30 Life Lessons

It was my birthday this month and seeing as it was the big 3-0, I thought it would be fun to compile a list of things I’ve learned over the years. Who knows, it may help someone out there. 🙂 Some are silly, some profound, many are obvious but good to be reminded of.

Warning: As this is a casual post, there’s the odd swear word in here. 😛

 

 

Nature doesn’t care for heels.

1.) I’ve finally accepted my height. Screw heels – imma embrace my travel-sized self. 😆 (5ft2″)

2.) Treat yourself as kindly as you do others. I’m very harsh on myself and often don’t acknowledge or reward accomplishments – it’s something I’m trying to work on…

3.) Spend your energy on people who appreciate it and limit or cut off anyone who doesn’t. Your resources are finite and better spent on those who will keep it topped up, not drained.

4.) It’s totally okay to not wear makeup. Nobody gives a fuck, and if they do, it says more about them than you. I admit I still wear it to work or when filming, but maybe one day I’ll get over that too. Also, you save SO MUCH TIME when you don’t use it.

5.) Speaking of, this one made me feel like a knob: Regular soap and water works just as well as using makeup wipes, if not better, as you don’t get that weird residue at the end. I kicked myself so much for being conned by the cosmetic industry for all these years.

6.) Having short nails is so. much. better. than long ones. I originally kept them short because I wanted to take piano more seriously, and ’cause I was concerned with longer ones poking through my gloves when tattooing. Turns out, they’re just way more useful overall, and I can do other activities like climbing.

From bottom to top, I downsized my purse to a cardholder (which is half full of business cards) and barely use that, as I have the ones I need most with my phone.

7.) Consciously downsizing my things in my journey to minimalism and producing less waste (particularly plastic) made me realise how much unnecessary crap we go through. A good chunk of it isn’t needed, guys. Ditch it (responsibly).

8.) Embrace the unexpected. Switching from liquid to bar soap in attempt to reduce plastic, then seeing how much plastic used on those still, then wincing at the price tags of unpackaged, handmade soap, has lead me to making my own. Omg guys, it’s so much fun and I geeked out HARD. Zan (engineer) and Clarissa (Physicist) seemed happy I was accidentally delving into the world of Chemistry, haha. I recently made a batch for a friend’s wedding. 🙂

9.) Sometimes, the kindest thing you can do is to let go. Regardless of time spent together or effort put in, if things aren’t working out and you can’t see a happy future ahead, let go. This goes for all types of relationships – not just romantic ones.

10.) Just because you forgive someone, it doesn’t mean you’re obliged to remain friends, or even acquaintances. You’ve given your forgiveness and owe nothing more. Don’t go back if it’ll make you upset again.

11.) Fast Fashion is dumb. Buy only what you love wearing and look after them so they’ll last years. Invest in better-quality items when you can afford to. Nurture your own style and you’ll never be a slave to the industry.

For more bento pics, follow my personal Instagram page! @naomi.hoang

12.) Presenting food nicely boosts morale. Most of my bentos are leftovers, but having them arranged in a cute lil’ box makes it seem like more of a treat than shoving them in a takeaway container, and saves money from eating out.

13.) Folding is therapeutic. Okay, this may not apply to everyone, but I love folding laundry. 😂 Like origami, I find it calming to fold and organise everything so it’s all neat and tidy. It saves space and makes it easier to find things when you’re getting changed.

14.) Value time off and social appointments as much as work. Literally block it in your calendar if you need to. Life is far easier and more enjoyable when you have inner strength and a support network, so nurture it as you would your career.

15.) Look after your body. Find an activity you enjoy and make it your jam – at least once a week. If you can’t afford classes yet, seek free lessons on YouTube. I’m currently going through physio and practising yoga.

16.) Make the most of your community. I’m appreciating my Asian roots more as I grow older and admire how communities hold each other up for life. We need that more in the West, imo.

17.) When I’m really tired at work and all I want to do is to go home and sleep, I chant the following words, lifted from a Buddhist story: “The most important time is now; the most important person is the one in front of me [i.e. client]; and the most important task is to care.” This has helped me shift my focus to the other person over my perceived suffering and the time goes by more smoothly.

My first 5-min speech to pitch my business.

