Illustrated Teacup

Family and lifestyle blog from a tattooed wife, exploring the big wide world

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?

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?


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

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?

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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