stuff we buy ourselves

The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in July

Photo-Illustration: retailers

If you follow our monthly feature “Your Shopping Cart,” you know we have some eerily good intel on what you all are buying. Which led us to think that, as Strategist editors, we could turn the tables and highlight all the things we’ve been buying for ourselves. As you’ll notice, it’s both a blessing and a curse to be a Strategist editor; we’re picky, but sometimes we just have to get on with it. (It’s online-shopping expertise meets IRL needs.) Below, what we all bought in July.

Ailbhe Malone, senior editor

I was doubly influenced to buy some safety-pin earrings. The first was by my brother’s art-student girlfriend (who wears actual safety pins in her ears, a flex I cannot pull off). The second was by a Sali Hughes reel in which she wore a dainty gold safety-pin earring (far more my speed). Sali had tagged the brand (Ana Luisa), and I noodled around the website for the better part of month, until a 20 percent off sale was announced (the sale is still running, in fact). The earrings ship from New York, and the £15 shipping fee covers customs and import charges. They arrived within a few days, and though they’re gold-plated, they have withstood swims in the sea, showers, and purple hair toner with no fading. I wear mine in the third holes in my ears, but you could probably wear them in the first hole if your earlobes are petite. Either way, the earrings are light enough to forget that you’re wearing them, and as comfortable as a micro-hoop to sleep in.

I’m very pale, and also have a very low tolerance for the sun (to the extent that I sometimes get blisters in direct sunlight), so I am extraordinarily picky about suncream. For a while, Glossier was my facial suncream of choice, but a shortage sometime last year led me to this one by Bioré. It’s Japanese (I get mine on Amazon) and has the same gel quality as the Glossier, but it’s intensely hydrating, as well as being protective in the sun. It leaves my skin looking dewy, but not feeling sticky, and I like that the tube is small enough to throw in my washbag for an overnight trip. This month, I bought a two-pack, which will see me through to the end of summer. An aside — I checked to see if this suncream leaves a white cast on darker skin; this positive review by Skincare With Reg on Instagram says it doesn’t.

Chris Mandle, writer

I’m a big fan of H&M Home, but I find its big-ticket furniture is often far too expensive (for less than the cost of their £200 rattan chair, for example, I managed to track down a secondhand honest-to-goodness Cesca chair online). I spotted these inexpensive metal tables while I was in their flagship a couple of months ago, and thought it would be just the thing for my mistletoe cactus, which I’ve been meaning to move into my bathroom (they prefer humid, low-light environments rather than the sun trap that is my living room). I didn’t end up picking one up in person at the time — we had a reservation at Temper, and it seemed silly lugging furniture to a restaurant. I regretted it within days; I couldn’t find the tables anywhere on the H&M website at all. As luck would have it, they’ve just been stocked online, so I bought one straight away. The table came within 48 hours and was easy to assemble. It’s light enough that I can move my cactus into the bedroom for his infrequent bouts of low light, and big enough that I can fit my phone, glasses, and spa mitt on the side when I’m bathing, too.

My friend James, who works in the film industry and lives in Amsterdam, put Form & Thread on my radar almost a year ago, and I’ve been admiring the British company’s fuss-free chore coats and overshirts ever since. Its wares come in colours with pleasing names like pine, cumin, and cinnamon, and, much like the Colorful Standard sweatshirt I bought two months ago, ticks all the boxes for the kind of clothing I want to wear at the moment; smart but minimalist and very comfy. This month, I finally made a visit to their shop in Coal Drops Yard and picked up a Fjord Blue overshirt after trying on practically every style in every shade imaginable. I particularly like the shawl collar, which makes it feel more like an outer layer than the camp-collar shirts saturating my Instagram page. On the overshirt’s first outing to the pub, my friend Nick, an editor at Esquire, seemed notably impressed by it after incorrectly guessing it came from Folk or Universal Works.

