Eva Laflamme, editor of The Tattoo Tourist, invites you to take our tattoo collector quiz.

tattoo by Jeff Gogue


“Tattoos can say a lot about a person. Having a tattoo or tattoos, subject matter and placement all form an impression of an individual whether it is accurate or not. If you are reading this you probably have a tattoo or are thinking of getting one. What will your tattoo say about you? What do you want it to say? Ask yourself, “How will my tattoo/s represent me? ”

“Or don’t. Seriously – Do. Not. Get tattoos because they are cool as shit and you like them and you had some time and a hundred bucks to kill while you were getting your tires rotated and that is how you got your latest ink. I’m not making fun here – that is a completely legitimate way to ink up and the chosen method for a majority of tattoo enthusiasts. The sheer number of tattoo shops in the USA and abroad allows for a free-wheeling approach to acquiring ink that is unprecedented,

Twenty plus years ago when I got my first tattoo I was living in Utah. (Don’t judge. It could happen to anyone.) I decided to get my first tattoo and choosing a shop was very easy. There was only one in a hundred mile radius. My choice of artist? Limited to the sketchy metal head with the tattoo machine and a terrifying case of the shakes. Now you can find shops in the most unlikely of places including some very tiny locations and upscale towns. Where you used to have to go to the sketchier areas to find a shop you can now go to a fancy mall and get tattooed right in the display window. Times have changed but what about the way people get tattooed?

“Back in the early 70s when tattooing started to emerge from the docks and honky tonks and into “polite society” the first tattoo conventions were held. These were serious-minded collectives of tattoo artists looking to share information, check out each others equipment (basically all hand crafted) and compare work. The non-artists in attendance were mostly wives and girlfriends of the artists (precious few women tattooing at this time) and a sprinkling of die-hard fans. Now  many tattoo conventions are  full-scale lifestyle events with bands, car shows, beauty pagents, acres of branding and merchandise, celebrity artists, fans and collectors. So what is a tattoo collector exactly and what is the difference between a person who loves tattoos and has a bunch and a tattoo collector who also loves tattoos and has a bunch. Welllll – it’s subtle.

“A tattoo fan will get a tattoo as the mood strikes based on proximity to a tattoo artist, cash in pocket and whatever looks good on the flash wall or idea they have swimming around in their head. A tattoo collector will get a tattoo based on extensive research of favourite artists, email stalking of said artists, long waiting periods of anywhere from six months to two years and an investment in their ink that would shock a lot of people who have tattoos.”

tattoo by Teresa Sharpe


Here is a check list to see if you are a Tattoo Collector

(If you answer “yes” to more than two you have got the bug)

1. You have a list of artists you would like to work with

2. Those artists have waiting lists or their “books are closed”

3. This fact causes you angst to varying degrees.

4. You are willing to let an artist dictate partially or completely what they will tattoo on you and where and how big

5. This causes you no angst – you are totally game

6. You are willing to travel more than a couple of hours from your home – even fly and even go out of country for a tattoo (If you answered yes to this one you have the bug – period. – no cure in sight!)

7. You don’t have as many tattoos as you want because you are waiting for that particular artist to agree to work with you

8. You can identify more than five tattoos artists’ work at a glance

9. Your friends and family think you are a little nuts about the whole tattoo thing. You sort of agree with them

10. You know most people “don’t get it” but that is fine. Some people collect Beanie Babies or schnauzers and you don’t get that but it’s their thing and that is cool with you. Serious tattoo collecting is YOUR thing. You are approaching your body like a curated tattoo exhibit and it is a fascinating, exasperating, thrilling and expensive ride. Buckle Up!

tattoo by Erin Chance


“How did you do? I said “yes” to all ten so I am definitely up to my neck in it. And does it matter if you said no to all of them? Does that make your tattoos “less than”? Oh hell no. Part of me wishes I could tap the brakes on my tattoo mania and just get some ink without having to move heaven and earth first. I chatted about Rock and Roller Andy Biersack’s “random” ink collection last week and I wasn’t kidding when I said I thought it was cool as hell.

“That is one of the many things I love about tattoos and tattoo culture – it truly does embrace all types. From the middle age housewife with a serious tattoo collection to the young 20 somethings inking up on the fly with no plan and no worries.  At the end of the day it all looks pretty damn cool. Unless you get a crap tattoo. That is not cool.

