In Review: Le Meridien Bangkok, Thailand

le meridien bangkok
I have been romanced by Le Meridien Bangkok.

It all started – in their gorgeous and expansive lobby – with the incredibly kind staff (the concierge assisted us in every aspect of our upcoming VIP bus bookings to Koh Samui, meaning all we had to worry about was exchanging baht for tickets).

Then, with the room. Though The Manfriend and I were booked in the most affordable room choice – The ‘Vista’ – the quality didn’t wane for a second. The large, contemporary, and Thai-influenced Vista had bottles of water tucked in every corner (a Thai essential), a King-sized bed of clouds, a decadent marble bathroom with an oversized tub and separate rain shower, a large closet (with all the amenities), a work-space, and a sofa that backed on to floor-to-ceiling windows which overlooked the city.

If we hadn’t already made dinner plans, I would have holed myself away for a good 24 hours.

After a fun night across the city – through Patpong and home again – we awoke to a doorbell ring the following morning. Ahhhh…food!

Donning robes and happy yawns, we opened the door to our cheerful breakfast delivery man and the feast he carted towards us. Between us, we managed to fill the entire tablecloth (and the heated drawer below it) with bacon, scrambled egg, hash browns, little strips of French toast, salmon, more eggs, cinnamon rolls, sausage, charcuterie, cheese, fresh fruit, coffee, juice, sparkling wine, and…I think that’s it?

We made it last through lunch.

I did order room service under the impression it was part and parcel of our ‘free breakfast’ (it wasn’t) but c’est la vie – it was absolutely worth a few extra pounds.

With a few hours to kill between checking out and setting off for Koh Samui, the hotel kindly guarded our bags and let us enjoy the gym, spa, and showers until we were ready to leave. I couldn’t have hoped for an easier or more hospitable hotel experience.

(There is quite a bit of Le Meridien featured in my first Bangkok vlog, so be sure to click the play button at the bottom of this post if you have yet to do so!)

A photo posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on

le meridien bangkok
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Moving to London 101 (The Honest Truth)

moving to london
I am a Londoner: born and – at least partially – bred. I have lived in America, Asia, and other regions of the UK, but always end up hightailing it back to the capital.

In fact, at the end of my Thailand adventures (and the week itself) I move back to London for a gajillionth time.

Moving to London 101

Get a job. I know, I know – it’s much more tempting to show up at some imaginary magazine office and get hired as a fashion assistant based on your great taste in heels, but London is as competitive a market as you can imagine. Whatever industry you work/hope to work in, jump on it like Channing Tatum. Employ the help of recruitment agencies if you’re of the delegation mould or search niche job sites if you’re more of a DIY job hunter. (There is quite literally a niche for everyone; budding lawyers, Fashion Week hopefuls, and beyond.)

Get to know the areas. A fair share of first-timers end up making the wrong decision when it comes to location-picking and I just can’t have that happen to you, babe.

First, you follow one of two choices:
– House sharing (follow your adventure to Spare Room!)
– Renting (follow your adventure to Rightmove!)

When you’re decided, you try every tube or bus stop under a 45-minute commute to your workplace (TFL is your BFF here) until you find something in your price range. Then find out as much as you can about the area (hell, ask me!) to make sure it will suit your lifestyle. The basic rule of thumb suggests you’ll be living in a flat from travel Zones 1-3, but a house from 4 onwards (I chose the latter – around a tonne of amenities – and bagged myself a wonderful home with a garden).

If you’ve got some cash to splash, of course, there is no other choice but to move to Soho (and invite me over). That is where the party’s at.

Get out there! To paraphrase someone saying something at sometime, “when you’re bored of London you’re bored of life”. You will be the happiest little city-dweller imaginable if you make the time to pursue friends, memories, and adventure. Time Out is the ultimate ‘What’s Happening in London’ resource (but I dare say my food blogs are a stellar contribution).

Live. I’ve met a surprising number of people who say they ‘can’t do’ London and, well, all I can do is appreciate our differences. London – like any metropolis – can be a hectic beast to new eyes but once you get around the Oyster cards, rush hours, night busses and North/South rivalries, there is no place like home.

Travel Blog: One Day in Bangkok

Whenever someone finds out I used to live in Bangkok, I am met with one of two reactions:
1. Being questioned as something of a Thai tourist guide
2. An excitable conversation of shared experiences.

I much prefer the latter.

Truth is, most of the questions I get asked have extremely subjective answers. The most difficult of which has always been ‘What do I do if I’m only spending one day in Bangkok?’. Obviously, the answer depends on what you’re hoping to get out of the city (culture, food, shopping, ping pong bars?) and how much you’re hoping to fit in.

A truthful cop out. I decided I needed something better.

