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POLKA DOT SHIRT

29 September 2014

I bought this black and white polka dot silk shirt at J.Crew last month in Chicago - I went a little crazy, as the price of J.Crew in the US is always a delight, especially with the dollar as good as it is right now - as a solid workwear staple perfect for dressing up or down.

London fashion blogger Emma Louise Layla Duff in J Crew polka dot shirt and pink Finest Seven sunglasses

I have a bunch of polka dot items in my wardrobe - this blue and white Fenn Wright Manson blouse, this navy skirt, two vintage dresses, a pair of heels and a few accessories - but I was missing the classic black and white shirt.  With it I'm wearing some pretty basic black Uniqlo jeans, a pair of magenta pink Finest Seven shades, black leather ankle boots, a turquoise scarf from H&M I've had for at least a decade and a patent leather croc effect bag which is the perfect size.  A pretty basic outfit for the office, but sometimes those days are called for.

AUGUST INSTAGRAM PHOTOS

28 September 2014

August was probably the best month of 2014 so far - I went to the US for ten days, going to Chicago for the first time, where we saw some great live music, ate some massive deep dish pizzas, stayed at the fabulous Public hotel, went on a river boat tour, marvelled at the incredible architecture, went to the top of Willis Tower and did as many of the sights as we could before travelling to Indianapolis for a friend's wedding, came back to London then I was maid of honour at my BFF's wedding in Sussex over the lovely bank holiday weekend. Wedding season!  The weather was lovely both sides of the Atlantic (apart from a few days of white skies and light showers) and summer flew by...

London lifestyle and travel blogger Emma Louise Layla Instagram Chicago Indianapolis
1. 410 metres high glass floor at the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere 2pretty pink christmas kalanchoe 3touring the micro-breweries on the Bermondsey Beer Mile 4new Henri Bendel gold and rose gold bracelets and blue J Crew merino knit 5my BFF Rachel and Joel's wedding 6. the Great British Summer... 7. bridesmaid shoe shopping at Debenhams 8Staying dry from summer showers in my black Petit Bateau raincoat 9. frozen margaritas, frisbee and 80s classics on Lake Michigan

London lifestyle and travel blogger Emma Louise Layla Instagram Chicago Indianapolis
1. Michigan Avenue Bridge 2. the gorgeous Public Hotel in Chicago 3. street art in downtown Indy 4Maid of Honour flower-arranging duties 5. cruising along the Lakefront Trail in Chicago 6wedding party red cups 7the awesome Architecture River Tour in Chicago 8Aqua London's Vitamin D menu; zesty cocktails, citrus oysters, the freshest sashimi for dinner 9acrylic sculpture by Alyson Shotz at The Alexander Hotel in Indianapolis

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: TONAL

26 September 2014

French actress Léa Seydoux in NET-A-PORTER's The Edit
chic, tonal 70s dressing on French actress Léa Seydoux in NET-A-PORTER's The Edit

WEEKEND IN WARSAW

Warsaw, Poland
I'm in Warsaw for a long weekend, visiting Poland for the first time - I'm on a mission to find the best pierogis, try different vodkas, check out one of Stalin’s “wedding cakes" and master at least a couple of words of the Polish language...  Miłego weekendu!

MAGDALENA FRACKOWIAK IN ELLE POLAND

25 September 2014

As I'm in Warsaw this week, I browsed editorials from Polish fashion magazines and like this one from the September 2013 issue of ELLE Poland, featuring one of the country's biggest models, Magdalena Frackowiak.  The blonde supermodel wears Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana and Isabel Marant and is photographed by Magdalena Luniewska.

Magdalena Frackowiak Elle Poland editorial

BLUE ANIMAL PRINT

24 September 2014

For the first day of London Fashion Week I wore a blue animal print dress I received from British workwear brand Great Plains (I'm clearly quite a fan of this pattern, as I have a short sleeve dress and a minidress with billowing sleeves in a similar print and I quite fancy the matching scarf too).

