Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A BATH WITH BOMB COSMETICS











A BATH WITH BOMB COSMETICS

ROCKIN' ROBIN GIFT PACK: £12.99*

When the weather's miserable and your house beings to resemble an igloo,  if there's one thing I love doing in the winter, it's having a bath. I live in an old, run-down, five bed student house, so when there's a chill in the air, you honestly can't beat the feel of fresh bubbles and warm water. Especially, when you're on the verge of losing a toe thanks... Okay that's a bit extreme, I'm not going to be toeless, but I am seriously contemplating investing in some gloves just to type this post. Hint, hint Santa

With that in mind, I've been treating myself to one to many baths recently and have been able to try out some adorable Christmas bath bombs and soaps from Bomb Cosmetics. For those of you who are new to the brand - don't worry I was too before this week! - Bomb Cosmetics specialise in richly scented, adorably packaged bath products. An independent store, which was founded over 14 years ago, all the products are homemade and aim to be bright, natural and fun. Sounds like a dream right?

The products I tried were from the brand's Rockin' Robin Gift Pack, priced at £12.99. Wrapped in pink and red wrapping paper, the set contains four Christmas themed bath bombs and a bar of soap - some of which you can see in the images above. 

I was extremely impressed with the products. Not only do they look amazing, but they actually work. When I first tried the bombs, they fizzed and foamed my bath effortlessly, with a scented, coloured texture that smelt amazing! As for the soap, it may just be me but in the past I've noticed a lot of homemade products tend to clump when you try to apply them on skin. Thankfully Bomb Cosmetic's formula does none of that with the rich sweet orange and cinnamon oil scent, gliding straight onto your arms and legs as soon as it's wet.  

Over all I think the set would be lovely to give as a gift to a friend or loved one and with a £12.99 price tag, you really can't complain. But what do you think? Do you like bath bombs? Have you ever tried any of Bomb Cosmetics products?

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews
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Sunday, October 26, 2014

FVK 'UNBREAKABLE HEARTS'


FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS 'UNBREAKABLE HEARTS' REVIEW

Known for embodying their music with intricate storylines, London based five-piece Fearless Vampire Killers’ second album Unbreakable Hearts is an evocation of love, loss and war.

Arranged into four diverse sections, the offering is everything you’d expect from a Fearless Vampire Killers record. It’s fast, it’s catchy and it’s packed full of dance-along harmonies that blend together frontmen’s Kier Kemp and Laurence Beveridge’s rough vs. smooth vocals in a fruit and nut kind of way.

Whereas anthems like the somber ‘Turn Your Heaven Into A Tomb’ and melancholic ‘In Wondrous Rage’ expose the turmoil of love, with in-your-face pop punk lyrics and Fall Out Boy-like riffs, curveball hit and piano-based balled ‘Brave The Night’ encapsulates a stripped back sound which we’ve never heard before.

Admittedly, for listeners who are new to the band the 17-song track listing could be considered a little too excessive. However with an army of followers behind them who are more than familiar with the band’s previous material, Unbreakable Hearts is definitely a move in the right direction and a proud addition to any fan’s CD stand.

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Jemma Dodd - Flickr

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE: WEEK 8











MIDWEEK MIXTAPE: WEEK 8

First off, how amazing are these photos! They were taken by my good friend George Powell and he's got some serious camera skills - shameless website plug inserted here - so you should definitely check out more of his work. Especially if you're into live music photography or like me are a sucker for a pretty stage light or five. Guilty.

In this week's Midweek Mixtape there's quite a varied batch. Ryan Adams? Check. Tom Petty? Check. Nirvana? Check. I've been listening to a lot of older material at the minute, so expect to find a hell of a lot of classics mixed in with some new tracks. Once you've finished listening, you know the drill, leave me a comment below and let me know what you think!



