Quaintly & Co’s Jane Austen Themed Box Review (September 2021)

“The ‘Jane Austen’ Box

Love British Lifestyle goes back in time to revisit one of Britain’s best loved authors!

Snuggle up in September with our delightful Jane Austen Box, inspired by the Jane Austen Festival held annually in the beautiful city of Bath where the author based a good many of her novels. Sign up this Wednesday for your next box of Austen-inspired treats and literary gifts, alongside our curated guide to British period living and the history of Bath itself. This is always one of our most popular annual themes… don’t miss it!

I have wanted to try several different subscription boxes, but so far my experiences with the ones I have ordered have not been favorable. Every time I order a box I tend to like only one or two items, while the rest of it are things I don’t really like or can see myself using, and I end up giving them away.

Quaintly & Co was one such subscription box I have had my eye on for quite a while as their past Poldark, Cornwall, London, Outlander, and prior Jane Austen boxes have all looked amazing!

Last year I decided to take the plunge and purchased the London Lifestyle box. While it wasn’t what I was expecting, there ended up being only two items in the box that I didn’t really care for; and I loved the little book that had information and word games on London. When I saw that the following month they were doing a Jane Austen themed box, I decided to purchase that one as well.

This was a September box, but as I live in California, I didn’t get the box until mid-October, (which I had expected as my August box didn’t arrive until mid September.)

When ordering the boxes you have the option of a classic box which is 6 items at £32.99 before taxes (+ shipping and handling) or a Quintessential box of 10 items at £59.99 before taxes (+ shipping and handling). I chose the first as I was still a bit hesitant if I would like what I would receive. My box arrived and contained:

  1. A Signare Tapestry Bag: Brown and in an oak motif inspired by a coat belonging to Jane Austen £14.00
  2. Lady Austen Tea Sampler: A version of Earl Grey with French lavender and cornflower petals £3.00
  3. A Feather Quill Pen: Feather pen designed in the style of William Morris in the 1800s £6.00
  4. Magnetic Bookmark: Features a drawing of Jane Austen and a quote. £3.50
  5. Greeting Card: Features a quote from Sense and Sensibility (1995)
  6. A Booklet on Jane Austen
  7. Bonus Items: Shore and Sweet Biscuits, two kinds (Not included on the official “What’s in the Box!” List but was in the box.)
  • Signare Tapestry Bag: The Signare Tapestry Bag was nice, but I didn’t really care for it, as I have a lot of those small bags already, and I ended up giving it to my niece who collects them.
  • Lady Austen Tea Sampler: The Lady Austen Tea Sampler contained 4 teabags, and I enjoyed it as I love Earl Grey tea. However, Tiesta Tea, makes a similar Earl Grey with lavender and cornflowers that I prefer. I loved the biscuits and ate them immediately with my first cup of tea.
  • Feather Quill Pen: The feather quill pen is cute and I enjoy using it. It is probably my favorite thing in the box.
  • Magnetic Bookmark Featuring a Jane Austen Quote: The bookmark was cute and useful, I actually really appreciate the fact that they went with Mansfield Park instead of Pride and Prejudice, it’s nice seeing one of her lesser known/loved books getting the spotlight.
  • Greeting Card: The card was nice as well, and I sent it to the next person on the Flat Jane list when I mailed Flat Jane.
  • Booklet on Jane Austen: The booklet of information on Jane Austen was item I really liked. It had Jane Austen trivia, information on what to do in Bath in the fall (when they have the Jane Austen festival), a biography on Jane Austen, and a a brief overview of the Jane Austen festival. At the end is an ad for Signare

As a whole this was an okay box, however, as I live in the USA I get to see the information from customs on the different items in the box. With inflation as what it was, I’m paying extra for everything from $2-12 more. I probably wouldn’t order another, especially as I can order similar things stateside for cheaper.

But if I lived in England I think I would order this again, or have a subscription as the items weren’t bad and I do often use half of them, and I did use two right away.

For more Jane Austen products, go to MadsenCreations’ New “Spring” Jane Austen Items!

For more Jane Austen product reviews, go to Jane Austen Runs My Life Holiday Gift Guide: Jane Austen Products

Teapot Card with Teabag

I’m always doing crafts at work or with my nieces, and after sharing a couple of crafts last year, I though it would be cute to share this one as well.

Do you love tea and have friends who love tea? I do and sending them a cute little tea card is a lot of fun, and something adults or kids can enjoy making too.

