sunday circular

7 Things That Delighted Us Last Week: From Polaroids to Pet Hair Steamers

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 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 splendidly soft bath towels, a non-obvious wedding present, and a stunning bridal gown that costs (far) less than £500.

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Some fresh wedding-gift inspo


If your stack of wedding invites is longer than your list of gift ideas, our list of 30 truly special, non-obvious wedding gifts should help. To let the happy couple catalogue their first few months of marriage, we like this Polaroid camera. It’s chunkier than a digital camera of course, at 10 x 6 centimetres, but is still handbag friendly. And the newlyweds could even use it to take selfies, with a handy mirror and self-timer function.

“Everyone universally loves a nice-smelling home, so candles are an incredibly safe option,” says Ivana Linderova, the co-founder of interior-design firm Studio Identity. We agree, and think you can’t go wrong by gifting this absolute classic — which happens to be Linderova’s favourite.

A couple of affordable wedding dresses

Sticking with the wedding season theme, this week we advised a reader on where to hunt down a stylist wedding dress for less than £500. As well as traditional flowing (and less-traditional miniskirt) options, we found this tasteful, vintage looking gown by Monsoon. Simple and elegant, a ’50s bardot necklace and gently sloping pleats add some shape — and romance — to the silhouette. Available in sizes UK 6 to 22 and priced at £309 it crucially comes in way under our reader’s budget. It’s never a bad thing to have some leftover cash to spend elsewhere.

Actually, all of our picks came under budget, including this gown from Reformation made from 100 percent silk charmeuse.

A pet-hair-proof steam cleaner


Our Best in Class story on steam cleaners surfaced options ideal for carpets in need of something more rigorous than a basic vacuum. If you’re a pet owner, this portable cleaner from Bissell came highly recommended by Justin Renard, dad to a long-hair cat. “It pushes the water through the fabric and then sucks it back up again, taking all the particles the fabric might have absorbed, like cat hair balls,” he said. With a 1.1-litre capacity and a tough-stain-tackling attachment, it can also target truly grimy patches, and at 30 centimetres tall, can be easily stored in tight spaces.

These gloriously plush bath towels

Photo: John Lewis

When we researched where to buy the best soft, luxurious towels, we were thrilled to discover that the best inexpensive options come from John Lewis. Strategist staffer Chris Mandle was delighted to find they passed his “squeeze test”: “Their 600 GSM makes them thick and plush, and seven months in, they haven’t succumbed to starchiness after being washed in the rock-hard water of my part of London.” Editor John Roberston added that they’re a “solid gym staple” thanks to a natural peppermint treatment that keeps them odour free.

And a set of sweat-wicking bedsheets

If you’re a hot sleeper, you may have tried everything to keep cool at night time, from cold compresses to oscillating fans. In our story about expert-recommendations for cooling bedsheets, we learned how much bedding plays a role, too. According to sleep expert Kate Mikhail, it’s essential for those that run hot to find sheets made of natural fibres such as cotton, as they’re “breathable and help to wick away moisture, compared to polyester and other man-made materials.” The cotton sets from H&M is relatively inexpensive as cooling sheets go, and were previously praised highly to us by four interior design experts. We particularly like this simple checked set, including a duvet cover, and two pillowcases.

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.

7 Things That Delighted Us Last Week