Category: Careers

Tattooed Blogger: Shanice Willoughby

23-year-old Shanice Willoughby, is a blogger, barista and florist in training from Surrey. We chat to Shanice about her blog, love for flowers and bohemian style…

When did you start blogging? How did you get into it? I started blogging last year on the first of January! I’d been wanting to do it for ages but lacked the confidence and fear of people not being that interested on what I had to post, but in the end decided to take the plunge regardless of that!

What can readers expect to see on your blog? Readers can expect a range of fashion, lifestyle, mental health and plant posts!

What influences your blog posts? Anything and everything really, whether it’s bits I’ve brought fashion wise, a location spot that I have to tell people about, coffee spots, traveling to lovely new places, or ups and downs in my mental health!

How does your job and running the blog go together? Does one help the other or do they clash? It is very difficult to work a 40+ hour full time job and run a blog along side it, some weeks I won’t have the time to post and it does bother me but it’s very hard to divide time/find the time to shoot new outfit posts, etc.

How would you describe your style? A modern day young Stevie Nicks- I am obsessed with seventies-bohemian style, think embroidery, fringe and flowy fabrics with delightful prints.

Do your tattoos reflect this? Can you tell us about your collection I think they do in a way yes, I absolutely adore flowers and have a fair few pieces now on my body which I love and want more of! I have the element symbols on my fingers (a true bohemian child) along with a few moons dotted around my body. I have a old sailor’s chant scripted on my arm about a mermaid, and other bits linked to the sea! I think my tattoos definitely reflect my wild spirit side.

Do you have any future tattoo plans or a wish list? More flowers, a lot more! (I have a very good friend who does wonderful flower work and she’s done all my new pieces!) And i’d love to get some mandala/henna style work done for sure!

Ally Sparham: Tattooed Freelance Administrative Assistant

32-year-old Ally Sparham is a administrative assistant to writers, bloggers, authors and editors based in Essex. We chatted to Ally to find out more about her freelance work and tattoo collection…

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When did you get your first tattoo, what was it and do you still love it? I was 19, my nan had died a few months before and I decided to have her last words to me tattooed in simple script on my hip. The lettering was very small and over time the ink has spread slightly, but I still love it because of the sentiment behind it. There’s nothing like the feeling of having your first tattoo, you feel like a new person and it always makes me smile.

What drew you to the world of tattoos? I have always been a bit of an outsider. I was a quiet loner throughout school and I loved art and reading. I started noticing others with tattoos and thought about having artwork on my own body. This drew me closer and closer to the world of tattoos and the tattooed community – I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to express myself differently to the majority of people around me, in my own quiet way.

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Do you consider yourself a collector? I do consider myself a collector now. A couple of years ago I travelled to Salon Serpent in Amsterdam to have a tattoo of a bee on my wrist as a reminder of being in one of my favourite cities. It was done by Roald van den Broek – I love his black and grey stippled style. I have been tattooed by a variety of female artists and have punctuated various stages of life with a tattoo. My right arm sleeve is nearly complete, and my plan is to continue with the left arm this year. I’m always thinking about my next tattoo.

When and why did you start your blog? What sorts of things did you feature? I started my  now-retired tattoo blog, Tattoo Carousel, back in 2015, I had been at a new office job in finance for a year and I felt really stunted. I was not enjoying my job and I needed an outlet to focus on which centred around something I was passionate about and loved dearly, so I started writing about tattoos. It gave me something to look forward to and think about during the day, other than my job! I wrote about various natural/homemade/vegan aftercare products that I had tried, I wrote about my favourite artists and why I loved them, I included an interview with a friend who loved tattoos but had not yet had any, and a long guide on all my top tips on how to make the most of a tattoo experience.

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What do you now? And how did this come about? How can people get involved? I was enjoying a fortnight off from my day job last year and I had a lightbulb moment while I was sitting by the beach one day. Everyone was out walking their dogs and I really wished I had a job where I could have the freedom to have a dog of my own and be in control of my time, and also to be free to have any part of my body tattooed – including my hands, which has always been a dream. I decided to start my own business which combined the skills I’d gained in my work history with my personal loves of writing and art and became a freelance administrative assistant to other bloggers/writers/authors and magazine editors. I have always enjoyed problem solving and am quite techy, so I thought, why not be on hand to help others be more productive with their creativity and be a kind of background cog in their creative machine.

People can get involved if they are writing or working on a creative project but have started to feel overwhelmed by all the time-consuming tasks that come with it – things like transcribing interviews, proofreading, scheduling posts or even scouring the internet for research. They can then go back to focusing on being creative. I know that self-care has become quite a hot topic in the last few years, and I do agree that reducing overwhelm and looking after ourselves, including with mental health, is important if we want to feel balanced.

