This is certainly shaping up to be quite a year and many of us are shopping online more now. Whilst you may not be using the high street shops so much, it’s still possible to support small and charitable businesses online. There have been lots of new start-ups offering gift and subscription boxes, so I have compiled a gift guide for every occasion that fits in with the interests of Tea and Cake for the Soul readers. It’s good to know that in many instances you can buy a one-off box, rather than committing to a subscription.
This gift guide includes the following gift and subscription boxes:
Little Book Shed Pre-loved Box
Blue Tea Box
Blue Coffee Box
Shelter Box Book Club
Manly Man Co
Quaintly British Lifestyle
Please note that some, not all, of these boxes have been gifted to me for review. Rest assured that all thoughts are my own and I have only included boxes that I am entirely happy to recommend to you. I have not been paid for this feature.
If you are a company, small business or charity and think your gift boxes would suit my readers, please get in touch to chat about it.
With many aspects of life uncertain at the moment, you may be wondering if you’ll be able to see friends and family at Christmas. Being able to chose a gift online that’s already wrapped and can be sent direct is ideal. Or maybe you feel that you deserve a treat yourself but still want a surprise. Many of the options I’ve featured below have that option.
The Little Book Shed
I came across The Little Book Shed as I was following Jen’s bookstagram account. I was so excited by this idea, I just had to share it with you all.
Just like many other book boxes you get a book with a drink and a treat all wrapped up in a nice gift box, but the Little Book Shed comes with a difference – you can chose either a new or a pre-loved book. It’s such a great idea. Regular readers know that I have a strong reuse and recycle ethos and this is the first box of its type that I’ve seen.
When I ordered, Jen showed me photos of the second hand books that she had in stock and I chose one from a new author to me, along with a biscuit snack and hot chocolate drink.
On opening the box, it was beautifully wrapped in coloured tissue paper with a gift card. It really was rather exciting opening all the layers not knowing exactly what you were going to get.
Inside was a gorgeous little treat box containing some love hearts, a chocolate, hot chocolate with separate marshmallows, and of course the book which was wrapped in brown paper and coloured card with a gift tag. It was all beautifully packaged
The book I chose was pre-loved, but in excellent condition, infact you wouldn’t really know it has been read. I will also mention that all the packaging could be reused and the card wrap on the book is perfect to use as a bookmark!
These boxes are ridiculously cheap and I can’t recommend them enough. They are a perfect treat for book lovers at anytime of year, not just Christmas or birthdays. Pre-loved boxes are just £4 or £7 for new books, with £3 postage each.
To order head over to The Little Book Shed Facebook or Instagram page and get in touch with Jen. You’ll be able to chose your new or pre-loved book, along with a choice of 3 different snacks and drinks. You can even opt for a surprise version instead.
Please note that you can order a pink box during October and all profits go to a breast cancer charity. You can also order children’s book boxes too. Such a great idea and nice to be able to support a small set up too.
(Please be aware that Jen works full time and posts these around work commitments so do check her schedule if you need a box by a certain date.)
Blue Tea Boxes
Blue Tea Box supply individual gift packs or monthly subscription boxes of ethically sourced tea from around the world. All packs are loose leaf tea so are especially good if you are working towards a zero waste lifestyle. There’s something very special about brewing tea in a teapot (or infuser if you like the more modern touch).
I love the choices Blue Tea Box offer for ordering your gift or subscription box. First, decide what sized box you want (priced from just £6.99 a month), whether it’s for you or a gift for someone else, then if you want your tea to be black, green, fruit/herbal or a surprise.
You then have a check list of ingredients to exclude if you have allergies:
What a fantastic option!
On opening the box there were three 45g resealable pouches (you can also chose 1 x 75g). The packs are labelled with a best before date that exceeds a year. Each comes with an information card telling you all about the tea, what flavour notes it has and the best way to brew. I chose the black tea option and my box came with Russian Caravan, Assam Mangalam Second and Rukeri.
I was really pleased with the quality and taste of the teas and it’s so nice to try different flavours. My favourite was the Rukeri which is a luxury black tea and was absolutely sublime.
To order: The Blue Tea Box company have very kindly offered my readers a £3 money-off code on their first order by using the code TEA3 at the checkout.
Blue Coffee Boxes
Alongside the aforementioned Blue Tea Box is the Blue Coffee Box. They supply monthly gift and subscription boxes from £7.99 per month.
This coffee gift box arrived quickly in a long narrow box that fits through the letterbox, so no need to wait in for delivery. The delicious coffee aroma wafted up immediately. The coffee is ethically sourced worldwide but roasted in the UK.
On opening the box there were two 227g resealable pouches. Each is clearly labelled with the roasting date which advises that it’s best drunk within 4 weeks, but is good for three months. Each pack comes with a bright, colourful information card telling you all about the region and coffee. I enjoyed both the flavours I tried and the rich smell just added to the experience. I just love the smell of fresh coffee.
Ordering is simple on the easy to navigate Blue Coffee Box website where you’ll find a whole host of information about the company and the boxes themselves.
