A Vegan Cavegirl in Texas

The first thing that my friends said to me when I told them I was going out to Texas for a week to do some filming was ‘what are you going to eat?’

Granted, Texas isn’t exactly known for its vegan cuisine and I wasn’t too worried as I would have been happy to live on salad (which was also down to the fact that one of my costumes was a Racquel Welsh One Million Years BC style bikini – faux fur of course) but I was very pleasantly surprised by what was on offer.

The first day of filming on location was at San Padre Island, about an hours drive from Edinburg which was where most of the filming was done as the director, Joshua Kennedy is an Edinburg native.

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It was a beautifully hot but very windy day at the beach, and a crazily busy day too, oh, I forgot to mention, I didn’t go to Texas to shoot just the one movie, I went to shoot two. First up was shooting in the dunes in full black cowgirl get up for ‘Cowgirls V’s Pterodactyls’, I’m amazed I’m not still finding sand in places I didn’t even know sand could get and then cooling down a little whilst wearing the cave girl bikini and finally donning a kingfisher blue catsuit and taking a dip in the sea whilst shooting scenes for both the characters I play in ‘Saturnalia’ – the title character, Sarurnalia being the cave girl and her nemesis Elsa, who usually resides in the sea and has a sidekick called Igor played by Julian Flores.

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On the way back from filming we stopped at BurgerFi and I went with what I know and opted for the Beyond Burger, they did offer me a lettuce bun but I’m a vegan not a cretin, the regular bread bun was vegan and burgers are meant to go in buns!

After the next days filming, the wonderful Ana Kennedy (who makes the BEST vegan club sandwiches I’ve ever tried) picked up refried bean tamales from Delias, how I spent two weeks in Mexico last year and didn’t try a tamale I have no idea but that has now been rectified! I love Mexican cuisine and these were amazing, covered in smashed avocado and chilli sauce!

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By midweek we were ahead of the shooting schedule so took an afternoon off and went to a 75th anniversary screening of Meet Me In St Louis, I didn’t think it possible to love this movie any more than I already did until I saw it on the big screen! Christmas magic at it’s best, they just don’t make movies like they used to!

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After the cinema, a trip to Burger King to finally try the Impossible Whopper, it is aimed at vegetarians rather than vegans sop you have to make sure you order minus the cheese and mayo but OMG, it tasted exactly how I remember whoppers to taste, I can’t wait for these to make their way over to the UK!

The rest of the shoot flew by far too quickly, I was spoilt again by Ana Kennedy when she made a special vegan chocolate and raspberry cake and presented my with giant bags of Lay’s barbeque flavoured crisps, oh how I wish Walkers’ would bring their barbeque crisps back!!!

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I also managed to pick up a few things at the supermarket, a bottle of scorpion chilli Tabasco which is WAY hotter on the scoville scales than any of the other sauces by the brand and a few bottles of liquid smoke which apparently you can find in some UK supermarkets but I’ve never has any success, I can’t wait to try it out to make carrots taste like smoked salmon at Xmas!

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I didn’t get the hang of Texas time the whole time I was there so was up at the crack of dawn and in the gym for 6.30am every morning, shame I haven’t managed to keep it up since I got back, in my defence though, it is Xmas and I don’t have to shoot in a bikini for a while so will pick up again after Xmas . . .

My final morning in Texas was free so when I asked what I wanted to do, anybody who knows me will know that the obvious choice was to take a trip to the birding centre. 

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The weather had been a little bi polar during my stay, hot one day and cold or rainy the next but it was the perfect morning, gorgeous sunshine and beautiful wildlife, I saw pelicans, egrets, hawks, my favourite grackles (I fell in love with them in Mexico last year), green jays, kiskadees, thrashers, mockingbirds, vibrant red cardinals, chachalacas and tufted titmouse birds, I also spotted a pair of turtles having a swim but only one lizard in the whole time I was in Texas. Thankfully I didn’t see any tarantulas but I did get eaten alive by the mosquitoes, they must have liked dining out on my foreign blood!

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After the birding centre, we stopped at Snow Bite for lunch on the way to the airport, a Vietnamese place with great vegan options, I went with tofu spring rolls that we more like summer rolls that spring rolls and the vegan noodle soup, both were delicious and then we were given a complementary dessert of banana bomb which was vegan when eaten without the ice cream, yum!

I wouldn’t usually eat a 3 course meal at lunch time but it turned out it was lucky I did as American Airlines had no vegan or even veggie options (which apparently had been pasta in a plain tomato ragu) by the time the got to where I was sitting on the plane and then the flight attendant asked me if I would like to try the chicken . . . I had to explain that vegans don’t eat chicken. I survived the flight on mini pretzels and some dry crackers, it was a night flight though so I watched a couple of movies and slept, had it been a day flight, I’d have been starving! 

Touching down in London, luckily passport control and baggage claims were quick and I went straight to M&S for a much needed Hoisin no duck wrap, if you haven’t tried them, you really must.

So after an adventurous week in Texas, riding pterodactyls, fighting against myself in Saturnalia, I have to say I loved every minute of it and dare I say it, I’ll be back . . . 

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Peter Cushing’s Whitstable

I wasn’t really sure which category of the blog I should put this post in but as I was filming horror and Peter Cushing is without a doubt one of the biggest horror legends ever, I decided to go with blood!

