This gent first got his tattoos over 3 decades ago and, after seeing body art that’s available nowadays, wanted an upgrade!
Only 6 months ago an ambitious Kickstarter campaign to raise £30k in 13 days began. Its mission? To open Cardiff’s first zero-waste store.
(Spoiler Alert: They totally nailed it, and NAOHOA helped raise over £800 towards it by donating tattoo Gift Certificates) .
Climate change and our impact on the planet has been firmly in our minds over the past few years – particularly after the boom of Blue Planet II‘s release in 2017 . Since then, many of us have tried switching to more eco-friendly alternatives such as shampoo bars, bringing flasks to cafes or switching to bamboo toothbrushes. Many bars and restaurants have replaced plastic straws with paper ones, or scrap the use of them altogether.
Lead by Sophie Rae, her idea to make eco-living affordable and convenient resonated with us all. Given that Wales is one of the top countries in the world for recycling and we’ve been donning tote bags* since 2011, she was in good company.
In-store, you’ll find dried goods ranging from loose-leaf teas and snacks to a plethora of grains, pulses and spices. Household products such as shampoo, conditioner, washing up liquid and even bath salts are on offer, along with ethically-sourced, sustainable swaps and clothing.
The choice available is impressive and, with Sammy’s Fruit & Veg stand across the road, I’ve happily done my plastic-free food shop between the two every week without feeling like I’m compromising on my lifestyle. The only time I shop at a supermarket these days is to buy meat and eggs. Granted, these can be bought at the local farmer’s market on weekends and I’ll try to add this to my routine once I’ve finished working on Saturdays.
Spices in particular have been a pleasant surprise. When reusing glass spice jars, I’ve managed to refill on smoked paprika (35p), garlic powder (15p) and ground cumin (9p) for ridiculous prices. For someone who loves to cook, this is a huge bonus.
The atmosphere is upbeat, staff are super friendly and helpful and customers themselves tend to be polite and patient. It does take longer to shop there, as you need to weigh your containers before and afterwards (or just afterwards, if you’ve used them in-store before), so factor that in when you visit next. If you’re a total dork like me, you can make a Tare Book to keep the stickers in (instead of leaving them on containers).
* Speaking of tote bags: You can now support yours truly by buying a NAOHOA Tote Bag for just £10! (or £5 if you buy one straight after getting your tattoo). It’s made using sustainable cotton by the eco-friendly UK company, BIDBI.
Personally, I started this journey after watching a documentary called Plastic China (2016), which follows the harsh reality of families working at recycling factories. In 2018, China decided to refuse recycling material from other countries in an effort to restore damage made to their land.
Since then, I’ve added on a bunch of eco-switches to existing habits, including furoshiki, soap-making and, more recently, baking sourdough…all of which my farmer-from-Vietnam mother finds both amusing and endearing that things are, in her words, ‘going back the old way’.
As mentioned, NAOHOA was able to help raise £800 towards their £30k goal by donating 1hr Gift Certificates. It was a huge rush to see the first batch go within two days, then the last push in just 1.5hrs!
It was an honour to help and I’m grateful that a.) I was able to at all, and b.) the shop exists, because it’s become an integral part of my lifestyle now.
Being an independent business owner, I know how important and uplifting it is to support one another, and I’m loving the scene here in Cardiff right now.
Habits That Make a Difference
If you’re offered something you don’t genuinely want or need, refuse it. It’s a simple notion that often gets overlooked, especially when it comes to freebies.
Utilise items that are useful, such as containers for food (even when eating out, to save the restaurant giving you more plastic or single-use boxes that can’t be recycled due to contamination). Get creative and repurpose or upcycle objects to either use yourself, give away or sell. Pinterest is a great source for inspiration.
If you have space, composting food is a great way to give plants and crops extra nutrients…for free!
Besides discarding, this should be our last port of call. Why? Currently, Britain doesn’t process all of its recyclable waste, relying heavily on other countries to finish their work. When I discovered this and the shocking fact that waste that isn’t processed gets dumped…well, it made it clear that throwing things into green bins is nowhere near enough to make an impact.
What steps have you taken to do your bit for the planet?
Ripple Tattoo Gallery
I’ll keep this updated with photos of what the pledgers got inked!
This year has been a major one for personal and business growth for me, and I’m super grateful to those who supported me along the way. Each day, along with my biz tasks, I write down three things I’m grateful for and any ‘wins‘ for that day. They encourage me to maintain a positive mindset and helps keep me motivated. ^_^
To anyone wanting to build a positive habit in the New Year, I highly recommend it! It’s cheap, takes moments and can be done anywhere. Mine are logged in a massive spreadsheet alongside my cashflow forecast etc. (trying to be more minimalist and have fewer material things), but having a dedicated book or gratitude jar are fab ways to incorporate it into your life.
