It's Laila K from Sonic Boom Six! Follow my adventures as I document my life in the band and on the road. I will also be sharing all things musical (interviews with bands, reviews of gigs and festivals), health (innovative clean recipes), fitness (my road to getting abs and a booty), beauty (reviews and tips) and fashion related tings as well as all the fun things I get up to!

Monday, 8 June 2015

How to Make the Most Out of Life

Something happened recently, which inspired me to write this blog. I sat on a train from London to Manchester when I overheard a man ring his wife and tell her he had three weeks to live...

A year ago, my uncle passed away. Until his death, I didn’t understand the impact that the death of a loved one can have on you. I was one of those people, like most, who believed that it only happened to others and death was nothing for me to worry about. The reality is, we’re all going to lose the ones we love and eventually lose ourselves.

Now I find myself thinking about life and death on a regular basis. Actually, I think about it all the time and it’s made me more determined than ever to make the most out of the time I have left.

That’s why I wanted to share the things I do to try and live life to the full. These are simple things, but in our busy lives, it’s easy to forget that we only get one go at this and before we know it, it’s gone.

1. Make time for your friends and loved ones.
Really obvious, but often neglected. Make sure you talk to your friends and the people you care about on a regular basis, even if it’s just a quick message to say hello. Try to meet up regularly and enrich your soul with the time you spend together. Make seeing your friends part of your routine and check in with yourself to make sure that they are not being neglected.

2. Don’t hold a grudge.
After my uncle died some of my family acted horrendously towards me and the anger I felt was poisoning me. It brought up memories of childhood that I’d kept buried, but I decided to forgive and prove to myself that I was strong enough to deal with this. Once I had rid my need to prove to them how they had hurt me, I felt better. Ultimately, it was destroying my mental state and not theirs. Don’t try to understand why people do these things. I tried this and it doesn’t work. I had to let it go. Now when I start to think about it, I put it out of my head and tell myself that I’d made the decision to forgive over cutting ties with them and I had to respect my own decision to that.

3. Make plans and get out more.
I was always a Make Plans and Never Stick to Them kind of girl, but now it’s about less talk and more action. If I find myself saying I’m going to do something repeatedly and then not actually doing it, I take action. Plan a day out, go for a walk, take that trip that you’ve been planning to take for the last year, get that tattoo you've been telling your friends about. Say yes to more things and no to less.

4. Look after yourself.
I’m not going to preach, but eating well and working out help to keep me healthy - mentally and physically. It’s important to find what works for you. I read somewhere recently, the one true friend you have for life is yourself so treat yourself like you would your best friend. Be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, don’t abuse yourself and seek to better yourself as a person every day.

5. Feel your feelings.
Life is meant to be felt - pain, anxiety, nerves, happiness, grief, anger. If life was easy and we were born with one default setting then what would be the point? Challenging yourself to feel these emotions and working through problems and tough times is what life is about. Don't be afraid to let yourself feel sad. We live in a world where there’s immense pressure to constantly be positive and happy so don’t beat yourself up about not feeling that way all the time. Also, don't be scared to talk to your friends about how you feel. I'm a bugger for not doing this, but I always feel so much better after I've spoken to somebody, especially when I feel down.

6. Be nice. Don’t be a dick. 
This one’s really easy. Making others feel bad is not a good way to live and will not bring you any happiness in the long run. We all have the capacity to be a dick now and again. Learn from your behaviour and move on. Put your ego to one side, don’t be pig-headed and learn to say sorry. A sincere apology can make a world of difference.

I’ve been meaning to write about this list for a while, but I didn’t really know where to start. Hearing the man on the train has put things into perspective and I wanted to share what works for me. I hope you find this useful too. 

I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and there are days when I do the exact opposite of everything on this list - I bottle up my feelings and pretend I'm okay when I'm not, I can be horrible - but over the last year I’ve tried harder to make the most of what I have. These tips are simple, and keeping them at the forefront of your mind on a daily basis just requires you to stop for a second and focus.

Let’s make the most of this one life we have - laugh, say yes more often, look after your best friend - you - and most importantly, don’t be a dick.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Action Speaks Louder Than Thoughts

I was recently asked the question if I was a Feminist. My instinct was to think that it was a bit of a ridiculous question and that of course I was a Feminist. I was then asked what positive actions I took as a Feminist to address the issues that women faced every day and shamefully I did not have an answer to this question. In no way was the interviewer trying to catch me out - she wanted to highlight that lots of women believed that they were Feminists but lots of women were not active when it came to addressing inequalities in the world today that are based on gender.

It really got me thinking about what I could actually do. Action speaks louder than thoughts... I was the Feminist that was proud of being strong, independentopinionated and forging my own way in the world and for me that was the limit of what I did, which in my opinion, is not enough. Often, it's so easy to make yourself think that you are doing so much good for a cause, that you stand for equality and women's rights because you believe in it but the truth is, I wasn't doing anything at all.