Back in the Summer I was invited to Whitstable to do some filming for Tony Mardon’s ‘Witches of the Sands’. To be honest I have absolutely no idea what the premise of the film is, I’m not even sure Tony does but it seems like anyone who’s anyone in the world of horror is making an appearance and it’s always nice to be asked…

Originally I shot a small role playing my character Lucy from Bad Moon Rising a fun cross over but as TWOTS has grown massively from Tony’s original idea, I somehow ended up in Whitstable Playhouse playing myself in a cameo and at some point early next year I’m going back to play a reindeer (best casting ever). I’m sure it will all make sense when it’s edited.

I’ve always loved quaint British seaside towns, in fact, I even love run down seaside towns but Whitstable is so charming, it’s easy to see why Peter Cushing chose to make it his home.

I’d never been to Whitstable before and being as I was booked in to a hotel, I decided to take one of the H3X girls along to have an adventure the following day.

We were so lucky with the weather and decided to take ourselves on our own little Cushing tour and with the help of Google and Google maps, managed to squeeze a lot in to the day.

Breakfast was at The Peter Cushing which is actually a Weatherspoons but well worth going to as is in am amazing art deco building which used to be an old cinema and is decorated with loads of Peter Cushing memorabilia as well as old school film cameras.

After breakfast, we went for a wander around the towns antique shops followed by lunch at his favourite place, The Tudor Tea Rooms, I think the only vegan option on the menu for me was soup which I washed down with a glass of Sauvignon.

After lunch we wandered up to his house and then walked along the sea front to visited the harbour with all the market stalls and Whitstable Castle and ended up with a dip in the sea.

No trip to a sea side town would be complete of course without chips so before the drive home we made sure we paid a visit to Ossie’s for chips and a mushy pea fritter!

Hammer Glamour

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Yesterday I was lucky enough to be booked by a photographer who is fast becoming one of my favourites to work with for a Hammer Glamour style shoot at the iconic Bray Studios in Windsor.

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What an amazing experience shooting in a location so rich in horror movie history. 

Hammer Horror occupied Bray Studios from 1952 to 1966 unleashing a whole new era of horror and pumping out numerous titles such as The Curse Of Frankenstein, The Horror Of Dracula and  The Reptile.

Hammer launched the careers of both Peter Cushing and Sir Christopher Lee but their films also featured an array of scantily dress, glamorous young women many of whom went on to become stars such as Joanna Lumley, Caroline Munro, Ingrid Pitt, Valerie Leon, Ursula Andress, Stephanie Beacham and Kate O,Mara, the list goes on and it’s these women who were the inspiration behind the theme of my shoot.

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My shoots precise location was ‘sound stage 3’ (which was originally stage 2 back in the 50’s) where I believe Frankenstein’s lab was filmed in 1957’s The Curse Of Frankenstein. The big door at the front is even the same although the sliding mechanism could do with a dash of WD40 these days!

I made a trip to Beyond Retro especially to purchase some vintage Hammer style, sheer night gowns (as if I need an excuse to shop) for the shoot and I finally managed to find a reason to wear a 1960’s wedding dress I bought from Judy’s Vintage Fair earlier this year. I have to say I’ve come back feeling very inspired after spending the day on hallowed Hammer ground.

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In 15+ years of modelling, this has got to be my favourite location to have shot in.

Unfortunately, the old house, Down Place which was built in 1750 is now pretty derelict even though the sound stages on site are still used by the film industry. 

I often feel like I was born in the wrong era, film wise, fashion wise, music wise and just general lifestyle and I’d love to have been around doing what I do now way back when Hammer was in its hey day, somebody bring me a time machine!!!

Seriously though, I’d love to see horror movies being made again with that old classic Hammer style. 

I was also spoiled after the shoot with a tour of the WHOLE studio lot and an amazing vegan vampire lunch at Oakley Court which was also used for many a Hammer film and might also be recognised by fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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The Museum Of Witchcraft

The first time I went to The Last Tuesday Society it was for an evening of Absinthe tasting whilst getting up close and personal with all kinds of wonderful scaly beasts, I think at one point I had a snake cuddling my neck, a bearded dragon balanced on my chest and a chameleon perched on my finger, that night the Victor Wynd museum of curiosities that lurks beneath the quirky cocktail bar was closed so I jumped at the chance to go back for the launch night of the temporary exhibit from Cornwall’s Museum Of Witchcraft and to finally see the permanent collection in the basement.

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The Museum Of Witchcraft was founded by Cecil Williamson and opened in 1951 in Castletown, Isle Of Man and was moved to is’s current location in Boscastle, Cornwall in 1960 and through various gifts and acquisitions over the years the collection has grown to be the largest of its type in the world.

The exhibition in London features photographs and a mix of magical objects including a witch mirror, like something straight from the evil queens lair in Snow White, a wax poppet, spells, charms, a fortune telling tea cup and items from a black magicians alter, scary!

After a couple of complementary Hendrik’s gin & tonics from Victor Wynd himself I descended the spiral staircase to feast my eyes upon the wonders that lay below.

Wow, what a collection, erotica, taxidermy, fairies, shrunken heads, a mummified penis and apparently Kylie’s poo although I’m pretty sure that can’t be real, I mean, Kylie doesn’t poo right?

The Museum Of Witchcraft exhibition is running until the end of February so don’t worry if you’re too busy with Christmassy stuff this month, there’s still a time to catch it in the new year.