sunday circular

8 Things That Delighted Us Last Week: From Bar Soaps 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 the date-night fragrance of a lingerie-brand founder, a thrillingly enchanting board game, and some denim jeans that are a dupe for vintage 501’s.

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A resilient potted plant

If you’re looking for a statuesque plant for a shady spot, we reached out to 11 gardening experts for suggestions. They recommended the Aspidistra plant as a standout. Nicknamed the “cast-iron plant,” the Aspidistra is so low maintenance that Jennifer Panxhi (of Jen’s Plants & Florists) says it’s “impossible to kill.” James Folger, founder of the Stem, adds, “It has arching, glossy green leaves and looks great on a patio or balcony,” and advises to “keep it out of direct sunshine and water only when the soil dries out. It can tolerate a range of temperatures — but bring it inside in the cold weather.”

A pair of vintage-looking jeans

“It took me 34 years, but I finally tracked down the perfect jean,” designer Susan Alexandra says. The jeans in question — the Levi’s Women’s Dad Jeans — “are often sold out” (a testament to their popularity). Alexandra finds that the jeans are a solid dupe for vintage denim, adding she had hers “nipped in the waist to give them that perfect ‘I got these at a flea market in Berlin’ look.” The jeans are available in sizes 4-20 and in a range of colours, from mid-wash to charcoal black.

A status-y hand cream

Beloved by reviewers, Strategist staffers, and hand models alike, the Aesop Resurrection is a hand cream that’s earned its glowing reputation. Strategist UK audience development manager Rosie Percy says she always receives compliments about the “otherworldly” scent of the hand cream and likens it to a “spa treatment in a tube.” Meanwhile, Strategist UK editor Ailbhe Malone specifically recommends the balm in jar form, which makes it easy to “scoop out every last bit.” It’s actually much better value when purchased in this form — a 12-milliliter tub costs £27, where a 75-milliliter tube is £23 (Aesop does also sell the cream in a 500-milliliter bottle, which costs £70).

A soothing handmade soap

After her twin daughters began suffering from dermatitis and eczema, Marcia Edwards decided to found a skin-care brand. Her products are designed specifically with these skin concerns in mind, with each item including soothing Ghanian shea butter. Her Galaxy Girls handmade bar soap also contains argan and jojoba oils, which grant the soap anti-inflammation and anti-bacterial properties. Ultimately, the vibrant, swirly bar keeps skin clean and helps ward off irritation. You can read about more of our favourite bar soaps here.

An exquisitely illustrated board game


Michael James Heron, founder of Meeple Like Us, says this “wonderful and whimsical” game has some of the best board-game artwork he’s ever come across. To play the three-to-six-player game, each turn, one player takes on the role of the storyteller and comes up with a clue based on the imagery upon their set of cards. “The storyteller says a clue such as ‘The sound of time’ and then everyone plays the card they have that they think is closest to that clue,” explains Heron. “The game itself is great, but I think the discussions it prompts amongst players of all ages are even better.”

A smokey, sexy fragrance

To find some sexy fragrance recommendations, we spoke to the founder of (very sexy) lingerie brand Fleur de Mal, Jennifer Zuccarini. For an anniversary date, Zuccarini reaches for a bottle of Byredo Bal d’Afrique. “A special night out celebrating your relationship, like an anniversary, gives reason to shake things up and reignite that flame you felt at the very beginning of your relationship,” she says. “You’d wear beautiful lingerie you may not wear every night, so why not wear a special, seductive scent?”

An actually stylish thermal cup

If your sister already has the Chilly’s bottle in every colourway imaginable, why not treat her to their Series Two coffee cup? Designed to keep beverages steaming hot for up to four hours, the stainless-steel cup protects hands and lips from burns with doubly insulated walls and a rotating-lock lid. As with their bottles, the cup is available in various shades and two capacities (a 340 milliliter, as well as a slightly larger 500 milliliter).

And some teeny-tiny cast-iron pots

If your brother has been lusting after some Le Creuset to call his very own, this set of four mini-cocottes will be a welcome start to his collection. Ideal for dinner parties, the 200-milliliter capacity dishes are ideal for small nibbles, side dishes, and condiments. For more gift ideas for every type of brother, read our handpicked 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.

Things That Delighted Us Last Week: Bar Soaps to Board Games