All over the world, horrendous atrocities are being committed and women are being persecuted for being born female. I've been aware of this, as well as the daily struggles women face in every day life but I did nothing about it. I know lots of people who are active but after talking to a few of my friends who also consider themselves to be Feminists, they too realised that they thought about how bad things were but never actually took action. There's so much that we can do to help and make a difference rather than making ourselves believe that by saying we're Feminists, that is enough.

I realised that getting involved is easy. There are hundreds of campaigns and charities to be involved with. Even writing about women's issues and highlighting the problems that we still face is getting involved. Anything that raises awareness of the inequality that still exists between men and women is good - tweeting, blogging, reading, setting up your own campaign, helping run fund raisers, volunteering at your local womens group. All of these help as there is a hell of a long way to go before such inequalities are eradicated.

Let's get involved and make a difference. Just saying we're Feminists is no longer an option...

Laila x

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Singing and Tings

Last year, I was asked to take part in some workshops at The Warren in Hull as part of their Female Takeover Scheme, which involved instilling confidence and giving performance tips to young females, most of whom had never done any performing or singing before. It got me thinking about how I got into music and the tips I’ve picked up over the years performing in Sonic Boom Six. I came from a similar background to some of the girls – poor, working class and insecure - so I felt like I could connect with them straight off.


I got into music at an early age as my uncle used to DJ when he was younger. I was pretty much a loner at school and I made up for it by being obsessed with certain bands and albums that I would listen on repeat as well as being fiercely aggressive to anyone that didn’t have the same taste in music as me. I was never encouraged to pursue music by my parents or my school and I never felt like it was something I was good at as I was often told by teachers that I was aiming too high when I would say that I wanted to be a singer.

My first taste of singing came when I joined the school choir. I’ll be honest, I had no interest in singing and I’d heard that it meant that you could get out of a few lessons a week so I suddenly became keen!

Surprisingly, I really enjoyed it and seemed to have a natural talent for harmonies and the choir teacher was a lovely, encouraging (albeit slightly pervy) man by the name of Mr Thorpe. He gave me my first solo when we were performing Les Miserables and it took a lot of convincing by him for me to do it but he didn’t give up on me. I remember being horrendously nervous and getting loads of hassle from the older girls (I was 13 years old), whose toes I’d stepped on by coming in and taking ‘their solo’ away from them. On the night of the performance, I don’t think it could have gone any worse. I was stood up waiting to sing on my own in front of a packed crowd consisting of teachers, parents and pupils (and fully aware of the daggers I was receiving from the older girls) and I felt that all eyes were on me. My mouth dried up, I forgot the words and I was awful. After it, a teacher named Miss Phillips felt the need to come up to me to tell me what a dire performance it was and that I should stick to ‘singing in a group.’ I was completely mortified, and to be honest, I’m surprised I pursued any kind of singing after that.

I know that I’ve never been a naturally gifted singer and I have an usual voice compared to ‘Female Vocal – Exhibit A’. I’ve only had one lesson and I do receive a hell of a lot of criticism about my voice. I am aware that I make lots of mistakes and I’m not technically sound but I really love singing. It gives me an escapism and outlet. I try to take on board some of the constructive criticism, as I would like to better myself and it’s difficult when even my own band think that lack of radio plays comes down to the way I sound. I’ve learnt to be grown up about it, whereas when I was younger, I would deal with things very differently. I had zero confidence at all so I would get drunk and shout, a lot! In my first band - I had no idea. I was a very angry kid so rehearsals would be difficult and I’d take everything personally. Everything felt like it was a personal attack that meant I wasn’t good enough rather than trying to take on constructive criticism - it’s a difficult feeling to shake and I can still be like that sometimes!

However, with all that said, there’s a craft that I have honed, practiced and become great at and that’s performing on stage. Not necessarily singing but handling myself and giving each performance 100%. We’ve played hundreds of gigs around the world and different gigs throw up different problems so I’ve written a list of tips that I’ve picked up and have helped me along the way. Some of the tips are obvious or little things but make such a difference when you’re on stage.

Some of my early mistakes were not concentrating and getting too drunk, which meant I ranted at, rather than addressed, the audience. My band actually nicknamed me Zippy! I constantly sang out of tune, something which I’ve got better at not doing but I’m not quite there yet. I never did any warm ups and had a very ‘fuck you’ attitude to my approach towards singing and the advice I would get from people that were trying to help me. A lack of confidence was replaced by aggression and anger.



