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Art Subscription Box- The Duende Box

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Curator: The Duende Box

Month: December

Theme: Florals

Price: Rs. 930/-

I love subscription boxes. They feel like little gifts to myself. They often have products that I would not have splurged on myself and it feels good to receive some love. I have subscribed to plenty of book subscription boxes in the past. I was really intrigued when I discovered The Duende Box and their concept.



The Duende Box is a monthly art subscription box that collaborates with artists around the world and shares a box of art supplies. I loved their Instagram feed and saw that the December box was themed ‘florals’ and would be based around watercolor. I’m always trying my hardest to get back to art so watercolor seemed right up my alley and I wasted no time in subscribing to them.

The monthly boxes are curated with art and artists in mind. The featured artist of the month has their original art work in the box and also provides instructions on replicating the same. My December box with the theme ‘florals’ featured @that.crazy.doodler and here is what it contained-

  1. Original floral watercolor art work by Vinita, the artist of the month
  2. Instructions card on making watercolor florals
  3. Five different @camlin_official@kokuyocamlin watercolor tubes in pretty colors
  4. A mixing palette (I still haven’t dared to use it since that is not how I usually work. It feels more abstract and my art is usually more methodical. It will be a good push out of my comfort zone)
  5. A speciality floral paintbrush with an angled edge
  6. A palette knife that I have not yet dared to use
  7. Masking tape which I find it very helpful with the bookmarks that I make
  8. A floral badge designed by the artist of the month (I absolutely love collecting pin badges and this one is so pretty!!)
  9. A double sided magnetic bookmark featuring white cat cafe (I love magnets as you well know)
  10. Two sets of artist grade paper
  11. Floral art card

They have previously had a card making box and a calligraphy box which I missed ordering. This month they have a resin clock making kit which looks dreamy. I thoroughly enjoyed my first experience with The Duende Box and can’t wait to see what they come up with next


Have you subscribed to subscription boxes?

What are your favourites?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

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Book Subscription Box- IAAK Harry’s Wondrous World July Box

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Curator: IAAK

Month: July, 2018

Theme: Harry’s Wondrous World

Price: Rs. 2799/-

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Harry’s Wondrous World IAAK July Box


As you know I started by Subscription box journey with Books N Beyond in September 2017. I then subscribed to the Aurora Box of Dreams October box, The IAAK December box and the Aurora Box of Dreams January box. I had decided that I would stop subscribing for a while because they don’t come cheap and I felt like I had spent a bit too much on merchandise ever since I started bookstagramming. But July being my birthday month, I wanted to gift something to myself. July is also Harry Potter month and I love that it coincides with my birthday. I wanted to combine the two and when I saw that IAAK had a Harry Potter themed box for July, I jumped at the chance… Or I should have because by the time I actually went on their website to order, the boxes had been sold out. But the birthday luck was with me and they reopened bookings due to popular demand and I made sure that I ordered mine in time and I just couldn’t wait to receive the box.

I ordered the premium box which promised to have a Five Star Funko, a Funko Plush and other officially licensed HP goodies while the Standard box did not have the Funko Plush. According to their sneak peaks, the Funko Plush were a choice between Hermione, Dumbledore, Dobby, Harry, Ron and Voldemort. IAAK was nice enough to ask us to comment on their post asking about our choices and I gave mine as Hermione, Dobby or Voldy.

For the Five Star Funko, the choices were Hermione with a book, wand, and feather; Harry with a Hogwarts letter, wand, and Hedwig; Dumbledore with Fawkes and a wand; Ron with Scabbers, a wand, and a chocolate frog; and Hagrid with a cake and his pink umbrella. I chose Hermione here. The boxes were to be shipped during the last week of July and I was to go on a holiday in the first week of August. So I was hoping against hope that I receive the box before I left and before my birthday month got over and I did! Ah the bliss when things work out for a change!

Here is what the box contained-

  1. A 5 Star Funko Hermione complete with a wand, a feather and a ‘Hogwarts: A History’ book. Typical Hermione!
  2. A Dobby Funko Plushie. He is cuter than what any of us imagined in the books and the Dobby from the movies! I love him.

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    The Funko Products
  3. A blind Funko Keychain where mine had Hedwig. So tiny and cute!
  4. Stickers by @enchanted.marks in the shape of Hagrid, Hagrid’s famous cake and a baby Mandrake.
  5. Dumbledore’s Army sign-up sheet, group photographs, Daily Prophet and prints from @enchanted.marks again.