18.) Do things that scare you. More often than not, it’ll pay off and you’ll grow more and faster than staying in your comfort zone. For me, public speaking and being at events like Comic Con have been my challenges and I’m glad I rose to them.

19.) Walk to the beat of your own drum. What works for you may not suit others and vice versa, and that’s okay. Be respectful to others and keep walking your own path.

20.) Being kind, compassionate and respectful costs you nothing but earns you everything.

21.) To avoid overthinking whilst trying to sleep, I recall a simple saying from a Buddhist talk, that essentially boils down to, “Whatever you’re doing; give it all you’ve got”. When working, do your best. When you’re with people, be present with them. When resting, give it your all, instead of muddling it with other tasks. I normally end up with a clear mind after that and sleep easily.

Waterloo Tea (Cardiff) is one of my fav places to work when I want a change of scene.

22.) Keep learning. Be open to learning new skills or hone existing ones at all times, even if you don’t see it being immediately useful. For me, this mostly applies to business. It’s better to be prepared and know what to look out for in advance so you can mould your plans accordingly, than wait ‘til you’re at a key stage before seeking help.

23.) Captain Obvious statement: alcohol dulls the senses. I’ve always had a rule to myself not to drink the day before tattooing, and as business got busier I rarely had a glass of wine or a cocktail with dinner as I used to. I now value having a sharper mind in the morning more than a slight buzz the night before. That’s not to say I’m completely dry now, I just don’t value it much anymore.

24.) There’s no shame in seeking help if you need it. Emerging stronger on the other side is far more rewarding than coping. “Good enough” is just that. Aim for “great”.

25.) You get what you put in. Sure, sometimes luck plays a hand, but on the whole, the more effort you put into something the more you’ll get out of it. Don’t be lazy – if you really want something, be prepared to work for it. Nobody will or can do these things for you.

26.) If you’re unsure about something, ask. It’ll help give you different perspectives to your own.

27.) Ask yourself whether your fear is valid before succumbing to it. Challenge it. Writing a column for why you can and another for why you can’t will make it clear whether avoidance is stemming from real reasons or negative self-talk.

Check out the Calm app (Android & iOS) for free guided meditation.

28.) One step at a time. This is something I need to work on – building consistency so that tasks get completed and skills are honed in good time, rather than neglecting them because I’m putting out fires.

29.) It’s okay to slow down. I was such a go-getting, overachieving, uptight perfectionist before. After a few major life events, I’ve learned to step back and approach things in a more calm, kind manner that isn’t fuelled by fear. Sure, progress is slower, but I’m healthier and less of an arse to be around now, hah!

30.) Just get started and do the thing. Whatever it is. What’s stopping you? Are they legit reasons or excuses? Catch yourself out when they’re the latter.

 

 

…..and that makes 30! Did any of these resonate with you? What would you add? I’d love to hear your feedback. 🙂

Naomi xxx

P.S.: If you’re wondering what I got up to, I had my first go at archery, stuffed my face with sushi and ramen, then saw the Kuzuna exhibition at Cardiff Museum. ☺

View this post on Instagram

Today I had a fab birthday that consisted of archery at the #CardiffBayWaterActivityCentre (something neither of us had tried before), sushi/ramen at @sushilifecardiff and culture: We rounded up the day with a visit to the @cardiffnationalmuseum to see the #Kizuna exhibition, which will be around 'til 9th Sep'18…so get there soon! It's completely free too, which o find baffling and am grateful for. Chucked a fiver in one of the donation box as a thank you. . . So long, 20's! You were turbulent as hell but I learned a lot from it all. I don't think I'll miss you much….except for the whole, not getting hangovers and being able to stay slim with zero effort. I'll defo miss those. 😐 . . The Water Activity Centre we attended for archery is one of three community centres in Cardiff that are still council-run – the rest have been sold to private companies due to financial struggles. If you need to host an event or would like to take up a new sport, please consider your local community centre….because if we don't make more use of them, they'll be gone forever. 😢 . . #birthdaygirl #turning30 #goodbye20s #archery #sushi #ramen #japanese #culture #museum #cardiff #wales

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What To Do Before Getting Your Tattoo

Have you always wanted a tattoo but haven’t a clue how to go about it? Or maybe you’ve been there, done that, but want to know faster ways to get your idea across. Here are some simple tips to prepare for your future ink, along with info on how things work here at NAOHOA.

