The Utterly Inessential Mother’s Day List: Cruising the Ouse, tea with Queen Titania and a massage for the future mothers among us

They love us unconditionally, unquestionably and, in some cases, utterly irrationally (there's always that one sibling and if there isn't, it's you) so, especially on this one day of the year, let's make sure our utterly incredible mothers know how much we absolutely adore them.

For mothers with a new bundle of joy on the way


Let’s face it: nobody *needs* a massage. Unless you’re a professional athlete or have sustained some sort of muscle injury, there’s probably no excuse at all for having a one. Except for the best excuse of all, which, as regular readers of the Inessential Shopping List will know only too well, is simply that they’re Extremely Nice Indeed.

And one particular time in your life when it’s good to experience things that are Extremely Nice Indeed is the run-up to having a baby, because (***SPOILER ALERT***) the actual nuts-and-bolts of having the baby is not Extremely Nice at all. Some women claim to have breezed through it. Those women are either fibbing, amnesiac, or a nappy short of a 12-pack.

In that context, Bamford Spa’s pregnancy massage is as close to an essential inessential as it’s possible to imagine, and it was in that spirit that I sent along my heavily-pregnant sister-in-law. ‘Bamford spa is beautiful,’ she said on returning. ‘Very well designed space, gorgeously white!’

Poor thing; nothing in her house will ever be gorgeously white again.

She also reported that her therapist was spot with his pressure – not too hard, yet not overly soft like so many masseurs who fear  accidentally squeezing the baby out – and did a marvellous job on tackling a nastily-named, pregnancy-related pain called ‘meralgia paresthetica’ and also used unscented grape seed oil, since it’s ‘completely safe and leaves your skin feeling super soft for ages.’ Praise indeed.

Bamford Pregnancy Massage, £120,

Even Shakespeare had a mother the swan tea

If you’re in London and your mother is a theatre fan, look no further than Swan at Shakespeare’s Globe. Inspired by the journeys of the characters found in the play, the tea features pea flower of Oberon’s love potion, the apricots Titania feeds to Bottom and, of course, mulberries from the lovers’ tree. Add a tour of the theatre to bring joy to your own Lady Capulet (although I do hope your mother is a great deal nicer than she).

Midsummer Night’s Dream afternoon tea, £28.50 per perso, £48.50 per person with tour,

‘Mother’s Ruin’ is a woefully inaccurate, industry-harming myth

Ableforth's Bathtub Gin Final copy

I, for one, am done with this demonising of the nation’s favourite spirit, especially with options as delightful as these two. Ableforth’s Bathtub Gin has a classical feel with it’s beautiful wrapping and, upon enquiry, I have discovered that it is indeed possible to drink it out of a bathtub too. That being said, why would you want to?

Fresh Rain Gin (That Boutique-y Gin Company)

My second offering is from That Boutique-y Gin Company (yes, that one) and named Fresh Rain, inspired by petrichor. For those of you who don’t know, petrichor is the term given to the scent of rain as it hits the ground, a wonderful earthy aroma that my mother rarely has the chance to experience sans eau-de-wet-dog. I’d like to give her that chance.

Ableforth’s Bathtub Gin for £31 from Tesco and  Fresh Rain from That Boutique-y Gin Company from £42 from Harvey Nichols.

Because nothing says Mothering like a kitchen appliance


Your mum will never forgive you if she’s the only mum on the street who doesn’t get a food processor!

Food Processor by Magimix, purchase at for £399.

If London isn’t your cup of tea…

City Cruises York Afternoon Tea Vessel Exterior

Look no further than York (honestly, it would be hard to, it’s pretty far north). With March going out like a lion, we’re not sure what the weather will be like but if it’s a lovely sunny day, what better way to spend time with your mother than cruising up the Ouse?

Priced from £26.00 per adult (13+) and £18.00 per child, tickets for children under three are free. For more information and to book visit

A royally good scent


The only appointed perfumer to the Queen, this is a scent which has to be good enough for the head of your household (sorry, fathers). Floris have put together nine travel size eau de parfum bottles from their most prestigious range of perfumes. She’s bound to like one, right?

The Perfumer’s Wardrobe, priced at £200,

La vie en rose

Lanique Rose cocktails

So your mother isn’t a gin drinker. Have no fear, for Lanique have offered a rose-tinted solution. Mix it just as you would a G&T, but garnish with rose petals for that extra special touch.

Obligatory scarf

Johnstons of Elgin Bold Stripe Scarf £129

If you haven’t seen Love Actually, you wont know. But I’d like it known that Emma Thompson deserved better and specifically, deserved a better scarf. Like this one.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that all mothers like tea… right?

Fortnum & Mason The Mother of all Teas £165

Make sure yours does before you purchase this colossal, incredible jar of royal tea from Fortnum & Mason.  Because 1kg is a lot of tea for someone who doesn’t like tea.

Don’t you make the same mistake.

Choconchoc’s Afternoon Tea Chocolate Hamper, complete with solid chocolate macaroons, bourbons and those pink wafer biscuits – £35 from

If you purchased our entire shopping list this week you would have spent £1,159.45, yet given how much your mother has done for you over the years you’ll still have had the better side of the deal.