Lela London: Brit/American globetrotter. Co-founder of Digital PR agency AR&L and blogger. I like to use this so-called lifestyle blog to make you smile while you listen to me ramble about fashion, beauty, lifestyle, travel, food, music, and more.
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...write for: The Hunger, The Huffington Post, Apparel Insiders, Vauxhall Fashion Scout, Access-Fashion, Crafty Magazine, She Said Beauty.
...featured in: Company Magazine, Marie Claire, The LA Times, Refinery29, The Telegraph, i, Stylist's Emerald Street, Stylelist, The Fashion Spot, Styleite, Posh Beauty, Beauty Riot.
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Category Archives: In Review
The Yorkshire Meatball Co. – or, The YMCO – sounded like my worst nightmare until I visited their website.
I urge you to take a look. It deserves an award.
Telling patrons that they’re a “speciality Meatball Bar leading the fight against average, tasteless, meatless meatballs”* pretty much dissolved each and every reservation I had. And thank goodness it did: I wouldn’t call myself a ‘meatball woman’, but I’m more than happy to call myself a YMCo woman.
Kicking things off with a naughty glass of their Yorkshire Iced Tea (hello, gin!), my dining partner and I decided to share their Yorkshire Platter as a compromise for wanting each and every one of their starters. As you can see, we were not left unsatisfied. The long cutting board was furnished with pressed York ham hock terrine, a selection of fresh local cheese, a ‘shot’ of soup (a starter in itself!), a hard boiled hens egg, pickled onions, dressed leaves, flatbread and roasted garlic mayo. With balls to come, it would have been impossible for us to finish…but we tried our very best.
The main portion of their menu focuses on the idea of ‘Balls’ (your choice), ‘Beds’ (veg, mash, greens, et al), and ‘Blankets’ (sauce), all of which my companion couldn’t ignore. He opted for the ‘Hot Balls‘ (hand-rolled meatballs with a hint of chilli pepper), root veg (roasted in olive oil with fresh garlic), a complimentary Yorkshire pudding (you can choose not to have one, though I’m not quite sure why you wouldn’t), and Herby Ketchup (fresh tomato and herbs). You better believe he licked the dishes clean.
I was slightly jealous until my ‘Naked Bals‘ arrived 2.7 seconds later. Their ‘Naked’ concept comes with no blankets or beds; instead, a bed of salad and toppings to compliment your choice of Balls. As I couldn’t ignore the haddock, chorizo and parsley Fish Balls, my ‘meat’ was balanced atop a large pile of watercress, avocado, raspberries and lime. With a Birdie Ball ‘Taster’ (just £2 for a ball on a small, lightly toasted brioche bun!) on the side, I was engulfed in a mushroom pesto blanket delirium.
To date, I have not had a more filling, delicious, and affordable lunch in the North. My only regret is not leaving room for their cheesecake balls.
* It must be mentioned, I believe they’re selling themselves short on the ‘meatless’ – I’ve seen rave reviews for their veggie balls.
POSTED IN: food blog, harrogate, restaurant review, the ymco, travel blog, ymco, Yorkshire Meatball Co
Betty’s in Harrogate is somewhat legendary. When I moved up North, everyone who had foodie advice to share would throw Betty’s into the mix; afternoon tea at Betty’s was an inevitability.
Arriving to the Imperial Room in a mini harem of lovely ladies (the only way to ‘do’ afternoon tea), we were immediately taken by the atmosphere. As you sweep past Betty’s omnipresent queues, walk up the stairs and into the reservation-only Imperial Room, you are wrapped up in the seamless warmth of their live piano player’s little ditties.
With high-ceilings, chandeliers, and views of Montpellier Gardens, the ambience is like nowhere else…but you do pay for it. More on that later.
Deciding to kick the afternoon off with a glass of champagne, I took quasi-ladylike sips as we perused the extensive tea menu. As each of us came away away with a different choice – floral, English, fruity, et al – we were surprised to find each new tea as delicious as the last (though, for me, Jasmine Blossom is always victorious).
Moreover, the service was impeccable.
It’s the value of the food itself that I found a small issue with. At £26.95 (or £33.95 with a glass of champagne), Betty’s afternoon tea is an occasion-only treat for most people…and I didn’t love the food. The sandwiches were standard filling sandwiches. The scones were delightfully light, but not fresh or warm. The cakes – my highlight – were fantastic, but six of them were split over two stands which made for unnecessarily awkward ‘splitting’ situations if you wanted to taste them all between two or more.
