My four favourite mugs

Not long after we’d met, I regaled Boyfriend with a fascinating tale about Paperchase mugs. It really was a cracking story, involving a detailed analysis of what in my mind makes the perfect mug, and how disappointed I was that Paperchase had reduced the thickness of their rims.

It was almost certainly the moment when Boyfriend realised I was The One.

It did make me wonder though whether it might not be a bad idea to broaden my mug horizons. I drink a lot of tea, so mugs play a large role in my daily life, so it’s normal* that over the years I have developed a Preferred Mug Shape. This is the original Paperchase mug that pretty much encapsulates everything I love about a mug – a good, sturdy shape, not tall and thin, not flaring out at the top into a silly lip, and made of a good chunky china, with a good thick rim.

 "Paperchase mug"

Over the last few months though, I have been experimenting, pushing out my mug boundaries, and now have three new favourites. Talk about living life on the edge.

OK, so what have we got…

Now this is one is a bit of a wild card, as normally I don’t like Emma Bridgewater. This mug though was a gift from a very good friend, and even though it’s shape flies in the face of sensible mug design – (a base wider than the top?? Crazy times) – I do love it, if not least for the message:

"Emma Bridgewater mug"

With this next mug, I am challenging my rim preferences.** Normally I like a mug with thick sides, but this is a finer bone china. I absolutely love the design though. I’m a big fan of waves, and it reminds me of one of my favourite pictures – The Great Wave Off Kanagawa – which I actually have as a laptop cover. This mug comes from My Rosie Lee, a lovely company bringing together British design and manufacturing.

"My Rosie Lee mug"

Last but not least is the newest mug in my collection. This one comes from Ducky Dora and I love its chunkiness. There’s no messing with this mug, it is proper sturdy, hand painted, and made from eco-friendly terracotta. It’s the kind of mug you could wrap your hands around in front of a bonfire on a cool autumn evening.

"Ducky Dora mug"

Now I don’t for a minute believe I’m the only person who is fussy about mugs, so what are your pet mug hates?

*Definitely normal

**Rim preferences are definitely a thing




  1. 13 February, 2013 / 1:42 pm

    My favourite mug says “keep calm and carry yarn” on it. Very appropriate for me.

    My least favourite mugs are at the Indian restaurant near my Mum’s (brilliant food, rubbish crockery). The handle is a small triangle, so only on finger will fit through and they have a very wide top compared to the bottom, so they are practically impossible to drink from without spilling. I wouldn’t usually drink a coffee after a curry, but the restaurant is in France, so its pretty much compulsory!

    • admin
      15 February, 2013 / 9:39 am

      Oh my goodness, what IS that with tiny handles??!! So annoying…

  2. Isadora Watts
    13 February, 2013 / 2:04 pm

    Only today I was enraged by the mug my breakfast tea was served in at Euphorium bakery: unnecessarily tall and slim with a square base. Grrrr.

    • admin
      15 February, 2013 / 9:39 am

      I feel your rage Isadora. Tall and slim is one of my WORST kind of mugs. If ever I go in Costa I have to ask for my drink to be in one of the round white mugs rather than the tall thin glass ones with the stupid low down handles.

  3. 13 February, 2013 / 2:23 pm

    Being fussy about mugs is completely normal – your taste in mugs, however, is completely different from mine! I wrote a post about my mug wishlist here: – my sister got me the Le Creuset one for Christmas. If I could have any cup in the world, it would be the one Patrick Jane drinks from in The Mentalist.

    PS @KnittyMummy – as a fellow knitter I am in awe – I want your mug!!
    PPS @Isadora Watts – I love the word ‘enraged’. Just saying :)

    • admin
      15 February, 2013 / 9:40 am

      Your taste in mugs is all wrong! I don’t know what you’re thinking… :-)

  4. 13 February, 2013 / 2:45 pm

    I drink a lot of tea, too and although I don’t care so much about the shapes and rims I do pay attention to the colours…When I drink green tea I usually go with pastels, one can say “calmer” colours. When it is red tea I like all shades of white and for my fav Earl Grey I always use one mug with a Union Flag design :D

    • admin
      15 February, 2013 / 9:41 am

      Well, I’d not thought so much about colour as shape before, but I am now! I think I’m with you on the pastel shades – tea is meant to be soothing for me, so I wouldn’t want a really loud red or anything – that would be all wrong.

