From baking boxes to best reads and more: Top subscription services for the whole family - tried and tested

While lockdown may have ruined our plans for a day spent browsing the shops, subscription services have made it easy to have our favourite products brought straight to our doors.

The top subscription boxes available - tried and tested
The top subscription boxes available - tried and tested

From fun-filled activities for the whole family to pamper products and rare collectibles, there is a subscription box out there to suit your passions and interests.

Here is our tried-and-tested guide of the top subscription services to suit all budgets...

Treat Trunk healthy snack box - £19.99 to £35.99 - treattrunk.co.uk

Treat Trunk healthy snack box

5 out of 5

During lockdown, it can be difficult to opt for an apple or a bowl of carrot sticks when calorie-laden yet scrumptious chocolate bars, cakes and crisps are in your cupboards.

But the monthly subscription box from Treat Trunk is here to ensure the whole family has a healthy snack to reach for when hunger strikes.

Providing two boxes packed full of treats for both adults and children, my husband and I were shocked at the sheer amount and variety of snacks for us to sample.

Vegan, gluten free and low calorie, we were bowled over by the healthy versions of salt and vinegar crisps, rocky road brownies, flavoured gummy snacks and more.

Users can subscribe for monthly boxes or try a one-off trunk, and even gift a box to a loved one for them to sample the goodness.

What's more, every Treat Trunk feeds one child for a day through Share The Meal charity.

It takes the guilt out of snacking and provides a quick and easy way to fill yourself up.

Ranging from £19.99 to £35.99, we thought this subscription box provided great value for money for the abundance of high-quality snacks included.

This box introduced our family to a new way of eating, and we would highly recommend it to any household looking to expand their taste horizons.

Tailored dog food subscription box - prices estimated from £10.44 to £39.03 per month based on dogs' individual factors - tails.com

Tailored dog food subscription service from tails.com

6 out of 5

Every dog has their own unique dietary needs based on their breed, weight, and overall health.

While it can be overwhelming creating the perfect diet for your four-legged friend, tails.com is here to make the process easier with a bespoke dog food delivery service based on your pooches needs.

The sign-up process is thorough, asking for your dog's breed, weight, activity level, potential health issues and even flavours they do and don't like.

It then generates a unique diet plan for your pet, with a price for a monthly delivery service that can be easily cancelled from your electronic device if it is no longer required, or adjusted to suit any changes in their lifestyle.

We were astounded by the size of the bags that arrived for our two dogs, as well as the delicious optional treats and handy portion scoops that helped us ease them into their new diet without over or under feeding them.

Each delivery comes with information about your package as well as instructions on how to best get your dogs adapted to their new food, as well as surprise treats and doggy must-haves every month.

Above all, however, it was our dogs that were truly thrilled with their new meal options - even our usually picky collie wolfed down his new, personally tailored bowl of food every morning.

Our combined price worked out at just over £60 for two medium to large sized dogs. This was more than our monthly dog food bill, but for how much our duo enjoyed it, it is well worth the cost.

Treat man's best friend to the very best the culinary world can offer with this deeply personal subscription service that had your dog's best interests at heart.

Rare Birds Book Club - from £11 per month - rarebirdsbookclub.com

Rare Birds Book Club

4 out of 5

The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown has given me the perfect opportunity to get back into one of my most-loved hobbies - reading.

But with so many literary offerings out there to choose from, I often spend most of my allocated book time trying to select a new title to read.

That's where Rare Birds Book Club comes in, a monthly delivery service that sends exciting picks to your door.

You choose two new books each month based on mystery blurbs that pique your attention, and then they're delivered straight to your door.

After you've turned the last page, you can share your thoughts online with other members, as well as exclusive member perks such a prize draws, author events and much more.

Rare Birds Book Club champions books written for women, by women - a feature that made the service stand out to me among its contemporaries.

I received a thrilling novel set in a dark, dystopian future, as well as a gripping and tear-jerking tale of a woman in Kuwait battling societal and personal expectations.

Both books arrived with plain binding so you can't judge a book by its cover, instead focusing you on the content within.

I was taken on a rollercoaster of emotions by both novels and almost felt a twinge of sadness when they came to an end.

Perfect for lovers of reading, this subscription service takes the hassle out of choosing a good read.

ScentAddict perfume subscription box - from £36 to £120 - thefragranceshop.co.uk

ScentAddict perfume subscription service

3 out of 5

Do you miss heading to beauty shops and spraying various perfumes to discover your next favourite scent?

