Illustrated Teacup

Family | Lifestyle | Food | Motherhood | Tattoos

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. 


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.


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?


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. "

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

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.   

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.


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?


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?

Monday, 14 July 2014

TATTOOS: Are we tattooing too young?

I read this post from Things and Ink the other week and thought it was an interesting piece to comment.
In a world where tattoos are becoming commonplace, and celebrity's are showing there's more and more. 

You only have to look at the images from the England World Cup Team to see their popularity has grown.
But are we starting too young? At 18 (the legal age in the UK for a tattoo. There's none of this 16 with parental consent bull that keeps coming up) are we really capable of making a decision that will last a lifetime?

I had my first tattoo at age 18. A swirling black 'R' on my ankle. Simple, nothing too expressive of my personality or experiences at the time.
Do I still love it? Yes, but not for the same reasons. The design isn't amazing, and looking back, why do I need an 'R' on my leg... I know my own name! But I still live it. Its basically pointless but I remember having it done fondly and seeing it in comparison to my other more sophisticated tattoos it shows how far I've come.

Now a simple little design isn't the end of the world if at 24 you hate the design you loved at 18. It can be covered, or lasered if you feel necessary. The problem comes when you start looking at larger scale pieces such as sleeves or back pieces. These shouldn't be taken lightly.

I started my first sleeve at 22 after I secured my first proper full time job. Now two and a half years later I'm starting my other arm and legs.

Tattoos are a huge part of my life and I wouldn't change any of  my newer, larger pieces.  That's not to say I wouldn't change any of my tattoos.

One tattoo at age 19 is not my style any more, and will most likely be covered in the coming years. But that's my point I guess. You can't be certain how you will feel about something in 5, 10, 20 years time.

My advice,  think carefully about your tattoos. Go to a good tattooist. Have a reason for it. Whether its just the right time due to a change in life, because you want to remember something or someone, or some other deep reason.

And remember most importantly. You only live once.

Do you think we tattoo too soon?
What are your experiences of young tattoos? 

Saturday, 12 July 2014

TATTOOS: Interview with Dani Green

I have developed a slight obsession with instagram and to be honest, I am thankful for it. Without it, I would never have discovered and met the super talented and ultra lovely Dani Green. You can read more about my first meeting with Dani here.

So after my first tattoo from, her, it only felt right to even out my legs and get another in the same place, but on the other leg from her two. I'm all about symmetry! Unfortunately due to some badly timed insect bites,  we had to move the design to my thigh, but that just means I will have to get that spot filled too!

Anyway, about the design; I've been a huge Disney fan from as young as I can remember. My first ever trip to the cinema was to see the Lion King. But my favourite Disney girl has to be Belle from Beauty and the Beast. She's the smart one, who loves books, who in the end falls in love, not with looks but with the personality,  and saves the fate of many... heart warming right?! Yes I'm a sucker for a fairytale happy ending. 

So I asked Dani to draw me up one of her iconic girls, with a Beauty and the Beast theme. 
Just the sketch, and then the sneak peek on her Instagram had me buzzing with excitement.

Needless to say I am totally over the moon with her. She was a tough one to sit through, but Dani was extremely understanding and lovely  and really took the pressure off. Plus her numbing spray really helped for the shading (it can only be used on an open tattoo so the lines were done with no extra help).

So I decided to find out a bit more about this talented young tattooist, and share it with you.

When did you start tattooing?
Not counting a handful of willing guinea pigs prior, I started tattooing in Febuary 2013; this is when I started taking custom as an apprentice.

What got you into tattooing in the first place?
I wanted to be a tattoo artist since I turned 19 and got my first tattoo. I had always admired the art of it but it was finally being in a studio that I realised it was a way I could get to be creative every day and make a living from it; there is no bigger want for an artist.  To please my folks I went to university and didn't begin until I was 25.

Best tattoo lesson you've learnt?
It's about the art and the process, don't work for people who want it to be about money.

A hard one, what's your favourite tattoo that you have done?
Every time I do a tattoo I am happy with it is my new favourite!  I love loads of my tattoos for different reasons.

What tattoos do you have personally?
Quite a few now, I only made the step onto visible places once I had tattooed long enough to know I was in it for life.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration comes from all sorts of places, subliminal and interest based.  Mostly for me I would say comics, anime, Disney, fine artists, Japan, and all sorts of different cultures. 