Boxes are available in single or double pouch boxes. Chose your size of box, type of coffee preferred, strength of roast, or you can even opt for a surprise! State whether it’s for you or a gift for someone (a gift card with your personal message will be put in the box). It’s that simple.
To order: The Blue Coffee Box have very kindly offered my readers a £3 money off code for their first purchase, just enter the code CAKE3 in the basket area.
I discovered Love Corn snacks last year and will say they are absolutely amazing. A great alternative to crisps that have so many positive attributes. They are gluten free, vegan, low in sugar and calories. The barbeque and salt and vinegar flavours are my favourites, but they also do sea salt and habanero chilli, all of which are packed with flavour and crunch.
They’re not just for snacking on either, they can be added to salads and stir fries for an extra taste sensation. The chilli gives quite a punch and would be ideal.
Love Corn are most commonly sold in 45g packs but smaller 20g packs are available. To be honest the larger packs are ample as they are so filling and flavoursome, making them ideal to share if you were that way inclined 😉. The pouches can be resealed too.
They arrive in a bright colourful box and I think this would make a great gift for someone, or even a treat for the family for a quiz or movie night.
To order: Love Corn can be found in many supermarkets but it’s much nicer to get this as a treat box through the post, especially with free UK shipping and 20% if you subscribe to their newsletter.
Head over to the Love Corn website to see the variety of boxes available. Prices start from just £10 for a box of 10.
The Happy Newspaper
I came across The Happy Newspaper last year and thought it was such a great idea – a newspaper that only gives happy news! During these current times, I think this would make such a lovely gift for someone. I know my parents really missed having their daily newspaper during lockdown, but didn’t miss all the doom and gloom that national papers write about. This will make an ideal gift for them.
You can buy individual newspaper subscriptions, a year’s gift subscription (which comes with a gift card in the first issue) and bulk issues if you want to order on behalf of you and your neighbours or work colleagues. They even have an option to order damaged issues which are perfectly readable but tatty around the edges. A great idea if you’re working towards zero waste.
To order: Head over to The Happy News website where prices start from £3.99. If you’re looking to buy the December edition, make sure you get your order in before the end of November.
Manly Man Gift Boxes
If you’re reading from the US, you might like to check out these wonderfully unique gift boxes aimed at men from the Manly Man Co. Who wouldn’t want a box of bacon roses, beef jerky flower bouquets, some single malt caramels, or just some bacon scented wrapping paper to wrap up something else? Click for more like this.
It would be great to have something like this in the UK.
Quaintly British Lifestyle Gift Boxes
As Quaintly subscription gift boxes can be sent worldwide, they make the perfect gift to send to your loved ones overseas. They have many different British themed boxes filled with quality items.
I have the London box (pictured below) but there has also been a Cornwall themed box this summer, and this month’s special is based on historic Britain.
My box contained the monthly magazine full of tourist information about where to eat and visit in London, as well as interesting articles and yummy recipes. Gift wise there was a fabric face covering, a tote bag, a London mug, some lip balm, shower gel, a print by Jessica Hogarth and a beautifully soft shawl perfect for late summer evenings. Each item was London themed and of the highest quality.
The website is easy to use and you are able to sort by most recent or price. There is a whole selection of gift boxes to suit all price brackets and tastes, from mystery treat boxes, to care packages or themed boxes such as Halloween. You also have the option to upgrade each box to “quintessential” which has added luxury items.
Quaintly also run a tea and book club. you can opt for a one off box, or three and six monthly subscriptions where you will receive a surprise book, tea and treat each month.
Do check out their blog on Love British Lifestyle as they feature many posts from UK bloggers including recipes, book reviews and places to visit, and their Instagram page is adorable.
ShelterBox Book Club
Another worthy book gift box is from the ShelterBox Book Club. This again has a different approach to many other gift or subscription boxes.
This is an ethical book club with profits going to disaster-hit areas such as those affected by cyclones or floods. The monthly membership fee entitles you to receive a new book every six weeks that will be based on stories and cultures from around the world.
You will be able to join in online forums to discuss the book and then vote on a book shortlist for the next delivery. Membership costs from £10 per month although you can opt to pay more if you prefer.
I have photographed two different books from the club. There is no fancy packaging but each book comes with a letter telling you a little about the book and more about the type of people that joining ShelterBox that you will be supporting. There was also a postcard with one of the books, that you could write on and send back to ShelterBox for them to forward to a family fighting the current global pandemic. What a lovely idea.
To order: You can find out lots more information on the ShelterBox Book Club website and subscribe to the book club HERE or if you’d like to gift a membership to someone else you can find that option HERE.
I hope you’ve found a gift or subscription box here that might interest you for yourself or as a present from someone. Companies seem to have got on board the fact that people don’t always want to commit to a monthly subscription and now sell individual boxes which makes it so much easier when you’re shopping for gifts for others.
As with all online shopping please make sure you are using secure payment facilities.
Do check back as I will be updating and sharing this post more in the lead up to Christmas.
I’d love to know if you’ve come across any of these boxes before, or if you think you might order one now for someone.
Do you subscribe to monthly subscription boxes?
If you’re a company or small business and would like your box added to this gift guide, do read my work with me page and get in touch to chat more.