Category Archives: British culture

Random Acts of Kindness

1513793_781207345297274_8961386574453943804_n

We’ve all seen videos on Youtube and Facebook about people going out and doing random acts of kindness for others. They fill us up with that warm fuzzy feeling as unsuspecting people are shown gestures of kindness and good will. It’s really easy to watch these videos, but a lot of people don’t feel like they have what it takes to actually DO this.
Well, my sister and close friends have taken it upon ourselves to spread the love and bring joy to people’s day on a regular basis!

Inspired by videos of these kinds of events from big-hearted people like Ryan Higa and his crew, who regularly upload videos of themselves doing kind gestures as a way to inspire others to do the same. They give toys and flowers to people at Christmas and they went around their city giving food to the homeless for Thanksgiving. Popular Viner Thomas Sanders went around shopping mall for “Givemas” giving out gift cards to stores in that mall to happy customers and staff. These people are great examples of how selflessness can be both rewarding and really fun! These are the kinds of people who inspired us to start out own style of Random Acts of Kindness.

11041481_790157151068960_1238396688_nOne day a couple of summers ago, my sister and I traveled to a nearby town for a day at the beach together. It was nice – We drew pictures in the sand, paddled in the water and had a laugh before realising that we were surrounded, both on land and in the water, by literally hundreds of jelly fish and decided to flee the beach.
Wandering around and seeing a mixture of moods from passers-by. Some were loving the summer fun and enjoying the company of their families, while others were stressing out, sulking and generally being moody. We decided, as we were already having a great time, to do something nice to brighten other’s days a bit more. We put our heads together and decided that food and drinks were off the cards due to the insane numbers of seagulls that swoop at anything remotely edible and giving money just seemed weird, so we’d settle for something adults and children alike could just enjoy – Balloons!
After hurrying to the nearest card shop, we set off to deliver our handful of balloons to some lucky people.
Honestly, this first experience opened up so much for us. It was a great feeling to come into someone’s life, give them a gift and just let them go with a big smile on their faces. We met some absolutely lovely people and had some truly moving and enlightening conversations. And, just with balloons, we actually made a positive difference to the lives of others!

With that first experience a great success, we were hungry to do it again.

Valentine’s Day: Taking it a step bigger

1794628_417934861672118_1130840389_n
Valentine’s Day is known as a day of celebrating your love and putting on displays of affection for the world to see, but this day can be a huge downer for a lot of people with no partner and a glum attitude. In honesty, I meet more people who are miserable than happy on Valentine’s Day and that is because of the hype and weight put on having a partner. It reinforces the idea that having a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife should be your top priority and not having one is somehow a failure on your part. That can seriously bring you down and Valentine’s Day can be extra bad.
My best friend, little sister and I decided that we were going to take a stand against this yearly downer and go out and spread the love for everyone!
1939724_583856765032334_271925713_nOn Valentine’s Day 2014, we went out armed with ‘Free Hug’ banners and 20 balloons.
Due extremely high winds due to the huge storm that was pelting Britain at the time (hands up if you remember #UKstorm) we moved our post indoors and instead we targeted the students and faculty of our local university!
Shy students didn’t respond too openly to the offer of free hugs, but the balloons when down (or up) a treat! We managed to brighten many days, meet some very nice people and even confused a business lecturer when half his class turned up with balloons tied to their desks!
It was a fantastic day and the three of us had a great time seeing so many smiling faces! It brought us three closer together, introduced us to some nice people and brightened the days of many people!

Despite the success of that day, due to people getting jobs, my best friend moving back to Japan, lots of changes and such, the next time we had the availability to do another Random Act of Kindness was the following Valentine’s Day 2015.
11015322_790157141068961_1317041854_n

Due to my best friend still being in Japan, we still needed another to join us. Funnily enough, a few months after Valentine’s Day 2014, my sister made friends with a girl whom we later discovered, when we happened to talk about Valentine’s Day, we had given a balloon to on that day and then had met by chance later! This friend came along to help us out this year and the tradition continued for a second year! Armed with about 25 balloons and a handful of silk roses, the three of us wondered the town.
Due to it being a Saturday, the high street was packed full of families, couples and children of all ages. Honestly, the minute we stepped out with all the balloons ready to go we were mobbed by kids who wanted their own. Seriously, pre-teens are scary!!
The first child we were moved to give a balloon to was a small toddler whose parents asked us where they could buy their daughter a balloon like ours. I wish I could have captured the expression of true delight when we responded by handing over the big heart-shaped balloon that their little one had been so keen on and told them it was their’s for free.
We met a lot of lovely people along the road and we were really well received by everyone we encountered.

The overwhelming feeling I was left with was that it is so easy to make a significant difference to a person’s day (and thus a person’s life) simply by doing a nice gesture as simple as giving them a balloon.

