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CIEL DE PARIS

31 December 2014

Last New Year's Eve I was in Paris with my boyfriend, brother and sister-in-law and we went for a long, late lunch at Ciel de Paris, the restaurant on the 56th floor of the Tour de Montparnasse with arguably the best views in Paris, until the Eiffel Tower sparkled and the sun set on 2013.

Lunch at Ciel de Paris restaurant

SEALS IN NORFOLK

29 December 2014

My Dad moved to Norwich when I was about ten, so the city has become somewhat of a second home.  When I visit I like to take my road bike and enjoy the super flat coastal roads (I'm not the biggest fan of climbing hills) and, when in season, visit the seal colonies along the Norfolk coast which we've done several times over the years.

Winterton-on-Sea seals, Norfolk

THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL

27 December 2014

I recently went to Sadler's Wells to watch celebrated choreographer Arthur Pita's The Little Match Girl, the dance adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's classic 19th century story.  Set in an imaginary Italian city, Fiammetta, the little match girl living on the streets, sells her matches on a freezing cold Christmas Eve.

Arthur Pita's The Little Match Girl theatre show at Sadler's Wells, London

She encounters both good and bad, as she's left with nothing but a few matches to keep her warm. The snowy stage is set in front of the shining moon and rows of lit houses, with original live music from composer Frank Moon to the side, as the small cast of 11 bring the magical tale to life through dance and song.  It's an inventive, entertaining family show with a lovely message, on until 4 January.

Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Lilian  Avenue, London, EC1R
13 Dec 2014 - 4 Jan 2015

BOBBLE HAT

26 December 2014

December is all about silly headwear - Christmas office parties fill every restaurant and bar with Santa hats or Reindeer antlers all month - and in the festive spirit of not taking yourself too seriously whilst keeping warm, I'm currently sporting this bright lilac bobble hat my bestie gave me. Shop all River Island accessories here.

London fashion blogger Emma Louise Layla in River Island lilac bobble hat

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: CHANEL CHRISTMAS PRESENTS

Vogue Paris Chanel Christmas presents cycling editorial
Chanel, Christmas presents and a bike = my kinda editorial, from Vogue Paris, January 2012

CHRISTMAS IN PARIS

25 December 2014

I hosted my Daddy in my little Montorgueil flat in Paris over Christmas last year and on 25 December we wandered around the near-empty city during the day before sitting down for a three hour lunch at the magnificent Le Train Bleu at the Gare du Lyon.

Emma Louise Layla jumping for joy at the Louvre in Paris

Rue Montorgueil, 2eme, Paris
Rue Montorgueil

Here are some photos from those few days, walking around the deserted city from the Hotel de Ville ice skating rink to the Champs-Élysées Christmas market and steps of Sacré-Cœur, enjoying the beautiful winter sun and a relaxing two weeks off work.

Paris Christmas market ferris wheel
view from the top of the Christmas market ferris wheel

CHRISTMAS DAY IN PARIS

24 December 2014

Last Christmas I was in Paris and invited my Dad over to stay in my apartment for a few days - for Christmas Day we went and spent an extremely extravagant afternoon having lunch in Le Train Bleu, at the top of the Gare de Lyon.  It's expensive and the food is very rich, but it's a lovely place for a special occasion.

Le Train Bleu, Paris restaurant

CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS

21 December 2014

Twelve Christmas gift ideas - six for him and six for her - for last minute shoppers.

Balmain Extatic Eau de Parfum

Perfume is such a classic gift and a great idea as long as you know their taste...  The latest addition to my fragrance family is Balmain Xstatic which is perfect for the party season: a provocative, sensual oriental floral scent which opens with Bulgarian rose, moves onto the chocolatey Sharry Baby orchid, night jasmine and dark iris and ends with longlasting leather and sandalwood. Heady, glamorous and lasts all night.

