16 August 2017

Enoteca Pomaio

A couple of weeks ago I headed east to try Shoreditch's latest foodie addition, the casual Italian restaurant and organic wine bar Enoteca Pomaio on Brick Lane, run by two young brothers and winemakers from Tuscany.

Enoteca Pomaio Italian restaurant, Brick Lane - London lifestyle blog

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9 August 2017

Lima, Peru

Lima is full of contradictions: preserved colonial buildings sit next to glass skyscrapers and run-down high rises.  Busy roads, traffic jams and packed buses run alongside the wild Pacific coast, surfers, craggy cliffs, and joggers along the ocean promenade.  And, as it's the oft-cited gastronomic capital of the world, there are as many heavenly tasting menus at incredible restaurants (3 of the current World’s 50 Best Restaurants are in Lima) as there are cheap fast food joints and street food stalls.  We loved our time in the Peruvian capital with its buzzy, fast-paced vibe, rich South American culture mixing native Quechua, Hispanic and global influences, and inexpensive world-class cuisine - this is what we got up to in 36 hours...

Emma Louise Layla and coloured tiles in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

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4 August 2017

Turandot

Last month I headed to my favourite building in London, the 18th century, Grade I-listed Royal Opera House to see Puccini's final opera: the dark, lively Turandot.  Romanian director Andrei Serban made his Royal Opera debut in 1984 with this production, and this is the 16th time it's returned to the Covent Garden stage.

Turandot, Royal Opera House - London lifestyle & culture blog

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28 July 2017

Friday's Ffffound: lollipop

Ffffound lollipop | UK style & beauty blog

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27 July 2017

Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave

Last weekend I went to the British Museum's special exhibition Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave, to see a large selection of work by, arguably, Japan's greatest and most influential artist.  Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) produced an incredibly varied body of work up until his death aged 90, creating prints, paintings, drawings, silk hanging scrolls and illustrated books featuring dramatic landscapes, beautifully-detailed birds and flowers, dragons and mythological creatures, domestic scenes, and imagined maps.

Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave, British Museum - UK culture blog

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25 July 2017

Green floral print

Another day, another & Other Stories dress.  As I mentioned in my last outfit post, the Swedish high street brand is ticking so many boxes for me right now, and this is one of about five dresses I can't stop wearing this summer.

Emma Louise Layla - London fashion blogger

I took it to Peru, wore it to my 30th birthday dinner at Blixen last month, and wore it at the weekend pottering around the British Museum and Bloomsbury with my Mama.  I love its versatile multicoloured print as it goes with navy, khaki, bright pink, white, azure blue, yellow or purple; basically everything.  The elasticated waistband gives it shape, and I like the frill and keyhole detail.  Here I'm wearing it with my green leather Furla bag, nude patent bow Glamorous flats, Nails Inc Harrington Gardens nail varnish, and mixed rose gold and silver bracelets from Kate Spade and vintage markets, and a beautiful Monica Vinader rose gold bracelet a friend engraved with 'Emma Louise Layla' and gave me for my birthday.  Which brands are you obsessed with lately?


Mixed Monica Vinadier, Kate Spade & Follie Follie bracelets - London fashion blogger

Emma Louise Layla - UK fashion blogger

Nude patent Glamorous bow flats - London fashion blogger

Green & Other Stories dress - London fashion blogger

Monica Vinadier, Kate Spade & Follie Follie bracelets & bangles - London fashion blogger

Emma Louise Layla in ditsy floral dress - London fashion blogger

Nude bow flats - London fashion blogger

Green floral & Other Stories dress, Emma Louise Layla - London fashion blogger
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21 July 2017

Dinner at mine

It's a family joke that if you come to my house for dinner, you're going to have a warm salad.  My bro laughs every time they come over "what are we having sis, a... warm salad?  No way!"  I could quite happily eat them every day throughout the year: fresh, lightly dressed leaves, crunchy veg (steamed tenderstem broccoli or green beans), and chopped cucumber or artichoke with roast chicken, grilled mackerel or seared tuna steaks.  You can't go wrong!  Unless you're vegetarian, in which case it's halloumi.  And if you're vegan...  Hmm I don't know, I've never actually hosted vegans.  Anyway, I digress.  We had some friends round last weekend so I got out my new favourite Jersey Pottery crockery and whipped up a few salad dishes for a quick and easy summer supper.

