14 December 2017

Christmas Party

It was our office Christmas party last night, which kicked off with blow drys at Duck & Dry by Oxford Circus (which may be the most Instagrammable hair salon in London), dinner at Polpo Ape & Bird, and drinks and dancing at Bunga Bunga in Covent Garden.  I wore a metallic bardot dress from Topshop because party season calls for sparkles, super comfortable black over the knee boots from Public Desire, statement earrings, and my usual silver jewellery.  What a fun night!  Have you had yours yet?

Emma Louise Layla at Duck & Dry, Oxford Circus - London style & beauty blog


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8 December 2017

Cologne Christmas Markets

I'm going to Berlin today for a long weekend and realised I never shared the photos from our lovely festive few days in Cologne last year...  No one does the Christmas markets like they do in Germany.

Cologne Christmas market - UK travel & lifestyle blog

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Friday's ffffound: Anja Rubik

Anja Rubik Christmas fashion editorial - UK style blog
Anja Rubik and her adorable dog in a gorgeous Christmas editorial
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2 December 2017

La Soirée hits the West End

Roll up, roll up ladies and gentlemen - La Soirée is back in town!  The multi-award-winning cabaret company has hit the west end for the first time, taking up residency at the newly-renovated Aldwych Theatre for the coming two months.  I went to the press night earlier this week and my friend and I left with massive smiles on our faces: the dazzling circus acts include trapeze, puppetry, acrobats, hula hoops, the gravity-defying Russian cradle and everything in between.

La Soiree show at the Aldwych Theatre - London lifestyle blog

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21 November 2017

Ella Canta

Back in September, we went to the opening weekend of Ella Canta (Spanish for ‘she sings’), the new modern Mexican restaurant in the Intercontinental Park Lane, for a wonderful Sunday lunch.  The internationally-acclaimed chef Martha Ortiz has brought her celebrated gastronomy from Mexico City's award-winning Dulce Patria to London with a creative take on authentic, signature dishes.  It was the best Mexican food I've had in the UK.

Interiors at Ella Canta at Park Lane Intercontinental, London - UK lifestyle blog

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17 November 2017

L'Occitane Haircare

I'm a big fan of L'Occitane, from their fragrance and makeup to body products and gift sets. The French brand hails from Provence (which I also have a soft spot for) and has been making natural beauty products inspired by the south of France since 1976. The latest addition to their product range is natural haircare made with essential oils and plant-derived amino acids, which I was keen to try...

L'Occitane Repairing Shampoo & Conditioner haircare - British beauty blog

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14 November 2017

Aida

I didn't celebrate Halloween this year.  I normally jump at the chance to dress up or cover my face in eyeliner, but instead I wore all black (a lace dress, witchy patent leather boots and dark eye makeup - I made a bit of an effort) and headed to the Coliseum to see the English National Opera's production of Aida.

English National Opera's Aida production, Autumn 2017 - London culture blog

Set in Ancient Egypt, Giuseppe Verdi's four act opera was first performed at the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo in 1871, and features the most dramatic themes: betrayal, love, duty, and war.  Aida tells the tale of an Ethiopian princess held captive in Egypt who's in love with an Egyptian General.  He's chosen to lead a war against Ethiopia, and the heroine is torn between her love for her homeland and the man she loves.  The Olivier Award-winning director Phelim McDermott's grand staging is visually strong and distinctive, with dramatic lighting and theatrical (almost distractingly eccentric) costumes, and incredible singers: American soprano Latonia Moore as Aida and the powerful Welsh tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones as Radamès were flawless.  The award-winning Chorus and Orchestra, led by Keri-Lynn Wilson - a female conductor, hoorah! - were also fantastic.

This wasn't my favourite opera, but it was a striking production and thoroughly enjoyable evening nonetheless.  Do you have a favourite opera?

See what's on at the English National Opera | Read more culture features & London posts
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10 November 2017

Friday's ffffound: glitter lips

Now Halloween's been and gone, it's time to turn up the sparkle... #partyseason

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6 November 2017

Soigné Nails

I'm currently trying out some nail varnishes from Soigné, a luxury French brand which creates sophisticated polishes with eco credentials: the products are vegan-friendly, made from up to 85% natural ingredients, with a 5 Free formula, no nasty chemicals and no animal testing.  I'd tried their deep red Betteraves Rouges from the Latest in Beauty x Beauty and the Beast box before, and was curious about their new highly reflective limited edition mirror polish, Le Miroir...

Luxury French nail polishes from Soigne Nails - UK beauty blog

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28 October 2017

Time 4 Sleep

When I first moved to London, my first job was working on interiors magazines.  I still have the first issues with my name in the masthead: first in advertising, then marketing and editorial.  Over the years I've accumulated many ripped pages (and of course Pinterest inspo) for when the time came to furnish my own place.  We moved into an unfurnished flat in a 19th century house on a leafy residential street in Camden this March, and we've been slowly furnishing it over the past six months. First and foremost, we needed a bed.

Bedroom tour - UK lifestyle & interiors blog

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11 October 2017

Puno, Peru

After begrudgingly leaving the beautiful Amantica Lodge, we sailed across Lake Titicaca in southern Peru for four hours, stopping off at Uros Islands - incredible floating islands built entirely from interwoven reeds grown in the shallows of the lake, housing locals and Andean birds swimming through the grasses - and arrived at Puno.

Cathedral Basilica of St. Charles Borromeo, Puno, Peru - travel & culture blog

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8 October 2017

Lalique L'Amour

I'm somewhat of a perfume addict.  I've always loved adding the finishing touches to an outfit with my favourite jewellery and a few spritzes before heading out the door to face the day - I don't feel dressed without it.  I currently have ten beautiful bottles on the go, choosing whichever one suits my mood and look each day.  The latest addition to my fragrance family is L’Amour from luxury French house Lalique, and it's lovely.

