Charity Donations

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.

 

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Here are your options when getting inked at NAOHOA:

Mind.org : Supporting Mental Health

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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

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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.

 

British Dyslexia Association

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.

 

Huggard: Helping Cardiff’s Homeless

A homeless man sleeping on a pavement.

Image taken from the BBC programme, Cardiff: Living on the Streets.

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.

 

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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:

  1. Amazon Smile

    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
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  2. 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.
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  3.  Quidco

    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?
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  4. Give Blood

    [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!
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  5. 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.
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  6. Live Consciously

    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~ 🌍💚
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  7. Reach Out

    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.
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  8. Get Crafty

    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?
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  9. 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?
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  10. 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! 


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

 


Manchester Tattoo Appeal

Photos of Manchester Bee tattoos by Naomi Hoang, in tribute to the Manchester Arena Attack on 22nd May 2017 at an Ariana Grande concert.

#ManchesterTattooAppeal

Hi everyone!

In response to the horrific Manchester Arena Attack on 22nd May, I was approached to do a Manchester Bee tattoo as a tribute and means to raise money for the families affected. The first person to contact me was a Cardiff-based Mancunian and interest soon spread to fellow locals, all happy to save a big trip to Manchester and queuing for hours.

 

Manchester Bee Tattoos

 

(click to view videos)

First #ManchesterBee done! 😄🐝 #manchestertattooappeal #manchester #bee #vmfc #tattoo #firsttattoo #charity

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A couple came in for matching tattoos – one of whom had never been inked before!

“…a way to show that you’re against terrorism”
– Client during tattoo session.

 

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Temporary Tattoos

 

Understandably, not everyone was keen to go under the needle at such short notice but wanted to participate somehow, so I made temporary tattoo transfers as an alternative:

 

They’re also safe for kids and even helped one user ‘test drive’ hers before committing to the real thing:

Manchester Bee temporary tattoo, in tribute to the Manchester Arena Attack on 22nd May 2017 at an Ariana Grande concert.

 

American Fashion Designer, model and photographer, Julia Marie Chew, purchased two bees and used them in this beautiful photoshoot with her partner, Stephen Zane (photography by Greg Suarez):

Manchester Bee temporary tattoo, in tribute to the Manchester Arena Attack on 22nd May 2017 at an Ariana Grande concert.   Manchester Bee temporary tattoo, in tribute to the Manchester Arena Attack on 22nd May 2017 at an Ariana Grande concert.

 

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Money Raised for #ManchesterTattooAppeal

 

Overall, £88 was raised via tattoos and I topped it up to make £100.

Photos of Manchester Bee tattoos by Naomi Hoang, in tribute to the Manchester Arena Attack on 22nd May 2017 at an Ariana Grande concert.

With love, from Cardiff! 💖🐝

Donation to the Manchester Tattoo Appeal from NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos, Cardiff

…looks like formatting went out the window! 😅

It’s been an honour being part of this and helping the families whilst meeting wonderful people. Britain has experienced a cluster of devastating events recently, such as the Westminster Attack, London Bridge and Grenfell Tower…not to mention the unfair surge of Islamophobic hate crimes (including the attack on Finsbury Park Mosque) that continue to rise and cause more pain.

Times like this is when we need to be especially mindful of our actions and fellow peers.

Please, be kind…life’s too short to waste on hate.

Naomi xxx