sunday circular

9 Things That Delighted Us Last Week: From Banana Stands to Bath Soaks

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 some kind-to-skin foundation, an Instagram-famous apron, and a bath soak that smells like the forest. And if you want even more Strategist stories sent straight to your inbox, sign up for our email newsletter.

A year-round foundation

When we chatted to Bridgerton’s Adjoa Andoh about her favourite things, she told us about her go-to foundation from Clinique. “The colour and the consistency hold brilliantly on my skin,” Andoh says. “I don’t have to keep touching up my foundation throughout the day, which I hate.” Andoh compares the shade (“Golden”) to a chameleon, remarking that it moves with her if she’s “a bit darker or a bit lighter, depending on the time of year.” She also says it’s kind to her skin, an essential when “you’re wearing it every day for months.”

An extensively tested pen

This Stabilo pen has become a reader’s favourite — it’s featured in the most-bought items from the site for two months in a row. It’s also a favourite of Strategist editors, taking the top spot in our list of 87 tried-and-tested pens. Despite its minute 0.4-mm. nib, the pen doesn’t leave writing looking scratchy but, rather, smooth. Staff writer Chris Mandle found that the pen’s hexagonal barrel fit comfortably in his hand. He likes to use it for scrawling notes in meetings and writing greetings in birthday cards.

A hen-party icebreaker

For a hen party two years in the making (thanks to COVID), Strategist senior-audience-development manager — and maid of honour — Rosie Percy packed this bingo party game. Groups from three to 30 split into teams in order to answer questions about the bride-to-be. “It was funny, non-offensive enough to play with family members,” Percy explains. “I initially bought it as a bit of a filler task for the afternoon, but we ended up playing it multiple times.”

An investigative quest to find Florence Pugh’s apron

Charmed by Florence Pugh’s “Cooking with Flo” series on Instagram, writer Rachael Griffiths tried to sleuth exactly where Pugh bought her pinnies. What resulted was a quest through a “spine-chilling number of open tabs” in order to source Pugh’s exact “Save the Bees” apron. After a few false starts, to make sure she had found the right apron, Griffiths even “painstakingly examined the angle at which every little bumblebee on the apron was tilted to see if they matched up to Florence’s.” For more Pugh-approved aprons, read here.

A blissful bath soak

In February’s “Empty!” column, we turned the tables on our usual format and asked Strategist staffers about the products they used up that month. Ailbhe Malone, UK senior editor, got to the bottom of a bottle of Fragrant Foaming Bath from London Bathers (which was actually a much-appreciated stocking stuffer). Malone says that the soak “smells like walking through a forest (it’s got eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint)” and “bubbles splendidly.”

A partyproof fondue set


We compiled a list of 51 thoughtful 30th-birthday gifts. For a friend who loves to entertain (or simply cannot cook), this cast-iron fondue set would make a charming addition to their countertop. The set is suitable for cheese, chocolate, and even meat fondue. It also comes with six colour-coded forks so each of your friends or family members can have a dip.

A sleek banana stand

Another delightful addition to a countertop is this banana stand from Yamazaki. It’s one of our 48 cheap (but actually nice) kitchen accessories. Hanging the banana prevents it from forming “pressure points,” which make it bruised and mushy. The stylish stand is also just very lovely to look at, with a simple white dish and sleek wooden stem.

A last-minute liqueur


Mother’s Day is now officially this month. If your mum actively chooses the coffee-flavoured Revels, she’ll be thrilled with a whole bottle of Lyre’s Coffee Originale. The alcohol-free coffee liqueur can be used to shake cocktails — like an espresso martini — or even enjoyed on its own. You can order it up until March 25, and it’s guaranteed to arrive by the big day (March 27).

And a skin-quenching body lotion

This week, we pored over our (extensive) reporting, consulted the advice of expert dermatologists, and sifted through reviews from across the web to find the eight very best body lotions. For skin conditions such as eczema that cause an intense urge to scratch, Aveeno was a favourite. Their Dermexa anti-itch balm is approved by the National Eczema Association. It uses oats, ceramides, and benzoic acid, and it quells eczema-related itchiness. One reviewer thanked the balm for weaning her off stronger, steroid-based sprays and creams (and for finally helping her get a good night’s rest).

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