Bring Me Sunshine – With a Sunshine Box!

In my LAST POST I told you about the wonderful subscription box for book-lovers, Wise Reads, which is run by Pebblewise. I told you I would tell you about their other subscription box, The Sunshine Box. So today I will 🙂

I had seen posts from Pebblewise on Twitter about this box. It was set up to send to people who suffer from anxiety and/or depression, as a way of lifting spirits. I thought that was such a lovely idea. It was a Twitter friend’s birthday recently and she writes about mental health issues, being an anxiety sufferer herself. I decided to send her a Sunshine Box as a birthday present. Her reaction upon receiving it told me that this was a very special box indeed! I decided I wanted to experience the joy it brought her myself, so I placed my order for August’s box.

On average you receive 5 items: 2 beautiful practical items, one luxurious self-care item, and 2 tasty treats. This may change from time to time though. We so often spend so much time looking after other people that we forget to look after ourselves, so this box is ideal to treat yourself. It also makes a beautiful gift to let someone know you are thinking of them.

Sunshine Boxes get posted out on the 3rd of each month. On the 5th, it arrived. The box was bigger than I was expecting. This is definitely not a box that fits through your letterbox. Luke, my son, was just as excited as I was to see what was inside. I opened the box and the packaging inside instantly made me feel happy. Each item was beautifully wrapped in bright sunshine yellow tissue paper, so it was like a birthday with presents to open! Each month a different positive-thinking poster is stuck on the inside of the box, and August’s was “look for happiness in the little things” on a background of sprinkles. Sprinkles always make me smile. They bring with them thoughts of cakes and ice cream. Ah, happy thoughts.

Luke and I decided to take it in turns opening a present from the box. His face was the perfect picture of happiness, especially with one of the items! This is what was in the box:

The part that made Luke happiest was the box of treats to make your perfect ice cream.

There was everything you could imagine for a scrumptious ice cream dessert, apart from the actual ice cream of course! That would have been a bit of a postal disaster! What was included though was gorgeous. There were 3 ice cream bowls and 3 napkins with sprinkles on, 3 spoons, 3 ice cream cones, strawberry syrup, maple syrup, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, 2 packets of sprinkles, 3 wafer rolls, and a packet of rainbow drops. Luke was really excited to make us a yummy ice cream treat, and he put a bit of everything on them!

I hadn’t had rainbow drops since I was a child, and I’d forgotten how much I used to love them. The activity of making the ice creams really made Luke happy, and this made me happy to see. He wants ice cream like this all the time now! The rainbow drops started a lovely conversation off about things from my childhood too. It all just made a wonderful evening.

Also included was a set of 3 beautiful rose shaped soaps. These are so pretty and delicate. It’s hard to believe they are soaps. Absolutely beautiful.

There was also a strawberry. But not just any strawberry! This one had a clever practical hidden secret. Open it out and it becomes a wonderful shopping bag! I shall keep this in my handbag at all times. So often I go out and buy something on a whim, but then have to buy a bag for it as I hadn’t expected to need one. Now I can just use my strawberry! It is small enough to hardly take up any space, so just perfect.

Next was a Konjac Beauty Sponge. I must admit I had never heard of these before. The packet says it is an ancient Japanese beauty secret. You just need to wet it so it expands and softens, and then massage your face with it. It is supposed to exfoliate, cleanse and moisturise your skin without the need for any soaps. It balances the PH of your skin and is said to be effective against acne-causing bacteria. Must admit, I love it and will be buying another when this one needs replacing in around 2 months.

Finally there was a wonderful little activity to do either on your own or with your family. There was a package which contained glue, magnets and glass pebbles. The idea is to look through magazines, brochures, photos, wrapping paper etc and find small pictures or a word that inspires you, and cut them out. Stick them on the back of the glass pebbles, then add the magnet. They look fantastic when they are made! Luke loved making these with me. We are keeping some and using some as token gifts and geocaching swaps.

I was hugely impressed with the Sunshine Box. Everything from the packaging to the contents just boosted my mood. It was lovely to have things I could enjoy with Luke too.

It would make a fantastic gift for a new parent who may be feeling tired and super busy all the time, or a baby shower gift so that mum-to-be can have something wonderful to help her through the exhausting preparation time for a new baby. Obviously it would be a wonderful gift for any other occasion too.

You can order a one-off box or start a monthly subscription. Either way costs just £15 a month with free postage in the UK. This one cannot be sent internationally, unlike Wise Reads.

EDIT 12/09/2018: Unfortunately, Sunshine Box has now closed down. 

 

Wise Reads – A Personal Subscription Box for Book Lovers

Recently on Twitter I discovered a lovely company called Pebblewise. They offer two subscription boxes: the Sunshine Box, which I will tell you about in my next post, and Wise Reads. I decided to try the August box of each of these and was massively impressed! Let me tell you about the wonderful box that is Wise Reads, a second-hand book subscription box.