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: NUTCRACKER GIRL

19 December 2014

love this Christmas editorial in Vogue Girl Korea, inspired by the Nutcracker.  I went to the English National Ballet's production at the Coliseum last Friday and it was wonderful.  It's on until 4 January - check it out if you can!

SCANDI CHRISTMAS

Here's a nice festive dose of Christmas interiors inspiration with a minimalist, Scandi feel.  Bright white, clear glass, raw wood, green foliage, bare branches and natural materials are a great way of bringing the outdoors in during the winter months and keep your home looking fresh, simple and timeless.

modern Scandi Christmas interiors

MARCO ALDANY

14 December 2014

I got a bit of a telling off on my last trip to the hair salon.  Quite rightly too.  I cut about five inches off last autumn before moving to Paris, and as much as it was needed (my long hair, especially after a summer in the sun, wasn't in great condition at all) and as ridiculous as it sounds (as it was still shoulder length), it was too short.  As a little girl I could sit on my hair and this was the shortest hair I'd ever had as an adult - I wanted to grow it out, so I didn't go for a haircut...  For ten months.  Ahem.

Marco Aldany hair salon, Mortimer Street London W1

Step in Marc Aldany - or rather Daniel, the charming dude at the Mortimer Street branch of the Spanish salon brand - to save the day, trim off the unhealthy bottom couple of inches, slather on some Wella Salon Professionals conditioning treatments and the smoothing keratin luxe oil spray - made with argan, jojoba and almond oils to transform texture - and remind me never to neglect my hair for that long again.

Marco Aldany hair salon, Mortimer Street, W1

Marco Aldany is inexpensive for a good, central salon and they have a loyalty program - buy seven haircuts and get your eighth free.  I've got my loyalty card and I'll be back (in weeks instead of months) - thanks for sorting me out, team MA!

Marco Aldany, 83 Mortimer Street, London W1W 7SL

PETIT BATEAU X CEDRIC CHARLIER

12 December 2014

French fashion house Petit Bateau is no stranger to limited edition collaborations.  The Carven collab (as seen on Alexa Chung) in Christmas 2012 was fantastique, the Christian Lacroix collection for women and girls last winter was pretty special, then there was the capsule collection with Finnish designer Satu Maaranen this spring, mixing the brand's iconic breton stripes with a loose, wavy pattern inspired by toothpaste stripes, next were the printed T-shirts decorated with furry fashionista Fifi Lapin last month and now a line with Cédric Charlier.  What's French for 'busy bees'?

Petit Bateau x Cedric Charlier breton stripe dress

The Belgian designer (ex-Cacharel, Céline and Lanvin, now heading up his own RTW label) has reinterpreted Petit Bateau's famous sailor stripes with his signature brushstrokes and bold colours on a capsule collection for women, children and men.  I'll be putting this dress under the Christmas tree as a present to myself...  Watch the collection come to life with four contemporary dancers in Alfredo Piola's dynamic 360 degree video.


Petit Bateau x Cédric Charlier launches tomorrow, Saturday 13 December
in selected UK stores and at petit-bateau.co.uk

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: SNOWY FIR TREE

Snowy fir tree

NOVEMBER INSTAGRAM PHOTOS

10 December 2014

In November we went to Budapest for a long weekend, some friend's wedding at the beautiful North Cadbury Court in Somerset, checked out a few new restaurants like Crocker's Folly in Saint John's Wood, went to plenty of Christmas press days and got into the swing of things as party season began...

London fashion blogger Emma Louise Layla Instagram photos
1. the glorious setting for dinner at Crocker's Folly 2. new red leather Diane von Furstenberg handbag 3. Stars, the new Jimmy Choo fragrance 4. so many pretty yellow buildings in Budapest 5. new plum dress 6. vibrant prints for SS15 from Clark's 7. Liberty Bridge at the beautiful blue hour 8. the stunning Palazzo Zichy Hotel 9. with my boyfriend, bro and sister-in-law at our friends' wedding

MAGIC & SPARKLE

I love the competitive Christmas TV advertisements which have become a festive tradition over the past few years.  The big brands build up to the go live date with newspaper front cover takeovers, bus ads, campaign hashtags and teaser YouTube pre-rolls - then everyone talks about their favourites for weeks.  Mine this year is Marks & Spencer’s sparkling fairies.