 

Do Your Homework

Research

Not just what you want, but WHO you want to do it (…hopefully me 😁). Many artists specialise into certain art styles, so after you’ve figured out what you want, look at their portfolios to see who would be the best match for that style. If you feel the artist is versatile enough to ink a design you’re after, despite not having much evidence on their website of social profiles, ask anyway to see what they think. Personally, I’m game when it comes to switching genres, as I enjoy the challenge. Sure, there are things that aren’t to my taste (such as overtly morbid or sexual images), but you should get a feel for what the artist will and won’t do based on their work.

 

Make a Mood Board

Why?

It’s the quickest, easiest way for me to understand what look and feel you’re after – especially if you’re unsure on art terms (realistic/stylised/geometric/abstract etc.). It doesn’t have to be a full-blown board – sometimes one or two images suffice – but please send me something so I have a better idea of what’s in your head.

 

What?

Subject(s) you’d like included and art style, simplez. They don’t have to be restricted to tattoos either – if you like the shape of a sculpture but colours of a graffiti piece, add those to your board and explain it to me. If you want something truly original, looking at other people’s tattoos will only get you so far. At NAOHOA, I design everything for you from scratch – make the most of it.

 

Where?

Where do you want this tattoo? This doesn’t really need to be in the moodboard, but it’s something I have to know in order to advise and design accordingly. If you have slim arms but you want something similar to what another person got on their back or thigh…chances are it’ll need some adjusting. 😉

 

How?

One word: Pinterest. It’s fast, easy and eco-friendly (as it saves printing/recycling…and me having to carry it all!). Make a board and start pinning away, then send me a link or add me as a collaborator to the Board. You can add comments to each image to explain what aspect you like and why, so I can get a deeper understanding of what you’re after. Even better, it’s completely free and stays in sync, so if you add to it after sending me a link, I’ll be able to see the new stuff too. 👍

Besides not having to carry print-outs, it also saves me digging through emails or maxing out my inbox. I save all your notes on Trello, so a simple link really is the best for workflow. Of course, I don’t mind if more traditional options are easier for you – I’ll work around them – I’m simply raising awareness here to make my life easier. 😜

 

What Next?

Get in Touch

You can book an appointment for your Consultation via this online form:

…or use this link. It’s also available as a button on my Instagram profile. If you’d rather check by me first before making an appointment, contact me here.

 

Consultation

Various studios work differently, but at NAOHOA, face-to-face Consultations are required, as I don’t accept walk-ins. During this sesh, we’ll have a casual chat about your tattoo idea until we’re on the same page. You’ll need to fill in a Medical Form and I’ll provide you with a Saniderm Patch Test to check for allergies. This is a chance for me to get to know you and you can ask me any questions that are bubbling to mind.

If you’d like to have your journey documented into a #NAOHOAstory, I’ll take a photo there and then. They’re all anonymous and completely optional.

 

Design

After a deposit has been paid, I add you to my Trello Board and will design your tattoo when it’s your turn! Currently, I design tattoos in chronological order people see me and pay their deposits, rather than by ease or size, as this is the fairest system I can think of.

 

…..this has turned into a big post, so I think I’ll elaborate on the design process in another segment. If you’d like to read tips on how to prepare for the tattoo session itself, please click here.

You can get direct links to these articles sent straight to your inbox when you subscribe to my monthly newsletter. I also share insider news and personal updates that aren’t always on social media.

Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you next time!

Naomi xxx


Getting Your Tattoo

At last, the time has come! Whether you’re in for your first taste of ink, or a seasoned pro, here are some tips to make your session more enjoyable:

 

Prepare For Your Tattoo Appointment

Eat a Meal

Your sugar level will drop whilst being inked, so be sure to eat some food beforehand to maintain some energy. Eating also helps line the stomach if you decide to take painkillers (paracetamol for pain / ibuprofen for swelling).

I don’t mind you bringing snacks for when we’re on breaks – just try to avoid smelly things, please. 🙂

 

Stay Hydrated

It’ll stop you from getting woozy!

 

Avoid the Obvious

Shock, horror, drugs and alcohol are off the menu. I flat-out won’t tattoo you if you admit to, or I have reason to believe you’re under the influence, and you’ll lose your £20 Booking Fee.

