Surreal tattoos based on stories

Jade Tomlinson and Kev James are the creators of Expanded Eye – an artistic movement that encompasses and explores all aspects of life and the universe, from tattoos to street art. They create unique surreal tattoos inspired by the lives and stories of their clients. They want their clients to focus on what they want the tattoo to represent and leave the visual aesthetics to Jade and Kev.

 Each and every unique tattoo we create is our visual interpretation of concepts and stories provided by the client, which hold significant meaning to the individual. We encompass as much personal detail as possible whileallowing each design to evolve organically into a contemporary piece of art, which we then transfer from paper to skin.


The pair are currently tattooing in  Hackney, London and have spaces available, if you want to get tattooed by them email your idea and body placement to

Read more about their story at expanded-eye.


Tattooed Dad who wears his son’s drawings on his skin…

The Telegraph recently shared a photograph of a dad who wears his young son’s drawings tattooed on his skin… hailing him ”The World’s Most Supportive Father“… we absolutely love the photograph, but why do you think people criticised it so much?

Some comments read from Telegraph readers: “The World’s Weirdest Dad” and “He’s just an idiot.” But what do you think?

keith-anderson-tattooed dad 2

We think these photos are beautifully captured… and we can’t believe people criticised him so much.

The images of Dad, Keith, were taken by photographer Chance Faulkner.

Each one of these tattoos on my right arm my son has drawn over the years. The first tattoo is from when he was four – he is now 11. We add once a year from his drawings… We will keep going until he doesn’t want to do it anymore. At this pace he is still very excited about it, so we’ll keep going. People ask me what will happen if I run out of space; I guess I’ll just get him to draw smaller pictures.

Says Keith of his tattoos.


My Marathon Diary Part Three – my first ever half marathon (and it was hilly)

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 and Part Two – an early morning run. Here’s part three of her marathon diary – The Watford Half Marathon.  



Saturday 31 January – the day before…

“It’s the day before my first ever half marathon race and I don’t feel (too) scared (yet). I am more excited than nervous at the moment… I have trained as much as I can. I have been running four times a week, including one long run a week. The farthest distance so far being 13.7 miles (the half marathon is 13.1), and last Saturday I ran 10 miles. I have practised what runners call ‘hydration and nutrition’ on long runs. I have used gels (strange, gloopy things to give you energy while running) and swigged bits of water from a teeny tiny running bottle that fits in my pocket…

“I start my pre-race day with an 8am hot yoga class, to stretch out my limbs. And I work on the latest issue of Things&Ink all day (The Anatomy Issue, which is due out at the end of February, it goes to print next week eek)… eating healthy meals along the way. For lunch, my sister (Things&Ink stylist) Olivia makes us a cauliflower and tuna bake… this involves cutting up broccoli, cauliflower, red onions, tomatoes, tuna and feta, and baking it all together in the oven – delish. My best friend (and Things&Ink makeup artist) Keely is also running the half marathon, so we have a pre-race dinner together and I stay over at her house, so we can go together in the morning (and calm each other’s nerves). Over our salmon fishcakes, sweet potato wedges (good pre-race carbs) and broccoli, we chat about how much our lives have changed – a Saturday night of last summer would have consisted of (a lot of) wine and possibly a cheeky couple of ciggies (I haven’t smoked now since last July). Oh how we’ve changed. We go to bed at 11pm, after watching repeats of Dinner Date (rock ‘n’ Roll).”

The Watford Half Marathon Course – looking at the course before you race is so nerve-wracking… it looks so far!


Sunday 1 February 2015 – The Watford Half Marathon. RACE DAY!

“Alarm goes off at 6.45am, we have to leave at 7.30am to get to race HQ at 9am to collect our numbers and timing chips. I don’t want to get out of bed, and curse myself for this crazy, healthy new lifestyle (it’s sooooo early for a Sunday, surely most sane people are in bed?!). Breakfast consists of gluten free granola, almond milk, blueberries, banana, a coconut water and a coffee. And Keely and I plan our route to Watford and make sure we have everything we need – gels, TomTom Runner watch, ear warmers and gloves… Of course we’re already dressed in our running gear.