After a couple of big cleaning days, I’ve begun optimising my storage spaces, and that means the real estate on the back of my doors has finally come into its own. When I rented, I used Command strips to hang pictures up without incurring the wrath of my landlord, and after a bit of browsing online, I found out Command strips have a wider cinematic universe of adhesive strips for all kinds of functions. These hooks aren’t particularly nice to look at, especially if, like me, your FYP page is full of brooms and dustpans tastefully hanging from butcher hooks, but I figure you have to draw the line somewhere. Now, all my tote bags, my tennis kit, my aprons, and all my cleaning things are out of the way.

Rachael Griffiths, editorial intern

I am a woman possessed. Ever since discovering this luxuriously smooth, caramelised temptress of a spread, I am engulfed in an all-consuming need to brainstorm new recipes, merely to have an excuse to reach for the jar. I’ve drizzled it over my banana-flavoured baked oats to start my day, and stirred it into a piping cup of hot chocolate to begin the transition to bedtime. Quite frankly, I fear that I’m only days away from brushing my teeth with the stuff. As with all Biscoff products, it’s vegan-friendly, and it costs just £2.50, a miniscule sum when considering how this spread has enriched my life.

Continuing my love affair with all things squiggly, I added this mono resin number to my hair-claw collection the other week. Instead of playing painstaking whack-a-mole with the lumps that inevitably appear as I attempt to style my hair into a ponytail, I can simply twist my hair back, clamp it out of the way, yet still look suitably chic for my Zoom calls.

Rosie Percy, senior audience-development manager

I’m a pale-skinned redhead with an oily complexion, so my facial sunscreen has very specific criteria to meet. A product has to offer a high level of protection, be affordable enough to use daily, and be something light that won’t clog pores and cause breakouts. Experts had previously recommended La Roche Posay’s Shaka Fluid, but knowing that it would likely melt on my oil-slicked T-zone, I looked for a lighter alternative and found its Anthelios Anti-Shine Sun Protection Invisible SPF50+ Face Mist.

The aerosol ticked all my boxes: broad-spectrum protection, suitable for sensitive, oily skin, and even helps prevent shine. I liberally spray my face and neck after I’ve finished applying makeup, and take the little tin out with me to reapply during the day. Not only does it keep me protected, but the cooling mist and mattifying effect is especially welcome on warmer days. A can costs £14 and lasts for around a month, but I can usually find it on sale somewhere. The only thing is that I’ve seen this sell out on a few occasions, so I tend to buy two at a time to make sure I’m never without.

As is British custom, I spent all of July complaining about the rain until the sun finally arrived and instead I complained about being too hot. I needed a fan to sleep comfortably at night, but as a very light sleeper, the one we had kept waking me up. I’d seen Strategist readers buying the best-reviewed Honeywell QuietSet fan in droves during June, which was the vote of confidence I needed to order myself.

Since arriving (and assembling), I’ve used this fan every night. Its lowest setting — “sleep” mode — is quiet but still feels powerful enough to actually cool me rather than just move the warm air around. There’s no rattle or squeak as the fan oscillates, either, meaning I can run the fan for an entire night without stirring once. Our old fan has since been relegated to the spare bedroom for any overheated, heavier-sleeping guests.

Ever since we investigated the best linen bedding earlier this year, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of a bedsheet overhaul. So it was good timing when a linen duvet cover and pillowcase set in the right size, in my favourite colour, appeared in the summer sale. Despite a predicted long lead time, I had the set within a week, and it was on my bed within hours of being delivered. Let me tell you: I have never had such a good night’s sleep in my life.

The prewashed sheets are soft in a way that well-worn jeans are: They feel instantly comfortable, but not thin or pill-y like over-washed cotton. The slight tactile feeling of the woven linen is satisfying against my skin and helps regulate my and my partner’s temperatures while we sleep, which is especially useful during this humid patch of summer. The sheets look fantastic too, adding a warm, earthy tone to my white-walled bedroom. I’m already deciding on what colour to order as my second set, because now I’m not sure I can go a night without Brisa while they’re in the wash.

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.

The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in July