To put it simply; I’ve had more creative afternoon teas, with more attention to detail, for less. It’s a tourism legacy – one I’m glad I’ve experienced – but I would advise anyone to indulge in some tea and cakes before going down the full afternoon tea route.
Trinity Leeds’ Trinity Kitchen is, truth be told, one of the first places that made me fall in love with Leeds. It’s about time I gave it some blog love.
Though Trinity Kitchen has some long-term restaurant spaces secured (PizzaLuxe, Pho, other good noms beginning with the letter P, etc), the area I tend to make a beeline for is the open ‘food court’ right at the back – an space filled with a monthly rotation of street food vans.
After spending far too much time staring at Cake Doctor’s 1979 Ford Transit Mark 2 ambulance and circling around Bangwok’s giant woks, oil drums, and Tuk-Tuk, I sent The Manfriend off to Rola Wala while I ordered Happy Maki’s Hoisin Duck futomaki (translation: wrap). Filled with crispy shredded duck, hoisin sauce, spring onion, roasted sesame seeds, avocado, cucumber, and green pepper, this carefully balanced – and ocean conscious – meal is a treat and a half. (You can sub the duck for tofu, but you’d have to be nuts. Instead, add some wasabi and ginger and get your Happy on.)
Having rather ‘meh’ feelings about Indian curries, I didn’t expect to be as eager to taste Rola Wala’s Coriander Chicken Tikka wrap as I was. Simply, the ‘I could marry this’ look on The Manfriend’s face said it all. When offered a bite, I practically cut it out of his hands.
There is something magical going on in Rola Wala’s wraps. As co-founder Adam explained while spreading all of the toppings across the wrap, the chicken (which is halal) is marinated for 48 hours before being nipped and tucked inside their fresh naan. Even the naan was more than a vehicle for the flavour (which was phenomenally, moreishly spicy). In itself, it was rather tasty.
Balancing sips of Happy Maki’s Berry Smoothie (blueberries, blackberries, banana and almond milk) between tongue-zapping bites of the wrap, I was in street food heaven.
I only wished I had enough stomach space to get through one of the super-stacked veggie plates (from Fresh Rootz) that so many fellow Trinity patrons were gushing over around me.
Completely stuffed to the brim and swearing to return to trial the rest of the Kitchen’s April offerings, we stopped by Rola Wala to give our praise…only to be tempted by Adam’s introduction of ‘The Hottest Ice In The World’. In partnership with Indie Ices, Rola Wala have developed a small pot of mango kulfi with added coconut, lime juice and a pinch of Moruga Scorpion Chilli (the Worlds hottest chilli). It was – obviously – divine.
You won’t spend a better £10 (or less!) anywhere in Leeds.
To get the obvious comparison out of the way from the get-go, Bomb Cosmetics is very, very similar to Lush. While both companies create ‘handmade and natural’ bath products and refuse to test on animals, Bomb Cosmetics are a little bit more kitschy and – delightfully – more affordable.
Each of their products are scent-sational. Ugh, puns…but it’s true. The moment my little box of products entered the house, the smell made me smile. There is something very warm and sweet about each of these bad boys:
First, the Berrylicious Soap Cake Slice. Though I never use ‘normal’ soap (it dries my skin out faster than the summer sun), the ingredients from Bomb’s slices are happy skin approved. There is nothing too revolutionary about the product itself (it cleans), but it’s smell is delicious; like a caramel-tinged Ribena, the Berrylicious smell is all blackcurrants and strawberries and vanilla.
The product I tested next was the Strawberry Daiquiri Intense Lip Treatment. Again, the scent was a dream but I didn’t find myself blown away by the product. ‘Intense’ is a definite stretch. The consistency is no way near as buttery as the taste. Though I am happy to keep it in my bag for a sweet little pick-me-up, I would never think to use it as an aide for dry or chapped lips.
Thankfully, my brand love was reinstated with the use of the Crazy Chic Bath Mallow. The little cupcake-shaped ‘Mallows’ are not only a genius gift, but they are super moisturising, as well. Unlike both bath ‘bombs’ or ‘drops’, the ‘Mallows’ release quite slowly – over five to ten minutes – and create beautifully silky bath water. The Crazy Chic is a blend of a lot of different components (I picked up a lot of ginger blossom, vanilla, lavender, and tangerine) but it balances just perfectly.
I think it might be time to restock my bath cupboards.