Supplies:

  • Colorful Paper (Scrapbook Paper works best)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • A Teabag
  • Pen or markers (optional)

Directions:

  1. Print out the template.
  2. Cut it out and decorate it, or use the template to cut the teapot out of a piece of scrapbook paper.
  3. Glue the pocket on to the teapot, but only on the bottom and side edges. Leave the top edge alone as you want to be able to place the teabag in the pocket.
  4. Write your note on the back.
  5. Place teabag in pocket.
  6. Give away to your tea-riffic friend or family member.

Hope you enjoy!

For more crafts, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Paper Fan Making

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 13, A Better Place

So it has been a while since I last reviewed one of these chapters from the Choices videogame. Originally I was just playing the game but as I could do that faster than I could review, I ended up deciding to not play another chapter until I finished reviewing what I already had played. Of course things came up and I got distracted by other things on my list to write/review/etc-so now I am getting to Chapter 13 of Book 1, while I think Pixelberry has already created book three or four of this video game.

Anyway, quick backstory since it has been so long. This game is storybook based where you have a story that progresses a certain way, but at times you get to make a choice as to what to do, say, who to fall in love with, etc. Some choices require you to spend diamonds to play, which you can earn every time you play a chapter or purchase from their store. Some “books” have different side quests, like in this one you want to become an accomplished woman and certain choices allow you to gain items.

It’s really fun as you have the power to decide what path the story takes.

This game is set in the Regency time period, and of course is catered toward Jane Austen fans. In this game you are the illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Edgewater, something you discovered on your mother’s deathbed. You met your father and he accepted you and has decided to make you his legal heir, as your half-brother passed away.

You also have an evil stepmother and conniving stepbrother, Mr. Marcastle, who has a dim fiancé, Miss Sutton. They are all plotting against you.

And a lot has happened since the beginning of the book: you have held a garden party (which you rocked), you are currently having a London season, you went to Mr. Sinclaire’s house (a suitor I am all about)-who has a sad Rebeccaesque backstory and he gifted you a book, you visited the Opera St. James where your mother used to preform, went to see an Opera and were stuck with the Duke who is a horrible jerk, took a walk in the rain with Mr. Sinclaire, learned to paint, helped your friend refuse a gross geezer, found out the truth about Mr. Sinclaire’s wife and the Duke, and was able to meet up with your father one last time before he died. On his deathbed you receive one last giant twist: it turns out that your parents were married before you were born! You’re not but yet still are illegitimate.

Now here is where the story isn’t tracking true to actual history. In the game your parents were married and then had an annulment making you illegitimate. But I did some research and it turns out that:

“any children of an annulled marriage become bastards (who cannot inherit or be declared legitimate at the whim of the peer) and likewise outcasts of society.”

KRISTEN KOSTNER, “A PRIMER ON REGENCY DIVORCE AND ANNULMENTS,” KRISTEN KOSTNER (BLOG), ENTRY POSTED OCTOBER 11, 2018, ACCESSED JULY 22, 2021,

So this next conflict of this game is to try and inherit the estate is not something that is possible, unless I can prove that the annulment never legally took place and my stepmother’s marriage is invalid. I don’t know if the game’s creator’s did any proper research, but let’s see what happens next in the game at the funeral.

You start this chapter off with your grandmother the two of you consoling each other over the loss of your father and her son. But even though Grandmother is sad, she is also still as conniving and concerned about the estate as ever. She eagerly wants me to harpoon the Duke (who we don’t like since he tried to attack me) in order to have a better hold on the estate. I’d much rather have the Mr. Darcy/Maxim de Winter-esque character, Mr. Sinclaire.

Grandmother also warns me not to make a scene at the funeral, and I’ve played enough of these choices game to know that is 100% what my character will do later on-no matter how much I don’t want to.

Oh well…

You have the option to purchase a black gown to wear to the funeral or wear something else that you already have in your closet, and this kind of option is one I hate. I understand the game wants to make money off, but sometimes it makes no sense to have them purchase an item and not provide one. It’s a funeral! But whatever. I of course know that it would be clearly uncouth of me not to wear black, so I purchased it.

The time of the funeral has come and we go to church to have it. Your stepmother and stepbrother both refuse to allow you to seat with them. This I also don’t understand, why not just sit with your grandmother? Instead you have the two options of making a little scene or making a much larger one.

I of course chose the more respectful of the two options, the smaller scene-but either way a scene is made and I know grandma will not be happy.

Mr. Sinclaire, a good friend of my father’s and his closest neighbor, also comes to the funeral and pays his respects to me. The two of us have grown closer together but is it enough for a proposal? I feel like when I play Marrying Mr. Darcy, just because you are able to get proposed to you still have a final gamble/roll to take.

The service is beautiful, and Mr. Sinclaire is happy to hear that my father approved of him asking for my hand in marriage. (Things are looking good).

