At this time of year, I like to ramp up my skincare routine, as the cold winds and change in temperature coming out of heated places into the cold wreaks havoc with my skin. Even my hands feel dry and I'm a serial hand lotion-applier...
My hair's the same - cool weather and central heating don't mix - so I'm currently treating my hair to some intensive products courtesy of James Brown to fix thermal damage and enhance shine.
I've just discovered accessories label Barbara Rihl. The Paris-based Austrian designer has designed this beautiful red Explicite Trend handbag made from 100% cowhide leather with square quilted detailing, chunky silver zips, press stud fastening and long strap so you can wear it how you wish.
Barbara Rihl studied at the Universitat der Kunste in Vienna under Karl Lagerfeld for two years and then Jil Sander before she started working at Kenzo. The designer then left to set up her own handbag label in 2000 and I don't know how I hadn't come across her collections before - some are simple designs like the above and some are like a European version of Lulu Guinness with fun slogans, girly embellishment and printed illustrations. Barbara, I can tell you and I are going to become firm friends...
I don't know anyone who doesn't rate Iris Apfel for her ballsy dress sense and dedication to fashion. The 91 year old New Yorker is the definition of an eccentic fashion guru and Dazed & Confused magazine has featured her in all her mad, abstract glory on the front cover of the November 2012 art issue.
I've never been much of a gilet girl. Gilets strike me as a garment worn for warmth rather than aesthetics or style and if you want to stay warm, just wear a nice coat instead. They remind me of when my mum used to insist that I wear them in the 90s - I can still hear the rustle of the shiny, puffy fabric as I got into the car with cold, wet hair after swimming.
Winter is coming, (anyone else a massive Game of Thrones fan? I can't wait for season three to start next year!) which means mulled wine, crackling fires, Christmas trees, carols and sugar plums. Oh, I'm such a big kid... With chilly months just
around the corner, it's also time to start shopping for the perfect winter look.
Cold weather can be a challenge; piling on coats, scarves and bulky layers can make outfits look frumpy so you need to spend a little more time planning your winter wardrobe to keep it chic and flattering.
Everyone knows Sundays and Mondays are the worst days of the
week so, as these are the evenings I need cheering up most, I like to fill my diary with dinner in a new restaurant, catch ups with friends or the theatre so that there’s something to look forward to at the
end of a bleak beginning-of-the-week day.
Monday was a particularly grim evening; rainy, cold
and dark after I left the office at 6.30pm.
Oh, joy. Where’s that late, balmy
Indian summer we were promised? I cycled
over to West London in the drizzle as I’d booked to try out No 35,
the restaurant in The Hempel Hotel nestled between Lancaster Gate and
Paddington, which cheered me up a treat.
Black and white will never go out of fashion, nor will polka dots, stripes or classic prints, thus half of my wardrobe is made up of one of or variations of these four. Sometimes all at once.
One of my favourite go-to dresses in summer is this black and white spotty dress I bought in France; basic, timeless and versatile, it's easy to wear and has served me well. I'm wearing it today for one last time before putting it away until next spring...
Since as I can't stop wearing my wedged trainers, I assume that ASH must know a thing or two about comfortable footwear, so the American brand is my current go-to for new shoes...
I'm in the market to replace my fringed suede ankle boots I bought a few years ago with a better quality pair (as I don't think mine will last another winter) and the Indian/ Minnetonka-inspired Squaw Bootsare just what I'm looking for. Featuring the ever-present concealed wedge, the shape is folky and casual, but the metal studs and heel make them a little dressier. Also come in camel.
Everyone gets very excited listing the adjectives to describe this colour - nude, peach, mink, neutral, taupe - whatever you want to call it, I love it. I was given Mannequin Nail Varnish by Topshop last month and it's barely left my nails since. It might be a kneejerk reaction to all the acid bright neons which have dominated spring/ summer, but I find the toned down, elegant colour quite refreshing, grown up and suitably autumnal. It also sits back and lets my jewellery do the talking...
There are too many bath and skincare products out there which smell ludicrously floral or mouthwateringly fruity and artificial. The natural bath and body products from new boutique brand Bramley thankfully don't fall into that category.
It's been a good few months since I added to my sterling silver bracelet collection and I haven't ordered anything since my above knuckle rings from cool Dutch jewellery brand Fashionology. I owe it to myself them.
August was dominated by the Olympics (obviously) and I subjected my Instagram followers to numerous photos from the ten events I attended, flags, cheering crowds etc. Roll on Rio... Follow me at emmalouiselayla.
This week, as a lover of lingerie, I attended the launch event for the excellent Lingerie Françaiseexhibition, held at the London Film Museum for a very limited run of five days. The retrospective showcases iconic underwear from the twentieth century to the present day, featuring vintage photograpy, video installation, retro advertising and and hundreds of garments.
I was excited to be invited down to the opening night of the ENO's Magic Flute at the Coliseum a few weeks ago, which I recommend seeing before it closes on 18 October. Mozart's last opera - it premiered only ten weeks before the composer's early death and went on to become one of his most popular and successful works - runs for 2 hours and fifty minutes (including interval) and opens telling the story of a handsome prince Tamino, rescued from a serpent by three ladies who send him on his way to rescue the Queen's daughter, Pamina, who was kidnapped by the evil Sarastro, with a magic flute and bells for protection on the way.
One of my favourite shows at Paris Fashion Week was Alexis Mabille, for its sheer wearability. The French designer might have played it safe with easy-to-wear day looks and laidback casual dresses, but I want to wear all of these cool girly-meets-edgy outfits.