Health & Grooming | Chronicles of a Spa Junkie

Spa Junkie at… HB Health in London

An accident with the Magimix leaves our covert reporter seeking treatment

Spa Junkie at… HB Health in London

Image: Jay Yeo

May 25 2011
Spa Junkie

Part: 1 | 2 | 3


I’ve just landed at Heathrow, and feeling like I’m emanating a subtle glow – and definitely sporting a halo – after a week of super-healthy eating. I’m genuinely excited to embrace my newly acquired lifestyle; on the plane I said no to the bread basket twice and avoided entirely the “chicken or beef madam” question; instead I sipped calorie-burning green tea and I wrote my diet to-do list.


Forty-eight hours back in the joint and my phone has not stopped ringing. I’m tempted to show off my svelte, tanned pins but remind myself that the ROI on heading out to parties is simply not worth falling off the wagon for; so I head down to Whole Foods in my track bottoms instead. I pore for ages over every single potential purchase, examining the ingredients labels on cardboard boxes and recycled-plastic bags like there’s going to be a graded quiz at the till. At one point I look at my watch and am shocked to see that an entire hour has passed. I’m getting excited about this! May have to have a dinner party after all. Watch out, Nigella; I am the Goddess of Healthy Gastronomy.

I am until 10pm, that is, when I engage in an involuntary showdown with my Magimix. The boiling hot soup at one point forces the lid off – and at high speed, half the contents cover the walls and floor and hang like art from the ceiling. Far worse: the other half hits my face. I’m in agony. But who on earth do I call now, close to midnight on a Friday? And how do I explain to even a close friend why I have little bits of broccoli singed deep into my forehead? Mortification at the potential foolishness begins to compete with the physical pain as, holding ice on my face, I reach for the Rolodex.


I look as if I have gone nine rounds with Mike Tyson in a kitchen garden. I’ve made half a dozen calls, and I am on umpteen waiting lists. To be honest I’m pretty shocked that I can’t get in to see anyone today – this is London, last time I checked? – but the earliest I can see one of the “supers” would be 10 days hence, at a push. It’s easier getting a reservation at Zuma. And at £250 just for the privilege of saying “Hello, doctor,” I’m left wondering: what recession?

Finally, for combined reasons of sheer desperation and simple geography, I run into HB Health, and discover Umay. “You have superficial surface burns; they look worse than they are. We can’t do anything until the skin heals and the dark brown and purple scabs have peeled off.” She sends me home with a tube of potent Aloe-based concoction, and suggests I make an appointment for the following week.

As I’m booking, I hear: “And go and cut a fringe! They are quite fashionable right now.”

Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, accommodation and treatments.