Saniderm is the brand name of a medical covering that is used as a ‘second skin’ to heal wounds. Other brands include Tegaderm, Dermalize and 3635. At NAOHOA, only Saniderm is stocked and offered as an optional extra.
Low-maintenance – gives peace of mind when going about your day.
Doesn’t stick to clothes.
Protects from dirt and prevents tattoo from drying out.
Freedom to move and shower without concern of damaging the tattoo.
Skip the ‘scabbing phase’, as it’ll be contained within the dressing.
Easier to avoid picking at said scabs or accidentally scratching at the fresh tattoo, as the barrier will prevent it.
Not suitable for those allergic to latex or the adhesive on plasters.
Best not worn for too long in hot weather or if you have a regular exercise routine, due to sweat build-up.
If you’re prone to dry skin (or the weather is particularly dry), you may need to remove it sooner to moisturise the skin.
How To Apply Saniderm:
Keep the first one on for 24 hours. To remove, submerse in warm water to loosen it then peel away gently.
Clean the tattoo with a mild soap (or just warm water), using your hand only.
Leave to air dry or pat dry with a clean, disposable tissue.
Remove the paper backing of the Saniderm patch and apply to the centre of your tattoo. Hold into place and apply even pressure from the centre outwards to avoid air bubbles.
Carefully remove the outer clear plastic cover so that you’re left with only the thin layer of Saniderm. Push away air bubbles to the edges if necessary. This can stay on for up to 7 days.
After use, you can either purchase more in-store or follow the Aftercare Advice until your tattoo has completely healed.
For more information on the product or to see a video tutorial, please visit their official page: saniderm.com
What Does It Look Like?
When applied, it looks like a thin, transparent film that’s attached to the skin. You’ll still be able to see your tattoo, and it’s flexible enough to allow for movement. It’s breathable and waterproof, meaning you can go about your day as usual and not worry about showering.
Many thanks to Emily for providing the following photos! ✌
(….healed photo coming soon!)
Help! What Do I Do If…
…the sides start to peel?
Remove and either replace with a new patch or use the traditional method of cleaning and moisturising your tattoo until it’s healed.
…there’s an air bubble inside?
Gently pop the bubble with a small incision (ensure the knife/needle/scissors are clean and be careful not to harm your tattoo). Squeeze out the air, then apply a small patch on top to seal it. DO NOT LEAVE UNSEALED, as this would expose your tattoo to contaminants, raising the risk of infection.
Try and push the bubble towards the outer edge of the patch. Be mindful not to damage your tattoo – remember that it’s a fresh wound that needs to be taken care of.
If the first two options aren’t possible, remove and use the traditional method of aftercare (clean and moisturise every few hours).
…I start to get a rash?
Remove immediately, clean and moisturise the area and consult your GP. It would be helpful to inform your tattoo artist so they can make a note that an allergy to the product may have been developed and so should be avoided.
…it’s really itchy?
Itchiness is a normal phase of a healing tattoo, and although scratching should be avoided (regardless of whether you’re using a dressing or not), you can pat the area or apply a cold compress to soothe the skin.
If the skin looks irritated, then it’s likely that there’s a build-up of sweat underneath the dressing. If this is the case, remove the Saniderm then clean and moisturise the tattoo and let it breathe.
It’s a great product and I wish I’d known about it when I had my tattoo (sleeping on your front for two weeks during Summer is not fun!). Many clients have raved about Saniderm and it’s pretty hard to go back once you’re used to its convenience.
At time of writing, NAOHOA charges £5 for 1 week’s worth of patches or £7 for 2 week’s worth. They are cut to size and I’ll teach you how to use it as I’m doing so, which will give you confidence in applying the next patch yourself. An aftercare leaflet is provided (inside the Gift Bag for all new customers) and of course, information is available on this website at all times.
When you leave NAOHOA, you’ll have everything you need to look after your tattoo. 💜
If you have more questions, ping me a message and I’ll add it to the post!
Last year, I crunched the numbers and discovered a whopping 40% of NAOHOA clients came here to get their first tattoo!