At the end of the service we all say our final goodbyes and the writers wrote this chapter so prettily. These words are so sad and full of emotions, you can feel the pain and sorrow there.

Afterwards is a reception in which you see Mr. Harper the horseman. He wants to pay his respects but you stepmother is a cruel woman and won’t allow him to. You also speak to the other guests and your stepbrother, realizing that your stepbrother had deep feelings for your father. Could Mr. Marcastle actually have a heart?

Hmm…

Even though I try not to Mr. Marcastle and I make a scene. Oops! It looks like one of thede writers just wants all the drama!

You also run into your best friend Miss Parson, your new friend Miss Sutton (fiancé to Mr. Marcastle but she values your friendship more), and Prince Hamid. All are here for you to support and encourage you during this rough time. Each offers you a diamond choice to do something with them.

You also into Mr. Sinclaire again and he offers to show you his home, Ledford Park, if you are in need of a respite. Now I know this isn’t what one should do in Regency Times (Marianne Dashwood had taught me that), but I’m really curious about his home and I have enough diamonds to purchase the option that I agree.

You go to his home and it is beautiful, very much like Pemberley. The two of you walk the grounds and talk. As Mr. Sinclaire also lost his father, he understands the pain you are going through. Mr. Sinclaire shares about his father and all he says makes him sound even more like Mr. Darcy.

He shares with you a cute story about how his mother would have him throw a coin in a fountain and make a wish when he was sad, this always giving him hope. You decide to try it out, being all cute and romantic together. Aw!

The two of you just sit for a while and Mr. Sinclaire promises to help you in any way he can. Not a proposal, but his friendship is very important and you are a step closer.

How sweet!

The next day you discover that your stepmother is trying to keep you from gaining your inheritance by saying you are not your father’s child and that your father was mentally incompetent. But you have letters to prove it, your grandmother knows that it is true, and it doesn’t matter if he was mentally incompetent. I’m not an expert in Regency law but trying to get him to be declared incompetent seems like a weird route to take. Plus we already know that one wouldn’t want to have their family branded as crazy.

Plus Henrietta is all “I’m the widow” people will feel sorry for me-but that doesn’t means nothing. History is full of women who were given the shaft. Taking a cue from Sense and Sensibility, the only thing that is important is to who will get the money. And as of right now that is my character.

We end the chapter with me being trapped in my room. (Someone watched Cinderella.) Again, this is a pretty dumb move as the Dowager Countess, my grandma, is there and will know something is up. She’s very smart and not about to let her son’s last wishes go unhonored. She will be gunning for the Countess I’m sure.

For more Desire and Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 12, In Sickness and In Health

For more on Choices, go to When Trouble Strikes, Head to the Library: 13 More of the Best Fictional Libraries

MadsenCreations’ New “Spring” Jane Austen Items!

So I don’t know about those of you in colder parts of the world, but here in CA the weather has turned slightly warmer making many think about Spring and Summer plans.

MadsenCreations is no different as she has started rolling out new Jane Austen items in her “Spring Collection”.

Hmm…?

First we have a Pemberley Est. T-Shirt:

I assisted a bit (gave a suggestion of what should go under Pemberley). This shirt is cute and perfect for any Jane Austen fan. Order by clicking here

And then for the Northanger Abbey fans, a Northanger Abbey Crop Top:

If interested order here

Not to mention you can still order the items from the Get Spooky! Collection that I helped design. Such as the Northanger Abbey sweatshirt, Northanger Abbey shirt

Which also comes in children’s sizes!

Or a Jane Austen Catrina/Sugar Skull Mug.

If those aren’t your cup of tea you can also order your very own Jane Austen Runs My Life Shirt.

We also designed a Jane Austen crop top and full tee based off the one Selena wore in Selena: The TV Series.

Is there a Jane Austen item you want and have been unable to find? Reach out to MadsenCreations and she can help make it a reality. AustenTherapy wanted a Jane Austen Henry Tilney Fanny Pack and MadsenCreations made it!

And don’t forget to use the code Janeaustenrunsmylife for 10% off your total order (Jane Austen and non-Jane Austen items).

For more on MadsenCreations go to Jane Austen Runs My Life Holiday Gift Guide: Jane Austen Products

For more Jane Austen Stuff, go to Pride and Prejudice: The Game

Can The Shop Around the Corner Be Considered A Pride and Prejudice Adaption?