  • Be prepared for your sound not to be good - 9 times out of 10 it will be very bad. To tune I try and memorise the pitch of the song by practicing at home to a recording – I find this helps.
  • Sound people - your gig is in their hands. SO many times (especially male soundmen) have told me I need to sing louder, project myself and its bollocks. It’s their job to make you heard. We have a soundman now that has no problems with getting me heard over a loud rock band in any sized room.
  • Saying that though NEVER be rude to a sound person. They will ruin your gig, if they are that way inclined. We were once late for a gig in Glasgow so the soundman was already in a mood. He was rude to me, I was rude back and he ruined the sound for me completely and in the end it was our gig that suffered.
  • When sound checking / playing - it’s good to be realistic. Sometimes the sound is what it is and you have to suck it up and get on with it. There are only so many times you can ask for your vocal to be turned up before you start annoying yourself.
  • If the sound is really bad on stage and interfering with your show then always finish the song you’re playing, ADDRESS THE AUDIENCE FIRST and then talk to the sound person. I always say ‘Hope you guys are having a good time… Hey Mr/Mrs Sound…..’ Again be realistic, you can’t keep talking to the sound person after each song, the audience are not interested in that AT ALL.
  • Get some GOOD ear plugs! They’re worth their weight in gold. I have really sensitive ears so playing without ear plugs is never an option for me. I messed around with foam ones and Doc’s Proplugs for years but without a shadow of a doubt - my stage sound improved by a million times when I got some molded ACS ear plugs. Yes, they were expensive and I’ve already lost the first pair I bought 6 months ago but they’re the best. Unlike other ear plugs which stop the sound getting into your ears so you can only hear yourself in your head, these just turn everything down so you can still pitch and hear the music. I’ve gone for the PRO 20 filter cause of my sensitive ears.

On Stage

  • Always listen back to gigs/performances - there’s so much you do that you won’t remember. It’s shocked me into addressing bad habits, the tone of my voice when talking to a crowd, etc. I still find it horrible listening back to myself and even worse watching performances back, especially when I’m talking lots but it has to be done.
  • Watch YouTube videos of yourself - see what you look like and sound like to the crowd.
  • Doing this made me realise I had a nervous twitch and I would touch my ear all the time - I dealt with this by wearing a cap and grabbing the peaks to deflect touching my ear. Now I wear a necklace but the same principle applies. Unless you watch live videos of yourself, you’ll have no idea that you do it!
  • Be comfortable in what you’re wearing, there’s nothing worse than having to worry about something being too loose/tight and constantly messing with it - it gives off an air of nervousness.
  • I’ve always believed that performance is everything - I’ve seen some of my favourite bands and walked away disappointed cause they stood there bored and just played the songs. If you move around a bit then others will move. If you look bored then how our people that have never seen you expect you to enjoy it. Even though my singing isn’t always spot on, when I’m on stage, I believe that what I’m doing is the best. It’s surprising how many people are even listening to the band. Most people listen with their eyes!
  • Watch artists/performers that inspire you for tips - don’t copy them outright but try and make some of the moves/audience techniques yours. You should try to adapt them to make them your own. My favourite performers are Benji from Skindred, Gwen Stefani, Deborah Harry, Freddie Mercury and Axl Rose cause they’re mesmerising to watch. They move like they sound!


  • Always engage the audience and make them feel special like you’re putting on the show especially for them. A good rule I have is to speak to people every 3 songs or so - I think speaking to them after every song is too much and it’s difficult to keep their focus. Playing live is so important now as music has become so disposable - you need to stand out from everyone else out there. There’s nothing worse than going to see a band that stand there, play the songs and don’t engage/interact with the audience, if I’m in the crowd, I’ll often feel cheated.
  • At the same time, don’t rabbit on. When I’m nervous I chat rubbish, it’s always good to make little shorthand notes on your set list when you’re going to speak and what you’re going to say - e.g. when you’re going to introduce yourself, when you’re going to mention the merchandise/your next gig, etc. There’s nothing worse than a band thanking the band they’re playing with after every song. Sometimes nothing is better than that. You don’t have to talk a lot but do engage audience.
  • I’m a natural born rabbiter and I find that chewing gum helps me to focus and not chat too much rubbish.
  • When dealing with mistakes on stage, unless you/the band makes a HUGE mistake, 9 times out of 10 the audience won’t notice. If it’s a clanger and you have to stop and start again then make a joke of it. That always works.


  • I find on stage that I’m playing a character of myself and it’s important to never let that slip. Even when I stop for water/to talk to a band member, I try to stay focused and in ‘on-stage mode’ so that I never let that character slip. It doesn’t have to be anything too extreme - just try to be you but enhanced for on stage.
  • Even though you should be comfortable in what you’re wearing and while you should enjoy the show, you should try and push yourself out of your comfort zone when performing . If the gig is going wrong, people are heckling you - try and make a joke of it. Everyone else will appreciate the humour - rather than seeing someone on stage having a strop cause things are going wrong. Even if it seems like everyone dislikes you/what you’re doing, the crowd will respect you. We played a festival in Berlin called Punk and Disorderly, which was a old-school punk festival. If you don’t know my band, we are not old-school punk or disorderly in the slightest and the crowd had beef with there being a girl on stage, so it wasn’t a great mix! As soon as Barney started rapping, we got heckled, bottles thrown at us and people trying to spit on us BUT we stood our ground, got our heads down and played well. I had several people coming up to me after the show saying we’d won them over or that they didn’t like the music but they respected us for going up there and ‘having some balls.’ 
  • Another example is when we encountered a couple of hostile racists at a gig in Holland who were spitting and shouting at us throughout the show. In the end we made everyone give them the thumbs up - a sense of humour always helps - and they stormed off, leaving us to enjoy the rest of the gig. Certain people want attention, making a joke out of them makes you look way better than standing there swearing at them or letting them ruin your gig.
  • Never look annoyed or pissed off, everyone is watching your every move on stage. Sometimes you have to grin and bear it and then let rip once you’ve finished - away from any of the crowd!
  • Meeting people at the end of a performance is key - in the 10 years I’ve been in bands, I’ve always said to the crowd - when we finish I will be at the merchandise/side of stage so come and say hello. Even if someone hated you, sometimes making yourself approachable helps. If they’re not instantly won over by the music/performance they might at least respect what you do. Numerous times, people have met me and said how nice I am, as they expected me not to be. (I have no idea why!)


