I'm a huge gaming fan and also have been, ever since my parents bought me my first PS2 for Christmas the year it came out. I can still remember sitting there eyes glued to the screen losing hours of my day, and entire weekends. It. Was. Awesome. While other kids were outside climbing trees or generally enjoying the outdoors I was inside frantically trying to win the Royal Rumble using my created superstar on WWF SmackDown Just Bring It.. impressive I hear you say, and you'd be right!
Clearly I don't have quite as much time on my hands these days what with a full time job, but I still like to keep up to date with the newest releases and play as much as I can. March is usually quite a dull month for new video games to hit the shelves as most are still in development right up until the big Christmas rush in November. However, there were a few notable releases in March from Bioware and Guerrilla Games so I thought I'd share my thoughts on them.
Where to start with this game? It's unlike anything I've ever played before and that's why I had to call it out first. Think of it as a mixture between an incredibly well written RPG like Oblivion or The Witcher 3 thrown together with a 2017 version of Jurassic Park's mechanical monsters. Sounds good right? Horizon Zero dawn is a game that combines flawless combat with role playing elements that will make it hard to tear yourself away.
Unlike many games, you'll find yourself really caring for the central characters, including the spritely Aloy which is the main hero. There are some quite profound themes within the story that involve the player making decisions that can result in plot-twisting deaths and actions that really feel like they've made an impact on the world around you.
Despite a strong story the side quests can often become a bore, and are clearly added to the experience as a way to level up more quickly, which isn't uncommon at all in these kind of games but often become repetitive and bring you out of the game world when you realise you're fighting the same enemies over and over again just to access chests filled with better weapons and armour. Combat is where this adventure really shines. Aloy utilise bows, slingers, electric wire and all kinds of devastating attacks to down her mechanical enemies and they are all a joy to use and often with real precision.
Across a vast and open world filled with things to do, Horizon Zero Dawn is a joy to play from start to finish and an experience that I won't be forgetting in a hurry. Truly a must buy! Available from Amazon here.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
The other big March release was a new Mass Effect game from Bioware, which has to be one of the most hyped games I've seen over the past year or so since it's teaser announcement a while back. Unfortunately, despite some great story telling and combat mechanics, this latest venture into deep space suffers from some quite serious (yet hilarious) character animation glitches that will leave you wondering how this managed to get released so soon, and in fact why on earth you paid £50 for the privilege.
It's certainly not all bad news though, even in the graphics department. The game has an incredible opening segment that looks stunning and instantly drops you into the actions as you and your team of space explorers begin the hunt for a new planet for the human (and alien) race to call home.
It's just unfortunate that the gameplay gets very stale very quickly. You'll find yourself carrying out the same "go here and kill these guys" or "go there and capture this base" missions over and over again, which is a shame because there's some great story telling going on underneath all of that but the missions are just so boring! There are some also some beautifully crafted conversions in the cut scenes which are where the graphical glitches just ruin the experience.
All in all it just feels unpolished. A game still very much in development, filled with gameplay bugs and an open world that just feels empty a lot of the time. One to pick up in the Black Friday sales I think! Available from Amazon here.
What games have you been playing recently? Any recommendations?
Gentlemen's Tonic Daily Moisturiser*
I'm a firm believer in not leaving the house without applying a daily moisturiser. This one from British brand Gentlemen's Tonic certainly doesn't disappoint. It has quite a strong fragrance, which as long as you're into that kind of thing when it comes to skincare you'll find it rather nice. It's filled with essential oils and seaweed to help soften and protect your skin throughout the day. It also seems to absorb super quickly to avoid the dreaded shiny face look as your board the morning train. Definitely one to pick up and great value at only £28 for the 100ml. Available here.
Gentlemen's Tonic Facial Scrub*
Another natural product from the Gentlemen's Tonic range is the exfoliating facial scrub. This is designed to be used 2-3 times a week to really clean out the pores and prevent blemishes by removes excess skin cells. It even contains bamboo particles! I've used many different scrubs and this is certainly one of my absolute favourites, again it has a strong scent but I quite liked it. Be sure to to follow up with a great moisturiser to set you up for the day. Available here.
The Body Shop Tea Tree Mattifying Toner
There's a brand new range of Tea Tree products available now from The Body Shop and these next two are my top picks from the new collection. I've always loved the Tea Tree range, despite the very strong smell, as it's perfect for getting rid of spots and blemishes, as well as looking after tired skin. The mattifying toner is the perfect way to prep your skin for a facial scrub as it removes any residual traces of dirt or dead skin. You'll be surprised at just how much dirt this toner can take off, even after you've already exfoliated! There's a 250ml option and just only need a small amount per use to it's a real steal at only £6. Available here.
