31 December 2015


Whilst staying at Paresa in Thailand, we took a day trip to the old Phuket Town in the heart of the island. We set off at 6.30am for the 30 minutes drive on winding streets covered with snoozing dogs, roadside markets and cliff top bar shacks, small families squeezed onto scooters, trucks with half a dozen people on the back, barefoot monks dressed in orange and the odd elephant trundling alongside the cars. The crickets came alive with the sunrise, as we were approaching the colourful, cosmopolitan town.

Phuket Old Town, Thailand - travel blog


30 December 2015


Earlier today I ventured outside to run some errands in Camden (and almost got blown away) wearing a cosy knitted jumper dress from Boohoo with a black faux fur scarf, over the knee boots, vintage pearl earrings and red lipstick.  Storm Frank is creeping towards London and it's dark, drizzly and miserable here this afternoon. Still, I certainly shouldn't complain and my thoughts are with the poor people up and down the country dealing with floods, gale force winds and power cuts. Wrap up and stay safe.

Emma Louise Layla in cosy grey knitwear - London fashion blogger

27 December 2015


A couple of months ago my school bestie and I travelled up to Black Park in Buckinghamshire for an afternoon of outdoor fun, tree climbing and forest segways at Go Ape. The Black Park location is set in 530 acres of woodland next to Pinewood Studios, filled with squealing children's birthday parties, families and groups of friends embracing their inner Tarzan for the day.

Go Ape, Black Park - London days out - UK lifestyle blog


26 December 2015


I'm spending Christmas in London for the first time this year, at my brother and sister-in-law's house with their newborn baby boy and my mum.  For Christmas Day, I wore this metallic vintage Dior jumper which I bring out every year and love: I wear black all the time, blue is my favourite colour and I'm a massive magpie so this sparkly sweater from the 80s ticks all the right boxes.

Fashion blogger Emma Louise Layla in vintage Dior Christmas jumper


25 December 2015


Vintage Christmas - pink dress - festive fashion
Happy Christmas!

23 December 2015


Last week in Paris I made my way up to Montmartre to visit the most famous cabaret in the world. The legendary Moulin Rouge opened in 1889 in a building marked by a large red turning windmill on the roof in the 18th arrondissement.  Today, the 100 dancers and musicians put on two shows a day, 365 days a year, hosting 630,000 spectators from around the world and popping 240,000 bottles of Champagne a year.

Moulin Rouge Féerie dance show - Paris cabaret theatre


22 December 2015


Model Aline Weber shines in jewel tone dresses, statement jewellery and bold accessories with extravagant gifts in this festive photoshoot photographed by Zee Nunes for the December 2013 issue of Vogue Brazil. I love Christmas editorials.

Christmas fashion editorial - Aline Weber for Vogue Brazil December 2013

21 December 2015


Last minute Christmas presents and stocking fillers for interiors lovers and stylish homes.

Christmas gift ideas - presents for the home - interiors blog
1. blue mini gem vase - I love coloured glass and this little geometric vase looks great on its own or with flowers
2. Mason Cash mixing bowl - a kitchen classic to help channel your inner Nigella
3. Camembert baker - ceramic dish which is both ovenproof and pretty enough for the table
4. Nutribullet - for the best homemade smoothies, every kitchen needs one! 
5. retro copper telephone - high shine phone to add a touch of sixties style to any home
6. The White Company candle - large glass pomegranate and mandarin candle which burns for 54 hours
7. Dior by Avedon - because no living room is complete without a stack of glossy coffee table books
8. Laura Ashley lidded glass cake stand - for delicious cakes too good to eat
9. Litecraft tiffany lamp - I have a thing for Tiffany lamps; this neutral honey and antique brass one would go in any room
10. John Lewis basket weave throw - wool blend woven blanket finished with tassels to throw over sofa arms

15 December 2015


Last month I was up in Glasgow for a weekend of good food, architecture and fashion, the highlight of which was the Scottish Style Awards at the beautiful Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. I relish any opportunity to dress up, so loved attending one the most stylish nights of the year in Scotland.

Fashion blogger Emma Louise Layla at the Scottish Style Awards 2015 in Glasgow


14 December 2015


This winter, the beautiful Kew Gardens is transformed into a colourful, after-dark winter wonderland with a mile-long walking trail winding its way through seasonal illuminations. When twilight falls, the magic begins...

Christmas at Kew | festive events in London | lifestyle blog


11 December 2015



10 December 2015


Christmas presents and stocking fillers for beauty, perfume and skincare lovers.

