Review Stuff

A stack of Zenpop stationery subscription boxes.

Review Corner: ZenPop Stationery Subscription Box

A stack of Zenpop stationery subscription boxes.What is it?

A monthly stationery subscription box from Japan featuring some 7-10 items arranged around a theme.  (ZenPop also do other Japanese subscription boxes, from ramen and sweets to mystery boxes.)

How much?

Prices vary, but are approximately:

  • £24 for a single month’s box
  • £67 for 3 months
  • £132 for 6 months
  • £262 for 12 months

Delivery time?

They dispatch from Japan so shipping time varies, but they usually arrive in the UK after approximately 2 weeks.


Rather than dipping my toe into the water with a single box, I took the plunge by starting out on the year-long subscription — and immediately afterwards wondered if I’d lost my marbles.  It’s a lot of money to part with for a subscription box that, with my postal service, always carries with it the worry of never arriving at all* on top of the worry that I’ll hate all the items in the box.

Luckily, neither has proven true.

In each cute (there’s a bunny on top!) compact purple box you receive a variety of stationery items from well-known stationery brands such as MT, Tombow, Zebra and Kuretake, to name but a few, usually arranged around a theme such as “spring” or “Hallowe’en.” These commonly include pens, erasers, washi tape, stickers and notepads, but can also include scissors, glue, clips, rulers — even a small hand-fan for the summer and some craft scissors.

The Christmas box came with an amazing ninja card that was frankly too nice to send!

A ninja Christmas card from the Zenpop December box
Please forgive the washi tape corner weights.

The thing is, if you’re a stationery hoarder like me, so much of it is too nice to use.  It’s something I’m working on breaking this year, because it’s all too nice not to use as well.  Additionally, the monthly brand postcards are ridiculously cute and a few may have found their way onto my notice boards…

Will I re-subscribe once my year is up?

Yes, I think I will. These last couple of years have been depressing enough (for us all) and though I hadn’t expected it when I subscribed, it’s been a real mood-lightener to get something nice (or several somethings) in the post once a month.

Where can I find it?

You can order either a box or subscription of ZenPop’s Japanese Stationery Pack here: or check out their Instagram for photos of their products.

The bottom of a Zenpop stationery box.


* Ever since our ‘new’ postal worker started, nothing has gone walkies.  They’ve delivered to this area for several years now, and we know when they’re on holiday because deliveries stop arriving!  So these fears are, now, generally unfounded… except one day they’re bound to leave and we’ll be back to square one.

Best not to think about that.

Gametee’s Deck of Many Destinies

I'm a big fan of GameTee, a UK tabletop / video game merch company run by two sisters.  They consistently come out with some of the most attractive and inventive products you can find, from game-related pin badges to dice and handmade scented candles, and they do Kickstarters for their newest products.

This is one of their Kickstarters: a D&D-based deck of cards that can be used for anything, from game outcomes to in-game, uh, games.  It has uses outside of D&D too; personally, I bought this for use with my NaNo group, since my tarot deck is very sarcastic and takes no prisoners.  (I guess that's what you get for buying a deck from The Works...)

In theory, you can divine from anything... but when you're in a café it's a little hard to work from flocks of starlings, and I'm not sure the art of reading coffee foam is as venerated as tea leaves.  And for all that writers tend to be a sceptical bunch, you'd be surprised at how popular the tarot deck was for asking questions about plot holes.

Which is (partially) where this comes in.  I didn't just buy it for my NaNo group, but as a handy prompt tool for writing, to sit alongside the tarot cards, the Storymatic cards (which I'll admit I did buy just for my NaNo group) and my Story Dice (which I keep misreading upside-down; I thought a flame was a dragon).

Not that I've used it for that yet...  I mostly used it to ask whether I should attempt Camp NaNo (a very emphatic no with the Ruin card, and sage advice too as I think I've completed it all of once, finishing The Reconstruction of Kirill) or whether I should continue with drawing (a tentative yes with the Knight card), and whether I should work on a story that's just started forming in my head (an enigmatic yes).

The thing with these cards is, they pretty much ooze quality.  The card's nice and thick, well-backed and solid-feeling.  The reflective side is incredibly reflective: I showed them to writing friends last Saturday and they were startled too.  For reference: the bright blue highlight in the photos is my old Nokia phone cover... which was around a meter away and about a foot below the edge of the desk.

These are seriously nice cards.  GameTee's products are always so nicely made so the high quality shouldn't be a surprise, and yet when you handle these cards you're surprised again by just how fantastic something as mundane as a set of cards can really be.

As an aside, they also go beautifully with their purple metal dice.  Just in case you needed a little encouragement one way or the other.

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