17 Apr 2018

Love from the North: A Great Northern Tea Party

Saturday March 10th was the first ever Great Northern Tea Party entitled Love from the North. Organised by two wonderful admins from the Leeds and North-West comms, this event has brought back some of the Tea Party Club spirit, got people from across the North of England – and beyond! – together and put together one incredibly fancy tea party for a more than affordable price. There was no way that I could’ve missed that!

| Mary Magdalene Paulina JSK | Infanta overblouse | Jeshii Doll bonnet | offbrand
tights and flower clip | replica heels | Peacockalorum wrist cuffs | vintage gloves |
Brightlele wig |
Photo by the amazing Anh Binh Photography!

I tried to go for a more Marie Antoinette inspired makeup and I liked it!

That wig looks different every time you change the lighting, so
difficult to photograph accurately.

A closeup of some of my accessories

Although the event had a very loose theme of White Day – so you could’ve done white, chocolates, love, hearts, celebrating women and all other associated things – I opted to simply wear what I wanted. There was no way that I wouldn’t wear Mary Magdalene Paulina JSK to this, so you could say I was representing narcissistic kind of love. My original plan was actually very similar to this, same look but in sax and ivory with Metas Shirring Tiered Ribbon JSK, so the outfit was pretty much ready and I only needed to buy the flower for my hair. It's a much simpler look than I normally would’ve gone for, choosing for each piece to speak for itself, and I absolutely love it to bits! Honestly, I live for this dress, I die in it, then will be resurrected, so that I can live for it again, I love it this much!

The tea party was set to start at 3pm on the Saturday – a very smart move on the part of the organisers, as we didn’t have to compromise on beauty sleep or travel time to get ready – but still I had opted to stay in Manchester the whole weekend. It was refreshing to be able to lazily roll out of bed, take your time with things like breakfast and putting on the makeup and clothes, and then walk to the venue which was only one tram stop away. To me sharing a room with Lolita friends is as much a part of the whole event experience as the event itself, it’s absolutely great fun, I’d recommend everyone do it at least once.

Love from the North was held at the Midland Hotel, a truly beautiful building from the early XXth century in an Edwardian Baroque style. The building is impressive from the outside and highly elegant with a modern twist on the inside. As we arrived just a touch early, we had time to get our photos snapped by the photographer, the incredibly talented and lovely Anh Binh Truong of Anh Binh Photography, before making our way to the separate room just for us.

The view that greeted us upon arrival.

Queuing up to go inside.

Let me say here: the Midland Hotel staff were truly outstanding. Whether I’m going individually or at the previous TPC tea parties, often the waiters serving afternoon tea are just there to get the food and drinks to your tables – anything else stumps them and they have to call their supervisors. The waiter serving our table not only was incredibly polite and helpful, he also knew his stuff and was able to offer advice on things such as tea choices. When a friend couldn’t decide, he asked her about her usual taste and preferences before offering suggestions from the menu – that level of knowledge is not common these days and it speaks volumes about the establishment and the care the staff put into their job. Well done, Midland Hotel!

I still dream of that tea...

So many sandwiches...

Those cakes! Also, spot the photobomber ;P

And our organisers have pulled off an absolute marvel of a tea party too! Each attendee received a pen and a zine (more like an activity book for the event), two bingo cards which we played later for some prizes and a specially made Love from the North badge, which on top of being pretty and commemorative was also to be used at the afterparty venue for extra discounts. Not just that: for this event only Peacockalorum, a UK-based Lolita brand who specialise in accessories, but also design and create clothes, have created a bespoke JSK with a border print of Manchester architecture, as well as tights and a headpiece. This was the main prize in the bingo, but attendees could also place preorders for this unique piece. As much as the dress wasn’t my cup of tea, the fabric was incredibly soft pearskin, which would be perfect for summer should we have a heatwave, the print was crisp and the pink-and-grey gradient was just stunning. I don’t know how many people have placed a preorder, but I know a few have and for anyone on the lookout for unique, one-of-a-kind pieces and indie brand supporters, this was truly a feast!

Each table was elegantly set out.

That pin was a raging success - as was the bingo, but if
bingo isn't a success, are you really up North?

We were all cracked up by the zine from page one!

Elegant and versatile.

The whole event was a raging success. Everyone was fed some delicious food – the hotel did a marvellous job catering to various dietary requirements – and drank some truly stunning tea (I’m still gutted that I forgot to ask the staff whether the blend I drank was for sale anywhere). The photographer worked his magic and the queue to get your outfit snapped by him was going across the whole room at one point. The two intense rounds of bingo got us all as quiet as can be, to try and follow the numbers being shouted out quickly one after another and congratulations to the lucky winners – the prizes were truly amazing, including not just a specially designed for the event limited edition Peacockalorum dress, but a Shinku Rose overdress, a Shinku Rose set of two headdresses and a Madillustration brooch amongst other. Since the raffle tickets didn’t arrive, the organisers drew our names of attendees for the remaining prizes, which was a lot less confusing (no need to listen out for anything but your name or misreading the number). I was lucky enough to win at that no-raffle raffle: a magnificent OTT Classic handmade headdress in rich shades of wine, ivory and gold. It just has my name on it.

The photo does not do justice to this gorgeous, soft
pearskin fabric!
Photo by Peacockalorum.

The matching tights had bees, the symbol of Manchester (it's a worker bee
symbolising Manchester's working-class past during the Industrial Revolution).
Photo by Peacockalorum.

I tried to do justice to this dress, but don't think I managed...

The bingo was so intense - but great fun!

You've already seen it here, but this is an absolute stunner, can't wait to wear it!

While I wish that the tea party lasted a little longer, it probably was the right amount of time, especially given that except for the bingo and raffle there were no other scheduled activities, it was all pure chill and socialise time. There seemed to be roughly 60 attendees at the event, which was intimate enough to feel like catching up with all your friends (and without the feeling like you’ve missed someone out) and still big enough to feel like something more than your regular ILD tea party. And while the majority of attendees were from the Yorkshire or North-West comms, we also had people travel from the Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Scotland and Ireland (I think I spotted some German Lolitas too? Would make sense as the photographer is German).

Since the Tea Party Club announced its end, we’ve all felt a void and needed something to fill it. The thing is, the void wasn’t just about an event where Lolitas could see a fashion show or buy from various vendors, although that was always nice. The void needed filling with a feeling of companionship and togetherness, of staying together in this fashion and enjoying it with others, of providing a place to meet other Lolitas who otherwise you wouldn’t have met because they aren’t local enough for that. And Love from the North delivered on that. I have met some new people, made some new friends, as well as reconnected with those I already knew (even despite people not recognising me in that wig lol). The event truly sent, and received, a lot of love from the North and we’re all hoping that it received enough love back from us to continue into the years to come.


2 comments:

  1. This sounds amazing and your outfit was so epic...I didn't recognise it was you in the thumbnail!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, I definitely didn't look like myself, as proved by the numerous people not recognising me on the day. If I ever decide to do anything incognito, I'm throwing this wig on ;P Still crossing my fingers really tightly that there will be more Love from the North tea parties in the future, this was spot on!

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