GIMME SOMETHING NEW - RYAN ADAMS



RUN - THE MAINE



LITHIUM - NIRVANA



RUNNIN' DOWN A DREAM - TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS



SOMETHING FOR NOTHING - FOO FIGHTERS



SILVER - NIRVANA



JUST LIKE FIRE WOULD - BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: George Powell
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

HOW TO FIND THE PERFECT PERFUME


HOW TO FIND THE PERFECT PERFUME

It's okay. We've all experience it and quite honestly it feels like the worst task in the world. Floral and fruity? Fresh and Zesty? Spicy and oriental? Where on earth is a girl to look?! Sure the shelves at Debenhams may be stacked high with boxes but that doesn't mean a thing because whether we like it or not, finding the perfect perfume is harder than it seems!

Fret not, in midst of the endless rows of bottles and heaps of blue packaging (Yes Marc Jacobs I'm looking at you!) I've but together some pointers when it comes to finding the ideal scent. Having recently discovered my own 4 favourite perfumes, which you can read about here, I hope you find them as useful as I did! Let me know your tips in the comments below.

KNOW THE BASICS

The first and most obvious point is knowing the basics. How exactly does a perfume work? Bear with me, it's not as straight forward as you might think. Every scent is made up of notes and as the name suggests these are the ingredients which give the liquid fragrance. The top note is the first fragrance in the perfume and arguably the dominant one. Next is the heart notes that make up the main body. Then you've got the base notes. These aren't released until 30 minutes after you first test the perfume so don't make you're decision from one, brief spritz!

WHAT'S THE OCCASION?

One of the questions you should be asking yourself before or during the perfume shopping spree is why are you buying a new scent? Do you want something you can wear daily? Or are you looking for a spicy hue for the evening hours?

DON'T BE AFRAID OF COLOGNE

It's true! Don't be afraid of it. More and more brands are doing unisex cologne now and believe it or not, it won't make you smell like a man. For girls who are looking for a stronger scent that isn't riddled with fruity, sweet flavours try opting for perfumes like Tom Ford's Noir, Yves Saint Laurent's Splendid Wood, Dolce and Gabbana's Velvet Tender and even more. Harrods' unisex range is a great starting point. Even if you don't plan on buying your smelly from the store, it will still give you a wide scope on what's available on the market!

WISE UP ON EDT AND EDP

EDT? EDP? What's the difference I hear you ask? In simple man's terms Eau de Toilette and Eau de Perfume have different concentrations - perfume being the 'stronger' and more expensive of the two. Although the concentration is usually stronger that doesn't mean the scent is any harsher. Equally it doesn't mean that toilette is a watered down scent. Often if a brand does a toilette and perfume of the same scent i.e. Candy by Prada, both fragrances will have different base notes. 

SUN ISN'T YOUR FRIEND (AT LEAST NOT WITH SCENTS)

Unfortunately when it comes to picking out a scent, the sun isn't going to be your best friend. fragrances shouldn't be left out in the head and/or direct light so avoid picking ones up that have been left in the window on display for days on end. It's not their real scent! Equally, when you're on holiday, avoid market stalls that sell unboxed fragrances. No one likes an perfume that goes off with in a few days. Yuck!

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

BALMI LIP BALM





Whether it's the bitter wind that's got you flustered or a gloomy storm that's quickly approaching, there's no denying that the Winter season is full of it's downfalls. Sure, the rich scents of gingerbread, endless pile of Christmas presents and Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte may be there to improve our mood, but that's no excuse for the cold fingers and (even worse!) chapped lips we have to put up with all season long! On hand to help with the latter of the two is my new best friend a.k.a Balmi Lip Balm. Available to buy in Boots for £4.99, the balm is your go-to product when it comes to conquering dry, unflattering lips. 

Created with SPF 15 and UVA protection, the product's solution is the perfect blend of ingredients to make your lips both feel and taste great. The flavour above is Strawberry and just as the name suggests both tastes and smells like the gorgeous scent. 

Ideal for every day use, I love the way it makes my lips feel. They don't feel too sticky or greasy and - best of all! - the product is perfect to use as a pre-coat to help soften your lips or an after-coat to give your lipstick a glossy-like shine. 