“So maybe you are not a “collector” but at the very least be a good tattoo consumer. Go to a professional tattoo artist who employs proper safety standards and knows how to handle a tattoo machine. Scratchers are called that largely because their line work is shaky as shit due to their lack of know-how. Tattooing well takes serious practice and skill to do it right. Don’t offer up your skin to a half-assed amateur. Make sure you are getting inked by a professional who takes pride in their craft – whether it is an elaborate full back piece or a simple word tattoo – then your ink will always be cool to the only person whose opinion on it truly matters – Your Own.

tattoo by Kelly Doty


all tattoos in this post are done by my short list of “dream” artists. If you help me get an appointment with one of them I will bake you your favorite cookies and Fed Ex them to you – I promise!

Things&Ink and The Feminist Library present: Feminist Flash Day


Things & Ink and the Feminist Library have joined forces to create an event that celebrates tattoos, female liberation and feminism in all their glory… Feminist Flash Day #feministflash will take place on Sunday 31 May at the King of Hearts tattoo studio in New Cross, London.

The day will include feminist tattoo flash available on a first come, first served basis and a panel discussion on tattoos and the body in the feminist movement. We already have the awesome Dexter Kay, Julia Seizure and Lou Hopper confirmed for the tattooing on the day.

The Feminist Library will be running a book shop all day at the event and will be displaying historical artwork from the feminist movement.

All proceeds will be going to the Feminist Library who are desperately raising funds to find a new home and carry on their work cataloging the continuing feminist movement, as well as creating a community space for all feminists.

Please share this event, visit and celebrate with us!

The tattooing will run from 11am to 3pm and will be on a strict first come first served basis. The panel discussion will run from 4:30pm and will be free, although we will be collecting donations on the door.

Poster artwork by the awesome Dexter Kay who will be tattooing at the event. If you have any questions, please email

More info coming soon…

I did it! I ran a marathon!

She did it! Things&Ink editor Alice Snape ran the London Marathon 2015, for Sarcoma UK. You can read about her training journey in past blog posts and on her Instagram page. This is her diary entry about her marathon experience… 


“I am writing this post from the comfort of my bed. I am finding it difficult to walk down stairs as my legs are so stiff… God knows how they ran a marathon yesterday…? This weekend has been a huge mix of emotions, from the nerves on pre-marathon Saturday to the high of crossing that elusive finishing line… I don’t know how I can even begin to put into words the experience of my first ever marathon…

“I always knew Saturday was going to be filled with tension. But I didn’t imagine that I would be moved to tears so many times. My mind was plagued with doubt, have I done enough training? What if I can’t do it? What if I need to wee? How will I feel? I just couldn’t relax. But a text from my boyfriend James’s mum, Glenys, flicked everything into perspective and moved me to tears of sadness, as she spoke of a very special person who I never had the honour of meeting – and who I know I would have been great friends with… James’s sister, Glenys’s daughter: Katherine – who very tragically lost her life to Sarcoma just before James and I met. The months of training and fundraising were to pay tribute to Katherine, and to raise awareness about this rare form of cancer.

“Aside from the emotion and nerves, there’s also the practicalities! I had to sort my running kit out – the vest, the leggings, the really unsexy pink running bum bag to store gels and jelly babies in, the trainers and the Vaseline (you have to lube up to avoid chaffage on long distances). And I needed to make sure I ate lots of nice healthy carbs, also known as carb loading. I also wanted to make sure I had a nice early night – even though I knew I probably wouldn’t get much sleep… I only dozed in and out of sleep all night, thinking about what epic journey I was going to embark on…


“Race day morning, it was a weird one… I was so tired when my alarm went off. I had a night of broken sleep and did not feel refreshed at all. For half an hour at 6.30am I did lots of stretches, and also made sure my hamstring was taped up, as unfortunately I picked up an injury during my training. Breakfast was porridge, berries, a coconut water and a coffee. Then I set off on the most nerve-wracking train journey of my life… although I was very relieved to see lots of other marathon runners on the platform, who all looked equally as apprehensive…

“I don’t know how I imagined race day would feel, but I don’t think any training really prepares you for it. Time means nothing. It goes so quick and so slow all at once… and the run feels so very different to a training run. I wanted to try and take in all the sights I saw on the way, but everything is a blur as you’re trying to concentrate on how fast you’re running, all the people around you, the crowd, the runners, the atmosphere… I saw a woman running in stilettos, Jesus Christ, and a rhino (luckily I overtook all these people). There are roadside parties the whole way round… people cheering and drinking. I just kept thinking I am jealous of the people drinking or just smug that I am running a marathon? There are old people, young people, those who are thin and those who are fat, some in costume, some running, some walking… so many walks of life all united on this marathon journey.

