A couple months ago, I finally did something that I have wanted to do for years now, and that is get my first tattoo! I’ve wanted this particular tattoo for the majority of my teenage years and I am so happy with it! I’ve been seriously looking for an amazing tattoo artist for quite a while and have actively been stalking Ruby’s work for about a year now. On the day, I wasn’t particularly scared or excited, I was more worried about getting there on time and finding somewhere to park to be honest. However on the way there, in the shop and before I actually got tatted, I didn’t ever feel nervous which is odd since I was a tattoo virgin.

My tattoo is a rosary around my ankle and despite me being a Catholic it doesn’t have a proper meaning. It’s a piece that I’ve wanted consistently for the past four or five years. There are so many tattoos that I like, but this is one that I feel like I’ll love for many years to come and it’s such a simple (and in my opinion non-offensive) piece.

When I finally hit 18 and was initially looking for a tattoo artist, I literally tweeted saying that I was looking for a tattoo artist – don’t do this. In my opinion, if an artist has the time to be scouting people to tattoo, they’re not in high enough demand and I personally don’t want them to tattoo me. About a year ago, I was watching extrasunbeamsjess on Youtube and she vlogged a day where she was getting a tattoo and hers turned out so beautifully well and she later done a video talking about it as well as the tattoo artist and studio. I first started researching the tattoo artist, Eszter who’s work I love and then I looked into Sang Bleu - the tattoo studio to see if there was anyone whose work was perfectly in line with what I wanted and then I found Ruby Quilter.

The tattoo itself took about an hour to complete, however at the beginning of my session, I met Ruby, spoke to her about what I wanted and gave her my reference material and she went away to draw up the cross. A little bit later she came back and we went through to the tattoo bed and she started positioning and drawing the body of the rosary on freehand. This took quite a while I wanted to be sure of the positioning of the cross, sizing of the beads and just overall look of the tattoo. During the actual tattooing, I tried to call as many people possible to try and distract me and take my mind off it but that failed as no one was bloody answering their phones, so I was looking through snapchat stories and reading things like Buzzfeed and The Sun, even though none of it really distracted me. Like I said, before I went in, I had my reference materials, which were photos of some other rosary tattoos that I liked in addition to a list of things that I wanted and more importantly what I didn’t want. My list mentioned that I only wanted black ink and no colour, that I didn’t want the rosary beads coloured in, only shaded, that I wanted the rosary to ebb and flow, a small to medium sized cross without Jesus on it and one row of beads and not two – and all of my requirements were met and I love it!

The pain is a really difficult thing to describe as it’s nothing like what I’ve ever felt before. Most people say that it’s like a hot cat scratch, but what the f*ck even is that? For me the most painful thing was when Ruby was doing the outline of the beads and the cross and tattooing on my actual foot and near my ankle as it was quite close to the bone as well, however she made sure to complete the outline and shading before moving onto another part so that she wouldn’t have to revisit an already sensitive area. When it came to the shading, I wasn’t in as much pain – obviously except when it was on a boney area.

My tattoo cost £250 altogether. At Sang Bleu, you pay a deposit to confirm your booking and if you pay via PayPal, it’s £50 and in store is £100 which then get’s deducted from the overall cost of the tattoo. I know absolutely nothing about tattoos, so knowing whether the cost is what it should be isn’t my forte, however from prior conversations with other tattoo artists and getting quotes from different artists, the fee was very much in line with those.

The hardest thing about the healing process was when it my tattoo would itch and knowing that I wasn’t supposed to scratch it as well as when it started to scab and knowing that I couldn’t pick at it either - sounds disgusting, but it's tempting! My tattoo finished properly healing at around 3 weeks. The first few days, I was just concentrating on keeping it clean. I was advised to use a gentle soap and warm water to clean it 2-3 times a day and re-wrap it and then after a couple days, to start using a light layer of cocoa butter to keep is moisturised and once it was dry that I didn’t have to keep wrapping it. A few days later, it was really starting to itch as it was obviously healing and getting ready to form a scab.  Something that I wasn’t told until after I got my tattoo is that your tattoo will kind of ‘bubble’ or rise, which is also part of the healing process. I knew that it would scab towards the end of the process, but I thought it would be a similar scab as to if you were to get a cut on your knee, but it’s not and to the naked eye, you can’t really even see it.

I’m a bit undecided about whether I’m going to be getting any other pieces yet. I love my tattoo and definitely don’t regret it, however I feel like when you’ve just got your tattoo and it’s all new, you’re extremely excited about it, however then it has to heal which takes on average 2-4 weeks and by the time it’s healed, you start forgetting it’s even there. I love tattoos on other people and I’ve even started to contemplate getting a half sleeve on my arm or a leg sleeve, but I’m not too sure as that will completely alter my look – a lot more than a little piece around my ankle. I’m really selective about what’s going to go on my body as in a few years, I don’t want to be inflicting more pain on myself by undergoing laser surgery. So if my next piece is in a month or ten years, then so be it, as I’m not in any rush to undergo that devilish needle again!

Do you have any tattoos? What’s your stance on body mods?

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