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Unboxing: January Inku Crate

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I’ve loved getting subscription boxes throughout 2020, I think it’s brought me an edge of excitement to an otherwise dull and stressful year. As I said in my Anime Limited unboxing, there’s something about a mystery package that’s really appealing to me – I think really just boils down to the element of surprise and chance. I bought a fair number of boxes in 2020, and whilst I have loved pretty much every one, there does come a time where I think, “But do I really need this item?” where they’re purely decorative. I obviously collect a lot of anime merchandise, but I think there’s something inherently different about buying a figure or plushie of a character you love, rather than one you just happen to get in a subscription box (looking at you, Donald Duck plushie).

From a young age, I’ve always really loved stationery. Even now I have drawers full of stationery and shelves full of unused notebooks. I promised myself in 2021 I’d get back into creating a bullet journal, something I have done in previous years and really enjoyed, and I also want to find penpals to write to. This all led me to plumping for a stationery themed subscription box. I knew they’d be full of practical items that I’d definitely use.

This is a very long winded way of saying my January subscription box was Inku Crate – a subscription box themed around Japanese stationery.

The box itself was really cute, I loved that it looked like a book and opened from the side like a book would, I thought that was a really nice touch. I know there are a good amount of items in the box, but due to the size of one of them they had to use a bigger box and it seems a little sparse as a result – to reiterate, I know it’s not, but it’s an initial feeling of “oh, kinda empty” as a visual thing when you first open.

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Onto the items! I got a couple of pens – first up is a sweets u-marker. It’s double-ended, and each end smells like a different sweet – mine is melon cream soda and it smells so good. The pen nibs are highlighters, which I use a lot of for journalling! The second pen is a fude colour marker of which I got a pink one (fitting!). I need to learn to do fancy writing, so hopefully this pen will give me an incentive!

 

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Next up I got these items which will be perfect for journalling. At first I could not figure out what the blue item was, but it’s glue in the shape of a detergent bottle. How cute is that?! When I was journalling at the weekend I said to myself that next time I went to a supermarket I needed to buy glue, so this has come at the right time! I love putting stickers on my journal pages and on penpal letters, so these stickers will be perfect!

 

 

IMG_8574Finally, I have the larger items. First up, a Hello Kitty notebook. Hello Kitty is dressed like a cow, because it’s the Year of the Ox! At first I was totally baffled by it, but when I realised, it all made sense! I also got a daruma doll sticky note set, which are always useful for putting little reminders on! There’s also the cutest little rubber (eraser!) set, which is fairy tale themed – mine are Alice in Wonderland, which is just perfect for me as I’m not really a traditional fairy tale kind of person. Last up is a clear file decorated with Japanese New Year iconography. I use these clear files all the time to store documents!

I’m so happy with my Inku Crate! I know I’ll definitely use these items all the time, so it feels like a really smart purchase over some of the items I was getting in other subscription boxes. I’ll still get the occasional box with normal kawaii goods in it, but I’m saving myself for when there’s a theme I really like the look of or content that I really like – most companies give a preview of what characters or properties will feature in the box. I think I’ll get the next Inku Crate to see how that goes, and I may keep it going as a rolling thing!

What was your favourite item in this box? I think mine is the detergent shaped glue, it’s so cute!

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Unboxing: Anime Limited Mystery Box

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As you’re probably aware if you’ve read my unboxing posts before, I love receiving a package where I have no idea what’s in it. It makes no sense, why would I spend often a lot of money to risk getting something I don’t know I’m going to like, or something I might already own? I don’t know, but I still like it!

This week I decided to treat myself in the Anime Limited 12 Days of Christmas sale, and get the blu-ray mystery box, because I just can’t stop buying myself things even in December when I should really refrain.

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The box was £44.99, and came with the five blu-ray shown above. I thought it was a pretty good deal, and as with mystery boxes, it’s more about the anticipation for me. Anything I didn’t want, I figured I could sell on and make some money back.

IMG_8436Let’s get it out of the way – first up in the mystery box was King’s Game. This is the only one of the five that I’ve actually seen (technically I haven’t watched Roar of Awakening, but I have watched season 2 of Attack on Titan). I actually started it when it was airing, and stopped watching because I didn’t like it much. I then got fed up of it being incomplete on my AniList, so I finished it off earlier this year for Anime August. I still didn’t like it much (I gave it a 5/10 when I rated it), but against my judgements I will keep the bluray as I might give it a second chance later down the line – perhaps the disjointed way I watched it didn’t help with my overall dislike of the show.

