Lifestyle: altrocklife’s favourite UK tattoo artists

Hello altrocklifers! As you may be aware, I’m a pretty big fan of tattoos and tattoo culture.  I currently have five tattoos, with plans for many more – a sentiment that I’m sure other tattooed people will relate to.  My Instagram feed is chock full of tattoo artists, giving me ink envy every time I check the app.  Today I thought I’d look over some of my favourite UK tattoo artists, and the tattoos I’d love to get from them some day, when I manage to squeeze into their massively busy books.

Danny Charles a.k.a. True Gent Tattoos

One from yesterday @losttimetattoo was really nice to use some colour in this one!

A post shared by Danny 'Leslie' Charles (@truegenttattoos) on

Danny Charles is one of the few artists actually based anywhere near me, in Grantham, Lincolnshire.  He mainly does black and grey work, but I absolutely love his occasional splashes of colour, such as in the example above.  I don’t have any particular tattoos in mind when I think of getting work done by Danny Charles, but adding work by him to my collection is a necessity.

Abi Hack

Ever since I saw Abi Hack’s first floral knife tattoo, I knew I had to get a floral knife by her.  Hopefully I’ll be making the trip to see her in Essex sometime soon.

Paula Castle

The full lady from this weekend. I have spaces late September email me paulacastletattoos@gmail.com to book #ragingswancardiff

A post shared by Paula Castle 🌱 (@paulacastletattoos) on

Paula Castle is an absolute genius!  I absolutely love her tattoos of women, and I was desperate to get her recent Aphrodite tattoo, but unfortunately somebody else beat me to it.  I’d love her to ink a Greek goddess on me some day.

Becca a.k.a. s6girl

Becca makes the most PERFECT bird tattoos.  I have a lot of bird tattoos planned, and if I have my way all of them would be by her.

Chrissy Hills a.k.a. epicterror

Egyptian cat from my flash today for Josie! Thanks for coming to get this one!

A post shared by Chrissy Hills Tattoo (@epicterror) on

Chrissy Hills’ neotraditional style is absolutely magical, and I’m a huge fan of pretty much all of her work.

Xam the Spaniard

Xam the Spaniard is another artist who creates fantastic lady face tattoos.  His style is so crisp and clean, and I need his work on my body some day!

Rebecca Vincent

Shoulders, shoulders, shoulders.

A post shared by Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent_tattoo) on

All of Rebecca Vincent’s work is absolutely gorgeous! I personally prefer getting colour tattoos, but I’d make an exception for this wonderful artist.  Her line work is exquisite, and I’m always a sucker for floral/botanical tattoos.

Ashley Luka

Just finished this for the lovely Felicity 😊 thanks!!

A post shared by Ashley Luka 🌱 (@ashleyluka) on

Ashley Luca’s style is absolutely beautiful, and I love her animal tattoos.  I’d love to get a pet portrait by her, or some other exotic animal, or just any living creature to be honest, I’m not picky.

Matt Webb

Knee cap done today 🤘🏼 thanks for making the trip mate. #tattoo #art #igdaily #kneetattoo #rosetattoo #rose

A post shared by Matt Webb – Bishop Tattoo Co. (@mattwebbtattoo) on

This artist is probably best known for his amazing rose tattoos.  Roses are one of my favourite flowers, and it’s one of my favourite fragrances, so even though scratch-and-sniff tattoos are not yet a reality, I’d still love to add a rose by Matt Webb to my collection.

Jean Le Roux

Jean Le Roux’s style speaks for itself.  His work is absolutely gorgeous!


Who are your favourite UK tattoo artists? Do you have work by any of my favourite artists mentioned above?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Lifestyle: altrocklife’s first EVER job interview

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I had a job interview earlier this week.  What you won’t know, however, is that interview was my first ever proper job interview! I won’t count the 10 minute interview I had for a shop sales assistant position back in 2012, because my friend and her mum both worked at the shop so I was basically guaranteed to get hired.

It’s safe to say that I was absolutely terrified.  I do get nervous speaking to new people for the first time, and I wasn’t completely sure that I’d done enough preparation.  Plus, the interview was conducted via video online, so a little different to the simulated face-to-face interviews I’d taken part in at university.  Today I thought I’d go over my expectations of the interview vs. the reality.

