Beauty Favourites – October 2015

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Estee Lauder at BoxPark
Estee Lauder have opened a stunning little pop-up store in Shoreditch’s famous shipping-containers-turned-mall installation, BoxPark. Let’s pretend I wasn’t going to be obsessed.

The focus for the store was intended to be 3-minute beauty services for customers (focusing on skin, eyes and lips), but its accidental call to action has become the availability of the very exclusive (and very frequently sold out) Kendall Jenner Pure Colour Envy Lipstick, Restless.

On my first visit I left the pop-up with a brimming bag of tricks and have since fallen in love with two products, in particular – the New Dimension Shape & Sculpt Face Kit and Pure Color Envy Lip Volumizer. The former is a foolproof cream contour and highlight palette (with the most stunning sea blue casing) and the latter is a minty, hyaluronic sphere-utilising lipgloss which smooths and plumps while adapting itself to your own personal ‘rosy’ lip colour. No make-up bag should be without either.

A photo posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on

Vichy Dermablend Foundation
When my super pale self saw that Vichy had recently expanded their range of Dermablend shades, I couldn’t help but nab myself a bottle of Fluid Corrective Foundation in Porcelain. Though I’m not a ‘foundation person’, Dermablend’s cult following (due to its high-coverage, lightweight formulation) was too enticing to ignore.

Trialled during my trip to the almost unbearably hot Qatar, the foundation not only kept my skin hydrated (thanks to its concentration of mineral-rich thermal spa water) but stayed put for hectic 16-hour days without demarcation or caking (see?).

Wild Mint, Watercress & Thyme Candle from Rathbornes
As a candle-loving beauty babe, I’m quasi ashamed that it has taken me this long to own a Rathbornes candle (they the oldest candle brand in the world). The hand-poured wax candles are renowned for their unique scent pairings, lengthy burn times, and are all infused with the highest quality natural essential oils. My current obsession is the invigorating Wild Mint, Watercress & Thyme candle – a sharp and sweet blend of lemon, eucalyptus, camphor, rosemary, ginger and pure scent seduction.

Business Class with Qatar Airways

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With only a few hours to turn Amsterdam’s carry-on into a Qatar-ready carry-on, I was feeling uncharacteristically relaxed about the whole jet-setting affair. There is little room for any other kind of emotion when you’re invited to an intimate fashion show hosted by Giorgio Armani and “the world’s five-star airline”, Qatar Airways.

The flight alone was set to be a dream.

With a day in Doha, the Armani show and a magical hotel review on their way, it seems appropriate to kick this set of travel blogs off at their luxurious start…

Business Class with Qatar Airways
This trip marked my first flight in Qatar Airways’ Business Class and – having had such excellent service in their ‘Economy’ – expectations were set ridiculously high.

And then surpassed. SURPASSED, you guys.

From the second I was guided to my seat, my designated flight attendant – Yulia – introduced herself as my new BFF/personal assistant, champagne and hot towel in hand. So far, so excellent.

After a guided tour of my seat (a mini hotel room in the sky – Armani/Rituals toiletries, bottled water compartments, foldaway dining tables & entertainment centres, USB charging points, and a seat that not only massages you but folds down into a flat bed), I was handed two extensive food and drinks menus, super-soft pyjamas (no, really), and was left to peruse my evening meal options.

Put simply, you don’t feel like you’re flying when you’re flying Qatar Airways Business Class. During the 12-hour commute to and from Doha I was able to catch up on movie recommendations (Jurassic World, Spy, and Aloha), sample multiple champagne options (Jacquart and Taittinger for my trip to Doha and non-alcoholic So Jennie for my midst-#GoSober return flight to London), and enjoy the best plane food in existence (Qatar Airways frequently feature celebrity chef-curated dishes amongst their fresh in-house options – you must try the classic Arabic mezze & mango and chilli prawns with dal tadka and tempered paneer!).

