Tuesday, 12 July 2016

10 brilliant subscription boxes

I love to discover new things. And I love to get parcels. Fortunately you can get anything by post these days and as the post man and my neighbours will confirm I like to test this theory. One of my guilty pleasures is monthly subscription boxes. For a small fee it is like someone sending you a present each month that you get to open and enjoy. The thought and effort which goes into some of these boxes is impressive and the surprise element makes it a lot of fun. There are now 100s of subscription boxes available so I thought I would write about some of my favourites.


I have rated each box for how good value I think they are, how interesting/ original the products are and how much of the products I use in the month because if you end up not using the items it doesn't matter how much fun you had receiving them it's a waste of money.


I was tempted to include another section called "Delivery" because the ease with which the parcels are received impacts how much you enjoy them. Some of these subscriptions will fit through a letter box (Bruu, Sweet Drop and Ink Drops) the others need someone to be around to receive the item.


Quick Thoughts

Best for Value: Degustabox and Bruu
Best for Originality: Lifebox and Bruu
Best for Useability: Sweet Drop, Hobbs House Bakery and ToucanBox

Top Tips
Look for offers on boxes you are interested in before signing up. Many companies will have these on their website or advertised via social media. If there isn't anything try contacting the company to see if they offer a discount on your first order.

Subscribing to boxes is great, but sometimes you will want to cancel. Make sure that you receive confirmation of the cancellation and you know what the cut off date is. When I cancelled my Beauty Box subscription it showed as cancelled on my account, but a further payment was taken. I was advised by Customer Services I would get no refund as the box was already despatched. I subsequently removed my payment information from the website to ensure they couldn't charge me again.

Prices given for all boxes are the cost if you sign up to a monthly subscription. Longer subscription options may save you money.



Great for healthy food - LifeBox 7/10


LifeBox subscription boxes are great for people who want healthy snacks. The normal box has a large range of snacks, food enhancers and drinks (all gluten free) which mean you can treat yourself and feel virtuous at the same time. They also do special boxes for children (age 3 plus) and Vegans. 
Products in the May box included: a sachel of dairy free Instant Tumeric Latte, a variety of seeds, Yerba mate and mint tea bags, a resealable can! of water, fruit jerky, some really tasty cacoa and sea salt granola mix and vanilla energy balls.
The standard box (Everyday Subscription) is £19.95
Value 7/10 There is a wide variety, but the sachets are mostly single portions. 
Originality 10/10 The majority of the box contents each month is new to me. 
Useability 5/10 This depends on how adventerous you are with healthy foods, but the average person wont use everything within a month 
Summary: Definitely give a try if you are really into seeds and health foods or if you are gluten/ dairy free. 
The contents of the May Life Box subscription as described in the text above
Life Box

Great for sweets - Sweet Drop 8/10


Sweet Drop offer subscription boxes at intervals of your choice. You choose from their selection what you like and they will send you some. While some of the sweets are brands you will know, others just look like the brands you love. They are all really tasty. 

In one box I had: strawberry Refresher bars, a maoam stripes bar, some jelly snakes (yellow bellies), jelly babies (not Bassets) and something like Percy Pigs called pigs mugs.
Each box costs £3.69
Value 8/10 You might be able to get them cheaper in your corner shop where you don't pay for delivery, but you get a reasonable amount for your money.
Originality 7/10 You are unlikely to discover completely new sweets, but there is a good range.
Useability 10/10 If you have any left at the end of the month you probably don't like sweets.
Summary: For a small price each month you can get sweets through your letterbox. This is a brilliant and tasty budget subscription box. 
A delivery from Sweet Drop contents as described above
Sweet Drop

