31 December 2014

Ciel de Paris

Last New Year's Eve I was in Paris with my boyfriend, brother and sister-in-law and we went for a long, late lunch at Ciel de Paris, the restaurant on the 56th floor of the Tour de Montparnasse with arguably the best views in Paris, until the Eiffel Tower sparkled and the sun set on 2013.

Lunch at Ciel de Paris restaurant


29 December 2014


My Dad moved to Norwich when I was about ten, so the city has become somewhat of a second home.  When I visit I like to take my road bike and enjoy the super flat coastal roads (I'm not the biggest fan of climbing hills) and, when in season, visit the seal colonies along the Norfolk coast which we've done several times over the years.

Winterton-on-Sea seals, Norfolk


27 December 2014

The Little Match Girl

I recently went to Sadler's Wells to watch celebrated choreographer Arthur Pita's The Little Match Girl, the dance adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's classic 19th-century story.  Set in an imaginary Italian city, Fiammetta, the little match girl living on the streets, sells her matches on a freezing cold Christmas Eve.

Arthur Pita's The Little Match Girl theatre show at Sadler's Wells, London

She encounters both good and bad, as she's left with nothing but a few matches to keep her warm. The snowy stage is set in front of the shining moon and rows of lit houses, with original live music from composer Frank Moon to the side, as the small cast of 11 bring the magical tale to life through dance and song.  It's an inventive, entertaining family show with a lovely message, on until 4 January.

Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Lilian  Avenue, London, EC1 - 13 Dec 2014 - 4 Jan 2015
Read more culture posts & London features

26 December 2014


December is all about silly headwear - Christmas office parties fill every restaurant and bar with Santa hats or Reindeer antlers all month - and in the festive spirit of not taking yourself too seriously whilst keeping warm, I'm currently sporting this bright lilac bobble hat my bestie gave me. Shop all River Island accessories here.

London fashion blogger Emma Louise Layla in River Island lilac bobble hat


Vogue Paris Chanel Christmas presents cycling editorial
Chanel, Christmas presents and a bike = my kinda editorial, from Vogue Paris, January 2012

25 December 2014


I hosted mon père in my little Montorgueil flat in Paris over Christmas last year and on 25 December we wandered around the near-empty city during the day before sitting down for a three hour lunch at the magnificent Le Train Bleu at the Gare du Lyon.

Emma Louise Layla jumping for joy at the Louvre in Paris


24 December 2014

Christmas in Paris

Last Christmas I was in Paris and invited my Dad over to stay in my apartment for a few days - for Christmas Day we went and spent an extremely extravagant afternoon having lunch in Le Train Bleu, at the top of the Gare de Lyon.  It's expensive and the food is very rich, but it's a lovely place for a special occasion.

Le Train Bleu, Paris restaurant


21 December 2014


Twelve Christmas gift ideas - six for him and six for her - for last minute shoppers.

Balmain Extatic Eau de Parfum

Perfume is such a classic gift and a great idea as long as you know their taste...  The latest addition to my fragrance family is Balmain Xstatic which is perfect for the party season: a provocative, sensual oriental floral scent which opens with Bulgarian rose, moves onto the chocolatey Sharry Baby orchid, night jasmine and dark iris and ends with longlasting leather and sandalwood. Heady, glamorous and lasts all night.


19 December 2014


love this Christmas editorial in Vogue Girl Korea, inspired by the Nutcracker.  I went to the English National Ballet's production at the Coliseum last Friday and it was wonderful.  It's on until 4 January - check it out if you can!


Here's a nice festive dose of Christmas interiors inspiration with a minimalist, Scandi feel.  Bright white, clear glass, raw wood, green foliage, bare branches and natural materials are a great way of bringing the outdoors in during the winter months and keep your home looking fresh, simple and timeless.

modern Scandi Christmas interiors


14 December 2014


I got a bit of a telling off on my last trip to the hair salon.  Quite rightly too.  I cut about five inches off last autumn before moving to Paris, and as much as it was needed (my long hair, especially after a summer in the sun, wasn't in great condition at all) and as ridiculous as it sounds (as it was still shoulder length), it was too short.  As a little girl I could sit on my hair and this was the shortest hair I'd ever had as an adult - I wanted to grow it out, so I didn't go for a haircut...  For ten months.  Ahem.

Marco Aldany hair salon, Mortimer Street London W1

Step in Marc Aldany - or rather Daniel, the charming dude at the Mortimer Street branch of the Spanish salon brand - to save the day, trim off the unhealthy bottom couple of inches, slather on some Wella Salon Professionals conditioning treatments and the smoothing keratin luxe oil spray - made with argan, jojoba and almond oils to transform texture - and remind me never to neglect my hair for that long again.

Marco Aldany hair salon, Mortimer Street, W1

Marco Aldany is inexpensive for a good, central salon and they have a loyalty program - buy seven haircuts and get your eighth free.  I've got my loyalty card and I'll be back (in weeks instead of months) - thanks for sorting me out, team MA!

