My New Puffin Tattoo by Vicky Jeffrey

I'd known for a while that I wanted a puffin tattoo because I've been answering to 'Puffin!' for around 5 years now. Ross started this weird nickname not long after we started going out, and for a fair while, I hated it. This was partly because he used to say the reason he called me 'Puffin' was because I was "small, smelly and wore a lot of black and white" but then after I got all grumpy, he also said that they were very cute, and that I was too. I am aware that he probably said this to stop me whinging but hey, it worked!

It does also mean that he often just calls me 'Puff' which has garnered a few strange looks in public, especially when he bellows it down a busy shop because he's lost me momentarily.

"PUUUUUUFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!" He will yell while standing next to a couple of unsuspecting shoppers, shocked out of their skins by a crazy 6ft4 bloke yelling nonsense. I will admit that I purposefully ignore him in these situations... It's payback for him calling me smelly and small. But the name has eventually grown on me aaaand it does help that puffins are actually adorable.

We were lucky enough to see them in the flesh while holidaying in Orkney, Scotland, and they were so much smaller and sweeter than I had previously realised! If you ever have a chance to go and see some nesting puffins, I highly recommend seizing the opportunity. Having these pocket sized birds whizz around you while flying around windy cliffs and looking at their beautiful little faces while they're perched in their nests is truly magical.

So the nickname stuck and I am well and truly a 'Puffin' now, so it felt right to get one tattooed on my arm. A tattoo is a big deal when it's associated with a romantic partner, but this one felt like a no-brainer because I also love puffins regardless of what Ross calls me. I will always have a tattoo that I like and looks good.

And that is why I knew that I had to have the best tattoo artist for my lil puffin. I'd seen a few puffin designs on Instagram by artists that I love but none had been quite right. But, one day, I saw a flash design by the amazing Vicky Jeffrey, a Birmingham-based tattoo artist who excels in 'illustrative blackwork flora and fauna'. If you are into beautiful black tattoos inspired by natural subjects, then Vicky is the artist for you. Plus, she uses vegan ink!

It was definitely love at first sight for my puffin design. I was over the moon when I enquired about the design and Vicky said that the puffin was still available and, even more importantly, affordable. I booked it pretty quickly after enquiring and was looking forward to my Brummy daytrip.

The tattoo studio is in the Jewellery Quarter and I made the great decision of having the tasty vegan breakfast at Urban Cafe before my appointment. After stuffing myself with my delicious brekky, I was a very happy gal by the time I rambled over to the studio and even happier to find that Vicky was very chatty, friendly and really interesting to talk to. It made the tattoo process 100% easier and I knew pretty quickly that I was in very capable hands and had made the right choice.

My puffin slowly began to take form, and even though I was a bit of a wuss (my poor sore arm was not best pleased with me for a while), I spent the whole time grinning like an idiot. Honestly, I could not have found a better design or a nicer artist, so I was feeling pretty chuffed.

I think that it took about 2 hours all-in-all to complete my tattoo, but I don't remember the pain anymore, or even what I was talking about for 2 hours. I do remember just being chilled and content, and I would like to thank Vicky again for putting me so at ease during my appointment. I had a really positive experience, which I think is quite impressive when someone is causing you pain for a couple of hours (even if you are paying them to do so and get a piece of art out of it)!

You can see the finished piece below, about six weeks after my appointment so it is well-healed. And I guess that it really is official now. I really am 'Puffin'.

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