The Secret Tea Party

Yesterday I went to the first 'Secret Tea Party' hosted by Mrs Stokes in Bath. I signed up mainly because I'd wanted some help with my hair, which is a definite hairdon't right now, and there were going to be stylists there, but the opportunity to have tea and cake too was not to be passed up. I mentioned it at work and on Facebook, and a few friends liked the sound of it, so while I had planned to go alone, we ended up making a nice little group of four.

The event was held upstairs at The Nineteenth House in Bath. It's a sort-of-new pub; it used to be a specifically gay bar, and now it's not, so while it's been there for years I'd never been inside (because I believe in allowing people to have 'safe' spaces and didn't want to intrude, not because of prejudice). With silver trays on the walls and bold wallpaper it felt both modern and old fashioned - very suitable for an event like this. Catherine of Mrs Stokes had further decorated with vintage tablecloths and napkins and beautiful mismatched china on every table.

Jess, Lu, Andrea and I had a table to ourselves which was ace as it meant there was none of that awkward 'Will they all think I'm a terrible guts if I eat another sandwich' anxiety. If my friends had thought I was scoffing all the goodies, they'd have said something. We started with a glass of champagne each, but after that there was tea.

As we had tea, Gem Lye, burlesque dancer and founder of The House of Go Disco agency, demonstrated one way in which she does her hair. After that there were vintage makeovers. One of the stylists was Inma Azorin, who does the styling for some of our photoshoots at work, but I've forgotten the name of the other lady so if anyone remembers, please tell me in the comments! [EDIT: Her name was Lou (thanks Catherine!), and you can see the sterling job she did on my barnet at the bottom of the page.] There was also the opportunity to purchase china – if you're looking for a pretty gift Mrs Stokes' boxed giftsets are adorable. Only a surfeit of china at home kept me away from the 'Tulip' teaset!

The whole event was really lovely. The atmosphere was great, and there was a nice spread of ages too. I had feared being in a room full of gorgeous 20-somethings, but instead I was in a room full of gorgeous many-aged-somethings. Everyone had put in effort with their clothes, and after walking through Denim Hell (aka the new shopping centre) earlier in the day it was nice to see so much prettiness.

On my table Lu wore a black dress with white polka dots and a patent belt, Jess had a cute grey dress with a black velvet bow at the front over a long-sleeved black top, Andrea had a sarong dress from Vivien of Holloway (Inma found a flower to go in Andrea's hair that matched her dress perfectly) and I went 30s-style in a calf-length black and white herringbone skirt and my recently completed 1938 jumper, with a pearl and green enamel four-leafed clover brooch and pearl earrings to match.

I really think the tea party showed that this area has a hunger for pretty, vintage-feeling events. Catherine plans to host more tea parties, and there's a regular burlesque night which I believe Gem organises. World, the ladies are coming!

Photos are: Our table

Jess (left) and Lu (right), pre-makeover
Jess during her makeover with Inma (I really wish I'd got one of her afterwards as she looked stunning.
Andrea, post-makeover
Me, looking smug because I've got curly hair that doesn't look 1970s for once!


  1. What a great event - I'm madly jealous. You and your friends look wonderfully pretty and happy and are obviously having such a nice time (I know just what you mean about denim hell!). V. good job on the sweater, by the way - is it from A Stitch In Time?

  2. Hi Mrs Exeter - it is from A Stitch in Time, it is Such Flattering Puff Sleeves. I'd been mulling over getting the book for ages, then seeing a few people in garments knitted from it over the summer made me buy it. They were all sorts of body types and ages, but all looked lovely.

  3. Looks like you had a grand day out! :)

  4. You were very welcome MIriam - glad you all enjoyed yourselves and thank you for writing such a lovely review. By the way the other stylist was called Lou. Love Catherine (Mrs Stokes)

  5. One of the best afternoon i have ever HAD!

  6. I had an amazing time too - I just wish there had been more time to socialise with the other tables - I went on my own with the intention of meeting some new like-minded people.

    I like to eat extra sandwiches to ensure nobody feels like a guts ;)

    PS Mim, I was coveting your beautiful jumper all afternoon!

  7. Wow Mim, that looks like so much fun! And, you all amazing with your beautiful new hair and such.. what a lovely idea. How did you find out about it?

  8. Charlie, I was just looking for hair stylists and it came up. If you want to come to the next one, I think a bunch of us are planning on going.

  9. Hello, just to let you know I have started a new blog about The Secret Tea Party - - with details of the next one (29 Jan) and also with a link to your blog with this review. I wanted to add it so that people had an independent view of it all. Hope you don't mind and hope to see you soon Mrs Stokes x x ps more dates to come

  10. Ooh, thanks for that! I will start following it.


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