stuff we buy ourselves

The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in March

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: 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 March.

Ailbhe Malone, senior editor

While perusing our (excellent) deals newsletter last week, I noticed that Piglet in Bed had an unprecedented sale on. I picked up this linen fitted sheet to add to my collection. An additional bonus — the linen pouches that accompany the sheets make for fantastic dirty laundry bags. I pop one into my suitcase whenever I go away for a few days.

I have been on the hunt for a slim gold chain for quite some time, but found it difficult to narrow down my choices. I circled Missoma for a while, but the price was just too high (my preferred option in 14k gold was practically £500). I had resigned myself to just saving up, and stalking online jewellery auctions instead, when a PR from Mejuri got in touch, asking if I’d like to try something from their recycled-gold range. I chose the baby box chain in 14k recycled gold. At £170, it is less than half the price of the Missoma necklace, and though the product ships from Toronto, there were no customs fees to pay. I haven’t taken it off since it came in the post three weeks ago — the chain is exceptionally fine, and glimmers pleasingly at my neckline.

Chris Mandle, writer

Two years ago, my favourite black Dickies trousers got sprayed by bleach while I was doing an impromptu bathroom clean. Ever since, I’ve been self conscious about wearing my trousers to anything more formal than a trip to the pub. But they truly are my favourite trousers — once hard and crunchy to wear, they’ve since worn in and softened like a pair of jeans into an incredibly comfortable item of clothing. Since the incident in question, I’ve been trying to hunt down a bleach pen, but all of them seem discontinued. A couple of weeks ago, however, a friend tipped me off to the laundry markers that many parents use to initial their children’s uniforms. They are waterproof, resistant to up to 40 degrees in the wash, and stay on all manner of surfaces — so why not try them on my trousers? I figured I had nothing to lose; it wasn’t as if they’d make the stains look worse. As soon as the pen came in the post, I shaded in the five or six bleach spots, both on the outside and inside of the trousers (I figured the bleach might have stained the fabric quite deeply). At first, the bleach just looked like a different shade — still noticeable to the naked eye. But after a few days (and a couple of fresh coats) I genuinely struggled to see them when I took my trousers out of my wardrobe. Up close, I’d describe the colour as a rich blueberry compote instead of a lurid, sherbetty orange. The lesson here is: Don’t bleach your bathroom while wearing nice clothes. But if you do, help is at hand.

As soon as the sun came out in late March, I had a craving for cold brew. My usual process involves a large Kilner jar and a good deal of eyeballing, and this year, I decided it was time to take it a little more seriously. Our expert’s guide to cold brew features this infuser jug by Hario (the Japanese brand behind my beloved gooseneck kettle) — it’s essentially a big tea strainer you keep in the fridge. I chose a coffee that had fruity notes — a Peruvian coffee from my Hard Lines subscription that contains orange blossom and cherry flavour notes. The biggest benefit this jug has over a Kilner jar is that it has measurements on the side. Experts told us that the ratio of coffee to cold water is the key to producing a nice-tasting brew — too much water and your coffee will taste bland, but too much coffee will make it bitter. This is a lot easier when you can see what your total water volume is (I did a 1:10 ratio, which seemed easiest). It’s easy enough to clean that I could see it working double duty as a carafe, with some lemon slices or mint sitting in the infuser. The 1000ml jug I bought is sold out, but you can still buy the 600ml one from Pact coffee.

I did a clear-out of my exhaustive T-shirt collection this month (in reality, I donated a mere five out of about 48 to charity, but I still felt good about myself). This helped me justify buying another Uniqlo U T-shirt, this time in black. For those who don’t know, Uniqlo U started out in 2015 as a collaboration between the brand and ex-Hermès artistic director Christophe Lemaire, and has since flourished into a sub-brand of its own. These T-shirts truly are special — the weight of the cotton is impressive, but they’re still light enough to wear in the summer months. I find the cut more generous than Uniqlo’s regular T-shirts, and the thicker fabric makes the T-shirt sit nicely on me — particularly on the shoulders and on the arms. I already have a couple of other colours and even after several years, they feel sumptuous. Unlike my Pro Club T-shirts, which start in a medium and lend a more noticeably boxy look, this is my favourite everyday T-shirt, and I couldn’t resist adding a new one to my pile. One thing to note: Don’t get these mixed up with the Uniqlo U “Airism” T-shirt, which is part of the company’s line of athletic-ish wear. This is 100 percent cotton, while the Uniqlo U Airism T-shirts retain the same cut and shape but are only 53 percent cotton and blended with polyester.

