Thursday, 31 March 2011

Oh, you lucky people! Give-Away!


Guess who's going to be giving something away? Me!

That's right, Sigma Beauty have given me a travel sized E25 blending brush to give away.

Now, I am not going to start this give-away today, for two reasons: I have 3 subscribers, and I think I need a few more before I can do something like this; and I haven't tried this brush myself yet. I can't give away something when I don't know if it's any good.

Sigma are sending me an E25 brush to try myself, so once it arrives, I'll try it, tell you what I think, and I will do the give-away as long as I have at least 10 subscribers by then. If I don't, I will wait until I do, and then I'll start the give-away. The winner will be chosen at random, I'll contact them for their address, then pass it on to Sigma, who will send out the brush directly. As I get more subscribers I will hold more give-aways like this, and the prizes will get better.

You will need to be subscribed in order to win.

On a smaller note, I bought a load more stuff from (e.l.f cosmetics) and it arrived today while I was out, so once I get it from the post office I'll be talking about that.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

My E.L.F. Cosmetics Haul/Review part 1

Hello to all my fellow make up aficionados!

I had never heard of ELF until recently, I've had my dealings with budget cosmetics companies in the past and I know you can find some useable and some unusable products for as little as a pound, so I'm never one to stick my nose up at a low price. In fact, because I have never been one with disposable income and I am currently a student, NONE of my make up is particularly high end, save for the odd piece found left in a nightclub bathroom or on the bus(!)

I heard about ELF from various YouTubers I follow and I thought I'd check out the website, thinking, "If these YouTube stars are using it then it must be fairly expensive," then I saw the £1.50 price tag on most of their stuff and my jaw dropped. As soon as I had some money I spent £20 (not including shipping) on ELF products, 2 from the £3.50 Studio line and the rest from the £1.50 basic line.

Messing about applying the tinted moisturiser.

The ELF basic foundation brush                          

I needed a new foundation brush. My old one, from QVS, had lost its handle. I snapped up the £1.50 elf foundation brush and I was really disappointed. It's about as big as my thumb, and it doesn't spread product on my face very well. I get streaks when I try to use it. I just don't think it's big enough. I will try getting one of the more expensive ones, like the angled foundation brush from the studio line or the bamboo brush from the mineral line, in my next purchase, and tell you what I think next week.

The ELF basic eye blending brush

Blending brushes are a must have, especially when you like to use dark eyeshadow. I was pleased with the £1.50 elf blender, it does the job and whilst it does have a few fallouts, it wasn't really bad. I'm noticing a trend in elf selling very soft brushes, which is always a good point - you don't want to damage the skin with a rough brush.

ELF basic tinted moisturiser SPF 15 in Ivory
My Mac camera keeps flipping the pictures,
so sorry the writing's backwards!

I've never used a tinted moisturiser before, I was always obsessed with flawless coverage and 1940s inspired porcelain skin. Now I don't always go out with my face like Dita Von Teese, and I've started wearing make up for everyday looks (I used to be a bit of an all or nothing girl,) I've seen the benefits of wearing a sheer cover base especially when it both moisturises and has SPF in it - I'm not a teenager anymore and I need to plan for my skin's future. Also, being in my mid twenties has calmed down my skin. I no longer need quite such full coverage as my skin isn't constantly pre or post breakout. I still need to even out my skin tone, I get a lot of redness down the side of my cheeks and jaw, and I have terrible bags and dark circles under my eyes. The elf basic tinted moisturiser is good for evening out my skin tone, but it is very yellow in its undertone, whereas I am more pink. Elf doesn't seem to think that pale people are able to be pink. All their lightest toned moisturisers have a yellow base. The other problem I have with it is the smell. It smells like candied oranges, and that can be quite pleasant, but I don't want to be smearing it all over my face. I expect it to be all sticky and I keep thinking my face will end up covered in bees or ants because of the sweet smell. Aside from the fact that my face could probably do without whatever they've added to it to make it smell like that, I think it smells really cheap. Like make up designed for a child to use. I didn't find it moisturised my skin much either.
I will be trying their studio line moisturiser to see if it is any better. I'm currently trying to decide whether to use Nude for the sake of my pink undertone or to go for Porcelain in case Nude is too dark.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments. I'll be buying more stuff from elf tomorrow.

From left to right: Glow, Shy, Innocence
ELF Natural Radiance basic blushers

I tried three of Elf's basic line of blushers, mainly because I only have two blushers in my entire collection so I needed to expand. The shades I got were Innocence, Shy, and Glow. Innocence is a really nice very light pink with a shimmer to it, and sometimes I use it as a highlighter. Shy is a very pink baby pink, which I love. Glow is more of a peachy bronze colour for when you want to look a little sun-kissed. I like the blushes themselves, but the packaging is terrible. It takes a long time to get the hang of getting the pots open, and the area isn't big enough to get your brush in properly. Elf form the powder into a cute rippled surface so you get crumbs flying in every direction when you sweep your brush across the surface, so it's messy to use. I do really like the colours though, and it's very build-able on the skin, so I will be getting these again.