Great for cakes - Hobbs House Bakery 7/10


I love cakes and until recently I didn't realise that I could get a tray of yummy Brownies sent to my door. Hobbs House Bakery make a range of Brownie trays which you can choose to buy as a one off or as a subscription. If you subscribe you will get sent different ones each month including chocolate orange.
The monthly cost (bought via a 4 month subscription) is £13.25
Value 6/10 Compared to other high quality brownies these are reasonable value, but it is still quite a lot of money to spend on cake.
Originality 6/10 They make a limited range of brownies with some unusual flavours.
Usability 10/10 The brownies have a shelf life of 4 days and it's not a challenge to eat them in this time. 
Summary: A special treat through your letter box of a tasty well made brownie.
A wooden tray with an H on for Hobbs House Bakery containing a chocolate brownie
Hobbs House Bakery

Great for new foods - Degustabox 8/10


I first subscribed to Degustabox several years ago. I love the monthly parcel delivering a range of food and drink. The items range from biscuits to sauces to lager to pasta. It's always great fun to unpack. An example of the contents in a box is: a Get Fruity bar, 2 bottles of Cranes cider, Fusilli, Date nectar, Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, Yoghurt topped rice cakes, milk chocolate corn cakes, misfortune cookies (2), pomegreat juice, almonds, pistachios and croissants. The boxes cost £12.99 when paid monthly.
Value 9/10 The RRP of the items come to more than the subscription fee.
Originality 8/10 There is a huge range of items each month some of which are new to market. I have found new favourite foods through this subscription.
Usability 7/10 I'm adventurous with food and drink, but I don't always use all the items every month. I still use enough each month to make it worth subscribing.
Summary: A great variety of food and drinks which help to explore new foods and variations on old favourites.
The contents of May's degustabox as described above
Degustabox

Great for Tea - Bruu 8/10

Aptly named Bruu call themselves "The Gourmet Tea Club". You select the type of tea you like eg green, black, oolong and for £10 a month you get 3 truly interesting teas. They are all loose leaf so an infuser or strainer is needed (available from Bruu).
Value 9/10 Each box contains enough tea to make 40 cups which is a lot of cup of teas a month at only 25p a time.
Originality 10/10 An example of one of the teas sent called Biscotti is a mixture of: black tea, apple pieces, cinnamon, coriander, cardamom pods, orange slices, pink peppercorns and cloves. These are blends you wont find the likes of anywhere else
Usability 6/10 At over 10 cups of tea per blend there is a lot to drink, this makes it good value, but you may not use them all up.
Summary: The Bruu boxes are for adventurous tea drinkers who like new flavours.
3 clear sachets with loose lead tea, a saucer beer mat and graze sample box
Bruu Tea

Great for baby - SassyBloom 6/10


SassyBloom subscriptions send you a selection of age appropriate items each month for your baby (from 3rd trimester through to age 3). An example box included: a "Little Princess on board" car sign, Nuby teether, Cheeky Chompers hippo teether, 2 soft toys.
The full price subscription is £29.95 a month.
Value 4/10 These boxes are a high cost commitment each month. The value of the items in the box should be far more than the subscription cost, but it's a lot to spend on toys each month.
Originality 7/10 These boxes contain a variety of much loved favourites and new finds. Each month there is a personalised item as well.
Usability 8/10 I have found all the items of interest, but there is so much for my baby to play with so I end up with an excess of toys.
Summary: These boxes are great fun if you have a baby with the main negative being the high cost.
contents of the sassybloom subscription box as described above
SassyBloom

Great for children - ToucanBox 8/10

There are a growing number of craft boxes available for children, but ToucanBox has been going for some time with a large number of tried and tested activities. There are 3 different size boxes available to support different budgets. We subscribed to the super box which contains 4 different craft activity boxes, a book and ideas for further activities based on a theme each month for £19.90
Value 7/10 Each box has everything needed for each activity (apart from an apron!) this includes glue, paint brushes, paint etc so it is really easy to use and saves you buying it separately. 
Originality 8/10 There are a variety of craft boxes available by post, but the activities in ToucanBox are fun and varied working well for different age groups and interests. They may include paint, sticking, drawing and other activities.
Usability 10/10 These boxes are really fun to use. There are simple instructions which even provide a guide as to how messy the activity is and how much adult supervision is required.
Summary: The ToucanBoxes are entertaining, bright and educational. If your children enjoy craft these boxes make it really easy to have some fun without you needing to go to Pinterest for inspiration.
ToucanBox contents sample including a book and 4 activities. 2 activities shown
ToucanBox

