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Doodling: My Equipment

Saturday, 24 June 2017
what I use for drawing copic ciao markers uni pin fineline sharpie permanent markers daler and rowney watercolour paper pads winsor and newton tattoo flash tattoo doodles

Although I've been drawing long before I began to write (aged 8 when I first wrote a story for English that kicked off my I'M A BORN WRITER thing), I don't really consider myself an artist. I'm a creative type, and I'm a writer, but the idea of attaching 'artist' to my name absolutely terrifies me. Whilst I know art is subjective, I also know I'm not good enough IMO to be an artist. I'd love to do a bit of digital drawing now and then - or at least be able to colour and print my hand drawn designs, but I don't have the software most people use and it's not really on my list of priorities. Nonetheless, I absolutely love to draw, work in my journals and get really messy with acrylic paints. Drawing my doodles - I call them this so people don't take them too seriously - and working in my art journals are some of my best creative releases, as I find it therapeutic and as it doesn't require too much thinking, I can distract myself focusing on the music I'm listening to than worry about whatever is going on in my life.

This equipment isn't for my art journals or anything, but strictly for my doodles. I tend to draw a lot of cutesy, tattoo-flash inspired bits and pieces as I've pictured above! So, while I'm not an artist or expert by any means, I thought I'd share with you the stuff I like to use for drawing. 

COPIC CIAO MARKERS

I'm pretty much obsessed with these. Whilst they aren't cheap, I adore using them as they're rather easy to get the hang of. They make blending and shading so effortless, and it only took me a few tries with the pens to really get used to them - they are a little bit like watercolour felt tip pens, although probably not quite so flexible in terms of applying, erasing and mixing colours. I don't own a whole lot of them so far, which makes me quite limited in what colours I have available to use, but they are fab. They're double-ended with a harsh, square angled tip on one end, and a brush tip on the other. I almost solely use the brush tip. At the moment I own a lot of primary and secondary shades - yellows, oranges, greens, blues and reds - but I'm slowly branching out into the pastel spectrum of these colours. It'd be a dream to own a big selection of pastel colours, but I haven't been drawing much recently so I haven't felt the need to make buying more shades a priority. It's generally quite easy to find out what shades go together, too, as they are all in their own colour families, and it's more often than not the number after (for a darker shade) or before (for a lighter shade) that you need. If you're really stuck, make sure to check out some swatches on Google like here and here to figure out what you're after and what the colour families look like.

You can get these from loads of different retailers, and as I tend to know specifically what shades I want, I always buy them individually rather than in sets. I usually buy from Cult Pens or Tiger Pens - it just depends who is selling them cheaper at the time!

DALER AND ROWNEY WATERCOLOUR PAPER PADS

There are paper pads out there designed for Copics, but the best pads I've found by far are the Daler and Rowney Watercolour line. I use the postcard sized pads the most, as I find they're just the perfect size for my drawings - I love how small and compact they are so it's easy to fit a design onto the page that'll take up the whole thing with no awkward gaps! I also sometimes use the A4 size, but not very often. For A5 I use the Winsor and Newton Artists' Watercolour Paper pad. The texture is a bit rougher so sometimes the colour of my Copic might not be as strong and I have to go over it a bit more to get it to its true colour, but I'm used to working with this paper now and I don't really mind. I tend to get my Daler & Rowney pads from Hobbycraft, but they're also available at WH Smith, which is where I also purchase my A5 pads.

STAEDTLER NORIS ECO HB PENCILS

Seems silly, but I thought I'd mention the pencils I always use because I do enjoy them and just don't really use anything else. They're sturdy pencils that are easy to shapren, and they also don't leave too harsh a line which means I can easily rub out any old pencil marks from my drawing to make it look neater. As I mentioned above, I don't know what my eraser is anymore which is super annoying. I remembering buying it from Hobbycraft, but I can't seem to find it on the website! 

UNI PIN FINELINE PEN, BLACK, 0.8

I've been using these pens ever since I started drawing my doodles, and I absolutely love them. They don't bleed or mix with my Copics, and the fine nib (I use 0.8) means that I can draw all the little tiny details onto my illustration without being clumsy about it. I often do have to draw several lines for the main outline of my drawings, so that it looks a bit thicker than the detailing, so ideally I'd like to pick up a new, slightly thicker fineliner, but I'm happy with this one for now, and as I have quite a few, I'll wait until I've used them up. I also find that this pen hasn't faded with time yet, even for drawings that are 2+ years old. 

