We write about hundreds of products a week. Here, in our version of the Sunday circular, we’ve plucked out some of our favorites — expert-recommended essentials, life-changing stuff you didn’t know you needed, newly launched gizmos, and the very good deals we uncovered while trawling through the vast online-shopping universe this past week, including some cut-price cashmere, noise-reducing earphones, and a Glossier pick-n-mix. (And if you want even more Strategist stories sent straight to your inbox, sign up for our email newsletter.)
A stylish back to school backpack
September is in full swing, and back-to-school season calls for a suitable backpack. When we investigated the best-reviewed backpacks on Amazon, this Kanken was very popular (it had over 10,000 reviews). With a 16-litre capacity, the bag is suited to carrying larger items such as laptops, lunch bags and, crucially, the library-essential Chilly’s water bottle. Reviewers also credited the built-in tote-bag handles for helping to alleviate the burden of a heavy book bag. You can pick it up in colours including royal blue and forest green.
A (long-awaited) perfectly giftable read
The debut publication by the writer, director, and star of the BAFTA-winning series I May Destroy You made its long-awaited release this week. Coel calls it a personal-growth “manifesto.” We think it’s suitable for a sister who’s a Chewing Gum fan (or simply a fan of a good read) — but it’s an especially good gift for sisters who are not opposed to loaning out their books once they’re finished.
Uniqlo is one of our favourite places to stock up on basics — like this expert-recommended cashmere crew neck. Anthony Gormley Studio coordinator Elena Davidson says, “I still regularly wear a dusty-pink round-neck jumper I bought six years ago that I pair with my Acne scarf for lockdown walks, or with jeans to work — it’s supersoft and long-lasting.” As part of the Uniqlo cashmere sale, it’s now 25 percent off in shades including pink, off-white, and a classic beige. While there’s plenty of stock available in the smaller sizes (XXS-M) of each colour, the larger sizes (L-XXL) are selling fast, so get a wiggle on.
An author’s favourite moisturiser
“This moisturiser is imported from Italy and provides a youthful glow and even complexion for my fairer skin,” says author Shon Faye of her Beauty Pie Sheer Tinted SPF. She discovered the tinted moisturiser after signing up to Beauty Pie during lockdown, and says she’s “largely abandoned foundation” as a result. The Healthy Skin product is oil-free and available in the shades “fair” to “deep,” and joins 12 others in our list of the Best Tinted Moisturisers.
An enthusiastically recommended rug
In our roundup of hyperenthusiastically reviewed rugs on Amazon, nearly 2,000 reviewers recommended this vibrant option. The pattern blends pinks, blues, and yellow hues (which are actually a little brighter than pictured according to reviewers). Reviewers also say that the five available sizes — including a runner option — offer incredible value for money. A note for pet-lovers, one customer — the proud parent to four dogs and one cat — reported that the rug, which feels delightfully soft to the touch, cleans up surprisingly well.
A Le Creuset Dupe
For brothers who think they could score a 10 on Come Dine With Me, or perhaps for those who simply linger at the Bicester Village Le Creuset a little too long, we spied this enameled cast iron pot. It’s a Le Creuset dupe, available in a range of sizes — from four litres to seven litres. There’s also a choice of four colours available too, we particularly like this tasteful off-white.
A Skin-Care Pick-n-mix
Freelance beauty journalist Vanese Maddix calls Glossier’s Skincare edit an ideal gift for skin-care beginners. “For someone ready to start a skin-care routine, you really can’t go wrong with this set. No one can resist snapping a picture of the chic packaging, either.” Including a generous edit of Glossier best-sellers — including the Milky Jelly Cleanser and Balm Dotcom — the gift provides an introduction to the fundamentals of skin care. It also comes with a cute headband which, according to Maddix, you simply “can’t find anywhere else.”
An AirPod Alternative
Anker is one of our go-to brands when it comes to electronics, so we weren’t surprised to discover that in addition to chargers and speakers, they make exceptional earphones. Reviewers reported that the Anker Soundcores hold-up against Apple, Beats, and Jabra earphones in both their battery life and noise quality (despite being a fraction of the price). The earphones are available in a choice of white, black or mint, and their rubber nibs actually help to block outside noise, a feature only available in the higher-end AirPod Pro and Max AirPod. It’s perhaps this extra feature that’s allowed them to prove so popular on Amazon — they have over 85,000 reviews.
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.