People cross the road to avoid me, my mates & kids hate them but I LOVE my tattoos – I want to get my face inked next

People cross the road to avoid me, my mates & kids hate them but I LOVE my tattoos – I want to get my face inked next


ASK anyone what they did during the pandemic and lockdowns of 2020 and chances are they WON’T say they got inked and had dozens – and dozens – of tattoos all over their body.

But mum-of-six and nan-of-one Nicola Sullivan, 38, did just that.

“I'd had a few done in the past,” she says. “But I knew that one day I was going to be covered so just got them all done. I went into lockdown last year with my cousin who is a tattoo artist. Over two-and-a-half weeks I transformed my body.”

Nicola, who lives in Purley, south London, says she first got inked when she was 17.

“I got a bit of a buzz going into the shop and lying about my age. Back then no one asked for ID confirming I was over 18.

“I had a Tinkerbell fairy on my back. Looking back it was a bit childlike and when I’d chosen it I hadn’t thought through it would be with me for the rest of my life.

“I was the only one of my friends who'd got a tattoo and I felt no pain at all either.

“Mum and dad were totally against it. When dad saw it I got the “it’ll be on your body for the rest of your life” argument. But Mum wasn’t too bad about it.”

Nicola gave birth to her daughter at 19 and had her name tattooed on her leg in Chinese.

But Nicola reckons the tattoo that has always had the most meaning for her are the roses down the side of her body which runs from her armpit down to the bottom of her ankle.

“I nearly died having my twins, it was a traumatic time so I wanted something dramatic for them and had two roses inked.

“When I explained to my older kids why I’d had them done they got a bit upset. So I had two more roses added to it representing them too.”

In 2010, Nicola’s dad died and so she had a whole sleeve done.

“I recognise the pattern with me. When I get emotional and upset – tattoos are the thing I do. It’s how I process my emotions.”

For over a decade Nicola restricted herself to the sleeve and roses down her side.

But when the world went into lockdown last year those insecure emotions reared up again for the mum who also adopted her niece in 2014 and nephew in 2015.

“I felt lots of anxiety about what was going on.

“It was my way of coping with the pandemic and 2020.

“My cousin was up for it. I’ve only ever used two tattoo artists and I trusted him completely.

“I went on Google and Pinterest looking for ideas and just got inked every day over two-and-a-half weeks.

"The longest time I was in the chair was for 11 hours.

“I love quotes! My body's got loads of them on it such as "how we walk with the broken speaks louder than how we sit with the great."

“I’ve got a quote about my twins too. It goes around my thigh and says: I loved you the minute I knew I was pregnant, I loved you the minute you were born, then I saw your face and fell in love some more, you were only a minute old but I knew I would die for you and to this day I still would. When you choose to have children you make a conscious decision to allow your heart to walk around outside your body.

“The twins love it.”

Nicola also has tattoos that are meaningful to her life, and said: “I used to play poker so I’ve got clubs, spade, diamond and heart on each of my fingers on one hand. I’ve got rosary beads around my wrist because I was brought up a catholic.

“Everyone calls me queen or diamond so those are on my hands.

“I’ve got angel wings just above my pubic area. Under my boobs is a lotus flower and emerald.

“It was funny when I went on holiday last year people stopped me wanting to read what’s on my body!”

Nicola’s body is now “full” and she has considered having inkings on her face – starting with a name over her eyebrow.

“I don’t have much space left so I did a poll on my Instagram about whether I should start tattooing my face. My inbox exploded telling me not to and 97 per cent said no.”

Nicola works for social services and says her inked body is a real advantage when it comes to her job.

“Being covered in tattoos is a bonus working with waifs and strays. They can relate to me and assume I'm on their level.

“Fortunately I don't have a desk job because yes my appearance can draw shocked looks.

“Old ladies always stare at the tattoos on my neck and aren't shy about asking whether it hurt – it never has luckily!

"I do say the tattoos don't hurt half as much as getting 'mistakes' lasered off. So I’ve made sure what's on my body now will stay there for life.

“I’ve no idea how much I’ve spent over the years. But I don’t smoke and I don’t drink this is my treat.”

Nicola says she won’t date anyone without tattoos but has been single for the last few years. As for her kids – they now like them.

“My kids hated them but outside of lockdown my teenage twins have had their friends over. Their friends love how I look, the twins are finally coming round to hearing that mum is quite cool.

“The flip side though is horrible. In the street people will cross the road to avoid me.

"One woman visibly pulled her handbag under her arm. I laughed and wanted to tell her my tattoos are worth three times your bag.

“All my friends say when you're old and saggy they'll look awful but I'm 40 next year and don't think I look too bad.”

Last year Nicola was approached by a talent agency specialising in tattoo models.

She said: “One unexpected thing that's happened is that I’m now a tattoo model. I love it – it's turned my life around. The tattoos pay for themselves now.

“The most recent tattoo I got was flowers on my bum. Yet my favourites are the roses and my children’s names, along with my granddaughter's name 'Royalty'.

“I hope I don't regret them. Each one tells a different story – my life and body is unique to me.”

We shared how trolls called me a ‘bad mum’ & ‘washed-up porn star’ because of my tattoos – I can’t believe people are so horrible.

Previously, a woman was horrified after getting the tattoo of her dreams – then discovering she copied the fridge logo without realising.

Meanwhile, a woman was blindsided when her boyfriend dumps her using a tattoo… which he had inked on HER.

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