Illustrated Teacup

Family | Lifestyle | Food | Tattoos | Southampton

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

LIFESTYLE: What I've learnt from 2014

It's been an interesting year, completely  different  to what I expected  back in January, and ending with new life lessons, achievements and challenges. 

When I started this blog at the beginning of the year, all I knew was that I wanted a place to channel my passion for tattoos and writing, and something to distract me from my lack of career. A challenge to keep me happy. And it achieved that goal.
 
I love writing, though I don't  write  as often as I would like (new years resolution!) But I'm  getting better, despite  juggling  more!

2014 has taught  me a lot about myself and what I want for my life. 2013 was incredibly, in that, I married  the best man I could  have  ever hoped for, but 2014, has shown me how wonderful  and supportive  he is, and how important  he is to me. We suffered  immeasurable tragedy this year, but also personal and professional  growth.


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Sunday, 28 December 2014

FASHION: Gemstone Treasures from Wild Inanda

I've been following this little company for a little while now, even before its re-brand from Native Wolf.

I'm all about supporting little brands, independent companies and hand-made items.
Wild Inanda from blogger Natasha of A Design Rookie is all about bohemian soul and natural beauty from gemstones, minerals and fossils.

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Saturday, 20 December 2014

LIFESTYLE: A taxidermy gift guide for beginners

I've been slowly collecting taxidermy for the last couple of years. 

Steadily I am gathering a rather lovely little collection, including butterflies, moths, beetles, skulls, bones, wings and taxidermy.
I am often asked where to shop, and where to start, so I thought a post was in order, especially just before Christmas.

Personally, I avoid Ebay as much as possible. There is just no degree of certainty around the ethics and origins of the item, and I prefer supporting the independent stores that specialise in the macabre. However, that being said, we have been fortunate to receive a perfect fox skull with a rare double canine for a bargain as the seller had no idea what it could have been worth.


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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

WISHLIST: Alternative Christmas Gifts under £50

So you're  buying for that someone special, or you've  been saving for the last nine months and are going to be everyone's best friend this festive season with your sheer generosity.
Of course this range is the most fun...

Gifts under £50:


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Saturday, 13 December 2014

WISHLIST: Alternative Princess Girly Gifts

I'm a bit of a contradiction. I wear lots of black for my home wear, I love taxidermy and tattoos, but I also love princesses and Disney.

My best friends share my Disney obsessions, and now I'm going to share some gift ideas for your very own princess friend.


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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

WISHLIST: Alternative Christmas Gifts under £25

Gradually moving up the spend limit, here is when the fun really starts. There is so much to find in this range for the chicks.
Here's my pick of gifts under £25 for your favourite lady


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Saturday, 6 December 2014

WISHLIST: A geeky gift guide

My household is a little on the geeky side.
We play Playstation games, we love lego, we completely nerd out over natural history. My husband goes made for code, and I am nuts about design.

So what better way to celebrate our geek side, than with a gift guide/wishlist of items for the geeky couple!

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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

WISHLIST: Alternative Christmas Gifts under £10

So you need a mini gift for a friend  or something different to add to the pile... well I've  got your alternative bum covered. 

Being a fan of lots of little gifts for others, I love searching for quirky gifts at affordable prices. 

So here's my top gifts under £10 for the alternative lady!


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Saturday, 29 November 2014

WISHLIST: Perfect Gifts for a Crazy Cat Lady

Ok, I'll admit it. I am a crazy cat lady.

I've loved cats since I was a little girl. And owning two only reinforces the cat lady tendencies further.

I really do love anything that is cat quirky. And I'm not fussy on the type of cat either, extending to big cats as well (though I do prefer our domesticated friends - however if anyone is offering a tame pet tiger then I am your girl)

So what do you buy for the girl who's clothes are always covered in fur, when they're not meant to, collects ribbons (excellent cat toy) and sometimes has the scent of cat nip?


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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

LIFESTYLE: What to do in Paris for a weekend

As a birthday treat, hubby took me for a long weekend to Paris... i know, lucky girl.
So i thought I'd  share some of my hints and tips for a trip to Paris, and share some of my photos. 

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Sunday, 16 November 2014

LIFESTYLE: Birthday Gifts for a Tattooed Girl

So on monday I turned 25. A quarter of a Century. To celebrate, hubby took me to Paris for four days. I know... lucky lady right?!

So I thought I would cover the best gifts for a tattooed girl.

One of my top presents, from hubby, was my cat Vans. I mean just look at them! Perfect for any crazy cat lady who loves her sneakers!


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Friday, 7 November 2014

FASHION: Alternative Clothing from Disturbia



I am always on the look out for new fashion items, and I'm always re-evaluating my style. 
My current style for home wear is relaxed, alternative fashion. Because my work wear is more structured, with dresses, pencil skirts and heels I like to have a more chilled outfit for home: Leggings, jeans, tees, baseball tops, skater dresses and boyfriend cardigans. Mix with boots, converse or pumps and I am one happy lass. 

