Monday, 21 July 2014

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

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

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

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
And see the rest of the artists she works with at Dragstrip Tattoo

*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