How YOU can try it!

11020288_790157147735627_1366451360_n
So, now that you know that it’s actually very easy to do random acts of kindness, there’s nothing holding you back from trying it for yourself. This kind of thing is fantastic for helping the people around you, bringing friends together and practicing the very healthy activity of giving.
In honesty, it is a LOT easier to do it with a group of friends with whom you can feel comfortable around and whom you can chat to and enthuse with. Going around doing these activities does cause a physical reaction of nervousness and it takes a lot of energy, so having friends with you will help to keep your energy up.
There are so many ways that you can try this out for yourself, but sometimes you need some ideas to get you going:
Giving fun things: Balloons, toys for children, gift cards, second-hand video games, etc
Motivational: Positive/inspiring sticky notes, a letter to a stranger, a supportive and inspirational letter to give to a parent to give to their child, Random compliments, etc
Helpful: Giving food or drink to the homeless, a group trip volunteering, a fun charity event, visiting elderly neighbours, etc.

Remember to be creative in your ideas. My crew plan to expand on the original balloon idea for next time, so keep thinking and try to think of some original, helpful and fun ideas. Remember, fun and positivity are the mail point! People will remember their experience of being chosen for a random act of kindness, so make sure it’s a lovely memory for them to share with others.

Remember:

Some cultures are not so open to the contact of total strangers. Especially in more reserved cultures, some of the more friendly ideas might be seen as inappropriate or even illegal, so always be careful of what you decide to do.
In some places, it may be more or less okay to do ‘free hugs’ than in other places, etc.
Be very careful to make sure that you aren’t making yourself at the risk of any legal issues. When I handed over a balloon, I always noted that they should be used with care. Sometimes the giving of stuff, especially to children, can put you at some risk, so make sure you carefully consider that.

Do you have any ideas or questions about Random Acts of Kindness that you want to share? Share them in the comments below or over on Facebook or Twitter! Have a great day! Xx

 

This is purely an informational piece and anyone who uses suggestions from this piece or other pieces on this website should do so with care, consideration, their own common sense and always behave well within the law. Safety first!!

My Experiences: Getting a Tattoo

I love tattoos. It is becoming more and more common knowledge (I suppose since I got my first openly visible tattoo) that I love them and take great pride in the tats that I have. I’ve written before about the cultural views on tattoos and answered a few of your questions on them and their after-care. However, I get asked a lot, both online and in person, about what getting a tattoo done is like and the healing process of it, so I thought that I would document my personal experience when I got my next tattoo. Well! As luck would have it, I had been thinking about a tattoo idea for quite a while and, after a lovely design was made for me by my tattoo artist, I decided I was ready for the plunge!

Sleep on it. Eat on it. Work on it. Live with it.

So, obviously, you need to think about what you want for a good while. What do you want the tattoo to be? What meaning or message do you want to convey? What meanings or messages do you NOT want to convey? Have you done your research?
Getting a tattoo (unless you’re not afraid of the laser) is a lifetime commitment and so you need to be as sure as possible to have covered your bases. Have you checked that the image or words have no negative or criminal meanings? When I was 16 I wanted a tattoo that symbolized that you only live once, which would have meant that I would be stuck forever with a tat that basically meant YOLO… Good thing I didn’t go for that then!
Before you commit having an image put into your skin, understand the risks involved, such as a change of opinion, something going wrong, the eventuality of the design aging, cultural reaction and various (rare) health risks.

Pain factor

I get asked a lot about how painful and how scary it is to get a tattoo and there is no completely definitive answer as everyone is different and everything depends.
The level of pain you will feel from a tattoo depends on your personal pain tolerance as well as the location of the tattoo on your body. If you have a high tolerance to pain and your tattoo is on a more fleshy area, then you are more likely to feel less pain from it.
If, like me, you are incredibly skinny, then your tattoo is more likely to be a bit more painful and tattoos hurt their most when they are on areas with thin, moving skin that lie right over bones.
My first tattoo was on my right hip and it was an absolute breeze, except for when they were doing the parts right over the edge of my hip bones (and then it was still only a mildly annoying tickle).
My second tattoo was only a small design on my side and that was a little more painful because it was over a rib, which is known to be a very painful area. The only part of it that had me more than a little uncomfortable was the shading part, which is done with another kind of needle used for filling and shading.
My third tattoo, on the inside of my wrist, was pretty much fine! It only took about 10-15 minutes to do and was only really a slightly painful tingle. It was so fast to get, quick to heal and practically painless.

Tattoos, as some do not expect, go through a slightly gnarly healing stage with itches, ooze and scabs. But, trust me, it’s not as bad as it seems!
My first tattoo, a large yin and yang on my hip, was very sore the first day I got it, healed with a thick scab and took about 5 weeks to look healed. However, my second and third tattoos were healed in a matter of days.