  5. Fiona firth
    13 February, 2013 / 6:40 pm

    I completely agree with the mug fussiness. My fave mug unfortunately is a Churchill mug I was given at work. It is a very traditional mug with just the right depth, handle and most importantly, rim size! It is unfortunate to have a picture of Churchill the dog on it but what can I say…. Nothing is perfect :).

    I too love the word enraged by the way and am also a fellow knitter. I wonder if there is a theme running here lol

    • admin
      15 February, 2013 / 9:42 am

      Haha! It seems all of my readers are enraged knitters with fussy mug habits… :-)

  6. Emma
    13 February, 2013 / 9:36 pm

    I absolutely cannot drink tea from a glass mug.

    • admin
      15 February, 2013 / 9:42 am

      No! See my Costa comment above – their glass mugs are absolutely ridiculous…

  7. Dibs
    14 February, 2013 / 1:30 pm

    Sooo glad its not just me that suffers from mug fussiness!
    As I drink gallons of tea I need to have a fairly large mug so I’m not back & forth to the tea pot after 4 slurps. China can’t be too thin or too thick, handle has to be the right size to wrap 3 fingers around & not at a silly angle. Luckily I can get a good supply of a decent mug for me at Waitrose – Kath Kidston by Churchill, which is very fortunate as I’m a complete clutz & seem to chip or smash at least one mug a month, if it’s not me knocking them over it’s a cat doing the honours. My all time favourite mug was dark red with a Panda on it, fine bone china & a teeny lip around the edge (tea drinking perfection in my head) & was made by Dunoon, but it went the way of every mug in this house (entirely my fault) & I can’t find a replacement. Aah well, guess I’ll just have to keep buying more until I find a good replacement for ‘Pandy’.

    • admin
      15 February, 2013 / 9:36 am

      I’m just the same on the clumsiness front! I’m pretty sure all of our plates and bowls have chips in them – I try and put them away nicely but just can’t seem to help but bash them against everything :-(

  8. 19 February, 2013 / 9:05 am

    Ah, finally someone who understands what makes a good mug. I share your strong feelings and was distraught when my favourite (perfect) mug – pure white, exactly correct shape and thickness, with the word ‘cariad’ – Welsh for ‘darling’ indented in it – was smashed.
    I am a secret fan of the Emma Bridgewater mug for similar reasons (but ONLY the ones I won in a Hay Festival competition, with the legend “ideas may blossom” – the others are all too cute and country kitchen).
    Many mugs also fail the dishwasher test, being just too wide (don’t they ever test them for this??), but also hate tall and thin.
    If you ever come to my house (we did once have a JB meet here) you can test out my selection.
    P.S. Am I the only one sniggering over rim preferences?

  9. 28 October, 2013 / 12:37 pm

    I fully believe the mug fussiness. My favorite mug unfortunately may be a Churchill mug I used to be given at work. It’s a really ancient mug with simply the right depth, handle and most significantly, rim size.

  10. 29 June, 2015 / 6:13 am

    I see I’m about two years late to this tea party but I came across it doing a deep Google dive in the hopes of proving (to myself) that Dunoon secretly manufactures a particular mug for Waitrose. I am an American (gasp!) and a Texan at that, but was born in South Africa and I’m married to a Brit. – and my grandmother was a Brit… so tea obsession is in my blood! Good friends of my in-laws gifted us with two mugs from Waitrose with UK themed artwork on them. They are visually lovely but the shape, size, strength and weight are near perfection. They are bone China, which I think is perfect because it is light and thin but still super strong. I hate how glazed ceramic mugs are thick and clunky and chip so easily.

    One day while hoarding British chocolates at a local import shop (Dallas, TX) I heard angels singing when I spotted another very similar mug. This bad boy sported a Union Jack covering the whole mug and was made by Dunoon. About $45 later it was mine. I think I grew to love this mug ever so slightly more than the 2 we have from Waitrose only because it is slightly larger. The printing style, thickness, overall quality and shape are SO similar to the Waitrose ones that it makes me think that Dunoon must manufacture the Waitrose ones. This blog post neither confirmed nor denied my suspicions but I sure loved seeing that there are other mug obsessives out there. ; ) Happy tea times ladies xx

    • Jo Middleton
      29 June, 2015 / 12:54 pm

      I love this, thank you so much for commenting!!

  11. 29 June, 2015 / 6:16 am

    P.s. Your waves mug seems a similar shape & thickness to the Dunoon one. Wonder if it’s the same?

  12. 29 June, 2015 / 6:18 am

    Scratch that…I see you said it’s made by My Rosy Lee so now I’m going to try find that one!

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