IMG_8438Next up, as mentioned above, was Attack on Titan: Roar of Awakening. For those who don’t know, this is a recap movie retelling the ‘Clash of the Titans’ story arc in season 2. I’ve seen season 2 of Attack on Titan, albeit a long time ago when it aired, and I don’t have any of the other seasons or recap movies in my collection. If there’s anything I hate, it’s an incomplete collection, so I kind of feel obliged to fill in the rest of the collection if I end up selling Roar of Awakening on.

I was pleased to see Welcome to the Ballroom: Part 1 in the mystery box. It’s been on my list for so long, and recommended to me by so many people, so I’m glad to have a push to watch it. Not that I actually ever watch the things I own, they just look nice on my shelf… maybe I’ll make it one of my challenges for 2021 to actually watch all my physical anime. I didn’t check the retail price of everything in the box, but I did for this as I wanted to check that it was in two parts and I wasn’t being dumb, and I noticed that the first part was selling for around £41.99, so the box had basically paid for itself in this one item.

Delving in further, the next bluray in the box was Kokkoku. I’d never heard of this before, but having looked up a synopsis it seems quite interesting, and the sort of supernatural show I’d normally watch, so I’m looking forward to giving that a try!

The final bluray I received was Silver Spoon season 1. I very nearly put this on my Amazon wishlist when I was making my Christmas list, but for whatever reason I didn’t. I must have known I’d end up owning it before Christmas hit! I was obviously interested in this before I got it, so I’m glad to own it!

Overall, a pretty good haul in the mystery box I think! I’m pleased with what I got anyway, and I’m glad I took the plunge and bought it. What do you think about the mystery box contents?

 

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Unboxing: Kinda Kawaii

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I haven’t bought a subscription box for a while, partly because I haven’t seen one with a theme I like, and partly because a lot of my usual companies I buy with are now charging a mandatory £10 extra shipping for tracked shipping, which seems a little unfair to me as I was pretty happy with waiting it out for the standard shipping and I never had an issue. I get why they’ve put it on there, but I think it should at least be optional.

Regardless, last month I felt like getting a box, and after a lot of searching for a UK supplier, I found Kinda Kawaii. I opted for a single box, just to test the waters and bought via Etsy, so it was really simple.

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My first impression was that the box was really cute! The box itself is pastel coloured (just my vibe!), and on opening there was a strong visual impact with the box packaged really cutely and bursting with goodies! A great start!

 

 

 

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Obviously the first thing I saw when I opened the box was this bunny plushie! I don’t think it’s a specific character (feel free to correct me!), but it’s so cute! It’s so soft, and the pastel purple is one of my favourite colours, so I’m really happy with this item!

 

 

 

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Next up was this Pokémon mug! It hasn’t photographed particularly well, and it is a lot more muted and pastel in real life, which is totally my aesthetic. It’s a really cute mug, but much like tupperware, I own far too many mugs and I’m being threatened that if I get any more they’ll be binned! Still, a cute mug for my last one!

 

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I also received these Sumikko Gurashi socks! They’re packaged really nicely, so I didn’t know what they were at first, but when I unboxed them and folded them out, they’re a really cute pair of socks! I especially love them because they’re a bit thicker, so they’re warm and stop any rubbing shoes!

 

 

 

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I’m a sucker for stationery, so luckily for me I got these two pieces in my box. Firstly, a colour changing pen which is really nice to write with (I don’t know the characters though!), and secondly, some Gudetama sticky notes. Both are coming in very handy in keeping me nice and organised.

 

 

IMG_8259 Last but not least, I got these Sumikko Gurashi chopsticks – I’m also amassing quite the chopstick collection! Luckily I’m not too bad with a pair, so now I just need to learn some Japanese recipes to put them to use!

 

 

 

 

The Kinda Kawaii box was beautifully presented, with a lot of high end items. I spent more than I usually would on a subscription box, but with the price of boxes going up it made more sense to support a local business and get quicker shipping time. I’m really glad I chose to get a Kinda Kawaii box, and would definitely do so again in the future!

