Monday, October 13, 2014



Respectfully, when a band takes four years to release a follow-up album, alarm bells sound. While some musicians drop off the radar completely, Brighton based three-piece The Xcerts used that time to create a compilation of fast forward and future proof tracks that have sealed their place in the UK's melodic rock circle.

From soaring first single ‘Shaking In The Water’ to turbo-charged ‘Kick It’, There Is Only You is exactly what you want from an Xcerts' record, if not even more. It's fast, catchy and packed full of heart-felt riffs that put a fanatical teenager who’s been let loose on their Les Paul Christmas present to shame.

Lyrically and sonically, punchy hit 'Kids On Drugs' shape the trio's signature sound with larger than life choruses and hints of 80s rock. Whereas curveball title-ballad 'There Is Only You' triggers stirring images that infuses personal memoirs with the passion of a newfound romance.

It would be easy to dismiss the band's recent absence as a cry for help, when in reality it's anything but. Now with a stronger, more cultivated offering to add to their 13 year discography, fans can take assurance knowing The Xcerts are done playing the silent card and ready to get back to business.

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Sammi Doherty via The Mixed Tape

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Sunday, October 12, 2014



Dry hair is frustratingly difficult to tame and can look dull and lifeless despite your best styling efforts. As the summer heat approaches, with the baking sun just waiting to steal those last drops of moisture from your hair, it is time to embrace some hair therapy. Here are five easy tips to make your locks shine with good health and condition.


Don’t neglect your inner health; if you aren’t well, your hair won’t be either. Stay hydrated and eat lots of ‘super-foods’ that are packed full of vitamins and proteins, like leafy greens, chia seeds and lentils. Protein will make for strong and healthy hair, as it promotes growth. Hair loss experts such as Transitions Hair (click here) advise that dry, thin or thinning hair could be due to a nutritional deficiency, or possibly extreme stress or illness. It is therefore important to look after your health in trying to maintain beautiful hair.


Argan oil is possibly the quickest and easiest way to restore moisture to your hair. Something of a miracle product, Argan oil will instantly help smooth and soften your hair, and tame those stubborn strands that refuse your efforts to style them into place. Look for organic brands for best results, and use everyday for truly luscious hair.


Exchange your bargain grocery-store shampoo and conditioner for salon quality products and you will quickly notice an improvement in the condition of your hair. Harsh chemicals found in cheaper products can strip your hair of its natural oils and rob its moisture, leaving you with dry and brittle hair. Organic shampoos and conditioners are also excellent options as they are chemical-free and gentle on your hair.


Dyeing can be brutal to your hair. However, be especially cautious when going lighter as it makes your hair more prone to becoming brittle and dry. If you are deciding between brunette and blonde this season, remember that it is easier to maintain moisture in darker shades. Brunette hair is smoother, glossier and less likely to have flyaway strands than dyed blonde hair. This is because the peroxide used in dyes to create lighter tones damages and dries out hair.


It’s important to incorporate regular intensive conditioning treatments into your routine; a hair mask once or twice a week will quickly restore moisture and lustre to your hair. Heat styling is the quickest way to damage and dry out hair, so make sure you always use a protective spray or serum to keep your strands as safe from harm as possible. Natural bristle brushes are also a great investment as they are kinder than the plastic equivalent. Natural bristles share the oils around as your brush, which means your hair is left with a gorgeous, healthy shine.

How do you keep hair glossy and conditioned? What are your favourite products for a quick moisture fix? Share your suggestions below and keep reading for more advice on how to keep your hair looking its best.

PHOTOS: Emma Matthews

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Saturday, October 11, 2014


This month ELLE Magazine was giving away a free sample of Benefit Porefessional Pro Balm Face Primer with every issue. A product which has been hyped-up by beauty bloggers galore, I was eager to try it out and see if it worked for me. Thankfully it didn't disappoint.

With the claim that the produce 'minimises the appearance of pores', I first tried it when I was wearing a full face of makeup and planned on going for the evening. Initially I didn't see a difference, but after a few minutes the effect quickly became clear. Pardon the pun. My pores are fairly open around the cheek and nose area, the balm worked brilliantly and created a sleek canvas for my foundation and concealer. 