  • It’s human nature to be nervous, it took me a long time to get to grips with that. I used to have a couple of drinks before I played to ‘ease the nerves’ but I’d never know when to stop! Now I look back at performances and I’m really drunk in some of them - singing badly and chatting absolute nonsense! I find that it’s best to use that nervous tension and apply it to the show to enhance your performance. Once you do a show without drinking any alcohol, you’ll know you can do it.
  • Always warm up - it gets you mentally and physically prepared. It took me a long time to not feel weird standing there with my headphones in doing ‘la la las’ but then it clicked, if I warmed up I had a better gig - end of. If I look like a tit then so be it, it’s worth it. I swear by Melissa Cross’ ‘The Zen of Screaming’ Vocal Warm Up CD. To be honest, her DVD is great too if you want to get to grips with the basics of singing. Check her out here


You’re the one up there and you only get one chance at that moment in time so give it your all and show people what you can do. Do it well and enjoy it!

I know some of these shouldn’t even be classed as tips because they’re so obvious and all bands and performers are different but all of these have helped me in the past and still do today.

I’m off to a singing lesson now. Some might say it’s 10 years too late but it’s NEVER too late to start!

Thanks to Mark Latham Photography

Friday, 18 October 2013

These Are a Few of my Favourite Things... (Part 2)

As promised, I am now back off holiday and ready to share some more of my beauty tips with you all! All of the items that I’m going to mention are cheap as chips but they work really well so let’s get started.


I don’t think there is anything more attractive than glowing skin, especially when you’re rocking some super short shorts or baring your arms for the world to see. With this in mind, I am always on the lookout for body lotions that promise to make your skin shine like those goddesses you often see in the Venus blades adverts on telly. From Clarins to Clinique to Superdrugs’ own body butter - I have tried them all. I have 2 favourites that I swear by. If I’m feeling flush then I treat myself to Clarins’ Moisture Rich Body Lotion. It smells divine and leaves my skin looking shiny all day. eBay is your best bet to find this lotion at half the price than you would get it in a department store. 

My daily (cheapish) body lotion is the Papaya Body Butter from the Body Shop. This is super thick and smells really good. It absorbs really quickly and my skin becomes satin-smooth to touch. All the body butters from the Body Shop are great for your skin. I tend to stick a load on as soon as I’ve got out of the shower so my skin has no time to dry out. Body Shop body butters range from £5 to £10 for a gigantic pot of goodness.

Both of these lotions work great by themselves but I recently discovered something that turns these products into SUPER moisturisers! This product is Jojoba oil. When I’m applying my lotion, I squirt a drop of Jojoba oil into it and then rub it. My skin goes mad for it and it leaves behind a glowing sheen that I’ve never been able to get with body lotion alone. 

If I’m going for the super-glam look, once the lotion/Jojoba mix has dried, I rub in some Garnier Ambre Solaire Golden Protect Milk (SP50) and my skin glitters like gold. This is normally quite expensive but you can find it half price or less in Superdrugs and Boots as summertime is now over (boo). The Garnier website also has the one I use for half price and free delivery here.
One bottle normally does me for at least 6 months as it’s not something I apply daily. 

I’ve also started using Jojoba oil to remove my eye makeup as I’ve always been paranoid about upsetting the sensitive under eye area. I dap a tiny bit of oil onto a cotton pad and try to dab any makeup off with it and rub really softly. I’ve heard that rubbing the makeup off vigorously leads to wrinkles and skin damage... and no one wants that!

The best thing about this oil is that it is hella cheap (only £1.29) if you buy it from here!