“But there were low points too. My parents and friends were going to be at the Sarcoma UK cheering point at mile 12, and I had been spurred on by that thought from around mile 8… I just kept thinking it would be four miles until I saw their faces. But mile 12 went past and I didn’t spot them. I don’t know how I missed them (especially as my parents had a banner with my face on it!), I must have been in a weird marathon daze. That put me on a bit of a downer and then I was worried I wouldn’t see them again. It was such a pity as mile 13 was running across Tower Bridge, and I had been so excited about this point in the marathon… There were other dark moments along the route too, women cowering on the kerbs, head in hand, men being carried on stretchers, bleeding nipples… signs that the marathon really is a true test of human endurance…


“But I plodded on… I kept on running focussing on how I might feel at the end, and trying to ignore the pain and the heaviness of my legs, counting down the miles… Until mile 25, and I spotted the second Sarcoma UK cheer point and the faces of my boyfriend, friends and family… I had no idea what a boost that would give me and I managed to pick up my pace as I embarked on the final the mile and a bit… That was a huge high – probably my marathon highlight – and I smiled and waved. I knew now I could run until the end…  Trough The Mall and past Buckingham Palace, then as I crossed the finish line, I lifted my arms in the air and burst into uncontrollable tears, I was literally sobbing. So much so that one of the marshals took me in her arms and gave me a huge embrace. I have never experienced anything like this feeling before.

“I managed to complete my first ever marathon in a time of 4 hours, 30 minutes and 21 seconds – almost exactly the time I had wanted to achieve and never thought I could… but my immediate thought was, oh maybe I could do it next year and maybe I could do it in 4 hours… Then I thought back to myself at exactly this point last year, I was so impressed when one of my friends ran the marathon, I thought it was something that I would never be able to do myself. At the time, I drank a lot, smoked and I was around a stone and a half heavier and I couldn’t run for more than a mile without needing to walk. But running really has made me feel happier in my own skin, and  I have a new found respect for my body and what I can do when I really focus on a goal. It has also made me feel much closer to James and his mum, and really made me think about Katherine, who I so wish I could have met.

“And to top it all off, as I met everyone at the meeting point, my mum told me that I had more than hit my £3,000 fundraising target as I was running. How incredible that people were following my progress and donating as I was actually running…

“It has been an amazing journey over the past few months, one that I am almost sad  is over. Training for the marathon has been such a huge part of my life since November last year. And now I have been advised by a physio to take a month off and let my hamstring heal. I guess once it has, I can start chasing my next running dream. Bring it on. Let a life-long love affair with running really begin…”

You can read more about Sarcoma UK and donate to Alice’s fundraising on her justgiving page.

Day after marathon brekkie. It tasted so good…

Lessons in drag

Anyone who thought that drag wasn’t worthy of being called ‘art’ have been proved very wrong… The UK has become the first country ever to offer a module in the art of drag queens and kings as part of the performing arts, dance and drama degree at Edge Hill University in Lancashire.  The module will include how to perfect a lip sync, the use of makeup and costume, comedy and general stage performance.  Theories surrounding gay, lesbian and transgender activism will also be included.

American drag queen superstar, Ru Paul

The senior lecturer of the course, Mark Edwards was in charge of pushing the module forward.

“This module not only explores drag as a highly camp performance art, it also engages with complex gender, feminist and queer theory to explore the social and political implication of ‘doing gender’ in performance. Drag as a performance art form has seen a relative decline in the past decade, yet there are new and exciting emerging forms coming through which makes this module all the more relevant to performance contexts. There’s a lot more to drag studies than wigs, make-up and high heels!”