SHARPIE PERMANENT MARKERS

I know a lot of people seem to enjoy using Sharpies, but I find them quite hard to get behind. Jack bought me the big massive set from WH Smith for Christmas 2015 as I really wanted to use them, but I have to admit I've barely touched them. The metallic Sharpies, on the other hand, I can totally get behind. I love them for dot work and backgrounds, as well as just adding detail to my images. The fineline Sharpies are also pretty good, but I find they can bleed when used with Copics, so it's best to wait for your Copics to be totally 100% dry - I'd probably actually give it a day before going in with the fineliners, just to be totally sure!

Any doodlers out there - what do you guys like to use to draw and colour?

Say Goodbye to Sweat Rash

Wednesday, 21 June 2017
sweat rash fix get rid of sweat rash combat sweat rash Australian Bodycare Skin Wash review lotion

I dunno about you guys, but in the last year or so I've started to have some trouble with them pesky sweat rashes. It's nothing too major, often a bit of redness and a small spot or too. Definitely a bit unsightly, but nothing too unmanageable. It's odd because this is never an issue I've had whilst sweating my butt off at the gym, but something I tend to get in real heat, whether it's when I'm abroad in a 40 degree heatwave, or when I'm in work (where the air con is turned off bcos we are just night shift gremlins, why wouldn't we want to sweat our butts off after 2 mins of starting out shift?). It got pretty bad before Christmas because it seemed that I came away from work most days with a sweat rash under my bust (the only place I actually get it), probably a combination of the heat and working five days a week slaving away on one of the heaviest departments at work. 

My rashes always cleared up pretty quickly, and spots just need a little bit tea tree oil to disappear, but I was always wondering if there was anything I could do to prevent it. Enter my mother and her skincare expertise, and I was introduced to the Australian Bodycare Skin Wash, and matching lotion. Although it's got a fairly heft price tag attached to it, you get a good amount of product for your money, with the wash coming in at around £25.99 for a 500ml bottle that'll last you months. The product is said to be a gentle antiseptic wash with 2% tea tree oil, making it deal for those nasty upcoming spots and rashes, and making you feel extra squeaky clean in those awkward sweaty areas, although for me, I use this the most under the bust because that's really the only area where I get the sweat rash and sweat spot problems.

The product is also said to be pH balanced, meaning it's non drying, and helps to combat acne, so this is also an ideal product for those of you with anything like chest or back acne. I'm not saying it's a cure, and as I don't suffer thse myself, I can't attest to the effects, but it sounds like it could be worth a shot. The Skin Wash is also suitable for use everywhere on the body, and works for every skin type. This big bottle boasts a lot of important stuff, now that I see it all written down, and seems like a do-all wonder product. I can't say I enjoy washing myself in the scent of tea tree oil, and if this bothers you too, perhaps to lotion up with your favourite Soap and Glory body butter after. 

However, it may be worth trying out the lotion as well. I prefer to use the Skin Wash and lotion together, applying the lotion under my bust after I've dried off from the shower. It certainly seeems to help prevent any nasty surprises at the end of my shift, and I think this is going to benefit me a lot over the next few summer months. The lotion absorbs quickly and feels quite lightweight, making it ideal as you don't have to wait long for it to sink in. The scent of the body wash and lotion don't last very long, so don't worry that you'll smell of tea tree oil all day!

You can purchase the 500ml bottle here at Feel Unique for £25.99, however there is also a 250ml size, and a 1 litre size available across different websites.

Do you have any solutions or preventative measures for sweat rash? Help your fellow bloggers out by letting us know below!

The Pleated Midi Skirt: Summer Styling

Saturday, 17 June 2017





Top: Forever 21  • Skirt, shoes, belt: Primark

First off, please excuse the slightly blurred images in my full-length photos. These were the first OOTD photos I ever took on my Sony A5000, other than the mirror ones, so whilst they looked fine on the image viewer, obviously it's better to check on the laptop first! I sharpened them a bit to make them look a bit better. Regardless, I loved the photos so I didn't really want to retake them, but I'll keep an eye out for this in future photos.

In recent months, midi skirts have taken the world by storm. Don't get me wrong, they've been popular since my teens, but ever since the tail end of 2016, I've been seeing them everywhere. In particular, I've been seeing pleated, satiny kinds, like I'm wearing in the photos above, and for this reason I thought I'd pop on with a little outfit inspired by warmer, summer weather of one of the ways you can style a pleated midi.

