My week vaporising

Our music writer, Jen Adamson, took the vape challenge to see if a week of swapping roll-ups for a vaporiser would help her to cut her smoking habit down and eventually help her quit. We asked her to keep a smoking diary, here’s how she got on….


I’m a smoker and for every health reason under the sun, I need to and should cut down. I think with the realisation that I’ve now smoked heavily for a good 10 years, it’s high time that I give it a go and at the very least try for a week to quit. Drum roll please…

My challenge is to cut back with the help of a vaporiser. I smoke a maximum of about 10 thin roll ups a day. I personally think I’m a heavy smoker, although I have already changed my smoking habits. I used to smoke normal cigarettes before I started smoking roll-ups. One day I would like to completely stop smoking, for good.


“First let me explain how the electronic vaporiser works: they are battery powered devices that produce a water vapour that resembles smoke. The vaporiser that I tried was on the large side, being around 5 inches long compared to a roll up which is around 3 inches in length. The vaporiser unscrews in the middle so that you can drop some of the refillable e-liquid inside. While smoking you press a blue button on the side of the tube at the same time as you inhale. It was really easy to use and simple to re-fill. I used nicotine infused e-juice in a pomegranate flavour.”

Day One
I work in a bar and today I’m doing the day shift. During these shifts I usually smoke five roll-ups spread out to break up the work. As it’s the first day I’m really making an effort to smoke the vape, I even sat and smoked it inside the office, but the vape isn’t giving me the satisfaction that I’d normally get from cigarettes.

Day Two
As well as smoking the vaporiser yesterday I also smoked three roll ups. I’m trying not to change my routine too much and the cravings are starting to kick in. I enjoy rolling cigarettes and having five minutes to myself outside. I want to smoke the vaporiser during the times I usually smoke, opposed to smoking more during the day because I have the vape. Today has been stressful and I’ve smoked five roll ups.

Day Three
Today I have the day off, Hurrah! I’ve started to smoke the vaporiser inside my house, which feels really unnatural and weird. I don’t smoke inside my home and my daughter doesn’t like me smoking the vape inside either, even though it doesn’t smell and the smoke isn’t harmful. Back on the doorstep for me! My cravings are easing a little and I only had three roll ups today.

Day Four
I’M CHEWING THE END OF THE VAPE! I’m trying hard not to smoke roll ups but I just don’t feel I’m getting the nicotine hit that I need from the vaporiser. I’ve also smoked three roll ups today.

Day Five
I cracked today! I went out with some friends who also smoke, so I did too. It is just so hard to say no when everyone around you is smoking. I’ve finally realised that I have no will power, something that you need in large supply if you want to cut down smoking. I tried to use the vaporiser as well, but I can’t get used to smoking it inside, personally I think it is a little bit rude to vape indoors. I’ve still gone down from 10 to four or five roll -ups a day but the vape hasn’t left my mouth!

Day Six
I figured out today that it’s the ‘hit’ that the vape isn’t giving me. When inhaling it doesn’t give that ‘drag’ feeling that you get when you inhale on a cigarette. I think the vaporiser I have is much too mild. I thought because I smoke quite thin roll ups that I wouldn’t need a strong vaporiser, that I would be fine on a milder one. In reality I think it would be easier to cut down if I had a stronger one, but I guess it is all trial and error where vaping is concerned.

Day Seven, the last day!
I haven’t given up yet! The one thing the vape has really done has helped me to cut right back! I haven’t stopped smoking completely; smoking is a hard habit to break. I think the vaporiser is a way for me to replace one harmful habit for another not so harmful one. I think one of the reasons I find it so hard to quit is that I enjoy having a moment to stand outside and take a break. The vaporiser is not a cure for smoking, but a way to replace cigarettes, the pressure shouldn’t be put on them but on you. Willpower is the biggest thing, but undoubtedly they do help. I’ve liked having fingers that don’t stink of smoke and clothes that don’t reek of it either. A colleague at the bar did notice that I smell less of smoke now and, to be honest, I didn’t even take that into consideration!


