When I swapped LA for Twickenham in the 90’s, I thought I had died and gone to hell. Don’t get me wrong, central London and the English countryside were always amazing. Suburbia, however, not so much. There was a curry house, a Chinese and a fish n’ chip shop. In those smoking days everyone went to pubs (pre-gastro) to socialise as well as to eat (kidney pies with chips anyone?!) and sit on sticky velvet sofas. Boys huddled together in one corner, girls in another. To say I was unhappy would be an understatement. If I could have been teleported back to California I would have. But I had moved to the UK for love of the man who was to become my husband and I was going nowhere. I had to embrace it.
Swapping Venice Beach, with its yoga, exercise, juice and meditation culture, was a hard one for me which is why I am so delighted by the seismic change in the London suburban landscape today. Juice bars, vegan restaurants, sushi bars and yoga studios now line the high streets and I feel absolutely at home. The concept of looking after ourselves, being healthier, eating better, doing yoga, meditation and therapy is no longer code for ‘wacky American stuff’. It has become a way of life for us too and it is something to be grateful for.
Which leads me to eulogise about the latest spa/cafe in the most beautiful of suburban towns, Richmond. Bhuti, wellbeing in Sanskrit, is a classy place in a wonderful setting on the slopes of Richmond Hill. An ‘eco wellness escape’ away from urban stress, Bhuti is a destination to have treatments, do yoga, meditate and eat in their fab vegan bistro/cafe. Their cold pressed green juices are right on and it provides a sanctuary away from daily life. It’s vast, don’t let the smallish entrance fool you, and soothing with only the use of natural and organic skin products and oils on offer. I had a most wonderful aromatherapy massage to ‘ground and relax me’ which is just what I needed. I left happy, enlightened and at peace. Totally recommend this place. Bhuti, I’d happily move in.