Alongside minimising pores, the product blends really well and suits a variety of skin types. For me it also helped increased the longevity of my foundation - that's always a plus point. But what do you think? Have you tried Benefit Porefessional Pro Balm Face Primer? Leave a comment below.

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews

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Friday, October 10, 2014



Although the summer season is well and truly over, I'm sure I'm not the only one who's thinking ahead and planning the places I want to go next year. From visiting Paris in March to sightseeing Milan in June, there's plenty of upcoming trips on the agenda - fingers crossed! In the meantime, I thought I'd get in the spirit and do the 'Travel Tag'. It's a fairly popular one on YouTube and gives viewers - or readers in this case - and insight into your likes and dislikes when it comes to aeroplanes and your must-see travel hotspots. Let's begin!

Where was your first plane ride to?

My parents flew to Paris when my Mum was pregnant, so I'm guessing it would technically be that. However if you're thinking of a time where I can actually remember flying it would of been when I was about 3 or 4 and visited Switzerland for the first time. Again I can't really remember much but the flight is fairly short so I doubt I would have been much of a troublemaker.

Where have you travelled to that you would love to visit again?

New York is one of y favourite cities in the world. I visited twice before and am fortunate enough to be visiting for the third time in January. I seriously love that place and can't get enough. I'd also love to visit Vegas again. It's insane!

What are 3 of your must have travel items?

This is a hard one. I'm not too sure. My items are probably going to be ridiculously boring and very practical but an iPod, a map and money. The iPod would kill all those long and tedious hours spent sitting on a plane. Obviously a map would help you when it comes to visiting all the local must-sees in the town or city you're staying in. As for money well there's always time for shopping right?!

Window, isle or middle seat?

Window seat! Always the window seat.

What place is on your 'places to visit next' list?

I'd love to visit more of Europe. I'm quite fort net in most of the places I've seen are long haul. I've visited so much of America and although it's amazing, I'd love to see more sights close to home like Spain, Italy, France and so forth.

Where would you travel just for the weather?

It would have to be someplace sunny, so I'm gonna say.... Australia! I'd love to visit one day, it looks like such an amazing country and how cute are those kangaroos?!

Do you have an interesting 'I'm lost' story?

Not really. Most of the places I've travelled to in the past are countries which speak English so language barriers have never been an issue. Boring I know! Maybe I should just re-live The Hangover on my next trip.

Where would you travel to just to eat the food?

Mexico! I love Mexican food. It's so yummy and will no doubt taste even better than our lame, half cooked UK take on the dishes.

Is there a place you would never go again?

San Francisco. I don't hate the place but wouldn't necessarily go out my way to visit their again. To me it was a smaller take on New York - although seeing the Golden Gate Bridge was nice.

If you could take one person with you to travel who would it be?

One of my friends duh! Who else would you want to travel with?!

How do you pass the time on the airplane?

The flights I've travelled on thankfully have on air entertainment. Usually I'll watch a couple of films and/or shows if there's anything decent on. If not then I'll plug myself into my iPod and read a few books or magazines.

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews
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Thursday, October 09, 2014


Hailing from the city centre, Old Wives Tail are on a mission to improve the quality of hair in a natural, environmentally friendly way. The brand stock a wide range of shampoos, conditioners, hair masks and oil treatments that aim to recover luscious locks and rid hair of a dry, brittle sensation.

Old Wives Tail recently sent me their Argan and Rosemary Organic Oil treatment to try out. Enriched in vitamin E, the product helps condition hair and moisturise stands, tacking thick, fizzy and unruly hair. Although my hair is fairly healthy - I've never dyed it and rarely use styling products - during the summer it does tend to get a little too fluffy and prone to snaps and subtle breaks. With that in mind, I was eager to try the £13.99 treatment out and see if it would help.

Following the instructions, I used the treatment on damp hair and massaged it into my scalp. Having left it on for just over an hour, I rinsed thoroughly and shampooed with my regular products before brushing my hair through and leaving it to dry. Unfortunately I think I put a little too much of the product on and underestimated just how much oil was in it. Once I shampooed my hair and left it to dry, it became greasy and developed a thick coating, which was far from pleasant to touch. Realising my mistake, I had to wash my hair another two times before it started feeling fresh again.