These are by far one of the comfiest and breeziest pieces of clothing to wear during the summer, and the thing I love about the pleating is that it hides any food babies or general muffin tops from view, but cinching in the waist allows you to still maintain a defined figure. For the last few years I've been a fan of defining my waist, but the issue I have is that many slim fitting midis can end up emphasising my muffin top, as opposed to helping disguise it, so the pleats are perfect for this. Most midis are too long on me, sitting nearer ankle length than below-knee, which is where I like them to sit. I think this feels most comfortable and flattering on me as I'm a teeny 5'1, with big thighs, chest and bum. I'm not often one to elongate my body, instead I just prefer to define my shape. I need to roll the waistband of my satiny Primark midis (I have one in khaki too) over about 4-5 times to get it to sit at the right length on me, but as you can imagine, this often leaves me with a bumpy, silly looking waist. To cancel this out, I always opt to wear a belt with my midis, even if they are elasticated at the waist and therefore fit well. As I wear them quite high up, I have to add a whole in them with a knife to get that perfect, snug fit.

So, for this outfit I chose my silver midi as it's the one that sees the least light of day. It's such a perfect summer colour, but since summer is so limited in Scotland I know I need to come up with ways to try and wear it a bit more even in the colder months. I often team midis with either a crop top and Converse, or an oversized tee and ankle boots, sometimes with a leather jacket for some added edge (like this OOTD), but I wanted to style it a little bit differently. I opted for my baggy, oversized Blondie tank top that I recently bought from Forever 21 - I've wanted a nice Blondie top for aaaages, and this one was so perfect that I couldn't resist! -, not only do I think the loose fit will keep you cool (you can wear a vest under if you prefer, but I decided not to wear one) and the mesh panelling adds some interesting detail as well as being another factor to help with the summer heat.

Since the tank top already has citrus tones in it, I chose my mustard belt instead of plain ol' black to slip around my waist and accentuate it, and then I went for my snake print lace-up flats for a girly look, although I admit that I'd probably just chuck on some Converse normally because they are so comfortable and effortless. Personally I think this makes a really nice outfit for a day hanging out having a picnic with your SO, but it can easily be dressed up with heels or dressed down with a casual jacket if it's looking too feminine for you.

Do you like the pleated midi skirt trend? How do you style yours?

8 Tattoos I Used to Want

Wednesday, 14 June 2017
8 tattoos I used to want

Disclaimer: This post was entirely inspired by Kiera Rose on YouTube. I really wanted to pop a tattoo-related post in this month but didn't want to do the one I'd originally planned, so when I saw her video I was like "OH that's such a good idea!" and so here we are. 

I might be stating the obvious, because I don't know if anybody imagines this when they're a kid, but when I was younger I never imagined that I'd grow up to be someone with tattoos. I've never disliked them, but I never had an interesting fascination with them, and because I've always deemed myself a writer, I never found that I made a deep connection with artwork, be it on skin or on canvas. Also, despite being a former self-harmer, I've never been very good with blood or pain. Even just listening to a doctor talk about a medical problem makes me squeamish and uncomfortable!

That said, I used to think of tattoos every now and then - prior to being 18 - and I'd think, "I so want that when I'm older", but it would be one of those things that I'd either never think about again, or I'd think about it and it would be like this distant idea I had that I knew would never really happen, cos I never had any intentions of walking into a tattoo studio. Thinking about it now, I can't even remember how exactly I came to think about my first one and why I went ot the studio. I remember going in just for prices and ideas, and getting it that same day, but I don't remember the build up - when I came up with the idea and when I thought that I'm going to place this on me permanently. 

Over the last four years since getting my first tattoo, aged 19, I've come up with a lot of ideas and dismissed them, forgotten about them, or simply changed my mind. Today I thought I'd share some of them with you... 

THE DRAGON TATTOO

When I think back, the first tattoo I remember ever wanting was a dragon tattoo. Not quite a crazy, big Chinese dragon, but nor did I want something Skyrim-esque (I'd totally get that now though!). Throughout my childhood, I looked up to Lara Croft a lot. Whilst she is a fictional character to most, to me she was a solid role model and a huge inspiration for little girls like myself. Not all of us wanted to be Britney - some of us knew that wasn't our flavour and we were a little bit different, and Lara filled that role perfectly. You might remember that Angelina Jolie played Lara in the first, original two Tomb Raider films. You might remember that Angelina used to be married to Billy Bob Thornton, and that she had a dragon tattoo on her left bicep with his name above it.

Yup. That was the tattoo I wanted (minus Billy Bob's name).

