I got my first tattoo for my birthday, and I love it! | Emma Kay

Splashing the cash on your birthday is not only inevitable, it is a tangible right.

Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 8:41 pm
Portsmouth Tattoo Fest at Pyramids Centre, April, 2018. Aimee Luckham of 'Electric Lady' Studio, Chichester. Picture: Duncan Shepherd (180343-026)

An entirely acceptable aspect of the day in which spoiling yourself is the standard requirement of the day.For my birthday I decided to take a bigger step and get a tattoo.

Why do people get tattoos? Is it visual art, an underlying message, to give a sense of protection, reflect political and cultural views or simply a trend? According to data, around 40 per cent of people born after 1990 are highly likely to have at least one tattoo. It is estimated that this will increase as the decades go by. Will having a tattoo be as common as having pierced ears? Who knows? It might even become a normalised adult rite of passage. The streets of Portsmouth have so many tattoo parlours around every corner, each one with its own unique brand of art and expression: a testament to their popularity.

When we tattoo it can send a message to others: this is me, this is who I am. People with tattoos are considered to be more of a risk taker and more outgoing. So it is no small wonder that having a tattoo can also be a massive confidence booster also.

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Permanently marking yourself is no small step. It can take an agonising amount of steps before you find the design that you are happy with. We live in a world littered with various forms of consumption. Binging, buying and accumulating rubbish willy-nilly. However, a tattoo is not something you can just discard. It is there forever stained on your skin. These intricate inks will become part of your identity. It is a cool conversation starter. A proud display of your personality that hopefully won’t become a visual profile to aid in a description of yourself should you be running from the law!

Getting a tattoo feels like someone scratching a hot needle across your skin. Not entirely unbearable but after a while a fuzzy feeling can develop akin to feeling faint. These feelings can gratified by putting as much glucose into your body as humanely possible and having a massive meal beforehand. Suckling the sugar filled energy drink like a baby with a bottle is not exactly a desirable look, but it was enough to stop me slipping into a haze from the ever-nagging needle on my skin. I was determined to do it all in one go; nothing could dent my fighting spirit.

After three hours and one-and-a-half bottles of energy drink later I have a beautiful design on my arm that I will cherish forever. If you have the guts and the means I highly recommend it!

A hard-won fruity prize

This week sees the ebbing away of summer. But this is the perfect time to don the thick trousers and the long-sleeved tops, armed with Tupperware containers and determination, head into overgrown areas and go blackberry picking to make the perfect crumble.

Braving the brambles and inching our fingers close and closer. Reaching towards that sweet fruit dotted in the brushes like fresh oil droplets. Searching for ripe purple clots to pull free and claim as our own amongst the unfavourable red and green rejects.

The flesh of the fruit is delicate and hands are soon covered with wine thick juice that make us look as though we had emerged from some catastrophe. Prickly scrambling shrubs leaving their calling card on legs like a frenzied game of noughts and crosses gone wrong.

Our purple hands are a sign of victory, the containers filled to the brim. A precious fruity prize!

Who knew trying on wedding dresses was so difficult?

Shopping for wedding dresses was a full-on experience for me in more ways than one.

I desperately failed in the dressing room to escape a maze of chiffon and silk. The dresses reminded me of upside-down cakes with several secret compartments for arms legs and heads that you had to unlock in the right sequence to escape, like a particularly tricky level in a video game.

I’m still not quite sure how I got the dress on my person but I did it. I now have the greatest of respect for Regency women who daily toiled in all their elaborately embroidered finery.

The substantial fabric engulfed the entire dressing room like a taffeta terror, filling out every space imaginable.

But once the dress was on it was like a strange transformation. Beautifully weaving across the floor in cream-coloured waves and awe.

These dresses were definitely made to be seen in.