My Personal Highlights:
The top thing that’s really enriched my life lately is opening up to people. I’m closer to my parents and have started making friends in Cardiff (at last!). For years, I’ve been spending so much time on the business, I’d not made much effort to venture outside of it…besides networking…which is still biz-related. 😐 Although I still need more balance, tiny steps are better than none!
From May – October, I took part in the NatWest Accelerator program, based in Cardiff. We had lectures on how to run our businesses, access to people and schemes that could help, and a co-working space to get the work done. The one-to-one mentorship was invaluable, as was the amazing community. From the program, I was able to get outside of my isolating work bubble and meet like-minded people. We now have a little biz family and it’s fab~ 😊
Online Booking System
Feeling annoyed with how much time communication was taking away from core activities (designing and tattooing), Zan suggested I automated a few things and I finally got round to implementing them. 😜 Making it easier for clients to book me in while I’m busy (or out of hours) has been a game-changer and I’m glad you’re all loving it too!
When I started out, inking for 2-3 hours would konk me out…now I can do 6-8hrs before my brain turns into mush. 😁 I need to do more physio exercises and rest my eyes to recover, but it’s all part of the job. My ability to do fine line work has increased too, which I’m pleased about. It’s a trend that’s still going strong and I like how elegant it looks.
Downsizing my belongings and simplifying my life has had a calming affect on me. The studio has always been light, clean and airy, so now I’m trying to make my personal life match that!
For my 3rd business birthday, my partner (Zan) treated me to an iPad Pro. I’d been oggling it for aaaaages but couldn’t afford one and felt bad asking for anything that big. It’s helped my workflow so. much. It’s a joy to draw with and I enjoy sharing that process with you via Instagram Live, which I’ll talk more about below…
Doing events and generally putting myself out there has been a huge mental blocker for me. However, being held accountable during my stay at NatWest Accerlator really pushed me to do Comic Con, which turned out great! It was fun nerding out with you guys and getting to know some of you more whilst tattooing. I also pushed myself to do more videos via Instagram Stories, Lives and am finally taking steps towards building my YouTube Channel.
These are all things I’ve wanted to do for years but didn’t feel I had the courage until after I did it…which goes to show, there’s some truth to the saying, “Fake it ’til you make it”!
What have been your highlights this year? 💖
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Religious or not, most of us get swept away with Christmas cheer – but how can we continue celebrating whilst being mindful of our beautiful blue planet? Read on for simple ways we can alter our habits and perception for a merry Christmas, without the guilt of a carbon footprint a yeti would gawk at.
Rethink the Word ‘Gift’
When we think ‘gift’, the same image normally comes to mind. Something that’s tangible and wrapped with a pretty bow. However, not all presents need be physical. Here are some examples:
What’s the thing they’ve always wanted to do but never got round to doing? Visit an attraction? See a show? Take a class*? Get a tattoo? *cough* How about purchasing a Gift Certificate so they can tick something off their bucket list? ‘Cause let’s face it: more socks are never on anyone’s bucket list…or any wish list for that matter!
From a coffee date to helping move house; you choose how much time you’re willing to give. Time is a precious commodity and I find the older we get, the less we have (until retirement years, at least). Use the opportunity to revive old friendships and strengthen ones that have weathered the stormiest of weathers. You may find that you cherish those moments far more than a material gift ever could.
Let’s get real: Who doesn’t love receiving cake at any time of the year? Cakes, cookies or something savoury – Pinterest is overloaded with ideas and recipes. If you’re a dab hand at things like knitting or crocheting, you could make plushies or accessories instead.
Wanna get crafty? Give unwanted items a new lease of life that would be useful or decorative in any home. From hampers made of plastic bags, simple but elegant flower vases, or custom coasters, there are blogs all over the internet where budding creators share their knowledge. Again, many can be found via Pinterest (search for ‘upcycle’).
* I bought some lessons for myself via Udemy** on Black Friday and can’t wait to try them!
** Not a sponsored post. Just sharing the love. 🙂
Support Local Businesses
Naturally, I’m biased here. 😉 However, when you buy locally, from owners whose livelihood relies solely on lovely people appreciating our skills and/or products, it really does make our day. We spend all our energy in something we hope others will acknowledge and you buying from us ensures we can cover the rent, bills, food and gosh, maybe even a treat for ourselves!