It doesn't look that dark, does it?
ELF Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder in Sun Kissed

I think I failed with this bronzer. I had been using a Max Factor bronzer from about 2 years ago for contouring and I thought I should update it or at least have a choice, and I thought that sun kissed looked lighter than the one I've been using, but I should have picked Luminance because Sun Kissed is just far too dark for me, and it's very shiny. I look like I've been gilded when I wear it. The colour payoff is great so use a very light hand when using it.

ELF basic Eyelid Primer

This works really well. It feels a little greasy at first, but it kept my eye make up in place all day.

ELF Clarifying Pressed Powder in Ivory

Again, the Ivory is the lightest colour and very yellow in its undertone, but I like the powder.

ELF Studio Cream Liner in Midnight

I really like this liner, but the brush that came with it was too thick and too soft to give a good line. I would go over a line only to end up taking the product back off with the brush instead of putting more on. Use a different brush, and it works really well and stays on all day. Be warned, it is really hard to smudge and it's really hard to correct mistakes. 

ELF Studio Daily Brush Cleanser

I needed something to clean my brushes in between deep cleaning, and I was getting sick of using my facial cleansing wipes as a stopgap. This cleanser is definitely something you want to use daily, after every use, because it won't clean deep down in-between bristles, so it's more prevention than cure.


So that's my haul and my thoughts. I like the Elf brand because they are inexpensive and they stock the things I've always wanted to try but never had the money for, but whilst I'm happy with no frills packaging those blushers are far too complicated, and I worry about the parabens in the ingredients list. That said, I will continue to use their products, I have a lot more things to try!

Until next time, take care.
*sigh* I wish I'd done my hair before I took these pictures.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Spring Nails!

Hello my lovely readers.

Spring has sprung and it's time to start reflecting that in the way we look, so here are my favourite spring nail polish looks!

For me, spring is definitely the time for pastels. it's also a great time for pale colours and nudes, but you can also go bold with some early summery brights.

Eyeko's lilac polish, for lovely nails.

If you're into purple nails then a lilac or lavender polish is perfect for you. I love deep purple colours like plum or royal purple, but I think such shades are far too dark for spring. I'm using Eyeko's lilac polish because it has a thick consistency and a mid-shine finish, good for pastel colours. One coat is a little translucent, so I've used two.

Eyeko Vintage polish, for elegant nails

Candy coloured nails are very sweet and remind me of easter eggs! Green is a good colour to reflect the new growth of spring, and this mint green is like mint choc chip ice-cream. Add some black polka dots to make your own chocolate chips!

Eyeko Pastel Polish, for nice nails

Finishing up my trio of sugared-almond-nails, this pastel blue really brings out a tan and makes you want to eat Mini Eggs all day. Pale coloured polishes always need at least two coats to become opaque, but still look pretty when sheer. Eyeko polishes only need two coats for these looks.

Eyeko Tea Rose Polish, for country nails

This is probably the darkest polish in my spring picks. It's a beautiful dusky rose and it echoes the pretty flowers that are on their way.

Eyeko Rain Polish, for city nails

Pay tribute to the April showers with this blue-grey shimmery polish, because at least spring rain isn't as bad as winter rain!

Eyeko Coral Polish, for resort nails

Coral polish was a big deal last summer, and as spring is a time of looking forward, and fashion has a habit of looking back, wear a coral pink or red if you just can't wait for summer.

Collection 2000 Hot Looks Fast Dry polish in 6 Juicy

This shimmery orange is a good colour for spring chicks who hate pastels and love bright, happy colours. I like the brush in the Collection 2000 polishes because it's flat and a little stiff, making application a little easier.

Eyeko Chi Chi Polish for girlie nails

If you aren't over the sparkles of New Year's Eve and you want to wear a glitter polish, swap the silver for a cute pink or a pastel shade of glitter. Unfortunately, my camera won't focus on it properly!

Eyeko Petite Polish, for french nails

Cover your nails in a pale or nude polish for a fresh, clean look. I used two coats for a more opaque finish, but Petite Polish looks great with only one coat too.

Toma Nail Laquer with natural pearl, in CD91 Crocodile Rock

A shimmery lime green is good if you prefer a sharp, bitter taste to the sugary pastel mint green. It's a colour you can keep wearing right through the summer, and it's a shade that will definitely make you stand out!

So there you have it, my top 10 spring polishes for 2011. Just don't wear them all at once, it can look a little weird!