When I discovered Disturbia via Cally-Jo's Instagram account I knew I had to go take a look, and I wasn't disappointed. 

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Monday, 3 November 2014

TATTOOS: The sternum tattoo - the new fashion statement

If you're  like me, you'll love looking at tattoos on Pinterest and Instagram,  and being inspired by others tattoo work.
 
And you will have noticed over the years that there tends to be a trend within tattoos,  especially in the more mainstream community.  The 90's saw the rise of the tribal armband,  and the 00s saw a lot of love for the lower back or affectionately  named 'tramp stamp'. 

Recently I've noticed a trend in sternum or under-boob tattoos. They are cropping up on Instagram and Pinterest in all sorts of styles, from neo-traditional full colour,  to intricate black and white dot work.


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Thursday, 30 October 2014

TATTOOS: Halloween Tattoos and Art

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! It's the season of the spooky and fancy dress. Yes I am a day early - but I'm way too excited!

I love a bit of Halloween. I'm desperate for a house and kids so I can throw amazing Halloween parties with carved pumpkins, cobwebs everywhere (the fake ones, rather than the I haven't cleaned in a month ones), jelly eyeballs in cocktails and everyone dressed up as their favourite Halloween character.


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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

LIFESTYLE: Look around my home

My little flat shared with my husband and two cats is my favourite place to be. It is filled with mementoes from our lives together. As we are currently looking for a new house to buy, it seemed the right time to share what my last rented flat looks like, before we take the leap to a grown up house!

I like to think of my flat as a cross between an art gallery and a natural museum. Of course we have the usual family photographs, especially from our wedding and bits and pieces from our travels.

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Saturday, 11 October 2014

TATTOOS: Review - London Tattoo Convention 2014

Ok so I'm a little behind on the old blog, but I'm having a catch up day and scheduling lots of tattoo goodness. New job means I am totally whipped most nights, so I'm having to change my schedule and start getting organised with weekend blogging and post scheduling.

So what better way to get back my mojo than with a review of the awesome London Tattoo Convention 2014.
Myself and hubby went to the convention for the first time this year. Of course we are by no means convention virgins, having been to Brighton earlier this year, and Bournemouth back in the day! But London Tattoo Convention is like no other tattoo convention, it really is the one that any tattoo lover needs to attend!

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Monday, 6 October 2014

TATTOOS: Review - Things & Ink, issue 8: the illustration issue

As many of you will know I am a magazine lover, most likely from my journalism days where I studied and absorbed countless magazines.
 
But none get me as excited as Things and Ink. Maybe it's because it's a quarterly magazine so there is more build up and pre-promotion. But also because I love what it stands for.

Issue 8 sees the relaunch of the magazine under a new slogan "independent,  tattoo, lifestyle", which you can read more about here.

As always, there is a central theme, with this issue being illustration, which is perfectly depicted by their covers, which have been illustrated over by the super talented and dark, Danielle Rose. And what is tattoo culture without illustration. It is the key.

This issue is filled with so many inspiring people, and not its not all about the tattoos. Take Ella Masters for instance, her interview is about her personal artistic influences and her blog. Or nail artist Nancy Mc talking about her work and future.

Of course all the articles have a feature of tattooing, such as the amazing editorial beauty piece on Cally Jo, complimented with some of the most beautiful photography I've ever seen. For me, this piece sold the magazine to me. I'm lucky enough to have worked with Cally before she became tattoo famous, and interviewed her as part of my final major project at university (I got a first for that piece, so thanks Cally).


I also love the column by Reeree which explores tattoo journeys. Anyone with multiple tattoos, whether large scale or smaller designs will find this article interesting and thought-provoking.

And last but by no means least is the interesting Disney article debating whether tattooists like doing them or not. Of course, I'm pro Disney tattoo, but I do like a tattooists interpretation of them just as much as the original illustrations.

Overall, this issue is up there as one of their best and my favourite. 

You can buy yours here, and check out their blog for more tattoo articles.
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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

BLOGGING: Confessions of a blogger

I'm finally getting the hang of this blogging and networking malarky, and have a new little network of geeky gals which includes the lovely NerdyGirlie.



She posted a challenge to write our five blogger confessions. I love a good challenge. So here we go:

1. Finding Balance

I am a workaholic. Completely. I have a full time job, I freelance in graphic design and write my own magazine on behalf of Contagious, I blog, I study Marketing and sometimes I have a social life.
But finding the balance isn't always easy. I'll admit that blogging is usually the first thing to take a back-burner, along with my social life.