After care

With my first tattoo, I only had the cling film on for about 3 hours and then went without it. I used Bepanthen, a product used to reduce nappy rash on babies. I found that it actually made pain and itching worse and so I stopped using it.
With my other two tattoos, I didn’t bother with any creams or cling films (actually for the second tattoo, the artist had run out of cling-film so just said not to worry about it) and everything was fine.
But it is recommended that you keep replacing the cling film every few hours for the next three days and use a cream to moisturise and protect the skin.
And make sure that you are regularly cleaning your tattoo with warm (not too hot) soapy water. blot it dry gently with a clean towel (though preferably not a fancy or nice one, as it can get mucky)

So, let’s take a step-by-step look at my experience of a new, and large, tattoo on my foot.

My New Tattoo

Idea

I wanted a tattoo that was delicate, yet strong, youthful and long-lasting. Because we are nearing Spring (my favourite season) and I love Japan, I instantly thought of the adored and celebrated Sakura flowers. I love the Sakura Cherry Blossoms and so decided that it would be the perfect look for the design.
So, as I mentioned in my article about cultural views of tattoos, any tattoos in Japan carry a negative view of tattoos, so there is not really anything I could do about that. So, I did my research and settled that the design was a safe one.
The artist who designed the tattoo for me changed the look of the flower a little bit, but I liked it and we decided on the placement of the tattoo together.
initially, I wanted the design to start behind my ankle, then go over the ankle and follow just along the outside of the foot, but I ended up liking the placement we went with instead (and it looks great with heels)!

Fear

To be honest, the sound of a tattoo gun is, in my opinion, the worst part of the whole thing. It’s like the sound of a dentist’s drill and scares the living daylights out of me before I get started.
With all of my other tattoos, I have just walked in and gotten them done on the day and this was the first tattoo that I actually booked like a week ahead of time and had to wait. Waiting made it so much worse and I was so much more scared.
Really, if you can try to calm your fear then the entire process will be a lot easier. The fear is the worst part and it has never been as bad as my fear has played it up to be.
So, do your best not to let your fear get you down or worked up. It’ll be over soon enough and nowhere near as bad as your imagination has you thinking.

Getting the tattoo

This tattoo was the most painful of all the others I’ve had. The reason for that was because this one was a lot bigger as well as being an area of the skin that moves a lot and runs over many bones and the tattoo was mostly done with the filling and shading head of the tattoo gun (which I said was the more irritating with my second tattoo).
It was rather painful, but the most difficult part was simply not moving as they were doing it. I honestly had to fight with everything in me not to kick my tattoo artist in the face as she did it.
But a good tattoo artist knows what they’re doing, will be in tune enough to know when to take a quick breather, and they’ll get it over with as soon as they can.
Try to be relaxed as you go through it. If you are getting tense and letting the pain get pent-up, it’ll irritate you and make it harder to stay still, so try to just stay relaxed, focus on a part of your body that doesn’t hurt and just zen out.

After-care

So, I learnt with my first tattoo that I cannot use the skin product Bepanthen as I’m allergic to the lanolin in it, but I learnt this time that I CAN use another product instead to sooth my raw tattoo.
Diprobase is a cream that you can get prescribed by a doctor, but is available off the shelf in many drug stores, such as Boots. It’s a very thick cream that cools, soothes and moisturises the irritated skin.
Also this time around I took care to use and regularly replace the cling film for the recommended 3 days.

Healing

As expected, for the rest of the day after I got the tattoo the top of my foot was VERY swollen and I was limping a little bit, but the pain of getting the tattoo itself wore off within ten minutes and I couldn’t feel any pain, except for some soreness when I walked, after about an hour.
And a lot of people assume that tattoos gush blood for hours and hours after you get them, but they don’t really bleed that much and they settle down pretty quickly.
Here is my tattoo after 6 hours:

11007489_787633507987991_106991442_n

At 12 hours:

11003979_787633497987992_32071664_n

1 day:

11026592_787633501321325_1425963128_n

With the cream:

11026383_787633517987990_517870734_n

After about 4-5 days it begins the nasty scabby stage where it looks a bit flaky and nasty. All you can do at this time is keep cleaning and moisturising it and don’t pick at it. Scratching it will slow the healing process, can seriously damage your tattoo and hurts A LOT!!!!! It’s not worth it, so don’t scratch it.

