OT-Tea Party


Here I am, the Leeds comm admin, once again stealing meetup ideas from other comms. After the successful adoption of Man Meet from Tokyo’s International Lolita Community, my attacks have now affected the California comm, from whom I’ve nicked the OT-Tea Party idea. So far mostly in name and spirit, as theirs has grown into a large event with vendors and guests, but one step at a time, eh?

| Angelic Pretty Flower Garden JSK | Angelic Pretty Romantic Bright blouse | Red Maria tights | Irregular Choice Earl Grey shoes | vintage hat | Primark earrings, rings and bracelets | handmade bracelets | Star Glazed Delights Brand Whore ring | unknown (handmade?) necklace | Dalao Home half wig |

And because I'm obsessed with this outfit, here's more in actual daylight.
I loved how my makeup came out! Later I changed my lipstick as a friend passed me Wonderboy from Colourpop's latest Disney collab which I simply had to put on straight away, which you can see on the selfie down the bottom of this post. Also, still amazed how those long-ass false lashes were not catching on that veil!

Genuinely love this hat with all my heart, hands down the best purchase of 2019!

Now, I’m not going to say that I bought this JSK specifically for OT-Tea. That would be just a little unfair. However, it would be very fair to say that I have been saving it precisely for that occasion. Let’s face it, it’s my most structurally intricate dress. You can hide prints and tone them down, but there’s no hiding these rows of ruffles on a floral print, is there? Luck was on my side in terms of finding headwear and shoes that not only match this awkward shade (supposedly grey, but very lilac looking) in colour as well as theme/fanciness. Whilst I had the rough outfit idea for a while, my accessories, hair and makeup were a complete last-minute-dot-com kind of project, as I have simply been too preoccupied with NaNo to think about them more. And yet despite all that, everything came together so wonderfully, just as nicely or even better than I had imagined, and this is easily one of my favourite coords of 2019. I felt absolutely beautiful wearing this and whilst on a physical level it was nice to change into something more comfortable at the end of the day, on an emotional level I never wanted to take all of this off, ever!

For our venue I have chosen The Grand Hotel in York. It’s OT-Tea and I wanted to do something fab, which The Grand seemed to have it all. Fancy interior? Yes. Easy to get to? Absolutely. Private afternoon tea? Check. It’s also the one that came on top when I did a poll amongst people to see which venue they liked the look of most, so truly best of all worlds. The events team at the Grand has been incredibly helpful throughout the process and they were absolutely lovely to deal with, so on that basis alone I would consider returning to The Grand with other events in the future. Truth be told, I booked them a little blind, having never been inside and only having photos of the event suites as guidance, so I was blown away when I realised just how fancy the Chairman’s Suite that I booked was. It was spacious, well lit, beautifully decorated and provided all the privacy we needed for an event like this. Later on the food and service proved just as great (with a small note to provide some lactose free spreads for scones for next time), so The Grand is a 10/10 will book again!

Decorations outside are subtle and classy, but still hella festive. Inside it was full on Christmas trees...

Just like so! This room was splendid: there were like five or six window seats and the bit at the back had a little nook with a high window, which was also part of the suite. Very fancy!

After making my way there (it’s funny how I now live further away from York, yet it still takes me only 10 minutes more to get there), I set up the room with the extras that I’ve prepared. Everyone in attendance received a bingo card to use as ice-breakers and conversation starters, a badge courtesy of Beccy (she’s made some for the last two ILDs I was involved in and she’s a total sweetheart about them) and my personal favourites – event fans in three colours to choose from. Because what says fancay and over the top more than an accessory such as a fan? I also printed out some nicer voting cards for the best dressed poll. On their end, The Grand provided place cards, as I had gone with a seating plan (both to make dietary requirements service easier and to encourage people to talk to those they may not have met before), and individually printed menus.

Artsy detail shot of the fans. I'm very pleased that my stalking people resulted in only one person exchanging the fan I placed by their seat.

Artsy detail shot of the event badges. These will go perfectly with my wardrobe, though I'm a bit less sure about the goths. Sorry!

Full table setting once I was done. Tried to make everything as classy as possible.

And the menu for the day. Spoiler alert: it was delicious.

And then the guests started arriving. In the past there were instances of last minute drop-outs, as unexpected things happen or public transport disrupts people’s travels. That made it all the more wonderful that everyone was able to get here – some with minor delays due to transport (or due to finishing getting ready at the hotel, which I encouraged for health and safety reasons), but everyone was there. For the first OT-Tea having 20 people in attendance was just right: plenty enough to make it seem like a large event, yet still intimate enough to be able to chat with individual people and know who’s here. And OT-Tea has managed to attract people from all over! Not only was Leeds and York there, but the Sheffield crew represented strongly, we had attendees from Newcastle and Lincoln – and one arriving all the way from Edinburgh! That’s a roughly 200 mile journey, or 2 hours on a (luckily) direct train, nonetheless having that kind of representation made me extremely happy! I know that this is in part due to York being an amazing location (so many direct public transport routes, and the hotel is just outside the train station), but I also know that if the event didn’t sound interesting, it wouldn’t have this kind of appeal, which makes me all the more happy and proud that I was able to make it happen.