2. I Don't Usually Plan

In my full-time work life, I plan, I organise and I am good at my job. I've planned other peoples schedules. I pride myself in being super organised at all times. But when it comes to blogging, I'm a little bad at planning. I want to be better. I want to be a couple of weeks ahead with my blog so I have consistent content but it's not always possible due to point one!

3. I'm a Night Owl

I work at night. It's when I work best. Usually from 9:30pm I get a burst of creativity and can really roll out the posts, edit photos and get inspired. During the day at weekends I just seem to distract myself, so I save all my focused work for after dark. The only downside, I loose a lot of sleep, especially with my 5:30am starts during the week.

4. Small Fish in a Big World

I sometimes feel like my niche holds me back from a lot of opportunities. I'm no fashion or beauty blogger. I'm unlikely to ever be invited to London Fashion Week, or get a press pass to Clothes Show. And I'm definitely not going to please everyone as a pro-tattoo 20 year old. But in some respects I'm very happy with this situation. I'm fairly unique, which I hope means my loyal readers actually really like what I write. And I love the debates and shared opinions on some of my posts.

5. Big Aspirations

I really want to be a big fish, but not necessarily in the blogging industry. I want to make a name for myself within the tattoo industry. I'm never going to be a tattooist or artist, I just don't have the skill, hence my blog slogan, but I can write and I am truly passionate about learning and teaching about tattoos and their culture. To be amongst the well-known names of Matt Lodder, Alice Snape or Marisa Kakoulas would be a dream come true. And I would love to write for or be featured in Things and Ink magazine - it's just too beautiful.


So what are your blogger confessions?


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Monday, 15 September 2014

TATTOOS: Instagram as a Tattoo Resource

A couple of weeks back I started this mini series of tattoo resource posts, starting with this one on Pinterest. Unfortunately due to intense work overload Illustrated Teacup took a little bit of a back-burner! But I'm back with lots of content ready! So here's Instagram as a tattoo resource.

I love Instagram, like really love it. It is just filled with beautiful images, so what's not to love?

And I have to say it's really widened my range in terms of tattoos.

The majority of tattooists use Instagram to promote themselves and their work, meaning there is a whole host of tattoo imagery available, and from the original source too.
Unfortunately there is the downside of copied tattoos and individuals claiming others images as their own. Just look at Rachel Baldwin's famous Red Riding Hood tattoo, a totally stunning custom piece, which has been copied, line for line, more than a dozen times.

*original from Rachel Baldwin on the left, a mix of copies on the right - all from Instagram


However, I personally have had great luck with Instagram as I have found some of my favourite artists through the platform, including Dani Green, who I have since had two tattoos from and had the pleasure of interviewing.But it the copying of images and theft of images is a troubling problem that many tattooists and fans have to rise above. I would be pretty upset to see one of my tattoos copied, but at the same time and proud to share it on my Instagram, and that of the tattooist who created it.

Images on Instagram can be hashtagged and with no word limit for the captions, you can make images really searchable. Of course there is such a thing as too many hashtags!

Plus if you love searching for inspiration, there are numerous accounts designed to promote tattooists and tattoo work.

So what are your thoughts on Instagram as a tattoo resource?
Have you had a tattoo inspired from Instagram?

Also follow me on Instagram here!
 Instagram

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Monday, 1 September 2014

TATTOOS: Pinterest as a Tattoo Resource

 Pinterest Tattoos

There are so many places on to get tattoo inspiration, and with technology advancing so fast, it only stands to reason that people are turning to the internet for inspiration.
So I thought I would analyse some of the biggest tattoo inspiration resources, for their pros and their cons.

Today I'm looking at Pinterest.
It's the tools that mums, brides-to-be and bored teenagers adore!
I used it extensively while planning my wedding, it is a photo junkies dream come true. Can can find recipes, how-to guides, infographics and more within these pages.

Pinterest even has its top sections which include Weddings, Kids, Health & Fitness and of course Tattoos. A whole host of images come under these sections, and clicking the 'pin' takes you to the host page from the image. I link lots of my blog posts to my Pinterest boards.

The fun of Pinterest as a tattoo resource is that you can save any images you love and are inspired by onto your own board. You can see mine here.
Save artwork, sketches, actual tattoos and more all in one place - plus you can pin images that you've found elsewhere to your board too so you never loose them. Remember all those times you had to save stuff from Google Images to your computer, well now you can just pin them to your tattoo board for safe keeping, and save some space on your hard-drive.



A word of warning however - unfortunately Pinterest doesn't always link back to the correct source, so finding the original artists/tattooists can be difficult. Pinterest should really only be used to inspire designs that you take to a tattooist to create a new piece especially for you.


Do you use Pinterest - if you do - leave me your links below?!
And do you use Pinterest for your tattoo inspiration, and if not where do you go?

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Friday, 22 August 2014

FASHION: Wishlist - Black Milk Clothing does Disney

So you might have noticed that I am a HUGE fan of Disney... like a MASSIVE fan.