1 – have some notes in eye view

I think the main advantage of being interviewed over the internet is that you can keep notes of some of the main points you want to cover for reference.  I imagine it’s probably frowned upon to take notes into a face-to-face interview, but you can get away with it if the interview is online!  At the end of the interview I got the dreaded “do you have any questions for me?” question, but thankfully I wrote down what I wanted to ask, just in case nerves caused them to slip my mind.

2 – have examples which could work for a variety of questions

Often in interviews, the interviewer will ask you to describe a scenario in which you worked well as a team, worked well on your own, or demonstrated a particular skill.  I’d already prepared answers for those first two questions, and was completely ready for them – that is, until my interviewer didn’t ask those, and instead asked me to give an example of a time as a journalist where I didn’t take no for an answer.  Thankfully, I was able to take the example I had prepared for a different answer and focus on a different aspect of it, to make the answer fit the question. Phew!

3 – be honest

I would expect that this is an obvious answer, but I thought I’d touch on it just in case.  As part of the interview I had to complete an exercise which required five steps for the answer.  As my interviewer was going over my response, he asked me whether I thought, in hindsight, there was anything I’d missed off of the list.  Frantically I looked over my response, trying to work out what the interviewer was alluding to, but I couldn’t come up with anything.  I admitted as much to the interviewer, asking him to clarify, and as it turns out he looked over my response again he realised that I had actually covered everything he wanted – just out of the ideal order.

If I’d tried to invent something else that could have fit into the answer, I think it would have been blatantly obvious, and would have shown me up for being unsure of myself.  Plus, I could have ended up saying something completely incorrect in the heat of the moment.  I stood by the answers I originally gave, and in the end, it worked out for me.

4 – get into the zone

Even though I was sat in my bedroom whilst being interviewed, I wanted the atmosphere to feel as professional as possible.  I wore office smart clothes (obviously), made my bed, cleared the background of my dirty laundry hamper, and generally tidied up.  I immediately felt like I was in a more productive working environment, and hopefully that came across in the interview.

5 – don’t be afraid to ask for time to think

At one point, I was asked a question which came completely out of the blue – I had no idea that this sort of question would come up!  In order to organise my thoughts, I asked my interviewer if he didn’t mind me taking a minute to think, and he said yes.  This gave me time to properly structure my response, rather than potentially ending up rambling about topics not totally related to the question.  I was taught this trick by my career’s adviser back at university, and they believe asking for a minute to think about your response makes you look considered, rational, and able to handle pressure.


So there you have it! Was this advice helpful? Do you have any other useful interview tips?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

#RIPChester – altrocklife’s tribute to Chester Bennington

I’m sure that everybody reading this post will be aware that on July 20th, the lead vocalist of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington, passed away at the age of 41.  He was married and had six children.  Fans of the band and of alternative music in general flocked to social media to pay their respects.  Now, the official Linkin Park website opens on a statement from the band, and an additional page on the site collates all of the outpourings of love and grief expressed via the hashtag #RIPChester.

I have umm-ed and ahh-ed about writing this blog post, not least because it’s been almost three weeks since Chester passed away.  However, it wouldn’t feel right for me to carry on blogging as if nothing major has happened.  Plus, I think it is important for as many people as possible to bring attention to issues surrounding suicide, in the hope that others could find help and support.

When I first heard the news, it’s safe to say that the first emotion I felt was complete shock.  Although Chester made his demons known to everybody through his lyrics, nobody expected that he would succumb to them at the relatively young age of 41.  A friend sent me a Facebook message expressing her shock, and I immediately started scouring the web for more sources, desperate in the hope that it was all a massive hoax, and that Chester would tweet his surprise at the apparent news of his demise.  I then heard the news broadcast on the radio, and I knew it had to be true.

Chester Bennington was the voice of my teenage years.  I was convinced I was an outsider and a freak, and to escape those feelings, it was Linkin Park that gave me comfort.  I was the stereotypical Linkin Park fan, who would blast Hybrid Theory, Meteora and Minutes To Midnight in her headphones to hide from the rest of the world.  As the band’s sound evolved, my music taste changed with it, and I started to enjoy the more electronic sounds of Living Things and A Thousand Suns.  Earlier today I listened to The Messenger and felt myself relating the lyrics to Chester’s passing.

To me, Chester’s passing is on a par with the passing of Robin Williams back in 2014 – both men were childhood heroes that stuck with me into adulthood, and I think it’s safe to say that the world is a little bit darker without them in it.  All I can say is that Chester Bennington was an incredible songwriter and a voice for the downtrodden, and he will be sorely missed.