As I already said, the food served by The Grand was absolutely lovely. Most trays were to be shared between 2-3 people, whilst those with dietary requirements were mostly given individual ones. Whilst lactose-free scone spread was a bit of a miss, I was impressed how even those with requirements that are easier to cater to (like ‘no fish’ or ‘no veg’) were given a separate set. That was very thoughtful and knowing now to anticipate things like this, I could in the future discuss with the catering department the possibility of bringing certain elements from outside to make it better for my guests. Whilst the sandwiches were nice, if a bit plain (they were tasty, but not particularly interesting is what I mean), with the sausage roll not quite hitting my palate (but agreeing with others), the desserts were a solid 10/10! Each one of the little treats was scrumptious and felt decadent. The mousse was just the right balance between sweet and tangy, which made it an excellent palate cleanser before digging into other treats. The honey, honeycomb and bee pollen financier was actually more warming than I had anticipated. It was a perfect treat for the season, as it somehow tasted a bit spiced, like a mulled drink, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I anticipated – though the honeycomb was so freshly made it kind of stuck to my teeth. The tartlet was probably the least memorable of the selection, although I remember it tasted light and a good blend between sweet and nutty. But it was pink and the pastry itself was fantastic, so I’ll forgive that. And the little opera cake? Well, it’s opera cake, so it was hard to say no to. I was a little disappointed that one of the layers had coffee in it, which I cannot stand the taste of, yet as I saved this one for last, the flavours of other desserts still fresh on my palate, somehow it didn’t bother me as much? I would’ve preferred it to be more chocolatey, but it was still great.

Ful tray of afternoon tea treats.

Sandwiches (and a sausage roll) at the bottom. There were also plates full of those little jam jars on the table with a variety of flavours, so that everyone could pick one they liked best.

And the star of the show, the desserts! Each one was truly divine, could not pick a favourite.

The day was predominantly set aside for socialising and being fancy. It’s November, most people are tired from work/school/seasonal affective disorder/pre-Christmas rush, so I didn’t want to make the tea party feel like a race to fit as many activities in as possible. This seemed to have been a good call – everyone was able to eat at their own pace, tonnes of photographs were taken all over the room and beyond (as we discovered a well decorated staircase), and I spotted plenty of little groups chatting about anything and everything. This relaxed atmosphere absolutely warmed my heart and seeing others enjoy the events I organise is enough for me.

Still, I did prepare some activities. Not many, but some. The bingo kind of went by fairly quietly, even though I actually had a prize for it thanks to a last minute donation from one of the attendees. But I also had another game up my sleeve, which I called: Do You Know Your Baby? Baby the Stars Shine Bright is known for dress names longer than a sentence in Joyce’s Ulysses, which is the only epitome of OTT anyone should ever need. So inspired by Strike A Pose, I did a similar ‘guess the name’ game where everyone had to choose which name they thought was real out of two options by standing on the corresponding side of the room. And lo and behold, the game was won after just one round! We kept playing for fun until the end, but it was hilarious how the very first dress everyone but one person guessed it wrong, having a 50% chance at guessing. I made a little frame badge that said ‘Baby Expert’ for the winner, who also got the other prize that was donated, and we continued playing until I ran out of dresses. For reference, said dress was Fall in Love with the Sweet Magic of Scent Cologne, the fake name for which was Fall in Love with the Magic of Sweet Perfume Scent. I tried not to make the answers too obvious to guess and it was fun when once or twice someone commented on the fake name saying that they wished that one to be real. Thank goodness that our venue room was as spacious as it was, otherwise this game would’ve been a bit too much of a bother to play. But thanks to all that space, everyone got a few steps in (though having gone barefoot myself at that point, I did encourage taking shoes off for the game) and could justify having an extra piece of dessert after – you burned them calories, treat yo’self!

BtSSB's Fall in Love with the Sweet Magic of Scent Cologne JSK.
The one that tripped everyone but one person right at the start of the game!

This is how it all ended up (excuse the blurriness).

I look super engrossed in reading out those print names, but also shame on me for ditching the looks for comfort. I am bad at this OTT thing, clearly. Photo by @tonblackberry.

I have found my exact shoe twin at the meet too! Both of us suffered heavily for our looks, but at least this was commemorated with an appropriate photograph.