Personally, it’s taken me over three years to get to a stage where the thought of buying a coffee and slice of cake doesn’t riddle me with anxiety…and that’s all thanks to the accumulative efforts of me showing up and you guys spreading the word. Our businesses can’t survive without you and our spirits would surely sink if we had to give it up.
Need ideas on ways to wrap your pressies, without the traditional wrapping paper that can’t always be recycled? Try these on for size…
Reusing Existing Paper
Cardiff’s very own Green Squirrel community recently held a workshop, where they reused all sorts of materials to present their gifts. Parcel paper, scarves, twine, foliage…even loo roll! Spark your creativity and give something truly unique by trying a different approach this year.
The long-established art of folding objects with cloth has been used in Japan for may years, gaining mainstream attention more recently with the wave of people choosing sustainable living over cheap convenience.
Upcycle Leftover Tubs
Every year, someone is guaranteed to give you a box of chocolates or biscuits for Christmas. Is this a British thing? I swear it’s almost compulsory to have a family tin of something, regardless of whether you have kids or not. Either way, thanks to this fabbo blogger, you can magic a tacky-looking tub into something super cute (or chic, depending what finish you go for).
Shop at Zero Waste Stores
If you’re lucky enough to live in a city that has a zero-waste store (like we are now, thanks to Ripple Living and Viva Organic), they’ll normally stock all sorts of goods that can be bought as gifts (e.g. handmade soap or reusable cosmetic pads). Check them out! You’ll be doing extra do-goodery by supporting local business whilst helping the planet. 💚
Consider an Alternative Advent Calendar
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As a belated wedding gift, I bought my friend a limited edition Christmas advent calendar from @authentichouseuk . Each day in December, they'll open a treat that'll help them live in a more ethical, sustainable way. 😀 I asked Alice (owner of Authentic House) if she could throw in some extra bits if I rounded up the price, hence the little parcel next to it. . . . If you're looking for tips, products or inspiration on living a more eco-friendly lifestyle, check them out! 🌍💚🐳 www.authentichouse.co.uk . . The advent calendar is already sold out, so register your interest for next year! . . . #christmas #christmaspresent #weddinggift #christmasadventcalendar #adventcalendar #alternativeadventcalendar #authentichouse #authenticchristmas #ecofriendly #ecoadventcalendar #sustainableliving #saveouroceans #SupportingLocalBusinesses #womeninbusiness #noplastic #plasticfree #furoshiki #ecochristmas #ecofriendlychristmas
Recently, I purchased an advent calendar from Authentic House, which promotes sustainable living in an easy subscription box that’s delivered straight to your door. Each day, you can unravel an item that can either help you swap habits for more eco-friendly ones (such as replacing cling film with beeswax wraps), or an ethical treat for yourself, such as handmade lip balm made by a local producer. The one pictured above was a limited edition piece I bought for a friend as a wedding gift for her and her family. 🙂
…this way, every day leading up to Christmas can feel like…well, Christmas! 🎄
That’s all from me! Thanks so much for reading and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas. 😚💕
Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the ink is so delightful~ Okay, I’m no songwriter, but that’s not what this is about anyway. Ever wonder when the best time to get a tattoo is? Well, it depends on what you want and where you want it.
Generally-speaking, Winter is best for large projects because the cooler temperature makes the healing process more tolerable. Fresh tattoos are essentially an open wound, so if you’ve got a lot of skin vulnerable, you don’t wanna be stuck in a heat wave with plasma oozing everywhere.
Good Places to Get Tattoo’ed
- Upper body
These places are good all-year round…it’s just more comfortable to heal large pieces when the weather isn’t muggy.
Avoid During Winter
- Lower legs
Hey, I won’t stop you, but I will advise waiting until it’s flip-flop season for foot tattoos, as fresh ink rubbing against thick socks all day (and probably night) aren’t gonna do it any favours. The skin is thinner in that area, making it harder to hold to begin with, so the lower down the foot we go, the higher the chance of it rubbing away through wear-and-tear, regardless of the weather.
Lower legs aren’t as concerning, but if you’re likely to wear skinnies and boots…again, friction from daily movement will fade your new tattoo faster than if you wore loose clothing until it healed.
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Added colour today. 🙂 Calling this done, though we'll check it one more time after it's healed to see if it needs a touch-up. ⛵ . . . #tattoo #freshtattoo #shiptattoo #marinetattoo #ship #shipwheel #sea #compass #compasstattoo #nautical #adventure #sealife #atthesea #marinegeography #water #anchor #lifeatsea #cardiff #cardifftattoo #tattoocardiff #newport #wales #bristol #bath #tattoogirl #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #ladytattooer
Less Prone to Fading
…because it won’t be exposed to sunlight as often, if at all. UV rays fade tattoos – especially ones that haven’t healed fully yet.