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I would just like to say that I’m so pleased to have found Things&Ink – so many tattoo magazines feel a bit alienating and not very relatable to me, but Things&Ink was exactly what I didn’t know I was looking for. I love to celebrate how popular tattooing has become among women and how diverse the tattooed community has become. It focuses on art and the expression of ourselves on a deeper level, which as moved on from antiquated views that tattooing was a bit seedy and sinful.

Shaded: Pot Yer Tits Away Luv

‘Shaded’ is an ongoing interview series created by 23-year-old Bournemouth-hailing music journalism student, writer and editor James Musker, which focuses on tattooists, the interesting people who wear their work and both the artist and canvas’s relationship to the craft.

Emma Low is a Leeds-based ceramic artist who creates pots that represent the human-form in all of its wonderful shapes, sizes and colours. At first gifts for those closest to her, Emma’s pots were soon in-demand, and the Glasgow-native found herself starting up her pottery business ‘Pot Yer Tits Away Luv’. Here, Emma speaks about her “inclusive brand”, tattoo tributes to her cat Trouble and how her work aims to celebrate differences and liberate women. “Tits don’t mean sex.”

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Tell us about ‘Pot Yer Tits Away Luv’?
 Pot Yer Tits Away Luv is a pottery business that I started in February 2017. My main inspiration is a realistic representation of the female form, but I also do some work with the male form as well. It all started with a Christmas present that I made for my boyfriend. I wanted to give him something that was personal so I made him a pot with my tits on it. It was okay for a first attempt, but it looked nothing like mine – regardless of that fact, he loved it. People saw it and wanted me to create pots that represented them, and then from there it’s just snowballed. I never expected that it would eventually become my full-time job. I now spend five days a week crafting pots with tits on them, which is pretty mad.

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What first attracted you to working with clay? My boyfriend had done a short course and really enjoyed it, so I thought I’d try it out! It was really difficult to figure out in the beginning, but like everything else, practise makes perfect. I then enrolled in a night class and learned more about the craft. I never made any tit-related items, though. It was all really basic, and most of it wasn’t actually that great.

As well as creating works that celebrate the human body, you also share the work of painters, illustrators and photographers that aim to do the same thing. Can you speak about your on-going relationship with the subject? I’ve always been fascinated by form. It’s amazing how we all have bodies that essentially do the same thing, yet they vary drastically in relation to what they look like. I grew up in a very body positive environment. To me, naked bodies were never deemed as sexual. I like to try and express that in my work – especially when it comes to the female form. Tits don’t mean sex. I think a lot of people misunderstand what my work is about. It’s supposed to be liberating, not about sexualising women. I always love to share other artist’s work because I think it’s important to express gratitude towards the people who inspire you. Social media can be such a useful tool when it comes to finding out about new artists or being exposed to new ideas. There are so many amazing artists who share similar views to me when it comes to feminism, and I like to promote those ideas.

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What’s your relationship with tattooing? I started getting tattooed quite late in comparison to most of my friends. I think I was 24. My first tattoo was done by my friend’s boyfriend when I went to visit them on holiday in Berlin. It’s a black heart with ‘Trouble’ running through it. Trouble was my cat, he passed away last summer but I’d had him for around eight years. The last tattoo I got was by Olivia Chloe Lewis, and it’s a vase! I think regardless of whether your tattoos have a specific meaning you can tell a lot about a person from their tattoos and that’s what’s always drawn me to them. I’ve only ever had my thighs tattooed, I wouldn’t want to move on to anywhere else on my body until my legs are completely covered.

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Your pots represent the human body in so many different ways – large and small, and sometimes tattooed. What is it you feel you are addressing with your all-embracing work, and how do you feel tattooing is part of that conversation? I just want to have an inclusive brand where everyone feels like they are represented. People who have tattoos usually want me to incorporate them into custom pieces, and I really like drawing them on because it can sometimes be challenging! Just like anything else; scars, piercings, moles, third nipples, freckles. Regardless of whether it was a choice, like a tattoo, or a mole you were born with, it all makes you the individual person that you are and that’s what my work is all about: celebrating differences.

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Who influences you? My boyfriend, Archer. He’s very creative, and I wouldn’t be doing what I do now without him. My best friend, Tammy, has built her own nail empire (NAF! Salon). She has shown me that it’s not at all about getting lucky, it’s about hard work, dedication and endless passion. When it comes to artists I absolutely love, the work of Sally Hewett. She is unapologetically honest. Her work is so well thought out and the end product is always so beautiful even if to society the subject might be seen as “ugly”. I have a massive girl-crush on Jen Gotch, founder of Ban.do. Her personal Instagram is so refreshing. She talks openly about her struggles with mental health, is a huge babe, dresses like a crazy old lady, and pulls it off, and somehow also manages to run a very successful business.

