"Hello, I'm Nichola & I am 32 years old. I wear a size 12-14 & I am 5ft 5inches tall. I live in the beautiful county of Wiltshire but I was born & bred in the Black Country in the West Midlands.

I work as a dual sensory specialist. That means that I assess the needs of a person who has both a sight and hearing loss & then work with them and support them to meet those needs. I am very lucky to be able to say that I love my job! As well as all things Vintage, I love to sing & perform and I am in an acoustic band called The Elusive Bright- we have released two EP’s of original songs so far & I am very proud of the songs which we have written. I also love yoga, to read, to write, to bake (and eat!) and to make things!

I also love to organise fundraising events & have mostly raised money for SANDS (stillbirth and neonatal death society) following the birth of my son Noah in 2009 when Noah was born sleeping. Overall, I enjoy helping people and trying to make people happy, whether that is by feeding them cake or just lending them a understanding ear!

I have always loved vintage fashion, in particular late 1940's and 1950's styles & those styles have always been my influence & inspiration in varying degrees over the years! But I have not always had the confidence to fully embrace it. I have always struggled to accept myself & my body. I have compared myself to others for as long as I can remember. Always wishing that I could just be as slim or as tanned or as pretty as someone else. Getting ready for a big night out, feeling good about myself, only to arrive & instantly feel that EVERYBODY looks "better" than me! (Or getting a dreaded "tagged in" notification!! Oh the fear!)

And being honest, this is something that I will probably always struggle with, so I can't pretend that I no longer care about what people think of me because I do. BUT, & it's a breakthrough kind of but, these thoughts no longer dominate my brain & my ability to enjoy myself. I recently made a promise to myself to work really hard on my body positivity, and IT DEFINITELY IS hard work!! Some days more so than others. But I feel like I am making some progress, all be it with baby steps! I have fibromyalgia and ME, which means that I suffer with chronic pain & fatigue on a daily basis. Sometimes this can make life a little bit rubbish (body positivity is kind of hard if your body doesn't want to cooperate!) But it has made me appreciate things a little more & it helps me to remember to cherish any chance that I have to make new memories.

Life can be tough, but I am still here & I have realised that I can't truly enjoy life if I am constantly obsessing about my muffin top! I am slowly learning that what makes me me, is NOT my dress size or my weight! What makes me me, are my friends & family, my laugh, the music that I love, the songs that I sing at the top of my voice, & my love for pretty vintage dresses!

And Polka Dots & Petticoats can certainly help in that department! I have always dreamt of having my hair styled in a 1950's style, of twirling around in a pretty petticoat & posing like a pinup! So when I had the chance to apply to be a Polka Dots & Petticoats Pretty Woman 2017 & to make that dream come true, I knew that I couldn't let that pass me by! Although I knew that I would be delighted if I was lucky enough to be picked, I also knew that I would be very nervous & anxious! And I was!!

But for once, I let my passion for vintage fashion & the many other positives,out weigh my negative thoughts, insecurities & anxieties. And what a truly amazing experience it turned out to be! What happened, was that I got to meet some truly amazing women. Real women, who all have the same worries & doubts & insecurities as me. Who have all been through tough times but who have come out the other side. And what we soon discovered, was that we all empowered & supported each other.

We all built each other up, encouraged each other, reassured each other and the photos which you see, are the results of that! If these photos aren't proof of the possibilities of what women supporting & empowering each other can do, then I don't know what is! These photos show women who have stepped out of their comfort zones, battled their anxieties & as a result had an amazing experience & forged some wonderful new friendships.

These dresses make me feel like me! A me that I am happy & comfortable with, a me that doesn't constantly compare herself to unrealistic ideals & images of women that we all constantly see online & in magazines. This style is so fun, happy & pretty, that you can't help but wear it with a smile. And what better accessory is there? :) This style is a style for all. It really does bring you joy & I can't recommend it enough.

Especially with Polka Dots & Petticoats extra bit of TLC & encouragement, you are getting so much more than a new outfit! You are getting happiness in a parcel! (And such pretty parcels at that!)

So if you are feeling unsure, if you are struggling with your weight or your body type or with illness or anxiety or insecurities, Just remember that you are NOT defined by the size of your clothes or the numbers on the scales. And yes, some days it will be hard, but do & wear whatever makes your heart sing & what makes your smile reach your eyes & shine out from your face, because there is truly nothing more beautiful, that you just being you!"