With so many of you about, I thought it would be a good idea to collate helpful information on what to prepare and expect when getting tattoo’ed…also, you voted for this topic more than the other one via Instagram Stories. 😛
Please note that I’ll be writing with NAOHOA’s processes in mind – other studios may have a different system in place. Since walk-ins aren’t accepted here, there’s generally more involvement required by the client to ensure they get a piece they really want – not just something they found.
What Do You Want? 🤔
Is it in memory of something or someone? Think about what epitomises this experience or person.
Is it one, or a collection, of your favourite things?
If you’re getting a matching tattoo, what bonds you together?
These are all valid and there are no right or wrong answers! It’s your body and your choice. Saying that, I personally won’t tattoo subjects deemed offensive – different artists will have their own level of sensitivity on the matter, so check their portfolios to get an idea of what they will or won’t tattoo and be respectful of their boundaries.
Where Do You Want It? 💪
Is it for you? i.e. hidden or somewhere easy for you to see.
Is it a statement piece? i.e. somewhere easy to flaunt.
Will its presence affect your work prospects? Consider what areas are appropriate for your role.
Honestly…think more about where you want to see it, rather than whether it’ll hurt more or not. It’ll be on you for life and in the grand scheme of things, the period of pain will be very short in comparison.
Note: I don’t ink above the neck (i.e. face – nape of the neck is fine) and private parts. I’m also reluctant to tattoo hands, as they fade very quickly and generally aren’t worth it. Artists will have their own list of no-go areas, so check with them first when enquiring.
What Art Style? 🎨
There are many ways to portray the same subject, and I appreciate that not everyone will know the terms to specific art movements or styles. The easiest way to get your idea across, is to create a Mood Board of things you like the look of. Don’t limit yourself to other tattoos – branch out to paintings, sculptures, murals…anything visual that communicates your aesthetic taste.
Start by seeking artist who are capable of the art style you’re after, then narrow down to location and budget. Tattoos are on you for life, so it’s best not to skimp on the details.
Don’t forget that building a rapport is important. You’re trusting this person with your body and so the more respectful and professional they are, the better. If you’re able to visit the studio and meet the artist beforehand, or follow their posts long enough to get a gauge of their personality, this will help ascertain whether they’re a good match for you (or not).
Depending on the size of your tattoo, you’ll be spending hours at a time with this person, so it doesn’t hurt to check whether you’re compatible!
Design Process ✍️
At NAOHOA, we have a face-to-face Consultation to get on the same page, before working on your design.
It’s a collaborative process where we work together to bring your idea to life.
Your design is finished and you’re excited to get it tattooed…but you stiiiiiill need some time to get used to it. At NAOHOA, you can have a temporary tattoo printed of your design. Having it placed on your skin will help you adjust to the reality of having body art. If you’re unsure on where to get it, multiple copies can be printed for you to trial different locations. This is an optional step that’s £5 to pay for cost of materials.
Tattoo Time! 👏
Eat a meal beforehand and stay hydrated during your sesh to keep your energy levels up. It’s okay to bring snacks…just nothing smelly, please!
Heads up: coffee makes people bleed more, so please lay off the stuff until after your appointment.
Always the first question people ask about! Here’s a clear list of suggestions:
Relax…the more calm you are, the less you’re likely to feel the pain. You can read specific techniques in ‘Keeping A Calm Mind’.
Paracetamol for pain.
Ibuprofen for swelling (eat something first).
Numbing cream is okay – you’ll need to supply and apply it yourself. Brands such as TKTX or Ametop are fine as they don’t change the texture of the skin. Emla is not suitable, because it makes the skin leathery and isn’t made for tattoos.
Take breaks when you need to. Herbal teas are on the house! 🍵
Find out which areas hurt more than others (and why) in the blog post, ‘Will It Hurt?’
NAOHOA cannot provide medical products and it is the client’s sole responsibility to use them safely.
What to Expect on Arrival 😬
The general procedure at NAOHOA is for clients to fill in a Consent Form to confirm they’re happy with the design, then review the Medical Form completed during the Consultation to note any changes (if applicable). Please sign and date both forms.