When I saw that Black Milk Clothing was releasing a princesses and villains collection - well queue the swoon!

So here are my favourites from the collection - and top of my wishlist - hint hint hubby!


Cinderella Play Dress
This is just perfection in a dress featuring part of Walt Disney's favourite animation; her dress transformation, plus of course every girls dream home - the castle.

Disney Princess Leggings
Bright and fun and covered in some of the most beautiful faces in the world - who doesn't love them?

Marie Reversible Skater Dress
For the girl who doesn't start fights, but finishes them - this super cute skater dress hides the inner bad-ass gal!

Disney Villains Leggings
Because if you have the princesses you need to have their evil counterparts. Buy a pair of each for you and your bestie to wear together! I know mine is getting hers for her birthday presents this year.


Tale as old as Time Scoop Skater Dress
This one I bought instantly - I can personally vouch for how amazing this dress is in person. As a Beauty and the Beast fan (yeah I know you know that) this was an instant must-have. Covered in scenes from that amazing stain-glass that is so iconic!

Sleeping Beauty Long Sleeve Dress
Another of my favourites - it's high on my list of must-haves featuring the classic Sleeping Beauty characters.

Snow White Peplum Skirt
This is such a unique and unusual skirt featuring Snow White and those infamous red apples. This a super cute take on a classic skirt.

Wonderland Vegas Suit
This is just too cool. I would literally have no occasion to wear this, but it is such a show-stopper I had to feature it. Plus I love Alice in Wonderland.


You can find all these and more in the Black Milk Princesses and Villains collection, with many of the items still in stock or made to order.
Plus they offer free standard shipping to the UK, which takes about three weeks to arrive - which to be honest is nothing because this collection is worth every penny and the wait.

What's your favourite piece from the collection?
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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

TATTOOS: Questions that tattooed people hate

As a heavily tattooed girl I get asked a lot of questions from both friends and strangers about tattoos.

Some are relevant and good questions that lead to an interesting conversation and debate.
But some are just plain pointless.
After reading this article, it got me thinking about some of the questions I've been asked over the years.

How much did your sleeve cost?

I was asked this last night... and in all honesty I have no idea. I've had so many sessions over a couple of years that I have no clue at its current value.  But it's like asking how much is the contents of your wardrobe? Collectors just don't keep track of the costs. 

Is that real?

This can only be answered with sarcasm. Usually a lot the lines of:

A) No I wake up every morning and sharpie my entire body
B) I'm actually 12 and these are those fun transfers that you stick to your skin - I just never got out of that phase!

Why people feel the need to ask this question bewilders me. I was even asked in a South African airport a few years ago if I air-brushed it on. I had just got off a 12 hour over night flight - I looked a mess, but yes - I just love airbrushing my body!

Did it hurt?

Now I've covered this in my post here. But to sum up:
Sharp needles in skin. It is in no way similar to being licked by a puppy or a unicorn. So yes - they hurt. 

Are you going to cover your whole body?

How long is a piece of string? Are you a time traveller?
If you have a positive answer for either of these then I am more than happy to have a proper conversation with you. If not, then I can't. I have no clue as to how my body is going to turn out

Do you think I should get XYZ tattoo?

I'm seriously conflicted about this question.
I am touched that people want my opinion, although I rarely give my honest opinion - which is - I don't care what tattoo YOU have - it's your body. But on the other hand, I am no expert in how to construct a tattoo and I also do not necessarily know you enough (or in same cases at all) to pass judgement on what will or will not suit you.

Are you going to get that coloured in?

I had this A LOT when my right sleeve was in the line-work stage (I have all my lining done in one session - thank you Lee). In certain styles, I can understand this question as the style could go colourless - however, my neo-traditional style definitely suggests it needs colouring.


So what questions have you been asked that made you cringe?

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Monday, 11 August 2014

TATTOOS: Do Tattoos Hurt?

It's the age old question, a question that still to this day is not completely answered. It's deeply personal and every person you meet will have a different answer.


Do tattoos hurt?


In short, in my opinion, yes.
But there's so much more to it. Yes they are painful. You have to remember you have a needle, or in the case of shading,  several needles repeatedly penetrating your skin through to the dermis. That process hardly screams pain-free.

But it's not as bad as it sounds. Yes needles are going into your skin, but so do the ones in acupuncture and you don't feel those at all.

The first 10 minutes are pretty tough as your body adjusts to the pain and your adrenaline kicks in. But once you settle and a relax (tensing up makes the entire thing worse) it is easier to take the pain.
Of course I am talking about tattoos that a going to take longer than an hour. The most I've sat in one session is five and a half hours of actual tattooing time. It wasn't easy. It is physically draining. And different parts of the body are different in terms of pain.