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    Goodies from Enchanted Marks
  6. A hologram notebook with Harry Potter’s profile overlaid with symbolism from the Potter world.
  7. Cork coasters representing all four Hogwarts houses (I’m Gryffindor BTW).
  8. Harry Potter stationary kit that contained a pen, a pencil, an eraser, a sharpener and a scale. Where was this when I was in school?!

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Harry Potter Stationary and House Pride Coasters

I loved all of the goodies and as always, the customer service by IAAK was impeccable.

I had a great birthday month anticipating and then opening and reveling in all the Harry Potter-ness. IAAK is soon to turn one and I can’t wait to see what they have planned for us in the future.


Have you subscribed to boxes yet?

What are your favourites?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

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Book Subscription box- January box from Aurora The Box of Dreams

Curators: Aurora The Box of Dreams
Month: January
Theme: Boys We Love
Price: Rs. 1500/-


I began my book subscription box with Books N Beyond and then moved to Aurora. I also tried the IAAK box and thought that I had sampled all the big names in the business. However, when I won the Aurora letter writing/ fan fiction contest, I absolutely had to subscribe to their January box that was to feature the fan fiction that I had written for them. You can read the letter here.

Book subscription boxes contain a book or two along with merchandise which all revolve around a common theme. The theme for the Aurora January box was “Boys We Love” and was going to be extra special as it was their anniversary month. I was excited because the sneak peaks that they gave over Instagram revealed that they would feature a lot of male characters that we adore from a wide range of books such as Sirius Black, Rhysand, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Augustus Waters and Kaz Brekker. The book of the month was going to be Batman Nightwalker by Marie Lu and I was excited about that as well. They also were going to have an international collaboration with Kool and Co and Lit Balms for specially scented candles and lip balms that were to be centered over the month’s theme.

The team however ran into a lot of problems and the box was delayed by over a month. They had trouble obtaining the book due to problems with customs which further delayed the dispatch. They were very apologetic about the delays and offered a choice of another book in place of Batman. I suggested The Bear and The Nightingale and they were nice enough to actually put that into my box.

Items included in the Aurora The Box of Dreams January box

Here are the items that were included in the box-

  1. Letters: A hand written letter explaining and apologizing for the delays which was very sweet of the Aurora team and also a special letter just for me congratulating me on my win.
  2. The book of the month: The book that I received by my own request was The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden. I have heard great reviews of this book and am very excited to start reading it.
  3. A book Sleeve: A very pretty and flowery book sleeve that is locally made is the perfect size to fit a paperback or a small hardcover. Something that every bibliophile will love.
  4. Bookmarks: A couple of colourful bookmarks with watercolour designs and a magnetic bookmark from Sip and Read- The Rustic Store. A girl can never have enough bookmarks, am I right? The bookmarks had quotes from all of our favourite book boyfriends-
    1. “What is life without a little risk?”- Sirius Black.
    2. “They say time heals all wounds but that presumes the source of the grief is infinite”- Magnus Bane.
    3. “Fear doesn’t shut you down. It wakes you up”-Tobias Eaton.
    4. “Apparently the world is not a wish granting factory”- Agustus Waters.
    5. “He made her feel like more than the sum of her parts”
  5. A postcard with the words “I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity”- Edgar Allen Poe, which I think is my prize for winning their contest but I already have the same one from their previous box.
  6. Scented Soy candle: A 2Oz 100% soy wax candle scented ‘Willian Darcy’ from Kool and Co
  7. Lip Balm: A rum and coffee flavoured 50g lip balm with the smell corresponding to Kez Brekker from Lit Balms.
  8. Letter from Sirius: And finally the reason for me subscribing to the box- the fan fiction where Sirius writes a letter to his lover from Askaban. It was packed in an envelop with a very cool wax seal but was unfortunately printed on ordinary paper which was already crumpled on arrival. I had expected a bit more, maybe a rustic looking letter or a laminated one but was very disappointed with the way it was made and also with the lack of credit given to the creator.

