Pages

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

My not so secret guilty pleasures

So I'm  broaching into some more general aspects of blogging, but still trying to stay as unique as possible. 

So I figured my readers  are probably  as nosey as I am (it's  the main reason I went into journalism, i figured I'd  have a legitimate reason to nose into other peoples lives) so I'm  going to post a few more personal posts, like confessions of a tattoo collector and contradictions of an alt girl.
So I'm  going to start with some guilty pleasures. Those things that we all secretly love, but know that we shouldn't  and only admit to it when with best friends, or over too much wine. Those  things that make us laugh more than really necessary, or cheer us up more than they should. And things  that are just guaranteed  to make you feel about yourself, with only a slight twinge of guilt. 


Twilight

I love the books, probably an unreasonable amount. They remind me of my first year of uni when I first read them. They are teen trash... but my God I love them. And the films... well I have a love hate relationship with them. I hate New Moon and Breaking Dawn Part 1. I love the rest! I'm ashamed to admit I was mortified during  a certain scene when a certain character lost his head (no spoilers!). I love the cheesy ass storyline, I love the love story and sheer romantics, I love Michael Sheen as Aro and I love Edward Cullen (yes I'm  team Edward, sorry!)
Its one of my go to movies if I'm having  a bad day (read, first day of period and all I want is to eat my house, cry and fall in love... I feel sorry for my husband every month)

Really bad tattoos

As a collector, I should hate bad tattoos, but I can't  help myself. I'm drawn to them, like rubberneckers on the motorway seeing a four car pile up. Its terrible. And honestly I have seen some god awful tattoos that make me cringe more than having my skirt tucked into my pants. Here are some particular good, bad tattoos!

Terrible eyebrows

Again, I'm  sorry. But I get a silly amount of pleasure seeing really bad tattoos. Now mine are by no means perfect, but they are in the correct  position on my face, and I don't  look like I've  been startled by an implement stuck up my bum. To be honest, I'm  a massive fan of perfect  eyebrows. A colleague at work has the most beautiful eyebrows pencilled on and I am totally green with envy. But I also love seeing an eyebrow disaster!

Correcting spelling and grammar

I've  always had a knack for spelling and grammar, especially for assignments (don't  look, at anything I write on a mobile  or tablet, autocorrect and fat thumbs are the bane of my life!). Plus working in communications I have to get my spelling right, or the girl above me will point it out, and holy crap can that girl proofread... I love her! So I am really picky about spelling and grammar and take great satisfaction  pointing out errors (bitch alert).

Facebook stalking

One of my personal resolutions  is to come away from Facebook  as I don't  use it for blogging, and mostly it causes more problems than it solves. That being said, I do love a good Facebook stalk of my old school friends or family that I don't  have contact with. More often than not I come away counting my blessings (there's  that bitch alert again). 

Pinterest

Ummm who doesn't  love Pinterest! Currently I'm  using it  near obsessively for my new house, and decorating the inside!

Mahjong

I adore this stupid Japanese card matching game that is very similar to solitaire. I've  wasted hours upon hours playing this game on my tablet. Times when I should have been studying, or blogging, or even just networking I've  been sat matching symbols on cards. Its highly freaking addictive!

So what are your guilty pleasures? I challenge you to share yours, and if you do, leave me the link below!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Take Back What's Yours After Miscarriage.

A couple of weeks back I was nominated by Katy at The Lilac Scrapbook to take part in this little campaign. 

As the start of a new year everyone is about making personal change.
Now I realise we are almost a month in to 2015 but I was all scheduled up for January (check me out getting blog organised), but I still think this is pertinent. 

The 'Take Back What's Yours' campaign is about motivating people; you, me, bloggers, writers, everyone, to take back an aspect of their life that they've  lost. It can be happiness, confidence, positivity, anything that you've lost that you want back about yourself.

For me, I want to take back my drive for success and my love for life after my miscarriage in 2014.

Ask me at 18, or 21, what I wanted to do, and I would have given you a list as long as your arm of the things I was going to achieve,  in order, around my career, love life, travelling, extra-curricular, and education... well you get the drift. 