Bevvies are served and I’ll have set up half the station before you arrive. Inks and machines are prepped after the client has arrived…in case they don’t…because that has happened before. 😐
Black and grey pieces are straight-forward to prep, and generally take ~15 mins to have in place (inc. machines). Colour pieces take more time, as I mix every gradient individually for each tattoo, so the palette matches your design as closely as possible. This process is much like working with traditional oil paints, but with less freedom to mix colours in between, so please be mindful of the additional time it takes to prepare when paying for parking or making plans after your session.
Tattoos take time to prepare and carry out, so please be respectful of the process and avoid asking for it to be rushed. These steps are carried out to ensure you get the best possible art for you to enjoy for life. 🎨💕
Heading Home 🏡
If you opt for Saniderm, I’ll apply the first patch for you and teach you how to use it. If not, I’ll wrap your tattoo with cling film, which is only to be worn between the studio and when you get home. Don’t keep it on for long periods of time, as bacteria can grow underneath and infect your tattoo.
If Using Saniderm
The first patch I apply at the end of your session can stay on for up to 24hrs. The next day, soften with warm water and remove by teasing away the edges. Clean, rinse, dry and apply the new patch, which can stay on for up to a week.
If Not Using Saniderm
Clean and moisturise every few hours until healed (usually 2 weeks). It’ll scab and that’s normal! Just make sure it doesn’t dry up, ’cause the ink could fall out during the scabbing process.
Universal Do’s ✔
Keep under wraps to protect from direct sunlight (UV rays fade ink)
Be attentive: clean and moisturise your new tattoo every few hours if you’re not using Saniderm.
If not using Saniderm, wear loose pyjamas that cover the tattooed area. When it sticks the next morning, run it under warm water and gently peel away the fabric to avoid pulling ink out of the new tattoo…otherwise, you’ll be glued to your bed sheets with no choice but to tear yourself away!
Universal Don’t’s ❌
Avoid submerging in water (baths, swimming)
Avoid applying pressure to the new tattoo, as any sudden or sustained impact can cause the ink to bleed under the skin (i.e. blowout), leaving unsightly marks that are permanent.
Do not scratch – instead, pat your tattoo or apply something cold to soothe the skin.
You’ve gone through it all and your tattoo is beautifully healed – congrats!! To keep it looking fresh, moisturise your skin regularly and exfoliate once a week. When out in the sun, use SPF 30+ to protect it from UV rays, which would otherwise fade it.
Related Blog Posts:
Everything here has been written in more detail in the following blog posts:
You may have heard this term or even experienced it, but what exactly is ‘blowout’? Read on to find out!
First, let’s look into what happens when the skin is tattooed. Here, you can see the layers that make up your skin and what lies beneath. Typically, the ink is deposited in the dermis, where it sits indefinitely.
I say indefinitely, because the body treats the process as an infection, and if it succeeds in its mission to remove it, the ink fades…or, of course, if you get laser removal treatment, the ink will break into smaller pigment particles and be absorbed by the body (we’ll save that for another blog post).
The unappealing effect comes about when ink is injected deeper than necessary.
What Does Blowout Look Like?
The easiest way to describe it is like an ‘ink bruise’ that surrounds the tattoo. They typically start from the edges of the tattoo and slowly fade outwards.
What Can Cause Blowout?
There are multiple factors that can play into this – some are down to the artist, others due to aftercare:
Needle being pushed in too deep,
Needle being inserted at an awkward angle, puncturing an area of skin that doesn’t align well with the surface,
Stretching the skin too much whilst tattooing
Impact or pressure on the tattoo during the healing process
Excessive stretching/moving of the tattoo during the healing process
What Areas are More Prone to Blowout?
…essentially, bony areas and places with thin skin (or both).
Can Blowout Be Removed?
Like the rest of your tattoo, it’s there to stay. Your options include:
Laser removal treatment
Altering the design to cover it (such as adding a gradient or colour around it)
Cover up the tattoo with another design.
What If I Don’t Want Another Tattoo?
The short answer is: either learn to accept it or consider getting the unwanted areas removed using Laser Removal Treatment. Tattoos are permanent markings in the skin and clients must be prepared to this commitment prior to getting their body art.
What Can I Do To Fix Mine?