A lesser-known tip: Please avoid drinking coffee, as it makes you bleed more. Like, comically more. It’s a mess. Please lay off the coffee and I’ll forever appreciate it. 😁

 

Relax

I heard somewhere that pain is 80% mental…”Mind over matter” is a saying for a reason! Take control of the situation by letting the calm, relaxing environment soothe you. For specific tips, read my “Keeping Calm” blog post. 😌

 

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During Your Tattoo Sesh

Ask for Breaks if You Need Them 🍵

If you haven’t already figured out, things are super chill at NAOHOA. If it’s all getting a bit much and you need a break, you need only ask. Remember, bevvies are on the house! Get your fill of tasty loose-leaf teas from award-winning Welsh brand Waterloo Tea and the snacks I leave out for you (please advise me in advance if you’re gluten-intolerant).

 

It’s Okay to Chat

More often than not, I’m happy to chat away during tattoo sessions. It makes the experience more enjoyable and meaningful. If you’d rather be in your own little bubble, that’s totally cool too. My only exception is when doing intricate line work, as it demands a level of concentration I can’t divide effectively, so do excuse me if I’m silent during those moments. 🙇

 

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Looking After Your Tattoo

If you’re a first-time customer, you’ll receive an Aftercare Leaflet in your Gift Bag. Otherwise, please visit the Aftercare Advice section, learn about Saniderm, After Inked or catch up on Frequently Asked Questions.

 

 

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Are You Ready?

Let’s chat~ 😃 You’ll be sent a secret link to book your tattoo appointment online.

Tel / WhatsApp: 07935747219

Opening Hours: 11am-6pm, Mon-Sat. Please give 5 working for a response.

**Consultations are compulsory before getting a tattoo at NAOHOA**

 

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Book a Consultation:

Ask a Question:

 


Comic Con Call-Out 2018

….How has it been a week since Comic Con already?! 😱

Thanks so much to those of you who supported me during my first big event – I had a blast~ 😄 If you wanted to have a chat but I was on a break or talking to someone else for a while, please get in touch: info@naohoa.com. I’d love to hear from you!

Going by Zan’s notes from when I was away, here’s a call-out to some peeps:

  • Simon (Kylo Ren cosplay) who’s after a chest piece.
  • Andy from one of the stalls selling figurines who’s wants a coverup.
  • Marines dude who has or wanted a dragon? Think I may have spoken to you eventually but not sure.

 

Naomi Hoang from NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos, signing an art print. Cardiff Comic Con 2018.

I appreciate that conversations lasted 5-20mins per person at times and you wanted to experience the event more, so if you were patiently waiting (or too shy to approach me on the day), please do get in touch – I don’t bite. 🙂

PM/email is best as they’re easier for me to catch up with and I don’t answer calls when I’m with clients or outside of Opening Hours (11am-6pm, Mon-Sat). We can always arrange a timeslot over the phone if you prefer to chat before booking a consultation.

 

Let’s Chat! 😄

 

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More Ways to Stay Updated

Newsletter:

http://www.naohoa.com/subscribe/
I send a brief update at the end of each month (I very rarely do more than that). Please add me to your address book so it doesn’t go to your Spam or Promotions Folder! I won’t share your details or use them for anything other than sending Newsletters.

 

Naomi Hoang from NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos, signing an art print. Cardiff Comic Con 2018.

Instagram:

http://instagram.com/naohoa
I update this account pretty much every day, unless things are crazy busy and I forget to. 😛 It’s currently the only place I’ll show what I’m up to live, via Stories.

 

Facebook & Twitter:

https://facebook.com/naohoa.uk/
http://twitter.com/_naohoa
Currently, posts from Instagram are forwarded to these accounts. Besides email, PM’ing me via the FB Page is the second-best way to reach me.

 

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What Else I got Up To

NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos at Cardiff Comic Con, selling Sugarskull Cubone and Geo Swan Art Prints by Naomi Hoang.Besides chatting to people about what I do here at NAOHOA, I was also selling and signing art

prints. Sugarskull Cubone and Geo Swan are currently available, with Ghibli Tribute on the way (available for pre-order).

…..Also, yes, that’s a Pokéball next to a NAOHOA ball. 😀 My friend Simon rendered it for me when I was obsessed with Pokémon GO and wanted to do some themed prints/tattoos.