Dinner at mine - UK lifestyle blog

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19 July 2017

Floral Dreams

I love an outdoor editorial; beautiful clothing looks even more beautiful surrounded by beautiful landscapes.  This dreamy, cool-toned, Ophelia-esque shoot is from an old issue of Elle Vietnam, photographed by Bobby Nguyen, styled by Phuong My and featuring Yue Han, Jin Chen Hong and Jay Shin.

Floral Dreams in Elle Vietnam, January 2013 - high fashion editorial

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13 July 2017

The Westin, Lima

In May I finally visited South America for the first time.  For the past few years we've gone for one long 2/3 week holiday rather than little and often: Thailand and Hong Kong in 2015, Vietnam, Cambodia and Hong Kong again (because it's just so cool) in 2016, and decided on 16 days in Peru for 2017.  Wonderful, wonderful Peru.  I'll be blogging aaall about our trip, from where we stayed to where we ate (it's a foodie heaven) and what we loved doing across the country, but the first port of call was the capital, Lima.  After the 12 hour 35 minute direct flight from London, we jumped in an incredibly lax taxi (the driving there is insane) and checked into the modern, polished five star Westin hotel for a couple of nights.

Swimming pool at The Westin Lima, Peru - luxury travel blog

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7 July 2017

Off The Shoulder

I've been living in this off the shoulder dress from & Other Stories lately - it's one of those dresses you grab straight from the clothes dryer.  I took it to Peru in May and Italy in June, and I've been wearing it casually at the weekends in London with bare legs and trainers and with black tights and patent loafers on chillier days for work.

Emma Louise Layla in London - UK style blogger

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4 July 2017

Sushi Class at Billingsgate Fish Market

Men are so hard to buy for.  Every Christmas and birthday I have a long list of things in mind for the women in my life, but with my boyfriend, brother and dad, it's another story.  Over the past eight years, I've bought Julien everything from flights to jumpers and books to every stocking filler (the lucky guy get socks every year) and was stuck for ideas last Christmas.  I ended up booking a sushi and sashimi masterclass at Billingsgate Seafood School, because we're huge fans of Japanese food and experiences are the best for the man who has everything.

Billingsgate Fish Market - London foodie blog

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30 June 2017

Friday's Ffffound: Gisele

Gisele in Vogue Paris sporty summer fashion editorial - UK style blog
Gisele in Vogue Paris June/ July 2012
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29 June 2017

Tchaikovsky Gala

Last week I headed to South Kensington for a night of explosive, high-octane Russian drama at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's Tchaikovsky Gala at the Royal Albert Hall.

Tchaikovsky Gala, Royal Albert Hall - London lifestyle & culture blog

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26 June 2017

Berlin Botanical Garden

In March I spent 36 hours in Berlin on a blogger trip with a jam-packed first day and time to do my own thing on the second day.  This was my third time in the German capital, but I hadn't cycled there before - my favourite way to see a city - so hired a bike to explore the parks and head down to the residential Lichterfelde borough 12km southwest of the centre to spend the morning at the Botanischer Garten.

Emma Louise Layla at the Berlin Botanical Garden - travel & lifestyle blog

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24 June 2017

The Summer Exhibition

Since 1769, the Royal Academy of Arts has held its Summer Exhibition, the largest open submission exhibition in the world, which today features a vibrant, visual collection of art in all media from artists across the globe.  This year, the committee of 12 academicians - led by Eileen Cooper OBE - reviewed 12,500 digital submissions, shortlisted 2,500 to see in person, and chose the final 1,500 sculptures, neons, paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, models, words and films for inclusion.

Imperial Palace, Tokyo - Robert Walker, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2017
Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Robert Walker

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12 June 2017

Restaurant Duke, Berlin

In March I went on a blogger trip to Berlin and had a whirlwind 24 hours planned with the Chamäleon Theater team and six other bloggers, and a second day to do my own thing.  I woke up at the super-cool 25Hours hotel, opened the curtains to blue skies and zoo views (you can see monkeys and giraffes from the bedrooms), had breakfast in the sunny rooftop restaurant and hired one of the hotel's complimentary bikes for the day.  I ended up cycling 40km between the city's parks, stopping for a late lunch at Restaurant Duke.

