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CHECK YO SELF

30 April 2014

I'm normally more of a stripes or polka dot girl than checks, as I feel either like a fancy dress cowboy or farm girl in gingham.  But vichy print was all over the Balmain catwalk at Paris Fashion Week back in September, served up with attitude in an OTT 80s throwback way reminiscient of Chanel, Alaia, Versace or Moschino; large checks worn together across separates, huge gold jewellery, bodycon dresses, brash metallic finishing touches, double denim, quilted leather power dressing skirt suits and pinstripes, alongside sports-inspired bomber jackets and jumpsuits, including a badass leather all-in-one.

Balmain Ready to Wear Paris Fashion Week catwalk

The Spring/ Summer 2014 collection featured gingham checks - and dogtooth check - in pale pink, sky blue and black and white, which inspired the high street to use the print this season and there's plenty about.  I'll be wearing mine with big Dallas-style statement jewellery.  Shoulder pads optional.

MARCH INSTAGRAM PHOTOS

29 April 2014

In March I went to the VeloPark for the first night it re-opened after the Olympics for the Revolution Series, settled into my new flat, had a fabulous evening in great company at the Prix Champagne de la Joie de Vivre event celebrating milliner superstar Stephen Jones, went to a few new restaurants in London which opened when I was in Paris, like NYC's Balthazar and got back on my bike.

Emma Louise Layla London fashion blogger Instagram photos
1. women's omnium at the Revolution Series at the Olympic Stadium 2. blue and green, black and cream 3. Q. to Breton, or not to Breton? A. well OBVIOUSLY, but which colour? 4. at the Champagne Joie de Vivre event 5. delicious HR Higgins tea 6. new neon pink Nails Inc 7. a super Sunday night dinner at Balthazar 8. mixed pink tulips from mon frère 9. early spring days in Regent's Park

Emma Louise Layla London fashion blogger Instagram
1. the Parkminster lemongrass soy candle smells divine 2. TBT: cycling in Norfolk 3. London at night from the Cafe Royal Hotel's rooftop suite 4. luxe cashmere, cotton, linen and silk weekend pieces from new French fashion brand Les 100 Ciels 5. daffodils on a bike ride in Hertfordshire 6. the brilliant new Acqua di Parma fragrance, Ginepro di Sardegna 7. the launch event for Vichy's highly-recommended Dermablend range of foundations 8. Saturday night at Bodo's Schloss 9. Afternoon tea on the rooftop 

CAMINO, KING'S CROSS

28 April 2014

It's always good to have a reliable list of inexpensive restaurants for casual dinners in between paydays and Camino has just been added to mine.  I recently visited the King's Cross branch on a busy Thursday night and liked the buzzy atmosphere, the courtyard bar and the cheap and cheerful tapas.

Camino King's Cross

SUNDAY AFTERNOON

27 April 2014

I'm spending my Sunday afternoon pottering around the flat in these soft, dusty rose knitted socks I was given at Pure in February. I attended the trade fashion event for the first time and enjoyed discovering loads of new brands, including YAYA, the Dutch label which has been making relaxed womenswear since 1992.

YAYA comfortable knitted socks

Inspired by travels all over the world, the brand's vibe is very laidback with comfortable knitwear, floaty dresses and loose t-shirts perfect for holiday dressing.  Their flagship store looks lovely too.

ACQUA DI PARMA

25 April 2014

My fragrance of the summer is going to be Acqua di Parma's latest to join the Blu Mediterraneo group of six unisex scents, Ginepro di Sardegna.  Inspired by the gorgeous Italian island of Sardinia, the fragrance opens on a fresh note with juniper berries, spicy pepper and nutmeg before evolving into woody cypress, sage and cedarwood which smells beautiful on the skin as it warms up throughout the day and into the night.

Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Ginepro di Sardegna

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: OLSEN

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen twins green fur jacket

BLACK AND BLUE CHECKS

24 April 2014

My office is right round the corner from Topshop at Oxford Circus, which means the "just popping in to take a quick look" lunchtime visits are pretty frequent.  Fortunately for my wallet, this blue and black gingham short sleeve t-dress, with it's relaxed, slouchy drop waist, was in the mid-season sale down to £15.

Emma Louise Layla in blue and black checked dress

Further down Oxford Street, Marks and Spencer also tempted me with this sharp shoulder bag in sleek pebble leather.  I like its boxy, Sophie Hulme-ish shape, gold twist lock and good stop-packing-the-kitchen-sink size.  I need more of those sizes.