Although I think the pastels look good together!

Thanks for reading, talk to you soon.

Oh, if you want to buy any of the Eyeko polishes featured here, you can get them here. Use my Eyeko Ambassador code E2825 to get a free gift when you spend £15, and I make money from each sale so I can buy more products to talk to you about!

Selling off my surplus make up

I'm skint, and I have a load of unopened Eyeko products (only unopened because I already have another one that IS opened and in constant use!) so I'm selling them on eBay.

Go check them out here:

Eyeko London Lips is a beautiful, gorgeous smelling range of lipglosses all named after places in london. Many are pretty, most are posh, and one of them is downright outrageous! Soho is by far my favorite, because you don't often see such a bright, hot pink colour in a gloss.

Eyeko Line and Shine Duo Colour Pencils are double ended, double use eye pencils that work as both a chunky eyeliner and an eyeshadow crayon, in some awesome colours. I'm selling a full set for £13.

Eyeko Magic Mascara is for people who want curled, voluminous, long lashes. I prefer Eyeko Big Eyes Mascara because I like the look but most people prefer the Magic Mascara because it doesn't clump as much.

So if you want to try out some Eyeko, I'm selling these few things at £1 off the RRP and postage is free, so help me out and go buy stuff! I'll be using the proceeds to buy more stuff to review on here!

If you decide to buy some things from the Eyeko website,, use my ambassador code E2825 at the checkout and I will get 15% commission and you will get a free gift, when you spend over £15!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

News for Mass Effect fans

There's a new add on DLC for Mass Effect 2 coming out next Tuesday called "Arrival." The pack will set you back 560 Microsoft Points on XBox Live Arcade, £5.49 or roughly $7 on the PSN store and 560 BioWare points on the PC. - according to the Facebook page.

Mass Effect fans who have already downloaded the various expansions from BioWare will probably have mixed feelings about the upcoming add on, as Mass Effect is a great game and the more we can do within the Mass Effect universe, the better. However, this DLC is coming a long time after most will have set down their controllers and moved on to pastures new.
Previous downloadable content as been pretty short, a few extra missions that won't last a hardcore gamer more than a day. 

BioWare's other roleplaying giant, the Dragon Age series, brought out Origins: Awakening, which was a proper expansion that lasted some time at least, but cost as much as the original game. I would entertain buying a GOTY (Game Of The Year) edition, had I not already purchased and downloaded most of the available DLC for Mass Effect 2. Of course, with add ons purchased online, there's no way of knowing if they will be worth the money until they have already been purchased, and if you don't like it, there are no refunds and no way of selling them on. 

I plan to get Arrival and review it here, to help you decide if it's a purchase you want to make. In fact, I might as well review all available DLC for the game while I'm at it. There's just one problem - I lent my copy of the game to a friend.

No matter what this expansion brings, I think BioWare need to step up their game. Bethesda brought out two main expansions for their last installment in their Elder Scrolls series, Oblivion - The Shivering Isles and the Knights Of The Nine were proper expansions, The Shivering Isles in particular was my favorite thing to play in a role playing game ever. Then you get BioWare releasing things like Witch Hunt for Dragon Age Origins and it looks pathetic in comparison.

Until next time, buh-bye!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Dragon Age 2

Ok, so I've had Dragon Age 2 for just over a week now, I'm only about halfway through my 2nd playthrough but I feel I'm in a position to review it by this point, so here goes...

BioWare games generally begin and end with the story, and you can usually expect it to be well written and pretty epic, and this is no exception. The characters have depth and substance, and all of them have widely differing views from eachother, leading to conflict if you bring the wrong combination out with you on a quest, because not everyone will agree with the choices you make. Unlike Mass Effect, the sci-fi counterpart to Dragon Age, there is no Paragon-Renegade scale. BioWare's writers have chosen to roll around in the morally grey mud, possibly to make a point: there is no black and white right or wrong choice. This can lead to a lot more emotion being invested in the game, and in turn when certain characters may choose to betray you, it can be hard not to take it personally.

One of the things I wasn't so keen on story-wise was the lack of effect you have on the world. The main outcome of the story remains the same (obviously in preparation for Dragon Age 3) no matter what you do, and this bothers me. The first installment, even though you inevitably kill the dragon and stop the blight, allows you to have many possible endings, and it's not even necessary that your Warden survive the task. The choices you have made greatly effect the world around you, and continue to effect the story in Dragon Age 2. I fail to see how any choices made in the second installment will make a difference in DA3, because it seems to play out just the same.

I was disappointed at the scale of the game. Interviews with the creators stated that the timeline would cover 10 years (the first Dragon Age only covered 1 year) which left me feeling cheated when I finished the third act, after 7 years, and the credits started to roll. The whole game felt like a prologue to something bigger, and when I felt like I might be reaching the main story, it finished. It felt like a really long demo, an advert for Dragon Age 3.

