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:
A Signare Tapestry Bag: Brown and in an oak motif inspired by a coat belonging to Jane Austen £14.00
Lady Austen Tea Sampler: A version of Earl Grey with French lavender and cornflower petals £3.00
A Feather Quill Pen: Feather pen designed in the style of William Morris in the 1800s £6.00
Magnetic Bookmark: Features a drawing of Jane Austen and a quote. £3.50
Greeting Card: Features a quote from Sense and Sensibility (1995)
A Booklet on Jane Austen
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,TiestaTea, 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.
Which brings us to today and another 13 of the best fictional libraries.
13) Gary’s Library from SpongeBob SquarePants “Sleepy Time Episode”
SpongeBob is dreaming about driving when Mrs. Puff takes away his license and he finds himself ejected from his dream. SpongeBob sees his sleeping form, but decides to not renter his mind but instead visit all his friend’s dreams with all the usual SpongeBob shenanigans.
Why the library is awesome!: When SpongeBob enters Gary’s dream he finds Gary in an enormous library. I don’t know what kind of books a snail would read but this dream library of Gary’s is highly impressive. It brings to mind the Dream Library in the The Sandman Chronicles. It definitely would have some interesting works.
12) University Library in An Extremely Goofy Movie
Goofy loses his son (to college) and his job all within the same timeframe. He know needs to finish his degree in order to find a new career and decides to go to the same university as his son. There he gets involved in extreme sports (it was the ’90s everything was xtreme), and more. Can he survive the school year? Or will he make a goof of this as well.
Why the library is awesome!: While this library is an average college library, the librarian makes this seem like a fun place to be as she is really “groovy”. Plus, Goofy has probably made more than one mess that staff had to clean up so you know everything is where it should be as it has just been reshelved.
11) Milderhurst Castle Library in The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
In The Distant Hours, a mother and daughter are brought together over a long awaited letter. Edie has always been obsessed with the Gothic novel The Mud Man, and when she is driving out to speak to an author in Kent, she passes Milderhurst Castle, where the author of The Mud Man used to reside. It turns out that Edie has a deeper connection to The Mud Man as she discovers her mother used to reside their during WWII. Edie is asked to write a biography on the family, and while in this Poe-vain gothic house she discovers secrets of The Mud Man and her family.
Why the library is awesome!: This library is extremely old and no longer well taken care of, but it still sounds amazing and I can imagine it was incredible when the family took care of it.
“Shelves spanned all four walls, floor to ceiling…they were lined with very old books, the sort with marbled endpapers, gold-dipped edges, and black cloth binding.
It sounds like it used to be a wonderful place to spend your days.
10) The Abbey of Saint Anne de Beaupré Library in Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
In Outlander, Claire has recently reunited with her husband Frank Randall after being separated during WWII. The two decide to celebrate with a honeymoon to Scotland, where Frank’s ancestors spent some considerable time. Frank gives all his attention to researching his family tree and Claire finds other ways to occupy her time. She decides to visit this magical henge to get a closer look at some flowers growing there (she’s an amateur botanist) and finds herself transported to mid-18th century Scotland. She is luckily picked up by some friendly Scots, one of which is the amazing Jamie Fraser, and tries to find a way to survive the past long enough to come back to the future.
Why the library is awesome!: One of my favorite parts of this book is when they visit the Monks, as even though a lot of terrible things have happened for them to go there, the Monks are some of the most well written characters in the novel. Jamie is horribly traumatized and injured after being locked in prison and they go to the monastery for physical, emotional, and soul healing. There Claire finds herself at a loss of what to do and spends a lot of time in the beautiful Abbey library. Monks had some of the best and most oldest/amazing books in all history. This one is sure to have countless treasures.
9) The Winds Abbey Library in The Crown Conspiracy by Michael J. Sullivan
Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melbourn are thieves for hire. One day they are hired to steal a sword, and when they go to retrieve it; they find themselves as scapegoats for the the murder of the King! Alric, the soon to be crowned king, locks them up, and the two are sentenced to be executed. Unbeknownst to Alric, his sister Arista (sorcerer in training), frees them and hires them to take her brother and free a long ago imprisoned wizard. They set out on the quest, along with attempting to discover who is behind this plot to destroy the kingdom.
