21 December 2021

The Boots Last Minute Gift Guide

I'm usually pretty last minute with my gift-buying, but this year - with a two month old baby, surrounded by cardboard boxes in our new flat we moved into early December - even my cards are late...  I found my Christmas lights but not yet the decorations, so it's a minimalist tree this year.  I haven't had time to bake mince pies and haven't found the box with my Christmas jumpers and party season sequins, so my wardrobe has been unusually un-festive.  As we're still distancing where possible and avoiding crowds, I'm not seeing The Nutcracker, going for Christmas drinks with friends (well, it would have been baby-friendly lunches this year!) or ice skating at Somerset House as we usually do, and for the second year running, we didn't go for a Christmas markets weekend somewhere in Europe.  Despite having an almost entirely empty social calendar, this month has still flown by!  With just a few days to go until the big day, I'm ticking off the remaining Christmas gifts for my favourite people from everyone's favourite pharmacy, with click and collect and next day delivery still available, along with 3 for 2s, 1/2 price products and lots of good offers, plus the winter sale is now on.

We're, pending negative lateral flow tests all around, spending Christmas here in London with my mum, bro, sister-in-law and nephews - so there's plenty still to buy, including all of husband's presents.  I always give the classic men's stocking fillers every year: socks, underwear and moisturiser, and Clinique For Men, my favourite men's skincare brand, is currently included in the 3 for 2 offer, so I'm giving the face wash as well as the moisturiser this year.  He also needs a new razor, and Boots has a great range of men's grooming tools on offer, so that's two presents ticked off, arriving tomorrow.

If you're also looking for last-minute pressies, check out some ideas for anyone still on your list, whether you're looking for gifts for her, gifts for him, stocking fillers, secret santa or sweet things to sustain you whilst wrapping presents until midnight on Christmas Eve.  Just me..?  Wishing you a calm, restful, happy and healthy festive break - see you in 2022!

Beauty Christmas Present Ideas in the Boots Xmas Gift Guide - style & beauty blog

clockwise from left to right: YSL Libre Eau de ParfumBraun Series 6 60-B1200s Electric ShaverNARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer in creme brulee, Clinique For Men Moisturizing LotionLindt Salted Caramel & Milk ChocolatesLiz Earle Botanical Shine Deep Conditioning Hair & Scalp MaskLanolips 101 Ultra Pure Grade Lanolin OintmentClarins Double SerumBobbi Brown Luxe Metal Rose PaletteThe Little Botanical Trailing Plant Gang and MAC Matte Lipstick in Mehr

browse more beauty features Christmas content | in collaboration with Boots; all thoughts my own


14 December 2021


Annemarieke van Drimmelen black and white cosy knitwear portrait - style inspo blog
shot by Annemarieke van Drimmelen | browse editorialsfollow on Pinterest

15 October 2021

Alcohol-Free Wines

During this pregnancy, I've tested about 20 different 0% alcohol wines.  If you're a beer or gin drinker, there are excellent no-alcohol or low-alcohol substitutes, but I've found 0% wines to be rather hit-and-miss, so I thought I'd share my favourites for any fellow wine lovers who are pregnant, doing Sober October, teetotal, the designated driver, or just trying to cut back.

Alcohol-Free Wines from Oddbird, Belle & Co and De Bortoli - UK food & lifestyle blog


7 October 2021

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

The Royal Academy's annual celebration of art and creativity is finally back!  For the first time in its 250+ year history, the Summer Exhibition ran in Autumn/ Winter in 2020, and does the same in 2021.  Held every year since 1769, the largest open submission exhibition in the world champions contemporary art and architecture, displaying works across mediums and genres by emerging and established artists alike.

Andrew Graves - Heat (oil on gesso panel) - Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2021 - London lifestyle & culture blogAndrew Graves - Heat (oil on gesso panel)


1 October 2021

Yayoi Kusama at Tate Modern

 Last month I visited Tate Modern for the first time since the Olafur Eliasson exhibition in 2019 to experience two of Yayoi Kusama’s immersive, highly Instagrammable Infinity Mirror Rooms.

Filled With the Brilliance of Life by Yayoi Kusama - Infinity Mirror Rooms at the Tate Modern, London - Emma Louise Layla UK blogger

The Japanese artist was born in Matsumoto in 1929, during a time of economic crisis and growing nationalism, when Japanese traditions and social conservatism were on the rise.  Despite being discouraged by her family, Kusama studied painting in Kyoto before moving to the United States in 1957 in pursuit of freedom and a wider world.  She immersed herself in the booming New York art scene, before returning to Japan in 1973.  After experiencing health problems and hallucinations, she admitted herself to a Tokyo hospital in 1977 where she still lives, near her studio where she creates internationally acclaimed paintings, sculptures, performances and installations.

Chandelier of Grief by Yayoi Kusama - Infinity Mirror Rooms 2021 exhibition at the Tate Modern, London

Tate Modern presents a rare opportunity to step into Kusama's unique world with two entrancing, large-scale works.  Chandelier of Grief features an eternal reflection of mirrored walls in a darkened room, with a flickering crystal chandelier rotating from the ceiling.