I’m going to carry on using the vape, as a replacement, so that I can lower my nicotine intake by decreasing the amount of nicotine juice I put inside the vaporiser. Hopefully I can progress to just smoke the flavoured juice and hopefully I can stop smoking roll-ups all together. Baby steps…



Tips for Swapping Tobacco for Electronic Cigarettes

We’ve asked online vaping and e-liquid specialists what advice they could give to a newbie just starting out in their transition from smoking to vaping. Here’s what they had to say:

1.     Try a few different devices and pick one that suits your needs

Some people want the look and feel of a tobacco cigarette so they’d be more suited to ‘cig-a-like’ devices. Other people want the improved performance of the second generation devices that don’t look much like a cigarette but provide a better throat hit or ‘drag’ experience. Have a go on a few different models and find the one that will work best for you.

2.     Choosing the right nicotine strength:

The nicotine strength in electronic cigarette usually ranges from 24mg (Very High) to 0mg (Nicotine free). Finding the right strength for you is going to take a little bit of trial and error. Vaping is not 100% efficient many smokers find that when they make the move to vaping they actually use a higher nicotine strength than they imagined they would need.

3.     Prime it for full effect.

A few primer puffs will allow the atomiser to get up to full heat before you start to inhale and allow the device to work at its full potential.

4.     Do not be afraid to experiment with flavours!

It’s very common after even just a short while vaping for people to realise just how much they don’t enjoy the flavour of tobacco.

5.    Get involved in the community and learn as much as you can!

As a new vaper it can be a bit daunting. Don’t worry, we have ALL been there, and there is an ever growing community of vapers both online and in real life who are more than happy to give you tips and advice and help you learn everything you need to know.

Hang in there… Anything that is important to you is worth fighting for. Good luck and Vape on.


Redwood Tattoo, Manchester

Established in October 2014, Redwood Tattoo Studio is already carving out a name for itself in the city of Manchester. The studio is home to four custom tattoo artists, each with their own style of artwork. A hand-picked, close-knit team that are as dedicated to the design stage, as they are with the quality of the final tattoo.

Chelsea Ladish specialises predominantly in watercolour and line-based pieces, Lauren Sutton in unique geometric and custom dotwork. Kieran Barnard translates his beautiful sketches onto the skin with bold lines complimenting the fluidity of his designs, and last but certainly not least, Chris Green is producing piece after piece of consistently solid neo-traditional.

With an underground vibe, Redwood is proving to be a new little gem in the already diverse and popular Northern Quarter. All enquiries can be made to or 0161 258 9252.




How did you get into tattooing? Becoming a tattoo artist is something that happened pretty organically for me. I have always had a healthy interest in the art of tattoos, and started my personal collection at the age of 19. It wasn’t until I was working in Brisbane, Australia, that I met the man who would eventually train me. I had booked into Westside tattoo studio, in the West End there, and chosen Lawrence Hocking to do my souvenir tattoo. I actually had to cancel my original appointment because I was moving home to England to drum for a band down south, but he overheard me chatting to the receptionist and managed to squeeze me in on his day off! I’ll always be thankful for that, because after leaving the band a year later, he offered me an apprenticeship at his new studio, Seventh Circle. I was incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful, dedicated artists. He took a chance on me, and I still appreciate that every day.

Backpiece by Chelsea Ladish

How would you describe your style? If I were to say I had a particular style, it would be a mixture of watercolour and lowbrow. I tend to use a lot of watercolour and black inks on my paintings, and that has bled across into the way I tattoo. I’m pretty changeable though, and like to try new things. I like that when artists develop as individuals, and experience different things in their own lives , it can be seen in what they create.

Robin Williams by Chris Green

How long have you been tattooing for? 
I have been tattooing since the summer of 2009.

Dotwork Raccoon by Lauren Sutton 

Where do you get your inspiration from? I often get inspiration from the people that I surround myself with. I think on a personal level, I also draw inspiration from nostalgia, and the places that I have been/people that I’ve met along the way, fragments of time. I’ve always been quite wrapped up in keeping time. Journals, excessive amounts of photographs, all the good stuff. If you pay attention to these things, they can offer an infinite level of inspiration. There’s a richness to the small things that can often be overlooked. On a more superficial level, the artwork of bands that I loved growing up (particularly DEVO), skateboard culture graphics, 80′s popular culture and film, lowbrow artists such as Robert Crumb… I have a lot of time for Robert Crumb.

