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What Readers Are Buying: Suitcases, Earplugs, and Baby Toys

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.

This month saw some surprising shifts in the Strategist top 10. One of our most popular products, Neutrogena’s gel moisturiser, finally fell out of our most-bought after 20 months in your shopping carts, while we saw an appropriate new entry as readers continue to plan long-awaited summer holidays.

Remaining in the top spot this month is the Flairosol mist bottle, now in its 21st month in our top ten. Like last month, this product was so popular in February it sold nearly twice as much as the product in second place — a sure sign that its status as one of our most frequently bought products on the Strategist is well deserved. Experts told us misting is an excellent way to take care of plants during the winter months, so perhaps readers are nurturing their aspidistra and leafy ferns alike until the spring. Notably, this and the Neutrogena gel moisturiser were tied as the best-selling products on the Strategist, but now the Neutrogena moisturiser is nowhere to be found. Long live the mister!

Over the past few months we’ve noticed CeraVe’s moisturising cream creeping into people’s shopping carts — and February marks the fifth month it has been in our most-bought (and, for two months running, it’s been in second place). Given that our beloved gel-like Neutrogena has fallen out of the top ten this month, we wonder if the cold weather has called for a thicker, more robust cream for banishing dryness — this one comes recommended by Strategist contributor Daniella Morosini, who says it’s better than some of the luxe options she has tried over the years. Experts told us this is suitable for dry to very dry skin. Dr. Susan Binder says, “It has a high lipid content, which really helps repair dry, cracked skin.” In fact, she says, no matter the reason for your dry skin — whether it’s dry in winter, dry year-round, or dry because of aging — this is a universally good choice.

This is the fifth month Belazu’s olive oil has made our most-bought, and it’s jumped up seven places from last month, when it was at number ten. We’ve written before that olive oil makes a great gift for anyone you’re buying for, be it a valentine who loves pasta or a dad who loves any excuse to make bruschetta — we also included this olive oil in our guide to the best gifts for pasta lovers.

From £45
Photo: retailer

Our only new entry this month is a fire-engine red suitcase from Matalan. No doubt readers are thinking about their summer holidays already; our story on the best suitcases (according to frequent fliers) was one of our most read this month. Jessica Prupas, associate editor at EasyJet Traveller, told us that “you can fit a surprising amount inside this suitcase,” which is all the more impressive given its weight — a minuscule 1.88 kilograms. As well as being ultra-lightweight, it’s sturdy. “I’ve had an IT suitcase for Lord knows how long and it’s never done me dirty,” she added. It also features a mesh laundry section and extra-deep front pocket. Despite that, all of Matalan’s True-Lite suitcases are currently sold out — but our guide features all manner of expert-approved cases, including several options under £50.

Last year, Codenames was one of our best-selling board games, and it has now spent a third consecutive month back in our most-bought after a brief spell away. 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.

Last month, Stabilo’s fine liner debuted in our top ten, a year after we dubbed it the best pen out of 87 kinds we extensively tested. It has since gone up two places, from eighth to sixth. We found the Stabilo 88’s hexagonal barrel made it comfortable to grip, and it was adept at both frantic scribbles and more thoughtful notes too. We have previously recommended the pen as a thoughtful gift, particularly if coupled with a nice notepad or planner.

Cetaphil Moisturising Cream
£16
£16

Similarly, Cetaphil’s heavy-duty moisturiser also debuted last month and remains in our most-bought for a second month, though it has dropped one place to number seven. It is popular with dermatologists and skin-care experts: In fact, it was featured in both our guides to the best lotions for dry skin and the best moisturisers. Experts said it is particularly good for sensitive skin, as it contains ceramides and essential fatty acids. Cosmetic dermatologist Michele Green says these “create a barrier that protects skin from environmental stressors, while replenishing lost moisture.” It’s fragrance-free and, due to lactic acid, will gently exfoliate without irritating skin.

This is the third month that these charming German drawing pencils have made it in our most-bought. They come highly recommended by artists, who consider them the “superior” pencil when we asked 12 of them to tell us about their favourites.

After a three-month absence, these chewable, stackable baby blocks have returned to our most-sought, making this the sixth month overall in which they have featured. Natasha Crookes, director of public affairs and communications at the British Toy and Hobby Association, recommended interlinking tactile cubes for little ones at this age, but said soft toys are an important consideration since 1-year-olds are still very much in the teething zone. These blocks are also in the Strategist 100 — our guide to our most stood-behind products.

These earplugs first appeared in our most-bought way back in 2020, after author Sophia Money-Coutts wrote an ode to them. “Once compressed and poked in, they adapt to your ear shape and remain lodged all night, comfortably muffling the world outside,” she said at the time. They are made from smooth memory foam and shaped like small bullets, which, according to Money-Coutts, means they offer a better fit.

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 Readers Are Buying: Suitcases, Earplugs, and Baby Toys