Why the library is awesome!: At this point in the book the Abbey has been destroyed but Myron, the librarian and monk, describes what was a cheery and lovely place full of books. While this part of the book is very sad, Myron later helps recreate the library to be exactly how it was before and rewrites all the books, scrolls, maps, etc from memory (it’s photographic). I rank this higher than the other monk’s library as while even though this one was destroyed (and later recreated), Myron the Librarian is such a delight that I would rather spend my time here a little bit more than the one in Outlander, although by a very small margin.
8) Gyeoroo Publishing Company Library from Romance is a Bonus Book
Kang Dan-i and Cha Eun-ho have been friends since they were little. Once Dan-i was a powerhouse in the corporate world, but left her job to focus on family when she married. Now divorced, Dan-i is really struggling to reenter the workforce and finds it hard with her high qualifications and large absence to find anyone to hire her. She ends up lying on her resume to get an entry level position at Gyeoroo Publishing Company, the business that Eun-ho owns part of. Eun-ho has been in love with Dan-i since he was a child and agrees to keep her secret, while at the same time trying to have her see him as more than just a friend.
Why the library is awesome!: So the actual face of the building used for the publishing company is a real library which makes this even cooler. In the series the publishing company has a massive library with both work related items; along with all the works the company has published. When I watched this I so wanted to work there, spend time in that library, and I fell for the other head of the company; a sweet widower with kids-just my type.
7) Mr. Bennet’s Library in 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.
Why the library is awesome!: I don’t rank this library higher even though I’m sure it is a really nice library, as Mr. Bennet isn’t one to share his space with anyone else or allow someone other than him to spend great amounts of time there. This library looks cozy and a great place to your day, something that I know Mr. Bennet does. And as often as he is in his library, hiding out, I’m sure it is the most comfortable room in the house.
In Horror of Dracula, Jonathan Harker goes to Count Dracula’s to make enough money to marry his fiancé, but it turns out that isn’t the whole story. He is there under false pretenses his real mission is to slay Dracula. Dracula overcomes him and sets off for England to steal Jonathan’s bride-to-be, Lucy. It’s up to Van Helsing, Lucy’s brother Arthur, and Arthur’s wife Mina to destroy Dracula before he can kill again.
Why the library is awesome!: This library is beautiful, full of so many books, and has secret passageways. I would love to have this library as not only is it functional but gothic, spooky, and in a castle.
The city of Gotham is being harassed by a psychopath, the Joker, who is poisoning makeup, cleaners, and other everyday items. Good thing Gotham has someone watching over them, billionaire playboy turned superhero detective Bruce Wayne/Batman.
Why the library is awesome!: It’s a beautiful place to be with it’s gorgeous furniture that I want to have in my home, and shelves full of books. Of course any library that has multiple levels is a treasure, (I spot a staircase in the back). It looks like a wonderful place to read, relax, study, and work out any problems that present themselves. It also has priceless antiquities and secret passages.
In Sense and Sensibility, the Dashwood girls lose their home when their father dies and the estate is entailed to their brother and his wife, (both of which do nothing to help them), with the ladies moving to stay in a distant family member’s cottage. Elinor is the eldest Dashwood girl and the sensible logical one. Her younger sister Marianne, is the middle daughter and the passionate one who always shares her feelings. Both sisters go on to discover that while each believe they knows the best way to present themselves, they both have a lot to learn.
Why the library is awesome!: Like most important and old houses, there are a ton of books that have been collected through the years. Not only does it hold an impressive amount of volumes, it also looks light and airy and an extremely comfortable place to while away the hours. The youngest Dashwood sister, Margaret, enjoys spending her time there looking at the atlas or other books. I know if I lived there, I would spend all my time there.
3) Ainsoft Company Library in Strong Girl Bong Soon
Strong Woman Bong Soon is the best Korean drama ever and I highly recommend it for Jane Austen fans. It is the story of a girl, Bong Soon, who’s family has a curse/gift that all women will have super strength, but if used for evil it will be taken away. All Bong Soon has ever wanted was to create a video game based on her powers, but ends up getting caught up in stopping gangsters from trying to take over the neighborhood, a serial kidnapper after women to be his seven brides, and becoming the bodyguard to the rich owner of a video game company that is being threatened. It has mystery, a superhero, comedy, drama, etc-everything you could ever want.