 Trixie Mattel with British drag queen, Meth who also runs the London drag night, The Meth Lab

This groundbreaking step forward for the LGBT community comes in the same month as the closure of infamous pub, The Black Cap which used to host The Meth Lab – one of the most popular drag nights in London.  Last week saw a large protest outside the venue with many famous faces of the drag community rallying together to prove their undying love for this iconic venue. Paul McGill, owner of Camden securities which agreed terms on the pub in December stated, “It’s a site of historical value, we understant that. We feel we are saving it as a venue, not destroying it.” Only time will tell if McGill holds any truth in what he says!

 Female drag star, Tete Bang who was a long running performer at The Black Cap.


Dark Star Film Review & Giger Film Festival Info

Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World
a film by Belinda Salin
Icarus Films and KimStim Release, 2015
Web: Dark Star Movie
Review by Kimberly Baltzer-Jaray

Dark Star is a film that gives the viewer a highly personal, very raw and honest glimpse into the life of Hans Ruedi Giger near the end of his life. It celebrates his life as much as brings fans to term with an aging beloved artist. In many scenes we see a man who is evidently trapped in a dying, damaged body, there are certain moments you can see it in his eyes how much he struggles with this as his mind is still very sharp, his wit is intact and his artistic brilliance still very present. He shuffles around slowly, his speech a bit muffled from the strokes he has suffered, and sometimes he even looks lost or confused when out of the house. It’s a glance at an artist we so rarely get to see in our ageist society that typically only loves and wishes to see the young and beautiful. Giger, with his slow pace and slightly disheveled hair, has transitioned from being the guy who scared the crap out people with his art and monsters to the eccentric, lovable, sweet old man who you’d love to sit down with and have coffee and cake. It also feels as much a celebration of his life as it is a farewell. With so much footage of older Giger, and given his death shortly after the filming was done, the film provides a sense of closure for fans. By the end, when he talks about how happy he is with his life and what he’s done (and how he never wants to be reincarnated), you are ready to let him go and feel at peace for him and with his passing.

This film is bittersweet and this feeling arises largely because of the juxtaposition of footage of older Giger with plenty of footage of him from the 70’s and 80’s. Surprisingly there is little footage of his midlife, and a better balance might have been struck if the filmmakers had used more. It is in this juxtaposition that you see how much Giger is losing his battle with time; his sun is setting. While you feel sad for Giger that the end of his life is torturous, his brilliant mind trapped in a failing body, you also cannot help but feel a deep sense of gratitude and adoration for what he’s accomplished and the immense influence he has had on contemporary culture and art.

From beginning to end, the film is filled with glimpses of almost every decade of Giger’s art, and every medium he used, both popular pieces and works that are little known. There’s also footage of him airbrushing, drawing and sculpting, always wonderful to watch an artist in his element. About a half hour into the film there are several of Giger’s artworks quickly flashed onto the screen alongside archival photos from wars and bomb explosions with ominous sound effects in the background, which comes across as rather shallow, impersonal and poorly thought out. The order of the pieces is more about the content of image itself and less about the meaning, such as with Giger’s Birth Machine the image prior to it is one of child soldiers from the Vietnam War and the one that follows it is of a soldier in a gasmask. While Birth Machine is an artwork containing a giant gun and loaded bullet babies wearing goggles, the meaning of the piece has to do with overpopulation – a war carried out via the pregnant uterus and not with actual guns, soldiers and slaughter. Giger spoke often about the meaning of Birth Machine and this information is well known by fans of the piece, and is readily available on the internet and in books about his art. So, lurid and erroneous mistakes like this are annoying and leave one wondering if the filmmakers truly understand his art and they disrupt the authenticity and sense of honesty of the film itself. It’s so much more aesthetically pleasing and fulfilling to see Giger create art or to walk through his art with him than to see one of his most well known images misused for anti-war posturing.

Any fan will no doubt enjoy walking with the camera as it tours his wonderful garden, complete with sculptures and a train, an art exhibit of his work, and even a visit to the HR Giger Museum in Gruyeres. It’s absolute bliss to feel as if you are standing in the “Spell Room” with the man who created it (it’s also wonderful to see Giger’s face fill with pleasure when he looks around the room). This intimate perspective the film has is the one of its most enjoyable features because it makes the art a lived experience shared with its creator. When faced with Giger’s ‘life in art’ one feels not only the intensity and breadth of his artistic genius, but that his dark spirit will never die. Giger the man is mortal, but Giger the artist is timeless and will forever haunt us all.