Restaurant Duke, Duke Ellington Hotel, Berlin - travel & lifestyle blog

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11 June 2017

36 hours in Berlin

Back in March I received an email asking if I'd like to go to Berlin to see the new Scotch & Soda production at The Chameleon Theatre.  Would I?!  Berlin is an awesome city - I hadn't been since 2007 - and I love cabaret shows (including the Scotch & Soda London show in 2015 and Cantina in 2012), so I promptly replied with an excited ja.  Here's what we got up to...

Scotch & Soda at The Chameleon Theater, Berlin - travel & lifestyle blog

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8 June 2017

Pastel Brights

Nails Inc recently released four nail varnishes which are long-lasting, super glossy and in the prettiest bright pastel colours - I'll be wearing them all summer long.

Nails Inc Neon Pastel nail varnishes - UK beauty blog

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1 June 2017

The Otherist

I'm baaack!  My little blog hiatus is over, as I returned from Peru on Monday (I have so much to share with you) and the jet lag has just about subsided, so I thought I'd jump back into things with a cheeky little cheap eats recommendation.  A few weeks ago, I met my boyfriend in the city for a casual Thursday night dinner at The Otherist from the guys behind Drake & Morgan.

The Otherist, London restaurant review - British lifestyle blog

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12 May 2017

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: PERU

Llama in Peru, ffffound - travel blog

Signing off for sixteen days as I'm flying out to Peru today and visiting South America for the first time - hasta luego!
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10 May 2017

SAPA, VIETNAM

After five days in Hanoi, we hopped on a rather bleak overnight train to Sapa in northwestern Vietnam for a day of hiking through terraced rice paddies, past fields of wild animals, small villages and the local black Hmong and red Dao tribes before catching the sleeper back to the capital.

Sapa rice fields, Vietnam - travel blog

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8 May 2017

LILAC AND GOLD

I'm much more of a silver girl than gold - with blue eyes, quite fair skin and dark hair, I've always gravitated towards cool colours over warm colours, so the majority of my wardrobe is black, greys and blues (have I mentioned I like blue dresses?) paired with silver jewellery.  But every now and then, gold jewellery catches my eye and these star pieces from Newbridge Silverware did just that.

Gold jewellery and vintage Jaeger jacket - UK style blog

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24 April 2017

GREEN FINGERS

Last week I received a parcel with 'Why send flowers when you can send Biscuiteers?' written on the outside.  Well, quite.  I love Biscuiteers - there are always squeals of delight at press days or when we're sent some at the office and I've featured the Easter egg tin before - but I also love gardening, always have fresh flowers at home, and my phone and camera are 80% full of flower photos (especially cherry blossom, magnolia and wisteria right now).  Put the two together and you have a very nice afternoon tea break indeed...

Biscuiteers Green Fingers biscuit tin - UK lifestyle blog

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22 April 2017

JOAN SMALLS

I love fashion editorials which tell stories and create characters, like this chic, sunny Harper's Bazaar shoot.  Featured in the May 2017 issue, Puerto Rican supermodel Joan Smalls plays happy families as a luxe vacationer with a mid-century vibe - prim pearls, preppy hairbands, pastel colourblocks and bold prints - complete with a hot husband (Justice Joslin), cute kids and awesome poodle.  Shot by Peruvian photographer Mariano Vivanco, styled by Jaime Kay Waxman.

Joan Smalls chic fashion editorial for Harper's Bazaar US by Mariano Vivanco

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18 April 2017

BAY OF BISCAY

When I took my Dad to Bilbao last summer for his birthday, we travelled west on the subway out to the Bay of Biscay using our 72 hour Bilbao Bizkaia cards - I'd recommend getting one as it's both a travel card for all public transport (including the cable car up the Artxanda mountain for incredible views of the city) and gives you free entry to lots of attractions, including the must-see Guggenheim museum.  We walked along the Ibaizabal estuary to see the UNESCO World Heritage-listed iron Vizcaya Bridge - the world's first bridge to carry people and traffic on a suspended gondola - and out to the beach to stroll to Getxo and Algorta in the sunshine.

