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.

salone del mobile 2
salone del mobile 4
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hassle review
I am not, shall we say, ‘domesticated’. I have a weird love for vacuuming and laundry but would rather French kiss my Pomeranian than scrub a toilet.

Inconveniently, I am also a bit of a clean freak. A clean freak with very little spare time on my hands.

None of this really works in my favour. Until recently, that is. Busy clean freaks who hate cleaning, I have something for you:!

While researching home insurance and getting my first ‘new home’ shop ordered on Ocado (I’m a terribly digital individual), I discovered this home cleaning service and booked in for a solid three hours on move-in weekend.

Long story short, I am crazy impressed. There is a flat fee of £10 an hour, a selection process that allows your pre-vetted cleaner to choose you, customer reviews, and the option to have your cleaner bring their own supplies (at a small cost) or use your own (providing a very helpful list to make sure you’re prepared).

£30 and a three hours of productivity later, my home was spotless and my sanity saved.

Want the chance to experience the same? Enter for the chance to win your very own three hour clean! To enter, simply follow me on Twitter and tweet the message through the widget, below. (Of course, it you just want to sign up you can use the reference code ref327lela and get £5 off!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition ends on April 10th, 2015 and will be announced on Twitter. Good luck!

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.

home interiors wishlist
My brain is a cacophony of living wishlists. A cacophony with no rhyme or reason whatsoever. I ‘make note’ of something I want as soon as I see it, leaving it to float aimlessly around the abyss of quick thoughts (as so many of us do).

The practical fact is, when I return to London from Thailand I am moving into a new house. A big house. With a big garden. And not a whole hell of a lot to put into it (hashtag: #travelblogger).

Last weekend, I spent Sunday with The Manfriend and Mrs. Manfriend Senior, painting everything Jasmine White and fashioning box upon box into an oversized cardboard mountain.

I decided to turn the abyss into a real-life wishlist. A proud (though somewhat essential) moment.

Home Interiors Wishlist

The essentials:
White blinds (The bedroom currently boasts some floral monstrosities)
White wood paint (For the skirting boards and wooden glass doors need a refresh)
Over the door towel rack (WHY do I always give these away when I move? I’ve probably spent over £100 on them in my lifetime)
Superhero prints (I’m creating a phenomenal gallery wall – more on that in a later post!)
Black wood paint (Also for the gallery wall)
Plants (Having spent an obscene amount of time as a casual student of green living, I have a laundry list of plants and flowers I want to furnish the house with. Might as well throw a gold plant pot or two in there).
Laundry basket (It broke in the move – c’est la vie)

The not-so-essentials:
A Chesterfield sofa (We have a white leather sofa bed, but our almost two-room living area would look impeccable with a big black four-seater to compliment it)
Enormous faux animal hide rug (I’ve never understood the appeal of real animal hide, but a gargantuan faux would look immense)
All white bedding (I just love white, okay?)
Champagne bucket (I’ve bought a second bar cart, and I’m not sure it feel feel complete without one)
Gold martini glasses (I love gorgeous glassware)
Clear teacups and saucers (See above)
Throw pillows (For the sofa – black/white/gold – and bedroom – white/silver/red)

eiffel tower penthouse
There is a penthouse in the Eiffel Tower. I mean, if any vintage discovery was ever worth a Throwback Thursday…

At the Eiffel Tower’s inception, there were very few photographs taken behind the scaffolding. These rare photos are an incredible find and quite a testament to the magic that Alexandre Gustave Eiffel began designing in 1887.

After two years of work by only 200 men, the now-famous structure was completed with 18,038 pieces of wrought iron and 2.5 million rivets, weighing 10,000 tonnes and reaching a height of 984.25 feet. Complete with 1,710 steps to the top, of course.

For years, rumours have flown around concerning the tower’s initial uses. We know that, in its opening year, French newspaper Le Figaro opened a print office on the second floor alongside a post office which delivered postcards by balloon.

Allegedly, there was even a penthouse and theatre.

Allegedly no more, thanks to the archives of the Neurdein brothers (the official photographers of the Paris World’s Fair in 1889). Say hello to Mr. Eiffel’s 285-meter high penthouse and theatre.

eiffel tower penthouse
eiffel tower penthouse
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