Nicola came to the village to meet her older half-sister, Bernice Blackstock and stayed with her father, Rodney. She met and became friends with Emily Kirk, a friendship that lasted until Emily left to train as a vicar.
Within months, Nicola became interested in chef Carlos Diaz, unaware that he was involved with Bernice. She chased him for a while before they ended up in bed after Bernice dumped him, wanting to make her marriage work. Scared she might lose Carlos, Nicola announced she was pregnant and was stunned yet elated when he proposed, which she accepted.
On her hen night, Bernice caught her drinking vodka and Nicola admitted that she was not pregnant and never had been. Bernice (expecting herself) was horrified and insisted she tell Carlos before the ceremony. Horrified at the deception, Carlos told Nicola about his and Bernice's affair and that she could be carrying his baby. Furious at Bernice's hypocrisy and deceit, she attacked her with her bouquet before storming into the church to announce that the wedding was off, due to Carlos's infidelity. She also told Ashley about Bernice's affair and the fact that he might not be the father of Bernice's baby. Despite her mother's suggestion that she go home with her, Nicola stayed with Rodney and eventually forgave Bernice. She became godmother to Ashley and Bernice's daughter, Gabby Thomas.
Nicola's once kind and friendly attitude altered dramatically and she severed ties with Emily, although they later made up. Nicola was bridesmaid when she married Paddy Kirk in October 2002. She argued frequently with postmistress, Viv Hope, and local siren, Chloe Atkinson, and caused heartbreak when she seduced Robert Sugden. She dumped Robert by allowing him to see her having sex with builder Syd Woolfe in her living room. Nicola had a brief relationship with Syd, which ended when she discovered that he was also having an affair with Chloe, who was dating Scott Windsor at the time.
After successfully starting a cleaning business and employing Pearl Ladderbanks, Betty Eagleton and Laurel Thomas, Nicola met fishmonger Simon Meredith in November 2003 and after a bumpy start, they began dating. However, there were many obstacles, such as his ex-fiancée Tash Abbott and his mother, Lesley Meredith. Nicola was desperate to settle down and dreamed of the perfect marriage. After they got engaged, Lesley constantly caused trouble and even stole Kelly Windsor's credit card and eventually her debts began mounting up. This resulted in Lesley and Simon losing everything, forcing him and Nicola to postpone the wedding. Bored with Simon and their financial problems, Nicola hatched a plan to snare her half-brother Paul Lambert's bisexual lover, Ivan, who was mates with Simon. After failing repeatedly to seduce him, Nicola plied Ivan with alcohol and tried again, a moment witnessed by Lesley. However, she didn't see Ivan rejecting Nicola. Assuming that they were having an affair, Lesley told her son about Nicola's "infidelity" so Simon ended the relationship. Nicola was disgraced as she also destroyed Ivan and Paul's relationship, leading Paul and Rodney to disown her so Nicola left the village in March 2006.
Nicola returned in September 2007 with a business proposition for David Metcalfe. He was now in charge of what had been Laurel and Nicola's cleaning business and she wanted it back. Nicola now claimed to be a wealthy widow, having married Donald De Souza, a millionaire tycoon. She restarted her cleaning empire and threatened to put David out of business. After meeting him a few times, she returned to an unenthusiastic response, as it was clear that no one had forgiven her. Nicola pursued David, despite him dating Jasmine Thomas. Nicola and David slept together and Jasmine caught them. She ended things with David and wrote an article, exposing the fact that Donald was still alive. He was in a coma, following a brain haemorrhage. Nicola told Rodney and Paul that she had said he was dead because unless she could prove Donald's son, Miles, was still drinking, he would inherit Donald's estate so Nicola kept Donald alive until she had the proof she needed and then she would allow the machines to be switched off. However, Jasmine got Miles back on the wagon.
On 28th December 2007, Nicola was called to the hospital and was stunned to learn that Donald was conscious. He claimed not to remember her and spent the evening with Miles. Realizing Donald could make a full recovery, Nicola planned to murder him and asked David to help her but, disgusted, he refused to get involved and sabotaged plots to electrocute and poison him. Knowing Nicola was determined, David told Donald, who confronted her on some local cliffs, giving her the perfect opportunity. Shocked, she confessed and even tried to save him when he looked like he might go over the edge. He agreed not to tell the police, providing she left his house immediately and David didn't want her either. Rodney, unaware of this, rented Mill Brook Cottage for them, expecting her to pay half the rent. She asked David for a job but all he offered was scrubbing floors. She worked for him briefly but soon went to work for Paddy. He didn't want to hire her but when she accidentally injured him, leaving him unable to drive, he hired her as his chauffeur. Nicola spent most of her time with Rodney, and attempted to become respectable again. When celebrity chef Anthony Worrall Thompson visited, Nicola tried to get to know him and was soon bragging that they were going to work together but was embarrassed when Bob gave her a message from Anthony's people, asking her to stop bothering him.
