Free Spotify Playlist – September 2014

free spotify playlist
With the ridiculous amount of ‘back to school’ posts I’ve seen flitting around the blogosphere in the lead up to September, I figured a healthy dose of new school choons would be ideal for this month’s free Spotify playlist.

It’s a loose tie-in. I’m well aware most of the Lela London community hasn’t seen the insides of a classroom for a few years.

(Need to catch up on last month’s? Click here for August’s free Spotify playlist.)

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN!

(Download Spotify here. It’s free!)

Track listing:
Move Like U Stole It by ZZ Ward
Figure It Out by Royal Blood
1957 by Milo Greene
Chandelier by Sia
Believer by American Authors
This Is How We Do by Katy Perry
Shake, Shake, Shake by Bronze Radio Return
Come With Me Now by KONGOS
New Love by Maroon 5
Waterfall by The Stone Roses
Changing by Sigma and Paloma Faith
MyType by Saint Motel
Happy Idiot by TV On The Radio
Dance Apocalyptic by Janelle Monae
Hit Me Down Sonny by The Ting Tings

In Review: Portrait Restaurant, National Portrait Gallery, London

portrait restaurant london
Holy hidden gem, you guys.

I have yet to hear a single foodie friend talk about Portrait Restaurant at The National Portrait Gallery in London. Why? The logic escapes me. I haven’t had such a lovely, friendly meal (with portrait-ready views, to boot!) in quite some time.

Before heading off for a weekend in Paris, I wanted to tick a tourist spot off of Tiffani’s casual traveller list by taking her to Trafalgar Square. While I rate very few restaurants in the area, the lure of Portrait’s simple menu (and the Portrait Gallery’s Virginia Woolf exhibition) sealed the deal and took our reservations for our the last few hours in London.

After an afternoon trawling the visual centuries, we made our way to the top floor of The National Portrait Gallery and instantly lost ourselves in the views  (pictured below).

From the London Eye, to Big Ben, to Nelson’s column and more, the views are just ridiculous. If you don’t request a window seat, you are going to regret it.

Of course, we weren’t only there for the views..

Reading through the menu while we drank in the views (and our fair share of champagne), my dining companion settled on three dishes from their original menu, while I chose options from their collaborative Summer menu with Herbfest.

For my dining companion, Gnocchi Romana with prosciutto and sage butter, followed by corn fed chicken breast, summer vegetables, and herb creme fraiche, and a chocolate cheesecake with salted caramel and Chantilly cream for dessert.

On the herbier side of the menu, I opted for Dorset crab with fine herbs, avocado, cherry vines, and brown crab dressing, followed by an impeccable slab of sea trout with shaved fennel, radish & baby spinach salad, and tomato & herb relish. I even managed to make room for the British cheese selection (‘managed’ as in ‘I can’t say no when it comes with fruit bread crostini and quince jelly’).

Flitting between bites of each other’s dishes, both sides of our small table were met with infallible, low-key, high-quality plates and the most attentive, charming service for miles around.

As hidden gems go, I feel like it’s my duty to get you to Portrait. In my opinion, you cannot see London in a better way.

portrait restaurant london
portrait restaurant london
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In Review: Muse of London

muse of london
Ater using some at-home hair colour treatments for a few months, it seemed as good a time as ever to make my first trip to Muse of London; a concept salon from colour genius Jason Cocking (he’s tended to the tresses of the Olsen stwins, Nigella Lawson, and many more hair goddesses).

I was stoked. And a tad late (eye surgery and London street signs are a hellish cocktail), so called to say I would be ten minutes behind.

Rushing in, I realised that the last time I was in the building was when it played home to the Lisa Shepherd salon. Same set-up, same waiting area; it was like I had stepped in the Twilight Zone for a second.

With a complimentary latte and a chair to chat to Jason in, we briefly discussed my hair hopes (a light and muti-dimensional ginger) before getting straight to the dye process.

Roughly twenty minutes later, I was taken to the hair sinks, processed and washed. When Jason came to look at the colour, I was informed he also didn’t have time for a blow dry but would rough dry my hair so I didn’t have to leave with a wet mane.

I’m not sure if it was because of my ten-minute delay (which I apologised to virtually every staff member for), but the service seemed quite impersonal and rushed.

The kicker? I adore my hair colour.Depending on the lighting, my hair looks everything from auburn, to strawberry blonde, to red (those photos were only taken two days apart). Though I felt the salon experience had room for improvement, the colour skills are undeniable.

In comparison to my other salon experiences, I would recommend Muse of London to anyone in the market for superior colour services, but would have to have a better overall experience to recommend it as a general salon stop. Fingers crossed for beginner’s bumps!

muse of london
muse of london
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Travel Blog: Postcards from Paris – a 48 Hour Vlog!

paris video vlog
I knew that the 48 hours Tiffani and I planned to spend in Paris were going to be all sorts of manic. Though I am by no means an expert, it was my chosen responsibility to deliver her an amazing weekend (after all, it was her first-ever visit to a language-diverse country).

After an eventful overnight coach trip from London, we arrived in Bercy and logged in to the Hotel Tonight app just in time to secure a fantastic deal for Hotel O (a gorgeous, central, and Pantone-hued design hotel).

The following two days were an unforgettable blizzard of adventure, carbohydrates, discovery, accidental seduction, Frenglish, and more.

But enough chat, there’s a vlog to watch…