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What’s next for you? I have a few collaborations in the pipeline! The only one I can really talk about at the moment is a jewellery collaboration with Lou Clarke. We’re doing earrings! It’s such an exciting time for me. I feel like there are endless possibilities when it comes to doing fun things, but at the moment I haven’t really got a clear path. I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing and see where it takes me. I’m not really one for planning – plans stress me out! So yeah, to be honest I have no idea, but for now I’m happy just living in the moment.

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Careers: Tattooed E-Commerce Stylist

We chat to 30-year-old Ecommerce and Editorial Stylist Rebecca Griffin, from Leicester about her tattoo collection…

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What drew you to tattoos, did anyone influence you? I was always fascinated with tattoos and body adornment from a young age, and I chose to research this as a subject when doing a self-directed art project at university. During my college years I was particularly interested in tribal and international cultures, and the meanings behind the traditional ink work you would see covering the bodies of tribal men and women. My fascination then developed into looking into fashion subcultures and how they adorned their bodies with piercings and tattoos, which similarly were influenced by their surroundings.

Can you tell us about some your tattoos? I got my first tattoo at 27, all my tattoos I have are of birds and the reason that I left it so long to get any tattoos, was because I wanted to be sure. As I never want to have any tattoos I’d live to regret. My second tattoo work is a number of birds sitting or moving within wild flowers and leaves. These are my favourite and are by the lovely Tiny Miss Becca!

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Bird tattoos by Tiny Miss Becca

I had originally had the idea to have two birds positioned flying up from he tops of my feet to my ankles surrounded by flowers. Once these was done I decided I wold really love to extend them up and a around the bottom of my legs with more birds and flowers. And Becca agreed and thought it would look great too. Becca has drew each bird to have it own personality and work with each other so they look like they are part of a flock. There is a total of seven birds and the cutest little egg basket.


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I never really been a fan of my legs as I am a very pale person and feel all my vain’s show to much so was never one to get my legs out in public. I now absolutely love my legs and they are my favourite part of me thanks to Becca. She really powers through to achieve the amazing work she done for me. I love that even though we was only planning to start and finish with just the two birds she’s managed to create a design for me that looks as though we always planned to have all the birds wrapped round to begin with. Becca is such an amazing talent and I feel very privileged that she was excited by my idea and wanted to carry on the work for me.

How did you get into your current role? Before I was a e-commerce stylist I was working as a fashion designer, which I enjoyed doing but wanted to have another creative outlet outside of my job. Before I became a designer I used to do visual merchandising for a high street store and wanted to get back into a role similar. I began to style for fashion photographers, I began to build up a fashion styling portfolio by working with models and MUAs. I slowly progressed to improve and have a greater understanding of what was required to fully organise and style a fashion shoot and began to feel inspired to change my career path and get into styling full time. A close friend of mine knew of a e-commerce Stylist opportunity that had arose and advised me to go for it, I did and I got the job and I’ve not looked back since.

Can you tell us a little bit about your other projects too? I still style a lot of fashion shoots out of my full time styling role as I really love the chance of organising and directing a shoot that is fashion editorial inspired. E-commerce styling is great and I love that too, but it’s very commercial and sometimes a little restricting creatively. I really like having a diverse portfolio that shows the work I can create commercially and editorially.

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Photoshoot styled by Rebecca

Did you have to study or have you worked your way up? I have worked my way up to this role and made it a personal goal to keep working hard to gain as much experience in this role as possible. It’s not easy to be able to get models, photographers and make up artists to work with you, which is why it so important to be persistent in your search and communication with fellow creatives.

What is a typical day like? I style in a photo studio based in Rugby, these products are then uploaded to the fashion retailer’s website. When I arrive there is normally a rail of clothing I will need to style a shoot on a standard model size mannequin. I get to use a really cool price of equipment called a style shoot which allows me to get the clothing product I’ve styled shot without the requirement of a photographer. Some days I do style clothing on a mannequin set also, working closely with a photographer to achieve an editable shot that will be re-touched before going on to the retailer’s website. Also the products I shoot need to be shot as symmetrical a possible which sometimes can be a challenge, but is all part of the fun.

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What do you love about your job? The studio I work in means that I get to see and style lots of big name brands, such as Moschino, Alexander McQueen, Emilio Pucci and Versace. I really love having the chance work with these products. I also working in a really nice environment where we all work closely and well together as one big team.

How do you dress for work? Quite casually, jeans and nice t-shirts or shirts with Dr Martens or bright colourful trainers. My style is a little boho hippy, skater-ish rocker with a little sports mixed in. As you can tell I am not very good at describing my style, but my usual aim when I get dressed for work is to wear what comfortable but has a little personality to it.

