15 items from the Durham University shop you didn’t know you needed until now

Official Durham University flip flops? Add to basket.

For anyone who’s not yet paid it a visit, the official Durham University online shop is truly the gift that keeps on giving. As someone who was meant to have graduated this summer, the University very kindly offered me (along with my fellow graduands) a discount to their store. Not one to pass up on a bargain, I of course got myself straight on there.

Granted, much of its stock is exactly what you’d expect: a set of cufflinks, a diary- even a teddy bear (whose name is Toffee). However, for those of you who like to break the occasional style boundary, fear not- the uni’s got you covered. They’ll even deliver your order to the Waterstones on Saddler Street free of charge. What’s not to love?

I must confess, this write up started as a “Top 10” list, but there were just too many contenders for me to be able to narrow it down quite that much. In my humble opinion, whoever wrote some of these product descriptions deserves an instant promotion.

1. The Durham University signet ring

Yes, it’s £300, and yes, it looks stupid, but I’ll be completely honest and say that if my bank balance was a bit (ok, a lot) higher, I’d 100% buy one of these, purely because of how ridiculous it is. Believe it or not, it’s currently out of stock, too.

Cost: £300, but for an extra £38, they’ll engrave it for you

What the product description says: “The first ring ever to be produced by Durham University, this traditional signet ring is incredibly special. Tactile, tasteful, and with reassuring weight, the face measures 12mm across and has the original University seal beautifully carved in relief”.

2. Durham University flip flops

What a cruel twist of fate that I should find out about the Durham University flip flops now: the one summer where my chances of being on the beach and flaunting these bad boys have been completely scuppered. They’d have really complemented my swimwear too.

Cost: £1. Yes, just one British pound (reduced from £8.50)

What the product description says: “These flip flops must be the bargain of the century! Wear them around and about for lovely cool toes, wear them in the shower, better yet, take them to the beach. If you walk on the sand the clever design leaves ‘Durham University’ imprinted in your footsteps”.

3. The leather hip flask

Imagine being in Klute, getting caught bringing your own drinks in by the bouncer, and being asked to hand them over, only to produce this. Frankly, I’d almost be willing them on to kick you out.

Cost: £35

What the product description says: “Super-smart and very on-trend, our hip flask comes in a dapper presentation box and makes an excellent gift. Stainless steel and black leather with a discreet Durham University crest in palatinate enamel, this flask has a screw cap with hinge fastening… and a generous 4 oz capacity”.

4. Tea towel with Durham University logo

Washing the dishes just got a million times wilder. Perfect for any home whose kitchen units are Palatinate purple. I bet it’s so soft.

Cost: £6 (currently reduced from £8)

What the product description says: “Distinctive Palatinate purple, with the Durham University logo in crisp white, and the mission statement ‘Shaped By The Past – Creating The Future’ boldly displayed – this is no ordinary tea towel”.

5. Durham University poncho

Just in case the mini umbrella or the golf umbrella are a little out of your price point, there’s always the option of the really dashing poncho- or as I like to call it, glorified bin bag. Its product description does warn that it is “one size, and probably one use”.

Cost: £3

What the product description says: “The great British weather – if you don’t like it, hang about for five minutes and it’ll change! Believe it or not, it is possible to out-smart the weather Gods. This handy-dandy waterproof poncho comes in a seriously small packet, so you’ll always have room for one in you bag, or even just your pocket. Better yet, it has the Durham University logo on the back, so everyone who’s just standing around getting precipitated on will know how clever you are!”

6. Hatfield College ceramic wine goblet

Whilst every college does have its own section on the website, only Hatfield’s offers quite so wide a selection of drinking vessels. They’ve got mugs, tankards and espresso cups, to name but a few. Oh, and if the speckled blue wine goblet doesn’t quite do it for you, it also comes in navy.

Cost: £7

What the product description says: “As you would expect, Hatfield have gone over and above and commissioned a stunning range of hand-thrown ceramics, all with the Hatfield crest – display them with pride!

“This particular piece is a splendid wine goblet with a pale blue speckled glaze – what are you waiting for? Get quaffing! Please quaff responsibly”.

7. A silver plated letter opener

I kid you not, the only mail I’ve received in my entire time at Durham is my Tesco clubcard vouchers, and reminders to register to vote. Maybe a £2 off when you spend £20 on groceries coupon would feel more special with one of these, but equally, I’m happy to go the rest of my life tearing envelopes open with my bare hands like an animal.