On the whole, I was not completely satisfied with this box but I am glad that they kept their customers in the loop about the delays and although not all items were great, there are a few that I liked like the book, the book sleeve and the bookmarks. I wish more attention was paid to the curating of the box but since they genuinely seemed to be in trouble, I will grant them this one and hope that they come back stronger after the break that they have planned.


What are your favourite book subscription boxes?

Tell me in the comments below or on my instagram @the_food_and_book_life

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Book Subscription Box- IAAK December Box

Curators: IAAK (I Am A Kidd)

Theme: Cast a Christmas Spell

Month: December

Price: Rs. 2999/-


The December box from IAAK was my third subscription box. I first ordered the Books N Beyond box and then the Aurora Box of Dreams. IAAK box receives a lot of fanfare every month and I was curious to see what the hype was all about. I also had my eye on the box since they were famous for including an original funko in most of their boxes (unfortunately, they did not include a funko in the December box since it had other authentic merchandise. Tough luck, me).

The theme reveal for the month of December showed a lot of things related to Harry Potter and had a choice of a number of special edition Harry Potter books so I knew that this was the month that I needed to subscribe to them, and I did. The customer service was impeccable from the time of subscription. Since December sees a tremendous increase in orders, most of them have a clause regarding late delivery. This, coupled with the fact that a majority of the items in the box were imported and had to compete with the holiday season and clear customs during one of the busiest times of the year, the box was delayed by one month. However, the waiting period was made manageable with multiple follow-up mails from IAAK customer service ensuring us that they have not forgotten about us and are trying their best to get their products. This was very impressive and it made me forget all the impatient waiting that I had to do.

The IAAK box with its detailed Harry Potter themed imagery

The box was a beautiful ivory with popular Harry Potter symbolism. Every box was customized with the subscribers’ names but mine was damaged in transit and did not show my name. It was very disappointing but they were apologetic and promised to protect the boxes better the next time.

Things that were included in the box:

  • Personalized handwritten letter: A handwritten letter addressed to me gave a very personalized touch to the entire box and I absolutely loved
  • All the items included in the IAAK December box

    Customer’s Choice of Book: The choice of books were between Harry Potter Jacket Editions, Illustrated Editions and Slipcase Editions as well as Hogwarts Library Books such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Since I own at least one edition of all the books offered, after much deliberation I chose the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban. It was bubble wrapped and arrived without any damage and I am very happy with it.

  • Book Amigo by offbeat_magick: A double sided book sleeve for storing and carrying my favourite book, featuring the Doe patronus from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Best part about it is that the patronus glows in the dark!
  • Bookmarks and Dobby Sticker by enchanted.marks: Bookmarks of all four Hogwarts houses with the house qualities printed on them, headed by very cute house mascots. They prepared bookmarks that were cut to the mascots’ shapes as well as plain uncut ones. I received two of each but prefer the cut ones since they look very unique.
  • Marauders’ Map by thepapercharmshop: An authentic looking Marauder’s Map that smells very strongly of coffee. I love that the map looks like it is made up of parchment but I wish that it was easier to read and showed characters in their frequent haunts. Even though I’m a tea person, the smell of the coffee paper made my mouth water.
  • Funko Pen by originalfunko: A black-inked ball-tip pen with a funko top. Mine features Draco Malfoy. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of Draco, I’m growing to like him and this seems to be the perfect transition from my pre-Draco to my post-Draco days.
  • Color Changing mug: An official Warner Brothers lic heat sensitive color changing mug that changes from “The Marauder’s Map” to “I Solemnly Swear I’m Up To No Good” when hot beverages are poured into it. The inside bottom of the mug says “Mischief Managed” in a very cheeky font. I don’t know how comfortable I am using a color changing mug because of all the chemicals that are used in them but it is a very cool thing to own indeed.
  • Festive Bracelets by bloomsburyindia: Two cloth bracelets, one with “M.A.C.U.S.A” and other with “Wanded and Dangerous” embroidered on them. I don’t think I will be wearing them as bracelets but I’m sure I’ll find use for them as bookmarks.
  • Vinyl Stickers by Warner Brothers: Five vinyl stickers from the official Harry Potter store.
  • Unicorn Postcard and Bookmark by bloomsburyindia: A beautiful bookmark with representation from all four Hogwarts houses.
  • Dobby Badge by bloomsburyindia: A badge featuring Dobby is sure to be a hit with any Harry Potter fan. It is small enough to be inconspicuous and can serve as a token of support and love and yet remain hidden from people who judge us geeks too harshly.