My only other criticisms, the white subtitles often get lost when placed over light colours, and the captions identifying people interviewed are sometimes in German and sometimes in English. Offering both would have been better.

It is immense fun to wander around his house is a wonderful labyrinth-like place filled to the brim with artworks, books and curiosities, as if you’re visiting there in person. The documentary is filmed in a highly intimate style, communicating a very strong feeling of inclusion. It is a warm and inviting look at Giger and the group of wonderful people in his life who watch over him and his legacy. There’s a lot of love and support in that house, and he was so lucky for that.

In fact, love is a feeling that pervades this film. Giger’s wife and the directress of the HR Giger Museum, Carmen, is a constant loving presence. She’s a beautiful, warm and intelligent woman who possesses a deep understanding of and admiration for his works and genius. In the one-on-one interviews with Carmen, Giger’s past partners, friends and colleagues, you see that he is surrounded by a wonderful supportive network of people who love him dearly. There is also Müggi III, the Siamese cat, who follows him about like a loyal, loving minion. At a book signing you see how much his fans adore him in their words of thanks, their fantastic tattoos, and one fellow even moved to tears when meeting Giger. At one point, Giger speaks of the 1975 suicide of Li Tobler, his early muse and famous love of his life. Watching him talk about this time in his life, how much he loved her and how painful it was to lose her, it is quite evident that her death still haunted him. In his struggle to tell this story you clearly see the feelings of guilt and helplessness he still holds, but his perseverance in sharing it shows a wish to exorcise this old demon from his heart. It’s both touching and heartbreaking to watch the profound emotions Giger displays here.

Dark Star is a must watch for any fan of Giger’s art and film work. When watched with other documentaries and short films featuring Giger, it completes the portrait of his life by revealing the story of his final years and his personal thoughts on the life he’s lived and created.

See the trailer for Dark Star on Vimeo.

North American theatrical release dates are available here. This list is constantly updated and will include June shortly.

European theatrical release dates can be found here.

Keep up with all the latest news and release dates on the Dark Star FB page.

HR Giger Documentary Film Festival, Museum of Arts and Design in NYC
May 22nd & 23rd, 2015

The Unseen Cinema of HR Giger
Rare Documentaries & Short Films
Five Hours, Three Separate Rooms, Thirteen Films

“Marking the one-year anniversary of his passing, the Museum of Arts and Design presents The Unseen Cinema of HR Giger. Partnering with the HR Giger estate and the HR Giger Documentary Film Festival, this weekend-long event presents rare and never before seen films made by and about HR Giger.”

Watch the trailer for the film festival on Vimeo here.

Abracadhybrid – an exhibition by Amanda Toy

We sent one of our lovely readers, Ilaria, to the opening of Amanda Toy’s exhibition ’Abracadhybrid’ at Parione9 to review the event for us…

“Last week I was at gallery Parione9, in Rome, near Piazza Navona. As soon as I walked in, my eyes were welcomed by a feast of balloons, colourful walls… and so many people! Here I had the pleasure to meet two lovely ladies, Marta Bandini and Elettra Bottazzi, who curated ‘Abracadhybrid’, the first solo show by Amanda Toy. Amanda Toy, as you may already know, is a tattoo artist from Italy. For over 18 years,  she has reinterpreted old school with a really personal touch that is now very recognisable.

“On 10th April, she was in Rome to celebrate the opening of her chimerical art exhibition. Among nature, childhood and bright colours, you immediately get caught up by and feel involved with the artworks on the wall. It’s like falling into a dreamy yet very realistic world. It’s magic but also reality…  Abracad(abra)… hybrid!

“It was one of those rare moments in which you could feel the power of art and the passion all around, because Amanda truly painted her deep emotions and feelings onto canvas. She found a way to bring together happiness and sadness. That’s what she always says: no rain, no rainbow! Seven canvases on which hybrid creatures live to make you think and wonder. Seven characters in which are hidden different themes, from love to fear, from strength to fantasy.

