Start a Happy Journal!

Self Love Uncustomary Art (3)Uncustomary has been a long-time supporter of The Laughing Medusa and I’m so glad that her comments led me to discover her inspiring blog. She’s a tireless champion for self-love and technicoloured living and today she’s going to share a powerful tool that you can use to kickstart your self-love journey right away.

Self-love is something that changed my life. It started off with life appreciation, by making my gratitude for the things I get to experience known, even if it was just in my head. I started keeping a Happy Journal, where I documented at least three things every day that were good. Slowly, it became easier and easier to list dozens of things every day. The more I said out loud, even to myself, what beauty I was seeing, the easier it was to find more and more of it!

Eventually, the concept of self-love unraveled in a lot of ways, before I even recognized the term itself. I started keeping a blog, reminding myself that what I had to say mattered, even if no one else was reading (yet). I sought out help for my mental illnesses, and did some pretty intense work on myself. I accepted the way my body grew and changed as a result from taking medications, and realized that I was so much more than my size or cellulite. I exited toxic relationships and quit my job to start something that really mattered to me, even if I was sacrificing financial stability and an easily acceptable answer to that “So what do you do?” question.

As I dove deeper into the blog world, Self-Love became a conscious effort. Today, self-love means that I never don’t do something just because I’m worried about how I look. It means that I continue celebrating the life I already have, documenting the small (and huge!) pleasures I get to have every single day. It means reminding my friends, my readers, and strangers on the street that they are beautiful. It means believing in myself enough that I can go out there and live life how I want to without worrying about being judged, even though I know it’s going to happen. It means looking to myself for motivation and inspiration instead of outside sources. The power is inside me, and I need to tap into it before reaching outward.

So how can you recognize the power and sparkle in yourself? My first piece of advice to you is to make an effort to appreciate life and make your gratitude known. An easy way to do this is with a happy journal!

  • Choose a system for yourself, be it digital or in a paper notebook.
  • Create a routine, and keep it strong for two weeks to really get into a routine!
  • Brainstorm good things and feel free to include everything.
  • Write in a format that appeals to you, be it list, paragraph, or with the accompaniment of drawings.
  • Establish a minimum effort, as in your goal of how many things to write each day.
  • Get your juices flowing with a general list. Write down as many things you can think of that make you happy, and see how things get moving!

I promise that once you start appreciating the things around you, it will become easier to include yourself on that list, you beautiful creature, you.



Uncustomary spreads love and positivity through street art, snail mail, and the message of self-love. She wants you to believe in who you are even (especially) if who you are is super weird. You can find her leaving a literal trail of glitter behind her in Baltimore.

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A Stylish Mission, If You Choose to Accept It.

A Stylish Mission, If You Choose to Accept It.Lynsay and I first connected online when I asked to interview her for my Tattoo Talk series. We met soon after on a date at the cat cafe and while she lives up north in Glasgow, we keep in touch online and see each other when she visits London. I sure hope I can visit her in Scotland soon! Lynsay is an amazing friend who is always the first to send a celebratory card or love note. And her blog, Miss West End Girl, is an inspiring, colourful place for anyone with a love of style and adventures.

Hello! As you might have noticed, this is a slight change to your regular programming schedule (do not adjust your set…) as the lovely Sarah has invited me to guest post about my relationship with self-love and share my views with you guys.

For me, self-love isn’t just about being OK with what makes you yourself, it’s about celebrating your quirks and finding joy in your individuality! And one way that I certainly like to express this is through my personal style. So today, I’m going to talk a little bit about the way that we dress and the direct link that it has to self-love.

Taste in clothes, no matter how good or bad you deem it to be, is a very personal thing. It can be the very thing that creates a feeling of being comfortable, confident and (on some days, with the help of VERY special shoes) unstoppable! When I wear some of my favourite outfits and key wardrobe pieces, I don’t have to be channelling a celebrity or a movie character – I’m channelling myself, and believe me, that can give you just as much sass in your step.

A Stylish Mission, If You Choose to Accept It.When I was a gangly teen, I didn’t feel confident or happy in my own skin. When I look back on photos now, it certainly shows! I lived in black ensembles, hid away and was painfully shy, and wouldn’t have dreamed that I’d be dressed like I am today. The last ten years of my life have been an opportunity for me to get to know myself and develop my own look that reflects that – rainbow dresses, glitter and all! I believe that the two go hand in hand and that if you are truly, deeply comfortable with yourself it will radiate from within and be totally visible.

Feeling good about the way you look is a lot easier said than done, and for some of us it can be quite a journey. But ultimately it’s one worth taking. Most people have parts of themselves that they wish they could change, but I bet there are things that you wouldn’t change for the world, right? Letting go of the negative view of yourself is the first step and the rest will start to fall into place.

It’s at this point that you stop wishing you could pull a certain style off and just go ahead and do it. Be brave, experiment with fashion and above all have fun. You don’t need permission, baby doll – go forth and be fabulous! Are you a modern-day flapper girl? Or maybe a bronzed glamazon? There’s only one way to find out…

I want to leave you with a little bit of homework – an actionable step to try out. Pick out the piece in your wardrobe that you think is a signature item. If you could sum up your personality in one garment or accessory, what would it be? Make sure you wear it right away – it’s time to channel yourself and show the world!


