We first met the lovely Nikita back on our community photoshoot in the summer of 2020.
She's a Mum of two and lives in Northern Ireland with her husband, Jamie, two sons, Noah who is four years old and Ezra who is six months old. Nikita is currently on maternity leave and was a keen skater before having children.
Nikita recently got back on her skates ( in her Poppy of course! ) and has been talking to us about what it means to get a bit of 'her' back, after having the boys and being on maternity leave.
WHAT DID YOU GET UO TO IN YOUR FREE TIME BEFORE HAVING KIDS?
I’ve always been someone who loves to have loads of hobbies - before kids I worked at a community arts centre and I took part in life drawing classes, tried my hand at pottery, learned how to play guitar (and then promptly forgot how!), put on plays in the theatre space with a group of friends - I loved being creative and trying new things!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR LOVE OF SKATING?
While I was working at the arts centre one of my colleagues told me she had joined a Roller Derby team. It was something I had always wanted to try. I’d roller skated as a child, but it had been a good 20 years since I’d put on a pair of skates.I was so intrigued by the sport, so I decided to sign up to a taster session with a team in Oxford.
Roller Derby is a contact sport - and I’d never tried anything like it before, from the moment i put on those roller skates though I was completely hooked.
I find skating completely addictive, the sense of freedom, the pure joy you get from it, was something I genuinely don’t think I’d experienced since being a child. It was an adrenaline rush not only trying to stay upright but getting to take part in a sport which was rough and aggressive and insanely fun.
One of the things I absolutely loved about Roller Derby was that it was a sport that embraced all body types, all genders, all sexualities it is such an incredibly positive and inclusive space - and the team that I learnt with were so encouraging and supportive.
HAS HAVING KIDS IMPACTED YOUR SKATING?
I think I skated for just under two years before I fell pregnant with Noah - in that time I also moved jobs and had started working in London and I found myself unable to skate anymore. It was quite a loss not being able to continue doing something which I had loved. I would watch videos of skating obsessively and then mourn the fact that I was no longer able to do it myself - which definitely wasn’t a healthy use of my time, but I just missed it so much!
After Noah was born, I was determined to get back to Roller Derby, but I was really anxious about whether I’d be able to not only skate, but whether my body could handle the physicality of a contact sport.
I think Noah was about eight or nine months old when I attempted skating again, and it was the most incredible feeling getting rolling again.
WHAT DOES GETTING BACK ON YOUR SKATES MEAN TO YOU?
Being able to skate again after Noah meant the world to me. I trained with a team in Milton Keynes for a few months before Jamie and I made the big decision to move to Northern Ireland to be closer to family. Luckily, there was a team in Belfast that I was able to join.
It’s been a lot harder finding the time to skate since having children - my nearest roller derby team is around an hour away and we don’t have any skate parks local to us anymore. So i’m definitely not able to skate as much as I’d like. But every time I lace up I remember how good it feels to do something which is just for you. The sense of freedom I get with skating is so unique. It sounds cheesy, but it makes my heart sing. There’s a lot of guilt when I take time to do something just for me - but it boosts me so much to get that time.
I haven’t been able to restart roller derby after having Ezra (and they’ve only just restarted training due to Covid). I’m breastfeeding this time round, which I wasn’t with Noah, so it’s definitely a lot harder to find the time to get outside and lace up. But I’m just biding my time until I can properly get back into it again! My aim now is to hit the skate parks more, it’s such a thrill skating ramps, and completely terrifying. I’m terrible at it, but what I love about skating is that because its something I do just for me, it doesn’t matter if I can’t do cool tricks or skate as fast or as aggressively as others, I always go away from a session feeling refreshed and energised and just so happy.
HOW DOES THE POPPY MAKE YOU FEEL, WHAY IS IT A GOOD CHOICE FOR SKATING?
The first time I put on my Poppy I immediately thought, ‘this would be perfect for skating in’. It’s so comfortable and easy to move in and it looks great. I now have three Poppys - in Black, in Charcoal and the Playsuit - and I honestly do live in them - they’re my favourite thing to wear.
Styling the poppy with a pair of high top converse, a beanie and a leather jacket has become my go to look recently!