The brisk weather means you’re less likely to sweat during the day, which would normally clog the pores and lead to…
Healing tattoos itch. SO. MUCH. My advice is to either pat the area or put something cold on it. The cooler environment should temper down such urges, making the process more bearable.
Depending on your skin type, you may be prone to dry skin when the cold air hits it. If this applies to you, simply moisturise your tattoo when you feel is necessary so it doesn’t dry and scab up.
Less Room to Breathe
We normally wrap up at this time of year, which means fresh tattoos would have less time to breathe. Try not to wear anything too tight around the area to avoid friction and irritation.
Fewer Chances to Show Off
Without a doubt, most people will join in your excitement and want to see your tattoo. Unless you’re happy to unravel layers of snuggly warmth each time, you’re better off having a photo on your phone to appease them.
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(2/3) The design process behind this special tattoo. 🎗 #NAOHOAstory . . I sketched this one via #InstagramLive – if you'd like to watch me draw, keep an eye out for when I'm on! All my Stories are live, so you'll get a sneak peek of designs and tattoos before they make it to my feed and newsletter (www.naohoa.com/subscribe) . . . #tattoodesign #originaldesign #swallow #swallowbird #swallowbirdtattoo #breastcancer #breastcancerawareness #pinkribbon #firsttattoo #bird #birdtattoo #cardiff #cardifftattoo #tattoocardiff #newport #wales #bristol #bath #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #ladytattooer
This client gave me a sketch to work from, but I forgot to add it to the video. 🙈
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(2/3) Click below to play video:
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(2/3) The design process behind this delicate bouquet~ 💐 #NAOHOAstory . . . #tattoo #tattoodesign #originaldesign #bouquet #flowers #heather #flowertattoodesign #delicatetattoo #sketching #drawing #ipadpro #procreate #timelapse #cardiff #cardifftattoo #tattoocardiff #newport #wales #bristol #bath #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #ladytattooer
“What an utterly wonderful experience, I would highly recommend Naomi to anyone who wants to be tattooed in a totally calm, relaxed studio by an amazing artist! Already planning my next one ☺️☺️”
– Rebecca B.
If you’re a past NAOHOA customer interested in leaving a review, please click here.
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From day one, clients here have had the option to donate £1 per hour of tattooing towards one of three charities. This is my way of giving back via something I’d do anyway…because why not? 🙂
The cost comes out of the company’s profits, so you needn’t spend more.
Within the first three years of business, £359 has been raised via NAOHOA directly, with a further £900+ through multiple fundraisers.
Here are your options when getting inked at NAOHOA:
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A late post for #MentalHealthAwareness Day…these words popped into my head a few months ago but I didn't think I was good enough to write it out. Given the theme of today, it makes sense to challenge that whisper of self-doubt, so here it is. ☺ …well, the sketch at least! . . All clients at NAOHOA can donate £1 per hour of tattooing towards charity – one of which is Mind.org. Why? Partly because I wanted to do some good through my work, but mostly because people need all the support they can get when it comes to mental health. For a decade, I suffered with severe depression. At my worst, I would have insomnia, hallucinations or pass out from not breathing, as if my body gave up and decided to shut down. The rest of the time I was numb but soldiered on, sporting a brave face and achieving all I could in order to shift the focus from my sadness. Eventually, I caught Labrynthitus, which made me unable to work for months, accelerated my depression and threw anxiety into the mix. It was so strong I had to, in my mind, 'admit defeat' and seek help from my GP, who referred me to CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). After a lot of hard work and excellent support, I managed to clamber over the other side and haven't looked back since. . . Different things work for different people, though I do highly recommend #CBT. The waiting list on the NHS is long but worth it in the long run. Remember: They can only help you if they know exactly what's up – so the more open you are, the better they can help you. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help. Also, you get what you put in. The tasks will seem hard as you're doing them, but once you're on the other side, you'll only smile at the progress. 😊 . . In the meantime, here's a book that goes through many similar techniques: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Overcoming-Low-Self-Esteem-2nd-behavioural/dp/1472119290/ . . Much love, Naomi xxx . . P.S. That little red mark is my personal logo. 😁 . . . #MentalHealth #mentalillness #depression #anxiety #quote #originalquote #kind #typography #calligraphy #ipadpro #procreate #CognitiveBehaviouralTherapy
The above post already explains my personal ‘why’. It’s really amazing how much one’s state of mind can affect their view on others, the world and most critically, themselves. It can be a choking, all-encompassing reality that halts us from reaching our true potential. Those who are fortunate not to experience mental health problems may find it difficult to conceive, but it really does feel as melodramatic as it sounds! Although I’m not a qualified therapist by any means, I’m happy to share advice and techniques I learned throughout my journey if it’ll help others, and of course, part with some of my profits to nudge the cause along.