If you’re in the UK and you are struggling with depression, anxiety or pervasive negative thoughts, you can seek help via Mind, Samaritans, your local NHS mental health services (though there are often lengthy waiting lists) or the registry of private counsellors.  Remember that you are not alone, and that you are deserving of help and support.

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Get your feet summer ready! | Cruelty free and vegan foot care

Hi altrocklifers! You probably wouldn’t believe it if you looked out of the window today, but summer is drawing ever closer.  As the weather gets warmer, we must say goodbye to our boots and shoes and replace them with sandals and flip flops, and those poor feet that haven’t seen the light of day in six months are suddenly exposed to the outside world.  When you’re constantly wearing proper shoes and slippers it becomes easy to neglect your feet, so if you’re looking to get summer ready, or just give your toes a treat, here’s my foolproof method to get gorgeous feet.

You will need:

  • A pumice stone, or electric foot exfoliator – I use the SilverCrest electric hard skin remover
  • Lush’s Volcano foot mask
  • Two tie-handle bags – I use large sandwich bags usually
  • A pair of thick, warm socks or slippers
  • Lush’s Pumice Power foot soap
  • Soap And Glory’s Heel Genius foot cream
  • A pair of ordinary cotton socks

Step one – exfoliate

Exfoliation is always the best way to start a foot routine, especially if it’s been a while since you last looked after your feet!  There are all sorts of manual exfoliators available, some from as little as £1 from discount shops, but I personally like to use the SilverCrest electric hard skin remover.  It gently removes any built-up hard skin on the heel and balls of your feet, and leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth.  If it’s been a long time since you last exfoliated your feet, I can guarantee that this will be extremely satisfying.

Step two – mask ’em up

Next up, it’s time to grab your Volcano.  I recommend applying this sat on the edge of the bath or with your feet in the shower tray, as you wouldn’t want to spill this anywhere!  I apply Volcano in a thick layer on the bottom of my feet, focusing on the heel, the balls of my feet, and the bottom of my big toe, as this is where I get the most hard skin build up.  The Lush website recommends using the mask all over the foot, but I don’t find it makes much difference to the skin on the top of my foot.  This also means the pot lasts longer, so that’s a plus too!  Once you’ve applied the mask, take your plastic bag and tie it at the ankles, to stop the mask drying out too much.  I also put a pair of thick socks over the top of the bags, to help keep my feet warm which prevents the mask from drying out.  I then leave the mask on for anywhere up to half an hour.

Step three – get scrubbing

Now it’s time to remove the mask.  I tend to take a folding chair into the shower with me, so I can sit down whilst rinsing off my feet and prevent slipping over, but if you can think of a better method, let me know!  I take the bags off my feet, get my hands wet, then gently massage the mask into my feet for a couple of minutes.  Then, I use my hands to rub the mask away.  Once my feet are clean, I grab my Pumice Power foot soap and scrub it into the same areas I applied the mask to.  Leave the orange scented lather on your feet for a couple of minutes before rinsing away.  Get out of the bath or shower and pat your feet dry gently with a clean towel.

Step four – moisturise

The final step of this routine is to apply a generous layer of Heel Genius all over your feet.  I can’t recommend this product enough – I’ve been using it for years to maintain the softness of the bottoms of my feet, and I find it’s the perfect ending to this routine.  Just pop a pair of clean socks over the top to allow the cream to soak in without walking it all over your home.


So, there you have it!  Have you used any of these products before?  What did you think? Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Lifestyle: How to make a tattoo appointment

Good afternoon altrocklifers! Today I thought I’d cover something a bit different, and discuss the ins and outs of getting tattooed.  A lot of the articles and blog posts I read around this topic are very America-centric, which isn’t much good to us UK tattooed folks as the culture (especially around tipping) is very different.  I’ve already got four tattoos, and I just booked my fifth one, so I thought I’d walk you through the process of finding a studio, picking out the right artist for you, and booking the appointment itself.

Step one – decide what tattoo you want

Deciding what tattoos you would like can sometimes be a long and complex process, and sometimes very simple.  Sometimes the ideas behind tattoos can have significant meanings – such as my robin and teacup tattoos, which are memorial tattoos for my grandparents – and therefore it’s very important to find an artist who will translate your perfect design into a tattoo. Others – such as my poppy tattoo – don’t have as much meaning, so as long as you find an artist who’s work you like and you trust, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get the end result you’re looking for.