I also had a really lovely time getting to know some of the stall-owners, such as Gwen Davies, who let me have a go at henna for the first time (and sells gorgeous earrings!).

Overall, it was a fab weekend. I was pretty anxious leading up to it, but people were super lovely and it was completely worth doing. Now to sign up for more~ 😘

 

Thanks for reading!
Naomi xxx

 

 

 


Payment Plan

Photos of an original tattoo design, process and result by Naomi Hoang (Tattoo Artist and wner of NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos, Cardiff, Wales, UK).

Longing for a tattoo but can’t afford to pay for it in one go? NAOHOA is proud to be one of very few tattoo studios in the UK to offer Payment Plans, allowing you to pay in affordable monthly instalments.

 

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How Does it Work?

We’ll have a Consultation as usual, so I can fully understand your tattoo idea and estimate a cost. From that, I’ll calculate payment options for 3, 6, 9 or 12-month instalments. Tattoos that cost over £1k can stretch up to two years in monthly instalments.

A £2 Transaction Fee will be added to each monthly payment. This makes it far more affordable than typical finance options.

 

Will I Still Need to Pay a Deposit?

I’m willing to accept an upfront fee that’s lower than the usual 50% – the amount of which will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Please be aware that this is non-refundable.

 

What’s Required?

  • A formal contract must be signed before designing commences,
  • The client must sign up to GoCardless, using the link I provide (it’s super easy and only takes a couple of minutes!)
  • An upfront fee is required, which is non-refundable. The amount can be negotiated.

 

 

Advantages

  • Get that tattoo you’ve wanted for yeeeaaars but struggled to save enough to get it completed in one go. With monthly payments, you’ll get your ink sooner, without the long slog of saving up first.
  • Tiny £2 Transaction Fee, making this far cheaper than typical finance options.
  • You have the freedom to choose which plan to opt for, based on your budget.
  • You can choose which date of the month is best for payments to leave your account.
  • Swift and easy set-up via GoCardless.

 

 

What’s the Catch?

  • A £2 Transaction Fee will be added to each monthly payment, adding to the overall cost of your tattoo.
  • The design process may take longer than usual, as I’ll be prioritising clients who pay via the usual method of 50% upfront and the rest after each session.

 

Can Anyone Sign Up to a Payment Plan?

Currently, I’m offering this on a case-by-case basis. If I have reason to think regular payments may not be possible, I have the right to decline this service to the individual. If this applies to you, please check out my ‘Money-Saving Tips’ blog post for advice! 🙂

 

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If this interests you, please get in touch!

Book an Appointment:

 


Money-Saving Tips

We’ve all been there.

Let’s Cut To The Chase

Saving money requires discipline and foresight…before I lose you completely, let me assure you that you CAN do it, so don’t worry! Here are some steps you can take to help you reach your financial goal.

 

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1.) What IS Your Goal?

How can you achieve something without knowing what you were aiming for? Have a clear, solid number in mind and think of what it would mean to you when you get there. If you anchor a meaning to a goal, you’re more likely to stick to the game plan. Opt for positive, motivating thoughts, such as, “I’ll get a beautiful tattoo that means a lot to me” (yeah, I’m biased, obviously 😜), rather than, “So I won’t be poor”.

TASK: Write down your £ goal and WHY you want it.

 

2.) Keep a Money Diary

This sounds boring but it’s actually super helpful once you get into the flow of it. I’ve even made a template for you (Excel/PDF), so no excuses, eh? 😉 Track your income and outgoings for a minimum of 2 weeks (ideally 1-3 months). Everything counts. Bills, rent, leisure activities and yes, even that chocolate bar or coffee number…how many?

This is a great way to shine light on the little things that slip through the radar, making you aware of wtf is happening to that paycheck!

TASK: Track your income & outgoings for 2-4 weeks.

 

3.) What Did You Discover?

Oh dang.

First off, ignore the inevitable joys that come with being an adult (rent/mortgage, bills, groceries*) and focus on the rest. Are there things you pay for but barely use? Usual suspects are gym memberships and similar subscriptions to things that probably seemed like a good idea at the time, then you forgot about it…then forgot to cancel them. How about you do that? Look out for patterns that indicate unhelpful habits that can be changed. An obvious example would be that morning coffee Zombie Brain automatically buys on the way to work, or yet another take-away. Highlight these habits and tally up the cost per week/month. Does the total surprise you? Does having those things add value to your life, or would you be happier having the big thing in 1.) ?