Do you show off your tattoos? Yes, I do. I’m very lucky to work somewhere that does not discriminate against or does not like tattoos on show.

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How do people react to your tattoos? Majority of the time people love them and are really interested and ask lots of questions. I do on the very rare occasion get disapproving looks but it’s a personal preference thing and I love them which is all that matters

Do you have any advice to other people considering their careers when getting tattooed? I would say go for the career you want to do, you can still have tattoos just be mindful where on your body to have them. If you want a career where tattoos can potentially lower your chances of getting a job then get them in places you can cover them with clothing.

Tattoo The World: Nick Romi

We chat to 21-year-old film director and editor, Nick Romi who is based in LA and Osaka, Japan about his vlog Tattoo the World, his tattoo collection and his love for adventure…

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What drew you to the world of tattoos? Ever since I was young I’ve always loved metal and punk music. Every singer or band I’ve ever looked up to or listened to has tattoos. It’s something that’s been planted in my mind from a young age. I identify with the punk and metal culture, and I always have. I guess part of that identification involves self expression and freedom, two things that mean a lot to me.

What inspired you to create a vlog series about tattoos? How did it come about? I’m always traveling around the world filming. I’ve done all kinds of stuff from documentaries, commercials, television mini-series, music videos, live events, etc. Whenever I travel somewhere new I try to get a tattoo as well. I want to get something done in all of the countries I visit. I’m not really the person or type that would start a YouTube vlog. At least I never thought I was the type. But a part of me felt I should document these tattoo sessions and shops I go to around the world. So I started filming my tattoo sessions and then talking about them in vlog form. Vlogs are very different from the line of work I do in film. It’s refreshing to be able to sit in front of the camera and just talk about the things I love.

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What message or values do you want to share? I want to share with people the excitement and sense of adventure in doing something different from everyone else. I think a lot of people have dreams and visions of what they really want to do but they never follow through. There is so much untapped greatness and uniqueness in everyone. We all have such an incredible story to tell. I tell my stories through my vlog and films that I make career wise. That’s my book. I want to hear other people’s stories. If my videos can inspire people to do what they love and share their adventures in life, then that’s the best reward.

What can people expect to see on the channel? What sorts of things do you film and feature? People can expect to see so many things! As I said before the vlog follows me around the world on all of my adventures. In past episodes, I’ve been to India, Japan and Taiwan. I talk in depth about my experiences and try to relate them back to tattoo artists and shops in the United States. People can always expect something unique in each episode. Not every episode is about a certain country either. There are also episodes that will cover keeping your tattoos clean, what tattoos I have, what future tattoos I plan on getting, where my favorite shops and artists are, etc. I want people to grow with me and see all of the tattoos that I will be getting as the series goes on. We also have tattoo features at the end of each episode. If a fan or tattoo artist, or shop wants to showcase their work, they can submit photos to us via email or social media and we will feature them at the end of each episode! It’s our fun way of trying to make Tattoo the World a community thing.

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Nick and his girlfriend Yu Kitamura

What have you learned since beginning filming? What has surprised you the most? Something I learned from starting this vlog was not everyone is going to like you. Obviously I am not a tattoo expert, but I try to do the best research I can and educate myself. Some people get defensive or almost offended by what I say. I speak for myself on the vlog but as it is with many things these days, there’s always someone you’re going to offend. I learned not to take it personally and just continue on with the vlog as it is. You’re going to get flack and crap from people in life regardless of what you do, so it’s important to keep your head up and stay true to yourself.

Something that constantly surprises me is the amount of positive feedback and interest I get from the series. I didn’t think anyone would be interested in watching it, but I’ve grown a few followers. It’s a great feeling when someone finds entertainment in your craft.

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What is your most meaningful tattoo? My most meaningful tattoo is my shovel tattoo. The idea of this is from the singer of Boston hardcore band Vanna, Davey Muise. His inspirational message is to “find your shovel” and dig yourself out of any problem or situation or negativity in your life. For Davey his shovel was music and being in a band. My shovel is film and being a director and editor. I carry this tattoo with me on my skin in ink, everywhere forever, as well as in my heart.

We’re official sponsors of Nick and his blogs, so head to Tattoo The World see more!

Tattoos in the workplace: A guide to your rights and discrimination awareness

Hands up if you’ve ever been advised not to get a tattoo in an overtly visible area in case it affects employment opportunities?
Chances are that’s a fair few of you.

But despite the forewarnings from our elders, tattoos are very much an integral fabric of society today, particularly amongst young people. In fact, it’s suggested that nearly a fifth of UK adults have had tattoos, with those under the age of 40 more likely to have them.