If you’re suffering from a mental illness, please seek help – whether it’s through friends, family or professionals. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) changed my life and I highly recommend it.
This, again, is for a personal reason. Feeling quietly frustrated throughout my life for feeling like there was a big block in my brain was debilitating. Undiagnosed learning difficulties can have a knock-on effect to not only grades, but confidence, self-esteem and self-worth, which can have a lasting impact on their lives until properly confronted. Being a high-achiever from a strict background, the external pressure to to well, paired with discrimination towards those with disabilities made me hide my struggles and suffer in silence.
Kara Tointon’s BBC Documentary, “Don’t Call Me Stupid”, was the thing that opened my eyes and made me pursue a formal dyslexia assessment in my mid-twenties. The positive result was the closure I needed. I’d hate for other people to struggle with the deep sense of incompetence that’s all too common with such cognitive deficits, hence this donation option.
Homelessness in Britain has risen by 169% between 2010-17. I don’t think I can express the crises more succinctly than this article from The Guardian, so please give it a read when you have a moment.
Note: Huggard replaced British Red Cross’s spot for NAOHOA’s third option, as it’s a topic I feel strongly about and wanted to support a local charity with fewer international resources.
Other Ways to Give in Everyday Life:
Want to inject some do-goodery into your life but strapped for cash? Donating funds is the most obvious way to help, but if that’s too much of a stretch then here are some ideas to get the wheels turning:
Did you know that you can donate to a charity of your choice whilst doing your online shop? eBay has had this built-in based on the seller’s preferences, but you can also give via Amazon via this link: http://smile.amazon.co.uk
Facebook Birthday Donations
Instead of accepting gifts for your birthday, how about setting up a donation pot to your favourite charity? Said charity will need to know this function exists in order to register themselves, so options aren’t quite as vast as other platforms, but it’s lovely way to offer support nonetheless.
If you shop via Quidco, you’ll get cashback (don’t ask me how – I don’t understand it either). The percentage varies for every store, (normally 2-10%), but those tiny trickles of pennies eventually add up, and you can donate them to a cause of your choice…given that it’s from purchases you were going to make anyway, it’s basically free money, right?
[insert stat here]. This one is less of an ‘every day’ thing and requires setting time aside, but that’s nothing compared to saving a life. If you’re healthy enough to pass their criteria, how about going under a different needle for the greater good? Then finish with a very British treat of tea and biscuits. Splendid!
Volunteer Your Time and/or Skills
Homeless shelters, care homes, community centres…is there a local event you can help out with? Or perhaps you have a skill you can use to help upkeep said charities, or teach to others and donate proceeds to a charity of your choice.
NAOHOA has donated to various charity fundraisers, such as Railway Children, Sophie’s Wish and Manchester Tattoo Appeal. More recently, a whopping £800 of tattoo time was raised for Ripple’s Kickstarter Campaign. Thanks to our collective efforts, Cardiff will be one step closer to living consciously through zero-waste shopping, whilst supporting local businesses.
People aren’t the only ones who need aid – our planet is suffering too. What everyday habits can you change to be more eco-friendly? More often than not, this results in saving money (and space!) too, so it’s a win-win situation all round~ 🌍💚
So many of us suffer in silence. Ever wonder how a friend or family member is doing, but neglect to actually let them know you’re thinking of them? Reach out. Ping a text, make a phone call, catch up over coffee…social media alone isn’t enough to maintain true relationships.
Are you a dab hand at making stuff? From crocheted comfort toys and tiny knitted hats for premature babies, to knitted boobs for breast cancer survivors, there are plenty of charities out there that rely on volunteers to equip their patients for a better quality of life. Patterns/instructions are normally free, along with detailed requirements to ensure nothing goes to waste (due to safety concerns). What will be your next project?
Pay it Forward
Whether it’s buying an extra coffee for the person served after you, or giving meal deals to the homeless, these tiny acts of kindness are bound to bring a smile. If you don’t want to spend anything extra, how about exchanging store loyalty points for something someone else would find useful?
Simplify & Donate
Those of you who follow my personal Instagram account will know that (besides obsessing over food) I’m on a [very slow] journey towards minimalism. This, teamed with eco-friendly lifestyle choices has left me with a lot of unwanted or needed items, which was then either sold, repurposed or given away. One example is making sanitary bundles for homeless women, which I gave out after switching to reusable alternatives. Win-win!