amsterdam travel blog
If you’re anything like my friends and I, you have a plethora of sleepy points stacked up on a ‘rewards programme’ or two. While a lot of us are signed up to programmes that reward us for our everyday purchases, a lot of the points we earn seem to live in the digital ether.

Poor little guys just want to be spent!

In partnership with Avios, I decided to finally do more (ie. do anything) with my points. And boy, did I. For the meager cost of air tax, I traded just over half of my points for two business class return flights from London to Amsterdam with British Airways.

That’s right: buying things you would buy regardless of a points incentive can reward you with almost-free luxury holidays.

From the second we checked in (business class = priority security, priority check-in, lounge access, etc), it was clear this would be one of the best holidays of my life. With Jen – my most beloved and hilarious friend – at my side, we made our way to BA’s gorgeous lounge to fuel up on Bloody Marys, wi-fi, and an assortment of breakfast nibbles while attempting to throw together a loose itinerary.

Still very much without an itinerary (cough complimentary champagne cough), we arrived in Amsterdam less than one hour after take-off with the city at our feet. A few near-death tram experiences later, we dropped our hand luggage in our apartment and took to the streets to get our bearings.

Between the discovery of kopi luwak (oh holy NO), getting caught in post-city marathon crowds, a fascinating spot of people-watching, and a pizza and green juice refuel, we had officially walked ourselves exhausted.

After a decent sleep, we spent the next few days scouring best of the city to create a special guide for you (coming in a few days!). Stay tuned for the low-down on where to stay, where to eat, and what to do – especially if you’re wanting to avoid the city’s so-called ‘dark side’.

What I Wore:
Baby blue Lulworth watch with a rose gold mesh strap from Shore Projects
Hollywood pearl earrings from Rebecca Jewellery
Trench coat from Paul Smith
Wolford tights
Astronomical boots from ASOS

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amsterdam travel blog
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fiat 500
Welcome to Chapter 837 of ‘How is this my life?’. Today, I am going to bring you along on my recent adventure to Turin to test drive the brand new Fiat 500.

After hopping a private Fiat-branded flight to Northern Italy (natch), we leapt into a whirlwind 24 hours of cars, cuisine and countryside capers.

Once we were introduced to the new 500s, fellow journo types and I emerged from HQ into a small sea of them (you will have seen this hysteria on my Snapchat story – lelalondob) and sped up the spiral roadway to have dinner on the iconic Italian Job test track.

Naturally, dinner turned into a very long night of shenanigans around Piazza Vittoria. After fueling up on espresso, we faked bright eyes and bushy tails and climbed into a gorgeous new peppermint 500c to explore the city for a few hours.

Since the 500’s revival in 2007 I have considered myself a modern fangirl but the new models blew me away. They have had a few nips and tucks (LED running lights, tilted lights, a new front grille) while keeping hold of all the technical pros that members of the so-called 500 Club have grown to love (for me, the low emissions and supercharged but superlight 900cc engine).

We wound around the city and countryside with the very necessary aid of the new five-inch display/TomTom sat nav. We learned not only that the rumours about Italian drivers are true but that being in a slick retro vehicle with the top down and a polite invisible woman guiding your way makes the aforementioned less of an issue.

For once, it’s okay to judge the book by it’s cover. In fact, Fiat are releasing a ton of ‘Second Skins’/wraps, thirteen body colours, eight alloy rims, and ten different interior configurations with the new 500, to boot.

Needless to say, I think I’ve found my soulmate.

fiat 500 12
fiat 500
fiat 500
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norwich 2

Norwich was not on the bucket list this year. Australia? Italy? Totes. The Eastern edge of England? Not so much.

As fate would have it, I befriended a lovely journalist from Norwich and – by the fierce power of words – found myself excited to explore the city.

Less than a month later, I hopped on a Greater Anglia from Liverpool Street to Norwich and First Class-ed my way towards medieval adventure (travel tip: First Class is almost empty on the weekends and therefore much cheaper!).

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salone del mobile 8
As you will have seen from my earlier blog, I spent the start of this week in Milan with Ford.

The main calling card? The company’s takeover of the gargantuan home to Milan Design Week, Salone del Mobile.

Over the week, a lot of the activities that Ford put together were a design-influenced homage to the upcoming 2016 Ford GT. The supercar – set to rival the best of Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren – is a car and design lover’s fantasy come to life. In fact, Amko Leenarts – Global Interiors Design Director for Ford – said it was his own”dream car…the ultimate accomplishment”.

As Ford wasn’t actually allowed to show the vehicle at what is wholly and completely a design convention, the tops of the latter challenged all of their international designers to pitch creative designs – anything they wished – to display at the show, as long as it followed the company’s design ethos.

The results (a foodball table, guitar, sofa, and one designer’s ideal sailboat model) were as sleek and patriotic as the brand itself.

Though I had less than half a day to sink my teeth into the res of Salone, a whirlwind run around interactive breathing lights, baby blue petal-accented sofas, towering mirrors and more made me feel as interiorly-challenged as ever.

I did, however, leave with the urge to add both the aforementioned sofa and a brand new Ford GT to my home. They’re doing something right.

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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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