The Utterly Inessential Shopping List: A bag to save lives, your house as a map and why the time might have come for fizzy red wine. Really.

This week on Utterly Inessential we bring you a selection of products to browse while you consider what happens when people need neither a house nor alcohol they can actually, reasonably drink, and thus decide to sink enough money to buy the house which owns the estate on which my dream house sits on into a breakable bottle of whisky.

And, without further ado…

A bag for life

DeMellier did something special when they created the Athens, and I’m not talking about producing it in twelve colours. For every bag sold of the Athens or any of their other bags, a life-saving vaccine is donated to children in countries such as Somalia and Zambia. A solid brass letter personalisation can be added, but our Luxury Editor recommends keeping it classic.

The Athens in plum suede for £250 from DeMellier,

In case you forget where you live

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Okay, yes, you can probably make this yourself with a little time and some low-level photoshop skills but it just wont be as nice and clean as the version produced by Atlas & I. This is something I would honestly spend cold, hard cash, on just to see my mother’s face light up as she unwraps it. All forgetful children, it’s not too late to get that Mother’s Day present in.

Personalised vintage map house print from £49, Atlas & I,

It’s not actually river water. Promise.

Inspired by aromas of the River Avon, River Dawn are only releasing 200 handpoured (?) bottles of this special scent. Send yourself straight to the country with a spritz of this.

River Dawn Eau De Parfum, £180 for 100ml, from Floris.

I’ve never met a supportive flower.

Look, everyone needs some support sometimes. Who are we to deny peonies their dues?

Regular peony support for £80, Muntons Traditional Plant Supports,

To the bar! For some… sparkling red wine?


Regular readers will know that this is the slot in which we regularly feature the selections of Country Life’s regular wine writer, Harry Eyres. And regular readers will also now be thinking something along the lines of “Harry… Harry, what are you doing? What are you doing, Harry?” 

I know where you’re coming from; indeed, I’d be of the same opinion if I hadn’t traveled to Emilia Romagna last year and drunk my weight in Lambrusco. ‘Savoury, dry Lambrusco is a delight, ripe for revival’ our expert says and I have to tell you, he’s just not wrong.

Lambrusco Classico from Monte delle Vigne, £12.75 for a bottle from 

If you purchased our entire shopping list you would’ve spent £571.75 and at least you’re not the human who sunk the equivalent of a small country castle into a bottle of whisky that a cat could easily knock off a table. Really.