But in the last couple of years,  I've  kind of plodded along. I got my degree, giant tick in the box. I got a proper job, big tick in the box. I got a cat, tick in the box (twice). I travelled, tick in the box. I got married, great big tick in the box.
But I wasn't  doing what  I loved. Yeah I paid my bills, and could save to get married  and go on my honeymoon without borrowing  money,  and get tattoos; but I wasn't  satisfied.

To be honest, I've  always thought  of myself as a career girl, but after getting married and meeting my god-daughter, I wanted to start a family  and I dropped the ball on my career. 

After a few months of trying, I found out I was pregnant. I was over the moon, if a little overwhelmed. And then the unimaginable happened. I had a miscarriage at nine weeks. I was totally devastated and heartbroken. My husband equally so. Honestly I've  never known heartache like it, for something that I really never thought would affect me. There is always the risk, and one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first 12 weeks, so its not uncommon, but no less upsetting or easy to deal with. 

I spent the following six months, or so, struggling to find myself, and its half the reason I created this here blog. I plodded along, because I had no idea what  to do with  myself.
It was then that I realised, I wasn't  happy  with myself.  I needed to be happy with myself before I could bring a baby into  the world, because one of the most important things I want to teach my children  is to love life and have passion  and drive in everything that you do.

So that's what I'm taking back... my drive and passion to have the best possible life, so that I can set an example for my children  one day 
I have a new focus,  and although I will always be a little bit sad about my miscarriage, its reinvigorated my life, given me a different purpose, and I've  had so  any opportunities to be thankful for.

This post is probably one of the hardest I'll ever write (I've  written different variations about four times without publishing), but after reading some inspiring and difficult  posts from Becky, Cat and Claire (and some super kind and motivating words from Claire) I decided that it was time to share my story. I'll forever be thankful to my husband for always having my back and getting me through the tears, heartache  and pain, and my best friend for listening to me cry for months and always being there for me. If this post can help anyone, just one person, take solace, or help them with the pain, then it is worth it.

This campaign is something that I think everyone should take part in, to help them achieve their goals. 

I'm  not going to nominate anyone specifically, but I do urge you to take part  if there's  something that you to take back in your life!
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me at illustratedteacup@gmail.com


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Contradictions of an alt girl



If I  were to describe myself in the fashion world, I would say I'm  an alternative girl, unless I'm  at work. See here for a further explanation.

The definition of an alternative girl, in a fashion sense is:
Someone who doesn't fit into the normal stereotypical style brackets... not a goth, grunge, geek, boho, English rose, classic, vintage, rocker, etc. Someone who wears what they want, and is a blend of types. 

I'd  say I'm  stuck somewhere between a bohemian rocker goth, with a touch of geek thrown in.
And this is where the contradictions come in. 

According to my style, I  should like metal and rock music, hate pink and fluffy and love super thick eyeliner.

However, I  love Disney, hate  metal music and just can't  pull off super thick black liner, I'm  a vintage flick kind of girl.

I am a comicbook geek, I like Lego video games, I collect Disney mugs, I  wear mostly  black given half a chance, and collect tattoos.

I dislike platform shoes, hate back combed hair, and can't  watch horrors on my own.

I love having perfect painted nails, collect vintage Polly Pockets, have a growing taxidermy collection and love bohemian jewellery.

I can't  stand fishnet materials, my fingers  are too short for lots of rings, and am very very particular about glitter.

So what does this say about  me?
Well I'm  one big contradiction. I love some truly girly stuff, and then hate so many others. 
I love black and colour. 
But that's  fine. 
Its what makes me unique, but difficult  to shop for. 
But I can live with  that... And if in doubt, buy it in black.

So what  is your style, and your biggest fashion contradiction?

Sunday, 18 January 2015

A year of blogging... what I've learnt!



One year ago today I posted my very first blog post, you can read it here. Since then, and some 90 blog posts later, I'm  celebrating my one year blog anniversary. 

It's  been an amazing journey so far. I've seen my little blog grow, and seen my readers interact more and more, and I can't  believe how proud I am of my corner of the web.

Alongside  my 2015 resolutions, and learning many things from 2014, blogging itself, over the past year, has taught me a lot about the community and industry.

