31 January 2015

FASHION MAGPIE

My favourite new season update is this gloriously glittery metallic backpack from Boden.  The sparkling silver beauty is made from thick, supple leather and is the perfect accessory to update dark, wintry outfits in a second.

Silver leather Boden backpack on London fashion blogger Emma Louise Layla

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30 January 2015

CLUBBERCISE

Last week I attended my first Clubbercise class at Pineapple Dance Studio, a new dance fitness craze which feels more like a night out than a workout.  It's a new-and-improved aerobics class: easy-to-follow, high impact dance routines to 90s club anthems, with disco lights and glow sticks.  What's not to like?

Clubbercise dance fitness class at Pineapple Dance Studio, London

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FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: AUSTRIA

Vintage Austria skiing travel poster
stoked to be going to Austria for the first time next month,
for a week of skiing in Zell am See.  Roll on, 21 Feb!
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UNRETOUCHED KATE MOSS

German photographer Peter Lindbergh shot Kate Moss for Vogue Italia in an unretouched series of black and white photos.  Featured in the January 2015 issue, the 40 year old British supermodel is wearing minimal make up and pared down, androgynous clothes and looks great for it.  Down with Photoshop!

Kate Moss unretouched photos by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia
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27 January 2015

Kensington Quarter

I recently attended a dinner at Kensington Quarter, the fifth and newest restaurant from the Quarter Group. The new venue is a café, restaurant, deli and bar adjoined to the Indigo Hotel in Barkston Gardens near Earl's Court, which opened in November. Head Chef Riad Zaik (previously at Oxo Tower Brasserie and Le Pont de la Tour) has created a modern Mediterranean menu of light, seasonal cooking using healthy, organic ingredients and fresh artisan produce handpicked from their delicatessen.

Kensington Quarter restaurant, Earl's Court, London

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26 January 2015

BLACK AND WHITE STRIPES

I was given a voucher for THE OUTNET as a birthday present and finally got round to spending it last month - I chose a work-ready ruched black and white stripe jersey dress by American brand Bailey 44.  Here I'm wearing it with my Clarks brogues I can't seem to stop wearing (so comfortable), silver beads and the tail end of a terrible flu on one of the days between Christmas and NYE.

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25 January 2015

EMILY BLUNT FAIRYTALE EDITORIAL

Emily Blunt, starring in Sondheim's take on the Brothers Grimm tales for the new Into the Woods film, focuses on three classic fairytale characters for a series of darkly glamorous photographs for luxe beauty site Violet Grey.  The British beauty's dark, enchanted portraits are shot at the Carlyle Hotel in New York by Norman Jean Roy, styled by Jessica Paster, with make up by Jenn Streicher and hair by Ashley Streicher.

Emily Blunt Into the Woods Violet Grey editorial

Cinderella runs down the street in a glamorous Zac Posen ball gown and Bionda Castana shoes with powder blue eye make up.  For Rapunzel she has dramatic lashes, smoky, smudged eyes and a long messy fishtail braid, wearing Agent Provocateur lingerie, a cage skirt and Lorraine Schwartz jewellery. And last but not least, Little Red Riding Hood wears a vintage Pucci crimson velvet suit, golden eyes and ruby lips.
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24 January 2015

MISS SAIGON

This week I took my buddy to see Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre, courtesy of londontheatre1.com.  Cameron Mackintosh's hugely popular musical is back in the West End, returning after its record-breaking run 25 years ago. The acclaimed production won multiple Laurence Olivier and Tony Awards and also broke several Broadway records when it opened stateside, named the best musical of the year and is still the favourite for many all over the world.  It's been performed by 27 companies in 300 cities and 15 different languages and I was thrilled to finally see the legendary production myself.

Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre in London's West End

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23 January 2015

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: VINTAGE NAOMI

Vintage Photo of Naomi Campbell in the 90s

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19 January 2015

CROCKER'S FOLLY

One of my favourite restaurant discoveries last year was Crocker's Folly, an eccentric English place serving modern European cuisine in a restored, listed Victorian gin palace in St John's Wood. Pierre Simonin heads up the kitchen with delicious gastropub-style food and a seasonal menu, but for me the interiors steal the show.

Crocker's Folly restaurant in St John's Wood, London

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18 January 2015

MERMAID SEQUINS

This shimmery green sequin dress caught my eye at the Boohoo AW14 press day back in spring and I'd been waiting for it to come online all autumn, before picking it up as a little pre-Christmas treat.

London fashion blogger Emma Louise Layla in green sequin Boohoo dress

I have a good dozen sequinned pieces in my wardrobe, emerald green is one of my favourite colours and I looove anything sports luxe, so for me it was the highlight piece of the season from the British high street brand. I wore it at home over Christmas, where I re-discovered how tiny my childhood park looks now.