Fashion blogger Emma Louise Layla at London Fashion Week

SOPHIA WEBSTER

20 September 2014

My mouth practically dropped when I saw these playful patent leather sandals by Sophia Webster at the Matches townhouse earlier this summer.  They are.  So girly.  Fur pom poms, candy colour pastels against contrast black, stripes and zig zags, embellished laced up front and the British designer's signature open toe and modern cut out shape...  There's so much going on.  I've liked Sophia Webster's shoes for years, this could just be the pair which take me over my overdraft the edge into ownership territory.

SOPHIA WEBSTER Leilou striped fur pompom leather sandals

NARCISO EAU DE PARFUM

19 September 2014

NARCISO is the divine new fragrance from American fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez, an elegant and sensual scent celebrating modern femininity.  "Sensuality" is a word often used by the designer when describing this new eau de parfum, partly due to his Latin heritage but also because he likes to celebrate women’s powers of seduction in his work (anyone who's seen his beautiful dresses would have to agree) and so this fragrance is created for the passionate, seductive and yet graceful woman.

NARCISO fragrance by Narciso Rodriguez

The perfume reinterprets the traditionally masculine vetiver, which gives it depth and strength.  Lingering musk is at the heart of the scent, softened by warm amber, woody cedar tones and delicate, floral notes of gardenia and bulgarian rose.  The modern square bottle is a visual feast for purists, made from a transparent glass cube finished with a milky stone white glossy lacquer, creamy matte rectangle top and bold black logo.


FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: NATURE PRINTS

nature inspired artwork and neutral natural colour palette
interiors love: nature-inspired artwork and neutral palette

JOHN LEWIS AUTUMN ESSENTIALS

18 September 2014

All the brand new Autumn/Winter collections are online and in stores - even though it still feels like summer outside, we have plenty of stylish new season pieces to look forward to...  John Lewis, which has just topped a consumer poll as the nation's favourite retailer, has launched its Autumn Fashion Magazine, which features these five fashion and beauty essentials for autumn, from dark winter florals, faux fur touches and smart shiny heels for that back-to-school-with-new-shoes feeling.

Jigsaw Blue Depths blue floral Print Dress
Winter floral print sleek stretch cotton dress with a flattering fitted waist.

TOPSHOP BLING

17 September 2014

At Topshop's AW14 press day a few months ago there was a table of the biggest statement jewellery around this season and these two caught my eye: a bejewelled knuckleduster decorated with dozens of sparkling multicoloured glass stones on dark pewter and quite possibly the largest bib necklace ever made.

Huge Topshop statement jewellery

I imagine after only a few hours of wearing it you have a sore neck, but what a way to finish an outfit and the most dramatic day-to-night accessory...  I'm keeping my eyes peeled online and in store for both.

SWEATY BETTY SPORTS LUXE

13 September 2014

Last week I teamed up with British sportswear brand Sweaty Betty to shoot their new Sports Luxe collection, launched in time for London Fashion Week.  I met the team in their flagship boutique off Carnaby Street to talk through the range over healthy smoothies and breakfast muffins from the Detox Kitchen, before choosing a couple of pieces to style and take home.

London fashion and lifestyle blogger Emma Louise Layla x Sweaty Betty collaboration

The new capsule collection is their most fashion-forward line yet, featuring monochrome floral prints, soft textured marls and premium fabrics in contemporary, sporty shapes, suitable for the gym, post-workout drinks and casual weekends. My favourite piece was the Garden Luxe Trousers, decorated with a bold statement print inspired by the beautiful blooms at Kew Gardens, in a multitude of versatile grey tones to go with my usual black and white workout gear.  The fabric is sweat-wicking and they're uber-comfortable, with a ruched elasticated waistband and handy pockets.

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: VINTAGE NAOMI

12 September 2014

vintage 90s Naomi Campbell in check dress
Let's go, London Fashion Week! Love this old 90s photos
of one of the most fashionable Londoners ever...

A LONG WEEKEND IN TENERIFE

11 September 2014

I'm not normally one for resort holidays or just lying on a beach for a week, but there's a time and a place for it and over my birthday in May, that's exactly what we did for five days.  We stayed at the Hotel Gran Meliá Palacio de Isora, a luxury five star on the south side of Tenerife, which has been voted the best resort hotel in Spain in the 2012 and 2014 Condé Nast Traveler Awards. I'm not very knowledgeable about resorts, but I'd be inclined to agree...

