The Utterly Inessential Shopping List: A bag good enough to ride, a golden fountain pen and a doghouse to die for

There's nothing quite as good as something you absolutely don't need, but still want anyway. Because really, assuming you have food, water and a safe place to sleep, what really is essential? Alexandra Fraser takes her regular look at some of life's little luxuries.

Saddle up, cowboy

Marked down from £400 (for now), I like to think of this as you saving £250 rather than spending £160. As a lovely little touch, the strap was crafted by traditional reinsmakers (yes, that is a word, we checked) but might I recommend you do not use the bag as a bit.

The Burghley leather saddlebag currently on sale for £150,

Daily office dog count: Five and a half, thanks to the lurcher four desks over

Orvis doghouse

I won’t lie, I love Orvis. I love that they have an entire tab on their website dedicated to dogs. I love that they use classic colours to make our four-legged friends comfortable and chic. And above all, I love that their folding crate enables Country Life’s managing editor Paula to bring my absolute bestest pal into the office every day (his name is Nimrod, he’s a black lab and he’s the goodest boy I’ve met in my wide experience of canine friends).

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Folding travel dog crate from £99,

In other news, my biro ran out of ink today 

mont blanc pen

If you’re writing in anything less than a gold-coated pen (obviously solid gold is preferable), why are you writing at all?

Meisterstück Doué Geometry Champagne Gold-Coated Classique Fountain Pen for £705, from

Relighting my fire for home electrics since this morning


I could bring you one lamp but today I have seen two nature-inspired lamps that have relit my fire for home electrics since this morning (yes, I did just repeat the title. Just making sure that you’re paying attention).

I particularly adore the tiny owl in the one on the left. I think he’s wise. I would love to see him sitting in my tiny living room but alas, I’m doomed to an early-adulthood of fairy lights and bulbs without shades. On a separate note, does anyone have a spare £2,730?

Bronze Owl standing lamp, £2,600, and 16in Empire shade, £130, Paolo Moschino from

Sapling floor lamp in Bronzed Iron, £2,930, and Amber pleated-silk shade, £750, Cox London from

Our weekly wine blast

Kim Crawford Marlborough Pinot Gris 750m_263820561_391287082

New Zealand Pinot Gris is our prime-time wine this week. The fresh, spicy Kim Crawford Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017 has good mouthfeel without excessive lushness. And we all know how important that is.

Kim Crawford Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017 for £13.99 a bottle,

If you purchased this entire list you would’ve spent £7,368.99 and honestly, if you’re spending £750 on a lampshade, bravo.