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Unboxing: July YumeTwins

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And so, as predicted, my July YumeTwins box arrived in record time. Typical! At least this means it’s safe to order new subscription boxes, something I’d been putting off doing whilst the post was so unreliable!

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The theme of July’s box was ‘Work kawaii, play kawaii’! I did feel like the items in this box didn’t really fit the theme, and it did seem like just a bunch of random items put together. One of the items, the ‘mystery plushie’, just felt like it was in there to get rid of stock.

As you can see from the photo, the ‘mystery plushie’ was very prevalant in my box – Donald Duck staring at me as soon as I opened it.

 

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I’m not the biggest Disney fan, I would have much rather had a Sanrio plushie, so immediately I was feeling a bit miffed. This is potentially one item I’ll be selling as I don’t really see a space for it in my plushie collection, but we’ll see. It might grow on me.

 

 

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My next item was a Splatoon x Sanrio cup. I’m not a fan of Splatoon, having never played, but obviously I do like Sanrio. I’m not sure where My Melody rates in my Sanrio league chart, obviously I would have preferred a Pom Pom Purin one, but this isn’t so bad really. I like pink at least!

 

 

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So far, not particularly work or play themed. Up next was an Animal Crossing sticker. It’s really cute, and I do like Animal Crossing but I don’t have anywhere to put the sticker. I’m giving the sticker to a friend who I know will appreciate it a lot more than I will!

 

 

I also got the above, which, though very cute, I have no idea how it fits with the work/play theme. It’s billed as a ‘pocket surprise towel’. I think the character is Tokage from Sumikko Gurashi (feel free to correct me in the comments!), which I don’t feel strongly about either way, but it is pretty cute so I’m not too bummed out about it (though, again, Pom Pom Purin was an option, so sucks to be me I guess).IMG_7354

 

Finally, this Gudetama mousemat. Probably the only thing in the box that fits the theme. It’s pretty practical too, as now I’m working from home I do use a plug-in mouse for my work laptop, so I’ll definitely get use out of it. Again, the options were Gudetama or My Melody, and out of the two I definitely would have preferred My Melody, which is pretty typical of my items in this box.

 

What did you think of the items in this box? Do you think they fit the theme?

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Unboxing: June YumeTwins

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Who could have predicted this? Apart from everyone, I mean. A mere week after my May YumeTwins box arrived, up rocks my June box. Subscription boxes are like London busses, or something. Anyway, terrible jokes aside, it’s a relief to be back up to date with my subscription boxes after the shipping nightmare. I do still have a July box to come, but I’m not expecting that for another couple of weeks or so. I may be pleasantly surprised on that estimate, but we’ll see! The theme for the June box was ‘Ghibli Night In’.

IMG_5747I mentioned in the last Unboxing post that food and drink items tend to be a recurring theme in subscription boxes, and the June box was no exception. I think the more subscription boxes and the more tupperware and bento boxes I acquire and sneak into the kitchen cupboards, the greater the risk of my mother killing me becomes. I’m hoping these Jiji tupperware boxes get a free pass for being so cute!

My next items, above, were both My Neighbour Totoro themed. The bag looks extremely out of proportion here next to the toothbrush, but I can assure you it isn’t the world’s smallest bag! It’s actually a pretty decent size, easily big enough for phone, keys, purse with room to spare. It’s definitely not an all the time bag, but I think for just nipping out, it’s fine! My lack of forward planning is clearly evident here as the Totoro toothbrush blends in with the colour of my coffee table perfectly, whoops! I’ll be using my new bamboo toothbrush to take on trips with me, so I don’t have to take my electric toothbrush and charger, a huge space saver!

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I seemed to have very good luck with my selection of items, as I got this Howl’s Moving Castle postcard print, which I am extremely happy about as it’s my favourite Ghibli movie!

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Lastly, I got this A4 clear folder with a scene from Kiki’s Delivery Service. I’m trying to make an effort to keep all of my important documents together, so this will definitely come in handy for that!

 

 

That was everything for the June box! What was your favourite from the items I got?

