Thursday, 30 July 2015

TATTOOS: Swan Tattoo by Georgina Jurd

A few months back I had the top part of my arm started to move forward with the completion of my second sleeve. Well a couple of days ago, we finished the colour stage of my outer arm with the fantastic and amazingly talented Georgina Jurd of Intense Colours, Bitterne, Southampton.

As always with my tattooists we had a lovely chat, and as a fellow cat lover we inevitably discussed our cats antics. We also discussed the recent Southampton Tattoo Festival, which she worked and I attended (thoughts: very good, very hot on Saturday, very busy Sunday!). We also had another girl being tattooed in the studio at the same time, by Gary Chase. I'm not going to lie, I didn't envy her at all - a beautiful mandala on the front of her shoulder. The detail was insane, but looked really painful due to it's placement.

I sat for a total of four hours having all my colour added. As normal, I left the colour entirely to Georgina, and we landed on pretty golds, reds, pinks and purples. Contrasted with the black and white/grey of the swans, it simple is stunning - even if I do say so myself.

Dann helped me with some photos of the finished piece - for obvious reasons!

Monday, 27 July 2015

LIFESTYLE: 25 date ideas under £25

After seven and a half years with Dann we both know the trials and tribulations of a long term partnership. It's not all whirlwind romance, flowers and meals out, because let's be honest, it's hard work and expensive. Not that a long term relationship isn't hard work, you're trying to sustain the togetherness, without murdering, which can be especially tricky if they've left their socks BY the washing basket, rather than IN it for the 600th time!

But it is nice to have some special time together. With work, social commitments, pets, family, housework, budgeting and all those other 'adult' and 'grown up' things you have to do on a daily basis, it can be hard to fit in some one on one time, and make it more exciting and interesting than binge watching OITNB or SOA on Netflix (though that is good too occasionally).

So I thought I'd share 25 date ideas for your and your partner - be it a first date, one of many, or one of far too many - and they all cost less than £25, so your bank balance won't hate you. In fact some of them cost nothing at all.

1. Bowling
Have a bit of friendly competition and go bowling for the evening. With many alley's now containing games arcades as well as a bar and restaurant, this is a nice evening out of the house.
Cost: approx £12 per person

2. Theatre
This needs to be planned in advance, and you probably won't get the best seats. Also try smaller local theatres, or amateur theatres for something a little different
Cost: larger theatres sell back row tickets for around £8 per person

3. Groupon/voucher trip or meal out
This is fab if you want to try something difference but don't want to pay out.
Cost: Half price tickets to local events, or meals for two under £25

4. Roller skating or roller disco
Something a little different for us Brits, but becoming more and more popular, and a great way to rekindle your teen years. Roller Discos are perfect for the couple that wants a night out without too much fuss.
Cost: Approx £12-15 per person dependent on location

^^we love a good picnic in the sun - taken whilst at Southampton Tattoo Convention^^

5. Picnic
Who doesn't love a picnic in the summer? Plus it's super affordable. Grab some sandwiches, sausage rolls, crisps, fruit and a thermos, find a pretty spot to sit and let the world go by.
Cost: £10 for food for the picnic - more if you are really hungry

6. Cook together
This is fun if you both like cooking. I like to cook with Dann, and bake on my own. Dann likes cooking full stop so this is always a winner for him. We like to sit and go through a cookery book and find a recipe we've never made and make it together. Set the table with some candles and you've got your very own at home restaurant experience.
Cost: Dependent on meal ingredients, should be less than £20

7. Or play 'Come Dine with Me' at home
This is quite a fun game, and can make up two date nights! Take it in turns to cook a surprise meal for each other. Score each other at your peril!
Cost: Again, dependent on meal ingredients, should be less than £20

8. Board game night
We really like doing this, especially in the winter when you just want to snuggle up and stay warm. Reminds me of childhood Christmases when we would get a new board game and play it as a family. Made more fun by a bottle of red wine and a cheese board - because we are super sophisticated. Our faves are Scrabble and Monopoly.
Cost: £20 for the board game if you don't already have one. Wine and cheese optional extras. 

9. Cinema
Traditional but a good one. We like seeing action films together, especially Marvel films as we are both secret (ok, not so secret) geeks at heart.
Cost: Approx £10 per person 

10. Volunteer at an animal shelter
Something a little different, gets you outside and in the fresh air, and doing something for a local charity. This can be a regular date too as most animal shelters are always looking for volunteers to walk the dogs, play with the cats and help the animals integrate in with humans. My local shelter is the Stubbington Ark, and it is a lovely charity which we will be volunteering at soon.
Cost: FREE

11. Pick strawberries
Lot's a farmer shops allow you to pick your own strawberries, as well as other fruits and veggies including peas, gooseberries and beans. Filled up and take home what you can carry. Also great for families. For Southampton/Hampshire locals, Pickwell's Farm Shop is a great place to go picking.
Cost: Depends on how much you pick - between 60p and £2 per lb picked dependent on item