Tattoos in the workplace is not a new topic of discussion. However, it’s important that those with tattoos are familiar with their rights in the workplace and the discrimination that can arise during the recruitment process.

Here’s everything you need to know about body art at work.

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Recruitment

The UK Equality Act 2010 protects job hunters from a large range of diversity prejudice, from age and gender, to nationality and disability.

However, body art is not a characteristic that is protected by workplace equality law. As a result, prospective employers can make their hiring decisions based on tattoos if they wish.

However, job opportunities are improving for those with body art.

While once upon a time many customer-facing organisations were not open to hiring those with tattoos, many have now adopted a no-visible-inking policy. Some of these organisations include airlines, the police and even McDonalds.

This means that it’s now possible for those with easily concealed tattoos to apply for a greater range of roles, although if a no-visible-inking policy is in place, candidates are likely to be asked to provide photographs of all inkings with a visible measure for scale.

In the workplace

Businesses are within their rights to have rules in place around appearances in the workplace. This is because dress codes can help maintain professionalism, company branding, and even company atmosphere.

However, it’s important that the standards are appropriate for the business, staff and company culture and are not solely based on personal preference.

We’ve all seen the headlines about heels at work…

If your tattoos go against company policy, then your employer can dismiss you and you are not protected by the law. Therefore, make sure you are aware of the dress code in your place of work so you know where you stand.

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How to make tattoos work for you

Despite the statistics, policies and general perception of tattoos, they don’t necessarily have to be a hindrance for you at work.

Here’s what you need to bear in mind.

Show your dedication to the industry

While many employers are missing out on the top talent for jobs due to tattoo policies, body art could make you more employable in some instances. You may be more employable within the creative industries if your skin exudes your artistry and innovation.

What’s more, if your tattoo pays homage to your favourite brand or company you want to join, like these inkings, you might increase your chances of securing an interview since your dedication game is strong.

Go with your gut

If you’re looking for work and are not sure how well your tattoos will be perceived in an interview or in the company’s culture, it’s important to trust your instincts.

Try and make a fair evaluation based on the organisation’s environment and industry before you show off your tattoos.

For example, if you’re applying for a client-facing finance role in a corporate firm, revealing your creative sleeve may not go down so well. However, if you’re applying for a position in a tech startup, where suits are a rarity, your tattoos may not be an issue at all.

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Be aware of stereotypes

We’re all familiar with the stereotypes surrounding heavily tattooed people. But no matter what your opinion on tattoos is, you must try to keep an open mind and remain aware of how others may perceive you in the workplace.

Ultimately, you may want be known for your professional ability, you may not want to be known as “the one with the giant Batman tattoo”. While it’s great to be unique, try not to let your artwork define you or upstage your professionalism or it may do more harm than good.

Laura Slingo is Digital Copywriter for the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.

Vintage Vista: Ruella-Maria

38-year-old Ruella-Maria is a part-time vintage slinger, mumma, wife and full time sick girl, who lives in The Woodlands Texas but originates from Aberdeen. We chat to her about her courage to keep going when faced with a myriad of health issues, how she started selling vintage and her stunning tattoo collection…

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Tell us a little about your Etsy shop, and how you began selling vintage? I predominantly sell antique fashion on Etsy. I have a penchant for late 1800s to 1930s women’s clothing. I’m drawn to anything feminine, light and airy or a bit manky and masculine with possibilities for longevity. I like to combine sourcing vintage for myself and my shop with exploring Texas. Texas is an antique and vintage fashion treasure trove. My hunting grounds are flea markets, antique malls, fairs and estate sales.

I started selling vintage after my health deteriorated a few years ago. I only sell vintage on a very part time basis as my health permits. I was born three months premature in 1978, weighing 1lb and wasn’t expected to survive. I’ve been told that I’m a fighter my whole life,  I see it more as stubbornness, I don’t like being told what I can’t do. I am neuro diverse, I have a developmental disorder known as dyspraxic with overlapping disorders on the spectrum.

I’ve always known I was different. It isn’t always easy but it’s part of who I am.

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I also have Ehlers danlos syndrome a collagen disorder that affects my skin, blood, muscles, ligaments and joints, which causes major pain for me. I also have postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome which causes a myriad of problems but mainly has me feeling sick, tired and dizzy on a daily basis. I’ve gone through hell over the years with both these illnesses but luckily I have an amazing husband who has helped me figure out how to weather the bad times and a daughter who gives me a reason to be strong each day. There are no cures for what ails me but I think it’s good to be honest & talk about them as they obviously impact greatly on my everyday life.