Sunset at Hotel Gran Meliá Palacio de Isora, Tenerife, Canaries

The property is vast with rooms, suites and villas dotted around the lawns and palm trees, with a few restaurants and more relaxed lunch places, several bars, a spa and gym, and of course huge swimming pools - 7,500 square metres of them; four for adults, two for children - in which we spent the majority of the trip.

BOUNCE BALLS

10 September 2014

One of my favourite pre, during and post-exercise snacks are the natural energy balls from Australian nutrition brand Bounce. Since I came back from Paris - where I ate out 6 nights a week for months, with little control of what I was actually eating and came back feeling pretty bad about it - I've been trying to adhere to the 'if you can't spell it, don't eat it' rule and cut out as many preservatives and additives as possible.

Bounce balls

Bounce balls fit in nicely with that - they're packed with healthy nutrients, made with the best quality natural ingredients, are all gluten free, some are dairy free and some are vegan. There are plenty of flavours, but I was sent the Almond Protein Hit made from 29% almonds, brown rice malts and whey protein isolate from milk, the Peanut Protein Blast made from 29% peanuts, brown rice starch and tapioca, the Coconut & Macadamia Protein Bliss with 8% coconut, agave syrup and cashews, and the Spirulina & Ginseng Defence Boost made with almonds, oats and sesame seeds.  They're all finished with natural seasoning like sunflower seeds, raisins, vanilla and sea salt. Yum. A healthy, convenient way to satisfy your hunger on the go - I now always have one tucked into my cycling jersey on long rides.

Stocked at Whole Foods, Crussh and Boots

DUNE AUTUMN/ WINTER 2014 PRESS DAY

7 September 2014

Earlier this summer I attended Dune London's AW14 press day in a beautiful Fitzroy Square Georgian townhouse, decorated with fresh flowers, scented candles, clinking glasses of fizz and great food.  And about a hundred pairs of shoes...

Dune Autumn Winter 2014 press day at 33 Fitzroy Square
the new shape of the season: pointed flats

CATH KIDSTON

6 September 2014

The new Autumn/ Winter homeware collection from Cath Kidston is inspired by the concept of time; their new prints and products reflect how time influences our day, the season and the way we live our lives.


I visited the AW14 press day a couple of months ago to see the new season of nostalgia-tinged floral chintz patterns, pretty crockery and gift ideas and particularly liked their cheerful clock print porcelain cake stand, side plates and metal cake tins... It's always time for tea and cake.

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: SPORTS LUXE

5 September 2014

Retro sports luxe style

NUDE LEATHER BROGUES

3 September 2014

I blogged about Hobbs' nice black patent brogues a few months ago and the new metallic versions caught my magpie eye at the Autumn/ Winter 2014 press day a couple of months ago, so I'm clearly drawn to their feminine version of the mannish brogue.  They've kept the design classic - I like the old school tassels at the end of the laces along with the traditional pinking and perforation - but updated it with modern colours.

nude leather Hobbs brogues

I have some silver flat shoes and ballet pumps already, but I don't have any blush coloured flats, so I bought these nude leather Agathe brogues in the summer sale.  The leg-lengthening colour almost exactly matches my skin tone and they feel like good quality leather.  Shop the current season brogues here.

nude leather Hobbs brogues

ASHDOWN PARK HOTEL

1 September 2014

For my BFF's hen party, we spent a relaxing weekend playing ladies of the manor at Ashdown Park Hotel in the beautiful Sussex countryside.  We got on the train after work on Friday with a bottle of Champagne and arrived an hour later, getting a taxi from East Grinstead to this beautiful Victorian gothic manor house in the heart of the Ashdown Forest.

Almerida restaurant at Ashdown Park Hotel

We checked into our luxurious twin bedroom, finished with traditional furnishings and period pieces, overlooking the pristine landscaped gardens and lake, before heading down for an aperitif on the lawn and then dinner at the two AA Rosette award-winning Anderida restaurant.