During scabby stage:

11006012_787633547987987_214591489_n

And, finally, now:

11016556_787635761321099_1981086398_n
After about 3 weeks it’s almost entirely healed up and is not even slightly uncomfortable. It was worth the whole thing!
I hope you enjoyed this piece! If you have any comments or questions, please share them in the comments below or over on Facebook or Twitter! X

Tongue twisters from around the world

Tongue twisters are words or phrases that are difficult and confusing to say. learning and performing tongue twisters is a common pass-time for kids on the UK, but I never realised until I met my best friend (and guest writer on Learn With Amy) that tongue twisters are hugely popular all around the world!

So, for all you language enthusiasts out there, how many of these tongue twisters from around the globe can you say?

First: How do tongue twisters work?

Tongue twisters are phrases that are difficult to articulate as they require fast delivery and/or contain a complex combinations of phonemes. Often they contain two or more sounds that alternate between use of the lips, tongue, jaw and larynx.
Many studies have tried to identify how the complex phrases affect the brain, but the studies have found that tongue twisters actually slow down how fast the brain takes in the information. Tongue twisters aren’t just hard to say, they’re hard to READ too!

English:

The most commonly loved tongue twister in the UK is the famous rhyme, based on the story of Mary Anning, that goes:

She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore.
The shells she sells are sea-shells, I’m sure.
For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore
Then I’m sure she sells sea-shore shells.

As it turns out, Mary Anning was actually selling various fossils on the sea-shore as a supplemental income to her family!

Gilbert and Sullivan were famous writers of comic operas that featured tongue twisting lyrics that fast paced and comedic. One of their most popular operettas was The Mikado (Sometimes called ‘The Town Of Titipu’), an opera that satirised British politics and society – made acceptable by subtly masking it with the Japanese setting.
One of the songs, entitled ‘I Am So Proud’ features these very tricky to say (and SING) lines:

To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock,
In a pestilential prison, with a lifelong lock,
Awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock,
From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block!

Some tongue twisters also try to get you to say ‘bad words’ as a trick for getting muddled.
Try the following tongue twister and see if you can say it all without swearing:

I slit the sheet,
The sheet I slit
and on the slitted sheet I sit.

Did you say it? Eh?
How about this one? Be careful – You might say something you don’t mean! Tee hee

I am not the pheasant plucker,
I’m the pheasant plucker’s mate.
I am only plucking pheasants
Because the pheasant plucker’s late.

Not that easy, are they? Well, things are about to get a lot trickier as we bring different languages into it! We all know that Japanese is quite a tough language, but it’s about to get a lot trickier as we take a quick look at the tongue twisters that even Japanese people find difficult!

Japanese:

In Japanese, the word for ‘tongue twister’ is ‘早口言葉’/’hayakuchi kotoba’ which directly translates as ‘fast mouth words’ – No kidding!
Here’s a fairly easy one to start off with:

“生麦、生米、生卵”
”なまむぎ、なまごめ、なまたまご”
“Nama mugi, nama gome, nama tamago”

The meaning of this phrase is “Raw wheat, raw rice, raw eggs”. Tricky, but they get harder!

“蛙ぴょこぴょこ三ぴょこぴょこ、合わせてぴょこぴょこ六ぴょこぴょこ”
”かえるぴょこぴょこみぴょこぴょこ、あわせてぴょこぴょこむぴょこぴょこ”
“Kaeru pyoko pyoko mi pyoko pyoko, awasete pyoko pyoko mu pyoko pyoko”

This one, which hurts to say, translates as “A frog jumps twice, three times and six times in all.”

If you’re a fan of gardening and fine cuisine, give this one a go:

“にわの庭には、二羽の鶏はにわかにわにを食べた”
”にわのにわには、にわとりわにわかにわにおたべた”
“Niwa no niwa ni wa, niwa no niwatori wa niwakani wani o tabeta.”

This is such a fun one (and made me feel good, because I understood it without the translation – yay, go me!) and it translates as “in Niwa’s garden, two chickens suddenly ate a crocodile”

Korean:

Korean can be a tough language for some to learn as the words can sometimes be quite long and a little less straightforward to say than Japanese can be. However, it’s a beautiful language that’s a lot of fun to learn and speak.
Now, from my experience, easy Korean tongue twisters are difficult to come by, but they’re very satisfying when you get them right. Let’s get this started off right, with a nice bit of soy:

“간장공장 공장장은 강공장장이고 된장공장 공장장은 공공장장이다”
“kan-jang-kong-jang kong-jang-jang-eun kang kong-jang-jang-ee-go, dwen-jang-kong-jang kkong-jang kong-jang-jang-eun kong kong-jang-jang-ee-da.”

This one means, “President Kang is the president of the soy sauce factory, and president Kong is president of the bean paste factory.”

“육통 통장 적금통장은 황색 적금통장이고, 팔통 통장 적금통장은 녹색 적금통장이다”
“Yuk-tong tong-jang jeog-geum-tong chang-eun hwang-saek jeog-geum-tong-jang-i-go, pal-tong tong-chang jeog-geum-tong jang-eun nok-saeg jeog-geum-tong-chang-i-da.”