From left to right: Marta Bandini, Amanda Toy, Ilaria, and Elettra Bottazzi


“As Amanda Toy explained, her paintings are her own vision, a transformation aimed at personal growth. Canvases play with the observer, and those big eyes are a key to self-exploration. The lady faces on the walls, at first glance, seem funny and cheerful, but… if you take a closer look, they will reveal the stratagem of life: not everything is what it seems. Here, as in our lives, there is space for happiness and joy, as much as for sadness and nostalgia.

“By this artistic mean, Amanda lets you get a closer look to yourself and be aware of this equilibrium. Abracadhybrid is her spell for a magical life!

You can see Abracadhybrid exhibition until 10th June 2015, at Gallery Parione9. You will also find Things&Ink mags, as the gallery has just become the first official stockist in Italy!

Photos by Diana Bandini and Matteo Rasero


On Instagram, we recently posted an amazing tattoo of an ultra realistic nipple, which covered a mastectomy scar. It’s by tattoo artist Kerry Irvine.  After posting this image I suddenly thought, “is this breaching Instagrams rules on no visible female nipples?”

How ridiculous is that! Being worried that your page may get shut down due to a tattoo of what 50% of the human population own! Luckily our page is still alive and kicking, but in some small way I wanted Instagram to react to this and give us a warning but luckily they didn’t stoop quite that low.

Instagram have recently updated their community guidelines stating: “We know that there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity on Instagram. This includes photos, videos, and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks. It also includes some photos of female nipples, but photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK, too.”
So we are allowed to keep the Kerry Irvine nipple tattoo… whoop!  But what does “some photos of female nipples” actually mean? Are some nipples more visually acceptable than others? Maybe nipples of the small, pert, “normal” variety? Cara Delevingne has responded to the #freethenipple campaign by posting the below photo on her Instagram with other celebrities jumping on the feminist bandwagon.

But when searching #freethenipple on Instagram the main bulk of images using this hashtag were pages with names like ‘tits and ass’ ‘hotties land’ and ‘bikini shoutouts’ so maybe the feminist message has got slightly lost amongst the smut and “male admin” pages? (One page I found actually states it has a male admin just in case anyone mistook it for anything to do with feminism.) Can anyone tell me why the female nipple is not allowed but crotch shots with a pink thong covering a vagina are ?  Yeah… I’m not sure either!

The latest Instagram backlash came when they removed an image of a woman asleep but showing where her period had leaked through her trousers onto the mattress.  The photo was part of a project by the Canadian artist, Rupi Kaur and actually since then, Instagram have allowed her to re-post this image.

She responded by saying: “Thank you @instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. You deleted a photo of a woman who is fully covered and menstruating stating that it goes against community guidelines when your guidelines outline that it is nothing but acceptable. The girl is fully clothed. The photo is mine. It is not attacking a certain group. Nor is it spam. And because it does not break those guidelines I will re-post it again. I will not apologise for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak. When your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified. Pornified. And treated less than human. Thank you.”  Well said!

One week to go… London Marathon 2015

Things&Ink editor Alice Snape is currently in training for the London Marathon 2015, she’s running for Sarcoma UK. Read more in her first Marathon diary entry. Here’s part six of her marathon diary…



ONLY ONE WEEK TO GO! Only one week to go until I run the London Marathon. And if I could imagine doing anything on the weekend before this momentous occasion, it was definitely not being bridesmaid at one of my best friend’s weddings. Going to one of your friends’ wedding means drunkenness, right? And if I have to run a marathon in exactly one week’s time that means I can’t get drunk! How can a wedding be fun if it does not involve champers, and lots of it?

Well actually, I realised you can have lots of fun… having a good time and dancing all evening does not have to be fuelled by alcohol. And if there is enough tipsy people around, you kinda feel a little drunk too. Even if you’re only sipping on a sparkling water and elderflower cordial (it’s a delish alternative to a cocktail). Plus I feel fresh as a daisy (or a runner) today…


You will know from previous diary entries, and updates on my personal Instagram account @morewhitequeen, that I have been building up mileage and have done one long run every week since December last year. This long run has gradually increased over my training plan from one hour to just over 21 miles! The first milestone in the plan was 8 miles, and I remember finding this distance particularly difficult in December last year. Running for over an hour was really daunting at that time. It’s weird to me that this distance now feels fairly short, as I managed to run 21.09 miles is 3 hours 40 minutes just over two weeks ago.