The Body Shop Foaming Cleanser
My other favourite addition to the Tea Tree collection is this foaming cleanser. Unlike other scrubs it's not full of tiny particles that scrub dirt and dead skin cells from your face. This foam-based formula is designed to be much more gentle so it's ideal for sensitive skin. It's absolutely brilliant value and left my skin feeling soft and refreshed. The cleanser purifies without over-drying but be sure to apply a good moisturiser afterwards to take advantage of those freshly opened pores. Available here.
So that's it! Those are my latest skincare finds. I'm so glad i decided to branch out try some new products this month. I've always struggled with oily yet sensitive skin, and these have certainly helped. Do you have any more recommendations for me to try?
*Certain products in this post were sponsored samples. All opinions and views are my own.
For some reason towards the end of last year I started feeling really sluggish and unmotivated to blog and create new content. The start of 2017 had me feeling those "new year new me" feels and so I wanted to start posting much more regularly - ideally 2-3 times per week was the aim. And let's be honest, I've not exactly succeeded with that so far. There's nothing worse than putting an entire Saturday afternoon and evening aside to get blogging and then find you have absolutely no idea what to write about.
Although I've not done the most amazing job I thought I'd share some of the ways I try and break through bloggers block to create and share content that feels relevant and honest.
One of the best things I did recently was re-writing my about me page. Not only is it the window into your content for prospective new readers to find out more about you and the reasons you create the content you do, but also the easiest way for brands to consider whether you might be right for a collaboration with them.
I admit I had a bit of a wobble a couple of months ago and started questioning what this little corner of the internet i call my blog was even about, and why anyone would want to subscribe! I went back a read one of the first posts I ever wrote (but never actually posted!) about why i wanted to start blogging in the first place and what experiences and opinions I wanted to share with the world. This soon got me inspired and the posts just started flowing after that!
My next tip is to stop comparing yourself to others. I went through a phase (and still often do) of reading some of my favourite blogs then becoming really uninspired to write anything myself. "Why would people want to read my blog after seeing amazing content like this?!". They key here is to take inspiration from other people's fantastic content then get commenting and involve yourself in blogger chats to understand how you can collaborate with others to create great new ideas.
Whatever you love writing about - just do it. A bit of a cliche phrase I know but hey Nike can make it work so why can't I? This is all about not being tempted to write about specific topics or products just to get noticed. It's so much easier to write about things that make you happy. Never create content purely with the intention of getting paid or getting more followers. Never be disheartened by the fact that a post you've put hours and hours into doesn't get 10,000 views the first week you publish it for the world to see! The right readers might just be round the corner.
Anyway, this has been a bit of ramble. But that's a good thing I think from time to time. What keeps you motivated to keep on blogging?
1. Beige Bomber Jacket - £49.99*
This bomber by Maniere De Voir is lightweight and perfect for getting out and about this spring. Bombers exploded in popularity in the autumn of last year and show no signs of going out of style this season. Made from a smooth nylon fabric, it's a steal at just under 50 quid ribbed collar, hem and cuffs. The quality looks great and it's also available in black, which would be great for casual evenings drinks. Available here.
2. Slim Fit Cotton Blend Shirt - £215
This jacket from Our Legacy is versatile enough to be worn over a casual tee but can also be styled up with formal trousers to create an evening look. It's not cheap at £215 but very unique with a zipped front rather than the usual buttons. It's tightly woven from a durable linen yet still machine washable, which is super handy. It's also slim fit which I always prefer when it comes to shirts, so it shouldn't gather too much on the sleeves or on the chest. Available here
3. APC Wool Blend Shirt - £195A classic check shirt from is a must for Spring. This APC wool blend plaid shirt is thick enough to be worn over a t-shirt or buttoned on it's own on a warmer day. Again this is slim cut so the fit is snug but not skin tight. I find APC fits really true to size so no need to go up from your usual size for this one. The thin red stripe is a bit unique here and sets it apart from your normal check. APC has a great Spring collection over at End Clothing.
4. Adidas Ultra boost Uncaged - £129
Nobody is owning the premium sneaker market right now more than Adidas. From NMD to Stan Smith and Yeezy they have been responsible for the recent explosion in high end trainers and it shows no signs of coming to a halt anytime soon. The new Ultra boost uncaged is the perfect example of this.
*Please note this post contains sponsored content, clearly indicated by an asterisk. All views are my own.