Favorite things about the box:

Illustrated edition of HP#3: I have always coveted the illustrated editions of Harry Potter and I am so glad to have started my collection with PoA.

Book amigo: I love the concept of a book sleeve to protect my precious books. The beautiful design is just cherry on top and I will definitely be the source of envy when I take it out in public.

Customer service: I was very impressed with their periodic mails and their prompt reply to every query.


IAAK stayed true to their promise of satisfying our inner geek. They have, once again managed to wow us with their attention to detail and their procurement of authentic merchandise. They are now six months old and I’m sure that they will manage to dominate the field of subscription boxes for quite some time.


Have you subscribed to subscription boxes? What are your favourites? Tell me in the comments below or on Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

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Book Subscription Box- Aurora Box of Dreams

As I was trolling the internet for book subscription boxes, Aurora Box of Dreams caught my interest. This was my second experience with a book subscription box after Books N Beyond and is by far my favorite. They are a bimonthly box that ship from Delhi and I subscribed for their October box with the theme “Knick Knacks and us”. We were promised stationary that we would love and I must agree, I loved every single one of them.


The wait

Since I subscribed for the October box all the way back in August, it was a long wait and their social media presence was quite negligible with queries being answered after about a week on average.  We were, however, given sneaks peaks on Instagram regarding the book of the month, the book sleeve, washi tapes, rubber stamp and a reading light which left me very excited to see the other contents. But they are now very quick with their responses and even have a contest for the January box.


The contents

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The contents of Aurora Box of Dreams October Box

The book: The book of the month was John Green’s new release Turtles All the Way Down in Hardcover. I’m currently reading the book and will review it when I’m done so look out for that.

Book Sleeve: Probably the most eagerly anticipated content for me in the box was the book sleeve which lets us store and carry a book within a well cushioned and pretty sleeve. It is large enough to even fit a hardcover which made mevery happy.

Postcards: Four postcards with quotes from various books and authors (“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool”- William Shakespeare, “I am half agony, half hope”- Jane Austin, “All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadows”- Leo Tolstoy and “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity”- Edgar Allen Poe) were present in the box which are really just too nice to be sent to anyone. My favourite is the Jane Austin quote.

Bookmarks: Three very pretty bookmarks with depictions of art by Monet. As anyone familiar with Monet’s work knows, the art is very colourful and is a nice visual relief for when your eyes tire from looking at black and white letters all day long.

Book light: A mini-table-lamp like book light that can be clipped on to the pages of a book or to a kindle cover that looks like the Pixar logo. I can’t wait to use it on my late-night reading spree.

Rubber Stamp: A rubber stamp with the words “From the Library of” to stamp onto our books. I just love the idea of protecting our books from book thieves!

Washi tapes: Two rolls of washi tapes with pretty colors, designs and glitter. These are my first washi tapes so I’m very excited to start a project with them!

Notebooks: Two notebooks, one with the cover of Nutella and the other with the word ‘slay’ also were present in the box and are just the right size to fit in your pocket for some spontaneous sketching or writing. I’ve already started sketching and doodling in my Nutella notebook and am extremely impressed with the quality of the pages.

Stickers: A total of fifteen stickers arranged in two cards that are just so pretty that I think I will end up preserving them forever.


Conclusion

While there are a lot of book subscription boxes out there, finding one with quality products makes all the difference. Compared to certain other subscription boxes who are extremely active on social media with contests and games for their subscribers, Aurora Box of Dreams can appear dull. But once you see the contents of the box, it more than makes up for any earlier disappointment. They do have a contest going on where they are asking the public to write a letter that goes into their next box so they know how to keep their customers occupied. On the whole, a box that’s worth the two-month wait and knows how to satisfy customers with both quality as well as quantity.

Their theme for the next box coming out in January is “Boys that we love” featuring all the fictional male characters that we know and love such as Sirius Black, Rhysand, Darcy, Augustus etc so it should be very dreamy. You can check their previous unboxings with #AuroraBOD on Instagram.

TL;DR: A long wait for worthy goods, Aurora Box of Dreams wows us both with quality as well as quantity.


What subscription box should I subscribe to next? (Specific boxes, themes etc) Tell me in the comments below or on @the_food_and_book_life and I will review it for you.