This mouthful translates as “6 dong bank book savings book is the yellow bank savings book, 8 dong bank book savings book is the green bank savings book.”
Not easy, are they?!

 

So, what do you think? Do you like Japanese and Korean tongue twisters? Let us know what you think of them!

Christmas in Britain

Having a lot of Non-British (and Non-European) friends, I have recently needed to explain what a British Christmas is like. Christmas in the UK can ca very different from Christmas everywhere else, and also the gap between traditional ideas and the actual practice can be vast too!

I thought that a post explaining the British Christmas would help those interested and living in Britain to understand what it’s like.

 

A British Christmas has many constant traditions that are generally followed in most families and as well as traditions passed down through individual families.

 

IMPORTANT!

So many of my friends from other countries aren’t made aware early enough of the fact that, unlike many other countries, almost all stores and restaurants are closed on Christmas Day. As it is the biggest Bank Holiday of the year, you will be hard pressed to find anywhere open on this day, so do travel or go out hoping to spend your day shopping!

 

Christmas Tree

10881372_744730272278315_703694050_nPracticed all around the world, the Christmas Tree is a large part of the Christmas experience. Often the first decoration that goes up, there are many different kinds of Christmas trees, from artificial trees made from plastic and wire to the numerous breeds of living Christmas trees!10863574_744730308944978_1390974284_n

 

Often decorations have sentimental value and can be passed down through the generations.

 

Santa Claus

Santa is a jolly old man who travels the world in the night and early morning of Christmas Day, delivering presents to all of the good children of the world.

However, Santa isn’t a familiar figure, beyond the recognisable red and white costume, all over the world.

In Britain, he is also referred to as St Nicholas. Santa is a very important part of children’s Christmases and a huge aspect of the Christmas experience.

1468624_554252424659435_95944891_n
A friendly reindeer

Santa Claus is told to be a jolly character who keeps lists of good and naughty children. Children in Britain can often be persuaded into behaving well by the suggestion that Santa will add them to the ‘naughty list’. Santa often deposits presents for good children (and coal for the naughty ones) either under the Christmas tree or in large festive socks called ‘stockings’.

Traditionally, Children would have hung their own socks at the ends of their beds or over the fireplace, but these days stockings designed purely for carrying presents are more common.

Santa Claus is said to travel the world in a sleigh, pulled along by 9 flying reindeer. Children will traditionally leave a gift of a snack and drink for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer.

Mistletoe

10866961_744730185611657_1567386601_nMistletoe is a white leafy plant with white berries and, for reasons I am unsure, it is tradition to hang mistletoe around a room and two people caught standing under it are supposed to kiss.

It’s a strange but cute tradition and it’s very common for people to hang a plastic alternative the the poisonous plant for the benefit of couples.

So be careful where you stand!

The Queen’s Speech

Every year on Christmas Day, a message from the Queen to the people of Britain is broadcast. Once considered a very important part of Christmas Day, the Queen’s speech isn’t really a big focus point of the day for most people. It’s usually just on in the background while everyone eats their Christmas dinner.

 

Hampers

One very common gift for people to give each others, outside of immediate family in the same house, is a hamper.

Hampers are like baskets or boxes of savoury items like jams, marmalades, quality canned and jarred goods, oils, wines, beers and many different kinds of long-lasting food or drink stuffs.

 

Lights

10863654_744730275611648_229699229_nIt’s popular in Britain to dress the insides, and often the outsides, of your home with festive lights, to make the atmosphere bright and happy.

 

Christmas Dinner

68375_376608909090455_867312872_n Christmas dinner traditionally consists of a whole roasted turkey or goose, roast potatoes, a variety of vegetables, stuffing and gravy. There a so many brilliant recipes for Christmas dinner dishes that you can include in your spread. One of the best sources of festive food delights is Nigella Lawson’s Christmas book:

 

It is also common for pudding to have Christmas pudding, a steamed fruity cake, often including nuts and brandy butter. The cake can be covered in a brandy and lit on fire before serving (of course, always use extreme care when handling fire, especially when indoors! Setting fire to your Christmas pudding is not recommended)

 

Do you have any other questions about Christmas? Share them with me either in the comments, using the contact form below or on Facebook or Twitter! Merry Christmas! Xx

Tattoos and Tattoo aftercare

As I mentioned in one of my recent posts, I have 3 tattoos that I love very much that all carry very strong meanings to me.  They’re important and I want to make sure they last well.

A lot of people ask me

“Wasn’t that really painful?!”

firsttattoo1Personally, if you are worried about pain, probably best to leave getting a tattoo for a while. When I got my first one, I was very scared of the thought of the pain and almost chickened out a bunch of times. Then I laid down on the tattoo bench, and when I sat up I had a tattoo — it really wasn’t that bad!