In my case, I have a number of different tattoos I’d like to get, some with a lot of meaning, and some with little past “I think this design/concept is cool and I want it on my body”.  Either way, before committing to getting any of my tattoos, I gave the ideas themselves a lot of thought over months or sometimes years to help to prevent potential tattoo regret.  Tattoo regret is something that I reckon most tattooed people feel about at least one of their tattoos, so by ensuring you find the right artist, you can minimise the risk of coming out with a tattoo you’re less than totally happy with.

Step 2 – finding your ideal artist(s) and tattoo parlours

This step can vary depending on your circumstances: for example, this weekend I’m going to Manchester, so I looked up Manchester tattoo parlours to find a good artist for me.  First, I checked out the websites of a number of parlours, both to look at artist portfolios and to see if the website was a) well made, b) had high quality photos of the artists’ work, and c) was of a decent quality with good spelling and grammar throughout.  That last point might make me sound like a bit of an elitist, but for me a well written website helps to reassure me that the parlour and its artists pay attention to detail and will provide a high quality service.

Then, I start to look for the artist, or artists, that I would like to tattoo me.  This is where  Facebook or Instagram come in to play, as sometimes website portfolios can be out of date so artists’ most recent work can usually be found on social media.  I’ll take a look through the tattoo parlour’s page, identify the artist or artists that I like, and then look for that artist’s personal page to see even more of their work.  Thanks to Instagram I’ve identified a number of tattoo artists with incredible portfolios dotted all over the UK and abroad that I would love to be tattooed by some day.

Step three – booking the appointment

This step can be a bit of a long one, so I’ll try to break it down for you.  Booking an appointment with an artist will vary depending on how they organise their books: sometimes, the artist will manage the bookings themselves, and sometimes, the parlour they work in will organise them for you.  I’ve dealt with both: when getting tattooed in Bournemouth, I dealt with the artist directly, but I booked my appointment in Manchester through the tattoo parlour.

Booking with the artist directly

This step can sometimes start with a consultation with the artist.  Before I got my first tattoo by Ana Tatu, I messaged her via her Facebook page to book a consultation, and spoke to her so I could get to know her a bit better and decide if she was the right artist for me.  Some artists will book tattoos via social media, but others will only communicate through email, so make sure you check out their bio to find out how they do things!  Otherwise, your message might not be seen and you could miss out.

If the consultation goes well and the artist wants to tattoo your design, they will usually then ask for a deposit.  Most parlours I’ve seen only take cash, so I’d advise taking out some money beforehand – deposits can vary from £20 to £100 or more depending on the size of the piece and the time it will likely take.  If you’re booking the tattoo over social media or email, the artist may ask you to pay your deposit via bank transfer or PayPal.  This deposit will then secure your booking, but if you have to cancel the appointment, the deposit is likely to be non-refundable.

The artist will usually then ask for you to send some reference pictures to them – these can either be pictures of other peoples’ tattoos that you’d like them to take inspiration from, or simply photos of the animal/item/landscape/person you want tattooed.  They can then work on designing your tattoo!  Remember, don’t expect your artist to copy another tattoo outright – this is art theft, and the mark of an untrustworthy artist if they are willing to copy another person’s work. There’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from other peoples’ tattoos, but copying is always a massive no-no.

Booking through the tattoo parlour

The process of booking through a tattoo parlour is slightly different to the above – in my case, when booking the tattoo I’ll be getting this weekend, I haven’t actually spoken to the tattoo artist at all!  First off I messaged the parlour’s Facebook page to ask if my preferred artist had any availability on the dates I’ll be in Manchester, and if they were interested in tattooing my design.  They then asked for the rough size of the piece – this makes it easier for the parlour to book me in, as it gives them an idea of how long the tattoo will take.  They also asked for some reference pictures, so I sent over some tattoo designs that I liked, as well as some photos of my tattoo subject.

The parlour then confirmed roughly how much the tattoo would cost, how much the deposit would be, and gave me details of how to pay said deposit.  Then, this morning I phoned the parlour, paid my deposit by card over the phone to confirm and book the appointment, and gave the parlour my contact details so they could get in touch if anything changed.