Lalique L'Amour eau de parfum fragrance - UK luxury beauty blog

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2 October 2017

Kew Gardens in Spring

Cast your mind back to when spring had sprung, England was in full bloom, your Instagram feed was filled with cherry blossom, and we rejoiced at the novel return of crisp, sunny, longer days...  Spring is my favourite season, and one of my favourite days out in London - all year round (it's fun at Christmas) but especially in spring - is spending a few hours wandering around Kew Gardens on a bright, lovely day.

Purple flowers at Kew Gardens in Spring - London lifestyle blog

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21 September 2017

Rush Hair

What's the longest you've left it between haircuts?  I'm not the most disciplined when it comes to hair, and usually leave it until I hate how it looks down and live with it in a top knot for a couple of weeks before finally getting round to booking an appointment.  Up until a couple of weeks ago, it was a good few months since my last trim...  Oops.  But after a visit to Rush in King's Cross, I left with swishy, healthy hair and a promise to not leave it that long again.

Bouncy blowdry at Rush Hair Salon, Kings Cross - London beauty blog

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15 September 2017

Friday's ffffound: Ralph Lauren

Bella Hadid wearing a red Ralph Lauren dress at NYFW - fashion blog
One of my favourite looks from NYFW: Bella Hadid wearing a red Ralph Lauren dress (the full tulle skirt reminds me of Giambattista Valli couture). Edgy on top, dreamy on the bottom.
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13 September 2017

Late Night Proms

I've attended countless Proms concerts over the 12 years I've lived in London, faithfully attending my favourites (like Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade) time and time again, and discovering new pieces and performers every year.  In 2015, I was lucky enough to attend the famous Last Night of the Proms, in 2016 I went to the Proms in the Park in Hyde Park for the first time, and this year I went to one of the nine Late Night Proms featuring alternative music alongside the classical repertoire, which made for a very fun Friday night celebrating Stax Records: 50 Years of Soul.

Emma Louise Layla in South Kensington - UK style & culture blog

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11 September 2017

Marc Jacobs Daisy White

The latest addition to my dressing table is Marc Jacobs' new Daisy White fragrance, which came out earlier this year.  Joining the hugely popular collection of Daisy perfumes, this limited edition eau de toilette comes in shiny white packaging with metallic gold lettering, in a glossy white glass bottle topped with the famous oversized cap covered with vintage daisies.

Marc Jacobs Daisy White fragrance - UK beauty blog

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8 September 2017

Romeo and Juliet

Last month, the English National Ballet brought the world's greatest love story to the Royal Festival Hall for five nights only.  Celebrating 40 years since its creation, Rudolf Nureyev’s award-winning Romeo & Juliet tells Shakespeare's heartbreaking tale through intense choreography and a dramatic score from Sergei Prokofiev.

English National Ballet Romeo and Juliet, Southbank Centre - London culture & lifestyle blog

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4 September 2017

Amantica Lodge, Lake Titicaca

After two short days in the Peruvian capital, we took a flight to Juliaca airport near Puno, drove for an hour along dusty roads to the edge of Lake Titicaca and took a two hour boat trip to a tiny, remote island called Amantani.  Perched on the edge of the rocks is Amantica Lodge: a luxurious sanctuary with breathtaking lake views, an incredible feeling of being at the edge of the world, and probably the most unique, romantic place we've ever stayed.

Amantica Lodge, Lake Titicaca, Peru - Emma Louise Layla travel blog

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31 August 2017

Harper's Bazaar beauty box

My favourite magazine turns 150 this year and to celebrate has launched a MEGA beauty box in association with Latest in Beauty featuring a selection of iconic, award-winning products, chosen by the Harper's Bazaar experts and never been seen before in a box.  You can pick up 17 cult favourites for a snip of the price - the Bazaar Award Winners box is worth £409 and costs only £100.  Payday treat?  I think so...  Click here to see what's inside.

Latest in Beauty x Harper's Bazaar 150 Years beauty box

Shop the Bazaar Award Winners Box & read more beauty features
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29 August 2017

RPR Haircare

I'm pretty low maintenance with my hair - it's long, thick, wavy and does not do as it's told.  I wash it twice a week, blowdry it and occasionally make the effort to curl it, but most of the time I'm sporting unruly waves because life gets in the way.  I'm long overdue a cut and finally getting a few inches chopped off this week so it looks and feels healthier.  And I want to keep it that way - step in RPR haircare...

RPR haircare - UK style & beauty blog

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22 August 2017

The Luna Cinema

Last week my boyfriend and I spent a dreamy evening in the grounds of Westminster Abbey at an open air screening of the romantic black and white classic, Casablanca, under the stars.

The Luna Cinema at Westminster Abbey - London lifestyle blog

We were guests of Not on the High Street, as they've partnered with The Luna Cinema to surprise people across the nation with thoughtful gifts and experiences, including surprises at the screenings.  We cosied up on their big blue sofa with a hamper of goodies and a glass of fizz as the sun set and the film started.  I saw Moulin Rouge at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (one of my favourite places in London) a few years ago, and this iconic venue was just as special.  There are pop-up screenings at unique locations up and down the country all summer long until October 2017 - check out if there's one near you!

See what's on at The Luna Cinema & browse gifts at notonthehighstreet.comRead more culture features & London posts

Not on the High Street hamper at The Luna Cinema at Westminster Abbey - London lifestyle blog

The Luna Cinema pop up outdoor screening at Westminster Abbey - London lifestyle blog
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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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