Bay of Biscay beach day, Bilbao - travel & lifestyle blog

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14 April 2017

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: EASTER EGGS

Pantone Easter eggs ffffound - UK lifestyle blog
Happy Easter! Enjoy the long weekend...
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12 April 2017

HANOI PHOTO DIARY

I liked Ho Chi Minh City, but I loved Hanoi.  We were in Vietnam last year for a total of eleven days, spread over four days in HCMC before we headed over the border to Cambodia for a few days in Phnom Penh, a few days in Siem Reap, then back over to northern Vietnam for five days in Hanoi in between trips to Sapa and Halong Bay before heading up to Hong Kong.  The Vietnamese capital is hectic with its crazy streets and bustling markets, yet elegant with beautiful French colonial architecture, Chinese influences and lakes dotted around everywhere.  Here's what we got up to...

Emma Louise Layla in Hanoi, Vietnam - lifestyle & travel blog

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7 April 2017

JIMMY CHOO L'EAU

L’Eau from Jimmy Choo is the newest addition to my fragrance collection; a light, fruity and floral scent in a pretty pink glass bottle which came out earlier this year.  I liked both Illicit and Stars a couple of years ago, so was keen to try out the latest adaptation of the Signature fragrance from the luxury British brand.

Jimmy Choo L'Eau fragrance - UK beauty blog

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5 April 2017

BOOHOO FLORALS

How amazing is this weather? Even though we didn't have a particularly harsh winter, every time spring comes round it is an absolute joy to throw open the curtains in the morning and see sunshine, leave work when it's still bright outside and not have to worry about wrapping up in knitwear, coats and scarves.  Although saying that, I always get over-excited at the first sign of spring, pack away my winter coats and freeze once the sun sets...  Sorry Mum, still doing that.  The weather's lovely, the blossom and magnolia is in bloom (I can't stop taking photos) and I'm starting to get my cycling mojo back (let's be Strava buddies) after knee surgery last year.  I'm looking forward to a spring/ summer spent outdoors!

Boohoo dress of the month - London blogger Emma Louise Layla

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30 March 2017

RIGOLETTO

Last month I went to the Coliseum to see the English National Opera's production of Rigoletto, set in 1950s Little Italy in Jonathan Miller's iconic New York staging.  Giuseppe Verdi's three-act opera is one of the best-loved in the repertoire and tells a tragic story of jealousy, vengeance and sacrifice.

English National Opera's Rigoletto at the London Coliseum - UK culture blog

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17 March 2017

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: GHOST CHAIRS

Philippe Starck Ghost Chairs in the dining room - interior style blog
We're about to move into an unfurnished flat (I'm surrounded by dozens of stacked boxes as I type - oh joy) and I'm trying to convince my boyfriend about Philippe Starck's iconic ghost chairs for the dining table...
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13 March 2017

CINNAMON BAZAAR

A few weeks ago, we navigated the busy Thursday night crowds in Covent Garden, walked down to Maiden Lane and through the bright green patterned door of the casual, vibrant Indian restaurant Cinnamon Bazaar for a delicious dinner.

Cinnamon Bazaar Indian restaurant, Covent Garden - London lifestyle blog

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8 March 2017

ESSIE GEL COUTURE

Essie is up there with Nails Inc as my favourite nail varnish brand.  I love their products, gel manicures and ballet, so when I heard that they were bringing out a collection of ballet-inspired nude shades in their gel couture range, I wanted them all...

Essie gel couture ballet nude nail varnishes - UK beauty blog

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6 March 2017

GREEN & BLACK

The weather's doing odd things at the moment: we've had rain, sun, gale force winds, hailstone, rainbows, showers and everything in between in the past week.  Trans-seasonal dressing is tricky at the best of times, but I've spent the past few days running all over London with scarves, gloves, hats and umbrellas in my bag.  So on the breezy but relatively mild weekend just gone, I relished carrying a small bag and wearing minimal layers.

Green and black outfit - London fashion blog

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1 March 2017

THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST BEAUTY BOXES

Like most girls my age, I grew up loving the 90s classic Beauty and the Beast, singing along (I still seem to know all the words to Belle) and dreaming of living in an enchanted chateau, swishing around a grand ballroom in a beautiful ballgown.  Hell, I still do.  Of all the Disney remakes, this is the one I was most excited about, so I was thrilled to go to the London premiere last week.  The film is SO good and my Emma Watson girl crush has soared to new heights.  There are lots of exciting collaborations to promote the new film, but this is my favourite...