And whilst we’re on the topic of shiny goodness from M&S, there are plenty of sequinned, sparkly and metallic things in store and online I've got my magpie eye on...

Marks and Spencer Christmas Magic and Sparkle

CLARKS SHOES

9 December 2014

Like most girls, I have a thing for shoes.  I’ve had over 70/80 pairs for years and the first pair I remember were from Clarks, using the little shoe measuring device I used to be scared of when I was a toddler and grew to love as I got older because it meant spending a couple of hours stomping around the store in shiny new patent beauties.  My childhood was spent in Clarks shoes, until the blazing pre-teen rows with my poor mother arguing about heel height, then I rebelled – mainly with unwalkable platforms and six inch stilettos, often glittery – in my teens and early twenties.  It’s a rite of passage.

Black leather Clarks brogues

Now I have a good variety of styles and heights, from the strictly car-to-bar date night high heels to glossy neon stilettos and super sensible everyday pairs in good quality leather.  The latest addition to my shoe collection falls into the latter category - Clarks sent me a voucher to choose something from their A/W14 collection and I went for these extremely comfortable lace up brogues.  I’m sure my mama approves.

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: RED GLAMOUR

5 December 2014

Vintage red gown in 1953

BOULESTIN RESTAURANT

4 December 2014

There's a fantastic French restaurant in St James's called Boulestin, which opened last year - if you haven't already been, December is a good opportunity to visit as head chef Andrew Woodford has devised a Christmas menu including all sorts of winter treats from quail, duck, oysters, steak, cassoulet to foie gras and truffles. It's as indulgent and delicious as it sounds.

Bloggers dinner with Jori White PR at Boulestin French restaurant in St James, London

VINTAGE STRIPES

I've had this vintage black and pink stripe jumper in the back of my wardrobe for yeeears and rediscovered it during my closet changeover since the temperature dropped.  This black midi skirt, a pleated, high-waisted little lunchtime treat from New Look, is super versatile with a band tee, cropped knit or fitted polo neck tucked in.  

Vintage pink stripe jumper and black midi skirt

At the same time I picked up these cheap and cheerful statement crystal earrings which I've worn every other day since, along with my trusty silver jewellery and pebble leather M&S bag for a nice and easy weekend outfit.

Vintage pink stripe jumper and black midi skirt

OH CHRISTMAS TREE, OH CHRISTMAS TREE

3 December 2014

... Have you got yours up yet?  We were in Budapest this weekend and I've been in Paris for two days this week so I haven't turned the flat into my very own Santa's Grotto just yet.  On Friday night I'm going to make some mulled wine, put on Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas, unwrap all my baubles and get my festive on.

Gold Christmas Tree in elle Decoration russia December 2013

This editorial from ELLE Decoration Russia magazine features a fashionista magpie - excuse my Russian, but I don't know what her name translates as - who's been busy blitzing random objects with a gold spraycan for unusual Christmas decorations including pineapples, keyboards, boxing gloves, toy guns, plastic dinosaurs and Lego pieces.  What a cool idea for a unique, personal Christmas tree.

Gold Christmas Tree in elle Decoration russia December 2013

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: PARTY SEASON

28 November 2014

Mirror disco ball party shoes
have you ever SEEN such amazing dancing shoes?

OCTOBER INSTAGRAM PHOTOS

26 November 2014

In October I went to Paris twice and Troyes, Yorkshire to see my school buddies, the Frieze Art Fair in Regent's Park for the first time, an awesome boat trip on the Thames, saw the total dude Pharrell and some jazz at Ronnie Scott's.  All good fun!