Lynsay Neil is a life and style blogger and shares her writing at her blog, Miss West End Girl – a guide to living a happy, colourful life in her home town of Glasgow. She also writes and presents a pop-culture and fashion podcast called Those Gals. Lynsay can usually be found exploring the city, snapping photos and hunting for kitsch accessories to add to her collection. 

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Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Carly Kroll.

Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Carly Kroll.Carly Kroll, tattoos at Little Bird Tattoo in Berlin, Germany

I’ve been following Carly’s work for a while now and was even meant to be tattooed by her when I was in Berlin last year. Unfortunately she ended up being off work with an injury, but hopefully I’ll get to reschedule for later this year when she’s in the UK. Not only is Carly a talented tattooist, she’s also the owner of the only vegan tattoo shop in Berlin. In case you’re wondering why tattoos are not usually vegan (it’s not just the inks) and why they should be, read on for all of the details.

How long have you been tattooing? Started tattooing in 2012

How old were you when got your first tattoo & what was it?
I got my first tattoo when I was 18, I was going through a tough time at home and was keen to rebel in any way. It was some mandarin kanji, it was the ‘in’ thing at the time, basically there wasn’t much thought put into it. The shop was pretty unwelcoming, full of biker guys (who I was kinda scared of) and the whole experience left me with the feeling that I wasn’t interested in tattoos.

How did you get started in tattooing? What was the journey that brought you from there to here?
I actually didn’t get another tattoo for about 6-7 years after. As my first experience was very underwhelming and didn’t see any further beyond that. My next ‘Tattoo experience’ grew from going with a friend while he was getting tattooed, the shop was completely different, there was lots of original art and artists drawing and creating work. I was really inspired by the whole experience and got me thinking, wow there is a lot more to this than I thought.

Did you have an artistic background before you started tattooing?
I studied art, and was always making something or being creative in some way. I worked a little in design but found all the hours sitting at the computer really un-motivating. People are usually pretty surprised when I tell them I was a flight attendant for about 8 years before I started Tattoooing.

Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Carly Kroll.How have your thoughts about tattoos and being tattooed changed over time (if at all)?
The only person I even knew that had a tattoo when I was growing up was a truck driver friend of my dad’s. So it’s safe to say I had little to no understanding of tattooing in my youth.. I just never thought I would end up being a tattooist and also having this many myself..!

How would you describe your style of tattooing?
Well, I’m pretty young in my tattooing career, so that’s something I feel is still evolving. I guess I would say neo-Traditional, maybe modern feminine.. but definitely bold and full of colour… although that’s not to say that’s all I do. I like to think I’m a good all-rounder. There isn’t much that I say no to, I always try and think about what someone wants and find a way to make it work.

Who or what influences your work?
I like pretty or funny and cute things, a client will come in with an idea and I try and have a good think about how to do it, how to make it ‘carly’ – what will make the tattoo special and not just go for the obvious choice. I have so many influences from other tattoo artists aswell, especially all the amazing female artist based in the UK right now, it’s like there is this little bubble of really fantastic feminie artists that how just blossomed in the last few years. I also love watching other artists work. Nikko Hurtado (Portrait/Realism Tattoo Artist from LA) has this theory that tattoos are just a string of choices and in the end the final tattoo is the sum of all the choices.. It’s a really cool theory and it’s always cool to see how a piece evolves.

Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Carly Kroll.I understand that you own the only vegan tattoo shop in Berlin. What about tattooing is usually not vegan?
That’s a really good question! People just assume it’s just the Tattoo ink that is vegan. (or not). But there is so much more to it than just the ink. A lot of the big ink companies have been making their colours vegan friendly (using plant based glycerine) for a few years now, which is awesome but the biggest ‘Badie’ is the black ink. Many tattooers are still using a drawing or Indian ink (which, works great for tattoos) but contains animal by-products like burnt animal bone char, shellac (from beetles) and glycerine (also made from animal fats). Inks are really just the start of it, from other products used in tattooing for lubrication (like Vaseline, or petroleum products), cleaning and sterilisation products (which are all animal product based, or produced by huge pharmaceutical firms that are testing on animals) to even the stencil paper (regular stencil paper contains Lanolin and sometimes shellac). We source all our products to make sure everything that goes into the skin and applying the design and sourcing and using disinfection mediums that are animal (and planet) friendly.

Were there any challenges to setting up a vegan shop?
I was in the mindset that everything about the shop should be as green as possible, which includes the products we use to clean and sterilize the shop, to our tea, coffee and snacks aswell as the products we have in the bathroom. We also found most of our furniture and shopfitting second hand or upcycled..

It has been a lot of work and challenging (and often expensive) to find vegan and green products. It would have been so easy to just purchase things mainstream or from the regular stores but it’s something that is really important for me. Living vegan, not just about what I eat and buy but also supporting a sustainable lifestyle, and bringing that to the shop and is something I’m really proud of.

Thank you, Carly! As a vegetarian and animal lover, this has given me a lot to think about and will make me think carefully about choosing tattoo studios. And as you, I’m itching to get a piece done by you soon!

Carly is doing some guest spots in the UK this year (as well as other parts of Europe), so keep an eye on her Facebook and Instagram pages for all of the details.



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