So selling vintage gives me a purpose. I don’t make it out of bed every day. I might be the slowest seller in the world but I know that I carefully choose each piece on my adventures, I put love into reviving the lost and broken pieces and I enjoy sharing what I find with others. I also set up a vintage fashion community Instagram page two years ago so folk like me had a place to tag outfits. I spread the word to use the tag #truevintageootd when listing personal vintage fashion outfits. 18k people later and I now have a group of Instagram friends helping to run the page so we can feature new people are regular users daily. It’s been an adventure building our not so wee vintage fashion community!

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Can you describe your personal style? I have been wearing vintage properly since I was 17. My own style is a mix of antique femininity almost fairytale pieces mixed with modern and masculine pieces. I love the 1920s but find the Edwardian, 1910s and 1930s styles suit my curves better. I’m a bit obsessed with Victorian prairie and whore house boudoir looks at the moment. I spend a lot of time at home which affords me the opportunity to wear impractical outfits such as underwear for outerwear and corsetry.

It’s only really been the past few years that I feel I’ve really explored all decades of fashion and found my own fashion groove. I don’t feel like I fit in a particular category anymore.

Now I’m happy to be a square peg in a world of round holes. Difference is good.

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Does your home decor emulate your style? I guess my house reflects my style a little bit. I’ve lived in Texas for four years with my hubby and 17 year old daughter plus two dogs. If I lived alone my home would would be pink and floral with mad Victorian wallpaper and dolls everywhere. But as it is I’d call our home industrial luxe – a mix of rustic wood and metal furniture with pink velvet chaise, teal velvet sofas, a taxidermy buck wearing a tiara and knick knacks everywhere.  I have several cabinets filled with my older, rarer antiques, curiosities and pretty things.

Are there any values or traditions that you have that have been influenced by your love of the past? What pieces are you drawn to and which are your favourite? I am a HUGE period drama and old classic movies fan. I always have an old movie or something running in the background whilst I work. I have eclectic music tastes ranging from Victorian era music in swing, blues and jazz to more modern but probably 70s at the latest rock artists like The Doors.

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Can you tell us about your tattoos? How do these fit into your look? Do they help you to feel comfortable in your body or help your confidence? My tattoos are also an expression of who I am. They are the pain I choose. But I live life in daily pain – at least tattoo pain is something I choose for myself and I get something beautiful at the end of it. I have a lot of scarring on my body – the collagen disorder EDS makes it all worse. I’ve been through the wars, had a bubba, been thin then fat then a bit less so and I’m almost 40, it all leaves its mark. I guess my tattoos cover up some of my tell tale signs in places and I prefer to look at tattoos than scars so that’s a bonus! My tattoos are for me. I’ll be getting more for sure and eventually there will be more visible but for now I like that they are mostly for my eyes only.

I see tattoos as personal art that I’ve collected. They are either tokens of fond memories or something that I admire. My recent, more complex pieces have all been done by the same amazing folks at Power House Ink. Jason and Amanda – both big antique & vintage fans. Both are very talented and I plan to have as many of my tattoos as I can done there and I’m far more likely to choose from their own flash as I admire their style and skill

Spin A Yarn: Hannah Mackie

27-year-old Hannah Mackie is a yearn dying sorceress and volunteering development manager from Didoct, Oxfordshire. We chat to Hannah about her tattoo collection, running her own hand dyed yarn business HeyJay and her love for nature…

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When did you set up your own company? Two years ago.

What inspired you to do so? I am completely obsessed with knitting and collecting irresistible yarns. The ultimate dream would be to one day have my own bricks and mortar yarn shop so I can talk yarn and knitting with lovely people all day and never have to have a ‘proper’ job again, but that’s a big scary thing that requires a lot of start up funding! So I started playing around with dyeing yarns and selling them as my own little slice of living the dream outside of my 9-5 and it went from there!

How does this fit around your job? It only just does at the moment! I spend evenings dyeing or photographing skeins to list on my website and sort out any orders that might have come in. I can sell at events and festivals on weekends so it’s just about fitting it all in! I try to keep a Sunday here or there free for doing nothing for the sake of my sanity and neglected knitting projects!

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What is it about knitting that you love so much? I find it so therapeutic and satisfying to make tangible lovely things. I love making gifts for friends and family – in an age where most people I know have the stuff they already want, I can give them something special that they won’t be able to buy anywhere that has had time, thought and love put into it – that has so much more meaning than ‘I spent two minutes ordering you a thing off Amazon’.

Can you tell us about the process behind your yarns? It’s completely random! I don’t write my recipes down, I just make it up as I go along so a lot of my skeins don’t get repeated – only the ones that I can remember how to do and tend to sell! It’s quite freeing to just wing it with colour and see what comes out. So far the results have been well received!

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Where can people buy your yarn, do you do colour commissions? I sell online at www.heyjayyarn.com and in person at events/festivals – details can be found on the website. I have done commissions for subscription boxes and smaller commissions if people just can’t find what they’re looking for or want a bigger batch of one colourway.