I will be honest, some points hurt a bit and different areas hurt more or less than others, the thought of the pain hurt more than the pain itself, and the sting of getting a tattoo disappears very quickly.

“Aren’t you worried about regretting it?”

In life, there are some things that we just know and I knew that all of my tattoos were good ideas. They all had very strong messages behind them and I went into the tattoo room absolutely confident in my decision. Trust me, I’m not going to mark myself for the rest of my life if I’m unsure about it.

tat2“Did you get that for a boyfriend/ex?”

No. Getting tattoos like that is a very dangerous idea. Even if you and your partner last a lifetime of love and commitment, you might not always want a tattoo of their name/face/starsign/whatever stuck on you forever!

I 100% recommend against getting tattoos for friends or someone you are in a relationship with. There are so many ways it can go wrong!

“Are you worried about employability?”

Maybe once upon a time, people in western culture couldn’t have tattoos that were visible in the workplace, but times have changed. As long as the tattoos aren’t offensive in any way, then there isn’t much to worry about.

Yes, in other countries tattoos can be an issue, but more and more countries are learning to accept tattoos, especially on those from a culture where they are commonplace.

“There’s this band I love and -“

NO! Please, stop right there. Regardless of how much you love a tv show, band or movie, you don’t need a tattoo from it. Again there are so many things that could go wrong.

You could decide that show sucked, a horrible revelation could be found about someone involved in it, the band could go downhill and your opinion could change — those are just to name a few!

If you are so pushed to get a tattoo of something entertainment or pop culture related, sit on the idea for a good long while before you go through with it.

“So, does that mean you aren’t an actor now?”

So many actors, performers and artists have tattoos. They are a form of self-representation and artistry which artists often can’t get enough of. So many actors, from Justin Chon to Jackson Rathbone to Angelina Jolie, have tattoos and love them! If they have tattoos and can survive as actors, so can I! 🙂

“How do you take care of your tattoos?”

tat3So, the best advice I can give for caring for your tattoos is

1) Don’t sweat it – Seriously, try not to sweat on it too much. Keep that sucker clean and dry(ish)

2) Don’t scratch it – Scratching is can really damage it and cause some serious irritation

3) Careful of allergies – When I got my first tattoo, I used Bepathen  the baby cream to soothe my tattoo. However, I soon realised that it actually felt a lot worse AFTER I applied it and later realised that I am allergic to one of the ingredients in Bepanthen (Lanolin). So, watch out for stuff like that and find something that isn’t going to make you itchy as heck later on!

4) Keep children away – I don’t know how or why, but children have the amazing ability to locate and exploit your weak spots. With every tattoo I have had, some kid (or about 20 kids one time) have managed to cause me eye-watering pain by punching, pinching or scratching my fresh and delicate tattoo. Until it’s healed, keep ’em away!

 

To clean a tattoo, don’t use any drying or irritating product that contain alcohol. You want to keep your tattoo fairly dry, but you don’t want to damage or crack it. Just use gentle soap and water and then dab it try with a CLEAN towel.

If your tattoo shows any signs of infection, contact your tattoo artist and a doctor immediately and see if you need to be put on antibiotics. I have been incredibly lucky with all of my tattoos not to have had any complications, but it’s always better safe than sorry!

 

I hope this piece has been interesting and helpful to you. As always, we want to hear from you, so drop us a comment or send us a message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #learnwithamy!

 

 

 

Couple’s Fashion

 

A couple ring
A couple ring

Love’s awesome we all know it! And some awesome couples, especially the youngsters, love to show off their affection to the world by wearing couple fashion. It’s a common and adorable way of showing your relationship status (I mean, if the girl you like is dressed exactly the same as the guy next to her, you’re probably going to get the hint.)

While very common and popular in Asian, this isn’t a really common thing to do in the West. But if you like this idea and want to try it out with your significant other (S.O for convenience sake), here are some suggestions:

Couple jewellery

Couple rings

Like a wedding ring, but not as serious, couple rings are a cute and personal way of quietly displaying your love and commitment, as well as a nice reminder of your other half when you want them beside you.

Couple necklaces

Necklaces are a cute and slightly more private piece of couple wear, as they can be very discreet and even worn under clothes. These necklaces often fit together in a kind of puzzle fashion and often on long chains, so they can be worn close to the wearer’s heart.

Couple bracelets

Couple bracelets are often just any kind of matching bracelet or watch. Often couples choose to wear their bracelets on opposite hands, so they can be displayed together when holding hands. Again, due to not really being a symbol of relationship status like rings, bracelets are also a very subtle option for love birds.

