30 October 2015

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: TREES

Winter trees

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POLKA DOTS & LEOPART PRINT

I've had this polka dot ruffle dress since I was a teenager and went through a phase of scouring vintage stores for 80s dresses, garish sequins and anything with shoulder pads.  I dug it out of my wardrobe recently and I'm wearing it here with my leopard print Coach bag because I love a good pattern clash, a taupe cashmere scarf I bought in Thailand earlier this year, an old cotton cardigan, gold jewellery and pointy black suede courts from M&S.  As I posted on Instagram the other day, they may not be the most exciting shoes in the world, but they're so comfortable for running around London.

Vintage polka dot ruffle 80s dress and animal print Coach bag - London fashion blogger Emma Louise Layla
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28 October 2015

CARMEN

Last week I attended the opening night of Georges Bizet's much-loved opera Carmen at the Royal Opera House. This revival of Francesca Zambello's classic production is performed by the Royal Opera with a line-up of international stars - led by Elena Maximova and Bryan Hymel when I saw it - and a huge cast including energetic, rowdy children from the ROH Youth Opera Company.  The most popular of the French composer's 17 operas, Carmen was inspired by Prosper Mérimée's popular novella about exotic tales of Spanish gypsies. Set in 19th-century Seville, the opera tells a story of passion, jealousy, freedom and violence and is hugely popular the world over, having been performed more than 500 times at Covent Garden alone.

Carmen at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden - London theatre, arts and culture blog

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27 October 2015

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

Luxury resale store Vestiaire Collective recently launched a campaign called The One That Got Away, inviting you to submit your wish for the community to help track down a special item you've been looking for. Whether it's a sold out item, something you didn't buy and regretted it, a standout piece from a few seasons ago you still can't get out of your head or a rare vintage gem you've always got your eyes peeled for - rather than hoping eBay delivers the goods, see if any of Vestiaire Collective's 4 million global members have it hanging neglected in their wardrobe. Such a good concept and there's also free shipping with code TOTGASHIP until 30 November - here are a few current favourites on the site to get you started.

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26 October 2015

THE SAROJIN, THAILAND

After five lovely days on Phuket we waved goodbye to the island and were driven two hours north onto the mainland to check into our next home: the award-winning The Sarojin at Khao Lak, in the southwest province of Phang Nga.  The luxury five star hotel has 56 suites spread over seven buildings scattered around lush greenery, manicured lawns, a sleek infinity pool, tropical gardens and ancient ficus trees bordered by 11km of a pristine white sand beach. 

The Sarojin Resort, luxury five star hotel in Khao Lak, Phang Nga, Thailand

The Sarojin Resort, luxury five star hotel in Khao Lak, Phang Nga, Thailand

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25 October 2015

RED JUMPER

The clocks have turned back and with the autumn chill in the air thoughts turn to cosy knitwear, layers and new winter coats. There's a time and a place for chunky oversized sweaters, but sometimes you need a fitted, flattering piece which you can dress up and still make you feel polished: enter Isabel Marant's Dustin sweater.  One of my favourite pieces from the AW15 catwalk, seen tucked into high-waisted skirts and sailor pants, it's made from soft stretch-wool in a cable knit pattern with emphasised shoulders and finished with nautical-inspired black admiral buttons.  Love.

Isabel Marant Dustin cable-knit stretch-wool sweater
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23 October 2015

LONDON RESTAURANT FESTIVAL

In its seventh year, the London Restaurant Festival is running for a full month with 250 restaurants city-wide offering 50,000 diners exclusive menus and special events from 1-31 October. Last weekend I tried out one of the restaurant-hopping tours for the first time, visting six restaurants around Seven Dials in Covent Garden to sample six different plates.  Here's what we had...

London Restaurant Festival, Seven Dials, Covent Garden restaurant hopping tour - lifestyle blog

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FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: ALEXA

Alexa Chung for Vogue Girl Japan photographed by Angelo Pennetta & styled by Julia Sarr Jamois
Alexa Chung for Vogue Girl Japan
photographed by Angelo Pennetta & styled by Julia Sarr Jamois
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22 October 2015

BLOOM & WILD

The nights are drawing in, the temperature's dropping and by the time I get home after work it's already dark. I love the changing seasons, cosy knitwear and brilliant autumn colours but dusk at 6pm is pretty depressing. One of my favourite ways to brighten up my home and cheer myself up is fresh flowers.

Bloom & Wild Sofia fresh flowers by post - letterbox bouquets - London lifestyle blog


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19 October 2015

RUFFLE BLOUSE

I had a pretty rushed London Fashion Week this September as it fell during the time we had ten days straight of friends and family over staying with us.  I squeezed in a few shows in between lunches, dinners and Rugby World Cup matches and I wore this fabulous new blouse from a cool brand I recently discovered called CiCi London, with a broderie anglaise top, oversized pink and orange ruffle sleeves and a diamonte-crusted collar.  So OTT, I love it. 

