31 December 2016


I have a big soft spot for little black dresses - I have a rail full of them and they always catch my eye when shopping.  Classic, versatile and elegant, I like to dress them up with statement earrings and a bold lip, wearing with opaque tights and heels in winter, or bare legs and ballet flats in warmer months.  Every girl needs at least a handful.  Quiz Clothing sent me some pieces a few months ago and I've been wearing this LBD on nights out, at my friend's hen party and tonight for New Year's Eve in Camden.

Emma Louise Layla in Quiz little black dress - London style blog


30 December 2016


Discovering the ancient Angkor temple ruins at Siem Reap is undeniably magnificent, but the crowds are not.  On our last day in Cambodia, we wanted to go off the beaten track and get away from other tourists so went on a tailor-made day trip with Backyard Travel to explore the nearby mountain Phnom Kulen and the lost city of Mahendraparvata.

Waterfall on Phnom Kulen mountain, Cambodia - travel blog


21 December 2016


Last Friday was Christmas Jumper Day so I got out my new favourite festive knit, this soft grey mistletoe intarsia jumper from the casual chic Weekend collection at John Lewis.  It's a cosy blend of cotton, acrylic and wool with a classic round neck and dropped shoulder seams for a relaxed silhouette - I like to wear it with black jeans and flats, or tucked into a high-waisted skirt.

John Lewis mistletoe intarsia jumper - Christmas fashion blog

I attended a crafting event a few weeks ago with John Lewis and customised my own DIY stocking with materials from their haberdashery department.  After chatting with fellow bloggers over a couple of glasses of fizz in front of a sparkling Christmas tree, I went back out into the freezing cold feeling very Christmassy indeed in my new warm sweater...  Browse the John Lewis Christmas jumpers and some favourites below.


19 December 2016


King's Cross has been totally transformed in the past couple of years: it's gone from being one of the worst stations in London to the best, with plenty of stores, restaurants, caf├ęs and bars housed in a 19th century listed building brought to life with 21st century modern architecture.  The nearby Lewis Cubitt Square is the new home of Central St Martin's and has a pop-up market space, hosting concerts, cinema screenings (and streaming Wimbledon during the summer) and colourful fountains.  One of the new restaurants in the area is Drake & Morgan situated between King's Cross and St Pancras and the giant neon birdcage designed by French artist Jacques Rival.

Dinner at Drake & Morgan, King's Cross - London restaurant blog


15 December 2016


Marks & Spencer is possibly the most-loved British brand on the high street.  Founded in 1884 in Leeds, M&S is cherished as a trusty resource for good quality underwear, classic homeware, gifts for mums, an excellent huge beauty offering and their food halls by millions of people up and down the country and around the world.  We always have lots of M&S food at Christmas and this year will be no exception.  A few weeks ago I spent the evening with the in-house M&S wine experts at a round-the-world regional food and wine pairing dinner and tasted two wines from England, two from France, two from Spain, two from Argentina and two from South Africa.  Each wine was paired with complimentary food from each respective region and we heard from the experts about why they chose each wine, tasting notes and the delicious food combinations.

Marks & Spencer food and wine pairing - UK foodie lifestyle blog


13 December 2016


The latest fragrance in my collection and in heavy rotation is Donna Karan's new Liquid Cashmere Black Eau de Parfum.  It's a dark, sensual scent which lingers on the skin for hours; I always prefer EDP to EDT as it's more long-lasting and this one really is.  Opening with ripe black cherry, a floral heart of sweet rose and jasmine and a rich base of musky patchouli, smooth sandalwood and nutty praline, it's indulgent, alluring and makes me smell my wrists all the time.  As it's quite heady it's perhaps best for evenings, but the rulebook's gone out the window and I'm wearing all day long.  Gorgeous.

Donna Karan Liquid Cashmere Eau de Parfum - UK luxury beauty blog


8 December 2016


A few weeks ago I attended a performance of the English National Opera's Tosca at the Coliseum as part of their series of Opera Undressed events. It's a great inclusive initiative to encourage those curious about opera to give it a go - the seats are only £20 for good seats with a pre-performance talk explaining the context of the production and post-show drinks with the cast.

Opera Undressed with the English National Opera - London culture blog

I love classical music and attending ballets and operas ever since I was little; I'm always surprised to hear someone say that they've never been, it's not their cup of tea or that they feel it's intimidatingly fancy, too expensive, or worse yet, boring.  There's a massive variety of stories and styles, there are great ticket offers and Tosca is definitely not boring.  Full of drama, Puccini's opera centres around three main characters: the diva singer Tosca (played by American soprano Keri Alkema), her lover, the painter and all-round good guy (Welsh tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones), and the evil police chief Scarpia (American bass baritone Craig Colclough).  It's a gripping story of passion and politics, love, lust, torture and murder with intense music led by Italian conductor Oleg Caetani and a tragic ending.  We joined CEO Cressida Pollock for interval drinks and a post-performance reception, where we chatted with the charismatic Gwyn Hugh Jones over Sipsmith and Fever Tree G&Ts to finish a fantastic evening.

See ENO's opera season & learn more about Opera Undressed
 Read more culture posts & London features

2 December 2016


Vogue Paris Christmas fashion editorial - UK style blog
Bianca Balti by Giampaolo Sgura for Vogue Paris, December 2011
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