Christmas gift ideas for beauty lovers - perfume, cosmetics and skincare presents
1. Black Lips Print at Notonthehighstreet - a chic monochrome kiss to glam up the home
2. Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon Eyeshadow - this creamy pencil in a silvery mink colour makes blue eyes pop
3. Molton Brown hand cream gift set - these rich, indulgent hand creams are real people-pleasers
4. Coach Metallic Cherry Cosmetic Case - smart make up bag in textured leather
5. Diptyque Rose Candle - the classic dressing table essential
6. Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette - the cult neutral, smoky eye palette every woman needs 
7. Burt’s Bees Naturally Gifted box set - a trio of natural body, lip and skincare products 
8. Jean Paul Gaultier Glam Classique - I'll be restocking this gorgeous perfume as a Christmas present to myself
9. GelTouch Starter Kit - SUCH an exciting discovery: this LED lamp and top coat turns any nail polish into a gel. Hooked.
10. Tom Ford Lips & Boys lipstick - the rosy pink Addison shade is perfect for a touch of everyday glamour

3 December 2015


Last month I was over in California for ten days, starting off in Santa Monica for our friends' wedding in a beautiful outdoor venue up on Topanga Canyon called The Inn of the Seventh Ray which served locally sourced, seasonal food on white iron tables and chairs surrounded by trees, plants and twinkling fairy lights.

Palm trees at sunset, Santa Monica - weekend in Los Angeles, travel blog


2 December 2015


The Christmas countdown is on!  If you haven't already made a considerable dent in your gift shopping list it's time to get cracking - here are ten stylish gift ideas for women to put you on your way.

Christmas gift ideas for her - fashion and lifestyle blogger gift guide
1. Gemporia freshwater pearl earrings - because every girl wants something sparkling under the tree
2. #Girlboss - the bestseller from Nasty Gal founder and CEO Sophia Amoruso
3. New Balance 574 trainers - black and white suede trainers versatile enough to dress up or down 
4. Hobbs Alderley bag - good sized handbag in jewel-hued sapphire saffiano leather
5. animal print Phase Eight scarf - soft brushed scarf in leopard print with tassel hems
6. Sweaty Betty gift voucher - the perfect gift for yogis, runners, skiiers and gym bunnies
7. Frends Layla headphones - I've had mine for three years and I love them: stylish, good quality and decent sound
8. Parfait Charlotte lingerie set - new undies at Christmas is a must and I love this retro-inspired dusty pink set
9. Lulu Guinness enamel lipstick keyring - add a little glamour to the daily handbag scrummage 
10. Diptyque candles - a trio of glass votives with the best-selling Baies, Roses and Figuier fragrances

30 November 2015


It was quite a shock coming back from ten days in balmy California last week to gale force winds, grey skies and miserable drizzle in London.  Although saying that, it was hot in Santa Monica, mild in Big Sur and varied in San Francisco: warm in the sun and chilly in the shade so I was wearing layers and scarves with sunglasses and SPF moisturiser.

Fashion blogger Emma Louise Layla in Petit Bateau quilted cotton dress in San Francisco


27 November 2015


Fun little infographic put together by Coast detailing 12 of the most memorable little black dresses from Coco Chanel, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Twiggy, Madonna, Tina Turner, Liz Hurley, Lady Diana, Victoria Beckham, Michelle Obama and Angelina Jolie.  All hail the classic, sophisticated and timeless LBD; every woman needs at least a handful in their wardrobe!

The history of the iconic little black dress
"You can wear black in any moment of the day, no matter your age. You can wear black with
almost any occasion.  A black dress is essential for every woman." Christian Dior


A few weekends ago I flew up to Glasgow with a handful of lovely bloggers for the annual Scottish Style Awards. We arrived Saturday morning and were staying at the cool, minimal Citizen M hotel in the city centre where we dropped our bags and wandered out to explore. First things first, brunch.

Glasgow city weekend break - UK travel, lifestyle and fashion blog


25 November 2015


Most girls fall into either being a handbag girl or a shoes girl, and I'm firmly in the latter category.  I have way too many pairs and every season I have an urge to add to my collection.  One of the most popular shoes from the past couple of seasons has been the highly-Instagrammed lace up Christy flats by Columbian footwear brand Aquazurra, combining elegance with comfort and looking great with trousers, skirts and dresses. I rejoice when flat shoes are deemed "in" and comfortable flats pop up everywhere, but I also have my eye on some heeled lace-ups.

Outfit inspiration for lace up ghillie shoes, in collaboration with Lyst | fashion & style blogger

The ghillie originates from the Scottish highlands in the 1700s, designed as a lightweight shoe to endure marshland with no tongue so water could drain quickly, and laces up the legs so they could be pulled out of the mud.  Even though it's left behind its functional origins, the design has sticking power.  This post, in collaboration with Lyst, features some chic pieces to wear with ghillies, both heeled and flat, high end and high street.

Head over to Lyst.co.uk to create easy wishlists, wardrobe planners and shoppable moodboards from hundreds of brands and browse the LongLyst for style inspiration.

24 November 2015


Last night I attended the most glamorous night of the year in London: the British Fashion Awards held at the Coliseum in Covent Garden.  We had dinner at Asia de Cuba then faced the drizzle on the red carpet before a Champagne reception and taking our seats.  I got back late from San Francisco the night before so had a lunchtime blowdry at Millimetre Salon on Mortimer Street: I may be jetlagged and look tired, but at least I have shiny curls! I wore a navy blue lace from British brand Jones + Jones and pink lace up McQueen heels.