London fashion and lifestyle blogger Emma Louise Layla Instagram photos
1. the Garry Winogrand exhibition at the Jeu de Paume 2. Pharrell at the O2 Arena 3. Place des Vosges 4. Tower Bridge and the Shard from the Thames on a rib 5. Temperley cashmere and Jaeger leather for brunch at Mama Shelter in Paris 6. David Renggli's ink painting on glass at Frieze London 7. jazz o'clock waiting for the Mingus Big Band late show to start at Ronnie Scott's 8. bright green nails 9. a spot of afternoon tea at Laura Ashley's The Manor hotel in Elstree 

London fashion and lifestyle blogger Emma Louise Layla Instagram photos
1. personalised Calvin Klein fragrance from Debenhams 2. Throwback Thursday: Halloween 2010 3. Radley's new, minimal de Beauvoir tote in polished leather for next spring 4. Ilkley Moor 5. White Hart Lane stadium tour with my bro 6. Norman Parkinson's 'The Art of Travel' for British Vogue, 1951 at Frieze Masters 7. some seriously jazzy tights at the Wolford press day 8. gorgeous autumn colours at RHS Harlow Carr in Harrogate 9. printed ceramic bowls handmade in Poland

MASH RESTAURANT

24 November 2014

I went to the launch night for Danish restaurant MASH back when it opened in 2012 and had a great evening eating canapés, meeting lots of interesting people, drinking too much Champagne and vowing to return for a proper dinner.

Modern American Steak House in Soho, London

Fast forward almost two years - time flies - and I finally went back.  We had an aperitif at the bar where there are lots of delicious cocktails along with beers, American spirits and bar snacks - I ordered the Lord of Dogtown (spice blend-infused Ketel One vodka, fresh white grapefruit juice, agave nectar and Californian sparkling wine, dusted with delicate plum sugar) and he ordered the Star Hill Negroni (Maker's Mark Bourbon, sweet vermouth and campari).  Both good.

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: BLACK AND WHITE POLKA DOTS

21 November 2014

Black and white polka dot lace dress
model and equestrian Gigi Hadid wearing a beautiful
Dolce & Gabbana polka dot lace dress in W Magazine

MARC BY MARC JACOBS

16 November 2014

For the second day of LFW waaay back in September, I wore a blue ruched satin Marc by Marc Jacobs dress I had to have in the Galeries Lafayette January sale in Paris.  Over the top I wore a printed, fringed shawl from New Look, which in versatile black and cream is easy to throw on over all sorts. 

Blogger Emma Louise Layla at London Fashion Week

Onto accessories: on my feet are the black Jimmy Choo cut out suede shoes - my first Choos - I treated myself to at the brand's recent sample sale.  This patent croc-effect turquoise leather handbag is becoming one of my most worn bags this year - it's super glossy so pretty much water-repellent (handy for London), has a cross-body strap and on-trend top handle plus the boxy structure means it's kept its shape really well.  Then there was the best accessory at London Fashion Week this season: THE OUTNET's Sergio the shoe hunter. What a cutie.

The Outnet's Sergio the Shoe Hunter and Blogger Emma Louise Layla at London Fashion Week

PROVENCE

For the long weekend over Bastille Day back in July, we visited a charming little Roman town in Provence called Vaison-la-Romaine for a few days.  It's a pretty, 2,400 year old place sat on gentle slopes to the north of the Ouvèze river, most known for its Roman ruins, an ancient stone bridge and a huge flood in 1992.

Bastide la Combe, Vaison-la-Romaine, Provence

The town is filled with archaeological sites, boutiques, terrace cafes and restaurants with the Haute Ville overlooking it all.  We climbed the steep hill to the medieval centre at the top and wandered around the picturesque buildings and 12th century chateau with wonderful views.  We stayed at Bastide La Combe, a gorgeous five bedroom private house in the countryside surrounded by vineyards just on the outskirts, with a beautiful pool.  I've been day dreaming about it on these rainy November days...

