York is a wonderful place to host a meetup. It is conveniently located and well connected to most cities in Yorkshire, which allows cross-community events. There are also plenty of lovely places to host a meetup, whether it rains or shines. On that August weekend I have had the pleasure of joining Frills of Steel, the Sheffield lolita community, for a teddy bear themed meetup. And where would one host a teddy bear meetup? Well, at the Teddy Bear Shop and Madhatters Café, of course!
Located on one of the oldest streets in York, Stonegate Teddy Bear shop sells only the finest plush friends. From internationally recognised brands like Steiff and Charlie to more modern ones like Paddington Bear, they are all high quality and simply adorable. Many of these bears look like taken straight out of Victorian picture books. Additionally, there is a wide selection of other plush animals to choose from, although bears dominate. The shop is small and often full of tourists, so be patient if you come in to browse. Alternatively, you can visit their website, which also has an online shop, to get your favourite teddy bear.
The café is situated upstairs within the shop and that is where the meetup took place. Natalie, who organised it, had prepared goodie bags for everyone, which included teddy bear ears, a polaroid picture stand, snacks and a range of small items. Moreover, each bag had a label and all letters “i” had bear-shaped dots.
For what appears like a novelty café, Madhatters’ afternoon tea spread was truly delicious. Open sandwiches were filling and the cakes were absolutely divine. At £13.95 this is one of the nicest afternoon teas I have had, so I’d recommend it to everyone. The café also ensured that the vegan attendees had a quality meal by collaborating with another local establishment to provide their food.
We have played several games during the course of the meetup, starting off with pinning the bow on Usakumya. Some of these bows may be new fashion trends, so keep your eyes peeled. Afterwards we played Guess the Teddy Bear. Everyone had a photo of a teddy bear in their goodie bag and we took turns trying to guess what they were. They ranged from fairly easy to guess, like Rilakkuma, to pretty hard, such as Angelic Pretty’s Porter Bear. Luckily, no bear was left unguessed.
In the meantime we could also engage in some origami teddy bears. Whilst this is not my strong suit, plenty of attendees created absolutely adorable paper bears. There was even a Best Dressed competition, which Lucy won in her amazing handmade bear JSK. The sash ended up matching her coord too!
Of course, it’s not a lolita meetup without taking an excessive number of outfit pictures. The great thing about themed meetups is that they leave plenty of room for interpretation. And as you will see, not everybody took this theme literally.
As you’ve already seen, Lucy won the Best Dressed prize at the meetup. Her teddy bear handmade JSK was truly adorable and she wore it really well.
Although Kirsty added the bear ears from her goodie bag, her original outfit did not feature them. Her idea was that this is an outfit she would dress a toy bear up in.
Decked in her best sailor loita, Rachel was channeling her plush shark, Arthur. Because other plush animals also count as teddies, it’s not just bears.
Rosie brought a teddy bear with her too. There is a teddy bear circus ringmaster on Fantasy Theater’s print, bringing both the teddy bear and circus themes together.
It’s a shame that you can’t see the cute teddy bear on Jaelieh’s hat. She also represented other animals – bears don’t live in isolation, after all.
Our meet-up organiser, Natalie, not only wore a bear print skirt. She also put her hair up in space buns to imitate bear ears. Beary cute!
As you can tell, I twinned with Natalie in the bear print skirt styled in a mode oldschool way.
All of us at the end of the meetup. If you’d like to read more about the Teddy Bear Meetup, you can head over to my blog, where I will be publishing a more personal report.