If you’re looking to have your tattoo altered or covered up, please use the form below to book a Consultation. We’ll chat about your tattoo and ideas:
If you’d rather have the blowout (or whole tattoo) removed, NAOHOA is affiliated with Rethink The Ink (Porthcawl).
Jon is a fantastic practitioner whose work doesn’t leave scarring or change of skin pigmentation. Let him know that I sent you. 😉
May marks “Mental Health Awareness” month, where people post their stories and support to lessen the stigma of issues such as Depression, Anxiety, Bi-Polar and many others.
Mental health issues affects 1 in 4 people in the UK and can be debilitating to one’s daily life if left untreated. Unlike physical injuries or disabilities, internal struggles cannot be easily seen and, if held by a high-functioning individual, is practically invisible to others.
Having suffered with severe Depression for a decade and overcame it with professional help, I wanted to dedicate a post of resources for people in similar situations. When you’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to fathom a life without the grip of mental illness and easier to settle for coping or getting by. Words can’t describe how enlightening it feels to be rid of such a burden and I want you to know that it is possible to get to the other side.
I won’t mince my words. It’s not easy and you will have to face your fears, but take baby steps and you’ll get there eventually.
Please bear in mind that I’m not a certified therapist and that this post is about me sharing resources that I’m aware of. Some worked for me, but they might not work for you. If in doubt, contact your GP for professional advice.
In no particular order, here are things I found during my journey.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
CBT is a talking therapy that focuses on your current situation rather than delving into the past (though some therapists may explore this with you to gain a deeper understanding). It involves changing the way we think (cognitive) by analysing our experiences logically for what they are. From there, we can make decisions (behaviour) to respond to circumstances in a healthy way, rather than falling back to old habits that may be destructive.
It’ll teach you how to interrupt the flow of negativity and direct it towards more positive outcomes.
The tasks can be challenging, but they’re completely worth it. You get what you put in. If you have time with a therapist, tell them everything because they can only help you based on what they know. The temptation is to play it cool and keep the mask up, but you’ll make more progress if you allow yourself to be vulnerable and accept help…it’s also much easier than going solo!
Contact your GP for a referral. NHS waiting times are likely to be a few months, so get in sooner rather than later. Private options are also available. Unfortunately, not all areas get the same funding or level of training, so the quality and availability of therapists may vary depending on where you live.
If speaking to others feels too much right now, there’s a free app that has turned therapy into a game. Fight your demons through small, daily actions and gain Power Ups when you do. Get badges and trophies for your wins and call on Allies to help, so they can cheer you on. ✊
Learn more via Jane McGonigal’s TED Talk above. Skip to 3mins to hear positive links between gaming and life goals, or 7:40mins to hear about Superbetter.
Borrow from the library for free, visit a book shop or download an audio book. Whichever floats your boat. ⛵
Here is one my therapist recommended for me, though you can find other specific to what you’re going through. It goes into a lot of detail and has exercises to follow along the way. It’s essentially what I did in sessions, so if 1:1 therapy is not available to you in your area, then this is a good alternative.
UPDATE: The author of the book linked above has created a 3-step course version, where you can write into them like workbooks.
If you’re considering the self-help route, it may be worth asking someone you trust to check up on you every now and then for accountability. CBT exercises are worth going through, though they can take some determination at times.
Meditation is the act of being present. Not in the past or future – just the here and now. The most common form of meditation is seated, eyes closed and legs crossed (lotus pose, if you can manage it!). Alternatively, you can do a walking meditation, where you walk slowly and mindfully, observing all you encounter without interaction or comment. Whatever your method, the goal is to clear the mind of thoughts and simply be and exist in the space you’re in.
When deep in the midst of mental illness, this can be a truly challenging task. Be kind to yourself and allow baby steps. When I first started, I set the bar as low as 10 seconds, then went up to 20, 1 minute, 5, 10, 15….with daily practice, 15-20mins seemed like nothing at all and made a huge difference to my temperament and ability to stop the flow of negative thoughts before they spiralled out of control.
Apps such as Calmor Headspacehave a free week of guided meditation each. Personally, I prefer Calm, as I find Tamara’s voice more soothing and their annual cost is more affordable (£29.99 per year, at time of writing). It has multiple sound options and can be used for self-directed meditation (free). If you’re the competitive sort, it’ll show you how many days you’ve meditated and keep track of your running streak…the longest chain I’ve managed so far is 147 days!
