Ripple: Zero Waste Living

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.

Ripple founder Sophie Rae. Photography by Mary W-Thomas.

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.

I took this photo just before customers flooded in. It’s busy every day there!

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.

Upon entering, you’ll see their Gratitude Wall, where people can share their thanks.

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).

Follow Ripple Living:
Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter


* 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.
/shameless plug

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Plastic China, a documentary directed by Jiuliang Wang.

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.
💕

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Habits That Make a Difference

Refuse

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.

Reuse

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!

Recycle

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.

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What next?

What steps have you taken to do your bit for the planet?

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Ripple Tattoo Gallery

I’ll keep this updated with photos of what the pledgers got inked!


2018 Highlights

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.

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My Personal Highlights:

Closer Relationships

Photo courtesy of Kiki from New Media Ghost.

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!

NatWest Accelerator

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Last night, those of us on the NatWest Accelerator course celebrated our sucess over our 6 months spent here. It was an excuse to dress up, chat over food and drink and have a laugh before we go our separate ways. Many have reapplied and got into the next cohort, but I've chosen to use my time strategically and so will not be continuing until I'm at the next stage of my business. . . One major surprise that really lifted me was winning the Mindset Award, for showing personal growth, overcoming struggles and achieving more than I ever had before in my business so far in 6 short months. Out of the ones given, this was a big deal for me, as it validates an aspect of NAOHOA I'd like to expand over the next year or so. For a long time, I was blocking myself from propelling forward (largely from fear or lack of confidence) and although I don't expect or do things purposely for external recognition, the attention I've been getting for my work lately has been encouraging…it's good to know it's actually working and not just in my head! . . Congrats to @apricitygirl for Community Member and @hayleyhanson_gb for One-To-Watch! 👏 Well-deserved. 💖 . . P.S…."NAOHOA" is all-caps. 😜 #ItllCatchOnEventually . . . #business #businessowners #womeninbusiness #mindset #growth #wellbeing #personalgrowth #holistic #entrepreneur #NatWest #NatWestAccelerator #Cardiff #TattooArtist #Artist #Illustrator #Wales #Newport #FemaleTattooArtist #award

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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!

Levelling Up

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.

Going Minimal

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!

iPad Pro

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…

Conquering Fears

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”!

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What have been your highlights this year? 💖


Zero-Waste Christmas Ideas

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.

 

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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:

 

Experiences

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!

 

Time

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.

 

Handmade

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. 

 

Repurposed

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!

Gift Certificates can be bought all year round and delivered straight to your door.

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.

 

Wrap Responsibly

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.

 

Furoshiki

From the blog, 1 Million Women.

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

Photo by Mary W Thomas for Ripple Living, Cardiff.

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

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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! 🎄

 

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That’s all from me! Thanks so much for reading and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas. 😚💕

Naomi xxx


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! 


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. ☺

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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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