Marco Aldany, 83 Mortimer Street, London W1W 7SL

12 December 2014


French fashion house Petit Bateau is no stranger to limited edition collaborations.  The Carven collab (as seen on Alexa Chung) in Christmas 2012 was fantastique, the Christian Lacroix collection for women and girls last winter was pretty special, then there was the capsule collection with Finnish designer Satu Maaranen this spring, mixing the brand's iconic breton stripes with a loose, wavy pattern inspired by toothpaste stripes, next were the printed T-shirts decorated with furry fashionista Fifi Lapin last month and now a line with Cédric Charlier.  What's French for 'busy bees'?

Petit Bateau x Cedric Charlier breton stripe dress

The Belgian designer (ex-Cacharel, Céline and Lanvin, now heading up his own RTW label) has reinterpreted Petit Bateau's famous sailor stripes with his signature brushstrokes and bold colours on a capsule collection for women, children and men.  I'll be putting this dress under the Christmas tree as a present to myself...  Watch the collection come to life with four contemporary dancers in Alfredo Piola's dynamic 360 degree video.

Petit Bateau x Cédric Charlier launches tomorrow, Saturday 13 December
in selected UK stores and at petit-bateau.co.uk


Snowy fir tree

10 December 2014


In November we went to Budapest for a long weekend, some friend's wedding at the beautiful North Cadbury Court in Somerset, checked out a few new restaurants like Crocker's Folly in Saint John's Wood, went to plenty of Christmas press days and got into the swing of things as party season began...

London fashion blogger Emma Louise Layla Instagram photos
1. the glorious setting for dinner at Crocker's Folly 2. new red leather Diane von Furstenberg handbag 3. Stars, the new Jimmy Choo fragrance 4. so many pretty yellow buildings in Budapest 5. new plum dress 6. vibrant prints for SS15 from Clark's 7. Liberty Bridge at the beautiful blue hour 8. the stunning Palazzo Zichy Hotel 9. with my boyfriend, bro and sister-in-law at our friends' wedding



I love the competitive Christmas TV advertisements which have become a festive tradition over the past few years.  The big brands build up to the go live date with newspaper front cover takeovers, bus ads, campaign hashtags and teaser YouTube pre-rolls - then everyone talks about their favourites for weeks.  Mine this year is Marks & Spencer’s sparkling fairies.

And whilst we’re on the topic of shiny goodness from M&S, there are plenty of sequinned, sparkly and metallic things in store and online I've got my magpie eye on...

Marks and Spencer Christmas Magic and Sparkle


9 December 2014


Like most girls, I have a thing for shoes.  I’ve had over 70/80 pairs for years and the first pair I remember were from Clarks, using the little shoe measuring device I used to be scared of when I was a toddler and grew to love as I got older because it meant spending a couple of hours stomping around the store in shiny new patent beauties.  My childhood was spent in Clarks shoes, until the blazing pre-teen rows with my poor mother arguing about heel height, then I rebelled – mainly with unwalkable platforms and six inch stilettos, often glittery – in my teens and early twenties.  It’s a rite of passage.

Black leather Clarks brogues

Now I have a good variety of styles and heights, from the strictly car-to-bar date night high heels to glossy neon stilettos and super sensible everyday pairs in good quality leather.  The latest addition to my shoe collection falls into the latter category - Clarks sent me a voucher to choose something from their A/W14 collection and I went for these extremely comfortable lace-up brogues.  I’m sure my mama approves.

5 December 2014


Vintage red gown in 1953

4 December 2014


There's a fantastic French restaurant in St James's called Boulestin, which opened last year - if you haven't already been, December is a good opportunity to visit as head chef Andrew Woodford has devised a Christmas menu including all sorts of winter treats from quail, duck, oysters, steak, cassoulet to foie gras and truffles. It's as indulgent and delicious as it sounds.

Bloggers dinner with Jori White PR at Boulestin French restaurant in St James, London



I've had this vintage black and pink stripe jumper in the back of my wardrobe for yeeears and rediscovered it during my closet changeover since the temperature dropped.  This black midi skirt, a pleated, high-waisted little lunchtime treat from New Look, is super versatile with a band tee, cropped knit or fitted polo neck tucked in.  

Vintage pink stripe jumper and black midi skirt

At the same time I picked up these cheap and cheerful statement crystal earrings which I've worn every other day since, along with my trusty silver jewellery and pebble leather M&S bag for a nice and easy weekend outfit.

Vintage pink stripe jumper and black midi skirt

3 December 2014


... Have you got yours up yet?  We were in Budapest this weekend and I've been in Paris for two days this week so I haven't turned the flat into my very own Santa's Grotto just yet.  On Friday night I'm going to make some mulled wine, put on Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas, unwrap all my baubles and get my festive on.

Gold Christmas Tree in elle Decoration russia December 2013

This editorial from ELLE Decoration Russia magazine features a fashionista magpie - excuse my Russian, but I don't know what her name translates as - who's been busy blitzing random objects with a gold spraycan for unusual Christmas decorations including pineapples, keyboards, boxing gloves, toy guns, plastic dinosaurs and Lego pieces.  What a cool idea for a unique, personal Christmas tree.

Gold Christmas Tree in elle Decoration russia December 2013
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