You’ll remember that earlier I mentioned tipping culture as being different in the UK to the US.  Over in the US it’s expected to tip your artists, but as the UK doesn’t have much of a tipping culture, it’s definitely not expected to tip your tattoo artist here.  I’ve personally never tipped my artists, but I’ll usually ask if they’d like me to bring them a drink or snack if I’m picking one up for myself.  If you think your artist has done an amazing job, and you’re not sure if they accept tips, just ask! I’m sure they’ll be flattered that you asked even if they don’t like accepting tips.


So there you have it!  Did you find this information helpful?  Have you had a different experience of booking tattoo appointments in the UK?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Lifestyle: Westwood Cross and Petticoat Lane clothing and homeware haul

Good afternoon altrocklifers!  Last weekend I was lucky enough to be able to visit the garden of England, AKA the beautiful county of Kent, where my Mum’s side of the family originates from.  We stayed in a lovely, quaint AirBnB in Broadstairs, ate gorgeous gelato at Morelli’s, and attended a leaving party for my cousin before he and his family moved to Florida.  But what kind of holiday would it be if there was no retail therapy involved?

Myself and the family decided to take a trip to Westwood Cross, a large shopping complex between the towns of Ramsgate and Margate, and as I always do at Westwood Cross, I ended up spending more money than intended on clothes and homeware.  We also visited Petticoat Lane Emporium in Ramsgate to check out their vintage, retro, and crafty wares.  Here’s a round-up of the spring/summer clothing I purchased, as well as the new homeware I discovered in amongst the 202 stalls at Petticoat Lane.

Clothing

 

Floral dress with removable straps: £24, New Look
Rust coloured check shirt: £9.99 (reduced from £12.99), Select Fashion
Palm print shirt: £15.99, Select Fashion
Pink and grey pyjama set: £5, Primark
Pink satin pyjamas: £4.50 for the top, £5 for the bottoms, Primark

Homeware

 

Bronze mirror: £4, Primark
Early-harvest raspberry shower gel: £3.50, The Body Shop
Flamingo glasses: £15 for a set of six glasses, Petticoat Lane Emporium
Dickens & Hawthorne Australia rose water reed diffuser: £4.99, TK Maxx
Morgan & Grace Australia mango gelato reed diffuser: £4.99, TK Maxx
Framed stag print: £5, Petticoat Lane Emporium


What do you think of my clothing and homeware choices?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Afternoon tea at Blanchards, Sleaford

Now, if there’s one thing we Brits love, it’s a good pot of tea, some sarnies and a slice of cake or two.  Back in December, my sibling and I promised my Nan that we’d take her out for afternoon tea as part of her Christmas gift, so on Tuesday we made good on our promise and headed to Blanchards Coffee Shop in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.  Better late than never, eh?

I’ve been to Blanchards many times, and I’ve always enjoyed their English breakfasts, jacket potatoes, and especially their homemade mushroom soup.  However, their afternoon tea service takes things to the next level.  The cafe is family run, having been established in 1922, and you can really sense the amount of pride and care that goes into running the business.

We were greeted at our table with a huge teapot, because honestly, you can’t beat a good brew, can you?  After pouring our tea, these two cake stands laden with sandwiches, cakes and scones appeared, and these photos don’t do justice to just how magnificent the spread was.

Blanchards are happy to cater to different diets, so my being vegetarian wasn’t an issue.  I tucked in to my sandwiches filled with cheese and salad, cucumber and cream cheese, and egg mayonnaise.  My meat-eating counterparts also had thick-cut ham sandwiches which looked very impressive.

We then moved onto the scones, which like everything else is hand made on site.  They were delicious, full of raisins, and the strawberry jam and clotted cream is the perfect accompaniment.

Then, on to the selection of cakes.  The selection you get during an afternoon tea varies depending on what they have on offer that day, and in our case we had rocky road slices, a lemon curd/drizzle cake, and meringues with fresh cream and fruit.  I’m not a big fan of lemon so I didn’t try that cake, but my Mum and Nan reassure me that it was delicious.  The rocky road cake was made with very rich dark chocolate, with fruit throughout to stop it from becoming too sickly.  The meringues were absolutely perfect; crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle, accompanied by slices of strawberry and blueberry.

The best part about this wonderful afternoon tea?  Blanchards only charges £10 per person for great service and a very generous quantity of food and drink.  If you’re ever in Lincolnshire and find yourself near to the market town of Sleaford, I would highly recommend stopping by – even though Blanchards requires 24 hours notice to prepare an afternoon tea, the wait is definitely worth it.