Two years ago I read an article on Nora Ephron and in the article she shared that she is a big fan of Pride and Prejudice and when she wrote You’ve Got Mail, she made it a loose adaption of Jane Austen’s novel. I was surprised when I read that as I don’t see the two being that much alike and last year I decided to finally review You’ve Got Mail and determine whether it:

  • Should be considered an adaption of Pride and Prejudice
  • Should be put on my Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans
  • Needs to be excluded from the Jane Austen multiverse/canon altogether?

After rewatching You’ve Got Mail I ended up deciding that it is most definitely not an adaption of Pride and Prejudice and I personally don’t feel like it should belong in the Jane Austen canon/multiverse.

But while this film is not a good candidate, what about the film You’ve Got Mail is a remake of? Could The Shop Around the Corner be considered?

Hmm…?

The Shop Around the Corner is not lifted from Jane Austen but a Hungarian play, Parfumerie. It has been made adapted many times: The Shop Around the Corner (1940) and You’ve Got Mail (1998) being only two of them. But just because it wasn’t taken specifically from Jane Austen, doesn’t mean it cannot be included in the canon. After all, The 12 Men of Christmas and Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade aren’t “official” Austen adaptions, but the similarities are close enough that I include them.

Let’s begin with a quick summary of the story of Pride and Prejudice. Pride and Prejudice is about a mother, Mrs. Bennet, wanting to marry off her daughters as quickly as possible, as with their father’s death they will have very little. Two men move to their community that Mrs. Bennet is intent on harpooning, no matter what. One, Mr. Bingley, falls for the elder daughter, Jane, while the other man, Mr. Darcy, is overheard insulting the second daughter, Elizabeth, by Elizabeth herself. (Ouch!) Elizabeth is wounded and when she hears a tale about how horrible Mr. Darcy is from a handsome charming man, she readily believes it. She later discovers there is more to both these men than meets the eye; as the story deals with the concepts of pride and prejudice, first impressions, whether you should be overt in how you feel or play it close to the heart, etc. It has amazing wit and characters.

The Shop Around the Corner takes place in Budapest in the shop Matuschek, and focuses mostly on two of the employees: Alfred Kralik (Jimmy Stewart) and Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan). Mr. Kralik is Mr. Matuschek’s oldest and best employee, the two often having more of a father-son relationship than a employer-employee. One day they are having a summer sale and a woman, Klara, comes in wanting a job as she has just been let go from her previous one. Mr. Kralik dissuades her from trying as they are not hiring, but Klara manipulates Mr. Matuschek into hiring her (she’s a really good saleswoman.) After this the two are constantly at odds as Klara is rude to Mr. Kralik, makes fun of him, and is always surly. After this treatment, Mr. Kralik does not care for Klara, and treats her with an equally surly, but professional, attitude. Meanwhile, months earlier Mr. Kralik had started writing to an anonymous woman for friendship and to to discuss literature. Over time the two have switched from literary topics to love and have fallen for each other. When Mr. Kralik goes to meet his letter lady, he discovers it is his work nemesis, Klara. When he goes in to see her, Klara dresses him down and Mr. Kralik starts wondering about his behavior. As the two continue to work side by side, Mr. Kralik tries to show Klara another side of him, hoping to win her heart as she has already captured his.

How sweet!

Even though this isn’t a true adaption of Pride and Prejudice, in every way it is so much closer to an adaption then it’s later remake, You’ve Got Mail.

First of all the interactions between the two leads in The Shop Around the Corner, is much more similar to Pride and Prejudice then You’ve Got Mail. In Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy meet at a ball and Elizabeth is very attracted to him, but later dislikes him when he says she is tolerable but not handsome enough for him. Klara also later admits in the film that when she first met Mr. Kralik she was very attracted to him, but changed her mind when he didn’t react to her the way she had hoped. Also like Elizabeth, Klara too believes lies about the male lead’s character, told to her by another employee, Ferencz Vadas.

Mr. Darcy on the other hand, didn’t really think anything of Elizabeth, as he considered all in the area to be below his notice. Later, after spending time with her when Jane is ill at Netherfield he falls for her wit and beauty. With Mr. Kralik when he first meets Klara he doesn’t like her or dislike her, he does try to help her find work by suggesting other places she could try, but he’s mostly preoccupied with his own work. Like Darcy the wit and intelligence is what gets him, as he too falls for his lady through the mind first, this case in her letters.

While there are more things at play in the film the springboard for all their fights seem to be in this moment when Mr. Kralik tries to dissuade her from applying for a job (as they don’t have any openings) while Klara not only manipulates Mr. Matuschek into hiring her, but buying worthless items they later aren’t able to sell (what Mr. Kralik had said from the beginning.)

