Travel Blog: 24 hours in Milan

travel blog milan
As weird and wonderful travel opportunities go, being invited to Milan by Ford has topped the current selection.

After sharing my love for the Zetec S, the automotive geniuses asked me to join them in Italy to enjoy both the city and my first time at Salone del Mobile.

To this, you don’t say no.

After an early flight from Heathrow to Linate, a handful of wonderful journos and I pulled up at the stunning Westin Palace Milano, made fast friends, checked in, then headed a few streets away for a refuel at La Cadrega.

The Prosecco and salad version of refueling, that is.

With one hour to empty the day’s inbox and cleanse the plane away, we jumped in a Ford (natch) and moved to the Palazzo Reale for a sneak preview of the biggest Leonardo Da Vinci art exhibition ever organised.

Continually pinching myself, we sashayed past the Duomo and into the former royal palace. Though photos were strictly forbidden, I pranced through the space – all 7,000 square metres of it – filling my mental scrapbook to the brim. There were pieces from Her Majesty’s private collection, the Uffizi in Florence, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Louvre in Paris, and many more : St. John the Baptist, the Annunciation, La Belle Ferronnière…even the Vitruvian Man.

With minds officially blown, we headed to our final stop – Ford’s interactive design installation, “FAVILLA, To Every Light a Voice”, which will live in Piazza San Fedele for the entire duration of Salonde del Mobile.

Take a close look in the video, below, and stay tuned to the blog for more Milanese adventures.

A photo posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on

travel blog milan
travel blog milan
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In Review: Busaba Eathai Shoreditch, London

busaba eathai
Since coming back from Thailand, I feel like I have lost my left arm. Or left stomach. Or my right stomach.

No food cuts it like Thai food. Thankfully, Busaba Eathai exists. And so does their new Kinnaree Bar.

Pushing through a painful two weeks since our last Thai meal, The Manfriend and I hightailed our empty stomachs to Busaba’s flagship restaurant in Shoreditch for an evening of spicy indulgence.

Sitting down at one of their traditionally communal tables, we ended up ordering so much food that the seats either side of us were sacrificed as plate space.

After taking a few sips of our respective martinis (mine – the Lychee and kaffir lime martini, jasmine and kaffir lime infused vodka with lychee and lemon – was a sour yet floral delight), our dishes arrive like a hurricane.

Forgoing solo dishes for a spread to share, we kicked things off with fish cakes (with cucumber and peanut relish) and chicken satay with peanut sauce before meandering over to the larger plates: Sen Chan Pad Thai (rice noodle, king prawn, peanut, egg, green mango, and crabmeat), chilli prawn fried rice ( with shiitake mushroom, lime, and pickled morning glory), and Songkhla red curry

The latter – a dish which I had never tried before – was actually the surprise highlight; an aromatic concoction of slow-cooked beef, cherry tomato, banana pepper, and a perfect blend of sweet/salty/sour. My ultimate recommendation.

We did go down the spicy rote – especially with the addition of my beloved som tam (green papaya salad with dried shrimp, peanut, cherry tomato, and lime) – but I am pleased to report a plethora of happy faces from the sea of ‘no spice!’ customers seated around us.

In Thailand, they wouldn’t be so lucky.

Amazingly, we managed to eat ourselves silly and drink ourselves to almost believe we could clear our plates for less than £100, all in. It may not match up to home country pricing, but Busaba is the cheapest, freshest, and tastiest feast you’re going to find West of Thailand.

busaba eathai
busaba eathai
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In Review: L’eto Caffe, London

leto review
L’eto has become one of my favourite meeting spots in London. Thanks to their super fresh food and easy-access locations, the ‘Caffe’ ends up on my calendar at least once a week.

When I saw they had launched a new health-conscious breakfast menu, I was shocked to realise I had yet to visit their Brompton Road location (as opposed to their King’s Road and Belgravia caffes).

That’s as good an excuse for brunch as this woman needs…

Having a bit of a ‘Princess Day off’ (if you haven’t done one yet this year, call HR immediately), my lady love Jen and I took a leisurely walk from South Kensington and poured ourselves into the gorgeous caffe on a quiet Monday morning.

With an endless menu of healthy indulgences to order, we kicked things off with a green tea smoothie and trio of juice shooters; 1) carrot and blood orange, 2) green apple, kiwi, and kale, and 3) beetroot and red grape.