Bastide la Combe, Vaison-la-Romaine, Provence

ANA BEATRIZ BARROS

14 November 2014

Brazilian babe Ana Beatriz Barros (always high up on my list of girl crushes, but strangely not featured on here yet) is the current face of Italian lingerie brand Intimissimi's Autumn/ Winter 2014 collection, featuring in the November issue of Madame Figaro Spain wearing plenty of the Italian label's underwear, on the roof, as you do.  Photographed by Richard Ramos, styled by Marta Lasierra and hair & make up by Miguel Angel Alvaraz.

Ana Beatriz Barros in Madame Figaro Spain magazine editorial

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: ILLUSTRATION

Wish I could sketch. beautiful fashion illustration
wish I could sketch like this

BENGAL TIGER LONDON

13 November 2014

I'm not the biggest fan of Indian cuisine and I don't have a favourite curry house, however one of the best Indian restaurants I've visited in London is Bengal Tiger down a little alleyway in the shadows of St Paul's - it's nothing fancy, but if you're looking for a cheap and cheerful dinner after a few drinks in the city, it's recommended.

Bengal Tiger Indian restaurant, St Pauls, London

JONATHAN SAUNDERS FOR DEBENHAMS

12 November 2014

I'm currently enjoying one of the key colours of the season: plum, wine, burgundy, claret - whatever you call it: it's a warm, reddish, pinky purple perfect for autumn.  Jonathan Saunders has created a capsule collection as part of the Debenhams Editions range with a few contemporary designers and this Roll Collar Fit and Flare Dress with its 60s-style rollneck and simple shape is my favourite item.



JIMMY CHOO STARS

11 November 2014

Last week I was sent the new fragrance from Jimmy Choo, Stars, and have worn it every day since.  Always a good sign.  The latest women's perfume from the British shoe brand was released this autumn as a limited edition, refined twist on the original 2011 eau de parfum and is a delicious winter gourmand chypre: feminine, sweet and warm, lingering on the skin for hours.

Jimmy Choo Limited Edition Stars Eau de Parfum

BODEN JEWELLED PUMPS

10 November 2014

These glitzy, almond toe flat pumps from Boden are, in my opinion, their best product this season.  They've been incredibly popular, so I'm certainly not alone in thinking that their sparkling, glass and acrylic jewels are simply splendid.


Good for day and night - gold with bare legs on warmer days and black or navy with opaque tights for winter - and Boden is running one of their diminishing discount promotions from now until Thursday, currently offering 25% off and free delivery.  Monday lunchtime treat?

M&S AW14

9 November 2014

Earlier this year I attended Marks and Spencer's Autumn/ Winter 2014 press event and ended up staying until Chief Executive Marc Bolland gave a speech covering's the past year's results, explaining the strategy around growing their fashion business, before handing over to Style Director Belinda Earl who spoke with passion about her consumer and the new fashion focus.

MARKS AND SPENCER LIMITED EDITION COAT £89, LIMITED EDITION TOP £29.50, LIMITED EDITION DRESS £45, BAG £29.50, SHOE £25

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: BLUE LAGOON

7 November 2014

Blue Lagoon, Iceland
need to go back to Iceland

BARBARA HULANICKI BACK AT BIBA

6 November 2014

It was announced this week that Barbara Hulanicki is returning to Biba, the iconic label she created in the 1960s, which first saw success as part of the huge Swinging Sixties scene in London. The fashion designer telling the Sunday Times "I've got Biba flowing through my veins" and fans of the iconic Biba look rejoiced.

British fashion brand Biba in the 1960s and 1970s

HARVEY NICHOLS HAMPER

3 November 2014

Hey guys, it's November: that means we can officially get excited about Christmas!  Partly responsible for my Christmassy feeling bubbling under the surface, Harvey Nichols sent me one of their luxury hampers, launched in time for the festive season.