Jimmy Stewart’s character Mr. Kralik is also more like Mr. Darcy than Tom Hanks’ Joe Fox. Joe Fox was cruel, abrasive, insulting, and rude. We see him sweet to his little kid aunt and brother but he never has a place or people he seems to fully relax, like Darcy does with Pemberley and his staff there. In The Shop Around the Corner, Kralik is very decisive, focused, has a tough exterior and can come off cold; but to those who know him, he is has a more relaxed side. We see that with his close friend Pirovitch, and then later when he hears how he is perceived by others from Klara, and tries to be less cold and curt.

Unlike Kathleen, who is not at all like Elizabeth, (having a lack of wit, obstinance, headstrongness, or initiative); Klara is very witty, strong willed, does not shy away from situations or people, is confident, and bold enough to give Mr. Kralik several dressing downs.

I really like the interaction between Mr. Kralik and Klara at the cafe. In the film the two letter writers are supposed to meet up, but Mr. Kralik ends up losing his job (a subplot is that Mr. Matuschek thinks Mr. Kralik is messing around with his wife, but he isn’t). Mr. Kralik isn’t planning on going to see her as he’s feeling depressed, but his friend convinces him to go and when he finds out it is Klara who always makes work unpleasant, he’s not pleased. At the cafe he plans to tell her his identity, her letter lover, but words are thrown around by both and Klara really let’s him know how she feels:

Alfred Kralik: There might be a lot we don’t know about each other. You know, people seldom go to the trouble of scratching the surface of things to find the inner truth.

Klara Novak: Well I really wouldn’t care to scratch your surface, Mr. Kralik, because I know exactly what I’d find. Instead of a heart, a hand-bag. Instead of a soul, a suitcase. And instead of an intellect, a cigarette lighter… which doesn’t work.

Alfred Kralik: Well, that’s very nicely put. Yes, comparing my intellect with a cigarette lighter that doesn’t work. That’s a very interesting mixture of… poetry and meanness.

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

After hearing this, Mr. Kralik takes time to self reflect and realizes that he wants to change how he is perceived by others. Now he has no plans to see Klara again, as he’s been fired, and is not quite sure what to do with the letter writing issue (as it appears she can’t stand him). However, when Mr. Matuschek discovers that he was wrong and a different employee was sleeping with his wife, he becomes so disheartened about everything that he planned to kil himself. Mr. Matuschek is stopped by Pepe the errand boy, and decides to step back from the to recuperate, calling Mr. Kralik, and hiring him back to take over the store. Now Mr. Kralik takes what was said to him by Klara and tries to be be not so cold and distant, while at the same time he also doesn’t try to show off and convince Klara or show her he’s changed-he just makes those changes.

This is much more similar to Mr. Darcy and the way he reacts to Elizabeth’s words. Mr. Darcy too took what was said, improved himself, and also never planned to interact with Elizabeth again. They only cross paths by accident and then later when he goes to support Bingley. When Bingley and Jane are engaged and he is invited to the Bennet’s home and card parties, he never tries to show off that she should be with him, he doesn’t try to take her aside, etc. He respects her wishes and only approaches her again after Lady Catherine’s rude visit and Elizabeth’s lack of promise not to marry him causes him to hope again. But even then, he tells her still cares but if she doesn’t feel that way he understands and will never speak of the matter again.

In contrast, Joe Fox is nothing like Mr, Darcy or Mr. Kralik as he not only makes it his mission to constantly run into Kathleen, but also uses his online persona and in-person persona to manipulate her.

Klara sees this change in him and realizes that she was misjudging him; and at the same time she does her own self reflection and realizes that she didn’t treat him as well as she could and a lot of their issues were caused by both sides.

So while it’s not a perfect adaption, I feel this one definitely is more of an adaption of Pride and Prejudice than You’ve Got Mail.

But while it is better than You’ve Got Mail, should it be considered a Jane Austen adaption?

After careful consideration I think not. It was very close, but it’s missing something else to really put it in the Pride and Prejudice camp. I will, however, highly recommend it for any Jane Austen fan and it will be going on my list of Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans due to its similarities and because it is an amazing film. I love it so much, I have to watch it every December at least once.

It is so romantic and I just adore how they falling in love over letters. I cannot recommend this film more. You are guaranteed to not only enjoy it but want to keep watching it again and again.

Audiobook

So do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments below!

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to You Have Thirteen Hours in Which to Solve the Labyrinth, Before Your Baby Brother Becomes One of Us…Forever.: Labyrinth (1986)

For more Jane Austen Christmas adaptions, go to Is You’ve Got Mail Really an Adaption of Pride and Prejudice?

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride and Prejudice: The Game

For more Pride and Prejudice film adaptions, go to Dear William