In Review: The Diner, London

the diner london
I have been booth-dwelling customer of The Diner for over seven years. Since I first returned to London from the States, The Diner has been one of very few restaurants that deliver on indulgent American dining.

Now with eight locations, the Camden branch is both my favourite and most convenient breakfast spot so seemed like the perfect place to recover from a week in Amsterdam.

Deciding to share a bit of everything, we ordered enough food to feed us for a week; the pork chilaquiles (a mass of tortillastrips, guacamole,tomatilla salsa, two fried eggs, and queso fresco – also available in a veggie or chicken option), fluffy red velvet pancakes (with cream cheese frosting), and chicken & waffles (buttermilk-fried with maple syrup, acon gravy, and coleslaw) that rivalled the best of the best.

Washed down with our respected individual heroes (a flat white and a strawberry milkshake), it is safe to say very few mornings could rival that of this international Americana escapade.

Want to WIN a trip to NYC?!

To celebrate the launch of The Diner’s statement T-shirts, Londonโ€™s favourite hangout is launching a competition for one ridiculously lucky customer and a friend to win a trip to the Big Apple. The winner of this incredible prize will receive flights, accommodation and dinner at 5 Napkin Burger (a modern New York burger institution). Each customer who buys one of The Diners t-shirts will be entered into the draw automatically, with the winner drawn on New Year’s Day 2016. A win-win scenario!

Fortunately, I have partnered up with my friends at The Diner to offer one lucky reader an edge on the t-shirted masses; a meal for two at one of the 8 Diner locations, two free t-shirts, and free entry to the draw to win a trip to New York – wahey!

How to Enter:
Simply follow the rules on the Rafflecopter widget, below! Competition closes October 12, 2015. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Travel Blog: Amsterdam in 48 Hours

amsterdam travel blog 21
As a token of my eternal gratitude to you, beloved reader, I have whittled five amazing days in Amsterdam down to a 48-hour itinerary that will allow you to experience the best of the best without falling into tourist traps.

Before visiting, I had imagined Amsterdam to be little more than a haven for the debaucherous. Friends and acquaintances had spun stories of supreme naughtiness that all ended with the same hopeful tribute – “…it is a beautiful city, though” – and I wanted to get to know it…intimately.

Sorry, that’s the post-Amsterdam in me.

Click through to find out where to stay, what to do, where to eat and much, much more!

A photo posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on

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In Review: The Lobby, Amsterdam

the lobby amsterdam
Amidst the omnipresent stroopwafels and cheesy chip cones of the city’s tourists, I was eager to find at least one amazing restaurant in Amsterdam that was still in the thick of it.

First place took the form of Hotel V Nesplein’s trendy backstreet restaurant, The Lobby.

Just a stone’s throw from Dam Square, The Lobby serves impeccable and crowd-pleasing cuisine with heart, soul, and smiles aplenty. In their own words, they stand for pure โ€˜gezelligheidโ€™- the best that the city has to offer at the bar, at the table, on your plate and in your glass.

With our darling waitress’ recommendation, we kicked things off with salmon tartare (a special), veal tartare (with the most incredible curry mayonnaise & gremolata), and two glasses of Larmandier-Bernier Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru, which took two sips to become my all-time favourite champagne.

Opting for another special as one of our mains (we’re proud supporters of beef bavette and truffle), we also split the vegetarian option – a beautiful plate of pumpkin ravioli with fresh cheese, spinach, and a smoked onion & cepes sauce.

Choosing to keep the dream meal rolling, we then persuaded ourselves to order a two-course dessert; the best cheese board of all time (all from Kef) and a warm chocolate cake with salted caramel & peanut ice cream.

The Lobby is an absolute must.

the lobby amsterdam
the lobby amsterdam
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Travel Blog: Amsterdam with Avios

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

amsterdam travel blog
amsterdam travel blog
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