Couple fashion

Couple co-ordination

Some couples like to go out looking rather similar, so the world can easily identify them as a pair, by co-ordinating their outfits by style or colour.

For example, a couple may co-ordinate to both wear denim or plaid clothes, or both agree to wear blue and white or earth tones. It’s subtle, yet brilliant.

Twin fashion

Some couples like to go even further and actually match the same styles and colours as each other This can go either way and either look really cool or make them look a little bit funny – but I’m happy if they’re happy!

 

Shoes

Some couples enjoy wearing matching colour or styles of shoes when they go out.

Right now, one of the biggest shoe trends in Asia is Timberland style boots, and it’s always so cute when I see couples walking around in matching boots!

 

Couple’s tech

Watches

Matching watches, occasionally custom designs, are popular with couples who want an everyday item that they don’t have to go out of their way to co-ordinate. So watches are a really easy way to go. They wear it every day without thinking, but get to have that bit of matching style that’s both cute and convenient!

 

Phones

It’s very common to see couples with phone accessories or cases that match each other. Some just have matching charms, whilst others go for very flamboyant cases that match or pair with the other (for example, one has a burger phone case and the other has a fries phone case)

It’s cute, fun and a pretty neat conversation starter – and good news for you phone, as any case is better than no case at all!

 

I hope you like all these ideas, and maybe found some inspiration in there! If you have or want to try any of these ideas, let us know in the comment section, or share photos of your couple clothing on FacebookInstagram and Twitter using the hashtag #LearnWithAmy and I’ll share the best ones I see! X

 

Cultural views on tattoos

So, I have 3 tattoos and the reaction to them varies from person to person. Some love them, some hate them and most don’t really care that much.

When I met my best friend, tattoos were one of the first conversation topics between us and I realised that the opinions of tattoos varies greatly from place to place.

tat1
My 3rd tattoo (wrist)

My best friend is Japanese and Japan still has very strong negative views on tattoos and the type of people who get tattoos. To them, tattoos are quite frightening and associated with criminality.

Similarly, but not as extreme, Korea is still not a big fan of tattoo-lovers. Many singers, actors and other creatives alike decorate themselves with tattoos, but they aren’t very common on ‘average’ people. Tattoos are considered a very big decision in Korea, and they should be treated very seriously (probably a good idea for anyone, to be honest).

Around Europe, there are many varying opinions of tattoos, but most are still influenced by the idea of ‘Tattoo=dodgy character’.

Here in Britain, tattoos are INCREDIBLY common and, while we know the understand the association with criminality, we accept that a lot of good honest people have tattoos.

In the restaurant where I work, all but one of the people who work in the back have tattoos and we don’t think that weird in the slightest.

tat3
Brand new! This is what a tattoo looks like for the first day or two.

So, my advice to people with tattoos visiting other countries (especially Asia) is to take care to be respectful and understanding of the culture. If you have a lot of tattoos, try to put people at ease by making your personality clear – and remember that it isn’t their fault that tattoos scare them! Perhaps try to covered your tattoos in some circumstances, just as a gesture of respect.

For those visiting countries where tattoos are commonplace, remember that tattoos are not an indication of criminality. While gang and prison tattoos can serve as warning signs, tattoos are so common and it’s best not to judge someone purely by their tattoos. Try to be understanding and not too judgemental.

 

I’ll be uploading a post and video (yes, a real-life moving video) on how to cover up a tattoo very soon!

As ever, if you have any questions or comments, please let me know in the comments or using the contact form below! X

Recipe: American-style pancakes!!

photo 4What’s the best thing about running out of cereal? Finding an alternative breakfast!! And what’s the best breakfast EVER? PANCAKES!

Also, good news for our Asian readers. While most cakey recipes involve oven, which are still not common in Asia, these are just made in a frying pan, so our lovely Asian readers can enjoy this traditional British and American favourite!

So, as I sit here currently stuffed with pancakes, here’s Amy’s pancake recipe!

While we’re at it, Dean Martin and Helen O’Connell discuss their breakfast plans with “How Do You Like Your Eggs In The Morning?”

What you’re going to need:

Ingredients:16

• 120ml Milk
• 150g Self-Raising Flower
• 3tbsp Sugar
• 1 Egg
• 2tbsp butter (melted)
• As much maple syrup as you like
• A few drops of cooking oil

Tools

• A frying pan
• A large mixing bowl or jug
• Smaller bowl
• Mixing spoon
• Flat spatula
• Whisk or fork

Method:

12In the big bowl, mix the sugar and flour together. In the smaller bowl, beat the egg and then mix in the milk and melted butter until they’re well mixed.

Then pour the egg mixture into the flour mix and mix it together.
6Make sure not to mix it too thoroughly, as you still want some small lumps to remain and you want to mix air into it, not beat it out.

