When was the last time something landed on your doormat that made you squeal with delight (not including birthdays and questionable ASOS orders, that is)? Chances are you come home to a letterbox stuffed with bills, statements and takeaway menus more often than not, and unless you’re really into filing, that’s pretty dull.
But the death of good old-fashioned snail mail correspondence has given rise to a new trend for those looking for more pleasurable postal offerings: subscription boxes. Chock full of goodies, these little parcels of joy rock up every month brandishing everything from beauty samples and homeware treats to more off-the-wall concepts such as ‘artisan’ marijuana (available in San Francisco only – sorry). Here’s our pick of the bunch.
Update: 10 more amazing UK subscription boxes here
1. Cake, from If I Knew You Were Coming
- £19.99 for three months
“If I knew you were comin’ I’d’ve baked a cake,” sang Eileen Barton back in 1950, when having friends over meant lovingly preparing an array of homemade treats, and not simply pulling a tube of Pringles out of the cupboard. If I Knew You Were Coming is a subscription service that makes peak domesticity a snap, each month sending pre-weighed ingredients and recipe cards so you can whip up a teatime treat – from cakes to cookies – with no mess and no fuss. We’re not saying you have to share it with anyone, though.
2. Cheese toasties, from Cheese Posties
- £3.99 a week including delivery
We’ve written about Cheese Posties before, and even given them a taste test. Basically, they’re amazing. They send you all the ingredients for a gourmet toastie in the post once a week, and you compile the layers in the correct order, stick it in the included toasting bag and pop it in your toaster. You don’t need a toastie machine.
Recipes range from sweet to savoury (you can tell them your preferences) and include Apple Pie (red leicester, apple sauce and cinnamon), Le Pig Magnifique (brie and bacon), and the Nutty Goat (goats’ cheese, honey and walnuts). You can even choose when in the week they arrive. We recommend getting them posted to work to make all your colleagues jealous at lunchtime.
3. Geekery, from Loot Crate
- From around £17 a month
Delivering the best in geek and gaming gear, Loot Crate is basically Comic-Con in a box. Every month you’ll receive a bunch of epic goodies, from collectibles and apparel to gadgets and art. What’s more, you’ll be part of a thriving online community that bloody loves geekdom. If you’re already all over this, watch out for a similar service from Nintendo – the ‘N-Box’ – rumoured to be coming soon.
4. Me time, from Book and a Brew
- £12.99 a month
There are few things more indulgent than cosying up with a good book and nice cup of tea, which is why Book and a Brew has ‘me time’ nailed. Every month they’ll send you a must-read book and a box of premium tasty tea to slurp through as you lose yourself in the page-turner. They do kids’ boxes as well, with activity books and healthy, natural drinks included, to keep little ones occupied while you have some downtime.
5. Period pick-me-ups, from Pink Parcel
- First box £5.95, then £9.99 a month
Ugh, there’s a wedding in your uterus and everyone’s a Stark, but you can assuage your monthly misery with Pink Parcel, which sends you your choice of sanitary products every month (in line with your cycle) plus a host of other period pick-me-ups, including teas, toiletries and other treats. No more shuffling down to the corner shop because you forgot to stock up. Not regular? No problem, you can change your parcel delivery dates as and when you want.
6. Wine, from Sip and Learn
- £30 a month
If your knowledge of wine consists of simply ordering the second-to-least expensive bottle on the menu, Sip and Learn is for you. Every month for one year you’ll receive two bottles of wine from small producers, specially selected to help you learn about key wine characteristics such as palate, mouthfeel (heh) and finish, alongside helpful instructions and tuition guides. Build your knowledge over the months, and if any wines in particular take your fancy you can order them from the website and start building your own collection.
7. Care packages for depression, from BuddyBox
- From £18.50 per box
Show a loved one with depression or mental health issues know you’re thinking about them – or buy one as a self-care gift for yourself. BuddyBox, from the Blurt Foundation (which aims to raise awareness of depression), contains all kinds of treats to help, inspire and comfort those who are struggling. Each box can be personalised with a special note for the receiver, too.
8. Vinyl music, from Wax & Stamp
- £26 a month
Designed specifically for vinyl vultures, Wax & Stamp harks back to the days when you’d walk into a record store and the guy behind the counter would give you a list of recommendations. Every month the team spends hours listening to as much new music as they can before picking a must-hear record, then they ask a special guest curator – it could be a DJ, a musician or a music writer – to pick a complementary EP. Both are lovingly packaged up and sent to you for your aural pleasure.
Get 10% off your first month with code GADGETTE. Woohoo!
9. Cheese, from Pong
- From £28 a month
If you like your cheese as offensively smelly as possible, you won’t go wrong with Pong. Every month these hardcore fromage fanatics will create a selection of the best cheeses from around the globe designed to complement one another on the board, and ship them straight to your home, where hopefully you’ll keep them in a sealed container so as to contain the odorous fallout.
10. Fresh flowers, from Bloom & Wild
- From £15 a month
Who says you need someone to buy flowers for you? Buy your own and bypass the faff of delivery or walking them home in the rain with Bloom & Wild, the UK’s first flowers-in-a-box company. Beautifully packaged and in tip-top condition, every month a fresh bouquet will be delivered not to your door, but through your door (or someone else’s).
11. Treats for furry friends, from BarkBeats & Cat Hampurr
- BarkBeats: From £13.50 a month
- Cat Hampurr: from £8 a month
You like getting lovely new things and so does your pet (there’s only so much enthusiasm they can keep mustering for that manky old chew toy). BarkBeats and Cat Hampurr make it easy to treat your fluffy friend by sending a box every month chock full of delights, including (safe) edible snacks, toys and other pet paraphernalia. Ideal for showing your best buddy how much you appreciate them.
12. Beautiful French things, from My Little Box
- £14.95 a month
If anyone knows style and sophistication it’s the French, and now you can own a little piece of Parisian glam every month with My Little Box, which originated en France. Each month they’ll send a themed box bursting with beauty products, fashion and lifestyle accessories, stationery treats and other surprises. Previous themes have included the French Riviera, Provence, Paris (of course) and even Diane von Furstenberg.
13. Beauty goodies, from Birchbox
- £12.95 a month
Quickly becoming to beauty what Graze is to snacking, Birchbox is your number one destination for premium skincare, haircare, makeup and fragrance samples. Every month you’ll receive five well-known and exclusive beauty treats (customisable to your own needs and preferences), plus tonnes of tips via handy in-box tutorial cards. Like what you’ve received? Buy the full-sized product on the Birchbox website.
14. DIY craft projects, from Crafty Creatives
- £17.95 a month
We spend so much time staring at computer screens it can be a real treat for the soul to get hands on with something physically creative. Enter Crafty Creatives, a subscription service that every month sends you everything you need to get stuck into a quirky project straight away, from decoupage Russian dolls and book-binding to felt purses and lino cutting. Each project is suitable for all levels, from beginner to experienced, so you needn’t worry about gluing your hands together.
15. Lucky dip goodness, from Lucky Dip Club
- £18 a month
Overwhelmed by choice? Why not leave your doormat delights in the hands of fate and sign up to the Lucky Dip Club? Every month founder Leona and her team curate a limited number of boxes bursting with handmade presents and surprises which include jewellery, stationery, homewares and craft kits. Plus, one item in each box with be personalised just for you. These boxes sell out lightning fast though, so get in quick at the start of each month if you want dibs.
Enjoyed this? There are 10 more awesome UK subscription boxes here.
Main image © iStock/Catherine Lane