Best of all the packaging of the buy means it's easy to apply the solution without having to mess around and dip your fingers into fiddly little pots of tubs. Let's face it we've all had that Vaseline nightmare some when in our lives and it's far from flattering! Have you ever tired Balmi? Would you try it? Let me know in the comments below. 

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews

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Monday, October 20, 2014

HERBALIFE HERBAL ALOE RANGE


HERBALIFE HERBAL ALOE RANGE

HERBAL ALOE STRENGTHENING SHAMPOO: £13.99*
HERBAL ALOE STRENGTHENING CONDITIONER: £13.99*

When it comes to looking and feeling good, you're hair is a big tell-tell sign. You can instantly see when someone's feeling a little down in the dumps due to their hair and understandable the texture and feel of it instantly gives others an insight into how long you spend on it in the morning. That sucks for me: a.k.a Miss rarely-brush-where's-the-shampoo beauty blogger. 

On the upside, I am lucky enough to be sent a wide range of products which help conquer my hair laziness and restore the shine and gloss it desperately needs. My most recent pick-me-up comes in the form of Herbalife Herbal Aloe Strengthening Shampoo and Conditioner. Ideal for those who dye there hair - which admittedly I've never done - the product targets damaged, thin strands and helps restore them by strengthening new hair and improving your scalp. Sounds like a dream right?

I first used the product on my hair this morning after I returned from a tedious gym-workout. Not only does my hair tend to get hot and sweaty when I work out, but it also ends up a frizzy mess thanks to the not-so-chic bun I throw it in whilst I'm on the treadmill. Thankfully, Herbalife worked it's magic and it now looks good as new, or as close to it as it can possibly get.

The solution isn't too thick and doesn't feel overly greasy or gunky when you apply it. I've previously tried cheaper conditioners and shampoo's in the past which claim to 'strengthen' or 'thicken' your hair and disappointingly it felt like I was washing my locks with cement and/or car oil. Hardly the Angelina Jolie Hollywood glam I was going for, right? Herbalife's product does none of that, instead it's a very light formula that's days to apply and lathers up perfectly. You don't need to constantly squeeze more from the bottle to get a result and praise the hair gods, dunking your head under what seems like a waterfall is a thing of the past!

Once my hair had dried naturally, I instantly noticed it had more life about it. Not only was it easy to comb, but it also had a lovely shine to it, which will no doubt last for a good 24 hours before tomorrow's gym workout. Jeeze I really need to invest in a sweatband.

Have you ever tried Herbalife Herbal Aloe Strengthening Shampoo and Conditioner? Would you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

CALVIN KLEIN REVEAL BODY LOTION



If you're as busy as I am, then smelling fresh is important. You wouldn't believe how many times I've gone to London or got on public transport and had someone sit next to me who reeks of BO and honestly it couldn't be more off putting. That's why, alongside deodorant, spray and perfume, I like to use fragranced body lotion. Not only does it make you smell like a dream, but it also helps keep your skin soft and moisturised. Talk about win-win situation, especially in the winter season!

The latest addition to my body lotion collection is Reveal By Calvin Klein. If you checked out my post last week, which you can read here, you would have already heard me ramble on about how gorgeous the Reveal fragrance is. Thankfully the lotion is no different and shares many similarities with the perfume.

It's a rich fragrance that blends together Klein signature unisex style. Similar to the clothing, the lotion is designed for the woman who likes to give fashion and beauty a modern twist. She's not afraid to blend the boundaries and more importantly embraces sophisticated masculine garments with open arms. There a variety of key flavours in the solution, one of which is raw salt that's lashed with orris and sandalwood. Sounds like a dream right?

Equally, the solution is brilliant for the skin. Fragranced lotion's I've tried in the past sometimes dry out your skin but thankfully Calvin Klein's buy does none of that. Instead it leaves you feeling fresh and smelling gorgeous. Take note London commuters! Have you tried Reveal? Let me know in the comments below.