Latest in Beauty x Beauty and the Beast limited edition beauty box for women

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26 February 2017

INTERCONTINENTAL HANOI WESTLAKE

After four days in Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam, we took a flight to the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh for a few days, then drove north to go temple-hopping in Siem Reap and took a flight back over to Vietnam for a few days in Hanoi.  In HCMC, we stayed at the chic Intercontinental Asiana Saigon and decided to stay at the Intercontinental in Hanoi too, situated just outside of the centre on the largest lake in the city.

InterContinental Hanoi Westlake, Vietnam - luxury travel blog

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24 February 2017

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: VINTAGE VOGUE

Vintage Vogue Paris cover - fashion blog
I'll never get tired of vintage Vogue covers... Vogue Paris, Juillet/ AOut 1952
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LA TRAVIATA

A couple of weeks ago I attended the last night of Richard Eyre’s classic production of La Traviata at the Royal Opera House. Written in the early 1850s by Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi and set to a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, the three-act opera tells the story of a courtesan falling in love in 19th century Paris, based on Alexandre Dumas fils' romantic novel La Dame aux Camélias, itself based on the true story of beautiful courtesan Marie Duplessis.

La Traviata at the Royal Opera House - London lifestyle blog

It opens with an elegant party with ballgowns and tuxedos as the guests raise ‘A toast to the pleasures of life!’ in the famous Brindisi (The Drinking Song) and takes us beneath the glamorous surface of Parisian high society, with social tensions and doomed lovers.  Violetta falls in love with Alfredo, whose father Germont disapproves and convinces Violetta to leave Alfredo for the family's sake, whilst Alfredo thinks Violetta left him because she no longer loves him. When Germont sees the ill, lonely Violetta (the 'fallen woman' of the title) he understands how much she's sacrificed and confesses to Alfredo, who goes to Violetta's deathbed to see her before she dies.  It's one of the most popular operas for its breadth of dramatic emotions and wonderful melodies, and a must-see for all theatre-goers, classical music lovers and opera newbies.

 Read more culture posts & London features
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22 February 2017

ANNICK GOUTAL TENUE DE SOIRÉE

Tenue de Soirée is the first Annick Goutal fragrance I've tried since the Vent de Folie eau de toilette back in 2014.  Launched last October, Tenue de Soirée is a sweet-smelling chypre dedicated to the sophisticated Parisian woman.

Annick Goutal Tenue de Soiree fragrance - UK beauty blog

Created by Grasse native Mathieu Nardin, the eau de parfum opens with fruity blackcurrant top notes, softens into a powdery iris heart and finishes with a warm, woody patchouli base.  It's sweet but not sugary, leaving a lingering gourmand scent on the skin for hours.  The perfume is beautifully-packaged in a chic purple glass bottle with a quirky detachable pompom to add to your keys or handbag.

Annick Goutal Tenue de Soirée EDP50ml £72 for 50ml and £96 for 100ml


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20 February 2017

CAMDEN TOWN

When we came to London on day trips as a kid in the summer holidays, we used to come to Camden to visit the colourful market stalls and buy "rock" t-shirts, incense sticks, weird little bits and pieces for my room from alternative stores and, once when I was about 12 or 13, a rainbow plastic bead curtain to go above my bedroom door (sorry mum). As a teen, I used to go to dozens of gigs at Koko, Barfly, Proud, the Electric Ballroom and Jazz Cafe, and many a night out at Club NME nights at Koko. The Camden novelty wore off, I lived in Covent Garden then moved to London Bridge for six years, Paris for six months, and when it was time to look for a flat with my boyfriend upon my return, Camden called once more - I've now lived here for three years.

Emma Louise Layla in red ASOS dress in Camden - London fashion blog


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15 February 2017

CAFE MONICO

Last week I went for dinner at Cafe Monico, the cosy all-day brasserie on Shaftesbury Avenue from the Soho House team.

Dinner review at Cafe Monico - London restaurant blog

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