It has taken a lot of dedication, sacrifice (I mean I haven’t even been able to get tattooed!) and determination to get to this point and now I am feeling extremely proud of what I have already achieved. Especially as I did my last “long run” on Friday, before wedding madness kicked off, and really loved it…I ran 9 miles in the beautiful countryside and enjoyed every mile of it, I felt fit and healthy and I felt like I could run all day – a feeling I have never really had before. Normally I am counting the seconds until I can stop.

So let’s hope this commitment and all the non-drinking will be worth it! Bring on the London Marathon next week… and let’s hope the last week of tapering means my legs will feel strong for my longest run ever next Sunday. Now someone pass me a massive plate of carbs!


Race ready, here’s me in my race vest with my name on it… all ready for next week. I am running the marathon for Sarcoma UK, you can read more and donate on my justgiving

Should Chola style really be that fashionable?

Growing up in the 90s in the UK, we all remember the girls at school who would spend hours gluing  their kiss curls and baby hair down to their foreheads, after rounding them into a precise spiral formation with the use of a pencil… but why we used to ask ourselves?

Lana Del Rey in her music video/short film, Tropico

The Chola style originates from a Mexican American subculture, often associated with gangs and hip hop. The look consisted of a crop bra top, baggy trousers, which were usually Dickies, jeans and,  to top the look off, a plaid shirt with only the top button done up exposing the midriff. Gold bamboo earrings were an absolute must, along with the black winged eyeliner and a nude lip, lined in a dark brown.  There is something about this look that is appealing to so many… maybe down to the nonchalant “I don’t give a shit” attitude that has been played out in movies and music videos over the last few decades. The truth of the matter is that we all love a bad girl and this look personifies that raw edge while still looking ‘sexy’ and ‘glam.’

Nicki Minaj in her music video, Senile with tattoo artist Mr Trigz to her right who was sadly shot dead after the making of this video.

Gwen Stefani in her music video, Luxurious

Rihanna dressed as a Chola for Halloween

But Chola is more than a look and it actually relates to many people’s historical and geographical backgrounds.  The journalist, Julianne Escobedo Shepherd describes Chola in terms of her ancestry: “it was part of our inherited and ancestral culture. Historically, the term was used by European colonisers to refer to full or mixed indigenous populations in South and Central America. But in the 1960s was reclaimed in the US by working-class Mexican Americans and the Chicano Power movement as a way to flip and empower a term that had historically been used to denigrate us.” Shepherd then goes onto discuss the trend in terms of those who can afford to buy into the look that the fashion industry is selling, “privileged people want to borrow the ‘cool’ of disenfranchised people of colour, but don’t have to face any of the discrimination or marginalisation that accompanies it.”

FKA Twigs for ID magazine

Singer, Brooke Candy

Steven Meisel‘s photoshoot for Vogue Italia entitled, ‘Haute Mess’ which caused controversy down to its ‘racist ethnic stereotypes.’

So is it suitable for celebrities and fashion designers alike to be “ripping off” a look that actually holds great cultural significance for so many?  Recently a festival in Canada banned attendees from wearing Native American headdresses with one of the festival organisers stating on their Facebook page, “they have a magnificent aesthetic. But their spiritual, cultural and aesthetic significance cannot be separated. Bass Coast festival takes place on indigenous land and we respect the dignity of aboriginal people.” Pharrell Williams had to publicly apologise last year for wearing a headdress on the front cover of Elle magazine, so maybe times are changing with cultural appropriation becoming frowned upon. Can the same can be said for the Chola trend?

 Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy A/W 2015

Stylist, Anna Trevelyan wearing designer Nasir Mazhar

Suds and Smiles Samantha Fortenberry

Photographer Samantha Fortenberry has created a series of photographs titled Suds and Smiles to encapsulate the joy of bath time. The collection explores the relationship between people and objects with vibrant colours, kitsch accessories and humorous staging.

Samantha also introduces  ideas of body positivity and gender equality, as she shoots both male and female nudes, all exuding a beautiful confidence.