In June 2008, Nicola started dog-sitting briefly. Rodney wasn't happy about it but it was a way of earning money and Val Pollard's daughter, Sharon Lambert, used her contacts to help Nicola get started as she had a friend that needed someone to look after her dog while she was abroad. David helped Nicola find some missing dogs one day and they reconciled after hearing Sharon telling a friend that she wasn't that interested in David. Nicola told Sharon and they had a fight in The Woolpack until David separated them and ended Nicola's dog-sitting business as Sharon was no longer prepared to help her get started but Nicola soon came up with another money-making scheme. Rodney had been trying to cheer Gabby up after she learnt about the baby swap involving Daniel and Arthur by telling her stories based on his fairground days. Nicola sold the stories to a publisher, claiming that her father was dead, and they were due to be published in March 2009 but Rodney found out and gave her an ultimatum - tell the truth or stop calling him Dad. She refused so he kicked her out. She moved in with Edna Birch, following brief stays with the Pollards and her brother, Paul and Katie Sugden.
When Nicola discovered that Ashley Thomas' boss told him that they were considering closing the church in late 2008, she and David planned to buy it and make it their dream home. However, there was a problem: the church choir. Nicola planned to ruin the choir by telling Laurel and Ashley she was there to help them but making the choir so bad, they would have no chance in a competition. In November, she changed her mind after becoming closer to her family and friends because they were impressed by her attempts to help the community. She focused her efforts on saving the church by helping the choir sing "O Happy Day". David and Eric discovered what she was up to and tried to sabotage the choir. They failed and the choir won a special recognition award so David and his father, Eric Pollard, revealed Nicola's original plan so she was shunned by the choir and estranged again from Laurel. Nicola worked hard to convince people that she was truly reformed and wanted them to succeed. She made headway on 15th December, just after the competition, when she was allowed to collect Gabby from playgroup. On 19th December, Edna asked Nicola to move out so her sister, Lily, could move in. Now homeless and alone, she moved into the church so Laurel took pity on her, asking her to move in with her and Ashley. On 25th December, after the Christmas Service, Nicola started a sit-in protest in the church to stop its closure with the choir in tow. They convinced Eric and David not to buy the church but meant the church was still for sale. The church was purchased by newcomers Mark and Natasha Wylde who also bought Home Farm Estates. The villagers convinced the Wyldes to let them have the church and Nicola applied for the position of estate manager at Home Farm as Natasha chose to employ Nicola, rather than keep Rodney on, as she admired her determination. Nicola often struggled to stay within her boundaries as she was also expected to be the Wyldes' personal assistant too.
In February 2009, Nicola and Jimmy King drowned their sorrows in The Woolpack and carried on drinking in an Emmerdale Haulage van. They spent the night together and woke up to discover themselves en route to Hull. Nicola was horrified but Jimmy was more amused and they got a cab back to Emmerdale. Nicola asked Jimmy to hide when they saw David but he saw Jimmy and laughed at them. Nicola was embarrassed and rebuffed Jimmy's attempts at a relationship. After several weeks, Nicola asked Jimmy to go with her when Mark and Natasha invited her to dinner. She thought their motive was much more personal but Jimmy wasn't happy returning to Home Farm and drank more than he should. Nicola, humiliated by the Wyldes, also got drunk and spent the night with him. Nicola pushed Jimmy away but was intrigued when Rodney told her Jimmy may not be as broke as she thought. Thinking Jimmy had money hidden away in Switzerland, Nicola charmed her way back into his bed and convinced him she cared about him, when he said he was going there. Jimmy guessed her true intentions and humiliated her by wining and dining her, then telling her that they were going to Switzerland in the haulage truck and telling everyone that she was a "gold-digger". Nicola was furious. In spite of the couple's rocky start, they were still attracted to each other so in order to make more room in the vicarage, Ashley's father, Sandy, and Laurel's father, Doug, wrote a love letter from "Jimmy". Nicola was moved by the romantic prose and visited him. After a passionate night, she told Jimmy she would move in with him, as this was what he had asked her. Jimmy was stunned but kept quiet as he didn't want to lose her but they argued constantly and after one row too many, Jimmy dumped her. Carl and Lexi insisted she move out so Laurel asked her to move back in with her.
