Pretty Little Places

It’s no secret that I am the absolute messiest person ever. As much as I love to be tidy and organised it seems no matter how hard I try I simply cannot maintain any kind of tidying system in my flat! Living alone doesn’t help as you seem to keep putting it all off until you know you have visitors and then it’s the almighty whirlwind panic to get your place looking presentable before they arrive. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really house proud and get so stressed if I know someone is coming over. Even if its just the BT man to install my internet! I make sure I even clean the kitchen sink. Even though I know he won’t be needing to do anything in there. I guess this is why I am constantly buying more and more pretty things for my flat. In my head I think the more pretty possessions I have, the more likely I am to keep them in their place.
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Being from Stoke on Trent, I have an unhealthy obsession with all things ceramics. I don’t know why people think Robbie Williams is the only thing good to come out of Stoke. He really, really isn’t. With massive names in the ceramic industry all originating in Stoke on Trent it makes me feel a little proud and a little upset that what was once a thriving industry here has simply disappeared over the years. Lately we seem to have had a mini uprising of some new ceramic superstars though and I’ve noticed some amazing indie ceramicists cropping up here, such as Camila Prada (who I am obsessed with) and Denise O’Sullivan (who does an awesome range of punk pottery) but even Staffordshire University don’t seem to pay enough attention to the ceramics courses and don’t celebrate it enough. At one point I heard they were even cancelling the ceramic courses there, which I find absolutely appalling!! Don’t get me completely wrong though, we do still have some ceramic based treasures such as Emma Bridgewater and the Wedgewood Museum, which are great places to visit if you ever come to the city.

One of my most recent local discoveries is the Churchill China Factory Outlet which is right down the road from where I live! I kept driving past it and noticed the Cath Kidston logo on the sign and kept meaning to pop in, but always seem to forget or put it off. I don’t know why! But I visited the other week and picked up some amazing buys. Including a Cath Kidston Dinosaur print set, which had an egg cup, mug, plate and bowl and cost me only £5!!!! I snapped two up and went on my merry way. Then I went in again this weekend, it’s seriously like an addiction I have here. I have so many cups, mugs and teacups that I don’t even use most of them and just have them displayed in my kitchen on the side. But when I saw these two ‘sugar coated’ teacups for £1.50 each I just couldn’t resist!! They’re the perfect ice cream colours and also the pattern on them in like a raised texture, so they even feel really nice (I’m geeking out a little too much now aren’t I?)

Because I do have such an abundance of cups already though, I thought I would do something a little different with these ones and use them as candle holders instead. Right next to my lighthouse candle holder which I got for Christmas they look perfect and are the perfect size to hold a range of different candles I’ve been hoarding. I also picked up the pair of pastel green metal plant posts from Ikea this weekend and they were only £10 for the pair. I’m currently using them to store my candle collection in though, as I really don’t *do* flowers or plants. I’ve been trying to grow some cat grass for kitty which is the simplest thing in the world and it just won’t grow! So I thought they’d be better used for some pretty storage instead. I love how big they are, but not overpowering. Definitely one of my favourite interior buys of the month at least, haha!

I also bought a mug from the Sugar Coated collection too, to go along with my lovely new teacups. On the Churchill China site it says the mugs RRP is £8 alone, I ended up paying £3. I’m not sure if it’s a slight factory second or not, but I personally can find no faults in it at all! Once again, I love how the pattern is raised. The range is inspired by sugar crafts and and lace, and the entire range is so beautiful! I think my teacups should have come for saucers, but when I’ve saved so much on their RRP (£12!) then I can live without a saucer or two. There was almost every product from the Churchill Sugar Coated range in the factory outlet shop, so I might just nip back and get some more! I’m besotted.

If you’re looking to visit Stoke and check out some of the factory shops and outlets, then I must say that my favourite ones are my newly discovered Churchill one, and also the Emma Bridgewater factory shop near Hanley. At Emma Bridgewater they have the main shop and also a room at the back where the sell factory seconds. I’ve bought a few things from there too and they generally circle the ‘faults’ on the products so you know what you’re buying. I think because the prices in retail are so high, they simply don’t want to sell anything full price with the slightest mistake, and honestly the mistakes in the designs are the slightest you will ever find. 

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You can find out more about visiting the Potteries and the many ceramic places of interest here.