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 versatile bra for smaller breasts, an unusual Valentine’s card, and some very giftable roller skates. And if you want even more Strategist stories sent straight to your inbox, sign up for our email newsletter.
A singer’s favourite bra
This week, singer Corinne Bailey Rae told us about her go-to bra. According to Rae, the bra (from Yasmine Eslami) is the most “feminine” and versatile option for women who, like her, have a flatter chest. “Each bra is gorgeous and comes in all different colours,” she says. “I’m breastfeeding right now, and I still wear them.” She added, “It’s this little little secret for women with small boobs.”
A pair of retro roller skates
Our gift guide of the 51 best 30th-birthday gifts includes options for friends that have acted 30 since they were 13 or friends that are still 13 at heart (like these roller skates). The quad skates (which are available in black or white) would make a great gift for a friend that’s found themselves deep in the roller-skating TikTok.
A refillable planner
We spoke to 12 seasoned journalers — including an author and a fashion designer — about the best planners, diaries, and notebooks that they use to organise their lives. Chelsey Pippin, Strategist contributor and founder of Pip Cards Tarot, says, “I used to be a chronic journal buyer always looking for the right system, which usually just led me to feeling overwhelmed and becoming a chronic journal abandoner.” This changed when she discovered the Newestor refillable traveller’s notebook, which is made up of various inserts (up to five). Pippin says that this allows “separate but connected” places to jot down work to-dos, writing ideas, grocery lists, and even a journal. She enjoys how inserts can be replaced one at a time, as opposed to having to start a brand-new diary from scratch. “When I remove the perfectionism I associate with fancy new notebooks, journaling just becomes another manageable habit in my day,” she says.
A pop-up Valentine’s card
If you’ve exhausted every personalisable MoonPig card imaginable in previous years, fear not. We’ve rounded up oodles of tasteful Valentine’s Day cards. As well as punny and artful cards, we’re fans of 3-D options, such as this pop-up Typewriter card. We like that the declaration of love displayed on the typewriter includes a full stop, to satisfy the most pedantic of valentines.
A Strategist-approved pen
If your valentine is the type that spends 45 minutes scanning the shelves in Ryman’s for the perfect nib width, he might appreciate this Caran d’Ache collaboration with Paul Smith. When we tested the pen for our exhaustive guide to the 87 best pens, we particularly liked that it was accompanied by a sleek metallic case and felt especially comfortable in the hand.
A bug-themed board game
For the girlfriend that loves to host a games night, we recommend Hive Pocket. Players use a number of tiles to capture one another’s queen bees. With each tile possessing different abilities, the game is chesslike, albeit with a bug-themed twist. You can read more of our board-game coverage here.
A bespoke board game
Our last piece of Valentine’s coverage this week saw us hunting for the cheapest (but nicest) gifts from the most expensive brands. Another board game, this time from Mulberry, caught our eye. In addition to usual locations, Mulberry has added its favourite spots in London for culture, entertainment, and shopping. Players can even trot the board as a Mulberry Bayswater, instead of the usual boot and top-hat pieces.
An innovative espresso brewer
To add to our ever-expanding coffee coverage (from the best coffee-themed gifts to the best coffee grinders), this week we asked experts about the best at-home coffee makers. Dan from Climpson & Sons strongly recommended the 9Barista, a stovetop coffee maker for espresso (designed by a jet engineer). Dan says that the machine, which is both “innovative” and “aesthetically pleasing,” has revolutionised old-school brewing products, such as the Moka Pot. “Where the Moka Pot arguably produces watery, burnt coffee, the 9Barista performs like an actual espresso machine,” he says. Finally, the 9Barista also ensures that water is kept at the right temperature — meaning you won’t have to keep your eyes and ears on the stovetop, keenly waiting for the telling gurgle.
And some thoroughly researched, noise-cancelling headphones
A short while ago, a reader reached out to ask for our help in finding them a “pair of noise-cancelling headphones, specifically a pair for under £200.” Strategist writer Chris Mandle set to work, spending several weeks snooping online, wading through Strategist archives, and reaching out to experts. Whilst Mandle found various options, his most suitable find was this pair from Sony. According to Obi and Uche Ebele, better known as the production duo Da Beatfreakz, “Even though these headphones are made for noise-cancelling, they still receive great quality sound.”
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.