Who are your favourite tattooists?
Sooo many it's near impossible to narrow down enough for this interview.  I have really appreciated people that I do admire actually taking the time to talk to me and turning into friendships.  Jason Minauro and Fabian Langes are two in particular, go check them out!

And favourite artists?
I love Junko Mizuno, Mark Ryden, Aya Takano, Jason Limon, Francisco Goya, and many more!

What's your advice to others wanting to start a career in tattooing?
Know your drawing capabilities back to front!  Don't directly copy people; take inspiration but have your own ideas and own world, it's the only way you will stand out.

Now for some random questions:

Favourite food?

Favourite drink?

Favourite film?
I have to name a few, there is no 1 favourite - Into The Wild, Princess Monoke, Muppets Treasure Island.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Brie baguette

Dream holiday destination?

Dead or alive, who would you most like to meet for dinner?
Betty Page

Go check out Dani on her Facebook or Instagram page

*watermarked photos courtesy of Dani Green - last photo by me
*please do not copy - use for inspiration only, it's not cool to steal! - illustrations copyright of Dani Green

Monday, 7 July 2014

TATTOOS: Should you let an apprentice ink you?

So we know the reasons not to visit a scratcher, but you don't have to find a tattooist with 10 years experience to get an amazing tattoo.

All tattooists have to start somewhere. Yes many in the industry probably did start in their kitchens,  because if they are old school enough, it was the only way in. 

However these days, the best way in is through an apprenticeship.
Thankfully with the help of Instagram, these lesser known individuals are to grow their own customer base and fans. And their talent is really something to watch out for.

Some of my favourite tattoos have been done by apprentices, or artists who have just finished apprenticeships. Saranna was an apprentice when I met her and she did this butterfly on me. And I was so happy with her work, she is currently working on my left lower arm sleeve.

Apprentices tend to charge slightly lower rates,  and will spend more time with you whilst they refine their technique, learn new skills and increase their speed and confidence.  None of this takes away from their natural talent. It can take several sessions to complete your tattoo, where normally it wouldn't/ For instance, my butterfly took two sessions totally around 3.5 hours, but Saranna was very new to tattooing - and I'm still over the moon with how bright and beautiful it still looks. 

Many apprentices start out by selling prints to get their name and art out there. Followed by flash sheets and some willing volunteers. If you're happy to sit a little longer, to get a real bargain, it can be a fabulous way to add to your tattoo collection from a budding tattooist. It can take over a year to complete an apprenticeship as a tattooist, so there's a lot of development (some would argue that you never stop learning or developing, but that's a philosophical discussion for another time).

My advice: keep an eye out for new talent,  based in a studio, with other talent. Any apprentice will be being mentored by someone,  so a good teacher will create a good student. 

Remember,  everyone has to start at the bottom.

Have you or would you get inked by an apprentice? 
Who are your current favourite apprentices?

Saturday, 5 July 2014

BLOGGING: In other business: I'm a Joint Giveaway Host

Last month, I received a lovely little email from Meg of  'The Perks of being Meg' and she was offering the chance of being a co-host of her give-away.

So without further-a-do here's the details:

The Prizes

2 x Body Shop Body Butters
2 x Nail Varnishes
1 x Seventeen Lip Crayon
A variety of sweets
3 x Hot Chocolate Satchets
1 Months Free Advertising at 'The Perks of Being Meg'

Blog Giveaway

Pretty sweet prizes if I do say so myself.

Now to introduce the other co-hosts

Jules - For Vanity's Sake

Meg - The Perks of Meg

Sarah - The Laughing Medusa

And finally - the rules!

  • Follow the rules in the Rafflecopter - some entries must be done, for example, you must follow ALL the blogs on Bloglovin'.
  • The give-away is international - everyone is welcome!
  • If you are under 16 years of age, please ask permission from a parent or guardian before entering, to ensure it is OK to give out your address to receive the prize.  
  • Any competition blogs or spam will be deleted.
  • The give-away will start on the 05/07/2014 and will end on the 05/08/2014.
  • If the winner does not contact Meg within 48 hours of winning, a new winner will be selected. 

Good Luck everyone!

*images from Meg

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