lower mill estate
As a travel blogger, I spend very little time in London – let alone the rest of the UK – so find it an absolute thrill to discover the the best of my home soil’s best.

Lower Mill Estate will now be added to that category.

Earlier this month, I travelled to the heart of the Cotswolds to take part in an exploration of the private community of lakeside second-homes and rental homes with a few blogging beauties and left with an unexpected appreciation of all things Lower Mill.

But you’ll see that very clearly in the photography and video, below…

What I Wore:
Breton-stripe boat neck silk and cotton jumper from Wool Overs (I bought mine oversized, but this makes it perfect to wear between seasons and is ridiculously comfortable)
Gold shorts (similar here)
Chelsea boots from Daniel

lower mill estate 2

A video posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on

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mustard london
I was not sure how well I’d get on with an all-day British Brasserie concept (“…so, pub food with nicer cutlery?“), but Joe Allen owners Lawrence Hartley and Tim Healy piqued my interest by launching exactly that – Mustard in Brook Green.

The concept – which they plan to grow – dedicates itself to sourcing ingredients from the nation’s finest suppliers and producers before turning them into flavourful and mostly-healthy brunch, lunch and dinner dishes. Transparently trendy but alluring all the same.

I booked in for an early mid-week dinner and was fortunate to arrive in time to nab a sun-trapped window table.

Studying the menu over a glass of Furleigh sparkling wine (toasty peach aromatics from Devon), my dinner date and I decided to split our dishes equally across land and sea. To start, we shared the lightly-fried Cornish squid and crispy free range pork belly straws (served with spiced crab apple sauce) – the latter of which was so delicious I attempted to swap the remaining school of squid.

Gluttony prevailing, we paused to inhale a basket of freshly-baked fennel & linseed bread between courses. A bad move, in retrospect of the meal’s volume, but completely worth the food baby.

The real culinary expertise arrived with our mains; the ale-braised Scotch beef cheek (served with horseradish, glazed carrots & creamed potatoes) for myself and coastally-sourced natural smoked haddock (with potatoes and a ham & chive sauce) alongside crisp chips and raw shaved vegetables for my gentleman friend.

One too-tempting-to-resist flourless chocolate cake later, we licked the clotted cream from our lips and accepted defeat.

Albeit still in its infancy, Mustard cuts the eponymous.

mustard london
mustard london
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beauty favourites
Skin Tailor Tailor Made Moisturiser
This London-based company makes natural and organic moisturisers (free from parabens, silicones and mineral oils) tailored to your skincare needs and housed in pretty little glass jars. My “prescription” was the organic Lavender and Carrot Seed Moisturiser with Aloe; specifically aimed at “normal” skin, the blend nourishes with regenerative carrot seed (which also helps keep skin tight) and stimulates circulation with lavender, which is also proven to improve skin tone.

Clarins: Clarins Instant Light Comfort Lip Oil and Ombre Iridescente in Silver Taupe
Clarins have been releasing success after success lately. My first love – the lip oil – has become a daily obsession; though it is a tad heavier than a lipstick lip, it is the most nourishing and glossy lip treatment I have ever used and all three shades taste like raspberry.

Their Ombre Iridescente cream-to-powder eye shadow has also launched with four new permanent shades that blend like butter and stay put like superglue. The most universally flattering, in my opinion, is the Silver Taupe which is a slightly smoky departure from your typical ‘nude’ shades.

BetterYou Magnesium Flakes
Because magnesium is crucial for skeletal strength, normalised muscle function, energy production and the body’s ability to detox, it seemed like the right thing to try when my body was approaching a state of permanent jetlag. And it truly was. Every 100g of Magnesium Flakes delivers 12g of elemental magnesium, meaning spending twenty minutes soaking in a magnesium bath easily counteracts the magnesium you may have lost through lifestyle, diet, et al. It also makes your skin feel infinitely healthier.

The Gents Pack
In a pinch, I have often found myself nabbing boyfriends’ grooming products and typically find myself surprised at just how good (or even how much better) they are than my own female-targeted counterparts. With this in mind, I ordered The Gents Pack – a brand new men’s subscription box service – for The Boy and eagerly awaited its arrival. While the monthly box delivers unique underwear and socks each month (tailored to the box recipient’s style preferences), it also comes with high-end grooming products that I have enjoyed using just as much as my gentleman friend. If not more.

Nugg Face Masks
Nugg’s naturally-derived face masks are contained in small pods – meaning they are the perfect size for single use – and range in speciality from anti-ageing to cleansing, exfoliating, soothing, and more. I have taken them on many recent trips (they are an ideal travel size, even for carry-on luggage) and find the Exfoliating Face Mask (with jojoba beads and glycerin) makes skin beautifully hydrated and smooth in as little as five minutes.

chai wu london
I bought new shoes for my inaugural trip to Chai Wu.

I did. I really did.

The entire day prior to our dinner reservation, The Boy and I endured a ten-(plus)-mile hike from Brighton to Eastbourne and, even though I had carried a dinner dress in my bag the whole way, I forgot to pack anything but trainers.

Chai Wu deserves much more than trainers.

As you may remember from their Ladies Lunch, the restaurant – hidden in the upper decks of Harrods‘ golden labyrinth – serves faultlessly modern Chinese cuisine with service and prices to match.

Slipping on and kicking off all at once, we cheers’d our day’s effort with a bottle of Dopff Au Moulin’s 2013 Riesling before launching into a savoury feast unlike any other.

We’re talking lobster dumplings (topped with beluga caviar), a cocktail glass of gargantuan prawn spring rolls (served with sesame seeds and tomato salsa), the most delicate and flavourful Wagyu puffs I’ve ever come across, the Harrods special roll (fresh snow crab, avocado & spicy mayonnaise roll topped with chopped scallops, orange & black caviar & spring onion – a stunning meal on its own), and a plate of coconut prawns so unbelievably sauced they trumped my personal “unbeatable” Floridian heritage prawns.

And this was all prior to the main event.

The aforementioned – the Beijing Duck – was ceremoniously carved at our tableside, then served with fresh pancakes, Mantou buns, cucumber, spring onions, and a surfeit of sauces (hoi sin, pickled radish, cucumber, plum, et al – any sauce you could possibly desire). Even without the ‘trimmings’, the duck was flawless – tender on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside.

Naturally, we licked our plates clean.

Though we couldn’t bear the idea of dessert after such a gluttonous affair, our espressos arrived alongside a trio of handmade chocolate truffles that were simply too beautiful to refuse.

The whole evening was a sensory delight and one I intend on repeating for many years to come.

chai wu london
chai wu london 1
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