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Can you tell us about your style and your tattoos? Go colourful or go home! Life is too short for boring colours so my hair has been an array of brightness for a few years now and my arms are covered in watercolour tattoos all done by the incredibly talented Jason Adelinia. They’re all based on nature as I wanted to have beautiful designs and where better to source inspiration?

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Your tattoos are seemingly symmetrical, is there a reason behind these? Do any of them have any special meaning to you? I’m a bit obsessive about symmetry so I always get two at a time, one on each arm so it all balances! My first pair were to cover some scarring on my forearms – I’ve struggled with mental health since I was a teenager – and I wanted to have something to look at that I could be proud of instead of being constantly reminded of some of my darker times. Since those first designs I’ve been totally hooked on completing two full sleeves piece by piece. I’m so proud of my beautiful ink and they really help me feel good about the way I look and how my skin looks which hadn’t been the case before. I don’t get too hung up on designs so some of them don’t have a great deal of meaning, I just want pretty nature things!

Careers: Tattooed Art Director & Blogger

We chat to 28-year-old Ayden Millar an art director and lifestyle blogger from Glasgow, about the projects she has worked on, running her blog and her tattoo collection…

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Can you tell us about your freelance work for film and TV? I’ve worked freelance in the film and television industry for around seven years now! I’m self employed, and literally every day is different. I could be on a job for six days or six months, and go from making props and designing fake graphics one day, to arranging special effects and dressing sets the next.

How did you get your current role or previous roles? Did you study or did you fall into it? What sorts of things have you been involved in? The past seven years have absolutely flown, and although I still feel quite new to the industry, when I look back on my CV I’ve definitely accumulated a whole load of different jobs over the years. From kids telly to sketch and comedy shows, feature films and adverts, music videos, and quite a lot of horror/murder dramas (I seem to end up working on a lot of them, worryingly). The designer who employs me on a regular basis was the production designer for some really great British films, including This Is England, Neds, and The Magdalene Sisters. So I do always get really excited when he calls me up with details of a job, because I know the script will always be something really good and gritty we can get our design teeth into!

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What do you enjoy the most about your job?I love the fact that every day is different. I love the buzz of working with and meeting loads of people from different walks of life. And I really love seeing all of our hard work up on the big screen. It’s scary at times being your own boss and not knowing where or when the next job will be, and I suffer from extremely bad anxiety which I’ve been on medication for for a numbers of year now. But despite the fear of the unknown, my work brings out the best in me and makes me thrive. I work with the most open minded and supportive people! And although it’s stressful at times, my confidence has gone from strength to strength over the years, and I hope that can continue.

How does this coincide with your blog, or the other way around? I can sometimes have days or weeks off between jobs, so during this time I’m really able to focus on my blog and get writing and planning lots of new content. Sometimes it does suffer when I’m on a long TV job, working 8am-7pm can often frazzle my brain by the weekend and I don’t have time to write as much as I’d like to. I rely on Instagram and Twitter lots to keep in touch with my readers, let them know what I’m up to, and also keep up to date with reading some of my favourite blogs too.

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What sorts of things do you blog about, what inspires you? What can people expect to see? My blog is essentially a grown up diary, a mish mash of thoughts and photos and general gal chat! Some weeks I’ll write about cruelty free beauty, and others I could be visiting a new food place in town or exploring the outdoors in Scotland. I tend to just write about whatever is going on in my life at that moment in time, and one time a reader said that my posts felt like sitting down with a girlfriend on the phone or over a cup of coffee and having a good old catch up and laugh about life. That meant so much to me, and I do hope it’s the way I come across. There are so many beautiful, polished blogs out there these days – all gorgeously curated and edited with flawless professional photography. Pretty much like magazines! I think they’re amazing, but I must admit my blog doesn’t really fall under that category. If you’re down for a giggle and some honest life musings (with the odd selfie and puppy/cat picture thrown in for good measure) then I’m your gal.

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How would you describe your style, how do your tattoos fit in with this? I have quite an eclectic sense of style, I like to be fun, colourful and comfortable! I pretty much dress the same was I did when I was a moody 16 year old emo kid, but with a bit of added sass. My tattoos are probably a fashionista’s nightmare, they clash with anything and everything that’s colourful and/or patterned. But I don’t care in the slightest, I’ve never been one for the minimalist look. Plus, glitter and a few sequins go with everything, right?

Do your tattoos make you feel more confident, or help you to see your body differently? I definitely feel more comfortable with my body now than what I did 10 years ago, pre tattoos. They feel like a part of me. To the point that I often forget I have any until somebody mentions them or asks me a tattoo related question! They make me feel empowered and illustrate the story of my life, the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met along the way. Well, some of them do – a lot of my tattoos I got ‘just cause’. Just because I like biscuits is a good enough reason to get a Jammy Dodger tattooed… surely!?

