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What Readers Are Buying: Cast-Iron Pots, Acupressure Mats, and Board Games

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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 sees six new entries in our top ten, one of which has knocked our beloved gel moisturiser off the No. 1 spot. There’s also a trove of board games, an acupressure mat, and an expert-recommended hair mask.

£25

Our most-bought item this month is also a new entry. Contributor Zhenya Tsenzharyk penned an ode to this inexpensive casserole pot, which she uses to make sourdough, soups, and stews. Though intended as a cheaper purchase before working up to a more expensive Le Creuset, Zhenya wrote that the Vivo (a diffusion line of Villeroy & Boch, a ceramics company best known for its fancy tableware) was so good she plans on keeping it. “The main difference between a pot like Le Creuset and the one by Vivo is the enamel coating — Le Creuset has one, while Vivo doesn’t. 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.”

After spending six months total as the most-bought item on the Strategist UK, this month the Neutrogena gel moisturiser has gone down to second place. Nevertheless, this is now its ninth month in our most-bought list overall. The moisturiser has been recommended by experts for dry-skin types, the rosacea-prone, and even pregnant women. It contains glycerin and hyaluronic acid, meaning it can hydrate skin without the need for emollients, which can make skin feel heavy. And it’s both alcohol- and oil-free, too.

3. Codenames: Duet
£14

There are a total of six board games in our most-bought list this month — likely due to the amount of time we have spent indoors during lockdown. Though the original Codenames has been featured here before, this slightly tweaked version, designed for two players, debuts at No. 3. The rules are relatively straightforward: Players must make associations between words as they cooperate to identify targets with a limited number of guesses.

Up six places from last month is this board game, which came recommended by four experts. Patchwork 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” that is sure to delight “fans of Blokus or Tetris.”

5. Dobble Card Game
£10
£10

Another of our new entries, Dobble was the game that trend forecasters told us would be huge this Christmas. The game has plenty of fans — Strategist UK editor Ailbhe Malone loves it, as does comedian Romesh Ranganathan, who told us this month that his family has been playing it a lot during lockdown. “Every card has symbols on it, and every card has something in common with every other card,” explained Romesh. “The objective is to figure out what the common theme is, and the quickest person to get it keeps the card. The person with the most cards at the end wins.”

£14

At sixth place is Bananagrams, which Strategist UK editor Ailbhe wrote about in her piece on her favourite two-player board games. “It took us a couple of rounds to learn how to play, but it’s very easy to pick up. You’re basically playing solo Scrabble while also racing the other player.”

7. Hive
£20
£20

Another of Ailbhe’s favourites is Hive, which she says is “like a smaller-scale game of chess.” It also came recommended by Lauren Bilanko, co-owner of Twenty Sided Store. The main objective is to use the hexagonal tiles, which are adorned with a different bug and have unique rules, to surround your opponent’s queen bee.

£20

This isn’t the first time this acupressure mat has featured in our most-bought list. It first appeared in June, at No. 9, and this month has gone up one place to No. 8. We featured it in our roundup of the best gifts for every type of dad; it claims to offer holistic pain relief thanks to the way it targets both upper and lower back pain at the same time.

Our final new entry is a game that sees players try to win by unloading ships from a shared waterfront and earning points by collecting six different types of goods. According to Andy Matthews, the founder of board-game review site Meeple Mountain, “This game is everything I want a two-player game to be: It’s streamlined, it’s tactical, and it’s fun,” he says, adding that because there are a limited number of choices during each turn, every decision is important.

10. Olaplex Hair Perfector
£20
£20

This expert-recommended hair-repairing mask by Olaplex first appeared in our most-bought roundup in May, and has gone on to feature every month (with the exception of October). Stylist Ash Fritzler said she’s seen the transformation this formula can bring to her clients with once-a-week use. “It’s so versatile, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who feels like their hair is compromised in any way,” she said.

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: Casserole Pots and Board Games