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 gin infused with tea leaves, a raincoat with wiggle room, and a selection box of signature scents. And if you want even more Strategist stories sent straight to your inbox, sign up for our email newsletter.
A Scandinavian raincoat
A stylish raincoat is a wardrobe essential for anyone living in the UK, so we asked ten well-dressed women where they picked up their favourite. Strategist writer Dominique Pariso told us about her raincoat from Stutterheim, which she purchased during a trip to Scandinavia. Instead of opting for Stutterhiem’s classic option, Pariso gravitated towards the Moseback. “The sweetest store attendant I have ever met said he found it better for ‘women with shape,’” she recalls. “I agree. The slight A-line flare leaves some much-appreciated wiggle room.” The coat is available in a variety of colours, including Pariso’s favoured camel (and her lusted-after sky blue).
A perfume discovery set
As February 14 approaches, we combed through our directory of 101 Black-owned British businesses to find a gift for every type of valentine. This Discovery Set from perfume brand Maya Njie contains five glass vials filled with (100 percent vegan) perfumes, allowing recipients to identify which scent they’re most fond of. There’s an option to buy an accompanying gift card so your valentine can purchase the bottle they liked most.
A small-batch gin
We also scoured our directory of 37 ESEA-owned British businesses and came across this oolong-flavoured gin from the London-based restaurant BAO. Part of a “BAOCYCLED” initiative, the gin (in collaboration with Victory London Distillery) reuses Bao’s leftover Oolong tea leaves to ensure they don’t go to waste. We think it would make a great gift for the valentine who has outgrown pink (or parma-violet) gin.
A SAD lamp approved by mental-health experts
According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, three in every 100 people in the UK suffer from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Some with SAD may wish to try light therapy, which involves facing a lamp designed to mimic sunlight. We spoke to five mental-health experts about which lamps were most suitable, and their recommendations included this Beurer lamp. In addition to a SAD-therapy setting, it has an Active setting (emitting 5,000 lux, intended to energise users) and a Relax setting (emitting 3,000 lux, intended to help users unwind). The lamp also has a foldout stand, so it can be safely perched in various places across the home.
A renowned (and reasonably priced) cast-iron pot
When we asked nine cooking experts about where to shop for the best cast-iron pot, six of them recommended Le Creuset. “It’s a market leader for a reason,” said James Cochran, owner and head chef at 12:51. Paul Leonard, head chef at the Michelin-starred Forest Side in Cumbria, agreed: “The range is just so consistent — you know exactly the quality you’re going to get every time.” The Le Creuset signature pot, which Leonard says comes with a lifetime guarantee, is currently on sale at £150 (over a 30 percent reduction). But don’t dillydally; this offer could end at any time.
An economical airer
When contributor Catherine Renton was having trouble drying her laundry with no tumble dryer, she decided to purchase a well-reviewed heated airer from Lakeland. “It was love at first load,” she said. “When I loaded my first batch of washing onto the airer, I was skeptical, but four hours later my washing was dry.” After telling her friends of the airer’s brilliance and its cheapness per hour to run (just 4p), ten of them decided to invest in one of their own. Despite having now moved to a house with its own outdoor drying space, Renton says she still uses the airer three times a week because “unlike the weather, the Dry:Soon is reliably warm.”
Some draughtproof thermal leggings
During a chilly trip to Paris and a winter working in her draughty flat, Strategist UK’s audience-development manager Rosie Percy relied on these as-good-as-Uniqlo thermals. Percy said they are “supersoft” and don’t look like thermals at all: “At a glance, they just look like the activewear you’d schlep about in at home.” Whilst Percy says the leggings aren’t opaque enough to be worn alone, she layers them under jeans or loungewear for an added bit of warmth. For more suggestions on thermals for women, read our guide here.
A spalike bath pillow
“Simply put, I’m never sure what to do with my head when I take a bath,” admits Strategist contributor Chelsey Pippin. “The headrest of my tub is jammed against my sink column, meaning that if I lean back even a little in the bath, I hit my head on the sink basin.” When Pippin came across a well-reviewed bath pillow courtesy of Amazon’s algorithm, she decided to give it a go. With its support for both the neck and shoulders and a memory-foam-like feel, Pippin said she finally felt relaxed in her own tub. “I’m officially a bath convert,” she says. “I take a couple a month.”
And a handmade latex bodysuit
As latexwear becomes increasingly mainstream, we reached out to experts — including the team behind Billie Eilish’s British Vogue cover — about where to shop for the material. Simone Beyene, a celebrity stylist whose clients include the pop star Mabel, told us about the young latex brand Studio FCLX. “They’re doing super-interesting things that I haven’t seen the likes of elsewhere,” she says. Beyene is a fan of the brand’s bodysuits, which she recommends pairing with high-waisted trousers for an edgy look. For more information on both selecting and caring for latexwear, read our beginner’s guide here.
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.