celebrity shopping

What Rankin Can’t Live Without

Photo: Courtesy the retailer

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair, but the hand sanitiser and the electric toothbrush. We asked British photographer and Hunger editor Rankin about the dog-walking wellies, cult candle, and audiobook he can’t live without.

I have four dogs — two whippets, a lurcher, and a mutt with three legs that we adopted from Spain — so we’re walking on the Heath every day, which means I needed some seriously good wellies. But it took me so long to find these ones — I went through six pairs, one after the other, and none of them were right. These are fairly well known in the farming community, and the thing that’s great about them is the technology. The rubber welly part goes up to your shin, and from there the material is softer, but the whole thing is still waterproof. That means they’re a lot easier to get on and off and you don’t encounter that common welly problem of the rubber ripping at the bend. I’ve had these two years now, and they’re good as new.

I’ve been traveling for work for 25 years now. And I really endeavored to find the right suitcase for ages, especially one you can take onboard. The Samsonite is super-light and really durable — you can knock them against everything and they really don’t break at all. And they’re so easy to get your stuff in and out of, which is particularly useful when you’re going through security or border checks a lot. I took mine on a trip to Miami last Friday, then Costa Rica on Saturday, then Portugal on Monday, and then back to London on Thursday. And then to Kent on Friday.

I got into audiobooks when my son was 3 or 4 years old. I always listen to an hour of an audiobook when I walk the dogs in the morning and also before I go to bed at night. You can set them to turn off after a certain period, so I often fall asleep to, and wake up to, whatever I’m listening to, which certainly makes for interesting dreams. They’ve also been great for periods of insomnia. At the moment I’m listening to Black Box Thinking, by Matthew Syed. It’s about cognitive dissonance, or the idea that the way to improve things is to make mistakes and learn from them. With air travel, the black box tells you what went wrong when a plane crashes, and that’s often how they learn. The conceit is that everything — medicine, business, finances, even pottery — is improved when we learn from our mistakes.

[Editor’s note: And may we suggest something to listen to audiobooks on.]

The Contax is not a very well-known camera, but it’s the sort of one that professionals will use as their ‘fun’ camera. The quality is great, and the autofocus on it is amazing. It’s a tiny point-and-shoot camera, with a great lens, and the flash is fantastic. My wife, who doesn’t really take pictures, absolutely loves it, so it’s kind of become a little staple for our life. If you can afford, it I would really recommend you take photographs where you have to get them processed, because you will have at a lot fewer preconceptions about what you’re doing. You know, a bit more relaxed, because you’re not going to see it till later, and the picture is always better when you’re relaxed like that. Even the bad pictures you take on this are going to be pretty good.

This is more of a weekend perfume for me — when I’m going out for dinner, or attending a party. My wife got it for me last Christmas, and I just love the smell. They have different scents, but this is the titular one. I don’t even know how to describe the scent other than it’s like nothing else. Most people wear the same sort of derivative, high-street perfume, and I’m by no means a snob, but I like something distinct. Something that nobody else would have. My wife’s best friend told her about it, and now I’m telling you. I love a small, personalised brand that feels special to me. [Editor’s note: This scent is sold out but available for preorder.]

I started using the Apple Mac Plus in 1987, and I have to say I’ve never used anything else. I live and die by this laptop. I’ve dropped this laptop. It’s fallen off tables and other surfaces, and it’s been fine. In fact, the only time I’ve broken one was when one accidentally slipped into a bucket of ice water I had nearby that was keeping a bottle of wine cold. I like the space-grey one, it looks cool, and it’s a great piece of design — I absolutely draw the line at putting stickers on laptops. I used to like stickers when I was a child.

I have tried every single candle. And when I say every one? I mean really, really, truly, I have tried every candle you can think of. Researched them. Smelled them. And this is by far the best. They’re the most long-lasting, and they stay fragrant in the room for the longest too. They also do these really lovely matte-black candleholders as well, and I love black, so it goes really well with my own space. This is one of only three candles that I like, so we tend to stick to it. I don’t step out my comfort zone with candles.

The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

What Rankin Can’t Live Without