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Unboxing: May YumeTwins

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Due to the good old ‘rona, shipping times worldwide have been totally ruined. Luckily, I hadn’t experienced many issues with this, except for my YumeTwins subscription box. I bought the May box back in April, and so I could get a free gift I bought a 3 month subscription. Unfortunately the box didn’t arrive in May… or June, and in fact came in July. I know this can’t be helped, and YumeTwins have amended their shipping as a result, so hopefully I won’t see this much of a delay with the remaining two boxes in my subscription!

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The theme for the May YumeTwins box was ‘Ghibli’s Delivery Service’, so as a huge Studio Ghibli fan I really couldn’t resist. Like my relationship with most things anime, there’s a sort of bittersweet feeling as I was meant to go to the Studio Ghibli Museum during my cancelled Japan trip back in March, but the sting is becoming less strong! I’m sure I’ll get over it one day…. maybe.

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Anyway, onto the goodies. The free gift that I mentioned was a set of Ghibli playing cards. This was really the reason that I signed up for the 3 month subscription, as I collect themed playing cards. I actually almost bought these exact cards when I was on holiday last year, so I’m glad I didn’t! The ones I got were My Neighbour Totoro ones!

 

 

I’ve noticed that a lot of things in subscription boxes tend to be quite food based. After just a few months of getting boxes, I have more bento boxes and chopsticks that I know what to do with. I’m not complaining though, they’re really cute! I got a bento box of Jiji from Kiki’s Delivery Service, and chopsticks! All of the options for the chopsticks had Jiji on, but the bento was between Totoro and Jiji, so I got a matching set!

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Carrying on the food and drink theme, I got a Totoro tumbler. The options here were all Totoro, but my one is yellow where the colours differed on the others. This fits me quite well, as I have a pastel aesthetic going on! Normally I’m a person who gets the biggest glass possible and drinks pints of water at a time, so this is a little smaller than I’m used to, but I think it will be a good glass for having an alcoholic beverage or two, or taking it on a picnic – it’s plastic so there’s no chance of it getting broken outside!

 

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Also in the box was this cute puzzle of Kiki. It’s only 150 pieces, so it won’t take me too long (although it has been a really long time since I did a puzzle, so who knows?). It’s really pretty, so I think I might even frame it when I’ve done it as it’s such a lovely picture!

 

And finally, the last item in the May YumeTwins box was this origami set of Kiki’s Delivery Service. I’m not sure I’ve ever done much origami in the past, but in theory I think it’d be quite relaxing. I guess that remains to be seen, as some of these designs look quite complicated!

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That was everything for the ‘Ghibli’s Delivery Service’ YumeTwins box. Hopefully my June box won’t be quite so delayed!

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Unboxing: June KawaiiBox

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Until this box arrived, I had entirely forgotten that I’d bought a KawaiiBox subscription for June. This was my first KawaiiBox, and the theme was ‘Kawaii Summer Picnic’! I was a little apprehensive when it arrived, as the box was quite small – but, the best things come in small packages as they say, and I was proven wrong to be so concerned! When I opened it, I was immediately happy as it was presented really nicely (it doesn’t take much to impress me, it turns out), with tissue paper and a cute pamphlet.

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My first item was this super cute bento box! I’m getting quite the collection of bento boxes now, but they’re always handy. In normal times I use them to take breakfast, lunch and snacks to work, but at the moment they’re just in the cupboard waiting to be used!

 

 

Next up was these chopsticks in my signature colour, pink! Luckily, I’m pretty adept with chopsticks these days, so I’ll be using them to show off when I have takeout!

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Keeping on the food theme, in the box there was also these Little Twin Stars onigiri covers. I’ve not made any Japanese food at home before, but getting these has inspired me to try!

 

 

 

There was also some cute stationary in the box! Some paper sticky tabs, which I’m sure will come in handy at some point, these sorts of things always do! The stickers I’m going to save for when I make my next scrapbook, whenever that will be! I’m thinking of taking a leaf out of Chelsie’s (scrap)book and making one for my next holiday, whenever that will be! The next item was a pen, with a cute moon on the end! It’s a really cool pen, and nice to write with, so that’s a bonus!

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We got sweeties in our boxes too! These were peach flavour, which is one of my favourite flavours, but unfortunately, I couldn’t eat them as they contained gelatine, so I gave them to my parents to share. Their verdict was “weird”, I think in so far as the texture, rather than the flavour.

