sunday circular

10 Things That Delighted Us Last Week: From Sheepskin Slippers to Skin Care

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

We write about hundreds of products a week. Here, in our version of the Sunday circular, we’ve plucked out some of our favourites — 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 cozy suede and lambskin moccasin slippers, and a sob-proof mascara. And if you want even more Strategist stories sent straight to your inbox, sign up for our email newsletter.)

A teething-proof toy

Our Christmas gift guide for every type of mum includes presents for sporty mums, bookish mums, and brand-new mums. This Kidly toy comes recommended by Strategist UK contributor and founder of parenting newsletter the Little Things, Ellen Wallwork. Sophie is a toy for babies who are teething — and Wallwork said there was a time where she wouldn’t dream of leaving home without the giraffe stowed safely in her little one’s pram. “They’re designed to be held by the tiniest of hands,” she says. “Plus, newborns are drawn to faces, so even before they can hold these for themselves, they’ll love to look at them.”

Some cozy lambswool slippers

As Christmas approaches, we’ve also got shopping for hard-to-buy-for dads covered. No matter if he’s an outdoorsy type, or prefers to relax in front of the telly, these moccasin slippers are sure to delight. Made of suede, with a plush lining of lambswool, they’re ideal for padding around the house at the end of a long day. The slippers are available in five colours, from tan to navy, but the charcoal grey has proven very popular with reviewers (who’ve given the slippers a stellar average rating of 4.5 stars).

A drag queen’s tried-and-tested toner

Farrah Moan, RuPaul’s Drag Race season-nine contestant, is known as somewhat of a skin-care guru amongst the drag community. She spoke to us about the skin-care products that she’s recommended to over a dozen queens, from cleansers and acids, to this watermelon toner. “I honestly recommend the toner to everyone, but specifically to people that complain about the texture of their skin,” she said. “Your makeup doesn’t apply seamlessly if your skin is rough, so proper skin maintenance is the key to good makeup.” Moan praises the toner as a suitable option for those prone to over-exfoliating, due to its hydrating properties. “Over time, I’ve noticed a drastic improvement in the texture of the skin on my face and neck. I’ve heard similar feedback from people whom I’ve recommended this to,” she adds.

And a Drag Race winner’s favourite pigment

And if your gift list is a little more specific, we spoke to several UK-based drag queens about their favourite items, as well as queens such as Katya and Lawrence Chaney (winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season two). Chaney told us that they simply can’t live without this chrome-y MAC pigment. “Basically, this is my favourite makeup product ever. That’s a bold statement to make as a drag queen.” Chaney says. “It’s perfect for cutting your crease, especially if you’re in a rush and you’re slapping your makeup on.” The pigment (currently on sale) is responsible for Chaney’s most iconic looks, including their book cover, and their season-finale makeup.

A multitasking frother

If you’re shopping on a budget this Christmas, we’ve got plenty of inexpensive gift guides. This CAVN milk frother, for example, was included in our roundup of 29 gifts for under £20. As well as frothing milk for coffee, it can be used to mix milkshakes, cocktails, and even whisk eggs. We think its versatility would make it a great gift for any type of loved one, whether they’re a baker, or a coffee-enthusiast. Many fellow coffee-loving reviewers have reported that the handheld frother is much easier to clean than the built-in versions of many coffee machines. It also comes with 16 coffee-stencils, so your loved one can perfect their at home latte art.

A hot sauce with a tropical twist

For smaller budgets, our 32 gifts for under £10 includes tea infusers, massage balls, and this flavoursome hot sauce. The heartbeat pineapple habanero sauce is an ideal gift for fans of Hot Ones (it has even been featured on the show). So, if you have a boyfriend that boasts he could out-Scoville any guest on the show, why not (lovingly) put him to the test?

A teeny-tiny coin purse

Of all of our finds in our story on gifts under £5 (from dachshund ice cube trays to bean sprout bookmarks), this teeny-tiny Ikea coin purse caught our eye. Equipped with a zip and carabiner, it’s perfect for stashing small essentials, such as AirPods or keys. We think it would make a great gift for a brother who can be a bit of a scatter-brain, or perhaps a sister that’s always losing her lipstick on a night out.

A weep-proof mascara

When we spoke to 11 makeup artists and beauty influencers about their favourite mascaras, two of them were firm believers in L’Oréal’s Voluminous. Available in black, brown, and even green and blue (if you’re feeling adventurous), the mascara is thoroughly waterproof. “I use it on everyone when there’s even a remote possibility of tears, like weddings,” says makeup artist Amanda Shackleton. Fellow makeup artist Amy Marie Wilson said that she finds the “inexpensive” mascara “lasts all day, and doesn’t transfer.” Read our expert guide here for more suggestions, including clump-proof and lengthening mascaras.

A board game for all the family

Herd Mentality

We asked ten experts (including board game designers and reviewers) for some fresh board game recommendations. Peter Jenkinson, CEO at Toyology, told us about Herd Mentality. The aim of the game is to “think like the herd.” A question is read out and everyone writes down their answer: If no one’s answer matches yours, then you get handed the angry pink cow, and your herd is useless until you can pass it on to another player. Whilst intended for groups of four to ten players, Jenkinson says even larger groups can enjoy the game. “We played it one Christmas with probably 20 of us around the dinner table”, he says. “We all really enjoyed it — even my wife, who is not a massive games fan.”

And a peaceful candle


If you’re shopping for a loved one who is into tarot this Christmas, we had a peek at nine professional tarot readers’ own wishlists. When we reached out to the Zen Shop’s Kate Chandler, she told us about the chakra candle that she loves (and frequently sells out of). “It makes a great addition to any reader’s space, even if they don’t work with the chakras and just love it for its spectrum of colour”, Chandler says. The candle burns for 100 hours (or “260 moments of inner peace,” according to the Zen shop). An added bonus: The oils that the candle is composed of are sourced ethically, from purely recycled or natural ingredients.

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.

10 Things That Delighted Us Last Week: Slippers to Skin Care