Cost: £28

What the product description says: “In this age of electronic communication, receiving written correspondence by post seems rather more special. After all, it takes effort and though to personally pen something. It seems more meaningful, romantic even. So imagine, an envelope (that isn’t brown), addressed by an actual human, lands on your doormat – what are you going to do?

“You could, of course, tear it open with your hands like some ordinary person, but why risk a paper-cut? One of these stylish letter openers will do the job with aplomb and you will achieve the sort of post-opening nonchalance that will be the envy of all who witness it”.

8. Durham University shot glass

I honestly don’t know what I would do if somebody rocked up to pre-drinks with one of these. I’d be so startled. Of all the things on this list, it’s probably the one I’d be most likely to use, but I’d never admit to having actually paid for it.

Cost: £10 (reduced from £20)

What the product description says: “This is such a lovely little thing. Made from beautifully crafted glass with the distinctive Durham University logo engraved on one side, it has an amazingly tactile quality and sits so comfortably in the hand”.

9.The Hild Bede Christmas CD

Before clicking on this, I naïvely thought the Hild Bede choir might have been treating us to a touch of Mariah, maybe some Wham, possibly even a bit of Shakin’ Stevens. Sadly, it’s not quite that sort of Christmas CD, but it does promise a lovely selection of hymns. I do query why it’s still for sale in the peak of summer though- anyone getting festive right now need never talk to me ever again.

Cost: £10

What the product description says: “From the fine acoustic of Bede Chapel in Durham, this sublime Christmas track-list, which alternates between the beautiful choral a cappella to some of the finest, organ filled carols, provides the perfect festive gift for friends and relatives”.

10. The Durham University Babygro

Kudos to Durham’s marketing team for the foresight, clearly they’re looking to entice their next generation of students as early as they possibly can. If ever I end up having children, let me assure you right now: they’ll be going straight from the womb into one of these. Their first words will be “personal statement”, and their first solid food will be my homemade version of college potatoes. Obviously.

Cost: £6 (down from £13)

What the product description says: “This soft and cosy babygro is made from 100% fairtrade certified African cotton – ethically made and responsibly produced – so your future Durham graduate can snuggle up in comfort and style!”

11. Wellies with Durham University logo

I genuinely can’t remember the last time I wore wellies. Maybe if I had these ones, I’d wear them all the time- even to seminars. Or Jimmy’s. To be fair, they’d be quite useful protection against whatever’s on the floors of some of Durham’s clubs.

Cost: £15 (currently half price)

What the product description says: “Sun or shine, make a splash whatever the weather and stand out from the crowd in our University purple glossy wellies. Great for avoiding the mud at festivals or walking to lectures in the snow; the perfect accessory for any student or alumni wanting to show off their Durham pride”.

12. Wee dram set

Maybe I’m just really uncultured, but I’ve never needed a wee dram set in my life. That said, from the product name alone, I feel like I’ve been immediately transported into Scotland, so that’s nice I guess?

Cost: £40

What the product description says: “The Wee Dram Set – aptly named – small but perfectly formed. This beautiful set is expressly designed to allow you to share a tot of your favourite nectar with someone special”.

13. “I heart Durham University” bumper sticker 

It’s a good job I don’t drive, because if I was seen cutting about back home in Birmingham with one of these on my vehicle, I guarantee someone would crash into me just so that it’d get taken off the road. And you know what? I’d probably thank them. That said, they’re only £1, so if any of my friends want one of these, hit me up and I’ll add it to your next birthday gift.

Cost: £1

What the product description says: “Shout it from the rooftops! Let the world know! Declare your love loud and proud with this Durham University bumper sticker. Go on – spread the love!”

14. The Durham baby hat 

That’s right, we’re corrupting the youth once again. Nothing pushes an infant towards a life of academic rigour more than a hat with their future alma mater on it. There’s also one in pink.

Cost: £8

What the product description says: “Ethically made and responsibly produced – your future Durham graduate can snuggle up in comfort and style!”

15. A £50 gift voucher for the Durham University shop

I get it, you’re spoiled for choice, you don’t know which colour beanie hat your loved one will appreciate most. Worry not- with a £50 gift voucher, you can give them the freedom to select their own gifts. If they clubbed together with five other friends, they could own 1/6 of a signet ring!

Cost: £50

What the product description says: “This gift voucher gives you, or someone close to you, £50 to spend online on our Official Durham University website”.