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

CAKE AT PATISSERIE VALERIE



CAKE AT PATISSERIE VALERIE 

Let's face it, there's nothing that cake can't solve. A bad day at work? Check. A nasty breakup? Check. A midweek meltdown? Double check. The spongy, gooey, treat is always there in our hour of need and with that in mind you can't blame me for popping into Patisserie Valerie this weekend.

Founded in Frith Street, Soho in 1926 by Madam Valerie, the cafe has slowly been expanding over the years and there's now over 80 branches across England that specialise in creating exquisite cakes and patisseries. Yum. 

The branch I visited was the Salisbury store, which isn't too far from my home town, and I can honestly say it was a lovely midday pick me up. I ordered their strawberry gateau slice, photographed above, and a caramel latte. Overall the cake was delicious. The sponge was soft and the toppings were fresh and tangy. There's nothing worse than a dry, two day old cake to worsen your mood.

On top of the delicious food, the service in the branch was great and the staff were all friendly. Unlike you're average moody, part time worker (myself included) they were more than eager to help you out when it came to ordering and looked like they genuinely enjoyed their job. 

Alongside cake, the cafe also has a wide range of food on offer including breakfasts and hot food that's ideal for lunch and dinner. I definitely plan on visiting again soon to try out more of their menu. Have you ever eaten at Patisserie Valerie? If not would you?

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews

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Friday, October 17, 2014

5 MINUTES WITH TWIN ATLANTIC





5 MINUTES WITH TWIN ATLANTIC

From the hometown buzz of T in the Park to the iconic Glastonbury, it’s safe to say Scottish four-piece Twin Atlantic were everywhere this summer. Promoting their most recent release Great Divide, which came out just a few days before their performance at Reading and Leeds, the boys treated fans to an array of sneaky live previews, that not only hyped up the upcoming record but also allowed them to score some new admirers along the way.

Now ready to get back on the road with their first tour in almost two years, I caught up with drummer Craig Kneale to find out what fans can expect from the headline sets and how Great Divide differs from their previous album Free. Here’s what he had to say.

Hi Craig. How’re you?

I’m great thanks, how’re you?

Good thank you. So Great Divide has been out for a couple of months now and it charted at no 6 which is obviously a great achievement! Why do you think this album in particular has been so successful?

I don’t know, that’s a very good question. We’ve been a band for quite a while now and built up quite a loyal fan base slowly over the years. I think it’s kind of stayed with us and there’s been a build up for the album. We definetly didn’t expect it to chart. It’s just one of those things where the momentum of the summer build us to that point and we managed to win over a lot of people at festivals which definitely helped.

There’s more of an 80s sound going on as opposed the slightly rocker vibe in your older material. Was that a natural profession for you as musicians or did anyone in particular influence it?

Yeah I mean it wasn’t like we were all sat there listening to 80s rock bands but I think we’re a little bit older now and getting more into the idea of classic songwriting. It’s really more Sam who listens to that kind of stuff, but as you say it was a general progression, it wasn’t like we woke up one morning and were like ‘yeah lets write 80s guitar music’.

I think it’s like anything really, everyone grows up and your tastes change.


Definitely. I think we’re getting to that age where we don’t feel like we need to have like 20 ideas in every song y’know? Sometimes it’s more impressive to have a three minute song which draws your attention for that whole three minutes.


It definitely makes a track more exciting. You’ve just released your new single Hold On. Was there a reason you chose it as the next single out of all the other songs on the album?

It was always in our mind that it would be a good single. When we were recording it the song had something different to it than the other tracks on the album: it felt like it could become like an anthem kind-of-thing. When we first started writing those songs the singles came very naturally, there wasn’t much of a discussion. We all knew it would be the third single.

Tell us a little bit about the story behind it.


It was actually written when we were quite far into recording the album. Sam would probably answer this better but when it was written we were struggling to finish the album and there were bits missing. I think for me at least it was quite literally about holding on. I mean I know it’s a relationship song as well and people take what they want from it but when I hear it I always think about that point in recording where it was about not giving up and trying to get the songs written.