An alternative to buying beverages out is to carry a flask with your favourite drink. Saves the environment, your bank balance AND time spent in queues! 👏

* Are there items you can skimp on or do away with entirely? Don’t deprive yourself, but have a think about what you actually NEED in life and chip away at the rest. In time, all those shavings will add up, giving you the freedom to spend it on something more worthwhile.

TASK: Highlight Habits & think of solutions to solve them. Ask for help if you need it.

 

4.) Let’s Do This!

You’ve got this!

Great job – you’ve done the prep needed to reach your goal!

TASK: Jot down your goal and how you’r’e gonna get there, using solutions from 3.).

Keep track of progress and give yourself a pat on the back whenever you reach mini milestones along the way.

 

 


Keeping A Calm Mind

NAOHOA isn’t just about getting a tattoo, it’s about having a positive, empowering experience whilst marking your body with art that will stay with you for life. It’s natural to feel nervous or even anxious before going under the needle, which is why I’ve compiled some helpful tips you can apply NOW in order to have a calm, peaceful mind.

Photograph of Naomi Hoang from NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos, Cardiff (Wales, UK) meditating on a rock in the middle of a lake in Snowdonia.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a trained well-being coach or affiliate of any of the companies suggested here. The purpose of this post is to help clients by sharing practical tips I’ve learned over the years. Any action you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk.

 

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3 Tips on Calming the Mind

1.) Meditation

Meditation is the act of being still and observing and as little as 15 minutes a day can have a positive impact on your wellbeing.

Here is a concise video to explain what it is in a nutshell:

Here are some forms of meditation that can be easily implemented into your day:

Sitting

…in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Imagine your body being scanned from the top of your head right down to your toes. In your mind, follow the light as it travels down your body…how does that part of your body feel? You might notice that certain muscles ache more than you realised, or that you feel tiredness in your forehead or other parts…or that you feel grand all over!

Either way, this exercise will help you identify the current state of your body and mind. If you’re feeling achey, how about treating yourself to some TLC? 🙂 Regular stretches (e.g. Yoga), a muscle-relaxing bubble bath or massage* can go a long way!

* Aromatherapy massage = relaxing
Deep Tissue/Sports Massage = fixing. It’ll hurt, but it’s worth it if you have built-up tension. A good masseuse will teach you stretches to alleviate your problem points too.

 

Walking

…at a slow-moderate pace and consciously being aware of the environment you’re travelling though. What’s the ground like? The sound of leaves crunching under your shoes or people and traffic passing by…how does the air change from one place to another? When we slow down, our eyes take in more light and process the imagery around us more vividly. By doing this activity alone, the world becomes so much more beautiful.

Not bad, eh?

 

Eating

…whilst concentrating on each sensation that passes. Is what you’re eating crunchy? Soft? Chewy? What does it taste like? Notice how it changes the longer you chew it and how it feels as it goes through your body. It’s too easy to have something playing on a device or read an article with your meal as a distraction, but try to take a moment only for yourself and the food. Enjoy it wholeheartedly – appreciating its taste, texture and that we have any at all. Gratitude grounds us every time.

 

Visualisation Tips

Traditional meditation (the one we all picture: where monks sit down cross-legged) involves you to be both mentally and physically still. The idea is to let all sensation pass by without judgement. Got a niggling thought that keeps popping into your head? That’s alright. Acknowledge its presence and leave it be. Don’t invite it in to ruminate but also don’t push it away. Simply leave your thoughts be and let them drift in and out of your consciousness.

Is someone making a weird, annoying noise? Or maybe there’s loud construction work going on. S’all cool. It’s a sound that’s happening outside that doesn’t concern you, so don’t let it. If you’re feeling frustrated regardless, that’s okay. Acknowledge that feeling, give it a nod and move on.

 

Acknowledge, not react. 