Gotta rock the faux fur, even just before a half marathon. At race HQ they called us the “furry runners”


“When we arrive, we’re overwhelmed by all the professional looking runners – this definitely isn’t a fun charity run… there’s leggings and teeny shorts everywhere, and some seriously fit-looking people. Keely and I are wearing our faux furs when we arrive, and we can feel people starring at us. We seem a little out of place against all the sports gear – like (tattooed, faux furry) fish out of water. We collect our timing chips and numbers and settle into race HQ (a tent in the park with chairs). We decide we don’t want to check our handbags and faux furs into the baggage store until the last minute (it’s FREEZING and all the runners in shorts and vests are making us feel even colder). While we’re waiting for the 10.30am start, we chat to an interesting lady (who we guessed was around 80) who tells us of her many marathons, and how we shouldn’t concentrate too much on how fast we’re running, just how we feel and to enjoy it – running as fast as feels comfortable on the day. We agree, and decide it’s time to head to the start line (with a quick stop off at the porta-loos), the nerves are really starting to set in.

“The gun sounds, and we’re pretty far back from the start line, we must cross it around two and a half minutes into the race. We start jogging at a slow-ish pace, it’s pretty crowded (there’s 1,700 people running). The first couple of miles we’re all so close to each other, and it feels strange running with so many people. I miss the solitariness of my early morning runs. By mile four, the crowds are clearing a little as everyone gets into their own pace. Keely and I split then too and decide we want to run our own races.

“The Watford course is unexpectedly beautiful, and we wind around country roads. But what I totally hadn’t bargained for was the hills. The course is intensely hilly, and it feels like it’s more up than down. People were walking all around me and I was trying to stay motivated and keep on running, but it was so hard. I was running so slowly up each hill (there may have been some swearing too, sorry Mum). And the hills just kept on coming… even when the race marshalls said it was the last difficult hill, I didn’t believe them. (They definitely lied to keep us motivated).  For the most part, I really didn’t enjoy it. It was a really tough challenge. But there were some simple pleasures along the way. I tried to take in the countryside and enjoy the (what felt like very few) downhill stretches (although even these were a little scary as one was so steep it felt like I was on a rollercoaster and I might topple over at any moment.) I also enjoyed some of the signs people made to cheer us on, my favourite reading: Toenails are overrated. I thought of my battered and bruised tootsies. I also enjoyed a fellow runner telling me I had “good form”. I felt some light relief at the end when the marshalls said there were just 500 metres remaining and I could see the finish line, but I just had no power left in my legs. I normally try and speed up at the end, but I had nothing left to give.


Crossing the finish line and trying to smile…


“As I crossed the finish line, the girl next to me said: “That was the worst two hours of my life, and I didn’t enjoy any of it.” I didn’t totally disagree, but I knew secretly that I wouldn’t feel this way later. I collected my medal, finisher t-shirt and gulped down some water. And went to try and find Keely. We hugged and high-fived: we did it. I managed to complete the course in two hours 15 mins, five minutes slower than I had wanted, but I blame the hills.”

Over the finish line and still smiling in our medals and runner tees… makeup artist Keely and editor Alice.


“Later, we had Sunday lunch (which tasted amazing), nothing tastes better after a tough and long run. And later that night, over a glass of wine, we mulled over our achievement. Even though straight after the race we vowed we would never, ever, run that course again, we’re already changing our minds and talking about beating our own times next year… and I guess that’s why we love running, the pain is short lived, and we soon forget the hills. We just bathe in the after-glow of our own personal little victories (remembering that this time last year 5k was  a struggle and I never really dreamed I could run for over two hours without stopping!)… and start planning the next chunk of our marathon training, next week 16 miles? Well, we’ll see how it goes… There’s a long way to go.”

Please donate as little or as much as you can on my justgiving page (, and read more about why I am running for Sarcoma UK.

Keely is also running the London Marathon 2015 for Cure Parkinson’s her justgiving page is

Toenails are overrated – tattooed post-race tootsies in the bath

Urban Outfitters trashy tattoos

You can buy trashy temporary tattoos from Urban Outfitters, but why are they called Trashy? Is it merely the name of the brand or is the online store passing its judgement on certain tattoo designs?

The designs that are deemed as trashy include tribal, dolphins, anchors and barbed wire. These have all taken part in tattoo trends, each one gaining popular in different time periods and decades gone by.

But is Urban Outfitters simply stating that all tattoos are trashy?

 What do you think?

Tattoo Me: Illma Gore

Illma Gore’s Tattoo Me project invites people to submit words that she will get tattooed onto her body.


Artist Illma Gore is raising money to launch her first art exhibition with a crowd-funding page, but this is no ordinary art show.