 

 

Finally, the loot box Gods smiled on me, and I got a plushie of my favourite Sanrio character, Pompompurin! He’s so cute and fluffy!

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I was really happy with my KawaiiBox! For a purchase I’d totally forgotten about, there were a lot of really cool items which I’m happy to own! Especially the Pompompurin plushie!

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Unboxing: May SoKawaii

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The theme for May’s SoKawaii box was ‘Cozy at Home’ – pretty fitting considering I have been stuck in mine since mid-March! I love getting subscription boxes, it really livens up my post – the majority of the time I don’t get anything, and when I do, I know what I’ve ordered, so to get something which is a total surprise is really exciting!

Once again, the SoKawaii box came out with everything laid out in pink tissue paper. I’ve said before, but I really love how SoKawaii pack their boxes. The visual impact is so strong, and it just makes it even more exciting, and makes me feel like the box was packed with care rather than hastily put together.

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The first item I pulled out was this really cute Animal Crossing notebook! I’ve been playing a lot of Animal Crossing: New Horizons since I’ve been in lockdown, and I always appreciate a cute notebook. I’ve been using this one to try and organise my photos and keep track of which folders they’re in on my Mac! Not sure how succesfully, mind you, but it’s cute nonetheless!

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Also in the box was this cute Pikachu and Eevee organising rack. It’s the perfect colour for my bedroom so it’s in there at the moment, but it has nothing in it! It is a touch on the small side, so I’m struggling to think of what I can put in there. All of my toiletries and things like that are in my bathroom, otherwise the obvious choice would be things like cotton buds and cotton pads. I’ll think of something, I’m sure!

 

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Next up was this cute Rilakkuma pillow cover. It’s not really a pillowcase as it is open at the ends, but it’s still pretty functional. It’s made of a towelling material, so would be good for popping over your normal pillow if you’ve got damp hair or something like that – I’m very prone to going to bed with wet hair, so that’s what I’ll be using mine for!

 

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I also received this cable holder. I’m not sure if it’s a character, or just a random design as I’ve now thrown away the packaging – if you know, please tell me! I’m not sure what the function of cable holders are really, aside from the obvious, as I’ve never had any cable related issues! It’s still pretty cute, and doesn’t look obviously like something which I’m not using it for so I have it on my desk without cable!

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Finally I got this Hello Kitty plushie! Whilst it is very cute, I’m pretty gutted, as the other plushie option was Pompompurin who is my absolute favourite Sanrio character! By contrast, Hello Kitty is my least favourite, but I guess that’s the way it goes!

 

 

That was everything in my SoKawaii May box! Which item is your favourite? Mine is probably the Pikachu and Eevee storage rack!

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Unboxing: April SoKawaii

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I’ve previously mentioned that I wasn’t going to buy any subscription boxes prior to my trip to Japan, and then the subsequent cancellation of the trip led to March “sad-time spending”. I decided during this period that I would buy myself a subscription box, which I felt would either cheer me up, or depress me further as it would remind me of what I was supposed to be experiencing. Just to double down on any potential pitfalls, I also opted for the SoKawaii box, as it had a theme of “Sakura”, and I was due to see the sakura blossoms during my trip.

The first thing that struck me was how cutely the box was packaged. My previous Yumetwins box was just the items in a box, which is totally fine, I didn’t have any packaging expections, but the SoKawaii box was cutely laid out with pink tissue paper and just had a more visual impact when I opened it. It instantly made me happy, and I was excited to unpack and see what I got.

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Item number 1 was this really cute Rilakkuma blanket. I’m not the biggest Rilakkuma fan, but this blanket is super soft. It’s so hard to take a photo of these blankets, I also struggled in my Christmas box, but this is it on my double bed, so it’s quite large! It also fits my colour scheme in my bedroom, albeit it’s a slightly darker shade of pink.

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The next item was a Cardcaptor Sakura keychain. I knew in advance that the box was coming with a CCS item, and to be honest, it almost stopped me from buying it because I’ve never seen CCS before. I went ahead as I have lots of friends who like it, so I figured I could gift the item to one of them, which is exactly what I’ve done (or will do once lockdown is over!). Still, it’s a really cute item, and it’s a shame I can’t appreciate it fully, but I’m sure its new owner will!