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16 January 2015

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: CECIL BEATON

Cecil beaton ladies dancing in 1948
Cecil Beaton: ladies dancing in 1948

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15 January 2015

SWAN LAKE

It may be early on in the year, but one of the best nights of 2015 will be an evening spent at the Coliseum watching the English National Ballet's flawless production of Swan Lake.  Arguably the most famous ballet and the favourite for many (myself included), the enchanting story of the innocent white swan Odette and the evil black swan Odile performed to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's beautiful musical score played by a full orchestra is an unforgettable piece of theatre.

Swan Lake English National Ballet at the Coliseum

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14 January 2015

GLITTER HEELS

Luxury Italian label Bottega Veneta is known for its feminine aesthetic, from butter soft leather goods to luxe dresses in pretty pastel tones, flattering silhouettes and delicate fabrics.  These dazzling lace up heels from the Spring/ Summer 2015 collection now live on mytheresa.com are top of my new season wishlist to add some girly sparkle to an LBD.

Bottega Veneta Glitter Pumps - silver glittery lace up cut out heels
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13 January 2015

LA VIE EN ROSE

... noire et bleue.  Last time I was in Paris for a weekend I wore my new royal blue cashmere sweater from Temperley London, my current favourite jupe - a black leather skater skirt from Jaeger - along with some Alexander McQueen sample sale heels AKA one of my favourite pairs of shoes ever (I wore them to LFW here) and a clashing blue cropped jacket from H&M I've had since I was a teenager.  We had a nice long boozy brunch at Mama Shelter over in the 20th arrondissement before walking into town, stopping off at brasseries for coffee along the way.  I do love Paris.

London fashion and travel blogger Emma Louise Layla in Paris

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12 January 2015

TOP TEN GOLDEN GLOBE LOOKS

All eyes were on the red carpet at the Golden Globe Awards, held at the Beverley Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles last night.  Here are my top ten favourite looks from some of Hollywood's leading ladies.

Diane Kruger in an Emilia Wickstead dress at the Golden Globe Awards 2015
Diane Kruger in an Emilia Wickstead silver gown
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FRESCOBALDI RESTAURANT

Frescobaldi is a new Italian restaurant in Mayfair which opened in November - I visited on the opening night for a drinks reception and excellent three course meal prepared by Roberto Reatini, the talented young head chef formerly of Zafferano and Shoreditch House, who offers his own contemporary take on classic Tuscan cuisine.

Frescobaldi Italian restaurant in London

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SHANINA SHAIK

Love love love this editorial with beautiful Aussie model/ girl crush Shanina Shaik wearing SS15 pieces from the likes of Chanel and Fendi alongside some playful props in the December 2014 issue of Vogue India.

Vogue India editorial featuring Shanina Shaik by Kristian Schuller

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11 January 2015

LAURA ASHLEY ELSTREE

Last autumn I was invited along with a bunch of bloggers for afternoon tea at Laura Ashley's first hotel, in Hertfordshire.  The four star boutique hotel opened in 2013 to celebrate the British brand's 60th anniversary and I'd wanted to visit ever since so gladly accepted.

Afternoon tea at the Laura Ashley boutique hotel

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9 January 2015

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: VENETO

Pink flowers and door in Caorle, Veneto, Italy

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7 January 2015

MY 2015 WISHLIST

New Year's resolutions are a load of rubbish - every January we set ourselves up for failure (a University of Bristol study found that 88% of people fail at their resolutions) and eye-rolling from friends with unsustainable vows: "I'm going to the gym every single day/ cut out all sugar/ drop two dress sizes before summer/ read at least ten new books a month (unless you have a mammoth commute or are retired) etc, but it is nice to think about the fresh new year ahead and what you'd like to achieve in it. 

No resolutions only solutions 2015

With that in mind, here are a few of my small, achievable changes and promises which will be easier to maintain in the long term rather than fizzle out in a fortnight.

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6 January 2015

WINTER RACES

I'd never been to the races during winter before a trip to Sandown Racecourse in Surrey last month.  I wrapped up in my faux fur-lined checked Boohoo coat, long sleeve wool blend Diane von Furstenberg dress, leather gloves and a burgundy Accessorize fedora hat.

Emma Louise Layla at Sandown races

I went with one of the agencies I work with and our whole table left in the green - I spent £50 on bets and left with £53.  I had the lowest profit out of the group (one guy came away with £180 from the last race - nice early Christmas present!)  but three quid's better than a loss!  It was a fun day out and I think I might make it a festive tradition.

A day at the races in winter, at Sandown Racecourse
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4 January 2015

THE ALEXANDER HOTEL, INDIANAPOLIS

During our US trip in August, we visited Indiana for a friend's wedding BBQ and spent a couple of days in Indianapolis.  I never would have visited Indy unless we had a reason to go, so it was great to see a new American city a bit off the beaten track for tourists.

Emma Louise Layla and Alyson Shotz acrylic sculpture at The Alexander Hotel in Indianapolis
Alyson Shotz acrylic sculpture

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