Why the library is awesome!: The Ainsoft company library has information on work along with other novels for staff to peruse on breaks. This library is as awesome as it is huge. I actually ranked this higher than I had it originally as Bong Soon and Mr. Ahn have an amazingly cute date here. I wish I could visit it, and with Mr. Ahn. *sigh* Oh well, I just have to be content with rewatching it.
In the game Night Bound, you are traveling to New Orleans for Mardi Gras with your friends and end up getting attacked by a supernatural being. You are saved by a Nighthunter, hunter of the supernatural, who was hired by people unknown to keep you safe. As you continue through the story, trying to hunt down what is after you, you make friends and have the opportunity to choose parts of the story (skill sets, weapons, clothes, your love interest, etc.). You discover that while you thought you were just a normal human, there is more to you than meets the eye.
Why the library is awesome!: So Ivy’s library is full of supernatural books and items to help battle creatures, break curses, create spells. Awesome, right?! Imagine what knowledge lies in it! To me it seems like a mix between Giles library in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Burkhardt collection in Grimm.
1) Lady Emily Ashton’s Multiple Libraries in And Only to Decieve by Tasha Alexander
Lady Emily Ashton married Phillip Ashton to free herself from her mother’s control and because she was nice (as a member of high society that was the most she thought she could ever hope for). Not long after their marriage he died in a hunting accident. A year and a half later troubling things start happening and Lady Emily starts to wonder, was her husband death an accident…or was it murder? She starts investigating, but will she survive this quest? Or find herself the next victim?
Why the library is awesome!: Lady Emily won the top ranking as she has multiple libraries; one in her London townhouse, one in her Paris house, one at her English country manor, and one in her villa in Greece. Each one is full of all kinds of works; along with Roman and Greek antiquities, priceless artworks, beautiful statuary, etc. Can you even imagine? I mean one library would be incredible, but to own four? Heaven! Plus one of the libraries houses a first edition of Pride and Prejudice.
When I was in elementary school, my brother was in the army and stationed in Hawaii. We took a trip to visit him, but problems with the plane arose and the flight was delayed for a few hours. This was two years after 9/11 so we didn’t want to leave the airport and instead had to wait.
While we were waiting I noticed a lady across the way waiting with a big paper something. Of course being a curious child, I moved closer to look and saw it was a paper boy. Not a cardboard cutout, but like someone traced a boy and decorated it. I was trying to figure it out, when the lady noticed me looking and told me that it was Flat Stanley. A group of teachers had been reading Flat Stanley and passing him around taking pictures and when one had a friend going to Hawaii she asked if she could take him with her.
I thought that was the coolest thing. For those of you who don’t know Flat Stanley is a book in which a boy, Stanley, is flattened by a bulletin board, becoming flat, and goes on a series of adventures. One of them is visiting his pen pal by being mailed in a giant envelope.
All I could think was what a great idea and how cool and fun to be a part of something like that.
Fast forward to Summer of 2020, everyone is glum about restrictions and most of us are not having fun.
They decided for the summer they would be sending Flat Jane about, she staying with the person who signed up for a week and then moving them onto the next home to visit. They then asked people on instagram if they wanted to sign up and I was like, yes please!
This actually became so popular they made several of them. My turn arrived and I was so excited and couldn’t wait to take her out on adventures.
Day 1) Sunday, January 3rd
What a Jane of a day! Today my friend gave me the Jane Austen adaption, Jane in Love by Rachel Givney, and then when I got home I checked my mail and inside was Flat Jane. I am so excited to start all our adventures.
It was great reading the Jane Austen Travel Log and getting to see all the adventures and things people had done. I couldn’t wait to add my own. Sunday I had my niece so I didn’t get a chance to do anything with Jane until later that day.
That night my sister and I did our usual #perioddramasaturdays It was my sister’s turn to pick and she chose Outlander, which I had read the first book but had not seen the TV show. For the occasion I made Blueberry Oat Scones (I’ll share the recipe later), that I had adapted from Plum Deluxe and we had Lavender Flowering Tea.