Harvey Nicks luxury foodie hamper

The Rise and Shine hamper is perfect for lazy weekend mornings at home and simple Christmas breakfasts, containing breakfast blend fairtrade ground coffee, English breakfast loose leaf tea, gooseberry preserve, strawberry jam, acacia honey with honeycomb, two black and white printed mugs and a bottle of Prosecco for a couple of cheeky glasses of fizz.

Harvey Nicks luxury foodie hamper

Just add warm crusty bread, fresh milk and the style supplements for a great way to start your day.  It would make a great gift for foodies, hosts or to share whilst opening presents on 25 December.

CHRISTMAS BALLET

Going to the ballet at Christmas is one of my favourite traditions.  It's one of my favourite things to do all year round, but a festive production is that bit more special.  My mum scraping frost off the car windows and driving to a matinee is one of my earliest memories.  On another occasion, I remember asking a lady sat in front of me if I could please look at her binoculars, probably around 5 or 6 years old, for which I got a mighty telling off.  Maybe you should have given me 20p to hire my own, HEY MA?

Sleeping Beauty by the Paris Opera Ballet, at L'Opéra Bastille
Sleeping Beauty at the Paris Opéra

As I was in Paris last winter I saw Rudolf Nureyev’s The Sleeping Beauty by the Paris Opera Ballet at L'Opéra Bastille.  I went to the opening night, so there were some wobbles, brushing of tutus and slightly asymmetrical formations, but overall it was wonderful.  I splurged on a fifth row stall seat so I could see the magnificent costumes, the splendour of the elaborate, golden set design, the Baroque court dances and beautiful solos up close.

This year I'm going to see The English National Ballet's production of The Nutcracker at The Coliseum, which I last saw in 2011 a couple of days before going to New York for Christmas. There are still tickets available here.

The Nutcracker at the London Coliseum
11 Dec 2014 – 4 Jan 2015

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: FLUFFY PINK

31 October 2014

fluffy pink jumper

GARRY WINOGRAND RETROSPECTIVE IN PARIS

30 October 2014

Garry Winogrand was an American photographer (1928-1984) who documented modern life on the city streets in his native New York, his primary working location, and across the United States.  He captured moments during the country's most vital and eruptive post-war decades, mainly the 1950s-70s, from Manhattan to Santa Monica and from the historical to the intimate.  

Garry Winogrand exhibition at Jeu de Paume, Paris
New York, 1962

SEPTEMBER INSTAGRAM PHOTOS

29 October 2014

In September I attended a few London Fashion Week shows, did the circuit on the AW14/ Christmas press days, watched the Tour of Britain and took my boyfriend to Warsaw for his 30th birthday.  It was my first time in Poland and I loved it - more on that later...

Fashion and lifestyle blogger Emma Louise Layla Instagram photos from London Fashion Week and Warsaw in Poland
1. beautiful hydrangeas 2. chocolate box buildings, Poland style 3. the divine new NARCISO fragrance by Narciso Rodriguez 4. with The Outnet's little Sergio the shoe hunter at Somerset House 5. shooting the new Sweaty Betty sports luxe collection 6. rose gold leather clutch and jewellery at London Fashion Week 7. metallic snakeskin leather court shoes from Lucy Choi 8. the Felder Felder catwalk 9. new Jonathan Saunders for Debenhams plum dress and faux fur

Fashion and lifestyle blogger Emma Louise Layla Instagram photos from London Fashion Week and Warsaw in Poland
1. vintage gold Chanel necklace 2. pretty Warsaw Old Town at night 3. getting LFW-ready at home 4. fresh lilies and cabbage flowers to start a fresh week 5. scarf and sunglasses on the chilly yet sunny first day of autumn 6. invitations 7. fun and games at the Barbican's Digital Revolution exhibition 8. sipping Champagne and looking at pretty shoes to celebrate Faith turning 50 (every 50th birthday party should involve glitter rainbow heels) 9. the Tour of Britain peloton