Despite my mishap, I was fairly happy with the results of the product. My hair is now smooth and soft. When it came to styling it for the day ahead, my split ends appeared tamed and I didn't have to use any additional smoothing products. On top of that, it left my hair with a soft wave, which emphasis my natural style and face shape. Talk about win-win.

Overall I would use the treatment again, as it's made my hair a lot less frizzy, however next time will be using a lot less of the oil. After all, coming out the shower looking like a car mechanic is far from a good look. But what do you think? Have you tried any treatments from Old Wives Tail?

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews
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Wednesday, October 08, 2014


I admit, for the majority of last week I was lusting over the new range by Burberry Beauty. From creamy eyeshadows to glossy lipsticks, I was on the verge of buying it all. So imagine my surprise when I stumbled into TK Maxx and found last season's Burberry Beauty must-haves piled high on the reduced shelf. Call me a designer snob, so rightly so, but I was beyond shocked that a high street retailer like TK Maxx would stock such high-price products like Burberry. Nonetheless I was quick to pick up a few bits and bobs. Here's what I got.

The first product I bought was the Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighter Powder in Golden Radiance for £15. Ideal for the summer season, the powder is the perfect shade for me, with it giving my cheeks a shimmery, golden glow without it looking too bright or overly fake. Pictured above, it came with a signature Burberry tartan compact and matching brush - which is amazing for when you're on the go and need a touch up. Usually retailing at £31, I couldn't be happier with the product.

Next on my shopping list was Burberry Sheer Eye Shadow in Rosewood. Priced at £12.99, the shadow is a pale, metallic pink that can be used as a highlighter and looks great when worn with various shades of brown and cream. Although I haven't used the product overly much so far, primarily because I've been at work and tend to opt for more subdued makeup when I'm on the shop floor, I can't wait to have a play and create some Summery looks for the forthcoming months.

My final purchase was the Burberry Iconic Colour Nail Polish in Graphite for £7.99, as the name suggests the colour is a stone grey and is a nice change from the black polish I usually wear. Once I've moved into my new house and hunted down my camera, that's currently stored away in one of the many boxes, I'm hoping to do a more detailed review with a swatch of the colour. Overall I'm extremely happy with my new purchases and plan on buying a couple more things when I'm in town tomorrow. But what do you think? Do you like the products I bought? Are you surprised that Burberry Beauty is being sold in TK Maxx? 

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews

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Tuesday, October 07, 2014



Call me a middle aged woman but somehow I’ve found myself typing up yet another mini tangent about life and society’s somewhat warped, outdated views about it. You can tell it’s been a tough morning. This time my mini rant comes in the form of dressing. A strange topic I know, but bare with me.

Over the years more and more garments have come to develop connotations that supposedly reflect the people or group of people wearing them. Just think about it. If you wear tartan by Burberry you’re supposedly a British chav, who will no doubt accessorise you’re new found love of check with a pint of cider and posse of Vicki Pollard wannabes. If you wear a cross, you’re a bible basher, who probably goes to Church every weekend with polished shoes and modest clothing. Heck we only need to look at specific religions like Hinduism or Seek ism to see how things like the burka and heejab, garments which are respectfully worn out of religious belief, have been scrutinized and judged in society due to people throwing around terms like terrorist.

The world isn’t as black and white as people make it out to be. Just because someone wears a certain symbol or brand doesn’t necessarily mean they follow those beliefs or are associated with those connotations. It happened to be only yesterday, when I decided to wear a leather skirt and knee-high boots. Thanks to Olivia Palmero’s chic Burberry and thigh-high combo, boots have been my go-to shoe for a while now and as far as I’m concerned are here to stay. That being said, I still found myself victimized when a boy cycled past me asking how much I charge. Implying I was some form of prostitute, which quite honestly me and my friends had a good old laugh yet, it wasn’t until a few hours later when I actually began to think about what he said.