For our first full day in Bangkok, The Manfriend and I decided to answer the question (in the touristy sense) once and for all. (Making up the first part of my jazzy travel vlog, to boot. Click above to watch!)

What to do in Bangkok

The Grand Palace. Its an absolute circus but a must-do if you have ‘temples’ on your list. It is golden, magical, wonderfully religious (not a phrase I use lightly), and – indeed – grand. As a tourist, I would simply advise going as early as possible (the crowds are insane) and ensuring you approach the main entrance if you’re in a taxi as some drivers are known to approach private gates and pretend it is shut to drive you elsewhere.
Wat Pho. The temple is less than a five minute walk from The Grand Palace and gives you much more room to breathe and explore – even offering a free bottle of water with your ticket. It is the birthplace of Thai massage (as the walls’ detailed inscriptions show) and home to a 15m-tall and 43m-long gold reclining Buddha; a sight to be seen.
A tuk tuk ride. A chance to barter! In my experience, a 20-minute journey costs around 50 baht and I would base your final agreed rates on this before you get in the tuk tuk. As there are quite a few situated outside Wat Pho, I would use it as an excuse to get to your next activity a little faster…
Thai food. Along the road that connects the temples, there are many local restaurants sitting next to the river. Avoid anything too English-looking. I find it is best to get as far away from street food as possible and follow well-dressed Thai people around 12pm (the national lunch hour) to be led to amazing, cheap Thai food.
A long tail boat on the Chao Phraya River. If you head back towards the Grand Palace, head for the pier adjacent from it at the cross-section (Tha Chang). If you walk through the market, you get to the pier and can secure your own little long tail boat to take you along the Chao Phraya and into the riverside homes and shacks of nearby floating villages. It is wondrous. Our ride disembarked at the Flower Market which – while not an ‘essential’ – is also a very immersive, traditional-feeling experience (and ideal for souvenir purchasing, if that’s your bag).

From there I would hail one of Bangkok’s colourful taxis (request the meter or be charged tourist prices!) and head to Siam, but I wouldn’t pass judgement if you’d rather hit the hay! In 37-degree heat, not even a cup of superstrong Thai coffee could keep us awake.

* All photos and video taken with the Canon Powershot SX60, especially for this trip! Review coming very soon.

Grand Palace
Thai food
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Travel Blog: Siam, Bangkok

siam bangkok thailand
Welcome to Bangkok.

First? A quick catch-up for the noobs: having lived in Thailand during 2011, I have spent almost four years itching to return. The itch was forcibly scratched a few short months ago on a flight binge to accomodate two weeks in Bangkok and Koh Samui.

Now, back to Bangkok.

After a day or so of travelling and enjoying the greatest pictures of the Fifties aboard Qatar Airways, The Manfriend and I arrived at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport with time to kill before check in.

No place seemed as fitting an introduction as Siam.

Siam – in its simplest description – is the shopping centre of Bangkok. Everything is conveniently connected to the BTS (Bangkok’s overground Subway/Underground system) and serves up a wide range of wanton goodies – from high fashion to market stalls.

A Quick Shopping Guide to Siam

MBK: Eight floors and over 2,000 shops with its fair share of food options. A one-stop-shop for mobile phones, handbags, luggage, electronics, fashion, and more.
Siam Square: The partially-enclosed outdoor market between the BTS and MBK. The stalls on the outer edge tend to overcharge for tourists, but great deals can be bartered on the inside. Especially for petite women.
Siam Paragon: A mecca of luxury. From Ferraris, to Chanel, to Samsung; Paragon is a hub for the discerning shopper. They even have a digitally-run Fitness First (displaying trainer choices on LCD screens) and a basement floor full of the best national and international foods.

After a celebratory dish of tom yum goong and a sleepy shoparound, we capped our afternoon off at Paragon’s Gourmet Market for some breakfast nibbles before crashing out in our Airbnb.

But more on that later…

* All photos taken with the Canon Powershot SX60, especially for this trip! Review coming very soon.

siam bangkok thailand
siam bangkok thailand
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Interviews: All We Are and Sherrie Hewson

Over the past month, I’ve had the opportunity to interview both an amazing new band and an empowered TV legend. What is this life.

First up? A natter with the exceptionally attractive Liverpudlian funk trio, All We Are, before their show at Aloft Liverpool. If you have yet to discover them, it is time to turn your speakers up and hit the play button (above). Rumour has it, their modern pop-rock-disco vibes are destined for a show at this year’s Glastonbury…

Let’s say hello.

Lela London: You’ve been described most notoriously as ‘slinky indie funk’ – for those who haven’t heard your music yet, how would you describe your sound?
All We Are: It’s like you’re trapped in a wave and you get tossed and turned around. You don’t know what’s going to happen but when you’re safe back on shore, you had a great ride.

LL: Do you, in fact, get sick of people asking about ‘your sound’?
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