 

Here are some visual metaphors that can help you in your practice:

 

Clouds Passing By

This is my go-to mental imagery when meditating. Clouds are constantly moving – it’s what they do. They’re huge, visible things in the sky that we can see clearly but not touch or interact with. Just like your thoughts, they’ll come and go and no matter how hard you try, waving at them (i.e. getting tied into thoughts) won’t do much good. Most of us have spent time lying on the grass on a sunny day watching the clouds go by. Isn’t it joyful and relaxing? Same with meditation. 🙂

 

A Drop of Water in a Pond

Imagine a pond where the water is still and there’s a tree that hangs over it. When thoughts occur, it’s like a drop of water from the leaves landing on the pond. The ripples interrupt the calm, stillness. If you interact with your thoughts, it’s like shaking the tree – more drops fall, disrupting the pond even further. If you leave things be, the ripples will eventually dissipate and all will be clear again.

Leave that tree alone, bud. Even if it did upset you. 😛

 

Remember, the goal is to be in the present moment. Not ruminating over the past or planning or fretting over the future. Here, now, and only now. Like doing weights or learning to do a full press-up, it takes time and discipline to get those muscles into shape. If 15 minutes a day or more is too much to handle, try starting with 2 minutes a day for a week….then 3 minutes a day for another week, etc. Starting small means you’ll have less pressure to start, and once you build up the habit, it becomes second nature.

 

 

 2.) Breathing Exercise

Need something urgent? Like, RIGHT NOW? Try this simple breathing exercise:

An animated GIF of a breathing exercise for relaxation.

Download the Calm app to use this on the go.

One way to slow down a racing heartbeat is to breathe out longer than you breathe in: i.e. breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 2, then out for 6 seconds. The act of doing this and concentrating on counting and breathing alone should help you find your centre.

 

 

3.) Focus

Feeling distracted? Find a recurring sound nearby and focus purely on that (…assuming you’re not doing something important, like driving!). Whether it’s birds chirping, rain pattering against the window or one element of a song; zoning out and focusing on one single thing can curb rushing thoughts or emotions before they spiral out of control.

Rainy Wales makes this one easy to remember! 💦

Personally, I enjoy listening to Classical music as it helps me stay calm and focus on the task at hand. Sometimes, I’ll put all my attention to one part of the piece – i.e. one instrument. “Only listen to the flute” or, “concentrate on the bass line”…not only does this deepen my appreciation and learning for music, it calms my mind by diverting it from unhelpful thoughts that could spiral down a negative path.

 

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Need More Help?

If you feel there is a deeper issue at hand, check out Mind.org.uk or helpful advice or contact your GP for a referral to local, professional help. Although it’s dependant on quality of counsellor, I highly recommend Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It’s very much a “you get what you put in” course that’s absolutely worth the effort. The more honest you are with your therapist, the more effectively they can help you.

 

Want To Support Mental Health?

Photo of sugarskull and halloween-themed temporary tattoos designed by Naomi Hoang at NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos, Cardiff. Sold to raise money for Mind in support of mental health treatment and awareness.

Throughout October 2017, I’ll be selling Halloween Temporary Tattoo Packs and colouring pages to raise money for Mind.org.uk! You can buy them via the website, Etsy or in-store. My aim is to raise £100 by the end of the year!

 

Thanks for reading, folks. I hope this was helpful to you and that you take some time out to look after yourself. 🙂 If you think this would benefit someone you know, please pass it on!

Kindest regards,
Naomi xxx

 


Will It Hurt?

Most common question? You guessed it: “Do tattoos hurt?”

In a nutshell:

The level of pain you experience will depend on where and what you’re getting, along with your personal pain threshold.

Here’s a simple breakdown based on my experience as a tattoo artist:

 

Places That Don’t Hurt (…as much):

  • Outer arm
  • Outer thigh
  • Calves
  • Forearms
  • Shoulders

Why?

If you think about it, these parts of the body are used to being, well…used. The skin is conditioned from being out in the open more often. Nerves aren’t as close to the skin as other parts of the body, making these areas good starting points for first tattoos.

 

Places That (typically) Hurt More:

  • Inner arm
  • Inner thigh
  • Chest
  • Foot
  • Knees (front and back)
  • Ankles
  • Elbows (front and back)

Why?

Bony areas essentially have less ‘padding’, so they tend to hurt more than more fleshy parts of the body. Skin is more sensitive on inner arms, thighs and joints. They’re less exposed to the elements, so they don’t need to be as hardy as the outer parts. There’s also a lot of motion/friction from clothing in these areas, which can contribute to longer healing times.