In Filled with the Brilliance of Life - one of Kusama’s largest installations, made for her 2012 Tate Modern retrospective - visitors move through a reflective walkway over a shallow pool.  Tiny suspended lightbulbs are repeated in never-ending mirrors and water, flashing through a rainbow of colours, blending where you end and the room begins, and immersing visitors in this vibrant, hypnotic, must-see artwork.

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms runs until 12 June 2022

1 September 2021

The Return of The Proms

Last week I was thrilled to return to the Royal Albert Hall to attend the world's greatest classical music festival, as the annual six weeks of live concerts are back.  The Proms didn't go ahead IRL last summer due to Covid, so it felt great to be back in this beautiful venue after two years, experiencing live music once again.  2020 aside, I've attended the Proms every year since I moved to London, including Last Night of the Proms in 2015, Proms in the Park in 2016, Late Night Proms in 2017, Last Night of the Proms again in 2018, along with many fabulous performances of my favourite pieces over the years.

BBC Proms 2021 at the Royal Albert Hall - London lifestyle blog


30 July 2021

James Barnor Retrospective

I recently went to The Serpentine to visit the first major art exhibition I'd seen since Olafur Eliasson at the Tate Modern back in December 2019.  It felt good to be back in a gallery!  The excellent James Barnor retrospective celebrates the career of the British-Ghanaian photographer, which spans six decades, two continents and multiple photography genres.

James Barnor, Mike Eghan at Piccadilly Circus, London, 1967 - James Barnor, Accra London Retrospective at the Serpentine Gallery
Mike Eghan at Piccadilly Circus, London, 1967


19 July 2021

Ormonde Jayne Bespoke Fragrances

I recently visited the Royal Arcade boutique of luxury British perfume house Ormonde Jayne to meet with the lovely founder Linda and discover the new Your Scent, Your Strength, Your Style customisable fragrances, all created in London.

Ormonde Jayne London - Your Scent, Your Strength, Your Style bespoke fragrances - luxury beauty & style blog

Choose your favourite fragrance from the range of 16 in the signature collection, strength of eau de parfum - either 40% extract or 50% intense - and preferred colour from the 8 new reusable, refillable "forever" bottles.

Linda walked me through the complex formulations and unique ingredients, and I chose the Champaca eau de parfum, a creamy floral fragrance championing a rare, sacred flower, with neroli, pink pepper and bamboo top notes, champaca absolute, freesia absolute and basmati at the heart, and myrrh, green tea and musk base notes.  It's the perfect summer scent, lingering beautifully for hours on warm skin.

The new refill service is available with a 10% discount in the Mayfair boutique, London and Manchester Selfridges stores, or online with complimentary delivery across the UK.  What will you choose?

PR gift, but all thoughts my own | discover the new bespoke Ormonde Jayne fragrances
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27 June 2021

Birthday Weekend in Bath

This spring, we hired a car and drove to Bath for a long weekend to celebrate my birthday.  We booked the (refundable) trip back in February, unsure if international or domestic travel would be on the cards, and fortunately for us, our little staycation fell on the first weekend after UK hotels were allowed to reopen on 17 May.

Rainy weekend in Bath - Emma Louise Layla Berry, UK travel & lifestyle blog

wearing navy Barbour jacket, silk floral Equipment dress & leather Dune boots


7 June 2021

A Taste of Provence

I took these photos ages ago but forgot to share them on here - I need to tell you about Tariette!  A couple of years ago, my good friend Thomas launched a gourmet hamper business here in the UK featuring traditional, artisanal produce from his native Provence.  Thomas started Tariette with his maman Sylvie to champion the simple, delicious food he missed from southern France.  They chose Proven├žal producers and farmers who share their common values: tradition, excellence, and a passion for their craft.

Tariette French Hampers - London lifestyle blog


11 May 2021

London in Bloom

Despite the cooler temperatures, London has been glorious these past few weeks, with magnolia, cherry blossom, ceanothus and fragrant wisteria blooming all across the city.  I'm as much of a fan of London in springtime as I am of dark florals - it may still be long sleeves weather, but I wore this current favourite at the weekend without a coat.

Ceanothus Camouflage - & Other Stories purple floral dress, Emma Louise Layla Berry - style blog

8 February 2021

Stories Parfums

I'm currently obsessed with Stories Parfums, a cool, up-and-coming fragrance brand created in 2018 by Tonya Kidd-Beggs, who has crafted two beautiful, unique, gender-inclusive scents.

Stories Parfums, luxury fragrance brand - London beauty & style blog

The award-winning No. 1, my favourite, is an intoxicating, citrussy eau de parfum which lingers on the skin for hours, opening with a delicate touch of jasmine, invigorating bergamot and grapefruit, cedarwood and sweet figs at the heart, and mellow amber and warm sandalwood base notes.  The heady, smoky No. 2 has aromatic rose top notes, spiced ginger and cardamom middle notes, and honey tobacco and musky cedarwood base notes.

Both eau de parfums are available in a 30ml size perfect for your travels (whenever they may resume), 100ml for your dressing table and a dinky 15ml for your handbag.  The scents are also available as a gentle, foaming hand & body wash and light, luxurious hand & body lotion.  If you're in the market for a new, unusual perfume, I'd definitely recommend trying one of the small bottles as a tester - and upgrading your bathroom rituals with the bath and body products too, because we all deserve a little at-home spa time at the moment...

PR gifts, but all thoughts my own | Discover Stories Parfums at Harvey Nichols
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