sunday circular

9 Things That Delighted Us Last Week: From Exercise Bikes to Board Games

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 the vast online-shopping universe this past week, including a new entry on our list of readers’ most-bought products, a charmingly designed board game, and a vegetarian-friendly cookbook. And if you want even more Strategist stories sent straight to your inbox, sign up for our email newsletter.

A DJ’s favourite preshow wine

When we spoke to Snoochie Shy about the things she can’t live without, she told us about this Jamaican tonic wine. “It’s not the sort of thing I’d have for pre-drinks, but I like to have a bottle before I do my radio show,” says Shy. “Not every night, but just to keep it lit.”

The 16 percent wine has a cherryish taste (but doesn’t contain cherries) and a consistency Shy compares to cough syrup. “I love it so much I named my cat after it,” she says.

Our reader’s favourite tracker

£20

This month, the Tile Mate made its first appearance in our reader’s most-bought column. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a small Bluetooth tracker that helps you find your missing items by both ringing and via the “Find” feature on the Tile Mate app. And while it’s the first time the Tile Mate was included on our most-bought list, we’ve featured it plenty before on the site (including in the Strategist 100).

A charmingly designed board game

Nice Buns
£22
£22

We’re huge fans of board games at the Strategist, and this week, intern Lucy Carr put us on to a new favourite. Drawn to the cutesy dumplings on the box, Carr purchased Nice Buns to play with her housemates, and it quickly became one of their most played games. “The aim is to be the first person to fill your ‘plate’ with three sets of different-coloured bao buns,” says Carr. “This involves rolling three separate dice and picking up, swapping, and stealing buns from other players all while trying to avoid the grey fish-head buns.” Carr says the “super-fun” game can be played in half an hour — ideal for those who, like her, “can never quite make it through a full game of Monopoly”.

A vegetarian cookbook (and memoir)

Photo: retailer

Chef and author Amy Chaplin brought this deeply personal collection from Heidi Swanson to our attention. “When looking through a cookbook, I want to be transported — whether it be into someone else’s kitchen or to another place entirely,” she says. “Near & Far does both.” The book includes pictures, memoirs, and recipes from Swanson’s travels across Morocco, Japan, Italy, France, and India. Chaplin says that, as a cook, Swanson has wholeheartedly earned her trust: “I know her recipes work and will strike the right balance between decadence and health,” she affirmed.

A liquid-free face wash

Our beauty columnist Rio Viera-Newton was December’sEmpty!” columnist. As well as a face oil favoured by Gwyneth Paltrow and a cult sunscreen, Viera-Newton emptied out this Holifrog Sacred C Powder Wash. Products rich in vitamin C help skin appear more radiant and brighten marks caused by hyperpigmentation. She says that in the past, she has purchased “a fancy vitamin-C serum” only to find it “had turned dark orange and expired after a month”. Holifrog’s liquid-free formula meant the product had a much longer shelf life. “I’ve had this powder in my medicine cabinet for over a year and only just finished it up recently,” she says.

An easy way to prune your plants

After adopting an “impressive statuesque” rubber tree last year, columnist Sonya Patel Ellis thought some plant “future-proofing” was necessary. This included “removing discoloured leaves and directing away from lopsided growth” via pruning. To prune, Patel Ellis uses an “RHS-endorsed, wood-handled, high-carbon-steel classic pruning knife with a pronounced curve to ensure each cut is completed in one pass”. She advises sterilising the knife between uses to prevent “cross-infection” from other plants. With some simple pruning and propagating, she is able to make sure her plant won’t grow to hit the ceiling or sport any straggly branches.

An effective de-wrinkler

Contributor Sandy Yu was ironing-board avoidant, so she decided to invest in a handheld steamer to smooth out her clothes. “I never thought I’d be the person to say this”, admits Yu, “but it is a pleasure to use”. With a lengthy cord and a water tank that lasts “even when steaming ten items at a time”, Yu says the steamer is exceedingly easy to master, and even the silkiest of fabrics need only a few puffs of steam to de-wrinkle.

A highly rated exercise bike

Urevo Kardio E1 Exercise Bike
£195
£195

As we scoured Amazon to find the best home-exercise bikes (according to reviewers), we uncovered this lightweight option from Urevo. It has a ten-kilogram flywheel, half the weight of the average bike on our roundup. The bike has an impressive rating of 4.8 stars from 374 reviews, having been rated four stars or above by 95 percent of its owners. One customer says that despite being lightweight enough to move and store, the flywheel still offers a challenging level of resistance.

And some allergy-friendly eye cream

When we reached out to experts about the best eye creams, consultant dermatologist Hiva Fassihi recommended this La Roche-Posay cream as the best choice for those with sensitive skin. “Sometimes using an eye cream that’s too heavy can cause puffiness, so I always recommend Toleriane Ultra Eye Cream from La Roche-Posay as a tiny amount around the eyes is perfectly hydrating and can help to soothe eyes suffering in the heat or due to allergies,” she says. The cream is favoured by Strategist senior audience-development manager Rosie Percy, who used it to calm an uncomfortable allergic reaction around her eyes. She says that after just “​​two days of applying morning and night”, she found that “the irritation had almost completely disappeared”. The cream also has the seal of approval from Allergy UK, meaning it’s suitable for eczema sufferers.

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.

9 Things That Delighted Us Last Week