Inverted shaded skull by Kieran Barnard 

If you weren’t a tattoo artist, what else would you be? There are a lot of things I’d like to try. I’d like a restaurant, the kind with a Cheers vibe, where everybody knows your name. I’d also get a huge kick out of making documentaries. Learning about different cultures and lifestyles for a living. I can definitely think of worse things.

Running the London Marathon for Sarcoma UK

Part 1 of Alice Snape’s Marathon Diary…

Around three weeks ago, I got the news that I had been waiting for…  I had been accepted to run the London Marathon 2015 for the cancer charity Sarcoma UK …

My heart filled with a mix of excitement, fear and happiness. Excitement, as running the marathon has always been one of those things I want to achieve, and fear, as I have never run close to that distance in my life. I have slowly been building my fitness levels over the past five months, and really enjoying the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle. But a marathon is a whole new level entirely and I am ready for the challenge (I hope). It feels like the right time to do it and for a charity that is very close to my heart.

Alice Snape running for Sarcoma UK

Let me tell you a little bit about why I applied to run the London Marathon for Sarcoma UK.  My boyfriend’s sister, Katherine, died from Sarcoma over three years ago, in fact she died just a few short months before James and I met. James and his mum, Glenys, support the work of Sarcoma UK to help other families who are affected by Sarcoma. I never knew Katherine, although over the years that James and I have been together, I have slowly learnt more about her – what sort of person she was and her likes and dislikes. In some way, I guess I want to fundraise for Sarcoma to pay tribute to Katherine, who I never met,  but so wish I could have. This is also the reason, why I chose to give all the profits from ‘Miniature Ink’ (the collaborative exhibition with Atomica gallery to celebrate Things&Ink’s two year birthday) to the charity.

But on a very selfish level, I also want to run the marathon, I want to see if I can physically achieve it. To see if I can run the entire distance and do it in a time that I can feel proud of… I am currently on week 3 of the official London Marathon training plan, and I am enjoying being competitive with myself. Beating my own times, and gradually building up the time and distance I can run. (I recently downloaded the RunKeeper app and completely obsessed with miles per minute and figuring out what my “race pace” might be).

So I am running this marathon for Katherine, for James and his mum, for those who are affected by Sarcoma, to support the work of this wonderful charity and, mostly, for myself, because I want to say I have ran a marathon, and also because I want to say that I ran it for Sarcoma UK. So please give as little or as much as you can, so that I can think of all those pennies when I am doing training runs in the cold and dark over winter… Here’s a link to my justgiving page.

I will be keeping you all updated on how my training is going over the coming months in ‘My Marathon Diary’ on this blog, so please offer words of support and encouragement…

Find out more about Sarcoma UK, on their website,, and in previous blog posts.


Issue 9 cover reveal, with tattoo artists “stripped back”

Our favourite time in the Things&Ink calendar… the cover reveal!

And issue 9 is an iconic and very special issue of Things&Ink. We have created three beautiful covers, and you can choose which you’d like to add to your collection. Perhaps, more significantly, and for the first time ever, we have featured both sexes. With our recent change in brand identity (from Embracing Female Tattoo Culture to Independent, Tattoo, Lifestyle), we felt it was important to truly represent this, not just inside the pages of the magazine, but on the most important page, the one that first draws you in – the front cover.

The covers feature four different artists – one woman, one man and one couple – just as they are. Not staged or art directed, all natural – stripped back. Flo Nuttall, Brian Wilson, and Yann Brenyak and Delphine Noiztoy, were all a pleasure to photograph, and each of their personalities shines through in their covers. You can read their personal interviews, view their work and the rest of the photos from the shoots in the issue, which is available to purchase from our website,

Let us know which is your favourite…

1/3 Flo Nuttall, photographed by Heather Shuker
Make-up Keely Reichardt 
Styling Olivia Snape
Covers designed by James Gilyead 

2/3 Brian Wilson, photographed by Céline Aieta
Beard styled by Ema Findley, using Bear Face Beard Oils

3/3 Yann Brenyak and Delphine Noiztoy, photographed by Mark Leaver.
Make-up Keely Reichardt
Styling Olivia Snape


Stripped back cover reveal

First Tattoo at 90

On her 90th birthday Grandma Heather Brooks from Canterbury got her first tattoo!