Nicola told Laurel on 8th May 2009 that she thought she was pregnant. Laurel persuaded her to do a test and a few days later, Nicola learned that she was seventeen weeks pregnant. Shocked, she didn't believe it and insisted the doctor was wrong, sure that she and Jimmy had always been careful except the night they spent in the van. She considered an abortion and even booked an appointment but cancelled it after talking to Laurel and Rodney. They also talked her out of putting the baby up for adoption by Laurel and Lexi. Nicola returned to Mill Cottage with Jimmy and started looking forward to the arrival of their baby. Lexi King was surprised that Nicola hadn't started thinking about the nursery so when her pregnancy was confirmed, they went shopping for nursery furniture. Unfortunately Lexi's pregnancy was ectopic and the tube burst, so the tube had to be removed. Nicola supported Lexi but tried not to be there too much, fearing that her now obvious pregnancy was making Lexi feel worse. She also backed her up when Carl King made excuses about not being able to go to an appointment at an IVF clinic with Lexi. Jimmy later told her that Carl had admitted to him that he didn't want any more children and was only going ahead with the IVF to please Lexi but Nicola warned Carl that he had to tell Lexi the truth or she would. He did on 3rd August and Lexi told him to leave, which he did. Still angry, Lexi blamed Nicola when she tried to comfort her and pushed her away, causing her to fall down the stairs after a vicious row, leaving her unconscious. Horrified by what she'd done, Lexi called an ambulance and Nicola is rushed to hospital. Luckily, everything is okay and she is discharged but Nicola went into premature labour a few days later, while locked in the farm shop but luckily Rodney and Cain Dingle got her to the hospital before she gave birth to a baby girl, with Jimmy at her side. The little girl is put in an incubator and rushed away for further treatment, but Nicola and Jimmy are reassured by the doctor that their little girl is going to be just fine, naming her Angelica. The baby is kidnapped by a jealous Lexi and she takes her on to a roof but later returns the little girl to her worried parents.
Nicola soon returns to work, putting Angelica into play group, and after seeing Viv and Bob Hope's daughter, Cathy, biting another child, Nicola bit her so Cathy would know what it felt like. However, Viv called the police and they pressed charges. A custodial sentence was possible but Viv wrote a letter to the court, asking them to show leniency as she hadn't thought the case would go to court so Nicola was sentenced to probation.
In July 2010, Nicola and Jimmy considered buying The Woolpack, assisted by Jimmy's half-sister, Scarlett Nicholls, but pull out in September as Nicola fears she cannot cope with being landlady and a new mother.
in February 2011, Nicola discovers Jimmy has been involved in an accident and is receiving treatment in hospital. However, on arrival, she is shocked to learn he has lost all memory and has no idea who she or Angelica are. Jimmy is persuaded by Kelly that she and him were having an affair before his accident and that he was ready to leave Nicola. Jimmy and Nicola split as Jimmy takes Kelly's side of the story and the pair get together, with the son Kelly tells him is his. Jimmy's memory begins to return and he sees Kelly's true colours. Despite this, Nicola is hurt that Jimmy has slept with Kelly, and refuses to get back with him. The pair prepare for a divorce but after an argument in September 2011, the pair end up in a passionate kiss.
In June 2016, Rakesh Kotecha starts a fire at Mill Cottage which causes an explosion. An unconscious Nicola is trapped inside after the house exploded, so Ronnie Hale and Dan Spencer go in and get her out. Ronnie goes back into the burning house to see if there is anyone still inside but collapses unconscious in the kitchen. Rakesh and Carly Hope go in and get him out of the burning building. Ambulances and fire crew arrive. The ambulance crew try to wake Ronnie up. Due to injuries on her head, Nicola collapses at home the following day. She ended up having to have an operation in her brain. The test results did come back that Nicola has received brain damage on one side of her head. She couldn't feel her right arm or her right leg. When she hade no visitors, she tried to get up and walk over the her chair but collapsed onto the chair, when Laurel arrived at the hospital to see her, she helped get back onto the bed.