|Me and fellow Healthy Hero Laura!|
|Photo courtesy of Laura|
There were racks and racks of clothes, shoes and accessories; a room for hair and make up (which I think had every blusher known to man!); a kitchen which had a fridge filled with drinks and snacks we could help ourselves to....I was pinching myself, really! For some reason I thought the shoot was just going to be a group one, but it turned out we were all styled and photographed for individual stories. But there was one group "action" shot for the editor's letter....in which I was wearing no make up and curlers in my hair!
I had my hair set first, then there was a discussion and trying on session with the stylist to pick my outfit. I really wasn't sure about the outfit when I saw it on the hanger....but once I had it on I was gob-smacked! I'm so used to seeing myself in running gear or the same old dresses and this was quite a transformation. I showed a pic I took on my phone to a friend the next day and he said I looked like "the editor of a glossy magazine". Brownie points there ;)
After we'd decided on my outfit there was a break for lunch, which was a lovely buffet with lots of yummy veggie things:
Immediately after lunch I had my make up and hair done, and then I was dressed - with lots of sleeve adjustment by the stylist - and then finally, after about three hours of beautifying, I teetered on to the set in some gorgeous platform heels (that they had somehow managed to find in my size!) to be photographed. It was very precise, I had to have my head, body, feet, arms, legs at certain angles....even had to hold a variation of tree pose at one point, which is not easy in high heels! But it was so, so much fun. I couldn't get the grin off my face.
I can't show you any pictures of the final look as we were asked not to reveal any outfit pictures before the issue of the mag is out (!) but Laura and I decided to make the most of being glammed up by posing for a few pics in our normal clothes and then heading out for a night on the town!
We went to the London Gin Club, which Lady Loves Cake had put me on to, and weren't disappointed - the array of gins on offer is breathtaking and I love how each gin has a special garnish to bring out the particular flavours. There's everything from Deaths Door with pear and celery to Tanqueray with basil and lime peel. If you like gin, get yourself there pronto, you won't be disappointed. There's a great selection of bar snacks as well, which all looked very reasonable, which we would have indulged in if we weren't anticipating a vegan feast in West Kensington shortly afterwards.....
I had heard great things about 222 Veggie Vegan and when we arrived the place was very full which made me very confident we were in for a treat. It reminded me a little of Yong's Green Food in Melbourne. We managed to get a table for two and then started the meal with a trio of dips and pita bread:
There was avocado, hummus and red pepper. My favourite was the red pepper, it was the perfect blend of sweet and savoury, but all three of them were excellent. So smooth too!
After a bit of deliberation - the menu is seriously amazing, everything sounded delicious, and there are plenty of gluten free, wheat free and raw options too - Laura and I both ordered the seitan stroganoff for main. Once I read the description I was sold - "deliciously creamy with seitan strips, caramelised onions, fresh herbs and pepper cubes in cashew cream served with organic brown basmati rice".....drool.
I'm going to try and recreate this dish, it was absolutely heavenly. Washed down with a glass of organic red wine, it was the perfect chilly evening comfort fare. I had to keep reminding myself it was a vegan meal, it was so creamy! We all but picked up the empty plates to lick them clean of that delicious sauce. I'd forgotten how much I love brown rice too, I've been having mostly white basmati lately.
We barely had room for dessert but when our server recommended the raw chocolate torte we thought stuff it.....
This was one of the best meals I've had in London, veggie or otherwise....in my opinion it's really worth the trek out to West Kensington! My phone battery had died so Laura very kindly let me use the photos she took :)
I really enjoyed finally meeting Laura in person - we've known each other through our web sites for a few years and it was hardly a surprise to discover she's as lovely in person as she is online :) I felt very sad when we said goodbye at the tube station. If she lived down here I think we'd see each other all the time. It's so nice to meet people who you have a real connection and a lot in common with. I hope she comes down again soon!
Meeting some of the other Healthy Heroes at the shoot was really inspiring too. I hadn't appreciated the diversity in our stories - some of the Heroes are like Laura and I, who have transformed their well-being through a significant weight loss, but others have had health issues of completely different kinds that they have battled through. One girl told me the story of managing her debilitating and painful eczema, another woman was a breast cancer survivor. It really put a lot in perspective and made me feel very humble to be included in such a group of inspiring and courageous people.
All up, it was a fabulous day that made me grateful for a lot of things in my life. It was also such a nice break in the routine and lovely to be made up and fussed over. I had such a great time! Thank you to the Healthy team for making it possible, especially Orouj, Justine, Jane, Sarah and Annabel, and of course to Laura for being my date on our London night out :)
The special Healthy Hero shoot will be featured in the March 2013 issue of Holland and Barrett's Healthy magazine, which happens to be their 100th issue too....I'll remind you a bit closer to the time!