An Evening with Betony Vernon: Paradise Found
Wow! This has been a really busy week!
Monday 14th November 2022 started off like any other day; quiet, uneventful... boring! I was sat on the sofa, catching up with 'Bake Off' and Emmerdale, looking forward to the plans I had booked in for the rest of the week, when our House of the Sensual Arts chat pinged with a voice note from Laura.
She sounded so excited and was telling Andreina and I that she had received an email from the Betony Vernon website, letting her know that she had successfully been added to the list to attend a book signing with her idol; the only hitch was - it was for that evening, in London!
Laura, full of giggles and spilling over with delightful energy, asked if we fancied going along with her; telling us that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, that she absolutely couldn't miss it - and that she really hoped her husband wouldn't mind!
Laura has been a fan of Betony for years and when we first met, she told me all about her; how much she admires her work as a jewellery designer and sexologist - and the things she is doing to help people to discover their more intimate and sensual souls - without shame, intimidation, or stigma. Laura told me that I must read Betony's book, The Boudoir Bible, because it speaks so much about the journey we are on ourselves and I would soon see exactly why she is such an important part of her journey into the erotic arts.
I briefly looked at Betony's instagram page and her website and was instantly enamoured by her content; but, I must admit, I became distracted and didn't go back to it before Laura sent the voice note to bring my attention back!
I immediately set to work, booking my train, and...
*Don't get me started on the trains; what an absolute nightmare they are from my part of Kent! I'm autistic - I need time to plan ahead in order to ease any anxiety when it comes to public transport; I don't like too many changes when I haven't been somewhere before and this trip was filled with anxiety-inducing pitfalls from start to finish. I ended up getting cabs in London, instead of trying to figure out the extra trains and stations I needed to use in order to get to the hotel! Firstly, my ticket wasn't valid for high speed, then I upgraded for the easier journey, direct to St. Pancras, where I was then supposed to take two more trains to meet Laura at Charing Cross. Nope! Too much stress!
...got myself ready for the evening ahead; I don't know what I was really expecting of the event - I guess I just imagined it would be a bunch of Betony's fans, gathered in a room, drinking champagne, buying books, getting them signed and then leaving after a brief chat with their heroine. But, wow, did I play it down in my own head... and I really regretted not making more effort with my outfit!
Betony & Friends
When we arrived at the beautiful 'The London EDITION' hotel, in Fitzrovia, we were instantly greeted by a lovely Doorman and escorted into the breath-taking main bar. Obviously, I was completely in awe of the interior design and started taking photos of the room - not even noticing the poor barman who came over to give us a glass of water ahead of our order.
We were then taken into The Punch Room VIP bar (which was equally exciting from an interior designers point of view!) where we saw the elegant and statuesque Betony talking to some friends by the fire. Laura was excited to recognise David Downton - Fashion Illustrator for Vogue and Virginia Bates (Wetherell) - actress and wife of late actor, Ralph Bates, known for her roles in movies such as 'A Clockwork Orange', 'Bram Stoker's Dracula' and 'Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde', among others.
We found a seat and were given a very tasty glass of punch, before Betony came over to say hello and to thanks us for coming along. She asked where we came from and was genuinely humbled that we had travelled a little way to see her. She was so welcoming and warm; we didn't feel like strangers for long - even after we had realised that pretty much everyone else in the room - and those who came in after us - were already well acquainted with Betony and her other guests. We watched as, one by one, each new arrival was greeted with hugs and kisses and excitement - and there we sat - just little me and my super glamorous friend - in this room - with all these well known, influential people. Crazy!
Betony was called to the front of the room, where she sat on a stool to introduce herself to her waiting audience; she gave a brief speech about her new book, Paradise Found: An Erotic Treasury for Sybarites, as images from the delightfully sensual publication appeared on the screen. The beautiful Illustrations and photos would pop up teasingly, giving us all a glimpse within the pages - enticing us in - as Betony gave us snippets of information about what we were seeing and what the book holds within its binding.
After her introduction, more drinks were served as Betony's guests queued up with their books in hand to get them signed; I purchased the highly recommended Boudoir Bible and joined the line with Laura, who was getting her copy of Paradise Found signed; we also purchased another Boudoir Bible to gift to our lovely Andreina, who couldn't make it along, because it was her birthday and she was being taken out by her husband. We gave her the book on Friday and she was absolutely thrilled to find her 'happy birthday' message from Betony inside.
While in the queue, Laura and I started speaking to a really lovely couple; like all of the guests in the room, they were full of creative energy and more than happy to chat away to us about their love of the erotic arts and sensual exploration. 'He' was dressed in a black suit with a latex collar and tie and his beautiful wife was wearing a gorgeous latex outfit with amazing heels! We soon learned that she (Atsuko Kudo) was, in fact, the designer of said latex clothing and later discovered that she has designed for the likes of Kate Moss, Billie Eilish and Lady Gaga - who dressed in her creation to meet the Queen! Incredible!
We then spoke to another lovely lady called Caitlin, who turned out to be Betony's Manager - and then another friendly, welcoming lady, called Diana Gomez - an amazing photographer, art director, producer and entrepreneur. It was such an inspiring experience - talking to so many like-minded people, all in the same stunning room. Everybody looked amazing, too; there were corsets, sheer tops, leather trousers; lace dresses, velvet dresses, fur coats; creative hair styles, classy spectacles and elaborate hats aplenty!
We spent a few hours in the company of these strangers and we left feeling like we'd made new friends, acquaintances and connections; it really was a rather thrilling evening!
I've been thinking about this event all week since we came home and it's such a surreal feeling. The people we met, the conversations we had; the fact that we knew not a single person in the room when we arrived... how on earth did we end up going to such a great evening?! From what I can gather, simply through observing the room, we were practically given permission to crash a private, VIP party - the hostess of which is friends with Data Von Teese (whom I've always admired)! It's just nuts to me.
Honestly, Laura and I met only a few months ago; we immediately decided to collaborate, then met Andreina, who was also perfect for our ideas and since coming up with our package plans, it's as though the doors of destiny have swung wide open and are calling us in from all different directions! We are meeting the right people - or we are meeting the people who know the right people - and we are gaining quite a bit of interest in our future projects.
It just all feels right. It feels right and it feels exciting!
We are on the right path... I know it!
Thank you so much for reading; I just had to share this with you all, because it's just so wonderfully strange and we are both so grateful to have been included, welcomed and taken care of by Betony and the hotel staff. Let's hope there are many more events like this to come... any excuse to dress up and feel glamorous!
I told Laura, as we sat there watching Betony work the room, "This will be us one day; inviting all our friends and VIPs to our book launch in a beautiful hotel!" - Laura roared with laughter and simply replied, "Yes! I love that!".
Manifestation. Just you wait!
Lots of love