There's no place like London! It's one of my favorite cities in the world, filled with art and history and culture. I'm really curious to see what quintessentially English items will make it into the box. Tea and biscuits, I'm sure. But what else? Does Escape Monthly provide any clues in the enclosed brochure?
Welcome to London!
London has been a cultural centerpiece of the world for nearly two millennia, and its history is a testament to the city's vibrance.
London has seen devastating fires, bubonic plagues, and aerial bombings - but while the challenges have been persistent, the city has blossomed into one of the most significant capitals of the modern world.
This month, we're excited to bring you some of the essence of this incredible city. We hope you love it!
As you may remember from past boxes, Escape Monthly lists a retail value for every item in the box, but in my experience the price tag is often vastly inflated. I'll list Escape Monthly's price in italics and the price I think more accurate, based on my own research, in bold.
Rick Steves London Travel Guide: Interesting. It seems that Escape Monthly provides Rick Steves guidebooks when the destination is a popular tourist stop in Europe, as they also used Steves in the Paris box, instead of the usual Moon Handbooks. Is that good or bad? I'm not sure. Steves isn't to my tastes - I prefer to use guidebooks to look up the area's attractions and then figure out how I'll move from one place to the next, whereas the Steves books tend to set out "trails" for readers to follow. When I was in Italy, I remember a criticism of him that I heard from shop owners was that his guidebooks ruin the 'local color' of a place because they become totally swamped by tourists faithfully following in Rick Steves' footsteps. But I digress. My mother loves Rick so perhaps I'll pass this travel guide on to her. $19.99 / $12.99
SOAPSMITH London Soap Sampler: This tiny box contains three small pieces of highly fragrant soap. Each one is about the size of the facial soap bars you get in cheap motels. I'm not quite sure what the fragrance is - a very heavy floral wth fruity notes - but it is strong. Like, the scent filled the room when I opened up the Escape Monthly box. I went to the company website to try and identify what my samples are, and I think I got one Brick Lane (amber and pepper) sample and two mystery pieces that don't match any of the site's current line. The packaging on the full-sized soaps is great - each bar is wrapped in a map of the area for which the soap is named. I think Escape Monthly would have done better to include one full-sized soap instead of three tiny slivers. An eight-pack of sampler soaps sells for 8 pounds here, the only online retailer I could find for the company. $8.00 / ~$5.00 (depending on exchange rate)
ORICO LONDON Rush Hour Vibrant Dry Body Oil: Escape Monthly sent two tiny 15ml bottles of dry oil out with each box, and both of mine leaked. I can't say I'm too keen on this - who uses body oil? It always leaves my skin feeling super-greasy. $7.00 (not sure if this is for one or both) / $12.90 for both
HILL BISCUITS Custard Creams: I love these!!! They're just basic vanilla sandwich cookies, but I can eat a whole package in a few minutes because they're so delicious. Just a great blend of crunchy cooky and cream filling, they go down really smooth, especially when accompanied by tea. The only problem I have with finding these in the box is that Hill Biscuits really aren't difficult to find Stateside, and I can't help but wish they'd found a biscuit that is little more obscure, $3.00
ENGLISH BREAKFAST Teabags: This is totally a tourist thing that I would buy my friends and family. The tea inside? Well, to be honest, it's probably cheap and gross. But I love the tin, and I will definitely use it to store tea after the current contents are drunk up. You can buy these tins in bulk on Amazon for $3.85 each, so I raise an eyebrow at the $11.00 retail price. But since I didn't manage to find an individual tin for sale, I'll have to let it stand. $11.00 / $11.00
London Diecast Taxi: The black London taxis are iconic, and this little Matchbox-style car is pretty cool. It's exactly the sort of present I'd pick out for my nephews if I was trying to find something in London for them. But since I only have the one car and two nephews, they'll be missing out and I'll be giving this car model to my husband instead. $12.00 / $12.00
WALKERS NONSUCH English Creamy Toffees: Yum, who doesn't love a nice Walkers toffee? Actually, if I'm strictly honest, I'm not a fan. The flavor is great, but I like toffees that are a little softer and less sticky. I have a beastly time getting this stuff out of my teeth. But like I said, it tastes fantastic so I often overlook this critical issue until I've eaten a half-dozen of the candies. $4.50 / $4.50
CORKERS Pork Sausage and English Mustard British Crunch: Whoa, what is this flavor? Pork sausage and mustard? Sounds exciting. I love weird chip flavors, and this is definitely a strange one. Looking at the company website, it looks like unusual flavors is definitely their specialty. Gressingham Duck and Hoisin Sauce? Sweet Thai Chili? Red Leicester and Carmelized Onion? Can I get more of these chips here in the States? $3.00 / $3.00
Well, that's it for the London box...and for me, that's it for Escape Monthly. The value of the boxes have declined a lot in the past few months, I think. There are more sample items instead of full-sized prodcuts, expired chips in the Puerto Rico box, and lots of cheaper, novelty items that come from factories in China instead of the actual box location. When I read that next month's box would be Hawaii - meaning that after one year Escape Monthly was already repeating locations - I decided that it was officially time to unsubscribe. I should be putting the $40.00 each month toward an actual vacation instead.
Escape Monthly is a vacation-themed subscription box. Each month, a voucher for up to $1000.00 is given to a subscriber to help them travel to their dream destination.
The subscription rate is $49.95 a month, but if you use the coupon code "YOURESCAPE" your subscription will be 20% off each month.
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