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Any future plans either tattoos, work or blog posts? Tattoo wise, my arms are full now so I’d like to continue adding to my legs (especially my feet which I KEEP putting off). I’ve not had any new tattoo ideas in a while, so I won’t get something for the sake of it, I’ll wait until a little bit of unexpected inspiration hits me one day and then I’ll get booked in for something. I’m currently on the last week of filming a six part crime drama for the BBC called Shetland, so after this I’m gonna take a month or so off. I’m going on holiday to Ibiza, have some plans to redecorate my flat, and look forward to spending time catching up with friends and family. I’ve got a few blog post ideas up my sleeve too, so I’m excited to have some more free time over the next couple of weeks to get typing to my heart’s content.

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Careers: Tattooed Vegan Baker

We chat to 25-year-old Lizzie, a Vegan Baker from London, about running her own business Heart of Cake, her tattoos and style…

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How old were you when you got your first tattoo? I was 19. I’d always loved the idea of tattoos, but I had no idea what I wanted and ended up going for a walk-in somewhere in central London. I got half a tattoo because it was all I could afford at the time and shamefully it’s still half a tattoo to this day.

What is it about tattoos that you like so much, what influenced your decision to get tattooed? I’m a creative person and I appreciate creativity in others. Although I can draw, I don’t draw my own tattoos because I love that every artist has their own style. Just like when I work I need my creative freedom, when an artist is given a brief and they create something you couldn’t even imagine, that’s what makes tattoos and art special. Tattoos are a form of expression and I’ve always been the type to express myself physically.

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Can you tell us about your tattoo collection, is there a theme? My tattoos are all very girly and food related. There are lots of reds and pinks involved, I love anything that reminds me of chocolate boxes. There’s also a heart shaped theme running through my leg tattoos (I think there’s about 37 individual hearts on me) which I’m going to continue over my body eventually. I have a slight obsession with hearts! The majority of my tattoos are done by Julia Seizure and I luckily recently got a couple by Jody Dawber which I’m still in absolute awe of.

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Do tattoos make you see your body differently? Do they make you feel more confident? Tattoos have been a huge part of my self acceptance. Up until about 19 I was always covered up, I never got my legs or arms out even on the hottest days because I was so incredibly insecure. Getting tattooed gave me the confidence to show some skin because I wanted people to see my super cute tattoos. Being tattooed has definitely helped me become the more body confident person I am today.  If you don’t like a part of you, then why not get cute art on it to help you love and accept it?

How do people react to your tattoos? People usually get really excited when they see my tattoos because they’re pretty different to what they must usually see. I’ve had people literally squatting around me trying to get a closer look and telling their kids to come and look.

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How did you start your own business, how did this come about? I started my business a year or so after graduating university with a degree in Film and Television, which unfortunately turned out to not be my passion in life. I’ve always had an interest in baking and since going vegan I’d noticed there wasn’t really a great selection of vegan cakes out there. My business came about mid 2016 and I pretty much winged it from the start, learning to ice layer cakes from YouTube tutorials and supplying local cafes. Now I make tiered wedding cakes and crazy birthday cakes. I sort of fell into it but it’s honestly the most rewarding and best feeling doing something you love for work. Most of the time it doesn’t feel like work, unless I have a 15 hour day and sometimes there are tears, but you get used to it.

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What do you love about your job? I love that I have so much creative freedom. I get so excited about making cakes I can’t sleep sometimes and I love that people see my creativity and trust me to make them basically whatever I want. I also love that I can offer vegans or people with allergies great tasting cakes or things like macarons that they can’t usually have or find easily. Seeing customers reactions when they see my work is a very rewarding feeling and that’s what keeps me going.

What is a typical day like for you? A typical day for me is waking up early and writing out my daily schedule. I love writing a list! A cup of tea and I’m off, I’m always doing something baking related or replying to emails and admin. The joys of working for yourself! On my days off I usually go out to eat with my boyfriend, we go to the cinema a lot and sometimes binge watch TV series with our cat, Baby.

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Your job is pretty creative does this spill out into other areas of your life, like your fashion style? I’ve always been a very creative person, it runs strongly in my family. I love anything a bit different or that stands out from the norm and I guess I reflect that in the way I present myself. I’ve had pink hair for about eight years now and before then I’d always felt way too normal in my own body. I love wearing huge sparkly earrings or giant pom poms and anything that’s a bit odd, while also supporting these small creative like minded business who make them. I’m just attracted to exaggerated or over the top things and I like to show that in my work and through myself.