Where’s your favourite place to have a traditional afternoon tea? Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Can’t keep up with a bullet journal? altrocklife gets organised for 2017

Hi altrocklifers! Today I decided to do something a bit different on this blog, and turn my hand to making a YouTube video.  As we have now entered the new year, I decided to get myself organised and ready to tackle the year ahead, by combining a weekly desk planner and the Google Calendar app on my phone.

I absolutely love watching videos of people drawing up and planning out their bullet journals, however my messy handwriting and incapability to draw and design attractive pages means it’s not really the organisational tool for me.  I decided to purchase a weekly desk planner, with a section for each day already drawn out for me, where I can write down all of the essential to-dos and appointments for that week.  This is combined with the Google Calendar app, which I use to schedule appointments, my work hours and social events as they’re organised.

So, without further ado, here’s my video!

There you have it! Did you find my video useful?  Do you think you’ll be taking on my organisational tips for 2017? Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

altrocklife’s cutest and funniest Christmas cards 2016

If you’re one for celebrating Christmas, or if you’re simply a fan of sending cards via snail mail to your friends and family, you’ll probably be aware that you’re running out of time to post your cards.  With 10 days remaining until Christmas Day, there’s just over a week to get your season’s greetings sent out.  However, if you’re struggling to find the right card for your friends and family, hopefully this guide of some of the funniest cards I’ve seen this year will give you some inspiration.

Merry Xmas, Asshole card – link here

If you’re a bit of a joker and don’t want your cards to be too traditional or emotional, this card is ideal.  Make sure you don’t accidentally give it to your Nan though, because if your’s is anything like mine she probably wouldn’t find it funny.

Groot Christmas Card – link here

Even if you’re not a fan of the Marvel film Guardians Of The Galaxy, you’ve got to agree that Baby Groot is absolutely adorable, and even more so when wrapped up in Christmas lights.

Little Baby Cheeses card – link here

If your friend or family member is a fan of a) plays on words and b) dairy products, this is the card for them.

Dave card – link here

I personally believe that this is the perfect card for anyone named Dave, however it might be worth checking that they didn’t apply for the new reindeer position, in case this card rubs salt in the wound of their rejected application.

Merry Christmas You Prick card – link here

Cacti patterns have been bang on trend throughout 2016, so this card is ideal for those who love their spiky friends.

Winter Is Coming card – link here

This festive card is perfect for the Game Of Thrones fan – or fans – in your life.  Make sure they’re on the side of the Starks, however, or the direwolf on the front may offend their Lannister sensibilities.

Avo Merry Christmas card – link here

Surely everyone knows at least one person who’s absolutely obsessed with avocados.  Whether they’re a veggie or vegan or simply into their healthy fats and instagrammable breakfasts, this card should leave a smile on their face.

Brussels Snouts card – link here

Whether you enjoy eating sprouts or not, I can guarantee that you’ll know at least one person who does like them, and this is an ideal card for them.

Seasons Greetings card – link here

I have a great friend who loves puns, so I’ve sent this card to them, and if you have a pun-loving friend or family member this should get a chuckle out of them.

What do you think of my selection of Christmas cards? Let me know your thoughts on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

Lifestyle: altrocklife’s daily cosmetic essentials

This year, skincare has become extremely important to me.  I’ve spent a lot of time (and money!) investing in various products to suit my combination skin, and I’m happy to say that I think I’ve found a winning combination.  I’ve also been wearing make-up for years now, and I’m pretty happy with how my face ends up looking after 45 minutes in front of a mirror, plus an extra five minutes spent on my hair, so I decided to take you on a tour of my cosmetics and toiletries drawer.  For reference, here’s my face and hair on a good day, as well as close-ups of the products.

(P.S.: Some of the items I’ll be highlighting are not cruelty free, and I am currently using up these products before making the swap to a cruelty free alternative.  I will make it clear which items are and aren’t cruelty free, and whether they’re vegetarian or vegan.)

The best products inside my make-up bag:

Barry M Chisel Cheeks Contour Kit in Light-Medium (Cruelty free and vegan)

Even though I bought the lightest colour palette, the lightest powder pretty much matches my skin tone and the darkest powder makes me look half starved.  So, I use the middle shade to contour and the next product to highlight.