Created by The Fragrance Shop, ScentAddict is a monthly subscription box that allows you to pick a sample of different coveted fragrances.

All you have to do is sign up online using their quick and easy form, pick your favourite scent for the month, and wait for your sleek, black atomiser to arrive.

Each month the vial inside can be removed and replaced with a brand new perfume. Whether you're looking for 'the one' or just want to try different fragrances, you can choose from a range of top brands such as Gucci, Jean Paul Gautier, Moschino, Mugler, Armani and many more.

I opted for the Moschino Toy2, a light and summery scent with notes of orange, sandalwood, apple and magnolia.

When the box arrived, I was impressed by it's lightweight, no nonsense and sophisticated packaging, but had found that I had forgotten what bI had ordered by the time it arrived, and had to refer to my emails to remember as it does not come with any perfume information or labels.

The vial is easy to remove to replace with future fragrances, eliminating the need to clean the vial out and mix fragrances.

While this can work out as a cost-effective option for many new fragrances, some offerings work out cheaper to buy full-size bottles rather than samples provided by this service.

For someone who likes to sample fragrances this may work out a bit pricey, but for hardcore perfume addicts this is a great addition to any vanity table.

Kinda Kawaii - from £36 to £204 - kindakawaii.com

Kinda Kawaii

2.5 out of 5

Suitable for adults and children alike, this subscription brand offers a monthly delivery of items from some of Japan’s most popular Kawaii brands, including Studio Ghibli, Pokemon and more.

The items are presented in a delightful, colourful box, and packaged nicely with pink shredded paper as padding.

The box we were sent included a small plastic toy dog and skateboard in a Kinder-style egg container, unicorn-decorated memo slips, a Pikachu keyring, a cartoon bear clip, a set of page-marker tabs and a small notepad, a pack of anime-style cartoon stickers, a pen, and a canvas bag bearing the design of a skateboarding dog.

Though all the items are very sweet and would be enjoyed by children or stationery fans, I didn’t feel they warranted the £36-cost of the box.

I was hoping for more plush toys, perhaps, or a lunchbox or edible treats, as displayed on the website.

Still an attractive, cute collection of items, but not the best value for money.

Natural Wellness Box - from £37 to £200 - naturalwellnessbox.co.uk

Natural Wellness

5 out of 5

Treat yourself or a loved one to this delightful selection of goodies including edible treats and nourishing skincare products.

The box we were sent included @myrooskincare Hand Treat balm (RRP £20), @potionlondon Body Biotics supplements (RRP £30), @bloomtownuk Organic Hand and Body Wash (RRP £12), @teapigs Everyday Brew tea bags (RRP £3.99), and @rawhalo Mylk and Vanilla Chocolate Bar (RRP £2.99).

The Hand Treat, rather than a cream, was a balm - and though it felt a little greasy at first, it nourishes the skin wonderfully, instantly taking away dry skin and leaving hands smelling wonderful thanks to its ingredients of avocado, rosemary, geranium and grapeseed. Ideal for dry skin, this balm goes a long way and is cruelty free and vegan.

The biotics, meanwhile, are vegan friendly and, according to Natural Wellness, include 5 billion probiotic bacteria, which is said to help improve absorption of nutrients, regulate cholesterol, prevent IBS, and support the immune system.

The hand and body wash, containing cedar and bergamot, was a delight to use with a lovely, fresh scent ideal for use by men or women. It is 100 per cent free from palm oil, parabens, and synthetic detergents.

The Tea Pigs tea, meanwhile, was fantastic. A simple, yet delectable blend of assam, ceylon and Rwandan, this tea is rich and flavorful, malty and zesty - a delight.

Finally, I had my doubts about the chocolate given it is dairy free, but it was delicious. Sweet, yet sharp, and creamy. Indulgent even. And made with ethically sourced single origin cocoa, blended with coconut sugar and creamed coconut. Wonderful.

A superb, high quality collection of goodies, absolutely ideal for those seeking a little TLC.

Lazy Flora - £33 monthly for indoor plant subscription with pot (other options available) - lazyflora.com

Lazy Flora

3 out of 5

This subscription is ideal for plant lovers and provides options for pet-friendly plants, indoor, outdoor and edible plants.

Our package was delivered fairly swiftly and came in a large box containing a Chinese Money Plant (we opted for a pet-friendly indoor plant), alongside a plant care guide and an attractive light blue plant pot.