Heather chose a Cancer Research pink ribbon to signify her victory after a five year battle with cancer. Her two grandchildren are tattooed and persuaded her to commemorate her birthday with her very first tattoo.

It just seemed to me to be a fitting tribute to Cancer Research, who do such good work. I owe my life to them. I am also lucky to have an amazing family around me.

Images and quote from

Death Under Glass

Have you ever wondered what your tattoo looks like magnified? Have you found it hard to visualise where it sits in the layers of skin?

The Death Under Glass exhibition at The Mutter Musuem, Philadelphia, USA  is a collection of microscopic art has been created and curated by medical examiner Marianne Hamel, MD, PhD and forensic photographer Nikki Johnson. The photographs of magnified human tissue, have been taken post-mortem and are on show until the 16th December.

Red tattoo pigment 400x:

Do Not Resuscitate Tattoo

Nel Bolton, from The Hauge in the Netherlands, has had the words ‘Do Not Resuscitate me! I’m 91′ tattooed on her chest. She hopes that if she falls ill the doctors and her family will follow her wishes and respect her right to die.

In the Netherlands there is much debate concerning whether these types of tattoos are legally binding and also whether paramedics and other medical staff should follow the declaration.

Ms Bolton is not the first to have a tattoo of this sort, but her’s is the biggest. In 2011 Joy Tomkins had the statement tattooed on her chest in a bid to stop Doctors from reviving her.



Images from Daily Mail and Abroath

Tattooed ASOS Models

On the ASOS clothing website some of the women models have had their tattoos edited out of certain photographs. The male models in contrast are covered in body art!

One of their male models:

One of our readers alerted us on Twitter and ASOS responded to her:

So we’re allowed to be tattooed, as are their models as long as it compliments what we wear. Will our tattoos clash with certain colours, patterns and styles? Do our tattoo choices really limit our fashion choices? Should we change our bodies to match clothes?

ASOS seem to think so!

It also appears that while wearing casual day wear it’s fine to have tattoos but if you are dressed for a night out then it’s a big no-no! The tattoos in question are already discreet and small (if size is an issue) so why the need to remove them?

ASOS have since tweeted this reply:

Images from

Can you be friends with your tattooist?

Can you ever truly be friend with your tattooist?

Sure, you probably would never have met outside of the tattoo studio and the only reason you have is because they can create something you want. But having met them, you may realise you have lots of stuff in common, that you make each other laugh, making the whole tattoo process more enjoyable.

You have singled them out for their drawing style, their colour palette or maybe on a recommendation. The evolving world of social media means that you can often view tattoos without ever seeing the person behind them. In simple terms your relationship with your tattooist is a business transaction, swapping a product or service for money.

But is money the means for a friendship to grow? Or can it be something that is problematic? If you are a loyal and regular customer to one tattooist should you get a discount or mate’s rates? Or like everyone else should you pay a fair price. What if you have something to exchange for a tattoo? Does the number of followers on your Instagram or blog have an affect on the price of your tattoo? Should the fact that you are inadvertently advertising the tattoo artists work when you post it count for something?

With large pieces comes longer time spans, more hours under the needle, more emails, more travel, more expense. You inevitably spend more time with the artist, you chat with them while you are in a vulnerable position, most likely undressed and in pain. What if your personalities clash and you realise that you really dislike the person? Or on the flip side you could become closer, realising that you not only love their work but also enjoy their company.


Tattoos by @jaketattoos & @karigrat


Cakes and Tattoos

Anmar Odendal is a  pastry chef, wedding cake baker and social media addict from Aldeburgh in Suffolk. We chatted to her about her tattoo inspired cakes and cake inspired tattoos as well as her new book venture. 

How old were you when you got your first tattoo? I only got my first tattoo in February 2013! I love the idea of being able to permanently carry with you your experiences and things that you hold special. Getting inked and discovering the world of tattoos has come at the perfect stage of my life, as I am now in a position where my both my style in my career and  personal life have become my trademark. Every tattoo I have tells a story  and means the world to me. It’s my journey, on my skin, that I take with me everywhere. My tattoos make me feel like a million bucks – and if someone doesn’t like it it doesn’t bother me at all. My skin, my way!