One of the most important things about blogging is networking. Without it, you can write as much as you like, it can be the best piece of writing since sliced bread, with photos worthy of being in National Geographic, but if you don't network, well you're not going to be seen half as much. 

Probably the best way to do this is through blogger chats. And there are so many of them:
#lbloggers - lifestyle bloggers
#fbloggers - fashion bloggers
#bdib - bloggers do it better
#crazybloggers

#fblchat - fashion, beauty, lifestyle chat
And they're just the ones I take part in - though #bbloggers is definitely a popular one, but I know jack shit about beauty so I keep clear. There are so many more, Elaine at xomisse has a great calendar.

They are all filled with bloggers from around the globe, and it's great to chat to like-minded bloggers, to get inspiration from them, inspire others and generally learn and meet new people. Regular attendance to the chats - even if you can only make it for half an hour, it is so worthwhile. 
N.B I recommend using Tweetdeck on a PC to give you a better chance of keeping up with the chats - they can be very busy and I have loved using Tweetdeck to make my life easier!

Social media is by far my best tool for driving traffic here, not only because of the chats, but also my amazing followers, other bloggers and the great RT profiles that have big followers which widens your potential audience.
To help you keep on top of your social media I recommend scheduling your blog tweets. Buffer, Hootsuite and Tweetdeck all offer this, and it really helps ease the pressure. Honestly since scheduling my traffic has definitely increased and I don't have to worry if I'm busy at work, to remember to post a link. I tend to bulk mine on a Sunday ready for the week ahead. 

And lastly, find your niche. Mine, as you can probably tell is tattoos and alternative fashion/lifestyle. 
Now don't get me wrong, I am starting to include more generic blogging genres, like fashion and lifestyle, plus a little opinion and advice. But having a niche really makes you stand out from the crowd. 
The likes of Zoe London and Helen Anderson are brilliant, because they aren't your 'normal' blogger. Of course I still love so many beauty and fashion bloggers, and that obviously works for them, but they all have a personality that makes them unique. Having a voice, your voice, is probably the most important thing in blogging. Don't try to copy everyone else. Be yourself. 

So over to you - how long have you been blogging, and what have you learnt in that time?

Friday, 16 January 2015

Fashions of an alt girl...kind of



I've  never really fitted into any particular style genre. I have always been a mix, especially with a such a limited budget for most of my life. I've  spent the last few years finding my place in the fashion stakes.

I currently  have two quite unique fashion styles. My work wear and my home wear.
Working in communications, I do a fair amount of public and client facing, so I have to dress smart. Lots of businessy dresses, pencil skirts and long sleeve blazers. Of course, I try to keep some of my personality in the mix, keeping it young, and not doudy. Plus I have a certain pallet of colours that I  wear to match  my skin tone. I've  implemented a lot of things  for my work wear that I've  learnt from a new friend, and I  have to say I  love shopping for work clothes.

If you compare this to my home wear, well they are very different. 

My home wear is where my alt girl persona can really start  to show. And this is where I've  worked the hardest to find my fashion feet... in fact it's  still a work in progress, hence why I've  never really done an OOTD post. But I'm finally comfortable  calling myself alternative. I know what I  like and what  I  don't. And more importantly, what suits me and what doesn't.  
I suit the alternative  look. 
Lots of black, monochrome, jewel tones. 
Witchy undertones. 
Bohemian jewellery and unique finds. 
Simple and plain clothing, to showcase  my tattoos instead of clashing with them. 

Don't  get me wrong, I  still love colourful things.... you'll see more about this in a coming post about contradictions. But in my fashion, I'm  all about my dark side.

So where am I  shopping in 2015? Well I'll  be searching for independent alternative labels like Killstar and Disturbia. Plus tattoo conventions are always  filled with the best fashion companies for alternative guys and gals and I'm  on a mission to go to more than ever this year.

So I'm  saying goodbye to pink, fluffy and flowery. 
I'm  keeping the pretty princess  items for my home, and the occasional Disney tee, because every girl, needs a Disney fix sometimes.

Where are your alternative fashion outlets? Leave me links below so I can start my hunt!