Getting the body moving releases endorphins and serotonin, making you feel good inside and out. For a better chance of sticking at it, choose an activity you enjoy, so it doesn’t feel arduous!
Besides being physically fitter, positive side-effects can include improved self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment when you’ve achieved goals or milestones. The good thing about exercise is that there can be clear, tangible goals, such as being able to do full push-ups or a trick you’ve been practising for weeks.
If you take part of a class, then being around other people will take you away from isolation and potentially make new friends. Taking it outdoors will give you a chance to enjoy the beauty of nature and breathe cleaner air than being cooped up indoors.
Keeping occupied physically can also clear the mind, as you’ll be focused on the task at hand. Whether it’s counting reps, keeping track of the route or trying not to fall (yes, I’m looking at you, Yoga 😂), these are ways to stay in the present and let the mind take a well-deserved break.
What makes you feel happy? If you’re struggling to think of anything, what did you enjoy doing when you were a kid?
As working adults, it can be tough to fit in time for leisure, but if we neglect this side of our lives, we’ll be more prone to burn-out and low moods.
Having interests outside of work not only makes us more well-rounded people, they can also help us feel refreshed, challenged or enable us to widen our social circles with like-minded people. If you’re concerned about ‘wasting your time’, think of it this way: energy gained from outside of work can feed into your career, whether through inspiration or new skills acquired that compliment it.
When I was in the severest part of my Depression in 2013-14, I didn’t do anything fun in my spare time, despite longing for it. Low self-esteem talked me into believing I wasn’t worthy of nice things, so my time was spent working and mentally spiralling into a black hole until I passed out from exhaustion…don’t do that!! It’s such an unhealthy and miserable place to be in. 😰 Nowadays, I make things, draw comics and am trying to get back into playing the piano. 🎹
Walks, jogs, cycling…skating, anything! Heading to the park or taking a trip to go hiking can be a great change of pace and environment.
Allow yourself the time to take in the scenery, hear the birds and breathe in the fresh air. If it’s sunny, even better! Low levels of Vitamin D can make us lethargic, and just 15minutes (depending on your skin tone) of natural, direct sunlight each day can help us feel more perky.
If you can’t find anyone to join you, there are group walking tours available – just have a look at places like Meetup.com or Facebook (please exercise caution when travelling alone and always let someone you trust know where you are).
Being with Others
This can seem like the hardest thing to do when struggling with mental illness. From not wanting to ‘burden’ others with their problems and being a killjoy, feeling scared to leave their home, to not feeling worthy of their company or nice things in general, there can be lots of reasons why people with mental illness may isolate themselves from others. Kindness and patience is needed from friends, along with a willingness to try from those going through a rough time.
Confiding in someone you trust who would be willing to sit with you during down spells is a beautiful thing. Instead of pushing them away, cherish those around you who have your back.
Use and need of medication will vary depending on your case and your GP will advise the best course of action. Please research these first to make an informed decision.
Personally, I avoided medication because I wanted to muster the strength to overcome Depression without it. The idea of having to make an appointment and physically get myself to the GP again if I had a relapse filled me with dread, so I instead made a beastly effort to go without. This approach suits my stubborn personality type, but may not be appropriate for others, and I certainly don’t judge those who choose to take them.
That’s not to say they’re wrong – everyone is different and their situations unique. I simply can’t comment on their effectiveness due to lack of experience.
Just bear in mind that medication is a crutch – it’ll help you get by, but it won’t resolve the underlying issue(s) that cause their use of them. I highly recommend CBT for lasting change.
Last but not least…rest. 😌 Take one step at a time and allow yourself to take a break when times get overwhelming. Take a step back, breathe, recoup and start the next day with a fresh start. You’ve got this.
Thanks for reading and I hope this helps! If you know someone who is struggling with mental illness, please consider sharing this with them. 😊
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.