Business Class Lounge – Qatar Airways
Though I didn’t have time to visit their business lounge in Heathrow, the offering in Qatar Airways’ Al Mourjan Business Lounge (Hamad International’s second-floor masterpiece) was spectacular enough to make up for it.

Entering via secured escalators, all prior notions of airport lounges quickly disappear. The expansive 10,000 square metre, two-storey ‘Lounge’ looks more like a private resort than a lounge; designer furniture, chic Arabian embellishments, high ceilings, and a stunning water feature accented by a spiral staircase. It has retreat written all over it.

On top of its visual appeal, Al Mourjan offers gourmet, buffet & deli dining options, a world-class bar, a variety of areas designated for the tranquil traveller (from ‘quiet rooms’ to ‘family rooms’), conference rooms, a fully equipped business centre, a games room (including a Formula 1 simulator and foosball), superior shower facilities, and the same incredible hospitality that makes everyone fall in love with Qatar Airways.

Transfers at Hamad International Airport
As a Qatar Airways passenger it is highly likely that you will pass through Hamad International Airport (HIA). Be it thanks to transfer or destination, the airport’s relatively small size – one terminal with five concourses – makes for a terrific trek around.

Centralised by its infamous giant teddy bear, HIA not only contains a plethora of unique duty-free destinations but one of the most impressive spa and gym facilities you could imagine. Situated just above the in-terminal hotel, access to the spa, jacuzzi, gym, pool and squash courts costs only 130 riyal, excluding kit (swim/squash) rental and treatments. I had the pleasure of experiencing a hydrating body wrap and massage during my downtime and have now been ruined for life.

All things considered, my trip to Doha was incredible before I even stepped out of the airport.

Be sure to stay tuned for the icing on the Arabian cake!

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In Review: The Diner, London

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I have been booth-dwelling customer of The Diner for over seven years. Since I first returned to London from the States, The Diner has been one of very few restaurants that deliver on indulgent American dining.

Now with eight locations, the Camden branch is both my favourite and most convenient breakfast spot so seemed like the perfect place to recover from a week in Amsterdam.

Deciding to share a bit of everything, we ordered enough food to feed us for a week; the pork chilaquiles (a mass of tortillastrips, guacamole,tomatilla salsa, two fried eggs, and queso fresco – also available in a veggie or chicken option), fluffy red velvet pancakes (with cream cheese frosting), and chicken & waffles (buttermilk-fried with maple syrup, acon gravy, and coleslaw) that rivalled the best of the best.

Washed down with our respected individual heroes (a flat white and a strawberry milkshake), it is safe to say very few mornings could rival that of this international Americana escapade.

Want to WIN a trip to NYC?!

To celebrate the launch of The Diner’s statement T-shirts, London’s favourite hangout is launching a competition for one ridiculously lucky customer and a friend to win a trip to the Big Apple. The winner of this incredible prize will receive flights, accommodation and dinner at 5 Napkin Burger (a modern New York burger institution). Each customer who buys one of The Diners t-shirts will be entered into the draw automatically, with the winner drawn on New Year’s Day 2016. A win-win scenario!

Fortunately, I have partnered up with my friends at The Diner to offer one lucky reader an edge on the t-shirted masses; a meal for two at one of the 8 Diner locations, two free t-shirts, and free entry to the draw to win a trip to New York – wahey!

How to Enter:
Simply follow the rules on the Rafflecopter widget, below! Competition closes October 12, 2015. Good luck!

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Travel Blog: Amsterdam in 48 Hours

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As a token of my eternal gratitude to you, beloved reader, I have whittled five amazing days in Amsterdam down to a 48-hour itinerary that will allow you to experience the best of the best without falling into tourist traps.

Before visiting, I had imagined Amsterdam to be little more than a haven for the debaucherous. Friends and acquaintances had spun stories of supreme naughtiness that all ended with the same hopeful tribute – “…it is a beautiful city, though” – and I wanted to get to know it…intimately.

Sorry, that’s the post-Amsterdam in me.

Click through to find out where to stay, what to do, where to eat and much, much more!

A photo posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on

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