Who did it your first tattoo? My first tattoo was only a tiny rainbow infinity sign on my wrist. I know the infinity sign has now become one of those tattoos that every one has – but to me it means “what goes around comes around”. A really horrid relationship just confirmed how much I believed in Karma – and that is what it symbolises to me. I don’t look at it in a negative light at all – I love it and it reminds me I was the stronger one and that I came out better, and stronger on the other side.

My first real tattoo (and I say real as I mean this was designed from my own concept) was done by Dolly at Needles & Nails s in Brighton. She has since moved to Occult in Worthing and has also done my thigh piece for me. I knew she would be the perfect artist for my dream of having a tiered wedding cake tattoo! Her style is bold, mega colourful, girly and super bright. I now have a massive pink wedding cake on my forearm – and I love it. People don’t wonder about my job any more!

How do your friends and family react to your tattoos? I don’t know if anyone really honestly says what they think about tattoos. It’s clear that tattoos are still a big no-no to lots of people and I understand that.  Most reactions have been good as they suit my personality.I am South Africa and grew up on a farm over there. I do sometimes wonder what the reaction will be when I do go home, as tattoos are still very much frowned upon.  People always ask ‘what are you going to look like when you are eighty?’

Why are people so worried about what were going to look like when we are eighty? When I’m eighty my body will tell an amazing story of the live that I have lived!

Do you have any future tattoo plans? Definitely. I had one of my feet done by the amazing Jody Dawber and I still need to have the other one done! The fab Miss Dolly will be doing my other thigh – I’m not so sure what I’ll get, but I look unbalanced with one beautifully tattooed and the other bare.  I also have a space booked with the amazing Hollie West for one of her fab chubby ladies – with a baking theme of course!

When did you start baking and when did you set up your own business? I’m lucky as I come from a family of very talented bakers.  I never specialised as a pastry chef/ baker as I trained as a professional chef, but always found myself in the pastry kitchens. I always loved making cakes,but it was only once I moved to the UK with my then husband that I decided to do it full time and start my own business. I saw a gap in the market in the area for big, bold beautiful cakes and set CRUMB up in 2010.
I am very lucky as Crumb grew really fast and by 2013 I won the regional award for “best wedding cake designer” in the East of England at the National wedding industry awards in London. I am also listed in 2014′s “most incredible wedding cake bakers in the UK”.

What do you usually create? As well as running Crumb I also work as the pastry chef at a local hotel. I create anything and everything really! I always like to say- “If you can dream it, I can bake it!” At the moment my mini meringues and macarons are very popular and I’m doing numerous master classes and workshops teaching eager bakers how to make them. Food demonstrations on stage is another great passion I have – I love theatre cooking – something I never thought I’d get in to!

Do you have any favourite cakes that you have baked? There are many! One of my favourites has to be a massive black, red and white wedding cake that was topped with a life size solid white chocolate skull, red glitter encrusted red roses and black lace for one of my favourite couples ever. I made a very opulent cake for a celebrity couple that also featured in OK! Magazine last year. I love doing big over the top cakes – shows topper cakes – things that Marie Antoinette would have approved of! I also make birthday and other celebration cakes when I have the time – some of my favourites include a Mexican sugar skull cake and some cupcakes topped with designs from the jewellery brand Tatty Devine.

Do you have any future projects?  I am currently working on a new baking recipe book, with a bit of an edge. I’ve rounded up 12 of my favourite female tattoo artists who are all letting their creativity flow and designing their dream wedding/celebration cake in the style and theme of the tattoos that they create. The book will feature all 12 artists, and I will make their artwork into a real cake, with recipes, tutorials and tricks to recreate the cakes, or design your own cake. The book will also contain some amazing other recipes that are my favourites including macarons, meringues, cookies and brownies.

Follow Anmar and her book for exciting news and delicious bakes.

Keep your eyes peeled for a future blog post for Anmar’s recipe on how to make a rainbow unicorn cake…