Those fun infographics on Pinterest of the pain for different parts of the body aren't completely wrong - although every one will have a different opinion. I think foot tattoos are hard work and incredibly painful and uncomfortable,  where as a girl I lived next door to in halls at university was the complete opposite and had no problems with her foot.

It is also the cleaning process that causes some pain. Wiping that fresh wound repeated is intensely sore and irritating - though it is required. 

General consensus is that it is more annoying and uncomfortable than actual pain. It's a scratchy feeling that gets annoying, plus coupled with an unusual sitting/laying position (you're usually contorted in some way for a long sitting) and hours of being in a similar position, the whole process drains you.

My tips for dealing with the pain:


  • Distraction - watch a film on a tablet or read - keeping your mind occupied will keep you from focusing on the pain and discomfort
  • Relax - try focused steady breathing to get through the tougher parts
  • Talk - also works in the same way as a film, keeping your mind on other things
  • Use Bactine - now this stuff is amazing. One of my tattooists uses this on her clients as she tends to do a lot of whole day sessions and this makes the whole thing easier. Spray on a open wound - i.e. after one layer of shading and it completely numbs the area - but you can only use it on areas already tattooed so you'll have to sit the linework old school.
Don't worry - they aren't as bad as this Youtube Video!

All in all, it's not going to be like being licked by a puppy, but it isn't so bad that you'll be traumatised for life either. 


How do you feel about the pain of tattoos?
And how do you deal with the pain?

*image from Pinterest
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Thursday, 7 August 2014

LIFESTYLE: My Reverse Bucket List

This year has been a pretty tough one on a personal level. I've had lots of ups, and a lot of lows. But when I read about reverse bucket lists I thought it was about time I focused on the positives. If I find the link to the original article I will link it - but I've totally lost it now! 

No I'm not where I thought I would be life-wise but I have done a lot of things that should be celebrated.
A reverse bucket list is all the things you've done so far, what you've ticked off your list, what you've achieved in your life so far.

So here's mine:

  • Go to and graduate from University with a 2:1 
  • Ride an elephant
  • Get a tattoo
  • Swim in the sea abroad
  • Feed a tiger
  • Feed an elephant
  • Stroke a cheetah
  • Get married
  • Backpack round Italy
  • Visit Paris



All in all not too shabby a list.

Admittedly my bucket list is a little longer.. but that's the point isn't it - aim for more than you've done already.


  • Ride a camel
  • Go to Disneyland and DisneyWorld
  • See the Pyramids
  • Swim with a dolphin
  • Go snorkling
  • Have children
  • Buy a house
  • Run my own business
  • Write a book
  • Take a taxidermy class
  • Go to Australia
  • Ride in a helicoptor
  • Go in a hot air balloon
I have to say looking back at the things I have achieved has really helped me keep myself happy and realise that I am fortunate in what I have managed to accomplish. I have been given many opportunities and I have worked hard for the others. 
So here's to looking forward to another 24 years filled with life experiences.

What's on your reverse bucket list? Are you proud of what you have achieved so far? And what have you yet to achieve?
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Monday, 4 August 2014

TATTOOS: My Tattoo Timeline

At 24 I have quite the tattoo collection.
So I figured after 6 months of blogging I should share my tattoo story, my history, what's brought me to the point where I can write about tattoos weekly.


Age 18: it all started here. My first tattoo on my 18th birthday,. I had a swirling black 'R' on my ankle, and the studio sang happy birthday to me. I'd had this design for about a year before I had it done, and I'd promised my mother that I would wait til my 18th and that I would go to a reputable tattoo studio I.e. the one she went to.
Later, in the August (my birthday is November) I had 'Mum' on my wrist and 'S' and 'N' enclosed in stars on my back - for my sisters. Again at the same studio as before. The script is a standard from a PC and the stars were so in at the time!

Age 19: I went to a new studio recommended by my then boyfriend (now husband) and had a greyscale rose on my foot and the name 'Gordon' down side. This was in  memory of my grandfather around the 10 year anniversary of his death. The rose has huge meaning for me personally and despite the pain it is still one of my most poignant tattoos. Also, the e-card saying 'foot tattoos aren't for a punk bitch' are totalky accurate. I hated it, and it would take a lot to get my other foot done!

Age 20: I added to my back with a grey-scale angel which overlooks the stars. Partly designed by my husband its not exactly in keeping with my current tattoos (more on them next) but I was really into black and grey at the time.

Age: 21: at least I think I was 21, I had my wrist extended to include a orange, red and yellow koi carp, again designed by my husband.  It has an oversized tail which I still love. Neither the colour nor the lines are fab, but for £25 you really do get what you pay for, and this  was done as a walk in to a studio I'd never been to before, and wouldn't go back to either!
At around this time - again I think, I had two sessions done on my back for a full colour tiger tattoo. They are a pain, one orange and one white. The first session was 4.5 hours, then another of 3.5 hours. Both ended in tears, mine of course. But was totally worth it. On a side note, the back is pretty tough towards the sides of your ribs especially when you're incredibly ticklish!