Don’t get me wrong; I have no intention of getting rid of my boots. Equally I’m still going to be wearing them with skirts and/or dresses – why could I listen to what someone like him has to stay – but it goes to show how despite living in a fairly open, fairly modern society, people’s views are still dated and they cling onto beliefs that surfaced way before they were born. Just because a girl where’s a skirt with knee high boots doesn’t make them a prostitute, the same way if someone walked into my house wearing a pentagram shirt, I wouldn’t think they’re a Satan worshipper or believer of the antichrist.

So just because I decided to wear something that could be considered slightly provocative – although in reality boots and a skirt is anything but – I’m not a prostitute. Neither am I doing it for a man’s sake. Let’s face it; if women wanted to dress for men, they’d walk around naked. Not fully clothed. The fact is we should be able to wear what we want without getting judged for it. That being said, I’m off to buy a new pair of boots. Later.

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews

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Monday, October 06, 2014



As brooding as an artist who's just gone through a breakup with nothing but a guitar for company, Mallory Knox’s follow up album Asymmetry is a release that's an excavation of loneliness, heartbreak and self-reliance.

From haunting opener ‘Ghost In The Mirror’ to soaring second single ‘Shout at The Moon’, the offering has allowed the band to grow into their own and develop a reputation as being an important pillar in the UK alt-rock scene.

Songs like ‘Getaway’ and ‘When Are We Waking’ build on the band’s signature sound of creating emotional narratives, with vocalist Mikey Chapman bellowing; “Baby just tell me you’re okay, that you’re okay, cus you’re dying just to tell me you’re not.” Whereas curveball track ‘She Took Him To The Lake’ is packed with haunting vocals and hostile harmonies which create stark imagery that hits you right where it hurts.

Sure, you might not find the chirper moments you did in previous record ‘Signals’. There’s certainly no sentimental memoir about finding a long lost love or a ballad about cherishing a new partner. Instead, Asymmetry thrives in underpinning the rawness of a relationship in a way fans of a great debut album want yet rarely get: the same again but stronger, deeper and better. Let me know what you think of the released tracks via the comments below.

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Ellie Mitchell

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Sunday, October 05, 2014


The craving for full, luscious lips had always been there. From Angelina Jolie’s red carpet appearances way back in 2010 to Kim Kardashian's take of chic lipgloss that promises plump puckers, girls have always been fed the idea that big lips are beautiful. In fact it’s only recently with the spotlight being on Kylie Jenner that we’ve seen more and more girls – some successfully, some unsuccessfully – play around with lip liner or question the possibility of fillers.

Although the idea of fillers may appeal to the minority, realistically a lot of us girls don’t want or can’t afford surgery - this where all our favourite makeup products like plumping gels and ultra shiny glosses. One product that I’ve recently tried out is the Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Lipgloss. Similar to products like the largely popular Lip Voltage, the product is said to aid the size of your lips and make them appear fuller and thicker. But does it work?

Before I go into the in’s and out’s of the product and tell you a little bit about the results, I thought I’d start by explaining exactly how the gloss works. The formula contains ingenious plumping microsphere, which explode in volume up to 10 per cent when they come in contact with moister – a.k.a. water on your lips. See it’s not as scary as you initially think and from experience is completely and utterly safe.

The gloss I bought was the clear version which is a chocolate orange flavor. I wanted a clear gloss as I can wear it daily, however if you’re looking for a specific gloss or one that’s a certain colour the brand offer ‘Candy Gloss’, ‘Pink Apricot’, ‘Half Naked’ and ‘Yummy Plum’ - all of which have their own unique smell and taste.

When I first tried the product you instantly notice a tingling in your lips. This is due to the plumping microspheres expanding and is totally normal. For me the tingling lasted a few minutes but it was over you could instantly see the results, with my bottom lip in particular looking a lot fuller than my top. Once you’ve applied the gloss you can then add any hues you want to, whether that be a lipstick and/or lip liner.

Overall I was fairly happy with the outcome it looks a lot more natural than competiting products.  However I do feel it is one of those products that either works or doesn’t and similar to marmite you’ll either love it or hate it. I have fairly full lips anyway, so although my results were noticeable I didn’t want them too noticeable. Therefore it could be very different for someone who had say thinner lips and wanted the full affect. But what do you think? Have you tried the product? Let me know in the comments below.

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews

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