The Utterly Inessential Bank Holiday Shopping List: A few simple pleasures to indulge in over the historic August long weekend

It's the weekend we've all been waiting for since Christmas. In three short days, everyone in the UK (except the parents of young children, God bless you) will wake up at 7am, glance at their phone clocks and peacefully drift back into their downy pillows with large smiles on their faces. It's here, it's really here – the August bank holiday.

The humble bank holiday saw its first sunny day in 1871, when it was declared in actual law (The Bank Holidays Act 1871, in fact) that no person could be compelled to make any payment or complete any action on a few beautiful days a year. Commencing in 1965, the August bank holiday weekend was begun ‘to give a lead in extending British holidays over a longer summer period’.

Bravo, brave humans. Bravo. Bravo for giving us this last glimpse of the sun before we settle into a very British winter, beginning promptly on 1st September at 11 o’clock as the Hogwarts Express pulls out of King’s Cross.

So slap on the sunscreen, light up the BBQs and toast the fine pioneers who gave us this small, but powerful, taste of freedom.

In case you’re not in pyjamas all day

A member of the appropriately named ‘Liberty’ collection, this is the perfect shirt to button up on Monday morning, and then swiftly unbutton as you climb into bed for another two hours sleep because it’s a bank holiday, folks.

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Ladies Blue Flowers Fitted Shirt, £69.95 available at

Sharing is optional

‘Isn’t that a share bag?’ He asks suspiciously.

‘Nope. One portion. I promise.’

And then it was gone.

The Lily O’Brien’s Crispy Butterscotch Share Bags are available in major retailers nationwide, including Asda and Morrisons, or online at for £2.50.

Bloomingly realistic

There’s never a sadder moment than when a bunch of beautiful blooms starts to wilt and is relegated to the compost pile. These blooms are beautifully hand-painted and stunningly realistic – and to top it all off, they’ll never die.

They’re also over a metre tall, which means this vase must be giant.

Blush Rose Spray, set of six for £68 from

Aloe, Aloe, Aloe

You’re free! It’s a bank holiday weekend! It’s sunny! Thus, it stands to reason that at some stage over the next two days, you will get a little burned.

Perhaps you’ll take your long weekend in France and your partner will assure you that sunscreen was unnecessary, then proceed to lead you on a two hour climb up a mountain under a completely blue sky. Perhaps your new neice will visit and you’ll spend an entire afternoon admiring her perfect cherub cheeks (safely protected in a cool covered pram) as you stand in 31℃ in a strappy top.

Perhaps you, like me, are just a bit of an idiot.

Either way, soothe your outside with some aloe vera (the gel works best) and your inside with some aloe gin. Inspired by the desserts of South Africa, the can be no better tipple to cool you down than this blend of reassuringly-soothing flavours. And an ice bath.

Whitley Neill Aloe & Cucumber Gin, available from Amazon, 70cl, for around £26 (but now on offer for £21),