Naturally, we then ordered the naughtiest of the healthy options. For me, ricotta hotcakes, banana, and honeycomb butter. For she, blueberry pancakes with fresh berries and vanilla cream. To share, a freshly sliced avocado.

Sipping and chomping and singing along with their infectiously nostalgic background music, we had an absolute ball. Forcing our little breakfast feast to last as long as possible, we ordered a mosaic-foamed latte and heart-topped flat white as a morningcap.

The Princess Day had to roll on (but don’t worry, L’eto, I’ll roll on back…)

leto review
leto review
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Travel Blog: Goodbye, Bangkok

Our last few days in Bangkok were bittersweet. Over our two week stay, my heart was once again enamoured by Thailand’s culture and diversity. The ferry back from Koh Samui towards two final days in Bangkok was heart-wrenching enough.

As the video suggests, we spent a decent amount of time binging on food and fashion before saying our final goodbyes. We hit up Siam Square, MBK, Siam Paragon (with a special stop for some of the best superfood wraps on the planet at Tossed), Platinum (with a special stop at their spicy-ass food courts), Pratunam, the Thai Food Festival, a bevy of neighbourhood walks around Sala Daeng, and a final stop for kawaii-style nail art at a local street stall.

A booking with GrabTaxi later and it was off to Suvarnabhumi to await the inception of post-holiday stress syndrome.

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In Review: Centra Coconut Beach Resort, Koh Samui, Thailand

koh samui
It took me longer than acceptable to choose a place to stay in Koh Samui. In one sense, I didn’t want the hotel to cost an arm and a leg. In another, the notion of spending days in huts or tourist towns made me nauseous. I found my perfect middle ground in Centra Coconut Beach.

The hotel is nowhere near as wanky as the name, I swear.

Nestled in the far southwest corner of Taling Ngam, Centra is delightfully secluded. It shares one very long beach with the Conrad, but you won’t bump into a single guest for at least 15 minutes. There’s not much of anything around the hotel, actually. Besides their own restaurant, bar, spa and gym, the nearest amenity is a 15-minute walk to a Family Mart.

We braved that walk once, stocked up on bizarre Asian snack foods and water, and never returned.

We weren’t in Koh Saui to rave. We were there to recharge.

That’s the kind of ethos of Centra. Arriving a good six hours before check-in, the staff made special effort to prepare our room and let us get settled in. Happily, the rooms were even nicer than they seemed online. They were clean and spacious with an enormous bed, bath and balcony (all with a view). Best of all? The wi-fi was strong and hotel-wide.

Along with the daily refresh of bottled water and coffee (with ‘minibar’ resources available from the front desk), it was all you could hope for from an insanely underpriced holiday destination.

We spent a lot of our time jumping from beach to restaurant and back again. I can’t endorse this kind of behaviour for the sake of your waistline, but it’s a miracle worker on the brainline. Authentic Thai food makes me happier than any other food imaginable and (thankfully!) Centra’s chefs were old pros. Old pros smart enough to offer Thai alongside a few Western dishes*. The restaurant isn’t dirt cheap (£3-£5 per meal rather than the £1-£2 meals you will find eating street food), but a fair price for the geographical usurp they have on food options.

The spicy herbal salad changed my life. As did Happy Hour. We only chose to partake two or three times (neither of us are massive drinkers) but found it to be excellent value with a funny and infectiously happy bartender, to boot.

After The Manfriend burnt his eyelids to shreds, the bartender was the only person to get a smile out of him.

The only slight negative? Feeling like your regular Bear Grylls’, we decided to go further afoot and take the hotel’s recommendation for a day trip to Lamai.

What I didn’t know then that I feel obligated to tell you now is that Lamai is a tourist town. The worst kind. The shouty, gift-shoppy, drinky, everything written in English kind. The kind littered with hungover Eastern European teenagers in head-to-toe neon orange. There was even a McDonalds (obviously, we went in to play the International Menu Differences Game).

We made the most of it, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Apart from that poor suggestion, Centra was a real winner. We ate, played and sunbathed like our bodies were invincible (eventually taking time out from relaxing for a bone-crunching Thai massage in their Cense spa).

If you want to see bits and bobs in action, be sure to watch the Koh Samui vlog at the bottom of this post!

*Chicken satay burger for the unapologetic win.

koh samui
koh samui
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