Tattoos Ideas

Tattoos to mark transformative moments

Our founder Alice Snape recently wrote a feature for HuffPost about the power of tattoos that mark transformative moments in our lives – you can read it over at

As part of the feature, she writes about her new chest piece by Kate Mackay Gill @kate_selkie (pic in header taken by Olivia Snape) to mark her 40th birthday… and she also interviewed other tattoo collectors about the transformative reasons for getting tattooed – from taking ownership of bodies to marking the death of a loved one…

She spoke to so many people while researching the feature that sadly she couldn’t include every story, so we thought we’d share them here instead:

Nina Cresswell, 33, writer

“In 2020, I named a tattooist who violently sexually assaulted me, then he tried to sue me for defamation. But I won what became a landmark libel case in April 2023. I got this Drowning Girl by Fidjit, who’s also a survivor as a reminder that I kept my head above water for years – and survived (hence the party hat). On top of the libel case, the perpetrator reported me for malicious communication for speaking out. Feeling powerless, I wrote “I am the evidence” over and over before driving to the police station. My experiences have been painful, but quiet moments of self-love and solidarity kept me going. Believing in myself. Believing in my strength. Believing in change. Because without hope of change, survival feels impossible.”

Stephanie Harris is 36 and works in IT

“I got this tattoo by Cassandra Frances in June 2021, almost two years after my eldest sister Tanya died of cancer. I wanted a tattoo that was not only in memory of Tanya, but that also that symbolised myself and my two sisters forever intertwined – even beyond this life. This tattoo is of my blonde hair, my sister Natasha’s dark brown hair, and Tanya’s warm brown hair braided together to express our sisterly bond. The women in my family all have thick, coarse hair, and I wear a braided lock of Tanya’s hair in a reliquary necklace every day, so hair feels important and somewhat sacred to me.”

Stephanie with her sisters

Rowan Stein, she/they, 32 year old cat lady living in Edinburgh

“My tattoo is by Sophie Bellingham from Cap in Hand tattoo in Loanhead. I got it after a long term abusive relationship, my ex made a lot of comments about my appearance and I was learning to let go of his voice in my head. I had originally planned for it to be on my stomach, but my skin’s too soft and it would have warped the design so we put it on my chest. It’s been a game-changer in me seeing myself the way I want to and not how others dictate.”

Terri-Jane Dow, 36, Writer

“This script from the Freddie Mercury song The Great Pretender. Freddie Mercury died when I was really little, and my dad was heartbroken. He and I laid on the living room floor listening to records for days, so, after my dad died, it was an obvious choice for something to get tattooed. It was done by Adam at Vagabond in Hackney about six months after dad died. It’s funny that I got a tattoo for dad at all – he had tattoos that he’d lied about his age to get, and hated them. I moved home briefly when I was in my late 20s, just after I’d got a big tattoo on my leg, and I spent the whole summer sweltering in jeans so he wouldn’t find out about it. After he died, when we went to the crematorium to see him, I told him I had tattoos. If anything was going to wake him up, that would’ve been it.”

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