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. 🙂
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. 😁
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. 😌
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. 🙇
….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 chatbut I was on a break or talking to someone else for a while, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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! 🙂
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
3 Tips on Calming the Mind
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:
…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.
…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?
…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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
Knees (front and back)
Elbows (front and back)
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.
Here are places I’ve noticed clients have very different reactions:
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)
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.
…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?
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. 😎 ☀
• 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…
• 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.
• 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.
After It Has Healed…
• 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 theAftercare 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.💖