Emma Louise Layla in Cici London ruffle blouse at London Fashion Week

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16 October 2015

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: GOLD

Gold eyelashes - cool mascara photo - beauty blog

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15 October 2015

THE QUEENS ARMS, SOMERSET

I recently spent a lovely weekend with my mum at a charming little 5 star country inn called The Queens Arms at Corton Denham in Somerset. It's an elegant 18th century stone building nestled in the rolling hills of the Somerset and Dorset borders with stunning countryside views. It's one of those great 'pub with rooms' places, with both the food and the accommodation winning numerous awards - most recently double silver at the South West Tourism Awards, along with an AA 5 star Gold Inn rating, 4 star silver accolade Visit Britain award and a double AA Rosette for its menu - so I happily jumped on a train from London for a couple of days of good food, long walks and rural relaxation.

The Queen's Arms 5 star country inn in Corton Denham near Sherborne
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12 October 2015

HEPBURN

It's the final week to see the Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, a selection of over seventy images of one of the world's most photographed women.  The exhibition illustrates the life of actress and fashion icon Audrey Hepburn from her early years as a ballet student and chorus girl in London's West End, to an international Hollywood star in the 1950s and 1960s, through to her philanthropic work in later life.

Audrey Hepburn photography exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London - Glamour 1955 photograph by Norman Parkinson

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7 October 2015

ODE TO REGENT'S PARK

One of my favourite things about living in Camden is the proximity to Regent's Park. Even when I lived down in London Bridge, I used to schlep up to NW1 in the summer for picnics in the rose garden. It is my favourite place in London. Whether it's doing laps on my bike around the 4.5km outer ring road before work, cycling through it to and from the office every day, going to the Open Air Theatre, jogging, the odd trip to ZSL London Zoo, picnicking, the Frieze Art Fair (on 14-17 October), sunbathing or playing ball games, I love spending time there.

Roses in Regent's Park, London - lifestyle blog

John Nash, the architect responsible for much of Regency London in the 19th century, designed the park which opened in 1835 spanning 395 hectares. It's alive with cherry blossom in spring and blooming roses in summer - the Queen Mary's Gardens features more than 12,000 roses and 400 varieties - and the sports fields are filled with football, softball, cricket, volleyball, american football and rugby teams; the 100 acres of sports facilities make it the largest outdoor sports area in central London.  There are tennis courts, a boating lake, fountains and statues, wildflower grassland, a woodland area, the Regent's Canal, wetlands with geese, children's playgrounds, massive fields and neatly landscaped gardens surrounded by elegant white stucco terraces.  What more could you want in a public park?  I took these photos on a sunny autumnal evening before the seasons turn.

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6 October 2015

KATE THE GREAT

Not Moss, but the other British Kate the world is in love with, Kate Winslet stars in this month's The EDIT from Net-A-Porter.  I've had a girl crush on her for years - she seems so refreshingly grounded, she hasn't wrecked her face like half of Hollywood and is a brilliant actress with integrity.  She talks giving advice to her younger self, embracing being forty and her normal family life and wears this season's chicest monochrome pieces.  Read the interview here and shop the shoot here.

Kate Winslet in Net-A-Porter's The EDIT magazine - fashion editorials
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5 October 2015

LAST DAY IN HONG KONG

On our last day in Hong Kong earlier this year we walked along the Avenue of Stars outside our hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui before heading over to the island for an incredible brunch at Zuma, where plate after plate of fresh sushi and sashimi was set out at the buffet, champagne flutes were constantly topped up and we left after two hours full of delicious Japanese food, tipsy and wishing they did the same thing in London.

Fashion blogger Emma Louise Layla in Hong Kong

We walked around the antiques stores and markets around Hollywood Road where the pretty tiled exterior of Yue Po Chai Antique Co. near Man Mo Temple caught my eye then stopped off for cocktails at Le Boudoir on the busy Wyndham Street before taking a taxi to the airport for the long red eye flight back home.
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2 October 2015

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: CHAIRS

Chic wire metal dining room chairs - modern interiors
metal chairs and sheepskin blankets

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RED AND GOLD

To give my daily silver jewellery a break, sometimes I mix things up with gold like my shiny new Timex watch, in polished and brushed gold-plated stainless steel with a sparkling crystal-encrusted bezel and analogue chronograph quartz movement. It's been ages since I've worn a watch everyday but I'm rather taken with the Miami watch, which caught my eye at their press day a few months ago.

I'm one of those fussy girls who prefers to match their bag hardware to their jewellery, so I wore my new red suede and gold chain shoulder bag by French brand Petite Mendigote for a touch more golden bling. 
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1 October 2015

THE SURIN, PHUKET

After three days in Phuket we drove to our next home: The Surin Hotel, an exclusive, secluded beach retreat on the west coast.  We stayed in a hillside cottage nestled amongst coconut palms overlooking a private stretch of Pansea Beach, where you're only seconds away from pristine white sand, crashing waves and dipping your toes into the turquoise Andaman Sea.

The Surin, luxury hotel in Phuket, Thailand

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