Shine seems to be the running theme of this blog. I’ve never been one to apply products to my hair, I’m lucky enough to be able to towel dry it and it tends to look okay. But, when Nick Horne moved to London and I stayed there a lot, I noticed my hair started to get really dull, even when I was using good shampoos and conditioners. It seemed to have lost its dazzle and I started to look a bit Edward Scissorhands. My hair was all over the place and quite straggly. I spotted Tara Smith’s Hair Gloss Top Coat Glosser in a magazine and decided to give it a shot. I’d used lots of other sprays, sheens, glossers - Elnett, Loreal, Pantene, Aussie Miracle Moist Spray – and all they did was make my hair really greasy, I hated the feel of it and I had to wash it all the time. I needed something light that wouldn’t weigh my hair down and something that would add shine and softness. This spray is PERFECT. So much so, I have friends that refuse to use anything else after I recommended it to them. I tend to use it on damp hair (I let my hair dry naturally) and then I spray again when it’s dry. My friend Chewy is the complete opposite of me, she’s blonde, blow-dries and straightens her hair and it works the same for her too. It smoothes the hair follicles, adds softness, lots of sheen and smells oh so fresh and clean! The cheapest I have found is 2 bottles for less than £11, which is an absolute bargain! Buy yours here.
Sweaty Betty
I am going to embarrass myself with this one BUT I have to share this product with everyone as it’s been a complete life saver for me. I was even contemplating lying about this and say that I only use this product on stage under hot lights to prevent sweat marks but I’m gonna go there and admit it – I sweat A LOT. I know that people sweat, some more than others and I fall into the ‘more than others’ category. My teenage years were spent dressed in black with no sleeves as I couldn’t risk anything that would expose the horrendous ringos that I was hiding under my arms! I lived with this excessive sweating for years and it would stress me out on a daily basis. My wardrobe was limited to what I could wear and I was always self-conscious and I was a miserable hot mess about it until I found Odaban. I’d tried other hardcore deodorants before but they would leave my underarms really sore and itchy because of the high dose of aluminium in them – often a rash would appear as soon as I used these products so I would have to give up. That’s why I was sceptical about using Odaban but once I’d read the reviews on Amazon, I decided to give it a try…

I’ve been using this spray for about 4 years now and it’s the one thing I cannot live without. I only apply it once a week now and it does the trick. To start off, I would apply it twice a week. Rather than spray it directly under my arms (I found this would irritate my skin a little), I spray 2 cotton pads 3 times, wipe under each arm, go to bed, wake up and shower it off and ta dah – you will be sweat free for good. I still apply my daily deodorant as I like the smell of it as Odaban is odourless. Now I can wear whatever I want and not have to worry about any stains or marks. It’s around £8 a bottle and lasts around a year as so little of it is required. I bought mine here.

This is powerful stuff – it can withstand an hour of me bouncing on stage under hot lights, an hour in the gym and even that emotional stress sweat that can sometimes get the better of us. It truly works!

That's it for now, but keep your eyes peeled. I'll be back soon with a review of Mane and Tail - Horse Shampoo and Conditioner, which is meant to work wonders on human hair. Neighhhhh!

