I’ve just switched to cycles and now there a) isnt a textures tab on the sidebar AT ALL, and b) the materials tab is empty! Just has a “use nodes” button which is useless. Do i have to switch back to blender to change material settings all the time?
Cycles materials are all node based but the material panel also shows the nodes in a list like view that can be used for simple materials node trees. You can add textures here by pressing the button with a dot to the right of the material parameter. I suggest you watch some basic cycles tutorials so you understand what cycles actually is.
There are some beginner tutorials on cycles in the tutorial forum. Just browse through those.