I love reading. I love curling up in my favourite chair with a cup of coffee and a good book. More often than not though, I get so engrossed in what I’m reading that my coffee sits forgotten on the side. I love how books can do that. You can lose yourself so completely in the story that you also lose all track of time in reality. I get my love of reading from my father. He was a true bibliophile and he had literally thousands of books crammed into his house. They were everywhere! Each wall was lined with bookcases in every room except his bathroom, but that still wasn’t enough to contain the amount he had, which meant he then had piles of books everywhere too. And even though he had no room for any more, he couldn’t stop himself buying them! Before he lost the ability to walk easily, he used to love going to car boot sales and charity shops with the sole purpose of book hunting. He’d be like a child at Christmas telling me about all his latest finds. He used to tell me about the wonders of Hay-on-Wye, with its abundance of second-hand book shops. And there was a particular shop in Selly Oak in Birmingham that he used to go to time and time again. The owner, Stephen Wycherley, bought and sold rare and more unusual books, and he knew the types of books that Dad most loved, so kept them to one side for him ready for his next visit. I used to think that was such a thoughtful gesture. Every time I spoke to Dad about his new books or asked him what he was going to read next, he would always put on an excited voice and say “So many books, so little time.” Sadly, he had less time than any of us could have imagined, and so many of his books remained unread.

He would have absolutely adored Wise Reads! The people who run this subscription box also run a second hand book shop in North Wales. This helps with the individual service they offer. When you decide to sign up to Wise Reads (or order a one-off box) you are asked to fill in an online form in which you tick boxes to say what types of topics and genres you enjoy, such as crime, fantasy, satire, dystopia, coming of age, LGBT, quests, etc etc. There are so many options and you tick all that apply. You are also asked to list any favourite authors. This enables them to get more of an idea of what styles you like, but they also won’t send any books from those authors as they will assume you have most likely read them already. Finally there is a box in which you can type in any other information that might help them to find suitable books for you. I used this box to say what my very favourite types of books are, and if I’m honest, I thought my preferences would prove to be a bit too tricky for them to match. I love spiritual books, but not in a religious way. I am fascinated by past lives. I love thought provoking books with a message that stays with you long after you have finished the book. One of my all-time favourites is The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. I struggle to find books that tick all the boxes for me, but I do find plenty that tick some. I thought Wise Reads would send me a book that ticks a few but not many. I greatly underestimated the care and attention that they take in finding books!!!

I knew that books get posted out on the 10th of each month so I was very curious to see what they would have chosen for me. Each book is beautifully wrapped in tissue paper with a hand-written label attached to it. I loved this detail.

I was very excited to open this beautiful parcel, and as I opened the layers of tissue paper to reveal the book, I was absolutely blown away by their choice for me. They genuinely couldn’t have picked a more perfect book. It ticks all my boxes and more. Their attention to detail and care in making their selections really goes above and beyond all expectations. The book was in brilliant condition too, with just one crease down the spine. Here is what I received:

I’ll tell you what the blurb on the back says….. Some stories cannot be told in just one lifetime. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, every time Harry dies, he always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes – until now. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. “I nearly missed you, Doctor August,” she says. “I need to send a message.” This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow. 

I started reading it on the night it arrived and I am loving it! It is EXACTLY the type of book I’ve been looking for. I went on to Amazon to look it up and it gets fantastic reviews. I really am over the moon with this subscription. I had ordered a one-off box just to see what type of book I would receive. I am signing up to it as an ongoing subscription now as I am so impressed.

Apart from the fact they sent me such a perfect book, they made me feel close to my father, who I miss and think about every single day. They wouldn’t have had any idea until now. I nearly missed it, but as I was picking up the tissue paper after I had opened my book, a tiny prettily wrapped parcel fell out from it. I opened it carefully to reveal a necklace, the one that is the main picture in this blog post. I instantly heard Dad saying it in my head in his excited voice. So many books, so little time. I will treasure this necklace. And then I picked up the book to have a quick flick through it, and it naturally fell open halfway through, coinciding with the crease on the spine. And this was the page it opened at…

I do. All the time. And I thank him for passing his love of books on to me so that I could discover the gem that is Wise Reads.

Wise Reads is an absolute bargain. It costs just £5 a month including postage! And they like to send a little extra something with your book, as I discovered. You can also choose to receive 2 books at a time, and that is just £7 including postage. They send books in as good a condition as possible, but their main priority is finding the perfect book to suit you. If they find a perfect book based on your preferences but it is in less than good condition, they include an extra book at no extra cost! Bear in mind though, this is a second-hand book subscription so don’t expect brand new books. I personally don’t think you can beat a preloved book. I like to imagine someone else sitting curled up reading it before me. That person has similar interests and I like that thought.

Wise Reads is sent out on the 10th of each month. You need to place your order before the 8th to receive that month’s book. If your order is placed on or after the 8th, your book will be posted on the 10th of the next month. Payment is via PayPal only.

EDIT: Wise Reads costs £5 a month with free postage if you live in the UK. They also send this subscription box worldwide, which is fantastic. Obviously though international customers will need to pay a little bit towards postage. Pebblewise only charge £2.60 postage for 1 book or £5.40 for 2 for international orders. A truly fantastic bargain!

UPDATE 12/09/2018: Unfortunately Wise Reads has now closed down 😦