Laila x

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

7 Days

Normally when it comes to watching films, Barney Boom will pick one - I’ll have no clue what it’s about and so it’s a surprise every time. I’m lucky as Barney is quite the film fanatic so there are lots of great films I wouldn't have necessarily heard of that I've watched because of him.Saturday night was no different. I’m a big horror fan so Barney picked the French Torture film ‘7 Days’ and neither of us had watched it before. This time I didn't even look at the cover to see what I was letting myself in for...
There are certain films that are so powerful and disturbing that they will stay with you for days. The last films that stayed with me in this way were ‘Martyrs’, ‘The Woman’ and ‘Precious’ - I had no idea that 7 Days would do the same. After I had watched it, even 2 sleeping pills could not dislodge what I had watched out of my head.
The film starts off with a rich family – wife/mother, husband/father and daughter. I think the daughter is around 8 years old. The husband is a surgeon and the wife works too. The first few minutes show the happy family together and the daughter going off to school after lunch. In the evening, the couple realise that the daughter didn't go back to school that afternoon and so a missing person’s hunt begins. This part of the film felt like it lasted about 5 minutes, it gets started very quickly. The next thing you see is the father going to meet the police in some grassland. There are 2 scenes in the film that still upset me when I think about them and this was the first one. The 8 year old daughter has been bound, raped and murdered. In most films this is well and truly left to the viewer’s imagination – not in 7 Days. We are shown the daughter’s body, lying there – bloodied and bloated and the camera pans onto her body in pretty graphic detail. I have never seen anything like this before. I imagine that it is not far off from what the police must see in real life situations like this. The scene is brutal but heartbreaking as you watch the father fall apart, whilst cradling his dead daughter.
The paedophile responsible for the child’s rape and murder is quickly arrested and there is conclusive proof that he is responsible for this as well as 3 other murders of children. Both the mother and father are inconsolable with grief and it becomes apparent that the mother is blaming the father. The father sets off on his mission to seek revenge on the man who took his daughter away from them. 
He arranges with some shady characters to gain access to the prison van that the paedophile will be transported from court to the prison in and cleverly kidnaps him. The plan is to hold this guy for 7 days... He is held in a chamber, tied to a hospital bed and now the father has free reign to so whatever he wants to the monster who took his daughter away from him. The father is a well respected surgeon who has access to drugs and surgical instruments. The torture scenes are quite graphic but there’s nothing I haven’t seen before and to be honest, the force of the film comes from the thought provoking situation – the man being tortured definitely raped and murdered his 8 year old daughter. What would you do in his situation if it was your daughter and you had her killer tied up? Does the father have the right to do what he’s doing? Do the actions of the father make him as bad as the paedophile? Instantly my reaction was – yes, the father should torture this guy and do whatever he needs to do. This guy deserves everything he gets. If that was to happen to my kid then I’d want to kill him, very slowly so that he could feel what my child went through but as the film goes on – you see the father is slowly falling apart and the revenge that he thought would bring him some kind of satisfaction is not enough. It’s not bringing his daughter back. This is an intelligent man who knows morally what he is doing is wrong.
**SPOILER ALERT. Do not read on if you do not want the plot or potential ending of the film to be revealed**
My only criticism of the story would be about a scene where the father kidnaps the mother of another victim, who was also killed. The kidnapping and torturing of the paedophile becomes national news and this mother speaks out and says the father should accept that his daughter has gone, he should deal with his grief and move on like she has and let the police deal with the criminal. After he kidnaps her, she makes him see that he’s becoming a monster himself by doing what he’s doing. I just felt that this part of the story – although necessary – was somewhat unbelievable. The whole story is portrayed so well that reality is suspended – the kidnapping and torturing don’t seem unrealistic at all cause the father’s pain is so real and it draws on the human emotions of anger and the need for revenge but this part of the film just didn't sit right with me. However, the next part of the film completely broke my heart. The father knows that this is it. The pain inflicted on the paedophile isn't bringing the father any peace - he is exhausted and completely broken. It’s Day 7 and it’s the day his daughter would have turned 9 years old. He imagines that she is there with him. She’s wearing the clothes she had on the day she was killed. They’re still blood soaked and dirty and she has marks all over her. He bathes her and wipes the dirt off and hugs her one last time and says goodbye. I don’t have kids but I could barely keep it together watching this scene and it got me thinking again – how does anyone deal with this situation? I’d been with my best friend’s daughter all day and the thought of her being taken away in such a horrific way was unbearable to think about, yet this film forced me to think about it...
If you haven’t seen 7 Days then I highly recommend it – Barney’s criticism was there was a complete lack of suspense throughout the film but to me, it didn't need suspense. The gore didn't matter, the ending didn't matter, whether the paedophile died didn't matter – it was the portrayal of the grief and pain that the father felt after losing his daughter in such a horrific way that had me hooked.

Monday, 2 September 2013

These Are a Few of my Favourite Things... (Part 1)

This week I wanted to share the some of the beauty tips I've picked up over the years and the key products that I cannot live without. I’m always on the lookout for anything that I can add to my daily beauty regime and, being a natural born bargain hunter, I will give anything a go if it’s cheap and it works! I will be mentioning a couple of pricey products but I've scoured the internet to make sure I am paying as little as I can. With all of these products, often a little goes a long way.

When I gave up alcohol, I would persistently get 2 or 3 spots on the right side of my face, often on my cheek, and they wouldn't be little spots I could cover up. There was one huge one that took up residency on the side of my face for about 6 months! For the life of me, I could not figure out what it could be. To get to the bottom of it, at various stages I gave up chocolate, caffeine and sugar. I changed my moisturiser, my foundation, my pillow cases and nothing seemed to help. It got to the point where I was self-conscious and to make matters worse, these spots were leaving me with scars, regardless of whether I picked at them or not. About 8 months into my spot crisis, I went into Boots for the millionth time to see if there were any products that could help. I’d already tried most of the Clinique anti-blemish range, Clearasil this and Neutrogena that and I was at my zit's end! 
Resident Evil
From a very young age, I had always used face wipes to take off my make-up but then I came across Boots’ Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Cleansing and Toning Lotion. At £2.39 a bottle, I figured it was worth trying out. Hallelujah! A week into ditching my face wipes and using this to take my make-up off every night, my spots had gone! 3 months in, I still have over half the bottle left and I have no spots whatsoever, even the scars are starting to fade. I would avoid the under-eye area though as it can sting a little, I just dab a bit of moisturiser onto a cotton pad to remove any under eye concealer. It seems I’m not the only one who swears by this product, there are several glowing reviews here.

I bought Clinique’s Superdefense Moisturiser about a year ago on a ferry coming back from Ireland as it was on offer and I’m so glad that I did. It is, without a doubt, the best moisturiser I have ever used. It’s quite thick so I only apply little dabs onto my cheeks, forehead, nose and chin. I suffer with quite dry skin and this has been the only cream which has kept my skin feeling hydrated and soft all day. With other moisturisers, they would tend to sit on the surface of my skin and not fully absorb and a couple of hours after applying, my skin would feel really dry and tight. I’d never thought about SPF before but this one is very high at SPF25, which can only be a good thing for keeping those pesky wrinkles at bay. To make this cream last a little longer, I only use it once in the morning as it is quite expensive. Before I go to bed, I stick to a cheap cream like Nivea Soft, which is fine for when I’m in the Land of Nod! The Dry to Combination Skin Types works best for me but the cream also comes in Combination to Oily Skin Types and Very Dry to Dry Skin Types, which I use at winter time.
I find Cheap Smells is the best place to buy my moisturiser - it’s much cheaper than buying it in store and delivery is free.

