Elvis (approx. 600g) is priced at £88.50 for 3 months. 

Do we even need to offer an explanation

OliviaBossertPhotography - wool throw

It’s cold at night. It’s very cold.

Wool throw by Tom Lane, £60 each from

‘In Scotland, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes.’ – Billy Connolly

Caorunn gin

If it keeps the Scots warm, it has to work for down South too.

Caorunn gin is infused with all the usual botanicals, plus five special Celtic ones; heather, bog myrtle, rowan berry (Caorunn is the Celtic translation for rowan berry), dandelion and coul blush apple. At an impressive 54% ABV, this is a gin to knock your socks off.

Just put them back on quickly.

Caorunn 54% Highland Strength gin, RRP £40,

One for the September babies

Despite the near-practical suggestions above, this is still the Utterly Inessential Shopping List. No one, even someone born in September, really needs a half microset sapphire ring, but if you’re going to celebrate your birthday in style, you may as well do so sustainably. All of the jewels and metals of Lebrusan Studio are sourced using sustainable practices from trusted suppliers.

They’re also very, very pretty. And shiny.

Lebrusan Studio Altair Half Microset Sapphire and 18ct Fairtrade Gold Ring, from £965,

The best buttons around

montezuma chocolate

Most chocolate is 6 of one and a half dozen of another – but still amazing, of course. Montezuma’s chocolate, however, is a whole new ball game – their buttons are sublime and their white chocolate is particularly delicious. Enjoy alone or melt into some hot milk for a creamy hot chocolate.

Montezuma’s – Organic Smooth Chocolate Giant Buttons (Milk, Dark or White), £3.79,

A white for winter

Lychgate Bacchus

Bacchic in taste and straight from Sussex, this fine wine lives up to its name. Fruity and fresh, it’s the perfect wine to enjoy in a bubble bath or serve with cheese after dinner.

Bolney Wine Estate Lychgate Bacchus, £12.99,