Flat Jane joined us for tea but declined watching Outlander. She was tired from her long journey from East to West and retired early. She espechially liked seeing the flower created from the tea leaves.
Day 2) Monday, January 4th
Ever since COVID19 Monday night has become Game Night! Jane and I played my new Pride and Prejudice game that I had received for Christmas. She won as I just couldn’t get the exact number to make my remaining half of the couple get to the church. I kept rolling over or under. I was planning to try playing Marrying Mr. Darcy with her, but I didn’t end up getting a chance to. I do plan to review this Pride and Prejudice game soon.
Afterwards, we played a singing board game with my sister, a sort of creating a song to a tune like in Who’s Line is it Anyway?When my turn came up I felt a lot like when Lady Catherine demanded Elizabeth play, as I don’t sing.
It was a fun game and hilarious as the game came with “lyrics” that were just too goofy.
Day 3) Tuesday, January 5th
Tuesday night Jane and I had pizza and watched Strong Woman Bong Soon, a K-Drama I recommend for any Jane Austen fan as it has elements that make me think of Jane Austen’s works.
Sooooo Mrs. Bennet
Jane loved the pizza (she definitely wishes they had that back in Regency England) and I think I swayed her to my line of thinking about the K-Drama…but she might have been humoring me.
Day 4) Wednesday, January 5th
Flat Jane joined us for our weekly Tea Party/Book Club/Bible Study on The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I think she enjoyed it, although it was unlike any bible study she has ever been a part of.
For these chapters we visited the beavers and had: Chami Winter Apple Spice Tea, a loaf of Dutch Crust Bread, trout, chicken (for the non-seafood eaters [me]), boiled potatoes, and marmalade rolls. Of course I had to explain to her the joke about boiled potatoes.
After the Book Club/Tea Party/Bible Study I thought Jane would be interested in going to a regular bible study. She enjoyed it and marveled at my cat pen, amazed at how it looked and wishing they had such easy things to use when she was writing her novels. I plan to show her an Austen adaption tonight, but am still trying to decide which one…should I show her one I love or one I hate so we can both make fun of it? Decisions, decisions…
After we watched the series, we had a cup of tea before bed. I had purchased two Jane Austen inspired teas from NovelTea Tins, Pride and Peppermint and Sense and Senchability. I had run out of Pride and Peppermint as I had used the last of it in the tea advent calendar swap I made for a friend, so we drank Sense and Senchability. Jane loved it and was amazed at all the different Jane Austen inspired products that we can purchase today.
Day 6) Friday, January 7th
Today was a shopping day as Jane went with me to visit a local Vintage/resale shop as I was on the hunt for a purple teacup for my friend’s birthday this month. I found this adorable claw-footed one under $10.
We then stopped off at the grocery store to pick up a few items and Jane was amazed at all the food for purchase and the prices! Plus we came upon many things she had never heard of before protein powder, lactose free milk, Greek yogurt, every kind of chocolate you could imagine, and more.
Day 7) Saturday, January 8th
Saturday turned out to be a shopping day as well, as my sister needed to visit Jo-Anns and Hobby Lobby in the next city over (we have a small Jo-Anns and we do not have a Hobby Lobby). I agreed as long as we stop at one of my favorite restaurants, the Tea Bar and Fusion Cafe. They have the best foods and teas. Jane loved the HoneyTea Latte I bought for her.
Afterwards we went to Hobby Lobby where we looked for fabric for a book sleeve I’m having made.
I was looking for a dark fabric, but Jane spotted this beautiful china blue vase printed one that I just couldn’t say no to.
We only visited a quarter of the store and Jane was amazed at everything they had there.
Afterwards we went to Jo-Anns and looked around the different fabrics and of course I had to show Jane all the muslin they had.
Mr. Tilney mentions purchasing muslin for 5 shillings a yard in Northanger Abbey and that was a good deal, but Jane was amazed that today she could purchase muslin for half the price he paid (converting how much 1800s shillings would be worth in our money).
Day 8) Sunday, January 9th
It was time to say goodbye to Flat Jane as I had her for the week and she is about to journey on to stay with another friend. I helped her pack up and will drop her off tomorrow for her journey to the East Coast.