Twice a week I like to indulge and give myself a face scrub using… Porridge Oats! This is the cheapest way to get glowing, baby soft skin. In a small bowl, add a tablespoon of plain porridge oats. Add a couple of tablespoons of warm water and let it sit there for 60 seconds of so. Once the water and porridge are a gooey mess, apply into your skin. You can rub the mixture in quite vigorously as the oats go super soft, yet it still works as an exfoliater. I do this for about 60 seconds and then rinse it off with some warm water and pat dry with a towel. I have quite sensitive skin so I find face scrubs too harsh and they often leave my skin feeling really dry. The beauty with the oats is that they scrub off the impurities but leave my face nice and smooth and soft. I’ve often done this with my makeup on and off and the results are always the same. It’s slightly messy and if you’re a bit clumsy like me, you will end up with porridge in your hair but it really is worth it. The difference it makes to my skin is astonishing.

Under Eyes

I picked up this little cheap trick off my mum, who like me, is very small and brown and prone to dark circles under the eye area. I try to do this at least twice a week and it does a great job at brightening the under eye area. You will need 6 slices of cucumber, a small plate, a fork (I use a wooden meat tenderiser) and a couple of cotton pads.

Dice up your cucumber slices and add a couple of tablespoons of cold water and mash up the cucumber and water with the back of your fork until you can see quite a bit of liquid in the plate. Move the cucumber to one side of the plate and soak up the juice with a couple of cotton pads. I like to fold the cotton pads in half so that they absorb the liquid evenly and will fit snugly under the eye area. Lie back, apply the pads under your eyes and leave there for 15 minutes and Hey Presto! This cucumber elixir will leave your under eyes looking brighter and rejuvenated from the very first use.


To keep my under eye area looking fresh and awake, I find that a little dab of Clinique’s All About Eyes Rich, first thing in the morning before I apply my makeup and last thing at night after I've taken my make-up off, works wonders. In the past, I would find that my under eyes would become quite dry or any makeup I would apply there would crease. Once I started to apply this cream, my under eyes became visibly brighter and my makeup would sit proudly over it. This is a product that I have recommended to many friends who now swear by it. Again, it’s expensive but a small pot of it has lasted me 6 months so it’s well worth it.

Cheap Smells is normally really good as you will save a few pounds and delivery is free but they seem to have run out cause it’s SO good. Boo!

These are just some of the things that work for me and I’m sure some of you will have used them before. If you have any tips or beauty products that you would like to share or if you give the ones I've mentioned a go then make sure you leave a comment to let me know!

I’m off on holiday this week so when I come back, I will bring you Part 2 - Tips to make your body glow and your hair shine, the benefits of Jojoba Oil, a hand cream that will stop your hands looking like SJP's wrinkly mitts and I’ll reveal a cheap product that will banish underarm sweat forever!

Laila x

Monday, 19 August 2013

Blog About Grog

I decided to give up alcohol on the 24th of July 2012.

I get lots of people asking me why I did it and how I deal with it, especially as I am in a band and am surrounded by booze and drinkers all the time - so I thought I’d write about it.

I started drinking at a very early age. I think I first got drunk when I was 11 and steadily, alcohol became embedded in my weekend routine. I would get drunk every Friday, Saturday and Sunday without fail throughout my teenage years and when I started going on tour with Sonic Boom Six, I would pretty much drink every night. I never drank to block anything out or to numb myself from any pain or guilt I was feeling. I just drank to get really wasted cause I loved the feeling of it. I didn’t feel like I’d partied hard enough unless I was getting put to bed or blanking out. I think I saw it as a security blanket to do and say whatever I wanted. That way, I could blame my actions on the alcohol rather than blame it on myself. I really didn’t care about what I’d say or do cause that wasn’t me, that was drunk Laila.

Two drinks Khan

As the years went on, the routine of getting to a gig, having a couple of beers, playing the set and then getting leathered was becoming tiresome. And so began this ongoing mental battle with myself where I would say to everyone – “I’m not drinking tonight” or “I’m giving up booze for a week” or “I’m only gonna have two drinks” and then I would get drunk and go to bed angry with myself then wake up feeling really depressed cause I’d let myself down once again. I’ve lost a silly amount of days being hungover and not appreciating the great things that were going on in my life. Alcohol for me totally numbed everything. I remember one time when we did a gig at Asbury Lanes in New Jersey where it was another one of those times where I wasn’t going to drink as we had an early start the next day, which promised lots of sightseeing around New York before we flew back to Manchester. That night I got SO drunk, I don’t remember much after the gig. This meant I woke up in a foul mood, dragged my arse around New York and moaned the whole time. We were at the top of the Empire State Building and I just wanted to be in bed… and this was one of many occasions that this kind of thing happened.

