On day eight of our Thailand honeymoon, I leave my new (and patient) husband to sink a Singha beer somewhere cool, and make my way to a vast, gloomy warehouse…

A thin mist of clay dust hangs in the air. Although a few pathetic fans are trying their best, it is unbearably hot and shopping here is the equivalent of enduring a Bikram yoga session – but don’t let that put you off. Note too, that the stock is coated with grime, the background music is tinny and terrible and fat mosquitoes buzz lazily through the aisles feeding upon unsuspecting tourists…but the brave and resolute (and possibly mental) battle on, unhindered by such minor irritations. For here, my friends, there be treasure…

A while ago I interviewed the lovely Welsh furniture designer Bethan Gray and visited her Notting Hill home. Although her Niki Jones cushions, her Habitat Hana pieces and her collection of textiles from Bali were all stunning, what made a lasting impression on me was her tableware. Most of us have a motley assortment of mugs lurking in a cupboard. I thought I’d grown up when I charity-shopped the minging ones and kept only the more stylish designs… but Bethan Gray has only hand-thrown, pottery mugs. Hand-thrown, elegant bowls.  Chunky, ceramic cups and spoons. Pieces that are imperfect, tactile, well-made, well-loved and an absolute pleasure to use. She also uses only wooden plates which is equally admirable, but that’s another post…

SO, imagine my DELIGHT dear reader, when I found BoonChoo was packed to the rafters with GORGEOUS handmade ceramics – AT RIDICULOUSLY LOW PRICES! Like, a tea cup was the equivalent of 10p. A bowl was around 20p. I. Kid. You. NOT. Naturally, I spent the first half hour whooping and greedily gathering dusty pottery by the armful, running from aisle to aisle like a demented woman. And sweating.

I spent the second half hour editing what was in the plastic basket that I could no longer physically carry. And sweating.

I spent the third half hour choosing bowls very carefully and cursing luggage restrictions. And sweating.

I spent the last half hour begging my husband for more time and explaining to him that we DO need more crockery despite what he thinks and I’m quite prepared to squeeze it all in my hand luggage anyway and who wouldn’t be filling a sack at these prices?! And sweating. At the till, the already insanely cheap bill was (unexpectedly and inexplicably – perhaps it was lost in translation) slashed further. Below is a small selection of what I (we – he carried most of it to be honest) brought back:

If you ever go to Koh Samui, check it out. Just ignore the panda bears in aisle five. I did.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


  1. katie says:

    Aaah, beautiful. Those cups and saucers bottom left look particular gorgeous.

  2. Amy says:

    OMG I am sooooooo well jeal! This looks amazing Miss Ellie. I hope you’re having a smashing time, er, but not smashing anything. Just sweating, obviously. My advice – buy another suitcase and pay the excess. I would!

    A xx

  3. OMG! I’ve just been exclaiming to my boyfriend how exactly we missed this when we were in Koh Samui earlier this year! VERY upset!! look totes amaze! x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>