When we think ‘gift’, the same image normally comes to mind. Something that’s tangible and wrapped with a pretty bow. However, not all presents need be physical. Here are some examples:
What’s the thing they’ve always wanted to do but never got round to doing? Visit an attraction? See a show? Take a class*? Get a tattoo? *cough* How about purchasing a Gift Certificate so they can tick something off their bucket list? ‘Cause let’s face it: more socks are never on anyone’s bucket list…or any wish list for that matter!
From a coffee date to helping move house; you choose how much time you’re willing to give. Time is a precious commodity and I find the older we get, the less we have (until retirement years, at least). Use the opportunity to revive old friendships and strengthen ones that have weathered the stormiest of weathers. You may find that you cherish those moments far more than a material gift ever could.
Let’s get real: Who doesn’t love receiving cake at any time of the year? Cakes, cookies or something savoury – Pinterest is overloaded with ideas and recipes. If you’re a dab hand at things like knitting or crocheting, you could make plushies or accessories instead.
* I bought some lessons for myself via Udemy** on Black Friday and can’t wait to try them!
** Not a sponsored post. Just sharing the love. 🙂
Support Local Businesses
Naturally, I’m biased here. 😉 However, when you buy locally, from owners whose livelihood relies solely on lovely people appreciating our skills and/or products, it really does make our day. We spend all our energy in something we hope others will acknowledge and you buying from us ensures we can cover the rent, bills, food and gosh, maybe even a treat for ourselves!
Personally, it’s taken me over three years to get to a stage where the thought of buying a coffee and slice of cake doesn’t riddle me with anxiety…and that’s all thanks to the accumulative efforts of me showing up and you guys spreading the word. Our businesses can’t survive without you and our spirits would surely sink if we had to give it up.
Need ideas on ways to wrap your pressies, without the traditional wrapping paper that can’t always be recycled? Try these on for size…
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.
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).
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. 💚
Recently, I purchased an advent calendar from Authentic House, which promotes sustainable living in an easy subscription box that’s delivered straight to your door. Each day, you can unravel an item that can either help you swap habits for more eco-friendly ones (such as replacing cling film with beeswax wraps), or an ethical treat for yourself, such as handmade lip balm made by a local producer. The one pictured above was a limited edition piece I bought for a friend as a wedding gift for her and her family. 🙂
…this way, every day leading up to Christmas can feel like…well, Christmas! 🎄
That’s all from me! Thanks so much for reading and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas. 😚💕
Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the ink is so delightful~ Okay, I’m no songwriter, but that’s not what this is about anyway. Ever wonder when the best time to get a tattoo is? Well, it depends on what you want and where you want it.
Generally-speaking, Winter is best for large projects because the cooler temperature makes the healing process more tolerable. Fresh tattoos are essentially an open wound, so if you’ve got a lot of skin vulnerable, you don’t wanna be stuck in a heat wave with plasma oozing everywhere.
Good Places to Get Tattoo’ed
These places are good all-year round…it’s just more comfortable to heal large pieces when the weather isn’t muggy.
Avoid During Winter
Hey, I won’t stop you, but I will advise waiting until it’s flip-flop season for foot tattoos, as fresh ink rubbing against thick socks all day (and probably night) aren’t gonna do it any favours. The skin is thinner in that area, making it harder to hold to begin with, so the lower down the foot we go, the higher the chance of it rubbing away through wear-and-tear, regardless of the weather.
Lower legs aren’t as concerning, but if you’re likely to wear skinnies and boots…again, friction from daily movement will fade your new tattoo faster than if you wore loose clothing until it healed.
…because it won’t be exposed to sunlight as often, if at all. UV rays fade tattoos – especially ones that haven’t healed fully yet.
The brisk weather means you’re less likely to sweat during the day, which would normally clog the pores and lead to…
Healing tattoos itch. SO. MUCH. My advice is to either pat the area or put something cold on it. The cooler environment should temper down such urges, making the process more bearable.
Depending on your skin type, you may be prone to dry skin when the cold air hits it. If this applies to you, simply moisturise your tattoo when you feel is necessary so it doesn’t dry and scab up.
Less Room to Breathe
We normally wrap up at this time of year, which means fresh tattoos would have less time to breathe. Try not to wear anything too tight around the area to avoid friction and irritation.