12. Video game night
This is a personal favourite. We do this quite a lot. Hopefully you already have some games and a console... if not this will definitely no come under the £25 budget, but if you do, this is a nice and cheap night in. Get some drinks and snacks and you are set for the night.
Cost: £10 for drinks and snacks

13. Drive in movie
This is on our to-do list as we missed out on a double date opportunity to do this as Dann broke his foot the day before we planned to go. In Hampshire we have Yellow Vintage who periodly run a drive in movie series. The next ones are for Halloween and Christmas, so we'll be getting our blankets and thermos' full of hot chocolate and settling in for some classics!
Cost: £25 per car - right on budget. Split it with another couple to save money and have a double date. 

14. Fun fair trip
This is especially good in the summer when local fairs are all around. Go spend a day or evening at the fair, on fun rides and eating too sugary candyfloss.
Cost: Probably the whole £25 for all the rides!

15. Play tourist in your home town
We've done this in Southampton, and in our favourite town, Marlow in Buckinghamshire. It's fun to discover some new places in your home city or town, and learn about some of the history, especially if its a place you haven't always lived in.
Cost: Free

16. Go on a mini road trip
This is fun if you or your partner enjoy driving - lucikly for me Dann loves driving. We've done this a couple of times, and plan to do it again this summer. We particularly like driving in the New Forest area of Hampshire as there are so many quaint little villages to look around. Plus the New Forest itself is very pretty.
Cost: Free - apart from fuel

17. Visit an aquarium
I love water and sealife so this is a winner for me. Plus this is a bit more affordable than the zoo.
Cost: £8-£12 dependent on the aquarium

18. Go swimming
Well you know I love water, so a swim session is a must. Try somewhere with slides and rapids for a fun session.
Cost: Approx £5 per person dependent on location

19. Camp in your back garden/stargazing
Handy if you have a tent, or pick a day that is guaranteed to stay dry and clear - or make your own tent. A cute and chilled way to spend the evening with your loved one. Grab a tablet or borrow an astronomy book from the library and read about the stars. Or just sit and chat the night away.
Cost: Free as long as you have a tent

20. Take a walk in the woods or on the beach
We like to do this in the evening, especially as we used to live right by a pebble beach and the woods. It's the perfect way to spend some together time after a stressful week
Cost: Free

21. Build a fort and read together
This is something we are yet to do, but will. It's super cute, and something we really want to do with children (ours obviously) one day
Cost: Free

22. Visit a local fair
Keep an eye out for local fairs. They usually happen in the summer and near Christmas. Perfect for a sunny day, they usually host a BBQ and have lots of traders. Christmas ones are perfect for unique Christmas gift shopping.
Cost: However much you decide to spend

23. Take a bike ride
Not something I can do personally, as I actually can't ride a bike (yes I know, 25, and unable to ride a bike - how sad!) but I've seen plenty whilst on walks (because I can do that!). Maybe I'll ask Dann to teach me one day?!?!
Cost: Free - so long as you own a bike

24. Visit a museum or art gallery
We like doing this on a trip away, or as a full day trip. Especially in London where there are so many places to visit. Personal faves are any Natural History Museums, and old painting and sculpture galleries - especially if they have an Egyptian section. I love anything on Egypt so that's a huge winner for me. We're also Leonardo Da Vinci buffs - and went all the way to Edinburgh to see an exhibition there (we did stay a few days and did the tourist thing too!)
Cost: A lot of historical museums and galleries are free, or under £10 per person

25. Get crafty
Make something. Is helpful if your partner likes crafty things. We've been doing a version of this, in the fact that we have been working on our house, but it's not the same as sitting down with a mini project to complete together. Or maybe buy adult colouring books and get your colour on!
Cost: £10 or less for colouring books, but is dependent on what you are crafting!

What about you? 
What do you like doing for date night? Leave me your suggestions in the comments below!

Friday, 24 July 2015

FASHION: Summer wedding guest outfits

Wedding is in full swing and I do love a good wedding.
I'm not exactly traditional for my clothing choices, though I do have a set combination for myself on what I like, especially for events.
I thought with wedding season and summery events well under way I'd share three looks that I like, perfect for any type of wedding attendance - or even just a summer party.

Illustrated Teacup Summer Wedding Guest Outfits

This wedding guest outfit is for the more casual summer wedding.
As you can probably tell I really love orange, although I don't own much in that colour.
I love the mix of brights, all toned down with the black accessories, and an orange blazer to keep warm in the cooler evenings.

Dress - Boohoo
Blazer - New Look
Heels - Topshop
Clutch bag - New Look
Necklace - Topshop

Illustrated Teacup Summer Wedding Guest Outfits
This summery wedding guest outfit is perfect for the sophisticated wedding, especially if its a significant wedding like a family member. This is definitely an outfit for that church to hotel wedding, or if you're out to impress.