IMG_6758Next up was some sakura chocolate. The packaging is so cute, and totally my aesthetic. I’ve yet to try the chocolate, because I haven’t got round to translating the ingredients yet, and I have a lot of allergies and dietary requirements, so I can’t just trust that chocolate will be okay for me to eat and there’s no translation label. I’m also super fussy with food, so I’m not sure whether I’m looking forward to trying this or not! I guess it’s in keeping with my Japan trip, as I was going to force myself to try some new foods just for the experience!

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Item number four was this really cute bowl! It’s the perfect size for me to put little trinkets in, or little sweets and keep on my coffee table for guests.

 

 

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I also got this cute Pokémon figure with Plusle and Minun! It’s a stackable figure, so there are others to collect with different Pokémon on, and then they make up a larger tree. I’m glad I got Plusle and Minun, they’re probably up there with my favourite Pokémon, and there are plenty of worse options I could have got.

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And last but definitely not least, we have my favourite item this month – the sakura Cinnamoroll! He’s just so cute, and so soft! He matches the colour of my bedroom perfectly, so I have him in there hanging off my wardrobe door so I can see him every day, and every time I do he just makes me so happy!

 

 

I’m really happy with my SoKawaii box! It did the job of dulling the void I felt by having to cancel my trip to Japan, and I’m mostly happy with everything that I got (and have found a good home for the one item that I didn’t want to keep). I’d definitely get a SoKawaii box again, in fact I forgot to cancel the subscription, so I am getting a box this month too!

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Unboxing: December YumeTwins

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Towards the end of last year, I had an idea that for 2020 I wanted to start using Culture Shack as more of a lifestyle type blog as well as an outlet for writing reviews. and other articles. This means I’ll be doing more posts showing days out, convention overviews, shopping hauls, and as this post shows, subscription box unboxings.

Of course, when I had this idea in about October last year I still had a job, and the original plan was to get a different subscription box each month, but then I decided in my infinite wisdom to quit my job without having something lined up so… we might have a gap between these types of post! (I do now have another job, so hopefully I can resume soon!).

The box for this month is YumeTwins, which describes itself as a ‘kawaii subscription box from Japan’, promising 5 high quality goods each month. When I signed up back in November, the box I bought was the Christmas themed box and like a fool, I underestimated how long it would take to get here. It arrived today, the 3rd January, so I guess at least I have it for next Christmas?

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When I had bought the box, the site had a pop-up which enabled me to spin a wheel and get a prize. Mine was for a free bag, but there were various things on there, like codes for money off the total. I thought this was a cool touch, it would be interesting to know the odds for each prize, but either way I’m not complaining!

So, what did I get in my box?

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First up, here’s my free bag – a Sumikkogurashi ice-cream drawstring bag! It’s really nice quality, and the perfect size to pop in my handbag. I wasn’t familiar with the characters, but they’re adorable so I’ll definitely be checking them out in future. What I really love about subscription boxes is when it introduces you to characters or brands that you don’t know, so this item has definitely ticked that box!

 

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I also got a super-cute Pompompurin Christmas spoon! The booklet that came with the box tells me that I could either have had Pompompurin or Cinnamoroll, so I got really lucky as Pompompurin is my favourite Sanrio character! It’s only really a Christmas item if you squint (there’s some holly on the handle), so I think I can get away with using it all year round!

 

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To go with my spoon, there’s a plate of Sanrio characters celebrating Christmas – absent friends are shown as decorations throughout the room, or can be seen out of the window, which is a really cute touch! I’m sad I didn’t get to use the plate for my Christmas snacks, but I have it ready to go for next Christmas now!

 

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The last of my Christmas themed items – a Sanrio blanket. This is the softest blanket I’ve ever touched, it’s almost velvetty but in a furry way. I’m sure there’s a specific name for the fabric, but whatever it is, I don’t know it! It’s not huge, about the width of my double bed, and about half as tall.

The box wasn’t all Christmas themed – I also got these Hello Kitty paper straws, and some Gudetama post-its and stickers. It’s great to have some functional items in there too!

My YumeTwins box was a success! I really liked all of the items I received, but it’s a shame I didn’t get the box before Christmas – I guess with international shipping, it can’t be helped.