Heart and Soul charted at no 17, and Brothers and Sisters was getting played absolutely everywhere. Where do they hope or want Hold On to take you?


I think it opens us up to a different audience, like the first couple did. I think Heart and Soul was a curveball for a lot of people. Like you were saying, it had more of an 80s rock feel and is a lot popper than what we’ve done before. Hold On has that potential to open up and cover all the basis, so to speak. We love the song again so it was the only kind of choice for us.



I’m sure it will be a favourite on tour as well.


Yeah definitely! I mean we’ve only played it a couple of times live but it’s gone down really well and when it first came out was a track that people were resonating with quite well. It was one people had a lot of feed back on.

Have you noticed a difference in live performances when you’re performing the new tracks?

Not particularly. I mean when you release new music it’s scary, really exciting but scary as you’re worried that the people who liked you before might not like your new stuff. When we started playing these songs live people started to take to them quite quickly and now the songs on the new album seem to be getting the biggest reactions. It’s a feeling of relief if anything and at gigs the crowd are on our side, maybe even more than they were before.

Speaking of live sets, you played countless festivals this summer, do you reckon that’s had an impact on the tour and the fact you’ve sold out some of the shows?

We haven’t toured for a while so the summer definitely helped – in fact I’m sure a lot of people are sick of us because we were about quite a lot! This summer we ticked all the boxes we wanted to tick and a lot of people who saw us for the first time at those festivals then bought tickets to see us again. I mean festivals are good fun anyway but it’s nice knowing you’ve sort of picked up fans along the way.

What can we expect from headline sets other than a change in length? Do you shake them up at all compared to your festival performances?

As you say they’re definitely longer but yeah we take pride in getting the flow of the set right at headline shows – it’s not like we just throw some songs on a page and play them that way. We work quite hard in making the set flow really well. You don’t want to just play your biggest and heaviest songs. You want to structure it out y’know and work on it in an interesting way.


I guess it gives you more freedom too! At headliners you’re playing to people who have heard your band whereas at festivals it may only be people who have heard snippets onf you on the radio or your latest single.



Yeah at festivals you’re trying to advertise the band a little bit, especially a band our size. Although you do have fans who have heard of you and like watching you, you’re also trying to win people over. At a headline show the hard work is almost done. You can be a little bit more interesting and play more things or add little bits in. You don’t have to just play the songs people have already heard of. You’ve just got to put on the best show you can.


What dates are you specifically looking forward to on the upcoming tour?

In Glasgow we’re playing a place called the Barrowland. It’s just a really special venue. It’s one of those things where you can’t really put your finger on why, but it’s just really, really old and there’s something about that room which gives off a really special feeling. We’re also looking forward to playing the Roundhouse in London. I’ve never been there but heard so many good things about it. Friends who have seen bands play there say they’ve not seen any bad gigs there. [Laughs] hopefully we’re not the first one!

Well I’m sure they’re going to be great! So I thought we would end on a little quick fire round. I’m going to be asking you three questions that are kinda close to home – so to speak.

Okay… [Laughs]

You say ‘I Am An Animal’, but what animal are you?

I’d probably be a badger.

A badger?

That’s the first thing that came into my head. I don’t have a reason. Just a badger.

Would you ever wanna ‘Be A Kid Again’? What would you do?

I do! I really miss being young. Not so much a kid but I was one of those really weird people who really enjoyed high school so I would love to just go back for a week.

That sounds like a nightmare!

I know, I know it’s so weird but I weirdly loved school. Not that my adult life hasn’t been fun, I just really miss being like 14/15 and really getting into music. So yeah I’m being a weirdo and wanting to be like a kid so I could go back high school again.


And finally, who would be your ideal Cell Mate?



I’d pick Robert Downey Jr. I’d pick someone who has the potential to be in jail again so yeah, I reckon that would be quite funny and he’d definetly keep me entertained!


WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Jemma Dodd - Flickr

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