Blue and black Topshop gingham check dress

EDITORIAL: MAGDALENA FRACKOWIAK IN VOGUE PARIS

Let's Throwback Thursday to one of my favourite editorials of all time - the October 2011 issue of Vogue Paris featuring Magdalena Frackowiak, photographed by Katja Rahlves and styled by Geraldine Saglio.

Magdalena Frackowiak Parisienne Vogue Paris editorial

Shot in Paris and inspired by the chic Parisienne style of Mademoiselle Coco Chanel, the shoot features black, white and pearls. Bien sur.

ASTLEY CLARKE COLOUR WHEEL OF FORTUNE

23 April 2014

Designer jewellery site Astley Clarke has launched an exclusive online competition today called the Colour Wheel of Fortune, which gives users the chance to win one of 10 daily prizes worth up to £1,000.
Astley Clarke wheel of fortune competition
Spin the wheel to win: day 1: £500 of colour rings/ day 2: one colour ring/ day 3: up to £250 of colour rings/ day 4: one colour ring/ day 5: one colour ring/ day 6: £1000 of colour rings/ day 7: one colour ring/ day 8: up to £250 of colour rings/ day 9: one colour ring/ day 10: £500 of colour rings.

PETIT BATEAU X VENTE PRIVEE VOUCHER

22 April 2014

Last week I spent a lovely evening in the Petit Bateau store on South Molton Street with a handful of fashion bloggers to celebrate the new Vente Privee voucher, which is live this week.

Laduree macarons and Champagne at the Petit Bateau x Vente Privee fashion bloggers event

We sipped Champagne, devoured nibbled Laduree macarons and looked through the chic new spring/ summer collections for women, kids and babies.  The womenswear collection has its fair share of breton stripes, reimagined in a fresh colour palette of forest green, bright yellow, peach, royal blue and the classic navy and white for SS14.

Petit Bateau breton stripe tops

The French brands have teamed up to offer customers the chance to buy a voucher for £25, worth £50 on petit-bateau.co.uk. I'm partial to the odd Vente Privée deal, but this is the first time the private sale site has launched a Rosedeal offer in the UK, so it's a great opportunity to grab a bargain from the current collection.  Take advantage of the exclusive offer here and stock up on wardrobe essentials for all the family.

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: LONG WEEKEND

18 April 2014

Retro Ilkley, Yorkshire Dales travel poster

I'm spending the Easter weekend in Ilkley (because there's nothing like the
Yorkshire Dales in spring). Enjoy the four day break!

WHITE WEDGES

12 April 2014

I had to throw away my beloved white Mango wedges in Paris as I wore them to death last year - they were, as expected with white shoes, scuffed to more of a pale grey...  But I miss them, so I bought some new leather ALDO ones in the sale so I can repeat the same thing!

London fashion blogger Emma Louise Layla in white leather ALDO wedge heels
double blue: Topshop navy dress and grey-ish marl Calzedonia tights

THE WESTIN VALENCIA

11 April 2014

A friend is lucky enough to be going to Valencia for a long weekend next month and asked for recommendations - I blogged about some of my favourite restaurants in Valencia and a great trip to the largest aquarium in Europe but I never featured the fabulous hotel we stayed in, which I heartily recommended.

The Westin Valencia hotel courtyard garden

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: LILY COLE

British supermodel Lily Cole in red dress

OH, ADRIANA

8 April 2014

Victoria's Secret über-babe Adriana Lima graces the cover of the April issue of Interview Germany with a black and white shoot celebrating all things minimal and androgynous.  Sleek, natural make up, sharp silhouettes and all white errthang is photographed by Robbie Fimmano and styled by Julia von Boehm in a simple, fresh photoshoot perfect for spring.

Adriana Lima Interview Germany black and white minimalism

STAR EARRINGS

7 April 2014

Maybe it's an antidote to full on arm candy and plenty of stacking rings over the past couple of years, but I'm all about statement earrings lately.  First those crystal drop Kenneth Jay Lanes and now these blue-ish grey crystal star studs I bought in Paris, big earrings finish off an outfit nicely for when I want to leave the jangling bangles and daily wrist accoutrements at home.

Fashion blogger Emma Louise Layla wearing star statement earrings

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: KATE AND NAOMI

4 April 2014

British supers Kate and Naomi in Interview Germany, December 2012

LADUREE PARIS

1 April 2014

A trip to Paris isn't complete without visiting Ladurée.  Even though the luxury French macaron house opened a London branch in the Covent Garden piazza back in 2005 (plus the café inside Harrods), visiting the Champs-Elysée tea salon is still on every girl's list when in the city of lights, so I went several times during my time there.

Laduree, Champs Elysee, Paris