Moaning in Manhattan

This became my ritual for about 3 years until I completely stopped drinking. Until then, I enjoyed getting drunk. The hangovers were bad but the enjoyment of drinking cancelled them out in a weird way. I would look to people for help and tell them to make sure I don’t drink too much or to not let me have a drink but that never worked, until I accepted that this was something I had to do for myself it just wasn’t going to happen. I’d often wake up feeling anxious, depressed and on edge. I love exercising and eating healthily but drinking meant I wouldn’t eat all day, get drunk, forget to eat and then binge on salty carbs when I woke up the next day to try to satisfy my raging appetite for all things bad. This happened 3 days out of 7.

At the start of 2012, I’d decided that enough was enough so I steadily decreased my drinking but often I would fall into the “I’ll just have one drink” trap and wake up feeling disgusting cause I’d managed to drink everything in sight! And then something just clicked. I didn’t tell anyone I was going to stop drinking, I didn’t make a big song and dance about it. I went out with my best friends, Maddy and Chewy, on the night of the 24th of July 2012 and I was doing well. I’d only had a couple of drinks all night but I was really aware of it and felt spiky like something wasn’t right all night. At the end of the night, Maddy brought out some Moon Shine that she’d brought back from Hungary and we all did a shot. I didn’t tell anyone then but I knew that was going to be the last drink I ever had. A couple of months ago, Maddy mentioned it to me and said how if she’d known that was gonna be my last ever drink then she would have made it more of a party!

It’s hard to describe how I did it, I think I’d just had enough of feeling crappy and having that constant feeling of fighting a losing battle with myself and the booze. I can’t give myself all the credit though, I had a look on Amazon for books that might help me and I came across Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Control Alcohol. The book didn’t tell me anything that I didn’t know already but it made me more determined to stop. There were a few things that I didn’t agree with but a lot of what he was saying really hit home. It’s definitely worth a read if alcohol is having a negative impact on your life like it was on mine and you want to give it up for good.

The first few months were difficult. It took me a good 5 months to discover the real me, my personality and what I’m like without the booze. Often people ask me if it’s weird being out with loads of drunken people and if they piss me off. At first it was hard, it was horrible and I remember once going in a mood cause I hated being out so much and Nick Horne turned to me and said, “But you decided to stop drinking.” He said it in such an honest way, it really hit home and I realised that it was me that decided to stop drinking. I’ve changed what I do, so why should the people I surround myself with do the same when they don’t want to? Since then, I often remind myself of what he said when people are being drunk or obnoxious. Also, if a night out is rubbish, then I cut my losses and go home. There’s no point in dwelling on whether a night would be better if I was drunk. I’ve had loads of shitty nights out, got drunk and they’ve got worse and ended up in arguments and fights. One last tip I use is to think about the next day, when people feel dreadful from the night before and I’m bright eyed and bushy tailed and that’s when the real fun starts!

I know lots of people that can have one or two drinks and have a great time but I will never be that kind of person. One drink was never enough. However, all of the people that I know that can do this have woken up at some point cause they’ve overdone it and vowed to “never do it again…” I got to the point with booze where it just stopped working for me in my life, it was making me sick and miserable and I knew I had to stop. Believe me, I was no Oliver Reed, and towards the end, I probably drank as much as your average person drinks – a few drinks on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday but I could never judge where the line of excess was and often went past it and then felt guilty/ashamed/disappointed in myself and then I’d do it again and again and again.

A lot of the times I’d try and fail to give up the booze - it came down to a fear of becoming boring or more importantly to me at the time (which is ridiculous) a fear of people thinking that I’d become boring but after the initial couple of months of not drinking, my friends saw how much happier I was and how much I needed to do it for myself. I discovered there are certain people who drink and have a real problem with non-drinkers, as if they’re being judged by the person who has chosen not to drink. I found it similar to certain meat eaters who are mortally offended by vegetarians. I’ve come across a handful of people like this, where the constant piss taking and even aggressive behaviour towards my sobriety has been too much to handle. The best solution I found for this was to cut them people out and not have them impacting my life in a negative way.

For me, ditching the booze has been the best thing I’ve ever done. As cheesy as it sounds, I feel completely alive. I have the best nights out where I actually feel the whole night and what’s going on around me. I think in the past I mistook a lot of the nervous energy I have within myself as a sign to get drunk and to quell that feeling but once I accepted that’s just the way I am, it got easier. Even now when I go out, I get tense and anxious and for the first hour I find it hard to relax but once that hour has passed, that feeling also passes... without the aid of anything to drink! My judgement is better, I sleep better, I look and feel so much better, I’m happy, I’m so much more productive and my brain feels like it’s been rejuvenated. The thought of never having to wake up in that haze, with my head banging, my eyes stinging and feeling sick to my stomach, makes me smile from ear to ear.

Laila x
Happy, healthy close up!