Saturday, January 19, 2013

Stoke-on-Trent, Take II

It's January, which means it's time for the AWC's annual pilgrimage to the pottery factory shops in Stoke-on-Trent to hit the sales.  This is one of the most popular and eagerly anticipated day trips of the year, and one of the few things that will get me out of bed at 5 am in the middle of winter.

Yes, it's a looong bus ride to Stoke-on-Trent, but time passes quickly when you are chatting with your friends -- and even more so on the ride home when everyone passes around snacks and drinks.  Our first stop: Emma Bridgewater
Emma Bridgewater
Emma's designs are super cute -- sometimes a little TOO cute -- and soon there was a long line of ladies waiting to pay for their finds.  After failing to come home with a teapot when I went on the trip last year, I decided to take advantage of the sale and bought a spotty pot (like the sign above) and two matching mugs.  You can't live in England and not own a teapot!
Marvellous finds!
 Next: Burleigh, with its colorful mix & match floral prints.  It's tempting to buy a whole set of pieces in the same color group, but I don't have the storage space for it here!  (That's probably a good thing...)
Blue & White mix & match
Last year, many of the shops had special commemorative items celebrating the Royal Wedding.  This year, it was the Queen's Jubilee.
Jubilee leftovers
Our next stop was the Wedgwood/Waterford/Royal Doulton megastore.  There were lots of great bargains to be had here.  For example, this Wedgwood ceramic urn was originally £5,617, but it was marked down to £1,404.  (In dollars, that would be $8,820 and $2,204.) 
75% off!
At the other end of the spectrum, these mugs were only £1.50 (about $2.35).  I already have too many mugs, so I forced myself to resist this great deal.
got mugs?
This gorgeous china was 50% off the outlet price, but I still didn't buy any.

I also managed to resist the Waterford crystal...
 And the Royal Doulton figurines of Will & Kate in their wedding finery.
Cake toppers?
My storage constraints (and budget) kept me from indulging in buying anything substantial -- like an entire set of formal china -- but some of the ladies had shopping carts full of stuff (much of which they had shipped directly to the States).  Meanwhile, I left the shop with a tiny bag containing two plate hangers (70p each) and a silver Wedgwood necklace with a blue ceramic disc that was marked down from £64 to £16.  It fit in my purse.

Our final stop of the day: Portmeirion/Spode/Royal Worcester, where several ladies stocked up on their famous Botanic Garden pattern.  They pretty much make EVERYTHING with this pattern on it, including tableware, cookware, place mats, oven mitts, glassware, cutlery, tea cosies, candlesticks, vases, and lotion dispensers.  In other words, there's always something more to buy...
Botanic Garden
All the Christmas dishes were an additional 30% off.  But if I don't have room for fine china, I certainly don't have space for dishes I'll only use once a year.
Christmas dishes
Then it was time to pile back on the bus and head back to London.  I ended up buying more than I had planned, but at least half of it was gifts for other people, so that's OK.  I won't need to find space for it in my kitchen!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE Emma Bridgewater! On my first trip to England in 1999, I purchased a tea pot, two tea cups, a cream pitcher, and a sugar bowl, and I have them displayed in my dining room.


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