Unfortunately, the plant was a little worse for wear upon arrival and, though it has since picked up a little in the weeks following its delivery, it is still not at full strength.

It was nice to have a surprise plant arrive though, and interesting to learn more about the plant and how to care for it with the accompanying information.

Oh Mumma - £22 to £25 - ohmumma.com

Oh mumma

5 out of 5

This subscription box is a lovely, indulgent treat for any mums - and babies, depending on which option you go for.

The subscription gives the option of choosing either ‘Just for Mum’ or ‘Mum and Babe’, with the mum and baby boxes tailored around the age of the child, from bump to two years old.

We opted for the ‘Just for Mum’ box and were delighted. It came quickly and was presented beautifully in a small, colourful box. We also found it to be very good value for money, with the RRP total for products included coming to £79.49, according to the information on products supplied in the box.

Inside, the goodies included a body scrub, facemask, hand cream, a pre-shampoo hair treatment, and face serum.

The Gallinee Probiotic Handcream was luscious and nurturing, easily absorbed and thick but lightweight.

The spacemasks.com face mask was lovely too - the self-heating product relaxing and soothing, and an absolute pleasure to wear. Easy to apply, it also smelled great, boasting a jasmine scent.

The Upcircle Coffee and Lemongrass body scrub was wonderful too - and ideal for those with dry skin. A superb exfoliator, the wonderfully-scented product leaves skin feeling smooth and rejuvenated.

The Philip Kingsley Elasticizer hair treatment is designed for use pre-shampoo and left hair feeling soft and healthy. It is also intended to leaves hair stronger, resulting in less breakage, says the company.

Finally, the Evolve Hyraulonic Serum 200 was impressive, with a small amount going a very long way. It is also easily absorbed and a pleasure to apply and wear.

Little Cooks - £8.33 to £12.99 - littlecooksco.co.uk

Kids Cook

5 out of 5

This wonderful little kit is ideal to get youngsters involved and interested in cooking, while being easy, fun and healthy.

The box includes all the dry - and organic - ingredients needed to make the bakes, easy-to-follow recipes, additional child-friendly recipes for family meals, stickers, ‘table talk cards’ for dinner table fun, and activities and games - plus some treats.

When subscribed, the first kit also includes an annual record book and every three months the ‘little cook’ will progress to a new level, earning a badge and certificate at each stage. A very special gift awaits little cooks who complete their whole record book too, says the firm.

Examples of the recipes with ingredients include pear custard slices and ‘sunny’ lemon biscuits.

A really lovely, well thought out subscription box to encourage little ones to get involved in cooking and healthy eating - while making it fun.

Cafe Direct - from £7.95 to £24 - cafedirect.co.uk

Cafe Direct

4 out of 5

Missing that Starbucks or Costa hit during lockdown? Cafe Direct's coffee subscription service might just be the answer.

We can't travel the world just at the moment but a whole world of coffee can be delivered to your door instead, giving you a choice way beyond the supermarket shelves.

With a choice of different coffees, frequency of delivery and grind sizes, including whole beans to grind yourself, here's a chance to explore beyond the boundaries – and you might just like it enough to continue long after lockdown is lifted and our 'new normal' takes its place.

You have a choice of a 250g or 1kg bag of coffee roasted to suit your brewing choice from filter to espresso, posted out direct to your home.

If you fancy exploring at random, take up the Discovery Plan and a new variety will be sent out each week or month, along with a beautifully designed card with tasting notes, historical backdrops, environmental landscapes and stories of the coffee's journey from the farm to your brew at home. This means it would also make a great choice as a gift.

If you already know what flavours suit you best, you can choose from Rich and Chocolatey, Bright and Aromatic, Espresso and Decaf, all from £7.95 a month.

Being fans of grinding coffee ourselves, we took delivery of a £24, 1kg bag of Colombia Las Frutas whole beans, grown in the Narino region of Colombia.

Las Frutas is made up of 30 small producers situated in the Cerro La Jacoba Mountains. The coffee beans are produced using a double fermentation process, said to give the finished drink a vibrant cherry sweetness.

Opening the bag to a deliciously overwhelming waft of coffee aroma, we found the drink light and refreshing, and a little easier going than the hefty espresso beans we usually grind.

But of course, if you're on the weekly or monthly delivery plan, then you're going to have a whole different flavour profile every time.

So while you might be stuck home for now, you can still take your senses on a coffee inspired tour of the world.

Be your own barista - there's a whole world of choice out there. Anyone for coffee?

Most Read

Most Read

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News