The Utterly Inessential Shopping List: A cat hotel with an a la carte menu, magical night lights and Ariat’s latest offering to boot

Forget about the big things. You can keep the necessities. Don't tell us about the must-haves. Alexandra Fraser takes a look at a few little luxuries which, in a world too full of strife and woe, will help ease your way through life with a smile on your face.

Another week has been and gone which can only mean one thing; it’s time for your weekly update on the unnecessary but joy-inducing items available for purchase right now. Happy decadent browsing.

A glowing recommendation

casper glow

You may not know this, but our bodies aren’t actually designed to go to sleep minutes after staring at a blue light phone screen and wake up to a shrieking alarm at 6:30am while it’s still dark outside. Some very clever companies realised this and have been developing solutions, the latest of which is the Casper Glow.

casper glow

Flipping this light over will see it dim slowly to send you to sleep and setting your desired wake-up time on the app will make it brighten gradually for a softer ‘good morning’ than Dolly’s ‘9 to 5’ (my personal choice of torture tune).

I hate mornings mainly because I’m a) human and b) a commuter and I can honestly say this light has made me less likely to treat myself to a morning pain au chocolat at Clapham Junction to combat the injustice of actually having to go to work. Sure, you could just use curtains, but who has the energy for that?

The Casper Glow, £89 for one or £169 for a set of two, www.casper.com.



These boots were made for leisurely country pursuits

Alora boot

For style, substance and bragging rights, one can simply not beat an Ariat. So-called ‘country-inspired refinement at its best’, this is the sort of boot which could provoke someone to move their entire life to the countryside.  One could do anything in this boot. I could do anything in this boot. Thankfully for my sedentary lifestyle, I will probably never own this boot.

The Alora boot by Ariat, £300, www.ariat.com/gb/en.


A midsummer night’s dream of a jug

donkey jug_263796761_399093242

If you fill it with flowers, he’ll look just like an Etonian on the Fourth of June.

Fine-bone-china Donkey jug (extra large) for £32.95 from Little Weaver Arts, www.littleweaverarts.com.


No need to draw the curtains if they just do not exist.

Rubelli HR_266197752_480768222

Looking at this beautiful picture, you can’t deny that ‘Betty Boop’ is a stunning fabric, one which I think would look adorable draped over a four-poster or, as our Interiors Editor suggests, as a privacy curtain. Just please don’t use it as an actual curtain. It just will not work.

‘Betty Boop’ by Rubelli, £240 per metre, www.rubelli.com.


Taking ‘pampered puss’ to the next level

Paw Seasons

Now, I understand loving one’s cat to distraction better than most, seeing as when I return to my family home my cat gets offered two different kinds of food (wet or dry, depending on her mood) and I get offered a pot, a pan and the contents of the fridge. However, even in her most lavish of moments, I’m not sure my mother would offer Alice (a beautiful Burmese and the light of my life) the choice between chicken, prawn and Lily’s kitchen cat food.

Paw Seasons

This is precisely the sort of service one can expect from the Paw Seasons, a luxury cattery in West Yorkshire. With a full spa program, al la carte menu (I’m not joking. Why would I be joking about an al la carte menu for cats) and a plethora of incredible rooms, your cat is sure to return accustomed to an entirely different standard of living. Good luck with maintaining that.

With rooms from £20 a night for one guest up to £45 for four guests. A larger family suite is also avaliable. Visit www.paw-seasons.com for more details. 


“The only fedora I’ll be buying is an Indiana Jones replica one”

Beverley Edmondson_269969051_487663872

With Cheltenham around the corner, our Luxury Editor has picked five fedoras to top off your look in this week’s issue of Country Life magazine. I like this one. It’s fedorable.

Beverley Edmonson Burgubdy-felt tribly embellished with pheasant feathers, £180, www.beverleyedmondsonmillinery.co.uk


Time for wine

2016 muscat

Wine expert Harry Eyres calls this vintage “flowery and lemony on the nose” with a “beautiful vivacity and freshness”. Just the sort of wine we’re looking for as we wave goodbye to the pseudo-summer we’ve experienced this February.

Muscat Grand Cru Goldert 2016 (£18.50 IB) from www.laywheeler.com.


If you purchased our entire list this week you would have spent £880.45 and would own exactly one metre of beautiful net curtain.