Age 22: in the December of 2011 I started my right sleeve. I was in full time employment straight out of university so decided to make a start. My sleeve to this day is still unfinished - though that will change in September. In total it has taken six sessions of between 2 -3 hours with the last session just before my wedding in May 2013. My aim was to have all of my outer arm done before then so it would look complete in our photos.  Plus I have been putting off my inner arm for ages because I am a wuss!

Age 23: I started my left sleeve with Saranna which is based on my beautiful black cat Acrhimedes, made even more regal with a big white collar. Then we added a compass, a scarab beetle and some floral fillers. This has been a piece by piece tattoo, added to in two to three hour sessions.

Age 24: in February I met the wonderful Dani Green and I received my first proper leg tattoo. It was a design from her Instagram which I love. Then in June I went back to her and had a custom piece done themed around Beauty and the Beast on my thigh.
















What's your tattoo history?
Have you done a similar post - if you have, leave me a link in the comments!


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Thursday, 31 July 2014

BLOGGING: Nominated for a Liebster Award!

So I've been blogging for six months now, and in a rather timely coincidence I have been nominated for a Liebster Award by the lovely Carrie from Pretty Little Design.

Thankfully she had a full explanation on her post of the whole process:

"According to good old Google, the Liebster Awards have been going round for years. The idea being, that relatively new bloggers can connect with each other, and nominate each other for these awards. It's a great way to show your readers who else they should follow! The rules of the Liebster Award are as follows:1 - Thank/link the blogger who nominated you.2 - Answer the 11 questions that they have written for you.3 - Give 11 random facts about yourself.4 - Nominate other bloggers with under 200 followers who you believe deserve the award.5 - Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer & be sure to let them know that they have been selected."


My 11 Facts:

1. I have nine tattoos and counting - I do plan to have two full sleeves and my legs covered
2. I have ridden on an elephant - it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life
3. I collect taxidermy and framed butterflies/moths
4. I could literally eat Haagen Daiz Cookies and Cream Ice Cream forever
5. I am obsessed with US crime dramas, especially Criminal Minds, Bones and CSI
6. I talk to my cats....a LOT... and they chirp and meow back!
7. I love travelling, anywhere and everywhere
8. I am mildly obsessed with Disney, and watch continuous Disney films when ill or sad
9. I am also mildly obsessed with stationary - like I love it far too much
10. I am currently studying marketing at home, in the hopes of changing career path and one day running my own freelance business
11. If I could wear tutu's everyday... I would

Questions from Carrie:

1. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully in a marketing career, with a little family in my own house and maybe a freelance business on the side too. I would also LOVE to write a book.

2. What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was 14, so school. Probably totally nerding it.

3. What's your favourite kind of blog post to write?
I love writing opinion pieces on slightly out of the box topics (usually around tattoos – especially if they’re in the news). But really anything on tattoos as it’s my niche topic and I love the feedback I get.

4. What's your favourite meal?
My husband makes the most amazing oven baked salmon with mash potato and asparagus. It is literally the yummiest at home meal.
Eating out – I just LOVE Wagamamas – especially the Wagamama Ramen.

5. What was the best thing you did last week?
Last week we started plans for buying a house, and attended a Home Buyers Event. So I feel like we are really progressing with our future.

6. What was your favourite memory of 2013?
I got married – it will be one of my favourite memories for the rest of my life. I loved it, it was the most spectacular, beautiful day; I felt amazing and like a princess.

7. What are you looking forward to this year?
Hopefully going to Paris for my 25th birthday in November (hint, hint, hubby).

8. What is the most important item in your wardrobe?
Does it count if it’s on top of your wardrobe? If so, definitely my wedding dress. It is boxed beautifully to keep it.

9. What's your favourite item of jewellery?
My wedding ring. It’s the most expensive piece I own and is totally stunning.

10. If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?
I have two cats, and they are just perfect, if a little stupid sometimes.

11. What's your favourite TV show?
I can't choose, I have too many and it really depends on the day. At this moment in time, it's New Girl and Criminal Minds. 


My Nominations: (based on Bloglovin followers)


So now for my questions for the above lovely ladies!


My Questions:

1. Best achievement of 2014?
2. Favourite animal?
3. If someone made a film about your life, who would play you?
4. Tattoos - yay or nah?
5. Favourite film?
6. What is your favourite guilty pleasure?
7. What's your most embarrassing story?
8. How did you meet your best friend?
9. Why did you start blogging?
10. Who is in your inspiration?
11. What is your dream job?

So I guess that is that - this was a fun little post. 

Thanks for reading - and go check out my nominees. 