The British Fashion Awards 2015 at the Coliseum


20 November 2015


Pretty pastel streets in San Francisco - colourful buildings - cool architecture - travel blog
After a week in Santa Monica and Big Sur, I'm now in beautiful
San Francisco for a few days. Happy weekend!

12 November 2015

Gigi Hadid

American IT-girl du jour Gigi Hadid covers the November 2015 issue of Vogue Italia with a photoshoot filled with colourful afro wigs, huge statement jewellery and OTT looks from the likes of Versace, Roberto Cavalli, Blumarine, Miu Miu and Philipp Plein. Photographed by Steven Meisel, styled by Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeel and make up by Pat McGrath.

Gigi Hadid in Vogue Italia crazy fashion editorial


11 November 2015


I love living in the middle of a huge, busy city but it makes me appreciate countryside breaks, going home for the weekend and long bike rides out in the sticks even more.  We're heading to California in a couple of days for a friend's wedding and during a little road trip up the famous Highway 1, we'll be visiting Big Sur for the first time.  

Glen Oaks Big Sur, California - rustic wood cabin

Between the craggy cliffs and crashing waves, Big Sur river and peace and quiet in the woods, we'll be staying in a secluded, cosy cabin at the charming, rustic Glen Oaks lodge and I'm so looking forward to some chilled R&R, hiking and catching up with my old friend Hunter S. Thompson.

9 November 2015


The second biggest designer/ high street collaboration this season is between two French icons: 122-year old fashion brand Petit Bateau and designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.  JCDC makes a splash in a crazy, colourful style with vibrant illustrations, nautical styling, bold stripes and primary colours on a capsule collection for babies, kids and adults.  This bright yellow poncho raincoat is the craziest piece in the collection and is guaranteed to cheer up rainy days.

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac x Petit Bateau yellow poncho

6 November 2015


A trip to Yorkshire isn't complete without a visit to Betty's tea rooms. Fact. It's always my first recommendation to anyone going anywhere near York, Harrogate or Ilkley; breakfast, brunch, lunch or afternoon tea - it doesn't matter what you go for, you won't be disappointed. I've been dozens and dozens of times since I was a child, for special occasions or just for a spot of delicious indulgence, because why not? A couple of months ago I was delighted to receive an invitation to their first ever London tea party, along with a box of Grand Cru chocolates in the post and a desire to dress up in one of my vintage tea dresses for the occasion.

Betty's Blogger Tea Party in London - lifestyle blog


2 November 2015


My new favourite brunch spot in London is 36 floors up, above the Sky Garden at the top of the Walkie-Talkie with a relaxed, all-day atmosphere, a dramatic glass roof and floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views overlooking the Thames.  Darwin Brasserie has been open since January and serves seasonal British dishes from breakfast to dinner and on Sundays they do a great brunch menu for £38 per person, which comes highly recommended by yours truly.

Darwin brasserie - Sky Garden, London brunch


30 October 2015


Winter trees



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

28 October 2015


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


27 October 2015


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.


26 October 2015


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


25 October 2015


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

23 October 2015


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



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

22 October 2015


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


19 October 2015


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


16 October 2015


Gold eyelashes - cool mascara photo - beauty blog


15 October 2015


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

12 October 2015


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


7 October 2015


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.


6 October 2015


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

5 October 2015


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.

2 October 2015


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



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. 

1 October 2015


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


28 September 2015


A rather exciting gold envelope arrived the other day, with the new limited edition Jean Paul Gaultier Glam Classique Instense Eau de Parfum inside.  The collector's edition is dressed in gold glitter and has a warm, oriental floral scent which lingers on the skin for hours.  Top notes include orange blossom, pear and mandarin, middle notes include iris, orchid and tuberose and the warmth comes from the base notes of amber, musk and vanilla.  It hits stores on 5 October, in time for Christmas as the perfect sparkling gift for Classique lovers.

Jean Paul Gaultier Glam Classique eau de parfum fragrance - beauty blog

23 September 2015


I recently attended a #Zomatomeetup dinner, a series of evenings organised by Zomato with a handful of foodie bloggers to discover some of their new and favourite restaurants. The event was held at Bunnychow in Soho, a little corner place serving South African "bunnies" which are essentially different curries served in hollowed out bread. They might not sound like much, but they're delicious.

Bunnychow - South African street food in Soho - London restaurants


19 September 2015


Ong-Oaj Pairam launched his own label in 2012 after working at Roland Mouret and Proenza Schouler - fast forward three years and he's been named one to watch for his feminine designs, ornate hand embroidery and soft tailoring.  I went to his show at the glittering, grand Pompadour Room in the Café Royal Hotel on the first day of London Fashion Week to check out his new Spring/ Summer 2016 collection.

Ong-Oaj Pairam London Fashion Week SS16 catwalk show | LFW report


18 September 2015


Rocky Mountains, Colorado - USA roadtrip - wanderlust
Rocky Mountains, Colorado
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