After this all that was left was to count the best dressed votes. The seating plan’s name cards came in useful for this, as everyone could double check the name of the person they wanted to vote for. In the end only one vote card described a coord, which was a good indication that either people knew who they were voting for or that they were making use of those name cards. And what touched me was that the votes were pretty spread across the attendees. None of my comms takes those best dressed things too seriously, it’s just a bit of extra fun, so there’s none of that popularity contest nonsense or people badgering others to vote for them. For a party of 20, there was a pretty long list of names, although the victor did have a clear majority. Instead of just announcing it, I went round with the winner’s rosette and bless her, the winner was so shocked when it got to her. She was filming at the same time too, so when I got near, she tried to move away to keep filming! Her coord was absolutely wonderful and she even had a feather fan that matched perfectly, it was a very well deserved win. Sadly, I dont have any photos of the winner, so if anyone else uploads one, I will try to add.

In the end, despite calls for one, we did not manage to take a group shot. In part I forgot, as I was busy trying to ensure we clear the venue with as little mess and with no forgotten items. In part this was to do with people needing to leave and catch their trains back, some of whom have changed out of their OTT coords into regular wear. There were at least 3 people who suddenly went from That Stunning Queen to Who Are You and What Are You Doing at a Private Tea Party. Upon leaving the hotel we stumbled upon a mother with her daughter, who looked between 8 and 10, who were there to celebrate the daughter’s birthday. That girl was so in awe of our outfits, even though most of us had started to change out of them, and called us princesses. It was such a pure moment, I could not say no when they asked for a photo.

Christmas tree selfie in lieu of a group shot.  It was surprisingly hard to get more of the tree in shot.
After this a few people joined me in taking advantage of being in York and we headed into town to shop at Yorkshire Soap. I needed some Christmas presents, I believe others got some too, and while Yorkshire Soap shop makes me happy at any time of the year, it’s simply that pretty, at Christmas it’s simply magical. I also had a truly lovely interaction with a lady in the queue there. It started off quite typically with a compliment on my dress and then she mentioned having frocks from Lindy Bop which she never gets a chance to wear. So I hope that my words of encouragement to use going to York as an excuse and just enjoy her dresses will inspire her to do so. Sadly, Imaginarium next door was way too packed, so we went over to check out Betty’s Christmas window display instead, before going back to the train station. I am still thankful to my past self for getting an open return ticket, because even though no-one ever came to check them (I only had to deal with the barriers at Manchester Victoria), once I saw how many trains were delayed, I decided not to wait for the one I had a seat booked on. Instead I got on an earlier one, which was still delayed, thanks to which I arrived actually home around the time that my original train would’ve arrived in Manchester. Some shedding, face mask and a quick pizza later, I was ready to crash into bed as finally, now that OT-Tea Party was over, my time to catch up on 2 weeks worth of sleep has come.

Yorkshire Soap Company, the Christmas wonderland we all want!

These apple soaps were super tempting, but I know that I'd prefer them as a wearable accessory.

My loot: four festive bath truffles (is this a new verse in 12 Days of Christmas?).

This year's Betty's window display is very elegant. I may have preferred last year's (which you can see here), but I still adore the details of this one.

The shedding, including false eyelashes, but not actual underwear.

The life of a meet organiser can be a bit hard sometimes. It means waking up early and being fully dressed and out the door at a time when most people are probably getting out of bed or maybe starting to get ready. It’s a lot of nagging people to pay and a lot of back and forth with your venue and whatever else you’re doing. In most cases it also means that you can’t always just sit back and enjoy the event, as it is your job to make sure everyone has what they need and that everyone is having a good time. But while that is quite tiring, it is also extremely rewarding when you see that everyone is enjoying themselves and you feel that positive energy throughout the day. Even before anyone had said anything, I was already thinking that OT-Tea Party should be a regular event, if not annual then at least bi-annual. So when others enthusiastically agreed that another one should happen, I needed no further reassurances. Someone else had also suggested a summer one, which I think is a good idea. So while I’m still on that post-event high, I am already thinking about the when and where for the next OT-Tea and on how to at least try to make it better. If any of you have any ideas, let me know. In the meantime, I will hibernate for a bit in my pyjamas, trying to focus on getting the words down for NaNo. Well, and trying to round up my current North West comm into putting their money where their mouths are, as I still have this year’s Winter ILD left to organise. No rest for the wicked, I guess...


  1. No rest for the people who are awesome at planning meets, you mean! This sounds like you put on a wonderful event for everyone and OMG your outfit is perfect. That hat is divine and honestly I think this is my favourite coord of yours, you look stunning.

    1. Planning meets is fun, which is why I keep doing them. Maybe one day this will evolve into a full-scale international event?
      And thank you so much! without meaning to come across as too vain, this coord is certainly in my top 3 for this year and veeeery possibly in some sort of top list outfits ever. It makes the hassle of trying to match this dress with anything worth it.


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