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Saturday, 26 July 2014

SOCIAL: Five Instagram accounts you should be following

I love, love, love instagram.  I don't have many followers (hint, hint, I'm here if you would like to follow)  nut it's an amazing resource for a tattoo lover, photography lover or if you just love looking at other peoples photos. 

So here are my current favourite Instagram accounts.

Callyjoart

I've been fortunate enough to know this girl personally, and she helped me loads for my final major project at university. She's now becoming one of the biggest names in the tattoo industry,  and with over 200,000 followers thats hardly surprising.  Her grey scale art has gotten her world-wide recognition amd had her tattooing some of the biggest stars in the world, including Rihannas infamous hand tattoo. Her sketches alone are amazing,  and she's stunning too,  which makes you want to hate her, but she's too nice, take it from me.


Katy Gold

This girl is beautiful, funny and covered in beautiful colourful tattoos.  She basically looks how I would love to look. Her instagram is filled with her modelling work,  and the occasional selfie, prooving that she doesn't need make-up to look amazing. Plus her style is totally up my street.


Georgina tattoo

Another Southampton girl, Georgina's account is filled with beautiful colour tattoos that just fill me with joy. She's all about intricate colourful elegant tattoos, and her animal tattoos are to die for. Plus this raven haired beauty does post the occasional selfie with her guy on, and they are a pretty gorgeous couple.


Jason Minauro

This dude is awesome. He posts sketches daily. And these sketches alone are fab. Compared to my sketches, his are a work of art.  His account is filled with art and tattoos, but also show real insight into him as a husband, father and person. What secured my live for him was when his dog was stolen and they got her back. His IG kept up the search, showed support, and eventually showed her back at home. It was heart-warming to see such dedication.

Inspired Tattoo Portraits

This account is just filled with tattoo awesomeness - including a truly epic torso piece, and a equally amazing back piece. Celebrating the individuality of tattoos, this account is full of beauty.



What are your favourite Instagram accounts at the moment?
Who should I be following?

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Friday, 25 July 2014

LIFESTYLE: My Raremoments Boudoir Shoot Experience

I recently won a facebook competition for a boudoir shoot at a local photo studio called Rare Moments Photography and thought I would share my experience with you. 

I've never done anything like it before and thought hey, you only live once right. After a pretty shit start to the year, I felt like my luck was starting to change and maybe things were on the up so why not try something a little out of my comfort zone. After feeling pretty down about myself and feeling let down by my body, I wanted to gain my old confidence back, and prove to myself I'm still the woman I was last year,  if not better!

Arriving into the very scenic Petersfield I found the studio pretty quickly. I was instantly welcomed in and seated and having a chat with one of the girls on reception. Shortly after commenced hair and make up.
Not going to lie I felt glammed up after Casey was finished with me. If only I could look that sophisticated everyday.



Then onto the shoot. My photographer was amazing.  Put me totally at ease, completely comfortable and made the entire experience relaxed and most importantly.... fun. I couldn't hold all the poses (credit to models everywhere) and I was sweating like mad as it was a hot Saturday and even the HUGE fan was giving up on itself! The whole photo experience was fab. I would definitely do it again!

They have a slightly different set up compared to most studios. Viewings are done on a different day to the shoot. I think its quite good personally.  It keeps the anticipation going longer, and you're more likely to stay with in budget as you're not still riding your glam high from being a model for an hour.

On arrival to our ordering appointment we were met by the lovely staff and shown to a private room with a sofa (and sweets) to be shown my images. First was a slideshow set to music of all my photos. I was pretty impressed not going to lie, especially with the lovely and confidence boosting comments. 

Then we went through the images one by one using a traffic light system, green yes, amber maybe and red no. This eventually whittled us down to 13 images. We then got down to 8 final images in digital files. As with all photo studios the images are not cheap, but I was given a price list on leaving from my shoot so I was prepared. 
It was not the easiest decision getting the numbers down.
"Rare Moments did an amazing job. I'm so happy with the photos, and I really hadn't anticipated loving them as much as I do.
The entire experience was amazing. I felt empowered, beautiful, comfortable, confident and proud of myself. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking to treat themselves and boost their self-love and body confidence. "

https://www.facebook.com/RMBoudoir/photos/a.602142023227689.1073741981.108846919223871/602142173227674/?type=1&theater



You can find Rare Moments Boudoir Photography on Facebook or see their website.
*copyright is owned by Rare Moments Boudoir and images cannot be replicated without prior permission
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Monday, 21 July 2014

TATTOOS: Keeping your tattoo safe in the sun

After a couple of weekends of beautiful sunshine down on the coast in Hampshire, I got inspired to write about how to look after and protect your pretty ink from the sun.

As a pale girl who starts to resemble a lobster if left in the sun too long, I'm big on sun screen. Personally I usually start at 30SPF, especially at the start of the summer, or the start of a holiday, as my skin just can't take the heat. Or I cover up on my trouble areas - mostly my shoulders.



