your shopping cart

What Readers Are Buying: Board Games, Bluetooth Trackers, and Casserole Pots

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Welcome to “Your Shopping Cart,” wherein we break out the top ten products that you, devoted Strategist UK readers, bought in droves. Think of this as the TL;DR of the Strategist UK: If your like-minded brethren are buying these items, maybe you’d like to as well.

The last month of 2021 saw some seasonally appropriate new entries, such as hand cream and cast-iron cookware, while an array of boardgames flooded your shopping carts, perhaps a function of the number of people self-isolating over the festive period (or simply hunkering down with family for some good-old fashioned competitive playing). Most surprisingly, however, was that two of our long-standing most-bought products, a light gel moisturiser and a mister for plants, are now in the lower half of our top ten.

We first featured this nourishing hand cream by Burt’s Bees in our expert-recommended guide, and while it’s making its debut in our monthly most-bought round-up, it’s worth mentioning that the cream was a best seller on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when it was just £6. We saw a lot of those deals rollover into December, which might explain how this cream found its way to the top of our most-bought last month. We’re particularly fond of the farmcore-style jar, which makes it more giftable than a lot of other hand creams.

Our second new entry is this board game that’s perfect for families. The aim is to “think like the herd” and try to get the same answers to questions (if no one’s answer matches yours, you are handed an angry pink cow, and your herd is worthless until you can pass the cow to someone else). It was recommended by Peter Jenkinson, CEO of Toyology, who said that, despite the game’s being intended for four to ten players, he played it one Christmas with 20 people at the dinner table (it’s worth noting the box-recommended age for players is 10-plus).

This inexpensive cast-iron (a dupe for the more-expensive Le Creuset or Staub models) first featured in our most-bought in December 2020, where it claimed the top spot. It disappeared from our best sellers after the price rocketed from £27 to £67, but when the Vivo pot was back in stock, and prices dipped again, it started selling in droves. “The main difference between a pot like a Le Creuset and the one by Vivo is the enamel coating — Le Creuset has one, while Vivo doesn’t,” noted contributor Zhenya Tsenzharyk in her ode to the Vivo. “In theory, an enameled pot is easier to care for, though I’ve had no issues whatsoever, even after slow-cooking and baking at very high temperatures.” Unfortunately, the Vivo pot has sold out again, but our guide to cast-iron cookware features plenty of options (including an enamelled £35 pot that our staff writer Chris Mandle swears by).

This board game featured in our most-bought for three months running last year, dropping notably once lockdown restrictions began to ease across the U.K. But the darker evenings (coupled with an increase in self-isolations before Christmas) could be why so many board games are back in your shopping carts right now. The basic elements of this word-association board game are similar to those of charades; players divide into two teams, with one designated spymaster providing clues. By guessing the words correctly, players unveil the other teams’ agents. The first team to unmask all of their opponents’ spies wins.

It wouldn’t be a most-bought list without the Flairosol mist bottle, now in its 19th month in our top ten. Experts told us misting was an excellent way to take care of plants during the winter months, so perhaps readers are keeping their beloved palms and ZZs content until the spring. This bottle came recommended by experts — though we have lots of other options in our guide to the best plant misters.

£11

Our third new entry is a card game that comes recommended for families (while it is suitable for children, Nick Tee, founder of Board Game Reviews, says it is just as entertaining for adults). The aim is to work together to block up all the tunnels in order to prevent pesky crook Bandido from successfully digging his way out of prison. This game is suitable for one to four players, from ages six and up.

£20

Last year, Patchwork was one of our best-selling board games, featuring in our most-bought for five months, and it is now back in our most-bought. It first came recommended to us by four experts when we looked into the best board games for two players. The game challenges players to strategically collect different pieces to create a quilt. Greg May, owner of The Uncommons and Hex & Company, calls it “the perfect game for couples,” which is sure to delight “fans of Blokus or Tetris.”

Fast-paced trading game Jaipur has been on our most-bought list twice (it debuted at No. 1, which is a rare feat). Players must trade items to amass rupees, and it only takes 30 minutes to complete. Reviewers frequently brought up the gorgeously illustrated cards as a huge selling point.

Tile Mate
£16
£16

Our final new entry this month is a must-have for anyone who misplaces their phone, wallet, or keys. The Tile Mate is also in our Strategist 100 — our curated list of won’t-returnables — and we’ve featured it in gift guides for all manner of friends and family members.

Like our Flairosol mister, this gel moisturiser by Neutrogena has been among our most-bought for 19 months — though we’ve never seen it this far down our list before. It comes recommended by Strategist staff and skin-care experts and is often on sale for under £10.

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.

What Strategist Readers Bought in December