Barry M Illuminating Strobe Cream in Frosty Pink (Cruelty free and vegan)

I absolutely love this cream: it’s very easy to control whether you want a subtle glow or to shine bright like a diamond.  I don’t use blusher because my cheeks are naturally pretty rosy, so I like the subtle pink colour of this cream to give my skin more of a glow.

Soap and Glory Archery Brow Tint and Precision Pencil in Love Is Blonde (Cruelty free, unsure if vegetarian or vegan)

This is the eyebrow product I’ve been using for years, and I can’t see myself straying from Soap and Glory.  My eyebrow hair isn’t as dark as the hair on my head, so I use the brow tint to darken the hair whilst using the pencil to fill in any gaps.  And believe me, my thin eyebrows always have loads of gaps.

Arbonne It’s A Long Story Mascara (Cruelty free and vegan)

A couple of months ago I was sent a sample sized tube of this mascara by Arbonne rep Tori Waight, and I absolutely love it! I’ve been using it sparingly to try and make it last as long as possible, but it makes my eyelashes look beautifully long, and it never clumps.  Full disclosure: I was sent this with a selection of other Arbonne products for free, but I had no obligation to publish a review and this is 100% my unbiased opinion.

Some stunning skincare essentials:

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water for sensitive skin (NOT cruelty free, unsure if vegetarian or vegan)

Garnier was one of the first brands to jump on the micellar water bandwagon, and their waters are some of the best on the market.  Unfortunately Garnier are not a cruelty free brand so once my current bottle is empty, I’ll be seeking out a cruelty free alternative.

Simple Kind To Skin Cleansing Facial Wipes (NOT cruelty free, vegan)

On the odd occasion where I’m too lazy to use micellar water to remove my make-up, or if I’m not wearing make-up on a particular day and I want to refresh my skin, I’ll use these facial wipes.  They leave my skin soft and refreshed.  Again, they aren’t cruelty free so I’ll be finding an alternative soon.

Lush Vanishing Cream Moisturiser (Cruelty free and vegetarian)

Vanishing Cream has become my absolute lifesaver, and I genuinely cannot imagine myself living without it.  It has a wonderful lavender fragrance, and it’s the most intensely moisturising cream I’ve ever used, which is perfect for me and my dry, dry skin.  I can definitely believe Lush’s claim that this is one of their bestselling products.

The Body Shop British Rose Instant Glow Body Butter (Cruelty free, but owned by a parent company which isn’t cruelty free, unsure if vegetarian or vegan)

I absolutely love anything rose scented, so this body butter is perfect for me.  It sinks into the skin so quickly and leaves my arms and legs soft and smooth, with no signs of dry skin, peeling, or the dreaded scaly-looking lizard legs.

Lush Elbow Grease Moisturising Bar (Cruelty free and vegetarian)

I bought this product to help me along the process of healing my tattoos, because when my tattoos get scabby and dry, a hit of Elbow Grease helps to calm the itchiness.  Plus, I like to use it on my already healed tattoos to help them appear brighter.  The smell of this product is absolutely divine too!

The Body Shop British Rose Petal Soft Hand Cream (Cruelty free, but owned by a parent company which isn’t cruelty free, unsure if vegetarian or vegan)

Like the Body Butter mentioned above, I love the fragrance of this hand cream.  It absorbs into the skin super quickly and leaves my hands feeling soft and smooth.  My current part-time cleaning job means I’ve constantly got my hands in water or using chemicals, so I need a decent hand cream to keep my hands from completely drying out.

My weekly lip care product:

Lush Popcorn Lip Scrub (Cruelty free and vegan)

This scrub helps to prevent the build up of dead skin, especially during winter when my lips get hella chapped.  Plus, the coconut oil in the formulation means that this scrub isn’t too harsh on my lips.

Everyday hair styling:

Lush Hair Custard Hair Dressing (Cruelty free and vegetarian)

The scent of this product is absolutely divine, and it works as a medium hold product to keep my flyaway hairs in place.  It’s great value for money as well, as I’ve been using my tub since July and I’ve hardly made a dent in it!

Cien Hairspray (Cruelty free, unsure if vegetarian or vegan)

Even though this Lidl hairspray is a much cheaper alternative to other high street brands, it’s a brilliant hairspray.  It doesn’t get sticky and has a brilliant hold, so I’d recommend it to anyone.

What are your daily skincare essentials? Let me know your thoughts on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.