It's so important to protect your tattoos with sun screen to stop them burning. This could lead to peeling,  which could affect the overall colour of your tattoo. You know how the sun bleaches fabric left in the sun for a few days,  well, it will do the same to your skin, and fade the colour.

However, DO NOT use sun block on a fresh tattoo. Follow the after-care instructions given to you by your tattooist. Keep your new ink covered and shaded. You can use sun screen after the peeling stage, once you have that new layer of healed skin. And remember, a tattoo is classed as fully healed about three months after your tattoo. So don't take the risk in those three months especially.






Long term, well, the sun isn't fab for your skin if you're a sun worshipper. You know that leathery brown skin you see on the beach. Well picture that with dark blurred drawings on too! Not good. Now of course, its a fact of life that your tattoo isn't going to look as amazing as it did on the first day compared to 20, 30 or 40 years down the line.  But you can make it last so much longer with a little love and care.

Stay hydrated.  Dry skin isn't going to bode well in the sun. 

And remember, your tattoo is your investment. Treat it as such. It doesn't take a huge amount of effort to look after your tattoos in the sun, and it will be worth it to keep that vibrant look for years to come.   
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Saturday, 19 July 2014

FASHION: Five Alternative Fashion Clothing Brands

I'm a big lover of unique clothing, although I do love a good Primark haul. But for statement pieces it is all about the alternative. Here's my top five alternative fashion brands. 


Drop dead clothing

I've only really discovered this brand recently but I do love their clothing. Plus have you seem their super cute Itchy and Scratchy collection?!



Geek la Chic

I've been in love with Geek La Chic for a little while now. If you want geeky goodness then this is the place to be. They have Disney, Star Wars, Harry Potter, you name it they probably have it. Imparticular their Disney collection is amazing. Think Hot Topic, but UK based, with much lower prices and shipping costs.



House of Contagious

I had to include HOC. Of course I do work for them on a consulting basis, but their clothes are pretty fab. All in Lycra this brand is completely unique.  From figure hugging body con dresses, amd leggings, to floating skater skirts and dresses. Plus they have a full custom service, so if you love a print but want it in a different style, just pop them an email and it's yours. 



Sacred Stitches

Both myself and my hubby love this brand. Based in Brighton, this team of two are fabulous and really lovely too. Not only are they online, but you can find them at London and Brighton Tattoo Conventions.  With some amazing collaborations including artist Liz Clements, and tattooists Ramon Maiden and Emily Wood; Sacred Stitches is the tattoo lovers best fashion provider, and on top of that, they also do homeware and accessories.



Killstar

For the Gothic girl, this fashion brand is witching goodness all over. With collaborations with Lozzy-bones (that three eyed cat is just too awesome) and black and white styling throughout this collection is both fun and stylish. I'm particularly I'm love with the Egyptian inspired dresses and leggings.




What are your favourite alternative fashion brands?

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Thursday, 17 July 2014

TATTOOS: In the workplace

Its hardly an uncommon sight these days. The little pink rose peeking  behind a strap or the Chinese symbol of love, or soup, depending on the artist, on a persons ankle. 

But yet again these little tokens of our past are hitting the news. 

This story was everywhere last week. So I just had to comment. 

Anyone who has read this blog before, has looked at my about page, or knows me personally, will know I have a number of tattoos, ranging little ones of made of a few lines, to an entire sleeve. 

And yes, I work full time. And fortunately my workplace has a relaxed view to tattoos. Though this wasn't always the case. When I first had my sleeve done I had to wear a blazer or cardigan all day as the policy was NO visible tattoos. This was relaxed about 18 months ago to no offensive tattoos. Not going to lie, I was pleased.  However I do ensure I have something to cover up with in case of special guests. Though as I've had a full conversation and approval from my bosses bosses boss about five times higher than  me, I think I'm OK.


I think the biggest thing for me with tattoos in the workplace is whether you are customer facing and what your industry is. 
I was a bar manager for over a year. I was definitely customer facing. But it was basically a night club. I didn't cover up.
I'm currently office based with no customer facing.  I don't cover up.

It's important to remember that if you want a certain job, you have to respect the outward image that the managers and directors want. 

There is no discrimination policy for tattoos. They are at the end of the day a choice. Discrimination against gender,  race or religion is against something they cannot control or have a choice in changing. 

There is no law protecting employees from being dismissed or not being engaged for work because they have a tattoo.
In addition the Equality Act expresses that tattoos are not protected from disability discrimination as a severe disfigurement.
It states: 'Tattoos and body piercings are not severe disfigurements that are treated as having a substantial adverse effect on the ability of the person concerned to carry out normal day-to-day activities.'

If you choose to have a tattoo, you choose to take on the risks that come with them.

What do you think about tattoos in the workplace?
Do you or would you cover up for job?
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