While you mix, set a pan on a medium-high heat and put a little cooking oil in the pan.

Once it’s mixed enough (but not too much), set it aside until the pan is hot enough.

(The way I tell if the pan is ready to go is by dropping a tiny tiny amount of pancake mix into the middle of the pan and watching. If it forms a tiny pancake, then it’s ready!)

Pour a small ladle’s worth into the middle of the pan and let it cook.

Don’t be too hasty to flip it over. Wait until little bubbles form on the surface and then caaaaaaaarefully slide the spatula underneath and then REALLY caaaaarefully flip it over (being careful not to splash yourself with hot mix or oil).

Note: Avoid the temptation to flatten down the cooked side of the pancake with the spatula. A lot of people think that’ll help them cook faster, but it’ll only squish the air out of them, making them flatter and less fluffy.

Cook only one or two at a time, so they have space to expand and you’re less likely to burn them or yourself.
When they’re a light golden-y brown-y on both sides you can remove them from the pan, put them on a plate and keep cooking until you run out of mix!

Once you’ve finished them, you can top them with anything you like. My favourite is a little butter and a generous glug of maple syrup! Very traditional!
Enjoy!!

(Please remember, this is just a guideline and you should always take care when cooking. Use your sense and have fun safely!)

Bon Appétit!
If you tried these for youself, send us a picture on Twitter or Facebook!
You can also find me on my personal Twitter and Instagram! 😀

Recipe: Simple fudge

A while ago, I tried something that I’d been too chicken to attempt for ages.

I started making fudge.

That might not sound huge, but with my history of clumsiness, I figured that maybe handling pans of boiling hot sugar would be a bit silly – me being the doofus who once manage to badly cut my hand open while slicing a bagel.

But, once I had tried the first time, I realised that I might not be as cursed as I thought. While making fudge I suffered no burn, bruises, cuts or injuries of any kind. It was like a miracle and I realised then that I loved making fudge because, not only did I not die making it, it tasted REALLY GOOD! Everyone who tried it, even people who usually hated fudge, loved it and said I had a gift.
So, very pleased with myself and my new-found ability, I present to you my fudge recipe!!

Ingredients

1 large can of Condensed milk
500g of sugar (I use granulated or demerara – just depends what’s in the cupboard!)
150ml of milk
and
100g soft butter
1tsp Vanilla extract (totally optional)

Instructions

Step 1
Line a square tin with greaseproof paper (trust me, you’ll want to do this FIRST!)

Step 2
Put all of the ingredients in a large pan over a medium heat. Stir the ingredients constantly to prevent any lumps or burning.
Wait for all of the ingredients to melt together (keep stirring)

Step 3
When all of the ingredients are melted together, turn the heat up and bring it all to the boil (Don’t forget to stir). When the mixture reaches boiling, turn down the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 15-20 minutes (You’d better still be stirring!)

Step 4
After that time is up, get a really cold glass of water and take a tiny amount of the mixture (in a spoon, not your fingers!) and drip it into the water. A little soft ball of fudge should form. If it’s still gooey, keep it simmering for a while longer.

Step 5
Once the mixture reaches the “Soft ball stage”, as it’s called, you can take the pan off the heat.
And if you thought your stirring times were over, think again! You need to stir the fudge-y mixture until it goes very thick and begins to set. (your arms should be aching like crazy by now from all that stirring!)
– Be very careful not to splash yourself with the mixture or burn yourself on the pan! It happens! –

Step 6
Take the square tin (lined with baking paper) and pour (or scoop) the mixture into the tin. Flatten it out with the back of a spoon or a spatula until it’s level and fits nicely in the tin.

Step 7
Cool and allow to set in the fridge until it’s fudge and enjoy as you please!

Note: Once it’s done, keep the fudge wrapped up or in an airtight container so it lasts longer and stays fresh.
I recommend keeping the fudge in the fridge in between servings as it’s even better when cold!
If you’ve tried that and want to take it one step further you can try covering the sliced up pieces in melted chocolate and letting it set so you have delicious chocolate covered fudge! Top with a slice of strawberry, and I think that’s what heaven may taste like!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe and have a lot of fun preparing it. A video tutorial will be following this post up very soon including other awesome flavours!

Remember: This is just a guideline and I’m no chef, so please take care when following this recipe and just treat it as a guideline – I don’t want anybody getting hurt over fudge!

If you liked that and want to get in touch with us, send us a message through the contact page or find us on Facebook and Twitter!
Also, you can come connect with me on my personal Twitter and Instagram pages! All the best X

Coming Soon

We are sorry. This site is currently under construction. 

Thank you for your interest in this topic. Lots of exciting content will appear here shortly.

Please check back very soon!