Fewer Chances to Show Off
Without a doubt, most people will join in your excitement and want to see your tattoo. Unless you’re happy to unravel layers of snuggly warmth each time, you’re better off having a photo on your phone to appease them.
The above post already explains my personal ‘why’. It’s really amazing how much one’s state of mind can affect their view on others, the world and most critically, themselves. It can be a choking, all-encompassing reality that halts us from reaching our true potential. Those who are fortunate not to experience mental health problems may find it difficult to conceive, but it really does feel as melodramatic as it sounds! Although I’m not a qualified therapist by any means, I’m happy to share advice and techniques I learned throughout my journey if it’ll help others, and of course, part with some of my profits to nudge the cause along.
If you’re suffering from a mental illness, please seek help – whether it’s through friends, family or professionals. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) changed my life and I highly recommend it.
This, again, is for a personal reason. Feeling quietly frustrated throughout my life for feeling like there was a big block in my brain was debilitating. Undiagnosed learning difficulties can have a knock-on effect to not only grades, but confidence, self-esteem and self-worth, which can have a lasting impact on their lives until properly confronted. Being a high-achiever from a strict background, the external pressure to to well, paired with discrimination towards those with disabilities made me hide my struggles and suffer in silence.
Kara Tointon’s BBC Documentary, “Don’t Call Me Stupid”, was the thing that opened my eyes and made me pursue a formal dyslexia assessment in my mid-twenties. The positive result was the closure I needed. I’d hate for other people to struggle with the deep sense of incompetence that’s all too common with such cognitive deficits, hence this donation option.
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.
Other Ways to Give in Everyday Life:
Want to inject some do-goodery into your life but strapped for cash? Donating funds is the most obvious way to help, but if that’s too much of a stretch then here are some ideas to get the wheels turning:
Did you know that you can donate to a charity of your choice whilst doing your online shop? eBay has had this built-in based on the seller’s preferences, but you can also give via Amazon via this link: http://smile.amazon.co.uk
Facebook Birthday Donations
Instead of accepting gifts for your birthday, how about setting up a donation pot to your favourite charity? Said charity will need to know this function exists in order to register themselves, so options aren’t quite as vast as other platforms, but it’s lovely way to offer support nonetheless.
If you shop via Quidco, you’ll get cashback (don’t ask me how – I don’t understand it either). The percentage varies for every store, (normally 2-10%), but those tiny trickles of pennies eventually add up, and you can donate them to a cause of your choice…given that it’s from purchases you were going to make anyway, it’s basically free money, right? .
[insert stat here]. This one is less of an ‘every day’ thing and requires setting time aside, but that’s nothing compared to saving a life. If you’re healthy enough to pass their criteria, how about going under a different needle for the greater good? Then finish with a very British treat of tea and biscuits. Splendid!
Volunteer Your Time and/or Skills
Homeless shelters, care homes, community centres…is there a local event you can help out with? Or perhaps you have a skill you can use to help upkeep said charities, or teach to others and donate proceeds to a charity of your choice.
People aren’t the only ones who need aid – our planet is suffering too. What everyday habits can you change to be more eco-friendly? More often than not, this results in saving money (and space!) too, so it’s a win-win situation all round~ 🌍💚
So many of us suffer in silence. Ever wonder how a friend or family member is doing, but neglect to actually let them know you’re thinking of them? Reach out. Ping a text, make a phone call, catch up over coffee…social media alone isn’t enough to maintain true relationships.
Are you a dab hand at making stuff? From crocheted comfort toys and tiny knitted hats for premature babies, to knitted boobs for breast cancer survivors, there are plenty of charities out there that rely on volunteers to equip their patients for a better quality of life. Patterns/instructions are normally free, along with detailed requirements to ensure nothing goes to waste (due to safety concerns). What will be your next project? .
Pay it Forward
Whether it’s buying an extra coffee for the person served after you, or giving meal deals to the homeless, these tiny acts of kindness are bound to bring a smile. If you don’t want to spend anything extra, how about exchanging store loyalty points for something someone else would find useful?
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. 🙂
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. ☺
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
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
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.
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 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. 😉
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. 😜
Get in Touch
You can book an appointment for your Consultation via this online form:
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 tattooidea 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.
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.
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. 🙇