Illma is the canvas…

You can pay to have your name – or a few words of your choosing – tattooed onto Illma’s body. She will have anything tattooed on her as long as it isn’t hateful or discriminative. Her original goal was to raise 6K, but as it stands she has raised over $11,000 and she estimates that she will have room for 1700 names.


On her crowd-funding page she explains the inspiration behind her idea:

I want to be a singular tattoo for my latest art exhibition, and I want it to be your names. This is going to be an art exhibition in LA featuring my body and your names as well as painting and videography – by donating you are helping me pay the costs of putting on an exhibtion not for the tattoos. I think the tattoo on my forehead says it best ‘Life is art’. There is something absurd & beautiful about having an accumulation of absolute strangers names draped over my pale goth skin, even if half of them are ‘Penis Butt’. Why? you might ask, simply because I can, I know what I’m about son, and I am my own ultimate canvas. Like my art exhibitions and murals this is a social and artistic experiment! Each person’s name to me represents YOU the main protagonist in your own story. I will be covered in a hundred tiny stories and an exhibtion will be held featuring you and my body as the canvas.

Giving myself to the whim of the world and for my art.

Photographs: PR, Guardian, GoFundMe

Illma Gore Before

Illma Gore after

Freedom Tattoos: Turning prison tattoos into something beautiful

Freedom Tattoos is a new charity project set up by by Poland’s Pedagogium The College of Social Sciences and ad agency Isobar Poland.

To erase the stigma of prison tattoos.
On Creative Social Rehabilitation.

They want to help ex-cons to return back to society by covering tattoos they got in prison with professionally created ones. The cover-ups tend to be better looking, perhaps more colourful and of a higher quality than their prison ink. The emphasis of the charity is not on the mistakes they have made in their past, but more on their own personal growth and rehabilitation.

The emotional video below follows two women as they get their old prison tattoos covered, so they can move on with their lives:

Quote and video from Freedom Tattoos

LondonEdge: The New Alternative

Lifestyle trade show for fashion with an edge!
1st-3rd February
The West Hall, Olympia, London W14

Underground lifetsyle and fashion take centre stage at this exciting trade show. Don’t miss out on exclusive new season fashion and accessories from some awesome brands, including: IronFist, Collectif, Manic Panic, Killstar Clothing and many many more! Discover new designers and the latest trends while watching the faashion show or having your hair styled.

LondonEdge is known for its jam packed after parties and this year is no exception!

The night is full of an explosive array of live acts including Lounge Kittens, a trio of soulful ladies reinventing rock anthems into harmonies full of humour and sass. Dee Christopher will astound you with his mind bending magic and Burlesque performer Miss Betsy Rose will tantalise you with her sultry moves. The Sinisters will mesmorise you with their dark perfomances and East London’s finest club DJs SHOREBITCH will have dancing til the sun comes up. All of this is hosted by none other than Meth, a true star of drag with her sky high heels and cutting wit you won’t want to miss the party of the season!

If you would like to attend the LondonEdge SS15 party, please RSVP with your contact details to You can also use your LondonEdge show badge to gain entry.


Part Three – Mindful Wanderlust Vegan Travel Diary

Our guest blogger is Giselle, creator of Mindful Wanderlust – a travel blog about responsible travel, tattoos, and following a vegan lifestyle. This is the third of many posts to appear on th-ink, telling of her and her husband Cody’s travelling tales. If you have missed their previous travel posts catch up and read Part Two and Part One


We made it to Tokyo! Before we even booked our flights to Japan I knew it was a country I really wanted to get tattooed in, so I spent some time back in Canada researching different artists.

After taking a look at their consistently beautiful bold artwork, I decided on American traditional for the design, I chose to go with the guys at Inkrat Tattoo in Tokyo. Rei is the owner of Inkrat Tattoo, and has been tattooing for over 22 years.  His shop is covered in art, new and old, and original flash from the 1950s hangs on the walls.

  I couldn’t stop picking out all of the pieces I wanted.

Prior to arriving at Inkrat I decided on a geisha and left the design up to Rei. I thought, “Other than a Sumo wrestler, what’s more Japanese than a geisha?” It’s the perfect souvenir from Japan.

I learned something very interesting and new about Japanese tattoo etiquette (or at least Rei’s tattoo etiquette) at the shop that day. Before arriving for my tattoo appointment, I was asked where I wanted the tattoo, and I said on the outside bottom of my left leg.