Dress - ASOS
Heels - Boohoo
Clutch - Accessorize
Earrings - Accessorize

Illustrated Teacup Summer Wedding Guest Outfits

And finally this bohemian style wedding guest outfit.
I think this might just be my favourite look. I mean that dress is just so simple and unusual. And I own the wedges, and they are so comfortable for such high wedges!

Dress - Boohoo
Wedges - Boohoo
Clutch - Moschino @ ASOS
Bracelet - Dixi
Pashmina - Accessorize

So that's my wedding guest outfit looks.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

LIFESTYLE: A family wedding

Summer Family Garden Wedding

I'm a big lover of love, happiness and marriage. And of course this is all started from a wedding. And I loves me a wedding. If you want me to cry during a film, pick one with a wedding, it is pretty much guaranteed (note, I don't often cry at real weddings - I cried at my mums wedding in 2009, that's it... I didn't even cry at my wedding... well maybe one tear... but Dann more than made up for it with his tears! He's such a cutie!).
Anyway, last weekend we attended the last Bradford wedding for this generation as Dann's brother got married. As the older brother, Dann played Usher/Groomsman, and looked dashing as usual in his tails from Moss Bros.
*warning, this post is photo heavy as I just loved so many of the images!!*

Traditional for the Bradford family, the boys started at the pub opposite the church - the boys always start in the pub - and then attended the ceremony at the church in the middle of Hambleden Village. This church means so much to me. It's where I got married to Dann, and means an awful lot to the entire family as all three Bradford children (Dann, his sister and his brother) have have gotten married there. It's one of my favourite places in the world, with so many happy, loving memories. 

As expected with the bride and groom, there was much laughter, drinks and fun to be had, and we were totally honoured to be a part of their special day... they really are the funniest pair and deserve every happiness together.

Their beautiful summer garden reception was a perfect representation of the new Mr and Mrs Bradford, with pretty pink and white flowers, and a soft elegant, country feel.

Summer Family Garden Wedding

Summer Family Garden Wedding

Summer Family Garden Wedding

Spending time with our super smart niece was one of the highlights for the day - teaching her how to use my camera and letting her take her own photos. At the end of the weekend we had taken over 550 photos between myself, Dann and Erin-Mai.

Summer Family Garden Wedding

Summer Family Garden Wedding

I spent time with my lovely new (well two years but still) family, and I've honestly not felt so happy and relaxed in such a long time.

Summer Family Garden Wedding

Summer Family Garden Wedding

Summer Family Garden Wedding

Summer Family Garden Wedding

Summer Family Garden Wedding

Summer Family Garden Wedding

Summer Family Garden Wedding

Summer Family Garden Wedding

My dress is ASOS - now sold out - similar here
Boys suits are Ted Baker from Moss Bros

Monday, 20 July 2015

LIFESTYLE: DIY wedding memory box

Illustrated Teacup Wedding Memory Box DIY

I don't often do DIY in the crafty sense of the word, but I'm getting into it a lot more now, especially since moving home where we've done a lot of DIY in a short space of time.
As it is now very much wedding season and we attended a family wedding recently, I thought I would share a little keepsake that I think every bride will love creating, and the newly weds will love having in their home.
After two years of marriage I finally got road to making ours, after my friend and newbie blogger Natasha shared the link to this box frame from The Range, which she used for this baby memory box for her little boy Oscar. The frame even comes with a set of pearl effect pins to help you create your keepsake.

This wedding memory box is the perfect way to display so on the pretty tiny pieces from your wedding. You spent hours/days/weeks/months working on your big day, getting those tiny details perfect, so it is nice to memorialise them.

For my memory box I used:

  • Wedding invitation
  • Menu card from the taster dinner
  • Church Order of Service
  • A photography of our wedding rings from our photographer
  • Place cards from the wedding table for Dann and I
  • Drink Me tag from the mugs which were our centre pieces
  • My handmade garter from one of my bridesmaids
  • The lucky six pence given to my by another bridesmaid
  • A red rose from my bouquet
  • A white rose and pin badge from Dann's buttonhole
  • My heart shaped crystal necklace
  • Dann's Ironman cufflinks
  • A flamingo charmer from another buttonhole
  • A gold effect key from the tables

Start by placing it out until you have the desired display in the frame. Then pin in place items that will move to keep them in place.
And you are done!

Illustrated Teacup Wedding Memory Box DIY

Illustrated Teacup Wedding Memory Box DIY

Illustrated Teacup Wedding Memory Box DIY
Illustrated Teacup Wedding Memory Box DIY
Illustrated Teacup Wedding Memory Box DIY
Illustrated Teacup Wedding Memory Box DIY
We're also planning on creating these for our children for their bedrooms/nursery with all their newborn items. You could do these for almost any occasion - or even as a gift for someone special for a significant birthday. 
I loved creating this, and I am so happy with how it has come out. And now it is hung in our hallway for all to see and remember.