THE 'SUNSHINE' TATTOO

I don't know where exactly this idea came from, but I remember when I was about 16 deciding that I wanted to get 'sunshine.' in a typewriter font on my wrist. I know it was inspired by somebody I had a crush on at the time, and someone who I would often refer to (well, to myself anyway) as my sunshine because it was around the age my depression kicked in, and he made everything brighter and brought me joy. I don't recall if it was simply inspired by him or if I planned on making it (secretly) for him, but it was such a stupid-ass tattoo and I'm really glad I had this idea when I was at such a young age, rather than later!

THE CROW AND SKULL TATTOO

I struggled for the best part of a year to think about what I wanted as my main piece for my sleeve. I'd known for a while that I wanted a 'bits and pieces' or 'collage'-like sleeve, using a bunch of separate images to make it as opposed to one entire image or joint images, but what main piece did I want? The artist who did my foot tattoo, my phoenix, and eventually most of the work on my arm actually posted a beautiful drawing he did of a crow standing on top of a skull on his Instagram when I was on holiday in Greece, 2015, and when I saw it I thought it was stunning and amazing and I really really wanted it. And honestly? I wouldn't have hated myself had I got it, because the illustration was beautiful and I know it would have looked gorgeous when it was finished because he's such a talented artist, but I'm glad I gave it a few more months (I was broke so I didn't actually have a choice, haha) and decided to get my phoenix instead.

THE TRICERATOPS TATTOO

This is another tattoo I wouldn't have particularly minded if I had gotten it. Before I settled on my Ankylosaurus thigh piece, I was originally going to get a Triceratops skull. At first I thought about getting it on my sleeve - I've always been partial to omnivore and herbivore dinosaurs, rather than the carnivores, so I didn't specifically want a T-Rex skull - but the more I looked at the skull and the space it would take up etc, I ended up deciding that I wanted it on my left foot. It wasn't an idea that I was 100% committed to, and about a year later I decided that if I was going to get a dinosaur tattoo, I may as well get my favourite!

THE MEW TATTOO

I have such a special place in my heart for Pokémon - I've grown up with it, watched it evolve, and still felt that same hit of nostalgia with every new venture the teams at Nintendo and Game Freak decide to take the iconic franchise on. I adore it, truly I do, and I've always really liked Mew. He's so cute! I was considering for a while getting him tattooed somewhere I could hide - I was thinking somewhere on my torso - but I eventually decided it wasn't for me. I still love the idea, but getting a Pokémon tattooed on me is a huge commitment that I worry a little bit about regretting in the future, and also it doesn't fit well with the style of tattoos I tend to get. 

THE ANCHOR, HUMAN HEART & LYRICS TATTOO

There was a guy who introduced me to the band The Amity Affliction, and whilst I don't fangirl over them or love every song, there are one or two that I really adore. Pabst Blue Ribbon on Ice has to be my favourite of them all, as there's a lyric from the chorus I love an unreal amount, and it goes- "If my eyes are the oceans that put your head in the clouds, then your heart is the reason I keep my feet on the ground." After the departure of this person from my life, I truly considered getting a TAA tattoo partly for him. Ultimately I decided against getting the tattoos because of how big they'd need to be (I was thinking back of thighs, with an anchor on one thigh and human heart on the other, both with ribbon banners around with lyrics on), and it would end up being really hard to fit all the lyrics into the banners too. 

Also he was so not worth tattoos. 

THE HELLO KITTY BOW TATTOO

This is actually one I'd still consider getting - in fact, I wouldn't mind getting a little tiny one added to my sleeve! We'll see. I initially was going to get this tattoo right after I got my Echelon one, which sits below the crease of my elbow ditch on my right arm, and I planned on getting it above the crease of my elbow ditch. The time that I got the Echelon tattoo was when I was just back to work after about 4 months or so off sick due to the assault. The HK tattoo never happened because I ended up getting signed off work again and diagnosed with PTSD, so money was a big issue and I couldn't afford to get tattooed. When I later found a less expensive tattoo studio to go to, I ended up having totally forgotten about the HK tatt!

THE WOLF STOMACH PIECE TATTOO

Whilst I'd still really love to get a wolf tattoo someday - although who knows if I ever will -, I initially decided I'd get a wolf tattoo on my stomach a few years ago. I don't remember why I thought the stomach was a good call or what kind of design I wanted, but it's fair to say that that plan only lasted a few months at best and fizzled out. Thank fuck - I don't want to get my stomach tattooed! Ouch! 

Finally we've come to an end - there's 8 tattoos I used to want. I could think of more, probably, if given time, but I think that'll do there. What about you guys? Share your stories below!