Great for beauty - Beauty Box 6/10


The best known boxes in beauty are Glossybox and Birchbox, but there are a number of others out there showcasing brilliant products. One example is Beauty Box from Look Fantastic. An example of the products in a box were: Elle Magazine (included with all subscriptions), Ren Wake Wonderful Night-Time Facial (10ml), Ioma Optimum Moisture Cream (7 doses), Uniq One (Revlon Professional) all in one hair treatment (9ml), "Wet" Hair Brush, Vichy Liftactive (15ml), Decleor Intense Nutrition Cream (5ml), Eve Lom Cleanser (5ml) and cloth.
Boxes are £15 a month, with savings for longer subscriptions.
Value 8/10 The items are all sample sizes which gives you a great opportunity to try different products, but make it difficult to calculate how much the boxes are worth. The premium well known brands mean the overall contents is worth more than the subscription cost. 
Originality 4/10 If you are into your beauty products you will be aware of most, if not all the products, but you probably wont have tried them all so it provides a great opportunity.
Usability 6/10 As small products you will be able to work through all these items each month, but if there is a product you really like and you want to buy it full size you will stop wanting to use the samples. This means that if you subscribe for a long period you will end up not using all the products. 
Summary: If you love to try a variety of different beauty products this box is for you. They are all premium quality and enough to try the products for several days.
Contents of a Beauty Box as described above
Beauty Box

Great for lifestyle - My Little Box 7/10

If you fancy being sent a little bit of variety each month My Little Box is a great option.  It contains both beauty products and lifestyle items so the sort of items you will find in a box are: a travel bag for underwear, a "pop up garden" (a box with seeds in), a face mask (50ml), nails inc nail vanish, L'Occitane shower gel (50ml) and their lifestyle magazine. Other boxes have contained hairbands and jewellery.
Boxes are available for £14.95 a month. 
Value 7/10 The beauty products are a good size (perfect for holidays) and items are beautifully made.
Originality 8/10 These boxes combine widely available products, rare treats and items made specifically for the box. You will never know quite what you are going to receive.
Usability 6/10 There are some great items in these boxes which people will love, but other items might be a bit too quirky to make it out of the box.
Summary: These boxes are a little taste of Parisian chic. Not for everyone, but if you are into the style of these boxes every delivery will fill you with joy.
Contents for My Little Box as described above
My Little Box

Great for stationary - Ink Drops 8/10


I have always loved stationary and I have tried out a number of different stationary subscription boxes. My favourite is Ink Drops for the variety of products and how many items I use (rather than just adding beautiful paper to my stash). Sample contents include: some stickers, a small notepad, 2 greeting cards and rainbow neon crayons.
Each parcel costs £15.45
Value 6/10 Ink Drops is more about bringing interesting items to you rather than saving money. The box price is right for the items. 
Originality 8/10 The items aren't created just for Ink Drops but they work hard on their sourcing to find items you will probably never seen before.
Usability 9/10 I have a few items which I am unlikely to use, but I am one of those people who feel they can never have to many notepads, stickers, cards or pens. I have received lots of beautiful items which have encouraged me to put pen to paper on many occasions.
Summary: The perfect gift or subscription for stationary lovers. Warning: you will need to factor in the cost of stamps for the increased amount of post you will send!


Contents of an inkdrops parcel
Ink Drops


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1 comment

  1. I love subscription boxes - I used to get Birchbox and I'm very tempted by a stationary box!

    ReplyDelete

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