I have always loved tattoos. I used to watch Miami Ink on repeat when I was a teenager, dreaming about being tattooed from head to toe. When I was at University, I contemplated several times getting a tattoo but I am glad I never went through with it.
At one point, I wanted a barcode on my wrist?!
I got my first tattoo at the grand old age of 27. Around 10 years after deciding I wanted a tattoo. After getting married to Jeremie, I got our wedding date in Roman Numerals across the outside of my right foot. Not super original, I know. Also, could be considered risky to get a tattoo to do with someone else, especially a partner. You never know what will happen in the future, but I love it. Our wedding day was the best day of my life, and I wanted to celebrate that.
So as you can tell, I like to think about tattoos a lot, and don't just jump to decisions on a whim. I have wanted a Frangipani flower on my ankle for around 7 years and finally decided - why not?! 7 years is long enough to think about what I want and to make sure I won't change my mind.
I got the tattoo done at the Cezanne Tattoo Convention in Aix en Provence which this year was at the Centre de Congrés. It was a good location with lots of great artists showcasing their work and tattooing customers. And where on my body - on the inside of my left ankle.
Might seem like a silly question as obviously it was done using a tattoo machine. But I wanted to talk more about how I decided on Maria, how it happened etc. So on the Friday evening, my husband and I went to the tattoo convention to look around. I had thought that I would like this tattoo as I said before, I've wanted it for around 7 years. But if I hadn't found an artist I liked, I would have waited.
We walked around looking at different artists and my husband actually got a tattoo on the Friday evening by a woman called HtamTattoo. I spoke to her about my idea but she said she wouldn't tattoo in that location as it would fade. I know that it might fade, but for 7 years, I've wanted it there. She said to think about different locations, maybe on my leg, or arm. I didn't want to do that, so decided against her. I don't blame her for refusing to do it. When people tattoo, the customers are their walking business cards. If she didn't feel comfortable doing it, then that's fine. And actually I'm glad that she refused as I ended up with exactly what I wanted in the end.
So after that, I walked around again and saw Maria's work that I had seen previously while walking around. I told her about the kind of design I wanted and where and she said that would be fine and she would do it. I was so happy to find someone who would tattoo that part of me, but also someone whose style I loved. Her work is focused on thin lines and simple designs which is exactly what I wanted. She drew a quick sketch based on what I had said and the images I had shown her and we decided to finalise the design when I come back.
So I booked in for Sunday afternoon as it was getting quite late on the Friday evening and we already had plans for Saturday. On Saturday evening while relaxing at home, I looked on Pinterest for photographs to inspire my design and decided to draw the kind of design & size that I wanted. Then on the Sunday, I took this design with me to show her exactly what I wanted. I expected her to take my drawing and do it again in her own style, but she drew over my design for the stencil. It was so cool knowing that my drawing would be on me forever!
So, I sat down and Maria drew out the stencil. I got comfortable, and we placed the stencil on my ankle where I wanted it. Then she started the tattoo. It took around 40 mins to get the design finished and on me for life! Maria was so good at checking all the lines and making sure there were no gaps etc.
I am so happy I got Maria to do my tattoo as it is so much more personal and meaningful to me that I drew it myself. I love the tattoo and wouldn't change anything about it!
As I said before, I looked around the tattoo convention and researched each artist as I walked around. I looked on their Instagram feeds to see the style they generally do and also to look at previous tattoos. I liked Maria's work as she often does line work and simple, bold tattoos. This is exactly the style I was hoping to find as I wanted a line tattoo with no shading, dots or colour work.
Maria was such a lovely lady from Germany who had travelled over for the tattoo convention with her daughter. Maria was so easy to talk to and get on with. We talked about our love of travel and I recommended she go to Cassis before leaving France. I think having a tattoo artist that you can talk with and relate to helps you feel at ease during the tattoo. I would recommend Maria Dyer for any line work, black and white, simple and symbolic tattoo work.
I paid €60 for this tattoo which I feel like is a really decent and fair price. Maria's starting price is €50 which would be the price of a small & simple design. This tattoo was a little bigger so she added a little extra cost. I am happy with the price and feel like I have a really beautiful tattoo for the price of a dinner our for 2!
Like I said, I have wanted this for 7 years. And the reason why I wanted this, is due to my gap year. Without wanting to sound like one of those people that goes on a 'gap yaaar' to find themselves, it really did change my life. I took a year out of uni between 2nd and 3rd year to travel. I started with a 10 week scuba diving volunteer programme in Fiji. I then spent 2 weeks travelling New Zealand, 3 months in Sydney Australia doing a fashion internship then 1 week in New York. It was the most amazing year abroad and really changed me as a person.
I chose to the frangipani tattoo as it was the flower that the Fijians would put behind our ears when we went to the village. It was also a flower that I saw a lot while in Australia. It just seemed to be the one thing that I saw everywhere and whenever I see one now, it reminds me of my time away.
And more recently - but not the reason I got the tattoo - on our honeymoon in Indonesia, we saw this flower a lot in Bali. It was often used for Buddhist offerings or as decorations in the rooms etc. To me, it is just a small symbol of paradise which reminds me of some fantastic memories.
A lot of people who don't have tattoos often ask if it hurts. Well yes, it does hurt. It feels like you are having a needle dragged across your skin, which is exactly what is happening. It fucking hurts. But it's not unbareable. I don't think I could handle 8 hours of it, but 40 mins is enough for me. But to be fair, it was on a really sensitive part of my body where the skin is really thin. My husband has 2 tattoos on his arms and he says they were both different pain levels too. I can only speak for myself, and foot tattoos are painful!
Maria put a clear plastic plaster on my foot tattoo which I think is cleaner and easier to look after than wrapping it in cling film then cleaning it. I wore this clear plastic plaster for around a week then I peeled it off and kept it clean and hydrated. I washed it morning and night with a Savon de Marseille and put cream on it consistently during the day. The first day of wearing this plaster there was a little blood and ink in the plaster. Then lots of ink to the point where it looked like a black splodge. It took around 3 weeks to heal properly and it is now totally healed and I love it.