The voice artists were well chosen, though I couldn't understand why some returning characters had new voices, especially when the original actors were credited with bit parts. There was only one line that I felt was read out of context; when the female Hawke (I've not played as the male Hawke) says "Such as?" it's spoken as a statement rather than a question. This is something that Dragon Age has taken from Mass Effect. In Origins the Warden is only known as the Warden or the Hero of Ferelden, although if you take the noble human origin story your surname is Cousland, and if you are the dwarf noble you hail from the Aeducan family. Your character never speaks in Origins, aside from battle cries. Drawing on Mass Effect's Commander Shepherd, in Dragon Age 2 your character has a voice and a name, though you can still change the first name, everyone will refer to you as Hawke.

One of the things that has set BioWare RPGs apart from the others is the romance and of course, the sex. Lionhead Studios' Fable series has allowed for love, sex, marriage and families, but in a cartoonish way much closer to the relationships in the Sims. BioWare instills the thrill of the chase in its romances, which take time, tact, and being a good listener. Romances will generally lead to sex, which, in the case of Mass Effect, led to some side boob and a little bit of bum. In Dragon Age, they keep their underwear on. Origins gave us some very stiff, sickly sweet love scenes, that were the same no matter who you were with. This time the writers, actors and animators have given us some passion and some humor, and some individuality. There's a lot less nudity than before, even with the perma-pants, which is a shame because the graphics for the naked body are a lot better than last time around, the girls don't look like lollipops and the guys don't look like twats in their knickers. The underwear looks a lot more flattering now, particularly the male underwear which looked like a nappy (diaper, for any american readers). In the DLC The Exiled Prince, female Hawkes can romance prince Sebastian, who is also a priest, in a chaste, non sexual way.

On to the gameplay. The main attack button is now a hit-response type button, rather than an order ("go attack that person until he's either dead or I tell you to do something else") so you can hit an enemy more often in a fight, but you ave to keep hitting that button in order to keep attacking. This means that even though the game boasts a choice between hands-on action or strategically pausing the game and handing out orders to your team, you can't just pick your tactics, hit the attack button and watch how the fight plays out, you have to actively take part.
The inventory is different, because you can no longer choose what your party wears, aside from accessories and their weapons (except Varric, who has an attachment to his crossbow, Bianca, so you can't change his weapon either) so all the armor you find can only be used on yourself, giving you a dilemma when you find a new pair of boots that are better in every way, but you really don't want to take off that enemies drop more coin rune.
The new codex is a MASSIVE improvement on the Origins codex. I don't think the entries give XP anymore, but the codex is organised in a much better way. The only real thing that has gotten my back up in terms of gameplay is the use of the start button for the inventory, level up, codex etc instead of the select button, as it was in Origins. The select button now opens up a map, and the only way to get out of it is by pressing select again.

The main drawback on the amount of time and effort BioWare put into their stories is the lack of freedom allowed to the player. Instead of being given a country to roam around in freely like Bethesda's Elder Scrolls series you are given a great big map of the country with only a few parts of it that you can actually visit, and you aren't free to move around within it. Every time you are in a cave, it is the same cave, just with certain doors made un-open-able, the same goes for every house, every dwarven ruin, every dark alley, every undercity passage. This problem was evident in Origins but I'm sure it's worse in DA2.

Even with its failings, Dragon Age 2 is definitely worth playing and I really enjoyed playing it. It lasted a lot longer than Fable 3 (I finished that in one weekend) and it has replay value. Try playing it once as a mage and once as another class, it changes things quite a lot, though I don't see it making a difference at the end of the story.

Overall: I'd give it an 8 out of 10.

If this has made you want to get the game you can go straight to the Amazon page here: Dragon Age 2 (PS3)

Friday, 11 March 2011

A return to blogging!

Well hello there.

Thought I'd given up, did you?
Think again.

I've been quiet, but I never stopped thinking about you. I've been preparing some material.

I've been filming and editing together some make up videos, tutorials and the like, and I'll be posting them on my new YouTube channel, JoysticksAndLipstick, when they're finished.

I've just ordered some things from e.l.f. cosmetics, partially because they're cheap and I'm skint and I needed to replace some brushes. So I'll be checking out their daily brush cleanser, £1.50 foundation and blending brushes, some of their blushes, a bronzer, tinted moisturizer, pressed powder, cream eyeliner and their eyelid primer; and I'll be telling you what I think of them.

I'm also preparing to make some game focussed videos, especially one on Dragon Age 2, which I'm currently in the middle of.

I'll be seeing you!

ttfn x