 

In-betweenies

Here are places I’ve noticed clients have very different reactions:

  • Back
  • Ribs
  • Wrists

Yeah…I’m surprised ribs are on this list too, but the people I’ve inked there so far dealt with it really well. It’s a bony area that’s notorious for being a pain-point – same goes for the wrists. Goes to show that it really comes down to the individual!

 

Places I Won’t Tattoo:

  • Face and neck (nape of the neck is fine)
  • Intimate areas
  • Hands

Why?

The first two are places I personally don’t want to tattoo. Hand tattoos tend not to heal properly and fade quicker than other areas due to the amount of use and movement they go through. I’m simply not convinced they’re a hygienic place to ink and don’t want my name to something that won’t look as good as my usual work.

 

 

Final Thoughts

…ultimately, everyone’s different, so it’s impossible to predict. What might be agony for one person is a breeze for another. Factors such as weather and preparation (such as eating beforehand and staying hydrated…or not) can affect your tattoo session, as well as location and size of tattoo. Naturally, I try to make things as comfortable for you as possible when you visit NAOHOA, but some things are out of my control.

From 1-10 (10 being the most painful), what was your last tattoo like?

Naomi xxx


Summer Tips

Wowzers it’s been hot lately! Have you been taking care of your tattoo when soaking up the rays?

Here are some helpful tips to get you by this season. 😎 ☀

Plan Ahead…

Helpful tattoo advice from Naomi Hoang at NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos (Cardiff, Wales, UK).

• Get your tattoo at least 2 weeks BEFORE you set off anywhere sunny so it has time to heal.

• …to do this, you’ll need to book a Consultation a couple of weeks beforehand so I have time to design your tattoo for you.

• Do you have beach trips lined up soon? Make sure you remember to keep your new tattoo covered to protect it from sea, sand and sun.

• Is this a design you actually want or are you following current trends? What’s hot this season may not be in the next. Unlike fast fashion, tattoos aren’t something you can switch out of easily.

 

 

Whilst Getting Tattooed…

Helpful tattoo advice from Naomi Hoang at NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos (Cardiff, Wales, UK).

• It’s best to stay hydrated in general, but this is especially important when the weather heats up. I’ll have filtered water ready for your visit and you can enjoy caffeine-free beverages from Waterloo Teas, free of charge*.

• If the heat is too much, do feel free to ask for regular breaks.

• If you have a long session booked and want to stay comfortable, bring spare clothes to change in and out of so you can leave feeling fresh.

 

* I’ve noticed that clients tend to bleed more after they drink coffee, so I recommend avoiding caffeine before and during your tattoo session.

 

 

While Your Tattoo is Healing…

Helpful tattoo advice from Naomi Hoang at NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos (Cardiff, Wales, UK).

• As always, clean and moisturise at least three times a day (unless using Saniderm).

• Do NOT use sun cream on it while it’s healing!

• Your new tattoo is essentially an open wound. Take care of it and keep it clean to avoid infection.

Cover your tattoo to protect it from the sun’s UV rays. Fresh ink fades faster if exposed and you wouldn’t want to waste it all on the last hurdle!

Wear loose clothing. Friction can affect your tattoo. Loose, light clothing is more comfortable during Summer, anyway. 😊

• I’m afraid skinny-dipping is out of the question while your ink is healing. 😜 Avoid submerging in water – especially in swimming pools, where the chlorine will irritate your skin and can cause infection.

Helpful tattoo advice from Naomi Hoang at NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos (Cardiff, Wales, UK).

 

 

After It Has Healed…

Helpful tattoo advice from Naomi Hoang at NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos (Cardiff, Wales, UK).

• Now it’s time to use sun screen! At least 30SPF will do it. 50SPF if you want to be extra sure.

• Ideally, keep your tattoo covered when it’s really sunny to avoid fading the ink.

Keep that skin glowing by staying hydrated, moisturising regularly and living a healthy lifestyle. If your skin is in good condition then your tattoo will be too. 🙂

Enjoy your new tattoo! 👏

 

 

 

Was that helpful?

These are tips tailored for Summer. For the full list, check out the Aftercare Advice page.

Many people like to get new tattoos to show off in the sunny season, but it’s worth remembering that tattoos are for life, not just for Summer. Take care of it and it’ll continue to look great for years to come.💖

Thanks for reading!

Naomi xxx

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