Rachael Griffiths, writer

After three years of studying and two years of COVID-related delays, I finally graduated this month. But despite having five years to plan, I still struggled to find the right dress. My gown was black and white, so I wanted something neutral enough not to clash. I also thought something satin would be timeless and stylish — and not something I’d wince at when reminiscing. Over the last two months, I ordered about 13 different dresses, and experienced sizing issues like never before (if one slip fitted my body, my boobs would spill out, whereas ones with a comfy chest left fabric gaping in all the wrong areas). Eventually, I spotted one on Motel Rocks that was a perfect colour and material, but being Motel, ran the risk of being too Big Night Out. I was so fatigued, however, I just decided to order it. When I tried it on, I was delighted to find it was longer than I’d imagined, comfortably sitting slightly above the knee. It also had a tie-yourself halter neck, meaning I could adjust it to fit. Overall, it was very flattering, and not too revealing — exactly what I’d been after. I paired it with some block heels. I’m looking forward to a wedding or christening invitation, so I have an excuse to wear it again.

£1

I’m fond of vanilla-scented butters and creams so, for Christmas, my mum picked me up a tub of this body butter from V10. From the first use, I was won over. The butter is thick and rich, perfect for lathering on my fairly dry skin after a shower or bath. But it’s the scent that’s made me order more this month (as soon as I felt my fingers hit the bottom of the tub). The vanilla is sweet and light, and the scent lasts for hours after I apply it, making me smell vaguely like a cupcake as I go about my day.

Lucy Carr, intern

I first discovered this eyeshadow palette last year when a friend came to stay. We were getting ready to go to All Points East, and I found my makeup bag was sadly lacking the appropriate amount of glitter necessary to complete my summer festival look. I asked my friend if she had any sparkly eyeshadow I could borrow and she handed me this Huda Beauty Mercury Retrograde palette. After dabbing the tiniest amount on my eyelid, I was sold. Not only was the colour selection gorgeous, the quality blew me away. The eyeshadow is highly pigmented and easy-to-blend, so you only need to apply the smallest amount for a full-coverage look. When I first tried the palette last August I couldn’t quite justify spending £58 on it, but every month or so I’d check across retailers to see if the price had been reduced. This month, my patience was (finally!) rewarded and I happily purchased it for £29 on the Huda Beauty website.

Rosie Percy, senior audience-development manager

I was gifted a pair of Lululemon leggings in 2019. Try as I might, I can’t deny that they’re by far the best running leggings I’ve ever worn: They provide comfortable support, the side pockets hold my phone and keys firmly, and they’re still bobble-free and opaque after three years of washing. I wanted a pair of Fast and Free leggings to add to my collection — Lululemon’s latest running leggings, with a continuous drawcord that keeps you from having to pull them up mid-run. The £108 price tag was too much for me when I have a love/hate relationship with running anyway, so I refreshed the “We Made Too Much” outlet page until this camo-print pair popped up, reduced to just £49. And, as expected, they’re perfect. The material is more lightweight than my other pair, meaning I don’t overheat even as the weather warms up, and the added drawcord is a godsend on particularly sweaty runs where other leggings would slip down. They’re worth every penny, even at full price.

I love to host dinner parties, and my favourite meal to make for larger groups is tacos with homemade fixings. I prefer authentic soft tortillas, but they’re too much of a faff for me to make myself while hosting, and my local supermarkets don’t stock them. So after unimaginatively Googling ‘taco tortillas’, I stumbled onto Sous Chef. I ordered multiple packs of 10cm white and blue corn tortillas: the perfect size for a handheld taco that won’t be so overloaded that it’d fall apart. As a happy coincidence the tortillas are gluten free, and work out to be 14p per taco: money well-spent to accommodate any intolerances, and reserve my time for mixing margaritas instead. The order arrived quickly, as did a disaster: I got COVID, so had to cancel my dinner. Luckily, the vacuum-sealed tortillas have a best before date of May 2023, so I’ve got plenty of time to reschedule.

After two years of delays and three wedding dates, my sister finally got married this month. For wedding gifts, she and her partner had asked for contributions toward a honeymoon, but I also wanted to give them a small physical gift on the day. This wooden match box fit the brief: It was something a little unusual, that could be personalised with their wedding date and initials, and could be reused as a trinket box even when the matches are long gone and displayed inside their home. The finish and the print of the box was immaculate, even after being ordered in a rush for next day delivery. The happy couple opened the gift after they’d exchanged vows, and luckily were as pleased with it as I was.

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 March