On the day of, Rei walked over to me to fit the design on my leg and it didn’t quite fit properly. I said “it’s ok, we can do it on my other leg” But Rei didn’t really respond, he just told me he would make it a little smaller so it would fit. A regular customer sitting across from me said that where I asked for the tattoo is where I am going to get it. The reason for this, is that the artist doesn’t want to inconvenience me, as I already chose the placement and he wants to respect that.

That came as a little bit of a surprise to me. I would have been perfectly fine with the tattoo on my right leg, but just hearing that he refused to put it on my other leg out of respect made me smile a little.

Respect – and integrity – seems to be an extremely important thing in the tattoo world among tattoo artists. It is something that really resonates with me, as integrity is hard to come by these days. I have a lot of respect for people who have a lot of respect for people. Go figure.

On top of my excitement over visiting and getting tattooed in Japan, arriving in Tokyo was a sensory overload. My senses were pulling me everywhere. The colours, the lights, the droves of people, and the, sometimes, disapproving stares from some of the locals.

Although tattoo shops are legal in Japan, the long history and mentality of tattoos being only for criminals and misfits has not yet dissipated.

The earliest signs of the Japanese getting tattooed date back to 5,000 BC. By the 7th century the Japanese adopted much of the same mentality that the Chinese had for tattoos, seeing them as barbaric and using them as a punishment for crimes committed.

In the middle of the 18th century Japanese tattooing was popularised by a Chinese novel with several of its heroes covered in tattoos. This novel influenced all Japanese culture and arts, but the yakuza also became interested in tattooing, further making it a tasteless form of art and self expression to many. The yakuza felt that because tattooing was painful, it was proof of courage, and because it was illegal, it made them outlaws forever.

Finally, tattooing in Japan was legalised in the 20th century, but to this day it is still taboo. People with tattoos cannot enter into any hot baths, so unfortunately we will not be visiting any onsen (hot springs) in Japan.

Thankfully the mentality of tattoos being only for criminals is dying out with the old generation and new generations are embracing their rich culture of the art of irezumi.

 It is an ancient craft that should be appreciated and respected for what it is, not looked down upon, because it is misunderstood.

As Japan tries to reclaim all of the beauty and positivity of this ancient art of expression; I feel honoured to be able to collect an original piece from a country so steeped in the tradition of tattooing.

Follow Giselle and Cody’s travels on their blog and Instagram

My Marathon Diary – part two

Alice Snape marathon Me in my new running gear, taken at Christmas at my parent’s house in the midlands.

Editor 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.

Part two of my marathon diary – and it’s just a short entry documenting an early morning run…

Monday morning, 19 January 2015: It’s 7am, and I am forcing myself to go for a run before a freelance shift at Hello! magazine.

I am already awake as my alarm sounds at 6.15am. I lay in bed for 10 minutes visualising myself running outside in the cold. I try to figure out if I have the energy to run, can I be bothered? It’s so early. I try to remember how much I love running, and the after buzz that sets me up for the rest of the day ahead. It’s this that makes me get out of bed (even though I would definitely rather stay under the duvet with my hot water bottle).

I go to the kitchen – it’s still dark outside… I have a pre-run banana, spoonful of peanut butter and a cup of earl grey tea… As I watch BBC breakfast and and do my warm-up stretches, I hope it might get light before I leave the house – it doesn’t. I dress in my running thermals and manage to set off at 7am… I always have a few pre-run butterflies in my stomach, even if I know I won’t be out for long.

I only want to do a short run, but I manage to set off at a good pace – for me a really good pace is a 9-minute mile – and I really feel like my lungs are working hard. I struggle for the first ten minutes as I get into stride. As I run into mile 2, I try and assess my body, how each part feels, which muscles are straining and how my feet feel. I decide I feel strong and keep up the pace. My body feels warm, even though the air is freezing cold.

I run through the streets of Brixton, although I decide not to run my usual round of Brockwell Park – it looked too dark and scary. So I wind round a few different streets and end with a lap of Ruskin Park – which is just round the corner from my house. The sun is finally coming up by this point and it is starting to get light.

I complete five miles, and by the end I am happy – I run the last ten minutes at a slightly slower pace. My cheeks are red, I am sweating and I know I will feel an after-run glow for the rest of the day. I do a cool-down walk to my house, and complete some stretches before I get showered and ready for the day ahead.

Read part one of My Marathon Diary to find out why I am running for the cancer charity Sarcoma UK. And please sponsor me on my justgiving page. More updates coming soon, as I build up my longer runs. Wish me luck.